Historical Plaque Properties


Frederick Mossop - Car Inspector - GTR
123 Bay Street
Stratford, ON

Frederick Mossop was born in Ireland though little has been found about his family or the county of his birth. When he was born is also uncertain. He indicated in the 1901 Canadian census that his birth date was October 23, 1835, although other records and his tombstone suggests he could have been born between 1820 and 1835. 

Frederick also indicated in the 1901 census that he emigrated to Canada in 1847 at the beginning of the “great hunger,” which swept across Ireland as a result of the failure of the potato crop. Colonial records, of the day, indicate that approximately seventy thousand people left Ireland that year bound for what was then British North America. Of that number almost 5,300 died aboard the so called “coffin ships” and another ten thousand died on land and a further 30-thousand were hospitalized suffering the ravages of typhus, cholera and other communicable diseases. Somehow, Frederick survived.

It is known from the registry of his marriage that Frederick settled among the large Irish community in Bytown (Ottawa) for a time, which suggests he may have had family there as Mossop is a known name in Ottawa and the Valley. However, by the early 1850’s he had moved to Toronto where he worked as a labourer.

On October 23, 1855, Frederick married Jane, commonly known as Jennie, Ashbury in Toronto. Little has been found about Jennie’s family except that she was born in England and emigrated to Canada in the early 1850s. The couple had at least five children: Robert (b. 1857) who emigrated to the U.S in 1878 and established a paint manufacturing business in Franklin, Indiana; Elizabeth (b. 1859); Jane  (b. 1860); Fanny (b. 1863); and Frederick (b. 1865).

At the time of his wedding, Frederick was listed as a labourer, however, shortly thereafter he went to work for the Great Western Railway (GWR), headquartered in Hamilton, which provided service to  Niagara Falls, London and Windsor. By the late 1850’s the GWR extended its service to Toronto where Frederick was hired as a Porter.


Interestingly, the 1862-63 Toronto City Directory records Frederick and his family living on GWR property on the Esplanade at Front Street. By 1871, it appears Frederick went to work for the Grand Trunk Railway (GTR) and was transferred to Sarnia the railway’s main crossing point to the U.S.

Frederick relocated his family to Stratford when he was promoted to the position of Car Inspector responsible for ensuring the track worthiness and safety of the GTR’s rolling stock.

They moved into a newly built Regency style cottage at 123 Bay Street, where he and Jennie lived the rest of their days.

Frederick died on March 25, 1903 and Jennie on February 12, 1906. They are both buried in Avondale Cemetery along with their daughter, Fannie, who died in 1913.