Canada's Illustrated Magazine Newspaper
Vol. 4, No. 11, October 21st, 1905

TAVISTOCK: One of the Busy Towns in Western Ontario

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Much has been written concerning the early days of Tavistock, amongst other bustling, thriving towns in Western Ontario. The early history of this excellent section of this Province is full of many interesting incidents of the pioneer days of the early settlers, and their efforts to build villages and towns in what was then little more than a wilderness. The difficulties encountered, the steady growth and the marked changes have all been exhaustively dealt with. But it is proposed to refer in the following pages to the present citizens of Tavistock, who have contributed largely in making the place of the importance it is. Its fine places of business and extensive manufacturing establishments are monuments to the energy and progressiveness of its enterprising citizens. While there are evidences on every hand of the material development of the place, the public spirit of the citizens is manifest in many ways. The municipal interests of Tavistock have been well cared for and few places of its size present the same attractive and substantial appearance. The visitor to Tavistock could not be other than favourably impressed with the apparent industry and thrift of its residents. The quiet, undemonstrative, and yet industrious life so common in all the German settled towns of Western Ontario is here very noticeable, and it has been this that has done much towards its present prosperity. One of the most recent improvements is the laying of granolithic walks, and this, as in all other respects it is up-to-date. The advantages of this enterprising place are numerous. Its railway facilities are good, it is surrounded by a fine country and local conditions are most favorable. The many beautiful residences substantially built, add greatly to the appearance of Tavistock, and a more desirable place of residence is not often seen.

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The longest established and the store doing perhaps the largest business in Tavistock or for that matter in the county, is the mercantile business of Mr. Fred Krug, whose store is a veritable ark where the customers wants from a pin to an anchor can be satisfied. In boyhood days Mr. Krug endured many of the hardships of pioneer life. Born in Gartaw, Province of Hanover, Germany in 1843, the family settling in Berlin, Ont. His first experience in business was in the newspaper line. After attending the public schools for a few years he entered the office of the "Bauernfreund" in Waterloo, where he went through the old fashioned apprenticeship, under the late Jacob Teuscher. His experiences were such that few of our present journalists would care to face. It was part of his duties to deliver the papers which he did on horse-back. In winter or in summer, on not the best of roads and often times through storm and snow banks he found his way from one farm house to another with the papers. These were some of the experiences that laid the ground work of a splendid physique and the prompt business methods which have made him so successful. In January 1860 Mr. Krug left the printing office in Waterloo and removed to Tavistock - then called Inkerman - to accept a position as clerk in the log store conducted by the late Jacob Wagner. In 1870 he commenced business for himself, and in 1872 he formed a partnership with Mr. Adam Falk. The business was conducted under this partnership until 1884 when Mr. Krug took over the entire business and has since conducted it alone. The busines has grown steadily and rapidly and is to-day considered one of the largest general mercantile business in Western Ontario, employing about twenty hands; the most active worker being Mr. Krug himself. The store is an up-to-date departmental one. Every branch of merchandise is kept in the best assortment, and each department is managed as if it was a seperate business. Mr. Krug is one of the oldest importers in Western Ontario always making it a strict rule to pay cash, saving large cash discounts, in which, of course, his customers share. He is a large buyer and in sugar alone buys from one to three car-load lots; and also deals largely in Rio coffee, buying it green in the car-lots directs from the grower at Rio de Janiero. He was appointed Post Master in 1885. He built a handsome block which is occupied by the Western Bank of Canada and the post office, that would do credit to a much larger place. Mr. Krug has always taken a keen interest in municipal affairs and has assisted in all advancements of Tavistock.

Mr. John Krug is one of the active partners in the business and is agent for the Canadian Express Co. whose Tavistock office is located in the Krug block. He is a young man who has a promising future and his strict attention to business has enhanced his reputation in the community, and he is one of the most popular residents of Tavistock.

Mr. Fred Krug jr. who acts as postmaster is another of Tavistock's popular young men. As a musician he has acquired more than a local reputation. He plays a number of different instruments, and his services are highly valued in musical circles.

