George (1793-1873) and Maria Anna Bischop (b. Seibert, 1796-1881) were two of the first inmates at the Poorhouse, numbers 32 and 33 respectively, who entered the Poorhouse less than a month after it opened on July 6, 1869 due to destitution.

Born and married in Bavaria, Germany, George and Maria Anna had three children in Germany, Barbara (1826-1911), Franciscus (1834-1905), and Isabella (1838-), before they immigrated to Canada in 1850. Being an elderly immigrant meant that George was unable to hold steady employment and worked as a labourer for most of his time in Wellesley, Ontario. The couple eventually went to live with their son, Franciscus, and his wife, Francesca, and one year old son, Daniel. However, in 1862, Franciscus, Francesca, and Daniel moved to Michigan, USA and have fourteen more children. It is unknown as to where George and Maria Anna lived during the 1860s, although they could have moved in with their daughter, Barbara, and her husband who were living in Wellesley with their nine children on their farm. The couple was sent to the Poorhouse from the township of Wellesley and their record states that they had been living there for 16 years. 

Jaffray wrote about the Bischop’s in his 1870 article on the Poorhouse.

Source: A Day at the Waterloo Poor House, a Lecture Delivered by William Jaffray 1871; Region of Waterloo Archives

Source: A Day at the Waterloo Poor House, a Lecture Delivered by William Jaffray 1871, pages 42-43; Region of Waterloo Archives


George died of old age in the Poorhouse on January 19, 1873. Less than a month later, Maria Anna was discharged and taken to live with her daughter Barbara and her family. Maria died on December 19, 1881 from “debility of old age”.