Waterloo Region Generations
A record of the people of Waterloo Region, Ontario.
Joseph Emm Seagram

Joseph Emm Seagram

Male 1841 - 1919  (78 years)

Personal Information    |    Media    |    Notes    |    Sources    |    Event Map    |    All    |    PDF

  • Name Joseph Emm Seagram 
    Born 15 Apr 1841  Fisher Mills, (Cambridge) Waterloo Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2, 3, 4, 5
    Gender Male 
    Business Waterloo Distiller and Flouring Mill 
    Waterloo-WaterlooDisilleryandFlouringMill-0001-sketch.jpg
    Waterloo-WaterlooDisilleryandFlouringMill-0001-sketch.jpg
    Town of Waterloo, Street: King , Occupation: general merchant & proprietor Waterloo Distillery & flouring mill
    Religion 1851  Galt (Cambridge), Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Episcopalian 
    Elected Office 1879  Waterloo City, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Councillor - Waterloo 
    Occupation 1881  Waterloo City, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Merchant 
    Religion 1881  Waterloo City, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Church of England 
    Elected Office 1884  Waterloo City, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Councillor - Waterloo 
    Hobbies Horse Racing 
    Waterloo-Seagram,JE-PlateWinners.JPG
    Waterloo-Seagram,JE-PlateWinners.JPG
    Student Galt Collegiate Institute - 200 Water St. N., Cambridge, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Occupation 1891  Waterloo City, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [5
    Distiller 
    Religion 1891  Waterloo City, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [5
    Anglican 
    Occupation 1901  Waterloo, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Distiller 
    Seagram's Distillery reportedly in 1857
    Seagram's Distillery reportedly in 1857
    Occupation 1911  Waterloo City, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    Distiller 
    Waterloo-JosephE.SeagramDistillery-001.jpg
    Waterloo-JosephE.SeagramDistillery-001.jpg
    Religion 1911  Waterloo City, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    Church of England 
    Died 18 Aug 1919 
    Website 2007 
    Website 2008 
    Name Joseph E. Seagram 
    Residence 22 Willow St., Waterloo, Ontario Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Bratton House 
    Waterloo-BrattenHouse.jpg
    Waterloo-BrattenHouse.jpg
    Eby ID Number Waterloo-43676 
    Person ID I43676  Generations
    Last Modified 7 Jan 2020 

    Father Octavius Augustus Seagram,   b. Abt 1814, of, Waterloo Twp., Region of Waterloo, Ontario Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Mother Amelia Stiles,   b. 1814, Bratton, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 7 Apr 1852  (Age 38 years) 
    Married 1837  Waterloo Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [6
    Family ID F25469  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Stephanie Erbs,   b. 8 Apr 1847, , Alsace Lorraine, France Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 4 Aug 1909, Cushings Island, Portland, Cumberland, Maine, United States Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 62 years) 
    Married 23 Feb 1869  Galt (Cambridge), Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Children 
     1. Marie Augusta Seagram,   b. 20 Jan 1870, Waterloo City, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1870, , Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location
     2. Alexandrine Seagram,   b. 1871, , Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown
     3. Blanche Alexandrine "Alexandra" "Adine" Seagram,   b. 24 Aug 1871, Waterloo City, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 19 Jul 1919, Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 47 years)
     4. Mayor Edward Frowde Seagram,   b. 28 Sep 1873, Waterloo City, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1 Feb 1937, Toronto, York Co., Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 63 years)
     5. Joseph Hamilton Seagram,   b. 27 Apr 1875, Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 9 Feb 1956, Barrie, Simcoe Co., Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 80 years)
     6. Norman Seagram,   b. 19 Jul 1879, , Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 17 Oct 1963, Toronto, York Co., Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 84 years)
     7. Thomas William Seagram,   b. 25 Oct 1887, Waterloo City, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown
    Last Modified 8 Jan 2020 
    Family ID F11392  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_E._Seagram
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_E._Seagram

  • Notes 
    • Church of the Holy Saviour

      Anglican services were conducted twice a month in Waterloo by Rev. E.W. Murray from St. John's Anglican Church, Berlin, as early as 1876. These services were held in St. John's Lutheran Church on King Street North in Waterloo; a Sunday School was begun about the same time. A decision was made at a meeting of Waterloo Anglicans on January 17, 1895 to begin regular Sunday services, and the first of these services was conducted on January 27th by Rev. Frederick J. Steen of Berlin. The present church, known then as St. Saviour, was built in the Fall of 1897 and was officially opened on January 10, 1898 by Bishop Baldwin of the Diocese of Huron. At that time the church was still a mission of St. John's in Berlin. This arrangement continued until the arrival of the congregation's first resident rector, Rev. R.A. Armstrong, in June 1901.

