Historical Plaque Properties


Walter Eldridge - Woodworker - MacDonald Thresher Co.
57 Parkview Drive
Stratford, ON

Walter Eldridge was born on October 10, 1880 in Surfleet, Lincolnshire, England. He was the eleventh child of John Eldridge and Mary Coxell. In the 1871 England census, John was listed as an agricultural labourer. Before Walter’s birth, the family had obviously made plans to emigrate to Canada.


In June of 1880, four months before Walter was born, John arrived in Quebec City. From there, he made his way to Bruce County and found work in Ablemarle Township near Wiarton. Later records show that John Junior arrived a year afterwards to join his father.


Mary and her youngest nine children were still in England at the time the 1881 census was taken. In September of 1882, Mary and the children set sail from Liverpool bound for Quebec City. Their oldest daughter, Emily Ann, married William Whenham and the young couple arrived in Canada in 1883 to join the rest of the family in Bruce County.


John and the older boys worked as farm labourers but by the time their second child born in Ontario, Francis Richard, arrived he was described as a farmer on the birth registration. Francis Richard was the thirteenth child in the Eldridge family.


John Eldridge died in February of 1895. When the 1901 census was taken, fifty-seven year old Mary had four sons and a grandson living with her. At the time, Walter was living with an older brother, Ernest George, who was a butcher in Parry Sound, Muskoka.


In 1902 Walter married Tryphoena Alberta Bovair, who was more commonly known as Bertha. She was the daughter of Mitchell Bovair, a teamster, and Angeline Winter. In the 1901 Wiarton census, Bertha’s occupation was that of a cane weaver in a chair factory. On their marriage certificate, the line for Walter’s occupation states “labourer.”


In 1903, their first child, a son, Walter Winiford Eldridge was born and a year later, a daughter, Tryphoena Wilda was born. During the next few years, Walter became a sailor.


The family had moved to Hespeler by the time the 1911 census was taken. Here, Walter continued in the role of sailor on the Great Lakes. His brother Charles had also moved his family to Hespeler and was working as a baker.


In 1915 Walter and his family moved into the new house on Parkview Drive. The street was then known as King Street. Walter was employed as a woodworker for MacDonald Thresher Co. The company was well known as manufacturers of threshing machines for steam or horse power. Today’s Jenny Trout Centre was originally one of their factories.


Possibly it was while working there that Walter acquired the trade of machinist. The family moved to Toronto a few years later and Walter’s trade was listed in the directories as a machinist. The family was living on Mountjoy Avenue when Wilda was married in 1926 and, according to voter’s lists, continued to live in the same house until the 1950s.