Historical Plaque Properties


William Gibson - Baker
35 Grange Street
Stratford, ON

William Gibson was born May 4, 1840 in Abbotshall, Fife, Scotland. He was the son of William Gibson, a weaver, and Christian Glass. She died when young William was about four or five years of age. William’s father married Elizabeth Spence in 1846, who not only raised Christian’s four boys (Henry, David, John and William) but had at least three children of her own.

Like his older brother John, William apprenticed to become a baker and by 1861 he was working for Henry Henderson, a master baker on the high street of the town of Dysart in the county of Fife. In the meantime, William’s brother John had emigrated to Canada and in 1861 was working as a baker for a Robert McBain in London, Ontario. Shortly thereafter, John moved to Stratford and William followed suit by emigrating to Canada around 1863.

About 1867, William married Annie Drumm who was born in Stratford on August 1, 1849, the daughter of Henry and Catherine Drumm. Henry was a cooper by trade. He and Catherine had emigrated from Germany about 1840; however, all of their eight children were born in Canada. Catherine died around 1860 when her daughter Annie was about twelve years old.

William and Annie had two sons: William Henry Gibson, born September 16, 1868; and David John Gibson, born  November 9, 1870. In addition to their children, two of Annie’s sisters, Katherine and Carrie, lived with them along with what appear to be various other relatives from time to time, as well as a housekeeper and an employee of the bakery shop, which William established on Downie Street.

In 1878, William purchased the property on Grange Street and the following year completed construction of the house at 35 Grange Street. Like many merchants at the time, William dabbled in real estate and appears to have built the house with the intention of creating an income property. The first tenant was Myles F. McTaggart who had graduated from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. The good doctor remained in Stratford for less than a year before emigrating to the United States.

By 1880, William and Annie were looking for a change or had an opportunity to establish a confectionery and bakery business in Listowel. As a result William sold the house at 35 Grange Street to the Rev. Edward Wallace Waite who was the minister at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church. William and Annie remained in Listowel until 1895 when they joined their son William Henry who operated a confectionery business in Brantford. Annie died in Brantford at the age of 46 of meningitis on February 1, 1896. She is buried in the Avondale Cemetery.

Not long after Annie’s death William retired and went to live with his son David who had a confectionery business in Orillia. William later moved to St. Catharines, Ontario where he died on January 12, 1924. He is buried beside his beloved Annie at Avondale Cemetery.