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Joseph Seagram (1896)

Joseph E. Seagram was born 15 April, 1841, in Fisher’s Mills, Ontario, which is now a part of the city of Cambridge. After working as a bookkeeper at a grist mill, Seagram became the full owner of the company in 1883. He renamed the mill Seagrams, and made his brand of whiskey famous nationwide. Seagram served as a Conservative Member of Parliament for Waterloo North for twelve years, between 1896 and 1904. Seagram became a prominent figure in his community and in Waterloo Region due to his success in both business and politics.

(Celebration of Cityhood 1912. Berlin: The German Printing and Publishing Co of Berlin, 1912; PARLINFO. “Seagram, Joseph Emm.” Accessed April 20, 2014.




George Adam Clare (1900)

George Clare was born in Preston, Ontario, on 6 June 1854. He worked for his father’s foundry in Preston, until his father’s death in 1881. After his father’s death, Clare and his brothers founded the Clare Brothers Company Limited. As president of this company, he became involved with several businesses, such as Galt Stove and Furnace Co. Ltd.; Clare and Clare and Brodest Ltd., situated in Winnipeg; Canadian Office and School Furniture Co. Ltd.; Solid Leather Shoe Co. Ltd.; and the Preston Car and Coach Co. Clare served as reeve of the village of Preston from 1886 to 1888, and again in 1891. When Preston was incorporated as a town in 1900, he was elected as the town’s first mayor. Earlier, he ran unsuccessfully as a Conservative candidate for Waterloo South in two federal elections against James Livingston, in 1891 and 1896. However in 1900, when Livingston did not run for another term, Clare was elected to Parliament. Clare was Member of Parliament for Waterloo South from 1900 until his death in office in 1915.

(Cambridge. “Hall of Fame Members.”; PARLINFO. “Clare, The Hon George Adam.”




Williams, Greene, and Rome Company (Tailoring) (1901)

In 1901, tailoring and the manufacturing of clothes was the second largest industry in Berlin, Ontario, after furniture and upholstered goods. Star Whitewear Manufacturing Co. manufactured bathing clothes, lingerie, bridal sets, and a variety of other clothes. The John Forsyth Company Ltd specialized in men’s shirts, as did the Williams, Greene & Rome Company.

Samuel James Williams established the Williams, Greene & Rome Company in 1881. In 1886, the company moved its plant from Toronto to Berlin when the company was officially incorporated. In the summer of 1914, Williams, Greene, & Rome was the first company to be contracted in the Waterloo Region to manufacture 10, 000 military service shirts.

(Waterloo Region Generations. “Charles August Ahrens.”; Celebration of Cityhood 1912. Berlin: The German Printing and Publishing Co of Berlin, 1912.; “Busy Berlin Jubilee Souvenir 1879,” published by the Berlin News-Record,


Ahrens Shoes (Boots and Shoes) (1910)

Charles August Ahrens was born to German immigrant in Berlin, Ontario, on 28 August 1856. Having previously worked as a harness maker, and then in manufacturing, Ahrens started the Charles A. Ahrens & Co Slipper and Shoe Manufactory in 1910. The building to the left housed the factory at 5 Michael St., in Berlin (Kitchener). At the turn of the twentieth century, Ahrens Shoes was one of the dominant shoe manufacturers in the Waterloo Region, along with the Western Shoe Company, theValentine Shoe Company, and the Berlin Shoe Company. In the summer of 1914, Ahrens Shoes was one of the companies contracted to produce boots for the Canadian military during the First World War.

(Waterloo Region Generations. “Charles August Ahrens.”;“Busy Berlin Jubilee Souvenir 1897,” published by the Berlin News-Record,; “Berlin Today 1806-1906;” Waterloo Regional Museum. “Region Hall of Fame.




William George Weichel (1911)

William Weichel was born in Elmira, Ontario, on 20 July 1870. As a young man, he worked for his father at the family hardware store. In 1896, he opened his own store in Waterloo. In 1911, he was appointed Mayor of Waterloo, and was elected to the House of Commons as a Conservative Member of Parliament for Waterloo North, defeating Liberal candidate William Lyon Mackenzie King. Weichel represented the people of Waterloo North during the First World War as a Conservative MP; this changed in 1917 when he became a “Unionist” (Pro-War Conservative) candidate and lost his seat to William Daum Euler, the former Mayor of Berlin.

(Celebration of Cityhood 1912. Berlin: The German Printing and Publishing Co of Berlin, 1912; PARLINFO. “Weichel, William George.” Accessed April 20, 2014.




Early Economic Development (1912)

Waterloo Region developed initially as an agricultural center. While the region as a whole never lost this feature, by the outbreak of the First World War, key industrial centers had developed, particularly in Galt and Berlin. These two centers developed at a relatively similar pace between 1870 and 1900. Galt, in Waterloo South, was industrially dominant until the turn of the 20th century, when Berlin superseded Galt’s industrial capacity, power, and population. By 1901, there were 2,360 employees in Waterloo South, and 2,993 in Waterloo North in the industrial sectors.

Waterloo South continued to produce flour, dairy products, wood products, woolen goods, and machine parts, amongst other manufacturing. Waterloo North, particularly Berlin, began producing goods of another nature, including furniture, men’s and women’s clothes, gloves, leather, buttons, shoes and boots, as well as trunks. By 1911, Waterloo South had 5,899 employees working in their 116 manufacturing establishments; Waterloo North had 5,785 employees working in their 147 establishments – 120 of which were factories. Many of Berlin’s factories were granted contracts to produce goods for the war effort in the summer of 1914. Here are a few examples of businesses in Busy Berlin.”

(Hayes, Geoffrey. Waterloo County: An Illustrated History. Waterloo: Waterloo Historical Society, 1997,; McLaughlin, Ken. Made in Berlin. Kitchener: Joseph Schneider Haus Museum, 1989.; Fifth Census of Canada 1911, Volume II and III. C.H.Parmelee: Ottawa, 1912.; Fourth Census of Canada 1901, Volume II and III. Ottawa: S.E.Dawson, 1902.; Third Census of Canada, 1890-91, Volume II and III. S.E.Dawson, 1893.; Second Census of Canada, 1880-81, Volume II and III. Maclean, Roger & Co: Ottawa, 1883.; First Census of Canada, 1870-71 Volume II and III. Ottawa: I.B. Taylor, 1873.)



William Daum Euler (1914)  

William Euler was born in Conestogo, Ontario on 10 July, 1875. Euler was elected as Mayor of Berlin in 1914, and served until he ran for federal politics in 1917 against William Weichel as an Opposition (Liberal) candidate, and represented Waterloo North until his appointment to the Senate in 1940. Euler reacted publicly to anti-German sentiments and actions at the outbreak of the First World War.

(PARLINFO, “Euler, The Hon. William Daum.” Accessed April 20, 2014.