Historical Plaque Properties


Fred Sylvester - Tinsmith
229 Cobourg Street
Stratford, ON

Frederick John Sylvester was born June 9, 1866 in the District of Holborn, London, England. He was the son of Thomas Sylvester and Mary Hannah Rolf.


On June 17, 1869, Thomas, Mary and their three children Fred, Charlotte and Albert left England aboard the Montreal Steamship Lines S.S. Moravian bound for Quebec City.

Initially, Thomas who was a machinist settled his family in Brockville, Ontario but by 1881 had moved the family to Stratford.

On March 19, 1890 twenty-four year old Fred Sylvester married twenty year old Margaret (Maggie) Kaylor who was born in Vaughn Township, York County, Ontario. She was the daughter of Jacob Kaylor and Mary Dennett. They had five children: Charles, Wilbert, Gladys, Robert and Grace.
Maggie died June 18, 1922 and is buried at the Avondale Cemetery.

On April 20, 1924, Fred married Mary Bell Duncan, daughter of Philip Duncan and Margaret Innes in St. Mary’s, Ontario.

Fred was a tinsmith by trade and received the contract for tin work at the new armoury that was being constructed on Waterloo St. S. He was also an enterprising businessman. In 1898 he opened a store located at 113 Ontario St. initially employing four staff. He remained at the same location for the next fifty-one years providing a wide variety of goods including stoves, hardware, tinware, plumbing supplies, furnaces, paints, granite and copperware. In addition to tinsmithing, he also provided a variety of services including plumbing, piping, steam heating, roofing and eavestroughing across the region. He also built, leased and sold houses such as 229 Cobourg St.

Fred Sylvester died October 19, 1940 and is buried in the Avondale Cemetery.