Waterloo Region Generations
A record of the people of Waterloo Region, Ontario.
Ezra Charles Breithaupt

Ezra Charles Breithaupt

Male 1865 - Yes, date unknown

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  • Name Ezra Charles Breithaupt 
    Born 1865  , Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2
    Gender Male 
    Religion 1871  Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Evang. Assoc. 
    Religion 1881  Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Evangelist 
    Website 2009 
    Residence 166 Adam Street, Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Eby ID Number Waterloo-138758 
    Died Yes, date unknown 
    Person ID I138758  Generations
    Last Modified 7 Jan 2020 

    Father Mayor Philip Ludwig "Louis" Breithaupt,   b. 8 Nov 1827, Allendorf, Kurhessen, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 3 Jul 1880, Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 52 years) 
    Mother Catharine Hailer,   b. 16 Aug 1834, Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 5 Jul 1910, Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 75 years) 
    Married 8 Feb 1853  Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Family ID F13816  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos
    Ezra Carl Breithaupt
    Ezra Carl Breithaupt
    source: Sketch of the Life of Catharine Breithaupt, her family and times, Berlin, Ontario, 1911

  • Notes 
    • BREITHAUPT, EZRA CARL, engineer and businessman; b. 19 Feb. 1866 in Berlin (Kitchener), Upper Canada, sixth of ten children of Louis Breithaupt, a tanner, and Catharine Hailer; d. there unmarried 27 Jan. 1897.

      Ezra Carl Breithaupt's father, originally from Germany, was living in Buffalo, N.Y., by 1853, when he married Catharine Hailer, the daughter of German immigrants to Berlin, Upper Canada. A fifth-generation tanner, he had inherited his father's interest in a tannery in Buffalo, but around 1857 he set up another in Berlin and in 1861 moved his family and his firm there. The family became active in Zion Evangelical Church and in local business and politics. At the time of his death in 1880, Louis was mayor of Berlin. His elder sons were to continue the leather business and would be involved in establishing the Berlin Gas Company around 1883.

      Ezra Carl Breithaupt (usually known as Carl)attended public and high schools in his native town, and from 1883 to 1887 took a general course at the evangelical North-Western College in Naperville, Ill. For several years afterwards, he had health problems, possibly respiratory in nature, which led him to winter with the family physician, Dr David Sovereign Bowlby, in Bermuda and in Texas. Breithaupt's choice of profession was probably influenced by his family's involvement in the Berlin Gas Company. In the autumn of 1890 he began the two-year course in applied electricity offered at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore since 1886. He was certificated in applied electricity in 1892.

      On his return to Berlin, Breithaupt entered the Breithaupt Leather Company, of which he became a director, and the Berlin Gas Company, in which he combined professional and family interests. By 1892 he owned more than $2,000 in shares in Berlin Gas and about then became its manager. The firm began generating electricity, and in 1895, with power from Berlin Gas, Breithaupt converted two horse-drawn streetcars owned by the Berlin and Waterloo Street Railway Company to electric traction; its power also lit eight arc street lamps in Waterloo. Between July 1895 and February 1896, Breithaupt, his brother William Henry, and his sister Melvina Emilia acquired more than $22,000 of the $40,000 capital of the street railway company, and Carl soon became its president. He expanded both firms, building a large gas tank and extensive additions to the powerhouse and plant for Berlin Gas and installing new rails and two new electric cars for the street railway.

      Like his elder brothers, Carl had a place in the local community. Louis Jacob was mayor of Berlin in 1888-89, and John Christian in 1896-97; both served as presidents of the board of trade, Louis Jacob in 1891 and John Christian in 1895. Carl was a member of the board's financial committee in 1893, was elected its vice-president the following year, and in 1896 sat on its council. Through these years he also acted as consulting engineer in various parts of Canada and published articles on Canadian electrical engineering in American journals. A member of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, he belonged to the Canadian Electrical Association (formed in 1889), served on its executive, and in June 1896 was chosen its second vice-president. His papers were frequently read at the meetings of the association.

      In January 1897, at the age of 30, Breithaupt died from injuries sustained in an explosion in the new gas tank he had built for Berlin Gas. His mother donated a pipe-organ to Zion Evangelical Church in memory of her husband and Carl, who had been choirmaster and a Sunday school teacher there. She also gave $1,000 of Carl's estate to Berlin-Waterloo Hospital, which installed a window in his memory.