      A rectory was purchased in 1910 at the corner of Allen and Mary Streets, and in 1912-1913 the Parish Hall was built through the generosity of Joseph E. Seagram. On October 26, 1919 the church, with the present name of Church of the Holy Saviour, was consecrated by Bishop David Williams. The chancel was rebuilt and new pews were installed in 1926-1928. The richly decorated interior of the church, in carved oak, was executed in stages in the years 1926-1928 and 1935-1937, memorial gifts of the Seagram family and others. Of particular interest are the "Last Supper" above the altar, the chancel and narthex screens, the pulpit and lecturn, all worked by craftsmen of the Globe Furniture Company of Waterloo. The years 1935-1937 also saw the erection of the tower. An addition to the Parish Hall was built in 1954.

      Waterloo County Churches A Research Guide To Churches Established Before 1900 By Rosemary Ambrose

      _______________________

      SEAGRAM, JOSEPH EMM, distiller, sportsman, and politician; b. 15 April 1841 in Fisher's Mills, near New Hope (Hespeler, later Cambridge), Upper Canada, son of Octavius Augustus Seagram and Amelia Stiles (Styles); m. December 1869 Stephanie Urbs in Upper Fort Garry (Winnipeg), and they had four sons and two daughters; d. there 18 Aug. 1919.

      Octavius Seagram and his wife emigrated from Wiltshire, England, to Upper Canada in 1837 with the resources to purchase two farms and a tavern at Fisher's Mills. Seagram died in 1848 and following his wife's death four years later their sons, Joseph Emm and Edward Frowd, were placed under the guardianship of Michael Boomer*, the Anglican clergyman in Galt (Cambridge). The boys were sent to William Tassie's boarding-school there. Joseph spent six years at this school and after graduation he attended the Bryant and Stratton Business College in Buffalo, N.Y., for a year.

      Seagram returned to Galt in 1860 and was taken on as a junior bookkeeper at a local axe-handle factory. He left it after a fist-fight with a senior bookkeeper. He was subsequently employed as a bookkeeper at a mill in Galt and later managed a mill in Stratford. Looking for employment closer to his Galt home, Seagram was hired in 1864 by Wilhelm Hespeler* to supervise Hespeler's interest in a milling operation in Waterloo. The mill serviced the local grain market, a general store was attached to it, and Hespeler and his partners, George Randall and William Roos, found a valuable sideline in distilling surplus grain into whisky. Seagram's arrangement with Hespeler included the privilege of living in Hespeler's home. While there he met and courted Hespeler's niece, and the two would marry.

      Seagram proved a successful manager and, perhaps more than the partners, he saw the potential for the distilling business. In 1868 he bought out Hespeler's share and in 1873 he acquired Randall's. The name of the business was changed to Seagram and Roos in 1881. Two years later Seagram bought out Roos as well, and the company became a sole proprietorship under the name of the Joseph Seagram Flour Mill and Distillery Company.

      After assuming control, Seagram began to pursue with great resolution the distilling part of the business. In 1883 he produced a special blend of whisky, Seagram's 83, to celebrate his acquisition of the company and in 1887 it was sold for the first time. It would prove to be his best-selling brand. Two other name brands were distilled: Seagram's Old Rye for sale in Ontario and Seagram's White Feather for Quebec. Seagram's determination to concentrate on distilling was made clear in 1886 when he sold the dry goods business.

      Though not the first to distil Canadian whisky on a large scale, Seagram was among the most aggressive of the Canadian producers and exporters. His distillery had shipped whisky to both the United States and Britain as early as 1875, but Seagram accelerated this business after he gained complete control. By the early 1890s he was sending large quantities of whisky and other liquors directly to New York, Chicago, and Detroit for distribution. This penetration of the American market supplemented the growing success that Seagram's products were enjoying in Canada.

