Waterloo Region Generations
A record of the people of Waterloo Region, Ontario.

William Jiertz
Male 1868 - 1885

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  • Birth  1868  , Germany Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Gender  Male 
    Interesting Life Story  crime, murder, misfortune, story 
    Misfortune  5 Nov 1885  Waterloo Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Name  William Giertze 
    Name  William Iertz 
    Eby ID Number  Waterloo-175799 
    Died  5 Nov 1885  Waterloo Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Cause: murdered 
    Person ID  I175799  Generations
    Last Modified  3 Mar 2019 

  • Notes 
    • BRUTAL MURDER OF A BOY - Galt, Ont., November 5

      A murder was committed this afternoon at the farm of Levi Weber, near the village of Strausberg, about eight miles from here. The murdered person is a young German farm-hand, name unknown, about fifteen years of age, recently from Germany, who has been working for Mr. Weber for the past six months. The supposed perpetrator of the murder is said to be John Calvin Ravier, a young Englishman, about 17 years of age, who was brought to Canada as an orphan, and was formerly employed on Mr. Weber's farm, but left about a year ago. He returned today during Mr. Weber's absence from home and went to the barn where he was told the young German boy was working. Upon Mr. Weber's return he found the murdered boy in the barn, the body covered with chaff. A long wound across the forehead extending down the face was visible and a broken club nearby. Mr. Weber immediately set out to notify the corner and find the suspected murderer, who was traced to Blair Station, where he took a train for Galt. It was discovered that he left Galt for Harrisburg, making eastward. Chief McFeggan started after him and captured his man at Harrisburg and brought him back to Galt. Mr. Weber stated that he cannot assign any motive for the commission of the crime as he does not think the supposed murderer and victim ever met each other before today

      Montreal Daily Witness - 6 Nov 1885


      Cold-Blooded Murder Near Doon

      Crimes of a capital nature are, fortunately, very rare in the quiet and peaceable County of Waterloo, and when, as was the case on Thursday last, intelligence is received of a cold-blooded murder committed within a few miles of the town of Galt, the news very naturally creates unusual excitement. The scene of the murder was the farm of Mr. Noah Weaver, about two miles from Doon and one mile from Strasburg; the victim was a young German about fifteen years of age, named Wilhelm Iertz, who was employed by Mr. Weaver as a farm hand.

      On Thursday morning a young man of strange appearance was seen to bet off the Galt train at Doon station on the opposite side of the track to which passengers usually disembark, and with determined step proceed up the road past the twine mills. He was noticed by many, who commented upon the strange figure. Apparently his dress, although of the ordinary workman's garb, did not seem to adapt itself to him. Blue overalls tucked in boots and an old overcoat somewhat rusty and weather-beaten, hung loosely upon the tall awkward figure as he strode along with bent head.

      The individual in question was none other than a young Englishman named John Calvin Ravenne, who had worked for Mr. Weaver until some months ago, when he removed to Willink, Erie Co., New York, and who now stands accused of the fearful crime of murdering the young German. The supposed murderer presented himself at Mr. Weaver's farm about 10 o'clock on the morning of the murder. The only member of Mr. Weaver's family who saw him was his little son. He enquired for his old employer, and was told that he was out in the fields fixing the fences. Ravenne then walked away, apparently to find Mr. weaver, but as a matter of fact was not seen by that gentleman at all. The young German had been sent to the barn in the meantime to drive some cattle out. When Mr. Weaver returned from the fields at non he was told by his little son that "John" had been there. Nothing was thought of the unexpected visit, and it was supposed that Ravenne would be with Iertz in the barn. As the young German did not come into dinner at the usual time, however, Mr. Weaver went out to the barn and in stepping upon a heap of chaff in order to climb to the hay mow, he felt something bulky beneath his feet and on stooping down to see what it was was horrified to find the dead body of his farm hand. Mr. Weaver did nothing with the body until he secured assistance, when an examination showed that the poor boy had been struck upon the head with a club or something heavy, as his skull was fractured. A couple of clubs that had evidently been carried into the barn b the murderer, as they were still wet when found, where lying nearby.

      Suspicion at once fell upon the young Englishman, and the alarm was given. It was soon ascertained that the mysterious stranger of the morning had returned to Galt, this time taking the 1 o'clock train at Blair. Constable McFeiggan was communicated with and on enquiring at the great Western station found that a stranger answering the description of the suspected murderer had gone south by the 3 o'clock train. Mr. McFeiggan at once telegraphed all along the line, with the result that Ravenne was detained at Harrisburg until he arrived and was brought back to Galt. He was kept in the lockup here overnight and conveyed to Berlin on Tuesday morning, and was to have come up for his preliminary examination before Magistrate Mackie yesterday.

      The Prisoner

      The young man to whom circumstantial evidence points so strongly as being the author of the cold-blooded and horrible murder, is a native of Manchester, England, and came out to this country with a friend about fifteen months ago. Although only some 16 or 17 years of age, he is over six feet in height, and presents an awkward and ungainly appearance. Hi is well educated, and is master of at least three languages. He worked for Mr. Weaver for some time, but did not appear to take very kindly to farm work, and was sullen and morose. After removing to New York State he wrote to Mr. Weaver to send him his trunk. As he sent no money to defray the expenses of carriage, his request was not complied with.

      There is evidently a history connected with the unfortunate young man. When searched there was found in his possession an old-fashioned five-shooter, loaded, and a letter from his mother. The letter was dated St. George's Square, Oct. 23, and was written in French. The address upon the envelope was: "Jim Bosler, Willink, Erie Co., New York." He appears to have assumed the name of Bosler after leaving Canada, and it was to that name that he wished his trunk addressed. His mother is evidently a lady of education and culture, and a religious enthusiast, and it would appear from the letter that he had impressed her with the idea that he was living among Indians. The letter contained a copy of a note which the writer wished her son to send to this aunt, a lady of tittle in Italy.

      The prisoner appeared somewhat indifferent as to his fate when arrested, and when brought to Galt told some of those in attendance that he thought he would be hanged. He expressed a wish that his mother would hear nothing of his unfortunate position.

      The Victim

      Wilhelm Iertz, the victim of Thursday's tragedy is a nephew of Mr. Wm. Lassow, of Berlin, who brought him from Germany about a year ago. He was a quiet, harmless little fellow, and was never known to give offence to anyone.

      Dr. Bowlby, Corner, held an inquest upon the remains and the Jury brought in a verdict of willful murder.

      Theories as to the Motive - As the murdered boy and the suspected murderer had never met before the morning upon which the bloody deed was committed; it is difficult to assign a motive for the murder. It is generally believed that the prisoner's purpose in coming from New York State was to revenge himself upon Mr. Weaver for not forwarding his trunk. It is supposed that the boy was struck from behind while shoving down hay from the mow, and that his body was carried by the murderer to the spot where found and covered with chaff. It is just possible that in the partial darkness the murderer mistook the boy for Mr. Weaver, and dealt the fatal blow. Be that as it may, the murder was a most deliberate and cold-blooded affair.

      Dumfries Reformer Nov 12 1885

  • Sources 
    1. [S2286] News - Quebec, Montreal - Montreal Daily Witness, 6 Nov 1885 - BRUTAL MURDER OF A BOY - Galt, Ont., November 5.

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBirth - 1868 - , Germany Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMisfortune - murdered - 5 Nov 1885 - Waterloo Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - Cause: murdered - 5 Nov 1885 - Waterloo Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
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