Historical Plaque Properties


Dr. George Smith - Surgeon
42 St. Vincent Street S.
Stratford, ON

In 1876 Dr. George Smith and his new bride, Georgeanna Julia Theodora Elliott, known as ‘Georgie’, moved in as the first tenants, to a new house built at 42 St Vincent Street by William Perkins. Mr. Perkins, listed in the local directory as a farmer living near Stratford, had previously purchased a tract of land in that part of early Stratford from John Sharman Sr., a land agent for the Crown and subdivided it into three lots.  Two years later, in 1878, George and Georgeanna purchased the property.


Born in Loweswater, Cumberland, England, George studied medicine and, in 1863, became a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons in England where he practiced as a surgeon at two hospitals in the London area. After serving as a navy surgeon on a Peruvian warship during a conflict between Spain and Peru, which began in 1864 and ended two years later, he immigrated to Canada and obtained his Ontario medical license.  The 1871 Census of Canada finds him living in Stratford, with his sister, Ellen Jane Watson, her husband, Peter and their six children, in the Avon Ward. An interesting side-note, their youngest son was named George Smith Watson. Another sister also lived in Stratford as did his brother William who was with the Merchants’ Bank.


In 1876 Dr. Smith’s office was on the second floor at 20 Ontario St. Later office locations were in Market Square and on Erie Street. Although his obituary refers to him as ‘one of Stratford’s oldest medical men’ he was only 50 years of age when he died in 1889 from blood poisoning. He is described as well liked by all who knew him with special mention made of his concern for the poor whom he endeavoured to help not only medically but however he could otherwise.


He is reputed to have been a congenial gentleman who enjoyed discussing his travels and experiences in various parts of the world. Because he was a surgeon in the 28th Battalion at the time of his death his funeral, which was attended by about two thousand persons, was in the military style with the cortege lead by the Battalion’s Band from St Marys.


The Smith’s had no children. His widow, originally from Colchester in Essex County, Ontario, remained in Stratford until her death from Myocarditis in 1919. Both are buried in Avondale Cemetery near other family members.