Historical Plaque Properties


William Proctor - Commerce Agent
27 Nile Street
Stratford, ON

William Proctor was born December 1856 in West Zorra Township, Oxford County. He was the second son of William Proctor, who had emigrated from England, and Marion Matheson who had arrived from Southernshire, Scotland with her family in 1835. The Mathesons had taken up farming in West Zorra near Harrington about ten miles from Stratford.

William Sr. and Marion were married around 1850 and lived with on her family farm where William likely helped with the farm work. Within ten years of their marriage William Sr. died leaving Marion to raise the two boys alone. Marion and the boys were living on the farm with her widowed mother and her siblings when the 1861 census was taken. James, the older son, was 8 and young William was only 5. By 1871, Marion was living on her own farm and although William was listed on the census of that year as a farmer, he was still attending school. James on the other hand had left school and was working as a saddler.

William became a shoemaker and moved with his mother to Harrington a post village on the north branch of the Thames River. At the time the village contained two churches, Canada Presbyterian and Methodist Episcopalian, a large schoolhouse, a hotel, two general stores several blacksmiths, a harness and a wagon shop, a saw mill, a grist mill and a cheese factory as well as a tin shop and a tailor’s shop. Mail was delivered daily to the post office where the Post Master, and local tailor, was Robert Herron. His older brother James was working as a carriage trimmer in Stratford where he had married Abbie Fisher.

Two years after appearing in the 1881 census in Harrington, William age 26 married 21 year old Janet Herron in January 1883. She was the daughter of Robert Herron and Annie Darling. Fortune seems to have come William’s way and by 1891, he is enumerated in the Harrington census of that year as a “Gentleman”. His mother, Marion was living with the couple. James Proctor had again changed professions and was working as a Brewer’s Agent.

In 1894 William purchased several lots on Nile Street in Stratford from the widowed Catherine McKenzie. Here he built a large double which would become numbers 25 and 27 as well as the house next door, number 31. His occupation at the time the houses were built was that of a Commerce Agent.

William, Janet and Marion lived here until 1901 when the house was sold to W.J. Mooney who would establish the highly successful Mooney Biscuit and Candy Company. In the 1905 City of Stratford Directory, the Proctors were living on Ontario Street and William was listed as being a Stock Broker.

Marion Matheson Proctor died in 1906 and three years later William and Janet moved to Vancouver where William continued to work as a stock broker or financial agent. William died in 1916 and his body was returned to Stratford where he was buried beside his mother in Avondale Cemetery. Janet returned to Stratford and in 1921 married William Manthony Riddle of Baltimore, Maryland. When Janet died in 1935 she was buried in Stratford by her first husband, William Proctor.