Historical Plaque Properties


Andrew J Graber - Graber and Sons Hardware
149 William Street
Stratford, ON

Andrew Joseph Graber was born in Stratford on March 10, 1874. He was the fourth son of Francis Xavier Graber and Josephine Linzenmeyer. Francis Xavier Graber was born in Germany on May 20, 1833 to Andrew Graber and Mary Auld. He emigrated from Germany before 1860 but it is not known if he came alone or with his family. Josephine Linzenmeyer was born in Salem, Switzerland in 1844. At age two, she came to Canada with her brothers and her parents, Anthony Linzenmeyer and Frances Kinner. Her family settled in Sebringville where her father and her brother, Joseph, were in the wagon making business. When Anthony died in 1870, Frances moved to Stratford into a house on Albert near King Street.

Francis Xavier Graber and Josephine Linzenmeyer were married in St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church, Stratford on August 23, 1864. Their first four children were boys: Francis Xavier Jr., 1866, Charles Edward, 1868, George Albert, 1871, and Andrew Joseph, 1874. The last of their six children were girls; Eda, 1877, and Mary Francis, 1882.

The 1871 census shows the family living in Stratford and Francis Xavier’s occupation as a tobacconist. For the next twenty-five years, his businesses were located on Market Street (today it is Downie Street between Ontario and Wellington Streets). At first, the family lived above the shop which was a common practice at the time. By 1876 they had moved to a house on Ontario Street just east of King Street.

According to the 1876 city directory, the store, F X Graber, at 23 Market Street, had an expanded inventory of toys, and fancy goods, cigars and tobacco. By 1889, books had been added to the stock and in 1891, stationery was added. At this time, Andrew was a store clerk and boarded with his parents.

In 1895, at the age of 62, Francis Xavier died of cancer. His widow, Josephine, took over the store on Market Street under her name as well as the newly created hardware store at 62 Ontario Street. Andrew was the manager at both locations. His brother, Charles, and sister, Eda, worked as clerks in the variety store. By 1898, only the hardware store, Graber and Sons, was in operation.

Andrew, 24, married Alice Mary Boyd in April of 1898. She was the daughter of Thomas and Catherine Boyd. Thomas Boyd was the superintendent of Avondale Cemetery. A year later Andrew’s sister, Eda, married Alice’s brother, Frederick. The couple moved to Seaforth where Frederick had a tailor shop. Andrew and Alice’s only child, a daughter, who was named after his mother, was born in 1899.

In 1906, Andrew and his family moved into the newly built house at 149 William Street. He continued to manage the hardware store for a number of years until he followed in his older brothers’ footsteps and emigrated to the United States. He lived in Chicago where he continued to work in the hardware trade.

Josephine Linzenmeyer Graber died in 1933 and was buried in Avondale Cemetery beside her husband. Until her death, she lived at 35 Caledonia Street (which has an ACO plaque) with her daughter, Mary Frances, who had married Andrew Duncan. Andrew Joseph Graber died in Detroit in 1949 and was returned home to Stratford to be buried. His wife, Alice, died in 1950 and was buried beside Andrew in Avondale Cemetery.