Historical Plaque Properties


Donald Ross - Locomotive Engineer - Grand Trunk Reilway
239 Front Street
Stratford, ON

Donald Ross was born on May 5, 1857 at Ross-shire in Milton Scotland.  Donald was the eldest child born to Donald Ross (1829 - 1887) who was born in the Highlands of Scotland.   His mother was Elizabeth Robertson Ross (1835 - 1913) who was born in Edinburgh Scotland.


Elizabeth and Donald (Sr.) had 7 children: Donald Ross (1857–1938); Janet Marion Ross Jeffrey (1863–1930); John Robertson Ross; Peter Ross (abt 1867-aft 1881); Margaret "Maggie" Ross Kalbfleisch (1870-1950); Thomas Robertson Ross; and Ann Ross Heinbuch (about 1878-aft 1906).   Donald (Sr.) and Elizabeth were buried in Avondale Cemetery as were a number of their children.


When Donald was 10, his family sailed on the Havelock into the port of Galveston Texas arriving on February 5th, 1867. Like many families once landing in the new world they journeyed north eventually ending up in Stratford. 


By 1881 Donald had gotten a job as a fireman for the Grand Trunk Railway (GTR).  Between 1881 and 1891, Donald advanced to the position of locomotive engineer.  As well as a growing family, Donald Ross continued to advance with the GTR making $460 a year in 1901 and twenty years later by1921 his Income was $1500 a year.

In Stratford on September 20th, 1882, Donald married Mary Ann Ross (1862 - 1924).  Mary Ann was born and raised in the Stratford area.  By 1890, Daniel was making $460 a year and a father to 3 children Julia, Donald (Jr.) and John.


It was common at that time for GTR employees to buy land and build their homes.  With a secure job and a growing family In 1883, Donald did just that. He built a house at 236 Front Street moving his family in when the house was completed.  Donald must have really liked his new house as he lived there for the rest of his life. 

In addition to the children they had when they moved into 236 Front St., Donald and Mary Ann Ross went on to enjoy more children, 9 in total. They were: Edna “Julia” Robertson Ross MacLean(1884-1968), emigrated to USA in about 1905, buried in Bayview Cemetery, Bellingham WA, married William John McLean: Donald Ross (1887-aft 1921), lived in Murchison, Nipissing District in 1921, married Blanche A. Cameron; John Ross Ross (1889-1965), married Elsie Mae Kruspe; Peter Randolph Ross (1892-aft 1921), lived in Sudbury ON in 1921, married Helen Beatrice Thuresson Washburn; Duncan MacLean Ross(1895-1976), buried in Avondale, married Janet Campbell, won a metal for valour in battle and was wounded in war; Jean Jeffrey Ross "Janet" Swanson (1897-1965), buried in Avondale Cemetery, married Ernest George Swanson; Alma Jessie Ross Pauli (1903-1967), buried in Avondale Cemetery, married Glen Allan Pauli; William Jeffrey Ross (1905-1985), buried in Avondale Cemetery, married Reba Marguerite Simmons; Fraser Robertson Ross (1909-1972), buried in Avondale Cemetery, married Ruby L. Gribble.


While getting close to retirement, Donald and Mary Ann journeyed to Scotland.  It was noted they returned aboard the Cassandra which sailed into Quebec City in May, 1921.

1924 was a life altering year for Donald Ross. On 9 March, 1924 at age 61 his wife Mary Ann passed due to heart trouble.  The same year Donald Ross retired from the Canadian National Railway, formerly the GTR.

By 1925, Donald had married Mary Isabell Johnson (1862 - 1934). While still residing at 236 Front Street, Donald Ross died on December 16, 1938.


At the time of his death, a lengthy article was written in the Beacon Herald. It was noted that “Don was known for his meticulous approach to the job”. He translated that skill set to leadership in the CNR Veterans Association; Masonry and Odd Fellowship plus the Avon Lodge.

At the time of his passing Donald was survived by all 9 of his children.  He was buried in Avondale Cemetery alongside his two wives.