Historical Plaque Properties

 

Henry & Frederick Brayne - Father & Son - Grand Trunk Railway Employees
260 Birmingham Street
Stratford, ON
1916


Henry Brayne was born in Redhill, Surrey, England in 1863, the second of five children born to Richard Henry Brayne and Mary Muggridge. Richard Henry, Henry’s father, was  a railway engine driver. Henry followed in his father’s footsteps, and by the age of 27 he was a locomotive fitter’s assistant, and by the age of 37 he was a locomotive engine driver.

 

Henry’s wife, Elizabeth Peters, was also from Surrey, and was the sixth of ten children born to William Peters, a bricklayer, and Emma Lawrence.

 

While living in Reading, Berkshire, England, Henry and Elizabeth had three sons: William Henry (1884-1956), Frederick (1895-1975), and Henry (Harry) (1898-?). By the age of 17 William Henry was a locomotive engine cleaner, and by the age of 16 Frederick was a junior clerk. In the spring of 1911 Henry emigrated to Stratford where he was working as a clerk. Elizabeth and their two younger sons followed him soon after.  It would appear that both Henry and Frederick were working at Stratford’s GTR shops upon their arrival. However, in the 1913 directory the family was living at 45 Grant Street, and there were no occupations listed for the father or either of the sons. In 1914, only Henry (father) was listed, again with no occupation. The tax roll assessments of 1916, 1918, and 1920 for 260 Birmingham Street list both Henry and Frederick as GTR employees. By 1921 both of the sons had left the family home, and Henry was working as an electric welder at the GTR shops. Henry continued in the job until at least 1924, when he was still living at 260 Birmingham.

 

Elizabeth died of cancer on March 2, 1927 at their home at 260 Birmingham. On July 13, 1929 in Toronto, Henry married Alice Emma Down, a widow from London, England who had come to Canada to visit relatives in Toronto.  Their marriage must not have lasted long, for when Alice died in 1934 she was buried in a Toronto cemetery in a plot paid for by her niece.

 

By 1937 Henry was living at 209 Waterloo Street S. in Stratford with his youngest son, Harry (Henry). Henry subsequently lived at a number of different addresses in Stratford, apparently boarding with railway employees. Henry died in February 1951 and was buried with his first wife, Elizabeth, in Avondale Cemetery.

 

William and Elizabeth’s middle son, Frederick, was listed as a Grand Trunk Railway employee on the tax assessment rolls for 260 Birmingham Street beginning in 1916. By 1918 he was working as an air brake inspector in Capreol (Sudbury). In 1920 he married May Elizabeth Thane in Toronto, where through the 1920s they lived and worked, having two children. In 1929 Frederick moved to Detroit without May, who lived with her parents in Stratford until her death in 1931. The children remained with their maternal grandparents. Frederick remarried in 1932 in Detroit, and died in that city in 1975.