The Marriage of Rev. Louis Henry Wagner and Miss Mary Staebler

Rev. Louis Henry Wagner maintained a diary as have many young men and women. Louis wrote in his diary faithfully as a teenager but large gaps in time occur in Louis’ diary writing during his adult years. Nonetheless, his diaries, as I have previously posted, can add rich detail to the Wagner family’s history.

When Louis (pictured to the right) married Mary Staebler in May of 1884, he apparently was not in a writing mood. There is a gap between March 3, 1878 and January 1, 1887. Fortunately, the local newspaper filled in a part of this gap by providing a brief article about the wedding. Below is my transcription of the article that appeared in the Berlin (Ontario) Daily News, the predecessor of the current Waterloo Region Record newspaper. 


Another of our excellent young ladies has become united in the holy bonds of matrimony to the man of her choice. Miss Mary Staebler, daughter of Mr. Jacob Staebler, Sen., was married last, Tuesday, evening at the family residence, Weber Street, to the Rev. L. H. Wagner, of Hespeler, who, by the way, is also a Berlin boy. 

The Rev. S. L. Umbach, Presiding Elder of this District, performed the ceremony. Amongst the guests were, besides the Minister, Rev. Ch. [Christian] and Mrs. Staebler, South Cayuga; Rev. D. H. Brandt, Mr. J. M. Staebler and Son, Mr. L. J. Breithaupt, Mr. J. C. Breithaupt, Mrs. Breithaupt, Misses C. and M. Breithaupt, Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Hailer, rs. Hailer, Mrs. D. Bean, Mr. and Mrs. M. Wegenast, Mr. and Mrs. L. Greybill, Miss Wegenast, Miss Sarah Anthes, Miss Mary Anthes, Misses Emma and Carrie Goetze, Mr. and Mrs. I. K. Devitt, Mr. Geo. Wegenast, Mr. D. M. Staebler, Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Staebler, London; Mr. and Mrs. Geo. Staebler, Cassel, and others. 

The young couple, being very highly esteemed by large circles of friends, were the recipients of numerous and valuable presents. After the ceremony a sumptuous repast was partaken of by the guests, and at 8:40 Mr. and Mrs. Wagner took the train for the East, followed by all possible good wishes for their future happiness – in which the Daily News heartily joins.”

It can be fun trying to identify the relationship of each guest to the bride and groom and, certainly Louis and Mary Wagner’s wedding guest list reads a bit like a ‘Who’s Who’ of 19th century Berlin (now Kitchener), Ontario history. Most of the identified guests were cousins or friends but a few notables were present that might escape notice. “Mrs. Hailer” was the groom’s grandmother, Margaret (Riehl) Hailer, the wife of Berlin pioneer (and Waterloo (Ontario) Region Hall of Fame member) Johann Jacob Hailer. Mrs. Hailer is listed next to her daughter, “Mrs. D. Bean” who was the mother of the groom, Margaret (Hailer) Wagner Bean.

Fortunately, this newspaper clipping is safely preserved in the archives at the University of Waterloo, part of the Wagner Hailer family fonds.

Further Evidence for a Family Heirloom

Way, way back in January 2011, I wrote about a family heirloom, specifically a cane or walking stick (pictured below) that my wife was told belonged to one of her ancestors. She hoped that I might be able to identify who that ancestor was.

A year ago, I wrote about using the inscription on the cane to identify the original owner. The task was made somewhat easy as the inscription was “J.J.H.” plus the year “1876.” My wife had only one ancestor with those initials who was alive in 1876, John (Johann) Jacob Hailer, her third great grandfather. There are no family stories known to us about the reason behind the cane so we don’t know if it was a birthday gift or perhaps a Christmas present, or even if Jacob, as he was known, needed the cane to support himself when walking.

Of course, having only one ancestor, or family member for that matter with the correct initials and alive in the year inscribed does not provide conclusive evidence that John Jacob Hailer was the owner, just that he was the likely owner.

Recently, while researching another ancestor in the Wagner family, I returned to the scanned copies that I made of original documents and photographs on file at the University of Waterloo, part of the Wagner-Hailer fonds. This collection of documents was donated to the university by my wife’s uncle Gordon Wagner following the ‘completion’ of his family history research in the 1970s and 1980s.

While visiting the university, I had scanned almost all of the documents including several nineteenth century diaries. There are as a result hundreds of images from that visit and I admit that I have not yet ‘processed’ all of them. When looking to see if I happened to have a specific document related to another ancestor, I went through these images one by one, stopping when a photo of great-great-great Grandfather Hailer appeared. Obviously I had not looked carefully at the photo previously (I have a few different photos of Mr. Hailer) so I had noticed an important detail. There he was in the photo holding the very cane that I had identified as likely being his.

John Jacob Hailer died in 1882 so the time frame for the photo below (cropped from the original on file to emphasize the cane in his hand) is between 1876 and 1882. While it’s nice to have been right, finding the more compelling evidence is better!