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

William Simpson[1, 2]

Male 1831 - 1912  (81 years)

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  • Name William Simpson 
    Born 28 Oct 1831  North Cave, Yorkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
    Christened 1 Dec 1831  North Cave, Yorkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [7
    Gender Male 
    Building 117 King St. W., Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Simpson Block 
    Business Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Simpson Company 
    The Simpson Company - Letterhead
    The Simpson Company - Letterhead
    Immigration 1832  , England Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Immigration 1832  , Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [6
    Occupation 1861  Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [5
    Cabinet Maker 
    Religion 1861  Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [5
    Church of England 
    Elected Office 1871  Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    councillor - Kitchener 
    • Years Served: 1871-73
    Occupation 1881  Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    Manufacturer 
    Religion 1881  Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    Methodist 
    Occupation 1891  Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [8
    Manufacturer 
    Religion 1891  Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [8
    Methodist 
    Possessions 1897  Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Kitchener,KingSt-lookingeast-busyberlin1897.jpg
    Kitchener,KingSt-lookingeast-busyberlin1897.jpg
    Kitchener King Street looking east from W. Simpson block - From: Busy Berlin Jubilee Souvenir 1897, published by Berlin News-Record
    Occupation 1901  Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Furniture manufacturer 
    Religion 1911  Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [6
    Methodist 
    Residence 1911  137 Ontario St. N., Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • 137 Ontario St. was formerly known as 77 Foundry St. North.
    137 Ontario St. North, Kitchener formerly 77 Foundry St. North
    137 Ontario St. North, Kitchener formerly 77 Foundry St. North
    Insurance map 1908-1925
    137 Ontario Street North, Kitchener, Ontario
    137 Ontario Street North, Kitchener, Ontario
    formerly 77 Foundry St. North.

    From: Berlin Celebration of Cityhood - Issued by Authority of the City. Berlin Ontario, Issued in Commemoration of its Celebration of Cityhood July 17th 1912.
    Retired 1911  Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [6
    Eby ID Number Waterloo-95398P 
    Died 29 Oct 1912  Kitchener Daily Record Newspaper, Kitchener, , Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [9
    Buried Mount Hope Cemetery, Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [9
    Person ID I95398  Generations
    Last Modified 17 Feb 2020 

    Father Martin Simpson, Sr.,   b. 11 Jan 1807, North Cave, Yorkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 25 Jul 1879, Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 72 years) 
    Mother Ann Elizabeth "Eliza" Tindall,   b. CALC 24 Sep 1809, , England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 10 Mar 1892, New Dundee, Wilmot Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 82 years) 
    Married 12 May 1830  North Cave, Yorkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [7
    Family ID F34479  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Elizabeth Aldous,   b. 1828, , Suffolk, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 8 Feb 1918  (Age 90 years) 
    Children 
     1. Fannie Elizabeth Simpson,   b. 1855, , Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown
     2. Ann Eliza Simpson,   b. 1856, , Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown
     3. Harriet Ellen Simpson,   b. 9 Dec 1858, Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 25 Mar 1859, Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 0 years)
     4. Laura K. Simpson,   b. 1860, , Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown
     5. William Martin Simpson,   b. 28 Jul 1861, , Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown
     6. Henry Albert Simpson,   b. 12 Jan 1869, Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 17 Feb 1945  (Age 76 years)
     7. Clara Louise Simpson,   b. 3 Jun 1872, Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1 Apr 1905, Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 32 years)
    Last Modified 17 Feb 2020 
    Family ID F34167  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos
    William Simpson
    William Simpson
    from Waterloo Region Hall of Fame
    William Simpson
    William Simpson
    From: Official souvenir of the celebration of cityhood, July 17th 1912

  • Notes 
    • Fifty-Six Years in the Furniture Business in Berlin

      Berlin is the Furniture Centre of Canada ; more Furniture and Better Furniture is made in Berlin than any other section of the Dominion. The Interview comes with added force on the eve of our Cityhood Celebration

      An Interview with William (Daddy) Simpson ; known as the Father of the Furniture Industry

      Thousands of our citizens for years have noticed a kindly faced, unobtrusive, indeed retiring man around our city; a man who, looks young when his eyes glisten, a man who has to be spoken to before he speaks,'97a man who, although quietly happy in the present, seems to be years back in thought. A man now nearly eighty one and yet he has the fire of youth when you come to discuss the old days of 1856 and the inception of the furniture industry in Berlin.

