Historical Plaque Properties


John W. Alles - Confectioner/Alderman
207 Albert Street
Stratford, ON


In 1924 John and Augusta Alles moved into the new house at 207 Albert Street. This property had recently been created by the subdivision of a larger lot and the building of a new house in 1923.


John was born of German heritage in 1868 in the village of Heidelberg, Waterloo County, to Valentine and Mary Alles.  At age 20 he moved to work as a saddler in Tavistock, Oxford County where his brother Edward had a harness business.  According to a local history book, by 1895 he was advertising his business as a barber and  fruit store proprietor in the Tavistock newspaper. Shortly after arriving in Tavistock he married Augusta Wagner, a native of New Hamburg. Their first son, Harvey, was born on Christmas Day 1889. Two more sons, William and Reuben followed in 1892 and 1895 respectively.



In 1903 the family re-located to St. David Street in Stratford where John worked as a  traveller for the Mooney Biscuit and Candy Company.  After gaining some experience in this business he  established a family company, J. W. Alles and Son, Wholesale Confectionery, located at 92 Nile St., where his eldest son Harvey, who was in the business with him, also resided with his wife Lulu Monkman. The middle son, William, with his wife Elizabeth Davis, would move to Winnipeg, Manitoba.  Following their marriage in 1926 the youngest son, Reuben and his wife Marjorie Stinson, would take up residence in the London area.


By 1911 the Alles family had moved to 289 Ontario Street and John was becoming active in civic affairs serving as an alderman on Stratford City Council for four years 1911-1914. According to his obituary which describes him as a “well known citizen” he was chairman of the Market and Hall Committee in 1913 and was largely responsible for the building of Stratford’s first permanent market building which was badly needed to relieve the overcrowded open market situated in Market Square behind City Hall. 



John William  Alles died, somewhat unexpectedly at age 61, on June 13, 1929 at Toronto General Hospital, while being treated for an illness which had kept him in failing health for several years. His funeral was described by the Beacon Herald as “one of the largest ever held” with hundreds of friends and relatives attending and ninety cars in the procession from his home at 207 Albert Street to Avondale Cemetery.


The family confectionery business appears to have closed following his death. His widow, Augusta remained in the house on Albert Street until shortly before her death in 1942. 



The only grandchild, Private Craig McLean Alles, son of Reuben and his wife Marjorie, served in the Second World War with the Essex Scottish Regiment, Royal Canadian Infantry Corps, and was killed at age 22, in the final days of the war, during the advance of the Canadian Forces into Germany in April and May 1945. He is buried in the Holton Canadian War Cemetery in the Netherlands.