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

GCT 0027 Waterloo Township

1843 - Yes, date unknown

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  • Name GCT 0027 Waterloo Township 
    Property 1840  Waterloo Township - German Company Tract Lot 027, Waterloo County, Ontario Find all individuals with events at this location 
    purchased by Theobald Spetz who had leased the property since about 1828 
    Born 1843  Waterloo Township - German Company Tract Lot 027, Waterloo County, Ontario Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Unknown 
    Eby ID Number Buildings-83 
    Died Yes, date unknown 
    Person ID I83  Properties
    Last Modified 5 Oct 2011 

  • Notes 
    • The Theobald Spetz Site Historical Overview

      Waterloo County (now the Regional Municipality of Waterloo) was settled in the early 1800's by people of German descent who came to Canada mainly from the United States of America in their famous Conestoga wagons (Figure 12). The first Euro-Canadian settlers were Mennonites who arrived in 1801. A company of Pennsylvanian Germans was formed in 1806 who bought a tract of forty-five thousand acres at five shillings per acre. Population records indicate a rapid growth rate during the first half of the nineteenth century: 1,640 (1825); 4,424 (1841); and 7,759 (1850). In fact, Waterloo Township was second in 1850 only to York as the most thickly settled township in the Province (Smith 1852:120).

      These pioneers brought with them their tradition of mixed field crop and livestock agriculture. Crops normally occupied 70% of the farmland although Lee (1943) describes one sample area that had up to 75% in crop. According to 1849/1850 tax assessment rolls, Waterloo Township had twenty-eight saw mills, twenty-seven schools and eleven grist mills plus over thirty-two thousand acres under cultivation. Wheat (135,000 bushels), oats (105,000 bushels), potatoes (80,000 bushels), turnips (44,000 bushels), peas (26,000 bushels), rye (25,000 bushels) Indian corn (7,000 bushels) barley (5,000 bushels) and buck-wheat (3,500 bushels) were the principal crops in addition to butter (61,000 lbs.), wool (26,000 lbs.) and maple sugar (22,000 lbs.). Animal husbandry included sheep (10,411), cattle (7,766), hogs (6,630), horses (2,137) and oxen (820).

      The nineteenth century forests in Waterloo County consisted of splendid pines and hardwoods such as sugar maple, beech, wild cherry and red oak. W.H. Smith (1852:120) offers a stinging 1852 editorial comment still relevant today on forest conditions by reporting that

      ... the person clearing land to make a farm, be he an old settler, or a new arrival, commits indiscriminate slaughter among the trees, and makes a clean sweep - destroying everything, and leaving his dwellings unshaded and unsheltered for the next generation. Much of this absurdity, as far as the new settlers are concerned, must be attributed to the advise and assertations of the 'old inhabitants,' who are in the habit of telling them, 'Ohl its of no use trying to save trees, you can't do it, the wind will blow them all down.'

      The first Euro-Canadian occupant was Theobald Spetz [who actually settled on the land rather than land speculators], a German immigrant from the Upper Alsace region of France, who arrived in Waterloo Township by way of Pennsylvania with his wife Maria and their four sons around 1828. After having leased the land for some time and building a log cabin, he purchased it in 1840.

      Possibly because of his advanced age and poor health, Spetz sold most of the property in 1843 except for a five acre parcel which Maria inherited upon her husband's death in 1847. Joseph Spetz, the eldest son, purchased part of the surrounding land back in 1851 and lived in a new house just across the road from his mother until the late 1850's. Rechecking the Canada Census returns has determined their religion to be Roman Catholic and not Mennonite as was originally thought.  In fact, they were probably the first Catholic settlers in Waterloo Township. Annual tax assessment rolls indicate that there were no structures on the property prior to the arrival of the Spetz family. While probate records state that a one and a half storey frame house and other outbuildings were erected, George Tremaine's 1861 map of Waterloo County shows only a single structure in the approximate location of the archaeological site (Figure 13). The 1881 version of the same map (Parsell 1881:23) does not show any structure at all. It was apparently demolished during the mid-1860's when the homestead was incorporated into the surrounding agricultural field.

      Archaeological Fieldwork

      The Theobald Spetz site is situated on very gently sloping to level topography with Martin Creek to the north and unnamed tributaries of Fowell, Cedar and Laurel Creeks just to the east, south and southwest respectively. The general area is classified as a drumlinized till plain in the Waterloo Hills physiographic region (Chapman and Putnam 1984:113 and Map 2225) within a transition zone between the Carolinian and Canadian biotic provinces (Janusas 1987:2). Figure 14 (adapted from Presant and Wickland 1971:Map 19) illustrates the dominant Heidleberg fine sandy loam soil type on the site.

      The surface artifact distribution encompassed approximately 2,000 square metres immediately adjacent to Westmount Road on Lots 94 to 97 of the plan of subdivision. Except for widely scattered isolated findspots, no substantial amount of nineteenth century cultural material was found anywhere else in the ploughed field. This confirmed that the major residential occupation was confined to the area excavated.
      Removal of the topsoil exposed four structural features - a large root cellar and three stone-filled pits that could be privies/outhouses (Figures 16 to 20). Two juvenile animal burials were also found. Irregularly-shaped subsoil disturbances throughout the excavated area are related to root burns and tree stump removal during forest clearing operations of the pioneer settlers.

      Although a wide range of material was recovered from the cellar, few artifacts, if any, were actually related to cellar use. All of the material was apparently deposited after the house was demolished. The cellar was intermittently filled-in during several sequential episodes with building rubble, midden deposits and fist-sized stones gathered from the adjacent fields.1a

      1aThe Julian Baker and Theobald Spetz Sites: Two Nineteenth Century Pioneer Homesteads in Southwestern Ontario - prepared by Robert G. Mayer

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsProperty - purchased by Theobald Spetz who had leased the property since about 1828 - 1840 - Waterloo Township - German Company Tract Lot 027, Waterloo County, Ontario Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 1843 - Waterloo Township - German Company Tract Lot 027, Waterloo County, Ontario Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth