Historical Plaque Properties


Williamson Guy - Carpenter & Bridge Builder
172 Avondale Avenue
Stratford, ON

Williamson Guy recorded in the 1901 Canadian census that he was born on October 5, 1857. He also indicated that he was born in Ontario. Unfortunately no record of his place of birth or the name of his parents has been found, although it is known that he had a brother Thomas.

By the late 1870s or 1880, Williamson had met and married Elizabeth Packham who was born on October 5, 1857 in Ellice Township, Perth County. She was the daughter of William Packham and Maria Parker who farmed in the township. Williamson and Elizabeth had four children: Homer (b. 1880), James (b.1882), Arthur (b. 1885) and Florence (b. 1891).

Williamson was a carpenter by trade. To provide his bride and celebrate the birth of their first born he built a new house for them at 172 Avondale Avenue in the summer of 1880. They lived there for three years before renting the house to a Malcolm McBain who was a tailor.

Like many young men seeking to improve their family’s prospects, Williamson made a career change and during the mid-1880s tried his hand as a hotel keeper in the small community of Burgoyne. At the time the village had a population of 80 people and is located approximately 24-miles north-east of Walkerton and 5-miles east of Port Elgin on Lake Huron. Settled in 1866, it had a Methodist, Presbyterian and a Baptist church as well as a public school and shipped grain and livestock. It was on the main stage line from Port Elgin to Tara. The nearest railway station was located in Port Elgin.

Following the birth of their middle children, James and Arthur, the couple returned to live in Stratford about 1889 and took up residence at 172 Avondale Avenue. Williamson returned to his original trade as a carpenter with Scrmgeour Brothers. At some point around the turn of the twentieth century, Williamson changed careers again and became a bridge builder, a profession he continued until his retirement.
Because of their four children Williamson built an addition to the house during the summer of 1903 to give the family more space.

Williamson and Elizabeth lived in the house at 172 Avondale Avenue until her death on September 25, 1922. She is buried in Avondale Cemetery.

Williamson sold the house shortly thereafter and went to live in Ellice Township until his death on August 29, 1939. He is buried beside his wife in Avondale Cemetery.