Several members of the Hibner family of Hespeler and Galt region lived and died at the Poorhouse. Susannah Hibner (inmate #1149) was born on March 16, 1859 in Waterloo Village and grew up in Waterloo with her parents and seven siblings: Daniel (1845-), Mary Ann/ Anna Maria (1849-), Daniel (1853-1935) Katherina (1861-), Mary Ann (1864-1888), Margaretha (1865-1935), Jacob (1873-), and John (1880-) . For the first twenty years of her life, there is no indication of any form of illness listed on the Waterloo Census’. She never attended school, although her siblings Mary, Katherina, and Daniel did.

She was admitted into the Poorhouse on November 11, 1887, listed as having “weak intellect, imbecile”. At the time of her entry into the House, her cancer would have been progressing quickly and it is unknown of whether she had been treated for her symptoms. The “weak intellect” could have been from her cancer becoming worse as she died less than a month later at the Poorhouse on December 14th at the age of 27.

Susannah’s father, Jacob Hibner (1823-1893), was also a resident at the Poorhouse at the same time as her sister, Katherina (1861-), and her son, George (1890-). Her mother, Margaretha Schneider (1825- 1880), died giving birth to her son, John (1880-). Jacob, born in Germany, worked as a labourer in Wilmot Township where he built his one-storey house in 1852. He and his family eventually moved to Hespeler where the majority of the family would raise families.  After the death of his wife in 1880, his eldest son, Daniel (1845-), moved back into their family home, most likely to help take care of his family and father’s property. Due to his dwindling health and the health of his children, Jacob (inmate #1228) entered the Poorhouse on January 11, 1890 of destitution and old age. He stayed there until his death on August 30, 1893. He was buried by friends in the Hespeler Cemetery.

Katherina (inmate #1229) and her son George (inmate #1230) entered the Poorhouse with her father under the same cause as destitution. Katherina and her son were able to leave the Poorhouse on June 20, 1891. There is only one other record in regards to George which is his birth certificate, stating that he was an illegitimate child born to Katherina. Jacob signed the certificate. It is unknown of where Katherina and George ended up after their stay in the Poorhouse. Israel Bowman, the County Clerk at the time, wrote a letter to the Reeve of Hespeler, W.A. Kribs on February 7, 1894 about the Hibner’s trying to re-enter the Poorhouse.


7th Feby  94.

W.A. Kribs Esqr



Dear Sir,

                    It appears we are not through with the [Hibner] Family as yet – on Monday Mrs Philip Schneider arrived with her trunk and son George (Dando) Hibner – seeking admission to the Poor House. She is in the family way and says that her husband has cleared out (leaving her a [Grass] widow) I told her that she ought to have brought a commitment from the Reeve – well she did not seem to know anything about it – and I proposed that she should go back and see you – she says you know her – she is a Hibner but that she had not got a cent of money. Well I took pity on her, and gave her a line to the Keeper to take her & the boy about 5 years old and keep them until I could hear from you –

        I now enclose 2 commitments, if all right, please sign and send them on to Mr Laird in the Envelope herewith – if not we will just have to ship them back again – She says she is a weaver and has been working in Forbes Mill, but as she is somewhat under the weather, she had to give up work – she also says when she is over her trouble, they have promised to take her back again – and she would then be able to support herself again – I suppose until some lecherous fellow gets a straddle of her again – when she will go through the same course again – If she is put into the House I think it would be well to try and have her boy adopted by someone. if we can get a customer for him –

Yours truly

Israel D Bowman, Coy Clk


Mary Ann Hibner, Jacob’s daughter, was the fourth Hibner to have stayed in the Poorhouse, entering just a year after Susannah died on August 30, 1888. She was admitted after having become sick and destitute. She was living in Hespeler with the rest of her family at the time. She died four months after entering the Poorhouse on December 5, 1888, almost a year after her sister died. The cause of death is listed as softening of the brain which was known to be a symptom of senile dementia.


Daniel Hibner of D. Hibner & Co. furniture manufacturers of Kitchener From Berlin Today 1806-1906 Official Souvenir

Daniel Hibner of D. Hibner & Co. furniture manufacturers of Kitchener From Berlin Today


Daniel Hibner was mayor of Berlin from 1894-1895 and you are able to see his name on the Register of Paupers, Vagrants, and Idiots received at the House of Industry and Refuge a few times where he had committed people to the Poorhouse. He was married in 1873 to Wilhemina Boetter (1855-1893). On the marriage certificate, Daniel was working as a carpenter. A few years later, they have their first daughter, Rosetta (1875-1959), and then a second daughter, Melinda (1880-), a few years later. They raised their children in Berlin where their daughters attended school and Daniel continued to work as a carpenter. He eventually went on to become a manufacturer. In 1893, Wilhemina died of sudden heart failure. A year later, Daniel married Bessie Shark (1855-1937) and they lived together with Daniel’s children. Rosetta moved out of her family home and married James Campbell in 1898. They had five children together. It is unclear as to what happened to Melinda after 1891. 

In total, Daniel served on the Berlin Council in various positions from 1887-1898. In 1906, he founded the D.Hibner Furniture Co., Limited in Berlin.


D. Hibner Furniture Co. Limited. From: Berlin Celebration of Cityhood - Issued by Authority of the City. Berlin Ontario, Issued in Commemoration of its Celebration of Cityhood July 17th 1912.

D. Hibner Furniture Co. Limited.
From: Berlin Celebration of Cityhood – Issued by Authority of the City. Berlin Ontario, Issued in Commemoration of its Celebration of Cityhood July 17th 1912.


Daniel died in 1935, two years before his second wife, Elizabeth, died.