Historical Plaque Properties

 

Thomas Higgins - Conductor – GTR
123 Albert Street
Stratford, ON
1915


Thomas Higgins was born on April 1, 1867.  At the time of his birth, his father Thomas Higgins and Margaret A. Clapman lived in the Port Hope area.  Thomas and Margaret Higgins were both of Irish decent.

In Simcoe, on June 12, 1889, Thomas married Mary Nicol Longthorne.   Mary was born on July 14, 1867, the daughter of Jeremiah and Sarah Longthorne.  The Longthornes farmed in the Palmerston area.  Mary’s father had emigrated from England and her mother had emigrated from Ireland. 

 

Most of his adult life, Thomas was a conductor for the Grand Trunk Railway. During his career, the GTR   became the Canadian National Railway.  Train Conductors were know known as the guardians of the trains. As a member of a train crew, a conductor travelled to various locations within the train, ensuring the safe arrival of everyone.  Prior to moving to Stratford, a Hub for the GTR, Thomas and Mary resided in Port Huron, Michigan.  The GTR link between Sarnia and Port Huron was an important connection between the U.S. and Canadian railway systems. By 1911, Thomas and Mary were living at 101 Grainger Street in Stratford.

 

Thomas and Mary Higgins had two children.  Their first born, Milford Irvine Higgins, was born on October 21, 1890 in Port Huron, Michigan. Just prior to the Higgins moving to Albert Street, on January 11, 1915, Milford married Irene Throne Branston. Irene was the daughter of Fred Branston and Harriet Thorne of Stratford, Ontario.  They lived at 28 Hibernia Street where they had two children Fred and Nara.  Milford was an electrician who owned his own business.  He was living in the Kitchener, Waterloo region at the time of his passing on October 21, 1963.

 

Thomas and Mary Higgins had their second son, Floyd Mitera Higgins on May 5, 1896 while visiting in the Palmerston area. At the age of 25 on June 11, 1921 Floyd married Francis M. Hartley, the daughter of Catherine Fannie and Jacob Hartley.  The Hartley’s lived in the Tavistock area. Floyd worked as a brakeman for GTR and Francis was a dressmaker.  They had 3 children and ended up living in the Windsor area.

 

By September of 1915, Thomas and Mary moved into their newly built home at 123 Albert Street.  They only lived there for a short while.  Sadly at 52, Mary died of an unexpected coronary event on November 25, 1918.  She was buried in Avondale Cemetery.

 

Around 1920, Thomas Higgins moved to 197 Nile Street. On June 8, 1920, Thomas married, 28 year old Oleda Margaretha Hoffmeyer. Oleda was the daughter of August Hoffmeyer and Elizabeth Wendand.  Oleda had several siblings.  Of note was her brother Norman Hoffmeyer, a bombardier, killed in action on November 1, 1918 while flying over France.

 

On November 17, 1927, the Higgins only daughter Margaret Anne Higgins was born.

Thomas lived with his wife Oleda for 18 years on Nile Street.   He passed away as the result of coronary disease at 71 on June 1, 1938.  Thomas was buried in Avondale Cemetery with his first wife Mary.

Olega Higgins died on December 11, 1941.  She was buried in the Sebringville Cemetery. Margaret Anne Higgins died in 1967 and was buried with her mother.