John Linton

An Anti-Slavery Leader

Linton Avenue used to run right through to Erie Street, but in 1959 part of the street was renamed Whyte Avenue to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Whyte Packing Company whose large meat packing plant was located on Linton. The plant was subsequently torn down and the city acquired the site for the P.U.C. bus garage.

Linton Avenue was named for John James Edmondstoune Linton who came with his wife, Margaret Dallas, from Scotland in 1833. The Lintons quickly established themselves as leading pioneer citizens. J. J. E. Linton was both a lawyer and a teacher and he opened the first school in Stratford in 1835. Mrs. Linton operated the first school in North Easthope Township as early as 1834. Linton played a leading role in the separation of Perth County from the Huron District and he also gets credit for naming the new county for his Perthshire friends.

Public watchdog John James Edmondstoune Linton was born at Rothsay on the Isle of Bute in the Firth of Clyde in 1804. He was born the son of a gentleman and received a good education which prepared him well for the leading role he was to play in the fledgling community of Strafford as a teacher, a lawyer, a political activist, a churchman, a leader of the anti-slavery movement in Canada, and a temperance advocate, above all an upholder of justice and high moral standards. Linton was Stratford's "Public Watchdog”. He often found himself in opposition to J.C. W. Daly. (see Daly Ave) particularly after he drew up a long list of rules for "The Preservation of the Public Morals." .

When he first came to town, he opened a school in his home. His Scottish-born wife, Margaret, started one in North Easthope and both were soon conducting night classes. When not teaching, he worked on handbooks for the Canada Company and other writings.

Agencies were set up to provide information in both the North and South of Ireland among them were three pamphlets published J.J.E. Linton (see Linton Avenue) of Stratford in the 1840s Settlers, Statements and Letters from Settlers. (see PDF The Life of a Backwoodsman)

He was a writer and publisher who supported anti-slavery and anti-liquor principles by publishing two newspapers, which were distributed far and wide. Linton's work had probably contributed to the founding of the Slave Church on Waterloo Street in 1857. He died at the age of 64 in 1869, six years after abolition in the U.S in (1863). By: Stanford Dingman. See Dictionary of Canadian Biography for more detail

The Voice of the Bondsman was a publication issued in Stratford by abolitionist John J.E Linton. The publication was intended to enlighten and encourage Canadian citizens to condemn human chattel Slavery and a fellowship with it and its abettors. Linton used this publication to encourage Canadians to support escaped or liberated slaves who sought refuge in Canada as well as warn them of the dangers of financially supporting American companies who favour or are silent about slavery. There were only two issues of the publication, and only 5000 copies were distributed. This is the only known surviving copy of "The Voice of the Bondsman".

See full article about the discovery and recovery here. Western News - Western rediscovers, revives long-lost abolitionist newspaper The voice of the bondsman : [No. 1 (Dec. 1856)] - p. 1 - Canadiana Online Voice of the Bondsman · Western Libraries Digitized Collections · Western Libraries

Winger Thomas Stratford-Perth Archives

2021-2022 winner Kaden Kuepfer receiving the trophy from Marlene Kydd, daughter of the Winger Thomas.

Harold Winger Thomas

Harold (Winger) Thomas was born in Bradford, England, on December 14th, 1904. He grew up playing soccer and cricket, and was a track and field champion at two secondary schools in his native country. As a young man, he played in the Bradford City Football Club organization.

It was soccer and a job in the Canadian National Railway shops that brought him to Stratford in the spring of 1928. With him came the nickname Winger.

For the next 20 years he played with the Stratford Nationals in the Western Football Association, mostly as their goalie. For 10 years he also played for a CNR team that won the Southwester Ontario Cricket League championship in 1933 and 1936.

For more than the next five decades he covered the gamut of sports in and around Stratford for the Beacon-Herald, the weekly Stratford Times and the London Free Press. He also coached, managed and trained a variety of Stratford baseball and hockey teams, secretary of the Stratford Lawn Bowling Association, chairman of the Stratford Nationals of the Intercounty Baseball League, and supervisor of the Rotary-Y Hockey League. In 1971 he was named Stratford’s sportsman of the year. He lived on 20 Linton Ave.

A trophy in his name The Harold Winger Thomas Award is presented annually to a graduating player (in his or her final year of U14 eligibility) who demonstrates a combination of ability, sportsmanship, community involvement and academic achievement. A list of winners can be found on this site which is the source of text and picture: Stratford Rotary Hockey