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

William J. Attig

Male 1855 - 1908  (52 years)

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  • Name William J. Attig 
    Born 19 Oct 1855  , Germany Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2, 3
    Gender Male 
    Interesting accident, misfortune, life story 
    Occupation 1901  Mornington Twp., Perth Co., Ontario Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Misfortune 14 Sep 1908  Wellesley Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    killed in boiler accident 
    Eby ID Number Waterloo-182042 
    Died 14 Sep 1908  Wellesley Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 3
    Cause: killed in boiler explosion 
    Buried Saint Mary of Perpetual Help Cemetery, Hesson, Mornington Twp., Perth Co., Ontario Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Person ID I182042  Generations
    Last Modified 19 May 2020 

    Family Mary Ritter,   b. 10 Mar 1858,   d. 14 Sep 1916, Mornington Twp., Perth Co., Ontario Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 58 years) 
     1. Charles Attig,   b. 4 Jun 1887, , Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown
    Last Modified 19 May 2020 
    Family ID F52434  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • Resident wants to mark the spot of century-old mill explosion in Linwood

      By Liz Bevan - August 25, 2016

      A cider mill explosion more than a hundred years ago is a piece of Linwood's history that resident Leonard Horst wants to see remain in the public consciousness.

      In September 1909, two men, Thomas Huber and William Attig, were killed instantly and brutally in a massive boiler explosion at Huber's family cider mill during the construction of an apple butter mill in Linwood.

      According to Horst, who presented as a delegation at Tuesday evening's Wellesley council meeting, the Huber family also ran a tavern, blacksmith shop and a wagon shop on the same site.

      It was a story that he had grown up hearing about. Now, Horst wants to turn the site into a historical marker, remembering the incident and the two men who lost their lives. He even found a piece of an old boiler at the spot where the mill once stood.

      "I had heard about a cider mill being blown off the map, but that was about it and I don't leave well enough alone," he told council and staff. "There is a boiler in Heidelberg and the boiler is very similar to the boiler that exploded and I went to the owner and he said I could have it and move it to the site if I can get approval from the township and put it there as a monument."

      Horst already has permission from the current landowner in Linwood to fix up a small spot near the road where the Huber family businesses stood. Now, he just needs council onboard.

      "I don't just want to go ahead with it," he said, adding that he isn't asking for money. "If the township is in favour, I can get it there, get it on a bit of a stand and put a plaque on it. I'll look after that."

      Coun. Peter van der Maas asked if Horst had contacted the Wellesley Historical Society to help him dig up some more information on the incident from 108 years ago. Horst assured him that he has been working closely with them.

      Mayor Joe Nowak said he wanted to know more, mentioning that the township doesn't currently have a policy to provide direction in this case.

      "What we should do is get staff to come back with a bit of a report on it with a recommendation on how to move forward," he said. "It is an interesting story, there is no question about it."

      The site sits at a spot known as Huber's Corner just off Schummer Line, and council directed staff to visit the site, and put together a report on what the next steps should be to make Horst's idea happen.

      The plan is have the report back to council for discussion at the next regular council meeting in September.

      Bevan, L. (2016). Resident wants to mark the spot of century-old mill explosion in Linwood. ObserverXtra. Retrieved 31 August 2016, from https://observerxtra.com/2016/08/25/resident-wants-mark-spot-century-old-mill-explosion-linwood



      A frightful accident occurred just at noon on Monday last, by which Thos. Huber, who lives on the Ninth Line Wellesley, one mile west of the Linwood Sideroad, and Will Attig, of Newton, lost their lives.

      Mr. Huber has for years conducted a blacksmith and carriage business on the lot where the accident occurred, and was this year adding a complete cider making plant. The work was about finished and on Monday forenoon the boiler was steamed up for the first time. Mr. Attig, the well-known contractor, was assisting in installing the plant, and both men were working in the blacksmithshop when the hired man came in and reported that the boiler was "blowing off' although the steamguage only showed 25 pounds pressure. Mr. Attig replied that he would soon fix that, and started for the boiler room accompanied by Mr. Huber. The hired man, thinking Attig intended to regulate the safety valve, remained in the blacksmithshop, and to this he probably owes his life, for a moment later there was a terrific explosion. The cider mill building was completely wrecked. Attig was found

      near by, with one side of his face completely torn off, probably by a piece of flying iron, and his body otherwise mutilated. Huber had been thrown a long distance into the field and against an elm tree fully 320 feet away. Every article of clothing had been torn from his body. Both men must have died instantly.

      Neighbors gathered and did all that was possible for Mrs. Huber, who had just a few minutes before the explosion called the men to dinner and was now nearly frantic with grief.
      Both men are well known and highly respected all over this district.

      Mr. Attig has for years been engaged in moving buildings and taking contracts for other work of this nature and so has a wide circle of friends.

      Mr. Huber, "Tom" as he is familiarly known to nearly everybody, has lived at "Huber's Corner" all his life, his father having for many years in the early times kept tavern at that place. He was about 4o years of age and leaves a mourning wife and two children. For several years he has acted as correspondent for the Maple Leaf from that section.

      Wellesley Maple Leaf September 17, 1908


      Thomas Huber and William Attig Instantly Killed by Sudden Explosion at Huber's Cider Mill

      A terrible double fatality occurred just before noon today on the ninth concession of Wellesley Township about six miles from Wellesley village. Thomas Huber on whose premises the accident occurred and William Attig of Newton, were instantly killed, the former being blown to pieces.