Tavistock possesses no more progressive and enterprising business man than Mr. John Lemp, Phm. B. Oph. D. Although a young man, he is always on the alert for business. His pharmacy is one of the best in that part of the country. Mr. Lemp served his time in the Drug business with Dr. Steele and Mr. J. A. Scott. He attended the College of Pharmacy at Toronto in 1903-4, and was only twelve marks behind the gold medalist when he graduated. He spent nine months in Berlin and then went to Chicago, Illinois, where he took the post-graduate course in the Northern Illinois College of Ophthalmology and Otology, the Illinois State Board of Pharmacy, and passed with honours at the head of the class, obtaining the degree of Oph.D. He was born in South Easthope. His business in Tavistock would do credit to a much larger place. Mr. Lemp is doing an extensive business in manufactured specialties, among which are the following preparations: Lemp's Condition Powder, "Pino", Lemp's Baking Powder, M. H. Tonic Bitters and "Mentho". He received his early education and passed most of his life in Tavistock where he has made himself one of the most popular young men in the community. Mr. Lemp's father, Mr. J. K. Lemp, is one of the oldest residents of Tavistock. he is a machinist and millwright of considerable experience.

Tavistock is well supplied with banking facilties. The Western Bank of Canada opened a branch in the town in 1899. The interior of the bank's premises is quite elaborate, being finished in hardwood and having grill work of oxydizied copper, and metallic ceiling. The premises are heated by hot water. It has the latest improved burglar-proof safe and fire-proof vault. The genial and popular manager, Mr. A. N. McMillan, M.E., entered the bank's service in 1897, after graduating from the School of Practical Science, Toronto University and went from the head office of the bank at Oshawa to Tavistock. He is a son of the general manager of the Western Bank, Mr. F. H. McMillan of Oshawa, under his management the local bank's business has been greatly increased. While the farmer}s business has been specially catered to and every convenience afforded, the local business has not been neglected. The Western Bank is a strong financial institution with a represebntative Board of Directors, and its earnings amount to 18% of its capital. The capital is never invested in call loans, the readily convetible assets at all times being at least 50% of total assets. The staff at the Tavistock branch is composed of Mr. Lorne McTavish, teller and accountant and Mr. Gifford King, ledger-keeper both being experts on their work.

Mr. John Kalbfleisch, the wholesale and retail manufacturer of furniture, sash, doors, builder's supplies, cheese and butter boxes etc., is one of Tavistock's most enterprising citizens, who for the past thirty-five years has been successfully carrying on business. Locating in Tavistock early in the seventies when it was in its youth and assisting in a great many ways to advance its interests, much is due Mr. Kalbfleisch for the substantial appearance of the thriving village it is at the present time. Being one of the first settlers, he has a wide acquaintance, not only among the citizens of Tavistock, but the surrounding country for many miles, and in consequence of his congenial personality and business methods, he is respected by all. Mr. Kalbfleisch has one of the largest factories of its kind in Ontario, making a specialty of sawing, matching and planing.

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The factory is located on the west side of North Woodstock street where it has been since it first began operation, and has developed from a five hand mill to a factory second to none in this section of the Province, employing over forty men the year round, and producing nothing but the best of material and worksmanship. The factory is well equipped with the most modern machinery, enabling them to compete with any firm in the Dominion. In connection, Mr. Kalbfleisch has a large and commodious show room where they carry on an extensive retail business in all grades of furniture, from the cheapest to the finest goods, adapted for the library, parlor, dining-room, kitchen, etc., the trade extends all over the province. He also makes a specialty of the undertaking business, carrying a full line of caskets and funeral furnishings of all descriptions. Embalming done in an expert manner. Funerals are attended at any distance in the surrounding country; many calls from Woodstock, Stratford, hamburg and otehr places in the district, a fine hearse and other modern undertaking vehicles being in connection.

Mr. Wm. Appel was born Jan. 28th, 1866, at Lingelbach, Kuhr Hessen, Germany. Five years later he came to Canada with his parents who settled in South Easthope. He received his public school education at Sebastopol.When 16 years of age he went to Sebringville to learn the trade of harness-making and remained about fifteen months and then went to Milverton, where he worked at his trade for about two years and a half. After a visit to Michigan for four months he returned to Milverton and bought out his employer there and carried on a general harness and saddlery business until August, 1900. While in Milverton he held various public offices. He acted as assessor for four years. He was elected to the School Board, of which he was chairman and was also a member of the Public Library and held the office of Sec'y of Mornington Agricultural Society. For some years he served as Councillor and was finally elected Reeve of the village, which office he held until he left the town. He sold out his business in 1900, and in company with Mr. V. Stock, conducted a flax business under the name of the Tavistock Flax Co., employing fifty to one hundred hands in summer and about twenty during winter in growing and handling flax, and manufacturing from twenty-five to fifty tons of live flax, besides upholstering tow and fine and course tow. This business was established about forty years ago and after passing through several different hands and being burned down twice, finally was rebuilt by J. & J. Livingston from whom it was bought by Mr. Appel and Mr. Stock who have conducted it since. In January 1904, he was elected to the County Council and again re-elected in 1905. He is also a member in the firm of the Tavistock Building and Furniture Co.

