Historical Plaque Properties


Frederick Edward Lye - Bookkeeper - Grand Trunk Railway
176 Water Street
Stratford, ON

  Frederick Edward Lye was born in Leeds, Yorkshire, England on March 18, 1869. He was the first of nine children born to Edward Joseph Lye (1840-1921) and Emma Jane Mellars (1846-1912). Frederick and the two next children were born in Leeds. After the family emigrated to Stratford in 1873, six more children were born, three of whom died very young.


On the baptismal records while they were still in Leeds, Edward was listed as a policeman. Once living in Stratford, he was listed as a carpenter for many years. By 1901 he was working as a bridge inspector for the railway, first in London, Ontario, and by 1904 working for the Grand Trunk Railway in Stratford. In the 1911 census Edward was receiving a pension from the railroad. It is quite possible that Edward always worked for the GTR once moving to Ontario, first as a carpenter, and then as a bridge inspector. It is also possible that he chose Stratford so he could work in the newly opened locomotive shops.


By 1889 Frederick was working as a stenographer for the GTR, still living with his family at Front near Falstaff. His brother Arthur was also living with his family, working as a boilermaker for the GTR.


On August 26, 1890 in St Marys, Frederick married Jean (Janet) Galbraith, born February 19, 1872, the daughter of Scottish immigrants John Galbraith, a blacksmith, and Janet Gibb. She was the third of ten children.

On the marriage record and in the census of the following year, Frederick was listed as a railway clerk in Stratford, presumably with the GTR. By 1893 Frederick and Jean had moved to Ayton, Grey County, where he was working as the station agent for the GTR, a position that he held until at least 1895. By 1901 Frederick and his family were living in Waterloo, where he was once again a station agent. By 1907, when Frederick and the family moved into the newly constructed house at 176 Water Street, Frederick was listed as a bookkeeper. (Walter Schenk, a local builder, either built the house for Frederick and Jean, or at least partially built it.) By 1909 he was listed in Stratford as an agent, presumably as a station agent. By 1911 Frederick and his family were living in Port Colborne, where Frederick was once again a station agent for the GTR. By 1921 the family was living in Toronto, where Frederick was a clerk for the CPR. Frederick and
the family were still living in Toronto in 1928, as Frederick was the informant on his brother Arthur’s death registration in that city. It appears that Frederick and Jean moved to Fenwick, Ontario (near Welland) once he retired, as it was in Fenwick that he died.

Frederick and Jean had four sons: Russel Galbraith (1891-after 1949), George McNaughton (1893-1907), Lawrence Elveston (1895-1896), and Harold Mellars
(1898-1987). Russel was born in Stratford, George and Lawrence in Ayton, and Harold in Tara, Bruce County. Russel married while living in Owen Sound, working as a sales engineer. By 1935 he was listed as a civil engineer living in Hamilton. Harold married, living in Toronto for most of his life, working first as a clerk, and eventually as an accountant.


Frederick died on October 1, 1939 in Fenwick, Welland County, but he was buried in Avondale Cemetery in Stratford. Jean died on July 15, 1949 in Toronto and was buried in that city in Mount Pleasant Cemetery.