      The shocking accident occurred at the late Mr. Huber's cider mill on the ninth line of Wellesley, where the two unfortunate men were putting up an apple butter plant in connection with the mill.
      Suddenly and without the slightest warning, the boiler burst, smashing the building and instantly killing both Mr. Huber and Mr. Attig.

      Mr. Huber's body was blown a long distance, the clothes being literally torn off him, and he was badly mangled. Mr. Attig's death was also instantaneous though it is understood he was not sobadly smashed.

      Mr. Huber, who was the proprietor of the mill was a young man of about 30 years of age and leaves a wife and two small children. He was the popular blacksmith as well as mill owner of that section and was very well and favorably known throughout the township.

      Mr. Attig, whose home was in Newton, has been engaged in moving buildings and allied forms of work and was employed at the Huber cider mill erecting an apple butter plant when the terrible accident occurred.

      The whole community is depressed over the shocking fatality and great sympathy is expressed for the bereaved families. What caused the explosion is a mystery as it came with awful suddenness, leaving death and destruction in its wake.

      The Daily Telegraph (Berlin) September 15, 1908


      Terrible Catastrophe Near Linwood is Graphically Described

      The Milverton Sun gives further details of the terrible boiler Explosion near Linwood on Monday in which William Attig and Thomas Huber were killed. It states:

      The boiler had been filled with water last week and on Monday morning Mr. Attig decided to make the first test of the machinery to see that everything was in running order before opening up for business on Wednesday as had been announced. Mr. Huber who followed the trade of blacksmith and woodworker, was employed along with Mr. Geo Duench in the blacksmith shop. Towards noon he went to announce to Mr. Attig that dinner was ready and while in the engine and boiler room the explosion took place with such awful consequence's to life and property. For miles around the report could be heard and many wondered as to the cause. Duench, the only other man near at hand, rushed out of the shop, and Mrs. Huber out of the house across the way. The sight that met their eyes

      almost staggered them for the time being. The building that had been standing a few minutes before, was now a complete wreck, with buildings blown to bits and the stone walls levelled to the ground, bricks strewn around for hundreds of yards, heavy sections of the boiler lying north south east and west. One piece seven feet wide by thirteen feet in length and weighing over three hundred pounds, having been carried a distance of nearly 640 feet. The smokestack lay across the road smashed and bent, flues were scattered about in every direction. The fields adjoining were literally covered with matchwood and the whole building, with the single exception of the heavy cider press, an entire and absolute wreck showing the immense force of the explosion.

      Search for the unfortunate men amidst the mass of ruins revealed the body of Mr. Attig about 40 feet east of the building, having been blown through the wall by the terrible impact. His head was crushed in around the left eye, the left arm torn to shreds from shoulder to elbow, while the right leg, from the knee to the ankle, was smashed into pulp. The head and shoulders were also scalded.

      The body of Huber was blown a distance of about 80 feet, and was found across the road east of the building, where he had struck a tree, glancing off, knocking down the rail fence in close proximity. Not a vestige of clothing remained on him, except the collar of the shirt, a piece of the sleeve, pants, boots and socks were found on the road! One of the shoes having the sole torn off. The only apparent wound was a deep cut on the back of the head, but the body and face were badly scalded. The bodies were taken into the black smith shop and Associate Coroner McEachern of Linwood summoned, who decided that an inquest was unnecessary.

      Mr. Huber was about 30 years of age and leaves a sorrowing widow to mourn his loss. He was a man held in very high esteem and his unfortunate death has cast a gloom over the entire community. Mr. Attig was about 56 years old and leaves to mourn his loss a widow and family of two sons and two daughters, namely, William of Haileybury, Charles of New Hamburg, Mrs. James McConachy of Newton and Lizzie at home. Mr. Attig was too well known in the vicinity to need any comment at our hands, he having for the past thirty years been engaged in sawmilling and general contracting.

      Waterloo Chronicle-Telegraph September 24, 1908

      Huber Cider Mill. (2016). Wellesley Township Heritage & Historical Society. Retrieved 31 August 2016, from https://www.wellesleyhistory.org/huber-cider-mill.html

  • Sources 
    1. [S713] Vit - ON - Death Registration, death certificate 29774 (1908), William J. Attig.
      William J. Attig d. 14 Sep 1908 Wellesley Twp., b. 19 Oct 1855 Germany, occ: contractor, s/o Lavier Attig & Christina Attig. cause: killed in boiler explosion

    2. [S2434] Census - Canada - 1901, Census Place: Mornington, Perth (north/nord), Ontario; Page: 12; Family No: 111.
      William Attig 45 b. 1 Oct 1855 Ontario, Occ Herdsman
      Mary 43 b. 10 Mar 1858
      Elizabeth 20 4 oct 1880
      Susan 19 b. 19 May 1881
      William 17 4 Mar 1883
      Charles 14 4 Jun 1887
      Mary E. 1 5 Mar 1901

    3. [S2153] BillionGraves Index.

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 19 Oct 1855 - , Germany Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - herdsman - 1901 - Mornington Twp., Perth Co., Ontario Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMisfortune - killed in boiler accident - 14 Sep 1908 - Wellesley Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - Cause: killed in boiler explosion - 14 Sep 1908 - Wellesley Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth