Historical Plaque Properties


James Bruce Gould - Carpenter
37 Douro Street
Stratford, ON


James Bruce Gould was born in East Zorra on November 9, 1881. He was the second child of John Gould and Charlotta Scott. His father was a farmer in South Easthope near Harmony where James Bruce and his four siblings began their education. James Bruce later attended Stratford Collegiate Institute. His father retired from farming and the family then moved to 29 West Gore Street in Stratford.


After leaving school, James Bruce set off for western Canada. In 1911, he was working on a farm in Saskatchewan. He later moved to Vancouver and then to Alberta. He was living in Calgary when World War I broke out. In October of 1914, he joined the 10th Battalion of Calgary. His enthusiasm to join was demonstrated on his Attestation Papers by the exclamation marks after the questions about his willingness to serve overseas. As his father had died in January of 1914, his mother, who at the time was living at 44 Douro Street, Stratford, was listed as his next-of-kin.


James Bruce Gould was sent overseas with the Calgary unit and was then sent to France with the 50th Battalion as a Sapper. He served overseas the entire war and into Germany at the end of the war with the Army of Occupation. He served with the infantry at the start of the war and later for the engineers when he was badly gassed. This led to emphysema and health problems for the rest of his life.


When he returned to Stratford, he earned his living as a carpenter and in August 1919, he married Helen Dunsmore. She was the eldest daughter of William Dunsmore, farmer, and Jennie McKay. Helen grew up on the family farm on the Embro Road. James Bruce was 37 years old at the time of their wedding and Helen was 35.


James Bruce’s older brother, John Howard, bought Lots 7-10 on Douro Street in 1919 from J. Davis Barnett. In 1921, James Bruce completed his house, 37 Douro Street, on the East part of Lot 10. John Howard and their mother, Charlotta Scott Gould lived in Barnett’s former house at 29 Douro Street. J. Davis Barnett was a railway engineer with the GTR and an avid book collector. Barnett was involved in organizing the Free Public Library in Stratford. He had a private library of more than 40,000 books which he donated to the University of Western Ontario in 1918.


In 1924, James Bruce and Helen travelled to Victoria for his health but soon returned to Stratford because of his mother’s illness. He died on April 18, 1926 from emphysema which was caused as a result of him being gassed during the war.


James Bruce and Helen had no children. He was survived by his mother and two sisters; both brothers predeceased him. His younger brother, Earl, died at Vimy Ridge where his named is engraved on the Canadian monument.


As his death was due to injuries sustained during the war, his funeral was a military one under the direction of the British Empire Legion. James Bruce Gould is buried in Avondale Cemetery. Helen died in 1965 and is also buried in Avondale.