Historical Plaque Properties


Albert William Hall - Retired Farmer & Carpenter
27 Shrewsbury Street
Stratford, ON

The lot where 27 Shrewsbury Street was built in 1914 was owned by builder Moses Schlotzhauer in 1913. It is possible that he built the house for Albert William Hall.

Albert William Hall was born in May or November 1856 to Thomas Hall (born in Ireland) and Elizabeth Smithson (born in Northumberland County). He was the second of nine children, two of whom died in early childhood. Thomas and Elizabeth met and married in Northumberland County and moved to Mornington Township, Perth County before 1861, perhaps as early as 1855 or 1856.  It appears that Albert William was born in Mornington Township.

In the 1867 and 1882 Perth County Directories, Albert’s father, Thomas, is listed as a farmer on Concession 7, Lot 17. In 1882 brothers Albert, Richard John, and Thomas Henry were farming Lot 18, adjacent to their father. These brothers and their younger brother Zachariah along with their father farmed the two adjoining lots until the father’s death in 1903, followed by Albert and Richard John until about 1911.The Hall family seems to have been a particularly close one. Not only did the father and sons farm together over the years, but most of the children lived at home until they were fairly old.  Unusually for the time, several of the children married in their 30s or 40s. Four of them eventually moved to the U.S. In the 1911 census, Albert at 55 years of age was living alone with his mother on the farm.

Albert married Matilda Preston Patton on April 8, 1914 in Stratford. Neither had been married before. Albert was 57 and Matilda was almost 54. At the time of their marriage, Albert was living in Stratford, and Matilda was living in Toronto.

Matilda was born in 1863 presumably in Halton County to Hugh Patton, farmer, (from Ireland) and Margaret Dempsey (born in Canada West to Irish parents). She was the fifth of eleven children. The Pattons appear to have farmed in Brant, Halton, and Lambton Counties. Matilda left home by the time she was 21, first living with her sister Mary at their aunt and uncle’s farm in Halton County, and then the two sisters had their own farm in the same county by 1891. In the 1901 census, Matilda and Mary were living as lodgers on someone else’s farm in Halton. In the 1911 census Matilda was living in Toronto as a domestic servant.

Albert had the house built or bought the newly constructed house at 27 Shrewsbury in early 1914, possibly on time for his marriage to Matilda. On the tax assessment roll and in the 1914 city directory, he is listed as a carpenter, while in 1915 he is listed as an agent, and in 1916 as a farmer. He does not appear in the 1917 city directory, so it would seem that he and Matilda had moved to Mornington Township, where they are recorded as living in the 1921 census, although not on the family farm. He is listed as being a labourer. Matilda is listed in her death certificate as a housekeeper. It is possible that Albert bought the house with money from the sale of the family farm, thinking that he and Matilda would start a new life in Stratford, but their finances forced them to sell the house after about three years and then move to the country.

Unfortunately, Albert and Matilda’s lives did not improve. Both of them ended up at the Perth County House of Refuge in Stratford, an institution that was built to serve the needs of impoverished, elderly, and sick citizens. According to his death certificate, after living for eight months at the House of Refuge, Albert died on October 1, 1938 from injuries sustained when he either fell or jumped from the balcony. Matilda died on July 9, 1943, after having lived at the House of Refuge for five years. There was no obituary in the Stratford paper for either of them, apparently because of their poverty. Both are buried in Millbank.