The firm of Ballantyne & Bell, of which Mr. Ballantyne, sen. and Mr. A. T. Bell are members, is an enterprising concern in Tavistock. This firm manufacture cheese and butter, which is sold in many parts of the land. Mr. Ballantyne attends to the cheese, while Mr. Bell has the management of the other part of the business. Cheese id made for six months of the year and the butter-making is carried on throughout the Winter, commencing the first of November each year, until May 1st, when the cheese-making is commecned. The firm also pay a good price for cheese and butter according to percentage of fat as shown by the Babcock test in milk, adding 2% to the readings for cheese. The whey is fed to the hogs, and the pens are located a considerable distance from the factory. They had the first dairy school in Ontario, and subsequently Mr. Bell acted as cheese instructor at the Dairy School, Guelph, for the first three terms in the Winter seasons of its existence. He has been at the business for thirty-four years and is therefore thoroughly acquainted with all its details, and is an expert on the subject of cheese and butter.

Any description of Tavistock and its surrounding would be incomplete without reference to Mr. valentine Stock, ex-M.P.P. He was born in East Zorra about fifty-two years ago, and has spent his life-time in that section. He attended the Normal School at Toronto, graduating in 1879 and after spending over six years in the teaching profession, being principal of the Tavistock public school one year, he then entered the merchantile life in that place and has since pursued business with considerable success. Mr. Stock has filled various public positions and was elected to the Legislature in 1892, and during his parliamentary career he made an excellent representative of the people.

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The Arlington Hotel, of which Mr. Sam Ratz has been proprietor for the past six years, is one of the leading hotels in the vicinity. Mr. Ratz purchased the present premises last year at a cost of $15,000 and has spent nearly $2,000 additional in improving the property since that time. The premises are surrounded by cement walks. The house has twenty-six bedrooms and accommodation for sixty guests. The dining room has a seating capacity for eighty guests. It is a fine three storey brick building and has good bar and stable accommodation. The commercial men find it a good place to remain at. The rates are $1.00 per day. Mr. A. W. Ratz the genial manager of the hotel is well fitted for the hotel business and is courteous and obliging in meeting the travelling public.

Mr. W. O. Alles, merchant tailor, has the largest tailoring establishment in Tavistock. The premises are a new two story building, built by Mr. Alles for his own accommodation in the most modern style, comprising a commodious salesroom with workshop in the rear, and being well lighted from large windows in front and back; also by Auer lights for night service. His stock of fine suitings is well selected in imported and Canadian tweeds and woolens; his foreign goods comprising a full range of plain and fancy worsted, serges, fancy vestings, cheviots, whipcords, venetians, vicunas and fine tweeds, both Scotch and English. Mr. Alles does all his own cutting, while four to five hands are kept busy, and his workmanship is guaranteed. Mr. Alles' business this season exceeds all former ones which is an indication of the popularity of his work and of himself as he is a whole-souled congenial gentleman.

Mr. Ed Alles was borne in Heidelburg, Waterloo County, where he spent his first seventeen years. At that period his father moved to Tavistock and opened a harness business, and it was here where Mr. Alles learned his trade. Having worked for his father until ten years ago, he then assumed control of the business which had grown considerable, and rendered an addition to his building, necessary in 1903. The present premises are a credit to tavistock, being a solid brick block of modern appearance and his show rooms are well fitted up with glass cabinets for displaying harness and trimmings. He carries on a general harness making business, and carries in stock rugs, blankets, robes etc. besides trunks and valises.

Mr. M. M. Staebler, watch-maker and jeweler, and dealer in diamonds and precious stones, watches, clocks, jewellry and optical goods has the largest jewelery store in Tavistock and, in fact, one of the most modern in all its departments in this section of the country, was established by Mr. Staebler in 1892. He has had over fifteen years experience as a practical watchmaker and jeweler. His stock this season is larger than ever, comprising all varieties of fine jewellry, diamonds, gold and silver watches, clocks, silver and plated wares (both hollow and flat); also a good assortment of souvenir and fancy goods for personal and household, optical goods are handled in connection carrying a large assortment of lenses and frames, also a fine testing case, with aptometer and otehr special instruments for scientific testing and correcting the errors of infraction. Mr. Staebler is a practical optician of some experience and gives his personal attention to that department having a good optical trade; also a good trade in fine jewellry, and, watch repairing, etc., in which he has also had long experience. His trade covers a radius of a number of miles in Perth and Oxford Counties, with a good village trade in tavistock and his business this year exceeds that of all former ones. Mr. Staebler also sells musical instruments, such as violins, gramophones etc.

