Historical Plaque Properties


William Joseph McCully - Grocer
218 Ontario Street
Stratford, ON


William Joseph McCully was born on October 5, 1876. He was the son of George McCully, a farmer in Seaforth, and Ann Jane Rinn. William’s grandparents, Joseph and Margaret McCully, and William and Catherine Rinn were all born in Ireland.


William J McCully grew up in Seaforth but left at an early age to go to Black Creek where he was engaged as a cheese maker at the factory there. He later went to Strathroy to take a short course at a school for dairymen. When he came to Stratford, he was the manager for Mr. Ballantyne for two years before he and a partner built a creamery on Erie Street.


On July 3, 1900, William McCully married Margaret McEwin. She was the daughter of William McEwin and Jane Makins. Margaret shared William’s Irish heritage as both of her parents had been born in Ireland. William and Margaret were to become the parents of three sons and three daughters. Their first born daughter, Jane, died of appendicitis in 1906.


An article from The Stratford Herald in 1901 describes the plans by architect James Russell for the house to be built for W J McCully at 218 Ontario Street.


“It will be of red brick with brown stone trimmings and to have (a) slate roof; willcontain nine rooms as well as a bath room. The bath room will fitted up in the bestmanner. The house will have grates and mantles, bevelled plate and stained glass,laundry in the cellar etc., and will be 36 x 43 in size, with verandas, balconies etc.”


The city assessment shows that William McCully purchased the land from a marble cutter, James Gadsby. Mr. McCully’s occupation, on the same document, is listed as a dairyman and his age as 27. The value of the house is noted as $2750.


In the 1905 City Directory, W. McCully is listed as a dairyman but in the 1911 census he is noted as a grocer. After making a success of the creamery business, W. J. McCully went into partnership with John Haugh and purchased a grocery business. He carried on his successful business at 12 Downie Street and 92 Ontario Street until his retirement in 1933. He was widely known throughout Ontario for his business integrity and was at one time president of the Ontario Provincial Board of the Retail Merchants Association.


W. J. McCully was interested in all fields of sports and was a promoter of soccer, softball, hockey, and horse racing. He was among the founders of the Stratford Country Club. He was a member of St. James Church where he was a warden for many years.


Margaret Annie (McEwin) McCully died in April of 1947 and William Joseph McCully died in November of 1948. They are both buried in the Avondale Cemetery in Stratford.