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Daniel Knechtel 

Daniel Knechtel

Male 1842 - 1936

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  • Birth  1842  North Dumfries Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Gender  Male 
    Residence  1866  Hanover, Bentinck Twp., Grey Co., Ontario Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Eby ID Number  Waterloo-122625 
    Died  1936  Hanover, Bentinck Twp., Grey Co., Ontario Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID  I122625  Generations
    Last Modified  28 Jan 2019 

    Father  George Daniel "Daniel" Knechtel,   b. 1819, Hütschenhausen, , Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1897, Bentinck, Grey County, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Mother  Anna Eva Diebel,   b. 1818, , Germany Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1896, Bentinck, Grey County, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married  22 Feb 1842  Preston (Cambridge), Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID  F20970  Group Sheet

    Family  Christina Stadelbauer,   b. 1845, Buffalo, Erie, New York Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 20 Nov 1915, Hanover, Bentinck Twp., Grey Co., Ontario Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married  14 May 1866  , Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Family ID  F35486  Group Sheet

  • Photos
    Daniel Knechtel
    Daniel Knechtel

  • Notes 
    • Daniel Knechtel's father and mother were born in Germany, his father coming to Canada over one hundred years age, when he was 11 years of age, and his mother in 1841 when she was 21. They married in 1842 and settled on a farm home in Waterloo Co. They were parents of 13 children, of whom Daniel, born 1843, was the second. Very few children received much schooling in those days and Daniel left school at the tender age of ten years in order to help with the work on his father's farm. At the age of 18 he joined a group of carpenters who were then building barns and houses. During the winter of 1861 he was apprenticed to a man named Becker in Berlin (now Kitchner) who made furniture in a small shop attached to his home. This lasted for four months, when he went back to barn building. From that time he hoped of having his own furniture factory. Becoming "of age" and hearing that many new settlers were going into Grey and Bruce Counties, Mr. Knechtel decided to strike out for the "Queen's Bush", and in the spring of 1864 he set out to walk to Hanover with a pack of carpenters tools on his back. It required two days to make the journey (about 2 hours now, by car).

      Arriving in Hanover he found a strong demand for houses and barns and immediately started in the building business. Having built a house for a man called DIEBEL, in Carrick Twp, he found winter coming on, when outdoor work was impossible, so he moved into the shack that had been the former Diebel home, rent free, and began to make furniture. Also, he was boarding with his older sister, Mrs John Helwig, and cut and split cedar rails for his brother-in-law on a basis of 50 cents per hundred. He used to recall how hard he worked in an effort to average one hundred a day. The following summers, when not building houses and barns, he worked for farmers cradling crops at 62 cents a day. During his first years there, with the skills of a carpenter and the resolve to become a cabinet-maker, Daniel worked at carpentry and rail-splitting to accumulate capital.

      By 1866 Daniel and Peter, his brother, were selling their furniture and in 1868 the two brothers bought a sawmill. By 1871 Daniel was promoting himself as a cabinet-maker and another brother, Jacob, managed the sawmill. He and his brother Peter began making simple furniture by hand for the newly arrived settlers to the area.By about 1871, "D. & P. Knechtel" bought a small steam factory where they employed a dozen men. In 1874 they erected a frame factory and a brick structure with storefront on the site of the present manufactory. The store was called "The Great Eastern Emporium" and it was much more than a furniture shop. The Knechtels offered dry goods, groceries, and hardware for sale, as well as manufacturing all kinds of household furniture (including upholstered pieces), producing sash, doors, shingles, staves and other wood products, and providing undertaking services. Unfortunately, no furniture is known from this early period of production. With this expansion the number of employees more than doubled to 30 men.

      In 1882 the partnership between Daniel and his brother Peter was dissolved. Daniel bought Peter out and continued manufacturing furniture. Peter moved on into the saw milling business. Knechtel expanded the operations again in 1884 building a brick factory in Hanover. Over the next three decades, Daniel's business acumen and initiative made the firm one of the largest furniture factories in the Dominion. In the late 1890's, nominally separate factories and sawmills were established in Southampton and Walkerton and a western warehouse was established in Winnipeg. In 1899, Daniel supervised the acquisition of extensive timberlands at Stokes Bay on the Bruce Peninsula.

      He married Christina Stadelbauer of near Elmira, who was his devoted helper until her death in 1915 at the age of 69 years. Christina was a blonde, blue-eyed Bavarian immigrant and had emigrated with her family from a little village called Michelfeldt, near Mannheim in Southern Bavaria. So having a little money and with Christina's dowry of 200 dollars, they moved into a small rough-cast house on the main street of Hanover. They lived in rooms on the main floor of this little house and in the upper rooms (and later in the shack) Daniel began his furniture business, making all the furniture by hand. To them were born a family of six children, two who died in infancy. In 1917 he married Mrs. Flora Pfeiffer of Toledo. Mr. Knechtel died on Saturday, January 18 1936. From the time of his first marriage, Mr. Knechtel made Hanover his headquarters and started manufacturing furniture in a small shack, gradually extending the business until it was the largest in Hanover and one of the largest in Canada, once employing upwards of 400 men in Hanover, with branches in Walkerton, and Southampton.

