One of the original Canada Company streets laid out in the 1830s, St. David Street, is shown on an old Canada Company map in the Canadian Archives in Ottawa title Plan of the Town of Stratford on Avon in the Huron Tract.

Canada Company officials apparently decided Stratford should have a street named after the four patron saints of Britain: St. Andrew, St. David, St. George and St. Patrick.

This street was named for St. David, the Patron Saint of Wales. He was a monk and bishop of the 6th century, who died in about the year 600. He is the only Welsh saint to be canonized.    By Stanford Dingman

Picture: Stained glass depiction of Saint David, designed by William Burges, at Castell Coch, Cardiff

The five white angels

The five white angels  Google 2021

These five identical houses on St. David Street, just east of Wellington Street, were built by Joseph Kneitl in 1871 . The Kneitl family lived at 82 Nelson St., just around the corner in a house rented in 1874 by Samuel Hayward, general foreman of the Grand Trunk Railway repair shops. Four hundred families came to Stratford in 1871 when the GTR shops were opened, and housing was so scarce some of them lived for a few years in a barn or shed at the rear of the Nelson Street houses.

The Mansion House hotel (101 Wellington St.) was also erected in 1871, as were other business blocks around the city hall when growth in the city spread south of Ontario Street. 

Kneitl's new houses on St. David Street were called the "five white angels."

Five white angels, St. David Street, 1871  Stratford-Perth Archives

The first residents on St. David Street (between Wellington and Nelson streets ) were George Elder, a cooper; Colin Bethune, a freight agent; Louis Eden, a sausage maker; William Kimin, a carpenter; and Thomas Conn, a cattle dealer. For some reason, many tenants in those times moved almost yearly. A. M. Campbell, a 23-year-old photographer, moved into the Conn house. The "five white angels" were typical of their time and of Stratford. 

The windows contain four panes, which were available to builders from local door and sash factories. That is a feature that helps to identify houses of the 1870s. The front doors had glass on the sides and above, which appeared principally in houses of the 1850s and 1860s. The bargeboard is unique, being a long slender gothic curve under the front gable topped with a copybook finial.

The chimneys were well proportioned, the front one probably starting on the second floor. The rush of house-building, attracted some American builders in 1871, who introduced the custom of turning the short side of the rectangular foundation toward the street so that more houses could be placed in a block. That meant all the formal detail had to be concentrated on the end wall. Those houses were not considered "finished" until the front fence was installed. The fence was intended more as a design feature than a device to keep out wandering cows and chickens, which frequently foraged on the street allowance.  Source: Stratford-Perth Archives

Charlie Trethewey, cello 

Charles (Charlie) William Trethewey (1914-2008) started his music studies on violin when he was 11. Wanting more than anything to play music, he approached Charles A. Bird (1890-1961), leader of the Canadian National Railways orchestra. Bird accepted him as a member, and it all worked out. After several years knowing that violins were a dime a dozen, Charlie switched to the cello. His father worked at the CNR, so it was no problem for Charlie to take lessons in London.

In 1945, Glenn Kruspe was looking for musicians to assemble the new Kitchener Symphony Orchestra. Charlie made himself known and was enlisted by Kruspe. Charlie stayed with that orchestra until 1960, when the Kitchener Waterloo Symphony made its debut appearance in the Centre in the Square.

Charles was a died-in-the-wool lover of music. He spent many faithful years giving concerts. He also held down positions with CJCS Radio (see Albert Street). Officially in the role of bookkeeper, he said at times he did everything possible to stay there, being called upon to write commercials, read the news and select recordings. His retirement from the station lasted only six months before becoming the bookkeeper for the city's art gallery on Romeo Street, where he often gave recitals. Source: Stratford Perth Museum

Charlie was a founding member of the Aeolian Trio (1936-1966) along with Bailey Bird, violin (Bailey Bird | The Canadian Encyclopedia) and Anna Trethewey, piano in 1936.  Charlie also played in trios for concert work with Cam Trowsdale (see William Street) (Campbell Trowsdale | The Canadian Encyclopedia) and Audrey Conroy (see Water Street).  Source: Music in Stratford | The Canadian Encyclopedia 

A Musical Memory of Charlie by Dean Robinson

Beginning in the 1970s, and for about the next 20 years, my wife Judy and I were next-door neighbours to Charlie and Helen Trethewey, at 289 and 293, respectively, on St. David Street. They were the best neighbours anyone could hope for. Charlie, a cello player, would host informal music nights in their house, where there was a resident piano. He and three or four other local players, Tom and David Drake among them, would play for about two hours. With windows open in the summer, the music they made drifted from their house and into ours. It was like having a live concert just a few metres away. Source: Dean Robinson.

A Stratford string orchestra in 1932. Standing, from left: Les Fraser, unidentified, unidentified, Gerald Bull, Bob Harrison and Charles Trethewey. Sitting, from left: George Scott, Bailey Bird, Violet Pascall, Henry Clark, Mary Jocelyn, John Bird and Lorne Small.

The house at 265 St. David St., with its columns

Photo 2021  Fred Gonder

The white house

Built in 1866, this grand landmark, nicknamed "the white house," is one of the best-known residences in Stratford. Located at  265 St. David St., it has been home to many prominent families. Its towering Southern-styled portico, supported by 18 two-storey concrete columns (added in the 1920s) and its large, block-wide grounds are key features contributing to its civic renown.

Built in 1866, the home had the 18 columns added some time between 1920 and 1940, and a property owner later painted the house white. After it fell into disrepair, a local developer purchased the property in 2016 intending to renovate and restore the building.

The developer’s plans were to have the expansive property severed to allow for maintenance, landscaping, and other work to convert the house to a six-plex. That required building permits and zoning changes.  The columns, said to be rotting and unsafe, were removed in December 2018.

In 2020, after several attempts by concerned residents and neighbours over the years, city council backed an owner-led intention to designate 265 St. David St. as a historic home. It met the Ontario Heritage Act requirements for such designation. Source: Beacon Herald

Stay tuned . . .

Row house 1888

n 1902, Albert Klophel, Maggie Duggan and Thomas J. May lived at 105-109 St. David St.⁣ Albert Klophel, a machinist at the GTR shops, was born on June 13, 1864. Though German, his father, William, was born at sea on an English ship. He was a professor of music. Albert Klophel (1864-1903) lived here with his wife, Emily (Pitcher), who was three years his senior and came from Guelph, Ont. Albert Klophel was 39 when he died in April 1903. Emily likely moved to Toronto in 1917, where she lived for 31 years, until she was 86. ⁣Maggie Duggan would've been neighbours with Albert and Emily, at least for a short time. Born on Aug. 26, 1859, she was an Irish Catholic immigrant who worked as a clerk at the J. A. (Jeremiah Augustus) Duggan dry goods store at 18-24 Downie St.⁣ ⁣Thomas James May (1862-1933) was a tea merchant married to English-born Alice (Bull). They lived here with their son Horace and two daughters, Gladys and Thalia.⁣

⁣⁣⁣In 1999, 105-109 St. David St. was designated under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act.⁣ Source: Stratford History   Stratford Designated Properties

105-109 St. David St.

John Till, guitarist. Photo posted by Dave Roberts If You Grew Up in Stratford . . . FB

John Till, musician . . . friend of Ken Kalmusky and Richard Manuel 

John Till (Dec. 24, 1945-Sept. 4, 2020), grew up in Stratford near Ken Kalmusky (see Queen Street) and not far from Richard Manuel (see Well Street). He lived at 57 St. David St., and met Richard through Richard's  younger brother, Don, at Romeo Public School. Till's parents were musicians who loved to play Dixieland. They had a band, so John was always around live music. His mother played classical and ragtime piano and his father Spanish guitar, tenor banjo, and string bass. 

Till recalled Saturday night jam sessions at the trumpet player's house, where there was a rec room with a stage and a pool table turned into a buffet table. His parents' band would party and jam till dawn. The other musicians' kids would be there, too, and they'd fall asleep to the live sounds of Indiana, the Birth of the Blues, and Stardust

Thank you for this! The only change is that John did play Woodstock with Janis but the band was Kosmic Blues, before Full Tilt was formed and Full Tilt was not all Canadian. The drummer Clark Pierson was American. 

Till's parents would also take their young son to local clubs to hear Dixieland if they could arrange to get him in the door. One of the clubs, Campbell's in London, Ont., is where he played with Ronnie Hawkins 15 years later. 

Till's family never pushed him into music or forced him to take lessons. They told him years later that their philosophy was to just have the musical instruments "around," and to make sure there was lots of music to be heard in the house. Till describes his parents as being "totally supportive" when he showed an interest in playing. His father taught him to play the four-string tenor guitar and banjo by ear, and also taught him the concept of improvisation -- taking off on the chords -- which is such a big part of Dixieland. They weren't rich, but when John became interested in rock and roll, when he was about 11, they managed to buy him his first electric guitar and amp. 

“I first met Richard Manuel (see Well Street) through his younger brother Donald when we went to Romeo Public School, Grade 8. I’d walk over to the Manuel’s every morning on Well Street to meet Donald and we’d walk to school together, and back home in the afternoon. Richard was playing piano in their front room one day and Donald mentioned that I was a guitar player. I was invited to go home and get my guitar and, within a few days, I had joined the "Rebels." We were not named the "Revols" yet. A year later, I became friends with Ken Kalmusky who lived a few blocks from me. Ken was learning to play bass and soon became the Revols’ first bassist. All three houses had a piano, so we rehearsed at everyone’s place eventually. All of our parents were very supportive and it was a wonderful time for us.”

While attending Stratford Central Secondary School, Till formed a rock and roll band, the Revols, with classmates Richard Manuel and Ken Kalmusky. Manuel coined the name Revols, short for "revolution." The Revols (see Richard Monette Way) played local dance halls and schools throughout southern Ontario, but within a few years Manuel became a member of Ronnie Hawkins' Hawks, who later achieved fame as The Band, and Kalmusky would go on to play with Ian and Sylvia Tyson's Great Speckled Bird

In 1958, the Revols were offered an opportunity to play some dates in Arkansas, gigs that Ronnie Hawkins had arranged. The Revols went south, but without Till, who at age 13 chose to remain in school. His interests at the time were pretty much girls and cars, when he knew every automobile's make, model and year. Music was his refuge from the daily grind while still in high school.

In 1960, Kalmusky told Till about the band Larry Lee and the Leesures, who were going to need a guitarist. So Till hitched a ride to Le Coq d'Or Tavern on Yonge Street in Toronto to audition, and he landed the job. He then spent the summer of 1960 playing on Yonge Street at Le Coq d'Or, and later just up the street at the Zanzibar with Max Falcon and the Falcons before returning to Stratford and school in the fall. 

But he didn't stay in high school long. He got a call early in 1961 from Kelly Jay, later of Crowbar, and toured for several months through places such as Madison, Wis., and Gulfport, Ill., with Kelly Jay and the Jamies. Upon returning to Toronto, he played the summer of 1961 at the Zanzibar Tavern with a performer known as Johnny Rhythm. It was at the Zanzibar that Till met David Clayton-Thomas, later of Blood, Sweat and Tears. Clayton-Thomas would regularly sit in at various Yonge Street clubs on Saturdays, and Till joined him for a month of dates around Bay City, Mich., before returning to high school (yet again) in the fall of 1961. 

