Historical Plaque Properties


Frederick Kuch - Cabinetmaker/George McLagan Furniture Co.
112 Queen Street
Stratford, ON

Frederick Kuch was born in Philipsburg, located north east of Stratford, on February 29, 1876. He was the third son of Julius Kuch and Ernestina Roth. Frederick’s parents had emigrated from Germany to the United States with their eldest son, George, in 1869. A second son, Anthony, and a daughter, Louisa, were born before they continued their journey to Canada. Their second daughter, Annie, was born three years after Frederick.

By 1890, the family had moved to New Hamburg where Julius was employed as a carpenter. All of the children, except Annie, who was still in school, were employed. Anthony and Frederick worked as farm hands, George was a painter, and Louisa worked in a nearby knitting mill. Frederick later followed in his father’s footsteps and became a carpenter.

In 1899, Frederick married Margaret (Maggie) Wettlaufer, daughter of Conrad Wettlaufer and Catherine Schellenburger. Maggie was also of German heritage and had grown up on a farm in West Zorra Township. The newly married couple lived in New Hamburg where their first son was, Julius Frederick Conrad, was born. The couple would eventually have four more sons and a daughter, Ernestina Viola.

By 1903, Frederick, now an experienced cabinet maker, had moved his family to Stratford, where he joined the George McLagan Furniture Company. McLagan, who was a skilled cabinetmaker and furniture designer, arrived in Stratford in 1886, and established his manufacturing business which lasted until 1952.

The family lived in a number of locations until Frederick bought the lot and built the house at 112 Queen Street in 1911. Here, the couple and their three children remained for two years, until Frederick sold the house to John McMillan, a retired farmer from North Easthope Township. He bought the house at 66 Queen Street with its large lot that extended along Ballantyne Avenue. Maggie gave birth to their son, Carl George, shortly after they moved. Tragedy struck the young family soon after his birth when Maggie died of pleurisy.

In 1914, possibly because of the heartbreaking memories of Maggie’s death, and the need for a larger house for his family, Frederick subdivided the lot to build a house at 171 Ballantyne Avenue. They moved into the new house in 1915, and Frederick rented out the house at 66 Queen Street. Over the next few years, Frederick rose to be the foreman at McLagan’s. Three of his sons followed in his footsteps by joining the furniture company when they were old enough.

In 1924, Frederick Kuch built a smaller house located at 312 Cobourg Street and five years later, he married Janet Elizabeth Davis, who was eighteen years his junior. Frederick, Janet, and his son, Wilfred John, lived there together. Frederick died in 1955 and Janet remained in the house until her death in 1972. Frederick is buried in Avondale Cemetery with Maggie, their son Edward, who died at four years old, and their son, Harold. His second wife, Janet, and his parents, Julius and Ernestina Kuch, are buried with them.