      During his first years in Hanover, Daniel worked as a carpenter and rail-splitter to save enough money to open a cabinet-making shop. By 1866, Daniel and Peter had begun to make and sell cabinetry and, two years later, bought a sawmill, which by 1871 was being managed by their brother Jacob. Around 1873, "D. and P. Knechtel" expanded their business by purchasing a small steam factory and, the following year, building a frame factory and a brick building with a stone front at the present-day site of Eleventh Street and Eleventh Avenue. By that time the company employed 30 workers. Using timber harvested from Bruce and Grey Counties and contemporary American techniques for manufacturing furniture, the Knechtel factory prospered. Encouraged by protective tariffs, the completion in 1881 of the Hanover leg of the Stratford and Lake Huron Railway, and increasing market demands for furniture, Knechtel's business continued to grow. He opened a brick factory in Hanover in 1884 and then a retail store. By 1887, his brother Solomon and Henry Peppier, who had been employed by Knechtel since 1873, had also joined the management of the Knechtel Furniture Company under Daniel's direction. In 1891, the company became a joint stock company and the capital generated by the sale of stock was used to expand the business.

      By the late 1890s, Knechtel had opened factories and sawmills in Southampton and Walkerton and in 1899 he acquiredextensive wood lots at nearby Stokes Bay anticipating the general need in the furniture industry to acquire and conserve timber resources. On December 20, 1900, the Hanover factory was destroyed by fire with the loss of $100,000 and 250 jobs. with the assistance of $10,000 donated by the village, the factory was rebuilt on the original site, opening December 20, 1901. By 1905, the business had recovered significantly and Knechtel furniture was being distributed across the country. In the earl y 20th century, Daniel Knechtel again expanded his business to include the operation of a Portland cement factory in Hanover. Under the guidance of Daniel and J.S. Knechtel (1868-1938), a son who joined the firm about 1895, the broadly-based Knechtel Furniture Company continued to prosper through the Great Depression. In the early 20th century, Daniel Knechtel again expanded his business to include the operation of a Portland cement factory in Hanover. During the Great Depression, in 1934 and 1936 respectively, the Walkerton and Southampton factories were closed, as was the warehouse in Winnipeg. The Walkerton plant was purchased by Bogdon and Gross and the Southampton plant by Hepworth Manufacturing Company. Business was confined to the two Hanover plants.

      Since the reorganization of the 1930s, the firm has been known as Knechtels Ltd. He was the first Reeve of Hanover, being elected to that office in 1900 when Hanover incorporated. He was also a generous benefactor of the town, his major philanthropy being connected with the establishment of the Hanover Memorial Hospital. With his son J.S. Knechtel, he offered to donate the latters commodious home to the town for use as a hospital. The original cost to Mr. Knechtel of $10.000 in purchasing this property has since been tripled by him in seeing it properly equipped. He was chairman of the board of trustees since its inception in 1923 to the time of his death. He also donated a half acre of land at the main intersection of Hanover for the use as a library site and aided many good causes, among them the Salvation Army, the YWCA and others. He provided Hanover with a park (Daniel Knechtel Park) and spent some money in fixing it up. Mr. Knechtel was the last charter member of Hanover Baptist Church to pass away, he being one of the small group which organized this congregation in 1866. His church was very dear to him and he served it in nearly every capacity, being deacon, steward, Sunday school superintendent, etc. He donated a good deal of money toward the erection of the present day edifice. The missionary causes of the church also found him a generous supporter and for many years he was very prominent in the German Baptist Conference."

      After Daniel Knechtel passed away at the ripe old age of 92 in 1936, his son J.S. succeeded him as president. He had only held the position for two years when he also died in 1938. His son Karl took over the company at that time until his sudden death in 1972. Knechtel Furniture Company was the third oldest furniture company in Canada. Knechtel Furniture Company was a stepping-stone for many in the furniture industry in Bruce County. Many employees from Knechtels moved elsewhere and started their own furniture manufacturing companies. Other Knechtel companies were: the Knechtel Kitchen Kabinet Ltd., Knechtels Limited, Knechtels Novelty Plant and Peppier Bros. Ltd. In 1983, the Knechtel Furniture Company closed and the factory was demolished. Twenty years later, the site of the factory was redeveloped into a municipal park dedicated to Daniel Knechtel. In 2003 a major project was underway on the site to cleanand detoxify the soil.... On July 1, 2003, the Ontario Heritage Foundation will unveil a plaque commemorating Daniel Knechtel at Daniel Knechtel Park on the site of the former Knechtel furniture factory in Hanover.

      Source Unknown

  • Sources 
    1. [S5] Vit - - ON, Waterloo - 1858-1869 Marriage Register.
      Daniel Knechtel Birth Place: Dumfries Residence: Hanover Age: 23 Estimated Birth Year: abt 1843 Father Name: Daniel Knechtel Mother Name: Anna Eva Knechtel Spouse Name: Christinia Stadelbauer Spouse's Age: 20 Spouse Estimated Birth Year: abt 1846 Spouse Birth Place: Buffalo Spouse residence: Woolwich Spouse Father Name: Christoph Stadelbauer Spouse Mother Name: Fredrecka Stadelbauer Marriage Date: 13 May 1866 Marriage County: Waterloo

  • Event Map
    Event
    Link to Google MapsBirth - 1842 - North Dumfries Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - 1866 - Hanover, Bentinck Twp., Grey Co., Ontario Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 14 May 1866 - , Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 1936 - Hanover, Bentinck Twp., Grey Co., Ontario Link to Google Earth
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