Historical Plaque Properties


Henry Woodhouse - Mason
212 Railway Street
Stratford, ON

The records concerning Henry Woodhouse are unclear, in part because his name was common at the time, and there are no marriage records or birth records involving him. It appears that Henry was born around 1837 in Derbyshire, England to John Woodhouse, a stone mason, and Elizabeth Woodhouse. He had at least one sibling. By 1851 he was living with his aunt and uncle, Samuel and Esther Woodhouse, and their children. In 1861 he was still living with them, and he was listed as a stone mason. It would appear that Henry emigrated to Canada in the early 1870s.


By May 1877, Henry Woodhouse owned three lots: 77, 78, and 163. In the summer of 1878 he built a house on Lots 77 and 78, currently 212 Railway Avenue, then called Railroad Avenue. Because he was a mason, we can assume that he was directly involved in building the house. It is possible that Henry built this house as a rental unit, as he is listed as living in it only until 1879 or early 1880, possibly because he was working on it during that time. Subsequently he had tenants for several years. The tax assessment roll of May 1879 has five occupants of the house. In most cases such as this, we can assume that the other occupants were family members; however, it is more probable that Henry was renting rooms to other tradesmen, because in the 1881 census Henry was listed as single, living with the following tradesmen: Mathew Couker (sp?), shoemaker; Alex Clark, stone mason; Charles Clark, machinist; and Ernest Atterman, cigar maker. There is no record of Henry ever being married.


In May 1880 Henry was renting the house to Henry Volker, a farmer, who was recorded having one cow, two hogs, two horses, and one dog. Henry Volker’s wife, Mary, and their eleven children shared the house. Henry Volker was a German immigrant who had been farming in Downie Township for many years, apparently alongside three of his brothers. It is unclear why he would rent 212 Railway Avenue when, according to the 1881 census, he was still farming in Downie.


By 1883 the house was listed as being owned by Frances Hall, an agent, and Henry along with two others were renting the house. However, Henry was still listed as the owner in 1881, 1883, and 1884, with two different machinists as tenants: William Turner from 1881 to 1883, and Robert Patterson in 1884. It would appear that Henry then sold the property.


It is unclear what happened to Henry next. He is not listed as living in Stratford in any subsequent directories or censuses. It is possible that he moved to Manitoba as a homesteader in the mid1880s, as there was a Henry Woodhouse, single and born in England, living there until his death in 1920. For much of that time he lived and farmed with John Cole, who was listed in one of the censuses as Henry’s nephew.