      In 1911 Seagram incorporated the company as Joseph E. Seagram and Sons Limited. At this point his sons Edward Frowde and Thomas William took a more active role in the company's operation. In 1913 the family met to celebrate Thomas's wedding and Seagram Sr had a special blend of whisky prepared for the event. The blend appealed to Seagram so much that he ordered wider production of the whisky, which became known as Seagram's V.O. (meaning very own); it was brought out of bond in 1917. Following Seagram's death, the presidency of the company would be assumed by Edward, but in 1928 control was acquired by the Bronfmans of Montreal.

      Seagram's success in business allowed him to pursue with vigour his passion for horse-racing. In 1860, at the age of 19, he had purchased a half share in a racehorse in Galt. From this beginning came a racing dynasty based in the growing Seagram stables near Waterloo. Seagram regularly visited more advanced racing farms in Britain and imported a large amount of breeding stock. Canada's leading turf journalist of the period, Edmund King Dodds, noted in 1909 that "for over twenty years [Seagram] has spent money lavishly importing choice blood, both from England and the United States." This lavish spending brought unprecedented success. Seagram's horses began running in the Queen's Plate in 1889 and in 1891 he won the race for the first time. His horses would win it ten times and the King's Plate five times before his death in 1919. Between 1891 and 1898 his horses won eight consecutive Plates and in six of them a Seagram horse also placed second. This record made him, in the opinion of the Canadian Magazine in 1900, "probably the greatest Canadian horse-breeder." Dodds made the point that Seagram's stables were also important in improving the bloodstock of Canadian horses in general. Seagram held annual sales at which the surplus stock of well-bred animals was sold at reasonable prices.

      Seagram was influential in the creation in 1881 of the Ontario Jockey Club, which sought to regulate horse-racing and improve the public perception of the sport. He was elected to its board in 1898 and from 1906 to his death he was its president. In 1903 he donated a $2,000 prize and a trophy for a race to be run by horses owned in Canada; it continues to this day.

      Success also led Seagram into the realm of politics. In 1881 he was elected to represent the South Ward on Waterloo Town Council. An outspoken supporter of the National Policy tariff, in 1896 he gained the Conservative nomination in the federal riding of Waterloo North. He campaigned actively on the tariff and ignored the Manitoba school question, which dominated the election in other regions. Seagram won the seat away from the Liberals, who none the less formed a government under Wilfrid Laurier.

      Opposition politics did not suit Seagram and by the election of 1900 he was considering withdrawing. He was persuaded to reconsider, however, in part by an arrangement between the Conservative and Liberal organizations that allowed him to be acclaimed and Liberal Louis Jacob Breithaupt to stand unopposed in the provincial by-election in the riding. Seagram ran again successfully in 1904. Though he chose not to run in 1908 - he was then 67 - he contributed substantially to the campaign against the young William Lyon Mackenzie King*, who still won, and played a prominent role in his defeat in 1911. King argued that his loss had been due in large part to liquor moneys: "Dozens of voters in doubtful polls were bought . . . Joseph Seagram and his allies have corrupted them." After the Conservatives returned to office in 1911, Prime Minister Robert Laird Borden* offered Seagram a Senate seat, but he declined, suggesting a younger man.

      Seagram is also remembered in Waterloo for his philanthropy. Most notable among the causes he supported was the Berlin and Waterloo Hospital. In 1893 he had donated a 14-acre parcel on the border between Berlin (Kitchener) and Waterloo to the Hospital Trust, with the provision that admission never be refused to any patient "by reason of his or her Nationality, Race, Colour, Religious belief or want of Religious belief." In addition, Seagram was a founding member of the Waterloo branch of the Canadian Association for the Prevention of Tuberculosis and a sponsor of local sängerfeste, which celebrated the music and culture of the area's German inhabitants.

      Joseph Seagram remained active in the operation of his distillery and racing stable until his death in 1919. An Anglican, he was buried in Mount Hope Cemetery in Waterloo. His influence within the community is reflected in the fact that his racing colours, black and gold, became the colours of the city of Waterloo and later of the University of Waterloo. Seagram had always prided himself on his remarkable physical resemblance to Edward VII and, despite the ego this pride suggests, within his community the similarity was appropriate.

