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Object ID # 1961.014.003
Object Name Mirror
Title Furniture & Undertaking Advertising Mirror
Lexicon category 2: Building Furnishings
Date Early 20th-century
Year Range to 1909
Made Unknown
Place of Origin Owen Sound, Grey County
Description This is a wood-framed mirror with advertisement for A. Wilson's business printed in black on the mitred frame. Turned one way, the frame says "A. WILSON / UNDERTAKING", and turned 90 degrees, it says "20 & 22 Poulette St., / Owen Sound, Phone 118. / Furniture / And Marriage Licenses". One corner of the mirror has a metal ring held in place by a loop of fabric, which may have been used to hang it on a wall (a matching one would be required on the adjacent corner). The mirror now has a crack running in a semicircle around one corner of the glass.

Provenance In 1986, a furniture researcher, Jennifer Trant, made a listing of past furniture manufacturers in Grey County. Among them was Alma Wilson (née Harrison) of Owen Sound, Grey County. Her name had been seen in advertisements ranging between circa 1895-1902. She was probably a furniture dealer, rather than a manufacturer. Her husband, William Wilson, was a furniture dealer and undertaker in Owen Sound.

This mirror pre-dates the 1909 change-over from the old street names to New York-style numerical streets in Owen Sound.

In June of 1879, William Wilson of the Breckinridge & Wilson business married Alma Harrison, the fifth daughter of William Harrison of Owen Sound. The source of this is the June 27, 1879 edition of THE OWEN SOUND TIMES, page 2. William Harrison's wife was a business woman after her husband's decease and ran the Harrison Mills for many years, so she might have been a role model as a business woman for her daughter Alma.

Circa 1887, "Wilson Bros." was a furniture and undetaking business (est. 1857) that was located on Poulett Street and co-owned by Messrs. William, James M. and John M. Wilson. At that time, the business had two hearses and also specialized in upholstery work.

In a 1902-1904 Vernon's Directory of Owen Sound, the A. Wilson furniture and undertaking business was located at 20-22 Poulett Street (main street). An advertisement in the April 3, 1902 OWEN SOUND TIMES says that the store sold hallstands, settees, chairs, mirrors and tables. The Wilson furniture store was also advertised in the October 14, 1904 edition of the OWEN SOUND TIMES.

A postcard view of Owen Sound's main street (see 1993.026.003) has a wall sign of "A. Wilson" visible.

Alma Wilson died May 6, 1907 at the age of 51 years at Poulett Street (Main Street). She had been ill for three weeks and died from vascular heart disease (her death record by Dr. A. L. Danard states that she had about 40 years of heart trouble). Her husband survived her and he died May 24, 1915. They had a daughter, Alice Alma Ruby Wilson, who was born April 28, 1891 (her name is seen as Alma R. Wilson in the 1901 census, and Ruby A.A. Wilson in the 1911 census).

The Wilsons were Presbyterian and they are buried at Greenwood Cemetery, Owen Sound.
In the 1901 census, the family was living at 20-22 Poulett (living at the store premises). William Wilson, b. July 4, 1849 was then age 51 and his occupation recorded as "Merchant". His wife Alma, b. August 30, 1856, was 44 years of age. Their son Harvey W. Wilson (b. Jan. 28, 1882) was working as a Machinist. Their son Nathan H. Wilson (b. Sept. 11, 1884), daughter Alma R. Wilson (b. April 28, 1891--note that this is an incorrect date), son William R. Wilson (b. Dec. 12, 1893) and son David A. Wilson (b. Oct. 1, 1897) are also listed.

The birth record of Alice Alma Ruby Wilson (daughter of William Wilson and Alma Harrison), 010900, states that she was born on May 27, 1890, and that her father was a Furniture Dealer. Her birth was recorded by Dr. Allan Cameron.

The death record for William Wilson (died May 24, 1915, age 65) says that he died in Owen Sound of heart failure. His occupation was provided as Undertaker. His parents had been David Wilson and Elizabeth (Millar) Wilson.

The 1913 Malone's Directory of Owen Sound listed N. H. Wilson a couple times as an Undertaker (his home address at 517, 2nd Avenue East). A person named J. M. Wilson also was listed as an Undertaker. William Wilson was then listed as having something to do with a chair factory at 171, 13th Street West, and there was an A. Wilson who worked in town as a clerk, but she likely was not related (there was an Alma Wilson who was born in Sydenham Township.). R. Wilson, Spinster, was listed at 517 2nd Avenue East (same address as N.H. Wilson), so Alice Alma Ruby Wilson likely tended to use the name Ruby.

William Roy H. Wilson (1893-1922) is buried with his parents at Greenwood, as is Harvey Wilbert Wilson (1882-d. Sept. 20, 1937), and their spouses.
Collection Commercial Equipment Collection/Furniture, 20th-c Collection
Material Wood/Glass/Ink/Metal/Fabric
Dimensions W-24.7 L-25 D-1.4 cm
Found Owen Sound, Grey County
People Wilson, William
Subjects Furniture Store
Owen Sound Businesses
Function Advertising mirror.