Historical Plaque Properties


William Wilson - Carpenter/Carriage Maker
128 Elizabeth Street
Stratford, ON

From 1865 to 1869 Lot 26 on Elizabeth Street was owned by Benjamin Rigg Jr., a chandler or soapmaker, who had a house on the lot, and Lot 27 was owned by J.B. Strathy. From 1870 to 1872, both lots were owned by Rigg.  In 1872 the lots were severed again, and William Wilson built a house on Lot 27, what is now 128 Elizabeth Street.


William Wilson was born September 27, 1836 in St. Thomas.  He was the eldest of thirteen children born to John Wilson (1809-1893) and Mary Elizabeth Clarke (1818-1923), immigrants from Antrim County, Ireland who had immigrated to Upper Canada by 1835, when they were married in London, and became farmers in London Township, Middlesex County.


By 1860 William had married Margaret Ann Shoebottom, who was born in Upper Canada, and whose parents were also immigrants from Ireland.


William and Margaret were farming in Hibbert Township in the 1860s.  Their three oldest children were born there. William is listed in the 1863 county directory as a farmer and in 1867 as a farmer and a wagonmaker.

In the census of 1871 William was listed as a carpenter living in Stratford with Margaret and their three oldest children. The tax roll assessments of 1873-1880 (while he was living at 128 Elizabeth Street) list him as a carpenter, while the tax roll assessment of his last year at this address, 1881, lists him as a carriage maker, and the directory of the same year lists him as a wagon maker. By 1882 William and his family moved to 133 Huron Street, where over the years he was listed variously as a carpenter, carriage maker, woodworker, and apparently even as a machinist.


William and Margaret had five children: John Thomas (1860-1878), George Guest  (1864-1940), William James (1867-1879), Sarah Mary Elizabeth (Minnie) (1878-1984), and Margaret Ann (1883-1972). George married and became a farmer near Cromarty, Hibbert Township. Minnie married a farmer and they operated a farm in Oxford County. Margaret remained single and was a nurse in Exeter and London. William and Margaret had four grandchildren.


After Margaret died on January 2, 1897, William continued to live in Stratford until around 1908 when he went to live with his son George and family on their farm in Hibbert Township. On May 9, 1923 William died at the hospital in Seaforth from complications from surgery.


William and Margaret are both buried at Avondale Cemetery, as are their two sons who died young (John Thomas and William James), as well as their daughter Margaret Ann.