Historical Plaque Properties


William G Leith - Barber
98 Mowat Street
Stratford, ON

William George Leith was born on December 11, 1884 in the village of Blyth in Huron County. He was the first of five children of George Leith and Augusta Christina Eggert. George Leith had been born in Scotland in 1841 and emigrated to Canada in 1871. Born in Germany in 1861, Christina came to Canada as a young child in 1863. George and Christina were married in Blyth in 1883. In the 1901 census George’s occupation is listed as farm labourer. 


By 1910 William Leith was living in Stratford and that year married Mae Emily Dean. Mae was born in Toronto on May 16, 1889. She was the daughter of George Dean and Mary Chippenden. George was a machinist, likely at the Grand Trunk Railway Locomotive Repair Shops, and the family had come to Stratford about 1890, a year after Mae’s birth.


For a couple of years William and Mae lived on Milton Street where their first son, Clifton, was born in 1911.  With an expanding family — their daughter Gladys was born in 1913 and another son William in 1917 — they built and moved into the house at 98 Mowat Street in 1913. William and Mae lived there the rest of their lives.

William was a long-time barber in Stratford.  His shop was at 394 Downie Street and later at 408 Downie.

Clifton lived with his parents until his early death in 1936 at the age of 25.  Before her marriage Gladys was there too — in 1940 she is teaching at Hamlet Public School.  She later married J. Reginald Swanson and lived for a time in Owen Sound and Waterloo.


Mae Leith died on December 2, 1958 and is buried in Avondale Cemetery. After her husband’s death in 1966, Gladys moved back to 98 Mowat to look after her elderly father. William lived on until 1974, when he died at the age of 89 on July 22.  He is buried with Mae and Clifton in Avondale Cemetery.


William Leith resided at 98 Mowat for over 60 years. After his death Gladys continued to live in the house until the mid-1990s. In failing health she moved to Cannington, Ontario, to be near her son, Donald. She died there in 2007 at the age of 94. Her remains are interred in Avondale Cemetery.