Historical Plaque Properties


Michael Gallagher - Railway Brakeman
275 Albert Street
Stratford, ON

In 1890, Thomas Gallagher built the Ontario Cottage at 275 Albert Street for his son Michael and his new wife. Thomas Gallagher emigrated from Ireland in 1844 and settled on a farm near Kinkora, Ellice Township. Shortly after arriving, he married Ellen Cain, also from Ireland, and began to raise a large family.


Michael, their fifth child, was born in Kinkora on November 9, 1867.


Thomas and Ellen moved their family to Stratford in 1874. Here, they were members of St. Joseph’s Parish. According to Thomas Gallagher’s obituary in December 1901, he was Liberal in his politics and had a large circle of friends.


Michael Gallagher married eighteen year old Maria Donohue in Sarnia on May 29, 1889. Maria was the daughter of James Donohue and Maria Samson of Point Edward. Both Michael, a brakeman for the railway, and Maria were living in Point Edward at the time of their marriage.


In 1853, Point Edward had been chosen as the Canadian Terminus of the Grand Trunk Railway. From that time, Point Edward was a company town where virtually all the residents were employees of the railway.


In 1891, a tunnel under the St. Clair River in Sarnia shifted rail emphasis away from Point Edward. It was at this time that Michael and Maria moved to Stratford and their first son was born.

By 1901, they had added five more children to their growing family on Albert Street and Michael had become a conductor for the railway.


Some time before 1911, Michael and Maria had moved west to start farming just as several other railway workers from Stratford had done. When his mother, Ellen, died in 1923 at 279 Albert Street, Michael is mentioned in her obituary as living in Tugaske, Saskatchewan.