The Graydon Family of Streetsville, Ontario, Canada

In the early hours of a Saturday morning in late June, 1888, William T. Graydon and his son, William J. Graydon, foiled two burglars attempting to break into the Graydon boot shop on Queen Street in Streetsville. The senior Graydon received three bullet wounds in the encounter, causing him to miss the wedding of his daughter, Sarah Jane (my great grandmother), a few days later. However, he made a full recovery and lived until 1909. An account of the incident from an undated clipping from an unidentified newspaper (possibly the Streetsville Review) is reproduced verbatim below the photograph of the shop.

Attempted Burglary at the Graydon Boot Shop

picture of the Graydon Boot Shop in Streetsville

The residence and boot shop of William Graydon on Queen Street in Streetsville (mid 1880's).

Murderous Burglars

A Well Known Citizen is Shot Down by a Midnight Robber

The people of Streetsville were aroused at about 2 o'clock last Saturday morning by the startling and horrifying intelligence that Mr. Wm. Graydon, an old and highly respected citizen, had been shot down by a burglar.


of the outrage are substantially as follows: At about 2 o'clock a. m. on Saturday Mr. W. J. Graydon, who lives at the family residence on Queen street, and who having only a short time before returned from a garden party had not yet retired, was attracted to a front window by some noise which he heard. Looking out he saw two individuals trying to effect an entrance into the front door of his father's shop, a small brick building adjacent to the house, he immediately called Mr. Graydon, sr., and both proceeded down stairs and went out on the street. By this time the burglars, who had failed at the front door, had got around to the rear of the shop and were trying to get in there. On perceiving that they were detected they made a rush for the street, to reach which they had to climb a picket fence. One of them succeeded in getting over and across the street, but before the other could do so Mr. Graydon approached and called on him to surrender. The response was a revolver shot, which fortunately missed its aim, another struck him in the shoulder, but in a second more Mr. Graydon collared the scoundrel and threw him down between the sidewalk and the fence. His son coming to his assistance the thief dropped his weapon with the words, "Here's my revolver," which, however his temporary captor failed to get hold of owing to his desperate struggle to get free. His pal, seeing how matters were, returned to the scene and opened a brisk fire. Mr. Graydon received a shot in the left forearm, but still held on until a third bullet through the right ankle brought him to the ground, leaving his son to continue the unequal contest alone. "Shoot this b----r down, too," shouted the unarmed ruffian to his companion, and the latter raised his pistol and took aim, but just in the nick of time W. J. twisted his antagonist around in the way of the bullet intended for himself, and which he believes found a mark in some part of his frame. The wound could not have been very serious, however, as a moment later he managed to jerk himself free and the two ruffians started off at the top of their speed in the direction of the C.P.R. track. Mr Graydon followed them for a short distance, but seeing that there was not much chance of accomplishing anything in this way he returned for assistance. In the meantime the screams of Mrs. Graydon and her daughters and the sounds of the pistol shots had aroused some of the neighbours, who hurried to the scene. Mr Graydon, sr., was lying on the street unable to move, and it was at first supposed that he was fatally wounded. He was at once carried into the house and medical assistance summoned. Drs. Glendenning, Wood and Thom were soon on hand, and in a short time succeded in extracting the bullet from the wounded man's shoulder, and they also gave the gratifying information that no serious results might be anticipated.


In a short time after the news was spread the whole town was alive with excitement, and in a few minutes scores of infuriated citizens, armed to the teeth, assembled at the residence of the wounded man. There was general relief when it was discovered that although Mr. Graydon had received three bullets from the assassin's pistol, the wounds were not ncessarily fatal; but this did not prevent active measures being taken for the capture of the midnight robbers. Searching parties were immediately organized and these proceeded to scour the country in various directions, and a stern determination was evinced to deal out summary punishment to the prowling and murderous thieves in the event of their capture. But all efforts were in vain, and one after another the searchers returned disappointed.

Two young men who had been peddling lemons through the village the day before, were found sojourning on the roadside a short distance out, and were induced to return, but after a detention of some hours they were allowed to depart, both, of course, having stoutly protested their innocence.


After the melee between the Messrs. Graydon and the thieves, the revolver and a white straw hat belonging to one of them were picked up, and these may possibly lead to their arrest. The revolver is an ordinary bull dog pattern with the letters "H.R." filed on it. The hat is nearly new, had a deep black ribbon band, and on the inside are ther retailer's marks "80 Ex."


Since the encounter Mr. Wm Graydon has been getting along very well, and at last accounts his condition was favorable. Mr. Graydon and family have the sympathy of the entire community, and there is general rejoicing over the fact matters did not turn out any worse than they did.

The telephone and telegraph were brought into requisition shortly after the affray took place, full particulars being sent to Toronto and other places.

portrait of William Graydon

William T. Graydon

portrait of Will Graydon

William J. Graydon