By then, Manuel had left the Revols to join the Hawks and Ken Kalmusky had also returned to school. Within a year or so, Till and Kalmusky journeyed to Toronto and Le Coq d'Or, this time to audition for Ronnie Hawkins. Hawkins was without a regular band after the Hawks had ventured off on their own, so he hired Robbie Lane and the Disciples for a while. But he was also putting together a new band in the summer of 1965. They jammed one day at "the Hawks nest" upstairs at Le Coq d'Or, and Hawkins hired Till to play guitar and Kalmusky to play bass. 

Till recalled the famous power blackout of 1965 on Saturday, Nov. 9. Hawkins and his band had just finished their matinee at Le Coq d'Or. Kalmusky, who had left Hawkins by then to join Great Speckled Bird, came by the club to catch some tunes. Till and Kalmusky were sitting by the stage having a drink when the stage lights dimmed for a moment, came back on for a second or two, and then went totally out. They walked out onto Yonge Street to find the crowded city in darkness -- no neon lights, no traffic signals, no moving streetcars. The band didn't play that Saturday night because the power didn't come back on for 24 hours, but that's how Till remembered the year he joined Ronnie Hawkins and his Hawks. He can be heard on Hawkins' 1967 single, Home from the Forest. Till stayed with Hawkins until July 1969, when he left to replace Sam Andrew in Janis Joplin's Kozmic Blues Band. At a concert in Forest Hills, N.Y., Andrew and Till played guitar on-stage together for the first and only time. Andrew then left and Till became the guitarist for Joplin throughout the rest of her career. When Joplin formed her Full Tilt Boogie Band it was the creation of a perfect unit with which she could express herself. Till played with Joplin at the legendary Woodstock Music Festival in 1969. 

The group recorded their classic Pearl album, which reached the No. 1 spot on the Billboard charts in 1971, after Joplin's death. 

Till eventually returned to Canada in 1976 and started playing locally every weekend with husband-and-wife duo Danny and Linda Hunter, and doing occasional recording sessions with local artists such as Bob Burchill, Michael O'Brien, Michael's son Jesse O'Brien, and others. In the new millennium Till taught guitar and performed in a Saturday afternoon house gig at Sam and Bill's in London, Ont., with B.W. Pawley & Plum Loco

Plum Loco include John's son, Shawn Till, on bass and longtime friends Brian Pawley on guitar and vocals and Billy Hilton on drums and vocals. Shawn Till replaced Ken Kalmusky on bass after Kalmusky's death in the fall of 2005. 

On Jan. 28, 2006, Plum Loco opened for Ronnie Hawkins on the Stratford Festival's main stage, to an appreciative packed house of Stratford friends and fans. In addition, for the first time in 30 years, four of the five members of the Full Tilt Boogie Band -- Richard Bell, Ken Pearson, Brad Campbell, and John Till -- got together in 2003 for the filming of interviews for the movie Festival Express. Source: John Till Biography, Songs, & Albums | AllMusic ; If You Grew Up in Stratford  . . . FB; John Till - Wikipedia; Stratford home of The Band's keyboardist recognized with Blue Plaque | The Sarnia Observer 

Addendum: A full discography of John Till's music can be found here: John Till Albums and Discography | AllMusic 

* Stratford Honour: In 2020, John Till and Ken Kalmusky were awarded Bronze Stars by the City of Stratford to honour their musical careers. (see above). Richard Manuel had been so honoured in 2004. The musical legacy of John Till and Ken Kalmusky is recognized in other places in Stratford. In Allen’s Alley (see Wellington Street), there is a mural featuring the local Revols, and at the Kiwanis bandshell at Upper Queens Park there is a plaque honouring the Revols. Source: posted Nov. 9, 2020  City of Stratford - The Municipality - Posts | Facebook 

John Till (right) with Janis Joplin and her band. Till was the founder and guitarist of Cosmic Band that played Woodstock in 1969. Canadian Records and Artists Appreciation Society

Ken Kalmusky (left), Richard Manuel and John Till (right). Photo posted by Dorcas Till, spouse of John Till, on If You Grew Up in Stratford . . . FB.