Historical Plaque Properties


First Tenant - Guy Thomas Pettigrew - Division Freight Agent, Grand Trunk Railway
66 Centre Street
Stratford, ON

The house at 66 Centre Street was built in 1907 by William Elligsen. His German immigrant parents farmed in Ellice Township, and like so many men raised on a farm, Elligsen used his skills learned there, eventually becoming a carpenter and then a contractor or builder. It appears that he built this house as a rental.

The first and only tenant of 66 Centre Street was Guy Thomas Pettigrew. Guy was born in Sorel, Quebec on March 8, 1874, the third of five children born to Robert Gray Pettigrew (1848-1912) and Janet Erskine Dawson (1847-1916). Both parents were born in Quebec to Scottish or Irish immigrants. Robert was listed variously as a shipper, clerk, and bookkeeper, at one point being a manager of a coal office. 

In Montreal in 1898 Guy married Violet Agnes Reed, born in Montreal on December 25, 1874, the second of nine children born to Robert Reed (1849-1919) and Almira Maria Jane (or Jeanne)  Lecours(1850 -1923). Robert was born in Quebec to Irish parents, and Jane or Jeanne was French Canadian. Robert was a storeman or a shipper of hardware.


At the age of 14 Guy became an apprentice clerk with the traffic department of the Grand Trunk Railway in Montreal, eventually becoming chief clerk in that department. In July 1907, Guy was appointed division freight agent in Stratford, remaining there until November 1911, when he was transferred to Montreal. Before leaving Stratford, Guy and his family moved from 66 Centre Street first to 43 Shrewsbury Street, and then to 38 Centre Street. In 1920 Guy and his family moved back to Stratford, living at 168 Elizabeth Street until returning to Montreal in 1923. In Stratford, Guy was the sales manager first at the Canadian Cereal and Flour Mills Co. and then at the McLeod Milling Co. It is possible that he had left the GRT during this period because the company was going through bankruptcy and restructuring, becoming the Canadian National Railway in 1923. In July 1923, Guy went to New York City as the freight traffic representative of the CNR. He then returned to Montreal, eventually becoming assistant general freight manager, a position he held until his retirement in October 1938.

Guy and Violet had four children. Guy Roberts Reed (1900-1964) was a clerk and salesman, who married and lived in Toronto and London, Ontario. Violet Lois (1904-1986) was a clerk before marriage, living the rest of her life in Stratford and being buried in Avondale Cemetery. Jack Alexander (1910-?) initially worked for the CNR, later marrying and working as a clerk in Bathurst, New Brunswick. Margaret Erskine (1914-2004) married and lived for a time in Ottawa and Montreal, spending her later years and being buried in Stratford. It appears that Guy and Violet had three grandchildren.


Guy died in Montreal on April 28, 1942. Violet died in Willowdale (Toronto) on January 26, 1944 while living at her eldest son’s house. Both Guy and Violet were buried in Mount Royal Cemetery, Montreal.

In 1910 William Elligsen sold the house to Zion Lutheran Church. It was the church manse until 1979.