      That quiet, genial man is William-known to us all as "Daddy" Simpson'97the father of the furniture trade, and the father of many in the furniture trade today. Just to sit an hour and chat with "Daddy" is one of life's reminiscences. It's one of the milestones on life's highway to glean from him the vicissitudes of fifty-six years in Berlin. To live to 'be eighty-one is notable even in a country where longevity is a strong feature of our healthful clime; but to find rank as the founder of an industry that is raising Berlin into the front rank of the Dominion is to be desired by many, and attained by few. "Daddy's" age means something. He created an industry. Age does not always mean a biography or a page in the upbuilding of a town, province or a dominion. Methuselah lived nine hundred and sixty nine years, we are told in the inspired Word, but if he ever said a quotable thing or did a useful one we do not know it. William Simpson came to Berlin in 1856 when it had about 1,200 population. The main street then as now was King Street. It had a few scattered houses and ran from the Waterloo boundary to the Old Mennonite Church. It aimed to be a street of some importance; it put on a bold front but it had big gaps for hundreds of yards where only grass and untenanted lots were awaiting the development of the town.

      There were two small furniture factories in those days'97the Hoffman Factory stood where the Merchants Bank stands in 1912; Enoch Ziegler owned the second factory which standing in the East end after many ups and downs passed into the hands of the Canada Furniture Company in 1901.

      "Daddy" Simpson managed the Ziegler factory for the assignees early in 1856. In the fall of that year, he, with the assignees, formed a company known as the Menno Eby and Co. Factory. For three years they went on the even tenor of their way turning out good substantial furniture. "Furniture to wear" as Mr. Simpson says. They did not seek fancy frills and the many fads in furniture that prevail in these days. Then Mr. Eby retired and it became Simpson and Co; the Company being William Simpson, David S. Shoemaker (well known in those days) and James Potter, who owned the Great Western Hotel which stood where the Walper House stands now.

      In 1887 the Simpson Company moved to what up to a week ago was known as the Simpson Block on King Street, but which block by the strange whirligig of fate has just been bought by A. G. Schreiter who worked for many years for "Daddy" Simpson.

      The business eventually became Simpson, Anthes & Co., the members being William Simpson, John Aldous, Senator Merner, and John Anthes; an amalgamation of Simpson's original factory and Anthes & Co. who succeeded the Hoffman factory. As William Simpson says, "We made a general line of medium grade furniture -- furniture that would weargood dependable stuff'97so good it is in service to-day."
      Sales were chiefly in the local market. They had no serious competition.

      In 1862 the firm became Simpson and Aldous. In 1877 it was Simpson, Anthes & Co., and from 1862 to that date except for some small factories this firm had no opposition.

      There was, however, a good factory in Waterloo known as the Wegenast Furniture Factory, in which the original Mr. Isaac Hoffman was interested after retiring from Berlin. Internal differences arising, Mr. John Anthes retired in 1881 and the firm again became Simpson & Co., composed of William Simpson and Senator Merner. In 1911 the business was sold out to the Canada Furniture Manufacturers Limited; Mr. Simpson retaining his stock but in favor of younger men. What is now Schreiter's Block but to thousands will long be remembered as the Simpson Block, was built in 1887 and it is an interesting sidelight on the marvellous increase in land and building values in 1912 when the Simpson Block in 1912 sells for three times its first cost in 1887. Of course, the great factor in its increase in value is its central location, and it is without doubt in the throbbing heart-centre of the City. "Now, William, how do you explain the fact that Berlin for nearly sixty years has been interested heavily in the furniture industry and now is the centre of the Furniture Industry of the Dominion?" It was here that I touched upon the genial eyes to glisten and the reserved tongue to loosen.

      "Daddy" Simpson was in the heart of the furniture trade in thought at once "Why? Why?" Why just because we had the common business sense to mind our own business which was making good furniture."

      "It was so good that people talked about it. It sold here in Berlin and its fame spread to surrounding towns, and then our furniture went there, and they talked it and the fame spread further; for reputation that endures can only be built upon the solid foundation of quality."
      I do not know that in my seventeen years in newspaper life in which I have interviewed many notabilities that I ever listened to a man with more interest than to "Daddy" Simpson.