      Andrew Thomson

      AO, RG 22-155, O. A. Seagram, 1848-52. Seagram Museum Arch. (Waterloo, Ont.), J. E. Seagram papers; Joseph Seagram and Sons Limited papers. Berliner Journal (Berlin [Kitchener], Ont.), 4 Aug. 1886. Daily Telegraph (Berlin; Kitchener), September-November 1900, August 1919. News-Record (Berlin; Kitchener), 1877-1900, August 1919. Canadian men and women of the time (Morgan; 1898 and 1912). E. K. Dodds, Canadian turf recollections and other sketches (Toronto, 1909). Trent Frayne, The Queen's Plate (Toronto, 1959). Horseman, "The Queen's Plate," Canadian Magazine, 15 (May-October 1900): 270-72. "Joseph Emm Seagram (1841-1919)," Waterloo Hist. Soc., [Annual report] (Kitchener), 64 (1976): 18-22. W. F. Rannie, Canadian whisky: the product and the industry (Lincoln, Ont., 1976). Standard dict. of Canadian biog. (Roberts and Tunnell), vol.2. George Tompkins, "A history of the Kitchener-Waterloo Hospital," Waterloo Hist. Soc., Annual vol., 52 (1964): 44-60.

      Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online 2000 University of Toronto/Université Laval https://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/seagram_joseph_emm_14E.html

      __________________________


      J. E. SEAGRAM. (North Waterloo.) Joseph Emm Seagram was born in the County of Waterloo, Ont., in 1841. He is the son of Octavius Augustus Seagram and Amelia Styles, who both came from Bratton, Wiltshire, Eng. He was educated at Galt Grammar School, and was married in 1869 to Stephanie Erbs, of Galt, Ont. Mr. Seagram carries on an extensive business as a miller and distiller. He takes an active interest in municipal affairs, and has been a Town Councillor of the thriving town of Waterloo, Ont., where his business is located. He was first returned to Parliament at the general election of 1896 as a Conservative. Waterloo, 0.

      Personnel of the Senate and House of Commons, Eighth Parliament of Canada Elected June 23, 1896, Portraits and Biographies of the Members, Montreal, John Lovell & son 1898, pg 206

      1851 - Joseph Seaghram is in same household as John Barbour.

  • Sources 
    1. [S135] Census - ON, Waterloo, Waterloo City - 1901, Waterloo (Town/Ville) D-4 Page 6.

    2. [S302] Census - ON, Waterloo, Waterloo City - 1881, Waterloo Village 1881 Div. 1 Page 16.

    3. [S313] Census - ON, Waterloo, Galt - 1851, Pg.29.

    4. [S366] Census - ON, Waterloo, Waterloo City - 1911, Div. 42 Page 8.

    5. [S2418] aaaa CensusTown of Waterloo 1891 Sect. 3, Section 3 Page 57.

    6. [S26] Lower Canada Marriage Bonds (1779-1858), C-6786.
      Name of Future Husband: LEGRUIN, Octavius Augustus Res: Waterloo, Halton County Name of Future Wife: STYLES, Amelia Res: Waterloo , Halton Reference: RG 5 B9 Volume: 34 Bond Number: 5838 Date: 1837-10-20

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsReligion - Episcopalian - 1851 - Galt (Cambridge), Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 23 Feb 1869 - Galt (Cambridge), Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsElected Office - Councillor - Waterloo - 1879 - Waterloo City, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - Merchant - 1881 - Waterloo City, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsReligion - Church of England - 1881 - Waterloo City, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsElected Office - Councillor - Waterloo - 1884 - Waterloo City, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsStudent - - Galt Collegiate Institute - 200 Water St. N., Cambridge, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - Distiller - 1891 - Waterloo City, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsReligion - Anglican - 1891 - Waterloo City, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - Distiller - 1901 - Waterloo, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - Distiller - 1911 - Waterloo City, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsReligion - Church of England - 1911 - Waterloo City, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - Bratton House - - 22 Willow St., Waterloo, Ontario Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth