The German Immigrant Henry Heise (1842 - 1917)

Henry's Birthplace
Private Correspondence re:Emigration
The Heises Emigrate to Preston, Canada West
Henry Heise Becomes a Master Cabinetmaker
Henry Heise in Business for Himself
Family of Henry Heise and Dorothea Stumpfle
Descendents Remember Henry Heise

Family of Henry Heise and Dorothea Stumpfle

On September 14, 1869, [58] Henry Heise was married to Dorothea Stumpfle (b. March 27, 1850) [59] in St. Peter's Lutheran Church by Emmanuel Wurster. Dorothea was a daughter of the first potter in Preston (established 1834), [60] Michael Stumpfle from Wurttemburg. The names and birth dates of Henry and Dorothea's children are as follows: [61]

Maria b. June 26, 1870
Elizabeth b. April 24, 1872
Johann Henry b. April 23, 1874
Emma b. March 20, 1876
Dorothea b. February 23, 1878
Louisa b. April 11, 1880
Charlotte b. March 5, 1882
George b. February 6, 1885
Wilhelm b. February 5, 1887
Clara b. December 1, 1891

Christoff Heise died on April 24, 1870. [62] Henry bought out his brothers' interest in the property, and took personal control of the business. The 1871 census evaluates it as follows: fixed capital $500., floating capital $200., raw materials $150., annual sales $900. The source of energy was horsepower.

The Heises continued living above the furniture store until the 1890's when Henry built a big house. As soon as the children were old enough to work, they had to put in their time in the workshop. The girls were all taught to cane chairs and finish furniture. The boys learned to help with furniture construction. Even with this cheap source of labour, Henry found it increasingly difficult to produce furniture at competitive prices. In the early 1880's he resorted to piece work and poorer workmanship to stay in business. He manufactured wooden shingles, clothboards, and cabinet parts for the Singer Sewing Machine Company in Guelph. [63]

Then in 1887 Henry bought a steam engine with the hope that it would increase the profit potential of his industry. [64] It did. He was now able to produce all kinds of turning, sawing, and planing to order; the turnover of his piece work was increased; and he still had time to construct the custom furniture of which he was proud.

About 1895 [65] Henry built a handsome Victorian home south of the shop. That was the custom for successful businessmen. He was not comfortable in such luxury, however, and in 1904 sold the furniture business from under Henry Jr.'s nose -- who was now in active control of it -- and bought a shack in Freeport. [66] "He thought when he bought this place that Dorothea would move there with him. But I think that was the first time she refused him," [67] related a descendent.

Henry affectionately named his new home Viel Nadich (Much Needed), and his neighbours called him "The Mayor of Freeport". He looked after 20 chickens, did a little gardening, and kept busy in his workshop. Dorothea visited him regularly, once a week, on the streetcar which provided a direct line between Preston and Freeport. She always brought food with her. [68]

In 1917, Henry had an accident and gashed his leg. He wouldn't go to a doctor and gangrene set in. The March 23, 1917 issue of the Berlin News Record reports: "Mr. Henry Heise died at his home in Preston on Wednesday evening, after several weeks of suffering, due to shock received after the amputation of his leg five weeks ago".

Next page


58.St. Peter's, op.cit., n.p.
60.Good, E.R., "Johann Michael Stuempfle", Waterloo Historical Society, (1978). pp.55-60.
61.Henry Heise Family Bible Genealogy.
62.St. Peter's, op.cit., n.p.
63.Reporter, loc.cit.
64.Mercantile Agency Reference Books, produced semi-annually by Dun, Wiman and Co., predecessor of Dun and Bradstreet, 1887.
65.Registry Office Records are not specific on this point.
66.Interview with Mrs. Thiel