Historical Plaque Properties


A.E. Etherington - Machinist - GTR
297 Erie Street
Stratford, ON


Alfred Ernest Etherington was born in Stratford on October 27, 1877. He was the son of Alfred Etherington and Frances Jeffrey. His father was born in Lurgashall, England about 1855 and was the son of Samuel Etherington, a Game Keeper, and Martha Stevens.


In the 1871 England census, Alfred Sr. is recorded with his parents and eight siblings. Three of his brothers, Stephen, Leonard and Albert also emigrated to Stratford to be employed by the Grand Trunk Railway. Another brother, Richard, emigrated to Guelph and eventually moved on to British Columbia.


Frances Jeffrey was also born in England and was the widow of William Irvin. Fannie (as she was known) and Alfred Sr. were married in Stratford around 1873. In the 1881 census for Stratford, the family shows 5 children. The oldest, Eliza Jane is Fannie’s daughter from her first marriage. Alfred Ernest who was the only boy was three at the time. According to Stratford City Directories the family lived at 7 Moderwell Street. Alfred was employed by the GTR in a number of occupations from Porter to Brass Finisher. Fannie died around 1889 and Alfred remarried in 1892.


In 1891, fourteen year old Alfred Ernest was attending Central Business College in Stratford. By the time he was nineteen, Ernest was a fitter with the Grand Trunk Railway. Most of the records show that he went by the name of Ernest from this time, possibly to distinguish himself from his father. For two summers, 1896 and 1897, he participated in the Active Militia Brigade Camp in London. The first year he was a corporal and by the second he had attained the rank of Sergeant. Four years later, he would be qualified as a machinist.


On September 10, 1901 Ernest Etherington married Annie Jolly. Annie Robina Jolly was the daughter of Robert Jolly and Annie Golightly. She was born in Atwood on August 4, 1876. Her father had emigrated from Scotland and married Annie Roy Golightly, daughter of Mein, a blacksmith, and Ann Golightly in 1874. At the time, Robert Jolly was a merchant in Monkton and was twenty years older than his nineteen year old bride.


Annie Roy Jolly died of Typhoid Fever in 1881 leaving her husband and four young children. Their oldest child, a son, died in 1883. After his son’s death, Robert Jolly moved his family to Stratford where he worked as a bookkeeper.


Ernest and Annie Etherington built the house at 297 Erie Street in 1907. Ernest was a machinist with the Grand Trunk Railway at the time, although he would later become an electrician. His sons followed him into that profession. The Etheringtons had two sons and two daughters. They obviously enjoyed their home as they both lived there until their deaths; Ernest in 1947 and Annie in 1969. They are both buried in the Atwood Cemetery along with Annie’s parents.