Historical Plaque Properties


William Albert Harvey - Locomotive Engineer Grand Trunk Railway/Canadian National Railway
33 West Gore Street
Stratford, ON

The construction of the house at 33 West Gore Street was started by A.E.F. Jones, a real estate agent, and it was finished by William Albert Harvey, a locomotive engineer at the Grand Trunk Railway.


In Brantford on May 7, 1867, William Albert Harvey was born, the fifth of seven children of James Harvey (1830-1915) and Sophia Neil (1830-1887). James and Sophia were married in London, England and appear to have moved within a short time to Brantford, where their first child was born around 1857. James is first listed as a machinist and later as a (locomotive) fireman, so it appears that he moved to Brantford to work for the Buffalo and Lake Huron Railway, later the Grand Trunk Railway. By 1881 James and his family had moved to Grant Street in Stratford, where he was a locomotive engineer. The family had two boarders at that time, both locomotive firemen. By 1891 both William and his brother James Jr. were listed as locomotive firemen. By 1889 James Jr. had become an engineer, while William continued as a fireman. By 1900 William was a brakeman, and by 1901 he was a locomotive engineer. He continued as an engineer until his retirement around 1933.


On June 22, 1898 William married Mary Ann Abraham. Mary Ann was born on October 6, 1870 in Ellice Township, the first of eight children born to Richard Abraham (1842-1916) and Millicent Hephzibah Pinder (1848-1946). Richard was born in Donegal, Ireland. He was listed in 1871 as a farmer in Avon Ward, Stratford, and later in Logan Township. Millicent was born in Downie Township to English immigrants. Richard and Millicent had moved to Stratford by 1886, when Richard was listed as a labourer in the Grand Trunk Railway Shops, a position that he held until around 1902. By 1891, Mary Ann was listed as a dressmaker.


William and Mary Ann had three daughters: Millicent Agnes (1899-1995), Lauretta (Etta) Louise (1904-1999), and Ruth Catherine (1912-?). Millicent worked at first as a bookkeeper and then as a saleslady, eventually marrying Edward Joseph Purcell (from Perth County) and moving to Detroit. Edward became a booker in the motion picture industry. They had one daughter. Lauretta worked as a dental assistant, and later married Howard Clayton Soehner, a chemical research engineer.  Howard and Lauretta moved to Buffalo, Kentucky, and then Mississippi for Howard’s work. They had two sons. Ruth Catherine lived at her parents’ home for several years, with no occupation listed. It is unclear if she ever married and when she died.


Mary Ann died of bladder cancer on August 19, 1941. William died not long after of myocardial failure due to pernicious anemia on October 7, 1941. Both lived in their home at 33 West Gore until their deaths, and they are buried together in Avondale Cemetery.