Monthly Archives: December 2014

Obituaries record the lives of the ordinary citizen of Waterloo Region

Alexander Thomson a regular chap with no outstanding, monumental accomplishments like most every other person in Waterloo Region does have a story.  Often much of the story is accumulated through bits of facts in census and other records such as tombstones,  and vital records. Obituaries often written by those who knew him or knew of him during his lifetime can personalized his life. Generations is recording these and other writings to enrich their entries.


After some time of illness, Mr. Alex Thomson, of Roseville, has passed to his rest. Deceased was a native of Moffat, Dumfriesshire, Scotland, emigrating to this country in 1833. After his arrival here, he spent a few years in Montreal, then in 1836 moved out on the farm he so long occupied in North Dumfries, near the village of Roseville. Patient industry hewed out there a very fine homestead, and with his family he reaped the benefit of his labors for many years, ultimately retiring about six years ago from active life, removing into Roseville, where he spent the last years of his life. He was very much respected in this section. His long residence here made him widely known, and we are glad to say that he deservedly obtained and retained the respect and friendship of those with whom he associated. His aged partner in life died about two years ago, and of his family there are living five sons and two daughters, viz.: Mr. Robt. Thomson, near Roseville; Mr. James Thomson, near Strasburg, Waterloo; Mr. Joseph Thomson, of New Dundee; Mr. Thomas W. Thomson, of Fergus; Mr. John Thomson, of Seaforth; Mrs. John Henderson, Elora; and Mrs. Robt. Walker, of Roseville.

The deceased was interred in the Ayr Cemetery on Tuesday forenoon last, the funeral being attended by a very large number of his old friends.

Galt Reporter Sep 19 1879 pg 2


The Cholera Epidemic of 1834

Galt and area suffered greatly in 1834 with a epidemic of such proportions never seem before the area. Many died, now lost to memory, burial places unknown.  Generations is trying to identify these people.  Here are few stories of these people and also a link to those so far identified. 

From an account of the cholera epidemic is below.

“The most striking and melancholy example within our knowledge of the generations and effects of the local infection occurred in this vicinity in the summer of 1834.

On the 28th of July, 1834, Galt, a village on the Grand River, U. C. was visited by Showmen with a Menagerie. It was exhibited under an awning of canvass, nearly enclosed at the sides, and drawn together in a conical form almost to the top. The day was excessively warm, and the crown suffocating. The exhibition lasted about 3 hours. It is estimated that about 1000 persons were present, and that not less than 200 of them died of Cholera within ten days. The population from which the assembly at the exhibition was composed, in the Township in the vicinity of Galt, it supposed to be about seven thousand.

The first case was in one of the Showmen, who sickened on that day, which was Monday. No other case occurred until the following Wednesday morning – on that day not less than thirty were attacked all of whom had been at the show – The greatest number of cases were on the Thursday and Friday following – but new cases occurred for several days. In speaking of an attack, we here allude to the time the patient supposed the attack commenced – the time he was “taken down” . The average length of time the disease lasted after this event was about sixteen hours.

Four days previous to the exhibition of animals at Galt, two children of Mr. J. G., on the Governor’s Road, 12 miles south east of Galt, were attacked with Cholera, one of which died. On the same day (24th July,) two cases of what we shall call second grade Cholera came under our care, being the first that occurred of that form of the disease within our knowledge that season – About this time also, many were affected with first grand symptoms, – but with the exception of the children alluded to we have not been able to learn that any case of fully developed Cholera occurred in this part of the province previous to the exhibition of animals at Galt, and for several days subsequent to that event, and in which more than two hundred were attacked with Cholera, all had been at that exhibition with only two or three exceptions. From the 6th of August the disease became more general and not confined to such as were at the Menagerie; but this time it appeared at Hamilton and Dundas – situations more low and marshy than Galt, and adjacent to Burlington Bay of the Head of Lake Ontario. From these facts it is evident that a deteriorated state of the atmosphere existed previous to the 28th July, yet the fatal catastrophe following the exhibition at Galt was mainly attributable to the highly vitiated, or imperfectly oxygenated air, produced by the numerous and sweltering crowd under the canvas – the ventilation being altogether inadequate for so numerous and crowded assemblage. It also appears that at Hamilton, Dundas and several other situations the Epidemic influence was the product of the more common causes of general infection, united with a local infection, which last is caused by the action of heat upon putrescent vegetable matter….”
Elam Stimson, MD, The Cholera Beacon, being a treatise on the Epidemic Cholera: as it appeared in Upper Canada in 1832-4:


Alonzo Bliss

Alonzo Bliss, to whom reference has already been made. On returning home, Bliss said to his wife, ” If cholera is catching, I will take it.” This prediction, alas, proved too true. The next morning he was dead.

Reminiscences of the Early History Galt


Samuel Gofton

Family lore indicates that Samuel died coming from from a circus and died of cholera and was buried at the side of the road, His horse was brought to his widow.


Abraham Janzen Jr., “died of cholera in 1834, aged about 25 years. He was not married.”

Biographical History of Waterloo by Ezra Eby


Abraham Jenzen Sr.

Abraham Janzen, “(now spelled ‘Johnson’ by most of the descendants) a native of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, to which place his ancestors had moved from Holland about the year 1726. He was married to Nancy, daughter of Henry and Anna (Honsberger) Clemmer. She was a sister to Henry H. Clemmer who resided about two miles east of Berlin where he died April 30th,1851. She was born about the year 1778. Some time during the beginning of the present century they with their family of small children moved, with the Schwartzes and others, to Canada and finally settled in Blenheim Township, Oxford County, where he died of cholera in 1834. After his decease the widow was married to Jacob Bechtel. She died of paralysis while on a visit to Jacob Kolb’s near Breslau in 1847. To Mr. Janzen and his wife was born a family of nine children”

Biographical History of Waterloo by Ezra Eby


Lamberton & Vincent

Some stories long current about the cholera cannot be traced to any reliable source. But the floating rumour that four men who died of the pest were buried in one grave, near the eastern end of the stone bridge on the macadamised road, north of the town, is perfectly true. Two of those buried were named Lamberton and Vincent, and among those who took part in the burial was Alonzo Bliss, to whom reference has already been made. On returning home, Bliss said to his wife, “If cholera is catching, I will take it.” This prediction, alas, proved too true. The next morning he was dead.


Catharine Latschaw

Catharine Latschaw “the second in family, was born March 3, 1801, and died of cholera at Manheim, Ontario, July 31st, 1834. She was unmarried.”

Biographical History of Waterloo by Ezra Eby


Jacob and Polly (Detweiler) Rosenberger and Joseph, Elizabeth.

Jacob Rosenberger, “the second son of Abraham Rosenberger, was born in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, about the year 1772. He was married to Polly Detweiler. During the early part of the present century they moved to Canada and settled in Waterloo County. In 1834 while residing in Beverly Township, Wentworth County, they took the cholera and both died of that dreadful disease. Their family consisted of twelve children”

The Biographical History of Waterloo Township, Ezra Eby


Michael and Barbara (Kochersberger) Ruby

Died of malignant cholera in Wilmot August 1834 Michael Ruby aged [blank] member of the church.

Died of Cholera morbus in Wilmot Township Augt. 1834 Barbara Ruby wife of Michael Ruby, aged [blank] years a member of the church.

Church Register of H. W. Peterson 1833 – 1835 Anglican Minister