      Johns Hopkins Univ. Arch. (Baltimore, Md.), Registrar's records, E. C. Breithaupt student file, including transcript from North-Western College (Napierville, Ill.), 11 Feb. 1889. Kitchener Chamber of Commerce (Kitchener, Ont.), Board of Trade, minute-books; Chamber of Commerce records. Kitchener Public Library, Rare Books Dept., Berlin and Waterloo Street Railway Company, stock-book; Berlin Gas Company, stock-book. Univ. of Waterloo Arch. (Waterloo, Ont.), L. J. Breithaupt, diaries, 1867-1927; Breithaupt family photographs. Zion Evangelical Church (Kitchener), Reg. of baptisms, marriages, and burials. "The late E. Carl Breithaupt," Canadian Engineer (Toronto), 4 (1896-97): 285 (includes photograph). Berliner Journal (Berlin (Kitchener]), 8 March 1866. Daily Record (Berlin), 27, 29-30 Jan. 1897. Berlin, Canada: a self-portrait of Kitchener, Ontario, before World War One . . . , ed. Paul Tiessen (St Jacobs, Ont., 1979). [W. H. Breithaupt], Sketch of the life of Catharine Breithaupt, her family and times (Berlin, 1911; copy at Kitchener Public Library, Rare Books Dept.). John English and Kenneth McLaughlin, Kitchener: an illustrated history (Waterloo, 1983). J. C. French, A history of the university founded by Johns Hopkins (Baltimore, 1946), 169-70. W. V. Uttley, A history of Kitchener, Ontario (Kitchener, 1937; repr. [Waterloo, 1975]). "Waterloo County railway history," Waterloo Hist. Soc., Annual report (Kitchener), 1917: 19.


      Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online www.biographi.ca

      _______________

      BREITHAUPT (Berlin, Ont.) Jan 27 - E. Carl Breithaupt, who was injured in the explosion at the gas works last night, died this morning about 2 o'clock. He was badly burned and also injured internally. It now transpires that Breithaupt was blown onto the roof of the shed, where he was rescued. The other victim is so far doing favorably

      ALDRICH (Berlin, Ont.) Jan. 26 - A terrible fire which has already resulted in one fatality and through which others may follow, happened here tonight at 7: 30. Two terrible explosions in rapid succession frightened people living in the near vicinity of the Gas company's works.

      A reporter lives near the scene, and running out of the house, saw the gas works were on fire. The sound of a man's voice shouting "Help! help!" in a frantic voice was heard. Not long after an alarm was sent in, and the firemen were on the scene in quick time, and had streams playing on the flames.
      Those who arrived on the scene first found E. Carl Breithaupt, manager of the Gas company and who is also manager of the electric street railway, lying on the low roof of a shed adjoining the burning building. He was terribly burned and bruised about the head and body. He was taken to Dr. G.H. Bowlby's residence and his injuries looked after. He was unconscious. It is feared his back is broken. When the reporter called at the doctor's residence shortly after, he was told that Mr. Breithaupt had recovered consciousness, but that it was not known, whether he would live or not. Near the burning building, a workman employed about the works, named Weller, was found in an unconscious state. He was carried to an adjoining house, where he now lies at this writing, unconscious.

      But a horrible discovery awaited the searchers. A smothered cry was heard inside the burning building, and two brave firemen rushed in the teeth of the flames to attempt a rescue. The other firemen turned the hose on them, and by this means they were enabled to get at the imprisoned man, who was lying near the oil tanks, under a heap of burning wood and bricks. Before they got him out, however, he was dead. His hands and feet were literally burned off, and his face was burned beyond recognition. Though he could not be positively recognized, it was known that the poor wretch was William Aldrich, the electrician of the building. He was laid out on the snow, until Suraris' undertaking wagon was brought, when he was taken to the undertaking establishment.

      There are different stories as to how the fire originated, but as all those in the building, at the time are dead or unconscious, it can only be a surmise. The general impression prevails, that the three men went into the building where the gas is made and the tanks of oil are kept, in order to make some repairs. One must have had a cigar, and a spark from it evidently dropped into one of the tanks. Immediately the oil must have exploded, and Mr. Breighaupt, and Mr. Weller were thrown outside, while poor Aldrich, less fortunate, was dashed against the stone wall of the building to die horribly, being literally roasted to death.

      Hamilton Spectator - Wednesday, January 27, 1897

  • Sources 
    1. [S158] Census - ON, Waterloo, Berlin - 1881, Div. 2 Pg. 51.

    2. [S229] Census - ON, Waterloo, Berlin - 1871, Div. 1, Pg. 54.

    3. [S107] Book - The Canadian Biographical Dictionary and Portrait Gallery of Eminent and Self-Made Men, Ontario Volume, 1880.

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 1865 - , Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsReligion - Evang. Assoc. - 1871 - Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsReligion - Evangelist - 1881 - Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - - 166 Adam Street, Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
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