Dr. Campbell, the well-known physician of Tavistock, succeeded Dr. Niemeier in his practice a year ago. He is a graduate of Toronto University, and practiced at Hickson for a year and half before locating in Tavistock.

Mr. J. W. Ratz has carried on business in Tavistock for some time as a tin, copper and sheet-iron worker. He is a dealer in dairy supplies, stoves, furnaces, metallic ceiling etc., and makes a speciality of eaves-troughing and furnace work. In 1902 Mr. Ratz purchased the business and block of J. D. Adams, taking as a partner Chas. Klein. Mr. Klein afterwards disposed of his interest to Aaron Gingerich. In 1904 Mr. Ratz took full control of the business. Previous to 1902 Mr. Ratz carried on business in the Kalbfleisch block.

Mr. Philip Herold has been fourteen years in Tavistock. He was born in South Easthope, in which township he has filled important offices, having been assessor for four years, auditor for one year, reeve for six years and county commissioner for four years. He attended the Ontario Veterinary Col., graduating in 1890. He has a large practice in and around Tavistock. he is also a dealer and importer of horses, and has a first-class livery barn. His father was one of the pioneers of that section.

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The Commercial Hotel, with Mr. John Landreth as proprietor and Mr. John Landreth, jr., as manager, is the first established hotel in Tavistock. Mr. Landreth, sen., has been longer in hotel business there than any other hotel-keeper. He has been a resident of Tavistock for twenty-five years, being at first a general merchant, but twenty-three years ago, he bought the Union Hotel, which he conducted until nine years ago. After a year of retirement he bought the Commercial Hotel, which he has made one of the best hotels in the locality. His premises are well equipped, having hot water heating, private water system and he is now installing all inside conveniences. For the commercial trade he has three large sample rooms thoroughly equipped. There are forty-five bedrooms in the house, and the dining room seats fifty guests. The bar is a most elaborate one. The hotel is lighted throughout by electricity and is centrally located being only about one minute's walk from the station, . . . commodious barns for the convenience of farmers and horsemen.

Mr. F. L. Pearson, B.A., is a well known barrister of Tavistock, where he has practised law for several years. Mr. Pearson was born in East Zorra, Oxford County, and attended the Collegiate Institute at Woodstock, and later the Collegaite Institute at St. Catharines, where he matriculated with honours. Later he attended Toronto University, graduating in Political Science Honour Course in 1895, and graduated from Osgoode Hall three years later. In 1896 he was a student in the law office with Mr. Buchner of London. Subsequently practised law in Ripley, and since moving to Tavistock he has built up an extensive practice. Mr. Pearson has a fine office in one of the prominent blocks there. He has evinced considerable interest in fraternal institutions, and the Ripley lodge of the Independent Oddfellows presented him with an address, and Past Grand Master's collar, after he had filled all the offices in the Lodge. He is a son of the late Wm. Pearson, a pioneer settler in East Zorra.

An important industry of Tavistock is the Etna Roller Mills, which employs twnety hands all the time. It is the largest and one of the most modern mills in the West, and has a capacity of two hundred and fifty barrels daily, which finds a market throughout the Dominion and elsewhere; particular attention being paid to home trade. The mill is run day and night, and turns out what is supposed to be, the best brands in Ontario. It is also one of the largest mills and was established twnety years ago, at which time it had only capacity of seventy-five barrels per day. This mill property is now valued at fifty thousand dollars. Mr. A. F. Ratz has been manager and director for the past eighteen years, and during the past nine years has devoted his whole time to its management. He is a native of Gadd's Hill in Perth county, and is one of the most prominent and valued citizens of Tavistock.

Mr. W. J. Holloway, until about four years ago, (missing) East Zorra where he was born. His father was one of the pioneers of that township, and Mr. Holloway still owns the homestead. He has carried on an implemetn business in Tavistock handling also musical instruments. Last month he opened a music store and has now discontinued the implement branch of the business. He is agent for the Mason & Risch pianos, besides organs and a variety of string and reed instruments. He carries in stock all kinds of sheet music and stationery, and is prepared to do repairing to musical instruments. Mr. Holloway is outside salesman, while Miss Holloway has charge of the store, which is one of the finest in Tavistock, and is located in Stock's Block.

The Tavistock Building and Furniture Co. are manufacturers and contractors; their factory has been in operation for a period of about twenty years. It was originally built and managed by H. B. Wilker, but in 1899 the business was bought by Adam Schaefer who was unfortunately killed in the first season by a saw in the factory. The property was then run by the estate until 1903 when it was taken over by the present firm composed of Dr. O. G. Neimeier of Toronto Jct., W. M. Appel (who is also manager of Tavistock Flax Co.) Andrew Appel, assistant manager, H. W. Kalbfleisch manager, under the name of The Tavistock Building and Furniture Co. At present the company has the following the buildings. The large factory in which from twenty to thrity men are kept busy, fully equipped for the manufacture of building materials, such as doors, blinds and all kinds of inside finish for private and public buildings a large dry kiln and the wholesale and retail furniture warerooms. They have also extensive lumber yards in which is stocked shingles, lath and lumber both for their own use and for sale. The firm carry a full line of furniture of all classes for the wholesale and retail trade in their warerooms both of their own manufacture and imported goods. Mr. Kalbfleisch, the manager, looks after the undertaking department personally, in which he has one of the finest equipments in Western Ontario, including a very fine and expensive hearse, casket waggon and one of the most modern casket lowering devices also a complete assortment of caskets and funeral furnishings. Mr. Kalbfleisch makes a specialty of the embalming and preparatory work. he is one of Tavistock's first residents having learned his trade in this town. He was foreman in the factory in which he is now manager for over eight years. He received his education in Stratford and is well-known throughout the country for his business ability adn integrity.

In the year 1851, there left Peebleshire, Scotland, Thomas Steele, wife and two children to seek a future home in Canada. After a three months trip during which they were shipwrecked on the coast of Cape Breton Island, they landed at Quebec and then proceeded westward to Upper Canada in due time arriving in Toronto. The little family settled in Scarboro township and after spending ten years there, moved westward to Perth County and bought a farm at Avon Bank in the township of Downie. A few months after their arrval in their new home, the subject of this little sketch was born. He spent his early years a tthe public school and developed a love for study and very soon displayed a preference for mental persuits rather than farm life. When sixteen years of age he passed the third-class teachers examination and then entered St. Mary}s high school of which John E. Hodson, M.A. was the principal. In six months he secured a second-class non-professional certificate and after spending enother session in persuing his studies he attended the County model school and graduated qualified to teach. His first teaching was done in S.S. No. 5, Blanshard. From there he went to normal school and taught subsequently about four years chiefly in his native county. By this means he earned enough to put him through college and entered trinity Medical College in 1884, graduating therefrom four years later. Soon after he located in Tavistock and has practised there continually and enjoys a very lucrative practice. He is a member of the Presbyterian church and has always taken an active interest in all religious work and especially in the Young Peoples movement. For several years he has been an officer of the Ontario Christian Endeavor Union and during the past year has been president of that organization. For a number of years he has been an active participant in the political struggles of South Perth and to him is due no inconsiderable share of the credit of reducing the Liberal majority of that riding until now it is among the doubtful constituencies of the province. In the campaign of 1904 he was offered the Conservative nomination for the riding unanimously and accepted. After a vigorous campaign it was found that the fight had gone against him and he was defeated by only a small majority.

One of the most important businesses in Tavistock is that carried on by Zimmerman Bros. Their Tavistock mill has a capacity of ten thousand feet daily, while the stave factory has a capacity of thrity thousand, and heading mill five thousand, and the copper shop four thousand. This concern employs about twenty-five hands, and the whole place is running constantly. The firm makes a specialty of flour and apple barrels which are kiln dried, and they have contracts covering the district for a radius of thrity miles. The mill is a modern one throughout, and all kinds of local trade and custom work is attended (to in connection with the mill, there is a lumber business and a large stock of all classes of lumber is carried which would aggregate two million feet, its total value being fifty thousand dollars. The business dates back to the seventies, when the late John Zimmerman started it. He came from Germany at the age of fifteen, and was one of the pioneer settlers in the district, settling at Preston which was then a wilderness and he assisted to build the first road through Blenheim township, and had the contract for the first Baptist church in East Zorra.

This firm also has mills at Nottawa, wher it employs twnety-five men under the management of Mr. H. Zimmerman. The mill is equipped in a modern manner throughout and here are manufactured all kinds of hardwood lumber and staves. It is located on Pretty River. This mill has a capacity of from twelve to fifteen thousand feet and thirty thousand staves. It is situated seven miles from Collingwood, where good facilities for shipping are afforded. They own three extensive timber limits.