GEORGE RICHARD LOCKER*
1852-1907
 

From the Montreal Gazette March 1, 1907:

Mr. Geo R. Locker

Mr. George R. Locker died yesterday at his residence, 85 Crescent street, after a protracted ilness. The deceased was one of the best known merchants in this city.

Mr. Locker was born in Montreal in October 1852. Upon leaving school he commenced his business career in the establishment of the John L. Cassidy Company, where he was employed for many years.

In 1887 he entered the firm of  the George R. Locker Company , manufacturers agents and importers, Notre Dame street. By his activity and personal knowledge of that business Mr. Locker gradually built up a large trade.

He took a lively interest in all matters pertaining to the growth of Montreal, while all movements in church or religious circles had his hearty approval and support. He was a member of the Masonic Order and a trustee of the Dominion Square Methodist Church.

The late Mr. Locker is survived by four children - Mr. Fred B. Locker, Mr. Hartley Locker, Mrs. H.J. Vickerson and Miss Muriel Locker, all of Montreal. Mrs. Locker died just two years ago.

collection: Fred Vickerson
 

GEORGE RICHARD LOCKER
by Fred Vickerson

George Richard Locker was born 10 October 1852 in Abercrombie Township, Terrebonne County, son of William Locker and Jane Neville, both from Ireland. In 1853, his parents moved to Montreal to raise their children, Ellen Rachel, John and George. After leaving school, George entered the firm of John L. Cassidy. In 1874 he formed a partnership with his brother-in-law Henry Burwash to import fine china. Henry left the business and entered medical school at McGill and later moved to Chicago. In the Lovell’s directories of the period George is shown as a commercial traveler and in 1887 as the Canadian agent of Ed. Millen and Co. In 1888 he formed a partnership, with a Mr. Jordon as a china importing company and later took sole control of the business as the G. R. Locker Co

George became engaged to Sarah Burwash of St. Andrew’s East on Oct. 9, 1872. In a shaky hand, Sarah writes to George “…Dear George I will be thine if it is our Lord's will. I will try and be a comfort and a joy to you if such a proud thing as I can be…” and “I remain ever yours true and beloved intended.” They were married Sept. 2, 1874 in St. Andrew’s East.

Although they had 10 children, only 4 reached adulthood and 2 of these children died in their early 20’s. In 1889, they moved to Crescent St. and bought the property 87 Crescent on June 15, 1891. According to the 1901 census, this was a 10-room house. Many years later (1935), this house became the restaurant of Frank Roncorelli of Maurice Duplesis fame. Duplesis revoked Rocorelli’s liquor license as punishment for bailing out some Jehovah Witnesses. Roncorelli lost his business and sued the Duplessis government. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada and Roncorelli was successful in his suit. 

George and Sarah also had a summer place in Beaconsfield. George was an avid photographer and artist. Although several of his photographs survive, only 1 pastel is in existence, the others being destroyed as a result of improper storage. This pastel, George did in 1870, at the age of 18 and is of the Muskoka Valley in Ontario. It now hangs in my sister’s dining room.

Sarah died in 1905 and George in 1907 and both are buried in the Mount Royal Cemetery

The G. R. Locker Co. was mainly involved in importing fine china, glassware, tiles and fireplace accessories. It was initially located on St. Laurence St, but later moved to 1749 Notre Dame, where it occupied a four story building. After the death of George Locker, the business was taken over by his son Frederick Burwash Locker. He moved the business to Mansfield St. just below Sherbrooke where it remained for many years. After the death of Frederick Locker in 1947, the G.R. Locker company was owned by George’s grandsons, George Vickerson and Herbert Vickerson. During the 50’s the business changed direction and focused on building incinerators for apartment buildings, schools etc. A new facility was constructed on Andover Ave. in the Town of Mount Royal. The business lasted until the late 60’s, when environmental concerns evaporated the market for incinerators. 


*Researching George R. Locker...........Fred Vickerson (great-grandson)

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