      He is the living throbbing embodiment of the creed of thoroughness in work and goodness of output. If it's worth doing at all it's worth doing well'97seems to be his creed. He recognised that the home is the trysting place of love and rest, that anything which makes for harmony, happiness, and comfort is an essential and a blessing. "He built good furniture," that is the burden of his song at eight-one years of age, would it were the general burden of our song all the years of our lives.

      From this Father of the Furniture Industry cannot we read why Berlin is the Furniture City of Canada? The master was so good that those who served with him caught his spirit, went forth in their day to make good furniture and are making it yet.

      It is not left to all of us to see the fruits of our policy; but William Simpson can look over Berlin to-day and see the best furniture firms owned by his graduates, and this is one great solace in his declining years.

      As you all know the great factories here are those owned by Hibner, Krug, Anthes, Lippert, Berlin Furniture Co., Baetz, Kreiner and Wunder, all names to conjure with in the furniture business from the rock bound coast of the East to the Pacific shores of the West.
      Among the well known Berlin furniture manufacturers of to-day who at one time worked for "Daddy" Simpson are George Lippert, Sr., Jacob Kreiner; and among the furniture retailers, A. G. Schreiter, who as Mr. Simpson says, "For many years had charge of my Upholstery Department and was an excellent workman." Edward Lippert served his time as an upholsterer and has since made good in the retail furniture business and with investments in the North West.

      Then there's Conrad Wurm of The Berlin Table Co., who used to work with Mr. Simpson on extension table work," a right good workman who knew his work and did it."

      Then there was Levi Seibert in charge of "Daddy" Simpson's Undertaking Parlors for twenty-five years, a tribute to the good work of the employee and the good appreciation of employer and the public, for the management of such a department requires great tact and unlimited good judgment and not a small amount of patience. He is still retained to manage that department for Schreiter' s.

      I must not forget Herman Rathman, a finisher, indeed the boss finisher for the old Simpson Company; a man more or less retired from active business to-day but bears the reputation in the trade of being "one of the best finishers in Canada."

      Then in the Baetz factory to-day there is Henry Hagen, who graduated from the Simpson factory and known as one of the best fitters in the trade; and there, no doubt, are a large number of good workmen in our Berlin furniture factories who received their technical training from Mr. William Simpson but his memory is at fault recalling them, he would do so if he could, for he believes in giving every man his just due.

      "Daddy" Simpson points with pride to the fact that his son Harry learned the furniture trade with him, then took charge of the J. B. Snider Office, School and Church Furniture Factory at Waterloo for many years and five years ago went to Eastern Township Furniture Co., Athabaska, P. Q., where he is doing well; an instance of heredity and that blood will tell.

      William Simpson was. born in England, came to Canada when but five months old; his parents settled in St. George, near Harrisburg, Ontario; he was educated there and at fifteen went to Hamilton and was apprenticed for four years to William Wright, a cabinet maker.

      "Daddy" Simpson wisely and truly remarks that the great outstanding impression that remains with him is that every Berlin factory, furniture or otherwise, that is operating in July 1912, started from humble beginnings. All started from practically nothing, but indomitable industry and hard concentrated self-effort to succeed. All stand as monuments to the native talent, energy and application of their founders.

      Fourteen large furniture factories rear their chimneys to the sky in our midst, work is continuous, all of them have difficulty in filling their orders, all of them are crying for skilled help; most of them are owned, managed and staffed by Germans men who are famed in the wood working industry, as clever at manufacturing as they are shrewd at retailing. Our manufacturing centres are favorably known for their freedom from fuss, feuds, or factions. They run smoothly. They turn out huge quantities of good materials.

      These in control know their business from A to Z. Those who work in these factories swear by them. They work in them and for them. We send out of Berlin several times a year the largest excursion parties that go out of Ontario; we work when we work and we play when we play. That is the true secret of good factory management.

      That was the basis of "Daddy "Simpson's business system. Get good men, treat them, let them work under sanitary conditions, pay them well, and all the rest will adjust itself to the betterment of employer and employee. How well these principles work out is best shown in the fact that seventy per cent of our residents live in their own homes; and Berlin is growing by leaps and hounds every year. "Daddy" Simpson's life and its results is an inspiration to us all. To know such men is a liberal education.

