John Michael Dopp was born in Germany around 1795.  His wife, Catherine, was also born in Germany in 1802 and they immigrated to Canada together. Very little is known about the couple, although we do know that they were living in Waterloo Township since the early 1840s and John worked as a labourer. They may have immigrated to Canada sometime around the 1830s as their daughter, Elisabeth Frederica, was born in the Waterloo County around 1832. 

John and Catherine received financial assistance from the Waterloo Township in 1867.


Minutes of the Township of Waterloo Municipal Council, September 28, 1867; Source: Region of Waterloo Archives


And again in 1868.


Minutes of the Township of Waterloo Municipal Council, February 8, 1868; Source: Region of Waterloo Archives


John and Catherine entered the Poorhouse on November 10, 1869, as inmates # 65 and #66 respectively. John was listed as being intemperant and Catherine was listed as being desitute from cause of her husband’s intemperance. 

John died just a few months after he entered the House from paralysis on March 3, 1870. He had been suffering from paralysis for 16 years. After his death, the body was taken by his son-in-law, Louis Boesing, to the Baptist Grave Yard on Benton Street in Berlin. Israel D. Bowman, the Inspector of the House at the time, wrote to him:


25th March 70

Mr. Louis Bousing



Dear Sir,

I have to inform you that John Michael Dopp an Inmate of the House of Industry + Refuge died at 11 o’clock A.M. this day. Mrs. Dopp the widow is anxious to see some of the friends.

Yours truly,

Israel D. Bowman



A couple weeks later, Catherine was discharged from the House. It is not recorded where she went after leaving the House or who she stayed with, although she may have gone to live with her daughter and son-in-law.

Catherine returned to the House about a decade later on May 6, 1880. The cause of pauperism was destitution and it is noted that she had been an inmate there before. Catherine remained at the House until she died of old age on August 3, 1886.