Yesterday, I mentioned that Jacob Wagner had married Margaret Hailer in 1849 and that four years later, in 1853, Phillip Ludwig ‘Louis’ Breithaupt (pictured to the right) had married Margaret’s sister, Catharine. I thought that I should pass along a little more information about Jacob Wagner, rather the Rev. Jacob Wagner who was an Evangelical Association minister.
In the first half of the 19th century, preachers rode circuits of small towns and villages across what was then Canada West as the small population centres were typically unable to support a full-time church and minister. Along their circuits, ministers would preach at “missions”, perform baptisms, marriages and when called upon, funerals. The Evangelical Association to which Jacob belonged was founded in 1800 by the Rev. Jacob Albright (thus the association was sometimes referred to as the Albright Brethren) as a Christian church chiefly made up of those of German descent. While Jacob farmed, he was also a preacher of some note within the Evangelical Association. The Evangelical Association grew in Waterloo County and in 1848, Rev. Wagner was appointed as Preacher-in-Charge of the Berlin Church.
According to William Velores ‘Ben’ Uttley in his 1937 book, A History of Kitchener, Ontario, “through two marriages Berlin obtained another industry. First, the Rev. Jacob Wagner, an Evangelical Minister, married Margaret, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Hailer. Pastor Wagner was later stationed in Buffalo, New York, where he formed a friendship with Louis Breithaupt, who was associated with his father, Liborius Breithaupt, in a tannery. Periodically the son came to Upper Canada to buy hides. Secondly, through the Rev. Wagner he was introduced to the Hailer family and in 1853 espoused Miss Catharine Hailer. After their marriage the young couple resided in Buffalo.
Mr. Breithaupt was energetic and desired a business of his own. In 1857 he founded a tannery in Berlin, at the head of Margaret Avenue, but continued to live in Buffalo. After the outbreak of the American Civil War, Mr. and Mrs. Breithaupt and their sons Louis J., William H. and John C., removed to Berlin. Until the founder’s death in 1880 his life was one of unremitting activity. He built up a large industry, shared in public life, became an extensive land-owner, and when deceased was Mayor of Berlin.
By his example, Mr. Breithaupt increased the Berliners faith in their town. Soon after his arrival, he purchased the southeast corner of King and Queen Streets, then covered with frame shacks, and in 1862 built the American block.” The Breithaupt Leather Co. remained in the family through four generations, producing leather soles for shoes and work gloves, before being purchased around 1967 by A. R. Clarke and Co. Limited.

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