      Official souvenir of the celebration of cityhood, July 17th 1912, Berlin, Ontario, The German Printing and Publishing Co

  • Sources 
    1. [S4] Vit - ON - Marriage Registration, 012431-90.
      Henry A. SIMPSON, 23, draftsman, Berlin, Berlin, s/o William SIMPSON & Elizabeth ALDONS married Lizzie G. SNIDER, 24, Waterloo, Waterloo, d/o John B. SNIDER & Susanna MOYER, witn: F. BUCHANAN of Galt & C.S. SIMPSON of Berlin, 28 October 1890 in Galt

    2. [S4] Vit - ON - Marriage Registration.
      William M Simpson Born: Canada Age: 25 Father: William Simpson Mother: Elizabeth Simpson Born: abt 1863 Spouse: Caroline Riehm Age: 21 born: Canada Father: Philip Riehm Mother: Sophia Riehm married 27 Jun 1888

    3. [S137] Census - ON, Waterloo, Berlin - 1901, a-2 pg 1.

    4. [S158] Census - ON, Waterloo, Berlin - 1881, Div. 2 Pg. 81.

    5. [S123] Census - ON, Waterloo, Berlin - 1861, Div. 2 Page 13.

    6. [S340] Census - ON, Waterloo, Berlin - 1911, Div. 28 Pg. 6.

    7. [S1435] Church Records - England, Yorkshire, North Cave - Bishop's Transcripts for North Cave, FHL microfilm 919476.

    8. [S1592] Census - ON, Waterloo, Berlin - 1891, Section 2 Page 26.

    9. [S166] Cemetery - ON, Waterloo, Kitchener - Mount Hope CC#4508 Internet Link .
      East: In memory of/ Tindill Simpson/ died May 10, 1893/ in his 60th year/ Ellen Nueson/ his beloved wife/ died June 25, 1921/ in her 85th year/ Cecil H. Simpson/ 1883-1946/ T. Simpson/
      (A) Cecil (B) T.S. (C) A.E.T.
      South: Martin Simpson/ died/ July 25, 187(9)/ aged 72 yrs. 6 mo./ Anna Eliza Tindill/ wife of/ Martin Simpson/ died Mar. 10, 1892/ in her 83rd year/ Clara L./ dau. of/ W. & E. Simpson/ died April 1, 1905/ in her 33' year/
      West: Elizabeth Aldous/ died Feb. 26, 1882/ aged/ 91 years 8 mo./ Harriet E./ dau. of/ W. & E. Simpson/ died Mar. 25, 1859/ aged 3 mo. 16 d'ys./ William Simpson/ died Oct. 29, 1912/ aged 81 years/ Elizabeth Aldous/ his wife/ died Feb. 8, 1918/ in her 90th year/ W. Simpson/
      (A) C.L.S. (B) W.S. (C) E.A.S. (D) H.E.S.
      North: Rebecca S. Simpson/ beloved wife of/ George Lawrence/ Aug. 2, 1878/ aged 31 yrs. 7 mo./ Charles E. Simpson/ died Dec. 16, 1880/ aged 15 yrs. 9 mo. 6 d./

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 28 Oct 1831 - North Cave, Yorkshire, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsChristened - 1 Dec 1831 - North Cave, Yorkshire, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuilding - Simpson Block - - 117 King St. W., Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBusiness - Simpson Company - - Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsImmigration - 1832 - , England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsImmigration - 1832 - , Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - Cabinet Maker - 1861 - Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsReligion - Church of England - 1861 - Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsElected Office - councillor - Kitchener - 1871 - Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - Manufacturer - 1881 - Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsReligion - Methodist - 1881 - Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - Manufacturer - 1891 - Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsReligion - Methodist - 1891 - Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsPossessions - 1897 - Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - Furniture manufacturer - 1901 - Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsReligion - Methodist - 1911 - Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - 1911 - 137 Ontario St. N., Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsRetired - 1911 - Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 29 Oct 1912 - Kitchener Daily Record Newspaper, Kitchener, , Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - - Mount Hope Cemetery, Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth