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Rev. Theobald Spetz 

Rev. Theobald Spetz

Male 1850 - 1921

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  • Prefix  Rev. 
    Birth  13 May 1850  Waterloo Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2, 3, 4, 5
    Gender  Male 
    Occupation  1881  Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Priest 
    Religion  1881  Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Roman Catholic 
    Occupation  1891  Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario Find all individuals with events at this location  [5
    Priest 
    Religion  1891  Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario Find all individuals with events at this location  [5
    Roman Catholic 
    Occupation  1901  Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    priest and professor 
    Occupation  1911  Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Priest 
    Religion  1911  Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Catholic 
    Eby ID Number  Waterloo-179466 
    Died  1 Dec 1921 
    Person ID  I179466  Generations
    Last Modified  6 Oct 2017 

    Father  Joseph Spetz,   b. 31 Aug 1818, Lower Sulzbach, District of Thann, Upper Alsace, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 20 Sep 1901, Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Mother  Anna Herres,   b. 29 Jul 1823, Rhenish, , Prussia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 6 Dec 1878 
    Married  1843  , Waterloo Region, Ontario Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID  F12331  Group Sheet

  • Photos
    Rev. Theodore Spetz
    Rev. Theodore Spetz

  • Notes 
    • REV. FATHER THEOBALD SPETZ, D.D., C.R., president of St. Jerome's College, Berlin, Ont., was born on the 13th of May, 1850, in the County of Waterloo. His parents were Joseph and Ann (Herres) Spetz. His father was a native of Upper Alsace, and his mother of Rhenish Prussia. Father Spetz was educated in the public and separate schools of Berlin, and in 1866 entered St. Jerome's College as a student, remaining there five years, after which he taught one year in St. Mary's College, Kentucky. In 1872 he went to Rome and joined the "Congregation of the Resurrection." He then entered the Jesuit University of the Roman College, graduating in 1878, and the same year became assistant of St. Mary's Church, Berlin, remaining there until 1890. In January, 1891, he became pastor of St. Louis Church, Waterloo, which he was instrumental in building in 1890, as well as a separate school in the same place, both of which are a credit to his enterprise and ability. Father Spetz has been a professor in St. Jerome's College since 1878, and has been president of that institution for two years. He is a member of the C.M.B.A.1a

      1aMen of Canada pg 469

      ____________________

      The Rev. Theobald Spetz, C.R. D.D.

      Among the men whose career is worthy of record and remembrance in the Annual Historical Records of Waterloo County, perhaps none more deserves honorable mention than the Catholic Priest, whose name stands at the head of this article, one extra reason being that he encouraged the beginnings of these records and was an intimate friend of Wm. H. Breithaupt of The Waterloo Historical Society which originated and publishes them.

      The late Father Spetz was a native of Waterloo County, born at Erbsville, near Waterloo May 13th., 1850, and so loyally attached that he never wished to live elsewhere. He was greatly interested in all local matters, throughout his life.

      His grandfather, also named Theobald, was, it appears, the first immigrant from Europe to this section of Canada. He was a native of Rovern, Upper Alsace, had made the calamitous campaign under Napoleon to Moscow, later on married Ann Haehner and settled as farmer and teamster in Lower Sulzbach.

      Deciding to go to the new world he and his family drove in their own conveyance across the Vosges mountains and by way of Paris to Havre. Then 96 days was occupied in the slow voyage to New York on a sailing vessel. Then another 16 days up the Hudson and by canal boat to Lockport, with a laborious journey on foot as far as Buffalo.

      Here the sturdy pioneer family attached themselves to a body of Mennonites and accompanied them to the upper end of Waterloo Township where Theobald Spetz bought a farm in the wilderness. Later the son Joseph, only nine years old at the time of emigration, took over the farm, and here the late Father Spetz was born.

      When the family later moved to this city, the young man attended St. Jerome's College, then newly founded, from 1866 to 1870 as one of its first students.

      From 1870 to '72 he studied and taught at St. Mary's College, Kentucky, then taken over by the fathers of St. Jerome's College. After that he went to Rome to study for the priesthood and there joined the congregation of the Resurrection, who had charge of the colleges named. He was ordained priest, Sept. 23rd., 1877 and returned to St. Jerome's College, in 1878, where he remained as professor, disciplinarian and president until 1901. Father Spetz, in addition to his duties at the college, was active for many years in parish work. He assisted the late Dr. Louis Funcken at first in the work of St. Mary's church . From August 1878 to June he had charge of the mission at New Hamburg, where in 1883 the present splendid church building was erected.

      In 1890 Rev. T. Spetz undertook the establishment of a Catholic congregation in Waterloo and began the erection of a new church building. It speaks well for the community spirit among the people of Waterloo that Father Spetz was able to secure subscriptions amounting to about $1500 from Waterloo non-Catholics in aid of the new building. The total sum collected for the purpose was $5490 and when on Jan. 6, 1890 the new church was dedicated there remained a debt of only $2500. on the edifice.

      In 1911 Father Spetz assumed charge of St. Mary's parish here after the death of the late Rev. W. Kloepfer. For four years he remained in charge until the burden became too heavy, owing to his increasing years. The beautiful decoration of the interior of the church and the installation of an improved lighting system were carried out under him.

      Since 1915 he has assisted at parochial work here and in Waterloo. 1916 saw the completion of his church history of Waterloo County, a work to which he devoted many years of close study and research.

      In public life Father Spetz took much active interest. As member of the executive of the Children's Aid Society and the Waterloo Historical Society his advice was greatly valued.

      Father Spetz was active in church work up to a very short time before his death. About the middle of September, 1921, he had a slight paralytic stroke. As he became gradually weaker he was taken on September 27 to St. Joseph's hospital in Guelph. There a gradual decline set in. Sometime later he became absolutely helpless until death called him away at 3.15 o'clock Thursday afternoon, Dec. 1, 1921.

      Some incidents as characteristics that would go on the screen to show the persistent activity of the subject of our sketch, might be added. More than once, on his visits to St. Agatha, he walked to the tombstone of his grandfather in the cemetery and took care that age and atmosphere would not injure it. Joseph Spetz, his father, was a brewer, on Frederick Street, with considerable property at the time of his death. Father Spetz in his young days not only worked on the farm, but also handled the beer kegs in his father's brewery* with skill and dispatch. With his brothers and sisters he formed a musical choir in his home where some of his fellow students on frequent occasions joined around the piano in rendering German folk songs.

      In Rome he was leader of the choir and instructed the students of his college in plain chant with great patience and success. Among his pupils was Father Fehrenbach, later his successor at St. Jerome's College .

      As superior, as pastor in Kitchener, in Waterloo, even on his visits to outlying missions, he wore such a quiet unassuming manner that he was termed "the silent man" by a priest's housekeeper. He was so absolutely unconscious of self, and absorbed in his thoughts, that he would pass by his relatives and friends on the street without noticing them ; and in winter, quite unknowingly, wearing a summer coat, an out-of-date hat or old shoes, leaving canes and umbrellas or even valuables in strange places, without reclaiming them. When busy with his greatest accomplishment, the establishment and building of St. Louis Church in Waterloo, he was found in shirt sleeves digging, grading, engaging in all kinds of useful work, usually neglected. He was always ready to advocate and promote public enterprise, his advice and counsel in such matters being valuable and frequently asked.

      A permanent monument of his untiring energy and active interest in local affairs is a book he wrote and compiled with great patience and perseverance entitled " A History of the Catholic Church in Waterloo County," in which the origin of the various parishes, the advent of pioneer settlers, the growth of the missions, the lives of the clergymen connected with them, descriptions and other data in great number, gathered from many sources, are illustrated and historically recorded with great care and tact. The book was published in 1916, a neat volume, in fine binding, containing in its 126 pages a most interesting account of facts, which would have been forgotten completely, unless written down when laboriously obtained from old settlers whose memories had to be stirred up vigorously and repeatedly.

      Father Spetz specialized in history. His favorite class in college was general history. His erudition, particularly in modern history, was extensive, his critical judgment pro- Of which the buildings, converted into dwellings, are still standing, on Spetz St., off Frederick St.-Ed..... found, his views unbiased. Whilst taciturn in company, he could, when roused by questions or stirred up by contrary views, discourse on most any subject, even modern politics, interestingly and widely. Public men in Europe and America, their merits and failings, were disclosed from the stores of his memory, without hesitation and with surprising accuracy. On his countenance, dignified and mild, indignation with an ominous scowl would emerge when unconsidered or faulty assertions were made.

      After his first paralytic stroke he seemed to be mentally preoccupied and aware of his approaching life's end, remarking to a friend : "This is the beginning of the end." Thus closed the earthly career and usefulness of a many-sided man, who of humble origin, by unselfish ambition and religious faith attained a few comparatively great objects in his civil and priestly life. J. F2a

      2aTenth Annual Report of the Waterloo Historical Society, 1922, Pages 261-264

  • Sources 
    1. [S137] Census - ON, Waterloo, Berlin - 1901, a-2 pg 5.

    2. [S158] Census - ON, Waterloo, Berlin - 1881, Div. 2 Pg. 46.

    3. [S340] Census - ON, Waterloo, Berlin - 1911, Div. 28 Pg. 8.

    4. [S1116] Book - Men of Canada 1901, Biography of Rev. Father Theobald Spetz - pg 469.

    5. [S1592] Census - ON, Waterloo, Berlin - 1891, Section 2 Page 45.

  • Event Map
    Event
    Link to Google MapsBirth - 13 May 1850 - Waterloo Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - Priest - 1881 - Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsReligion - Roman Catholic - 1881 - Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - Priest - 1891 - Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsReligion - Roman Catholic - 1891 - Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - priest and professor - 1901 - Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - Priest - 1911 - Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsReligion - Catholic - 1911 - Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario Link to Google Earth
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