Thursday, 7 February 2013

A Short Lesson On Land Tenure (that involves John Hoffman and Levi Carroll).

Thank you to Amber for your comment about the maps and their origins. Funny, I was already working on this post when I received your comment! Hope this helps...
Land tenure for the Berlin property where the log schoolhouse was before it moved to Waterloo Park (and its significance to some of the founding fathers and early land development):

1816—Abraham Erb establishes a grist mill in Waterloo (at the edge of present day Waterloo Park).
1820—Abraham Erb’s log school is built (located to the east of the grist mill, but still on Erb land (located c. at the corner of Central and King Streets, Waterloo, today).
1828—Abraham Erb dies.
1829—Jacob C. Snider buys the mill and land from Erb’s estate and adds steam power to it in 1835. (Prior to this it was water-powered). This land that he purchased comprises much of the land that encompassed the growing settlement of Waterloo.
1835—J.C. Snider starts a distillery to process surplus grain and to make use of the added power source. (How is that for an excuse to start a distillery! I suppose it is as good as any...)

The village of Waterloo was really beginning to take shape. As historian Elizabeth Bloomfield tells us “a small village developed on the higher ground to the north of the mill complex...began to attract some of the German artisans who were emigrating from Europe. Abraham Erb’s school, established in 1820 and endowed under the terms of his will, gave the village a special function” (Bloomfield, 2006:84).

I take this to mean, in part, that in addition to the growing commerce within the village of Waterloo, the schoolhouse, as the first school established in Waterloo, further established this early community as an educational centre by providing local education opportunities for the incoming German-speaking immigrants’ children.

1842—The schoolhouse is moved to Abraham Weber's land. Weber, who owned GCT16 (the lot adjacent to the land owned by Jacob Snider, in part lots GCT14 (part of this lot) and GCT15), at some point "....gave Levi Carroll a piece of land for a garden and a cabin”.  Frank Uttley in A History of Kitchener tells us that Carroll was an employee of Weber and that following an accident, Carroll was given this land. I have not yet found definitive information to say whether Weber bought the former 1820 log schoolhouse building as such before it was moved but we do know that Weber owned the land when and where the schoolhouse was moved to in Berlin in 1842. Personal speculation tells me that Carroll probably did not buy the land or the cabin/schoolhouse but further research is needed.
1847—Abraham C. Weber, youngest child of Abraham Weber the pioneer, received the title for his father’s land (481 acres, most of which was within GCT16 in Greenbush/Berlin where the 1820 log schoolhouse was located).

Over time, land owners were also selling off occasional lots and sometimes larger parcels for speculation and development as land values were increasing. Things continued to change for Waterloo and Berlin by the early 1850’s and land speculation was a growing and viable business interest. This “was most intense along the east-west zone of the Grand Trunk Railway line, with Grange’s Survey across the north of Berlin, Hoffman’s Survey in Waterloo, the Shantz and Moyer subdivision, and also various pocket surveys west of Berlin” (Bloomfield, 2006:177).  In the next several years, a lot happens to the land tenure between the lands that joined Waterloo and Berlin as land is surveyed and sold.
See below for a newspaper ad from 1855 advertising lots for sale.

1853—With the advent of the Grand Trunk Railway’s imminent arrival in 1856 (today the CN Railway that runs parallel to Victoria Street, Kitchener), Abraham C. Weber sells all but six acres of his land to Sheriff George John Grange of Guelph who had his land holdings surveyed (“Grange’s Survey of Berlin”) and Weber moves out to the Freeport area (near Chicopee area in Kitchener, today). Apparently, Weber was not happy that the train was slated to run the length of GCT16 and so he decided to sell. I can’t say I blame him.
1853—Jacob C. Snider sells the land he had purchased from Abraham Erb's estate (and the mill) to his son (320 acres in total). His son, Elias Snider—apparently did not like the notion of the distillery.

 It is interesting to note that the still for the distillery was moved after this land transaction to his father’s farm—father Snider clearly did not object to whiskey. (This is a great point of contention for some people as a common belief prevails that Mennonites “don’t drink alcohol,” however, it is clear historically that judging by the number of Mennonite-owned and operated distilleries (and grist mills) that some did and some didn’t. It was quite common at the time for workers—both farm labourers and those working in other occupations—to be given a day’s share of alcohol in conjunction with their wages. There were certainly those who were opposed to the practice of paying workers with alcohol as well as the consumption of it, like Elias Snider). In 1850 Elias becomes the first deputy reeve of the Township of Waterloo and later, he was ordained as a minister in 1874.
c. 1853—Elias sells most of the land that he purchased from his father to John Hoffman (for more information about Hoffman,see previous posting "Paging...John Hoffman." Also, there is an interesting post on the Mary-Allen Blog concerning street names...this post has some information for Elias Snider, John Hoffman and their family members. Please see this post on the Mary-Allen Blog: 
1854—Hoffman has the land he acquired in Waterloo (and the village, for that matter) surveyed by M.C. Schofield. This becomes known as “the Hoffman Survey of Waterloo.”  It was this survey that helped me to ascertain the probable location for the schoolhouse when Levi was living in it after it moved to Greenbush/Berlin. 

Compare, then, with the Grange Survey of Berlin, ON., that was compiled after Grange's acquisition of lands in Berlin that included much of Weber's farm on GCT16.

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