Historical Plaque Properties


Alexander McDonald - Tailor
190 Albert Street
Stratford, ON

By April 1873 James McEwan, a carpenter, owned Lot 219 on Albert Street. He and his family were living on the west half of that lot. Later that year the lot was severed and a house was built, probably by James himself, on the east half of the lot for Alexander McDonald, a tailor. Alexander and his family were living in the house by April 1874 at the latest.


Alexander McDonald was born in 1811 in Hobkirk, Roxburghshire, Scotland to Roderick McDonald and Elizabeth Elliot. In 1834 Alexander married Isabella Richardson in Hawick, Scotland. Alexander and Isabella had five children: Esther (1835-1906), John Elliot (1841-), Elizabeth Elliot (1844-1924), Isabel (1849-), and Agnes Jane Elliot (1853-1934). It appears that Isabella died around 1854, and that Alexander and at least three of his children - Esther, Elizabeth Elliot, and Agnes Jane Elliot - emigrated to Ontario, probably to southern Bruce County or northern Huron County.


In 1859 in Stratford Alexander married Mary Murray, the daughter of James Murray (1804-1867) and Margaret Beatty (1801-). Mary was also born in Scotland. There is no record of her having emigrated with any family members, so it is possible that Mary and Alexander knew each other in Scotland, and that Alexander had arranged to have Mary join him in Canada once he was established. At the time of their marriage, Alexander was living in Wawanosh Township, Huron County, and Mary was living in Stratford. It would make sense that Mary had travelled by train to Stratford, which was as close to Alexander as was possible at the time.

It is unclear whether Alexander and Mary had any children together. There were four people included in the tax assessment roll of 1874 for 190 Albert Street, so it is possible that there were two children with them.

Alexander and Mary lived at 190 Albert only for approximately one year. The records are unclear regarding where they lived next, although in the 1891 census they are listed as living in Lucknow, and Alexander at the age of 80 was still listed as a tailor. There is no clear record of Alexander’s death. Mary died in Stratford in 1909 and is buried in Avondale Cemetery.


Alexander’s daughters who had immigrated with him to Ontario all married in Bruce County. Agnes Jane Elliot eventually moved to Seattle with her husband. Esther remained in Bruce County. Elizabeth Elliot emigrated to New York State with her husband in 1900, apparently to live with their son and family. Alexander had nine grandchildren through these three daughters.


The house was sold in 1875 to George L. Johnson, who was listed at the age of 64 as a farmer on the tax assessment, although he was later listed as a retired farmer. George’s sons George Jr., Alfred, and Benjamin, and his grandson Henry all became butchers in Stratford. The Johnson family owned 190 Albert Street until at least 1885.