Born in Switzerland in 1825, Meinrod immigrated to Canada sometime before the 1870s. He married Elizabeth Hauser-Alterr (1832-1897) in Waterloo on September 26, 1879, nine months after Elizabeth’s first husband and father of her children died. Elizabeth and three of her four children, Joseph, John, and Andrew, moved in with Meinrod in Preston, Ontario. Meinrod was a carpenter working in Preston at the time.

He was originally admitted to the Poorhouse (inmate #1141) due to sickness and destitution on August 18, 1887. It is unclear as to whether his family could no longer care for him due to his illness, or if his wife was being taken care of by her children and they could not care for him as well. Almost a year after Meinrod was admitted to the Poorhouse he was sent to jail for assaulting the Keeper, Mr Itter. There are no records to explain what happened during this encounter, however, when Meinrod attempted to enter the House again in August 1890, he was denied entry. This is noted in the minutes of the Standing Committee that states:


House of Indy & Refuge

Berlin 30th August 1890

        The Standing Committee met this day –

        Members all present and the Warden save, excepting Messrs Hibner & Peterson.

        Mr J.S. Hallman in the Chair.

        Bills and Claims from No. 993 to No. 1005 both inclusive were audited and allowed –

  1.      Moved by Mr. M. Hallman and seconded by Mr Laird That a contract be entered into with “The Ontario Hedge and Wire Fence Company” of Niagara Falls to set and grow a Honey Locust Hedge sufficient for one hundred rods of Fence more or less on the Industrial Farm and that the Chairman is hereby authorized to sign the Contract on behalf of the County

Carried –

Ordered – That the Keeper be authorised to refuse admission to one Ochsner a former Inmate of the House – expelled therefrom for disobedience and bad conduct –

The Committee was then adjourned sine die.


He was eventually allowed to re-enter the House (as inmate #1165 and #1254) months later on December 18, 1890.

During the 1893 Scandal at the Poorhouse, where there was an inquiry of Peter and Alvina Itter, the managers at the time, into the alleged physical abuse, maltreatment and neglect of several of the inmates, Meinrod’s name was brought up a few times by inmates and former staff members who testified against the Itter’s. One of the former staff members testified that she had Peter Itter beat Meinrod.


July 7, 1893 Galt Reformer; Source: Kitchener Public Library Archives

July 7, 1893 Galt Reformer; Source: Kitchener Public Library Archives


Peter Itter’s response to this accusation was that he was not abusing Meinrod but was punishing him for his disobedience.


July 7, 1893 Galt Reformer; Source: Kitchener Public Library Archives

July 7, 1893 Galt Reformer; Source: Kitchener Public Library Archives


For more information on the 1893 Scandal, you can visit the House page or Peter and Alvina Itter’s page.

Meinrod remained in the House until he died from dropsy on October 15, 1898.

As for his wife, after Meinrod was admitted to the Poorhouse, she moved out of their house and into a house where three of her children and one granddaughter were able to care for her.