Louis Breithaupt, mayor of Berlin, and one of the most successful business men in the town, was a son of Liborius and Catherine (Goetze) Breithaupt, and born in Allendorf, Kurhessen, Germany, on the 8th November, 1827. He received a common German education; partially learning his father’s business, that of a tanner, in the old country, and in November, 1843, came with the family to the United States, settling in Buffalo, N. Y., the next spring. There they built a small tannery on Seneca street, at the ” Hydraulics,” making it of slabs, and commencing to tan sheep skins on a very moderate scale, subsequently purchasing other lands, and rebuilding and enlarging from time to time. Thus father and son continued to operate together until 1851, when Liborius Breithaupt died, and Louis carried on the business awhile alone without changing the firm’s name, which was simply L. Breithaupt. In 1852, Jacob F. Schoelkoff became the partner of our subject, and in 1855 they purchased a tannery at North Evans, sixteen miles from Buffalo, and managed both tanneries until 1861, when Mr. Breithaupt sold out his entire interest, and settled in Berlin. Four years before this date he had started a tannery here, in company with his brother-in-law, Jacob Wagner, who died in the spring of the next year (1858). Finding it difficult and unsatisfactory to manage his business in Canada while residing in Buffalo, he concluded to concentrate all his capital here, and to make Berlin his home.
Mr. Breithaupt commenced operations here with thirty-two vats, adding from time to time until he has one hundred and forty-four vats; and while we are writing this sketch he is preparing to double this number, and is erecting a drying house, with a capacity for 1,000 sides a week.
With his present facilities he is doing a business of about $120,000 a year. There is no more enterprising manufacturer in the lively town of Berlin none whose excellent business capacities have been better rewarded.
In addition to his tannery and his large brick house in a six acre lot, on the outskirts of the town, Mr. Breithaupt owns the great three story American House block, which has ten stores besides the hotel, and several of the finest residences in town, not to mention other property scattered here and there.
He takes much interest in any public enterprise calculated to build up the town, and holds, at this time, the office of provisional director of the Waterloo, Wellington and Georgian Bay railway, projected continuation of the Grand Trunk road from Waterloo.
He has held successively the office of town councilman, deputy reeve, and mayor, being at this time at the head of the municipality of the town, and having an eye watchful of its interests.
Mr. Breithaupt is a member of the Evangelical Association, a trustee of the same, and one of the most liberal supporters of religious and charitable organizations in town.
February 8, 1853, he married Miss Catharine Hailer of Berlin, and they have had ten children, nine of them still living. The parents are taking great pains to educate the children and to fit them for spheres of useful labor.
Mrs. Breithaupt is a daughter of Jacob Hailer, a native of Baden, Germany. He left the old country in 1829, and after spending one year in Baltimore, Maryland, came to Canada, and settled where the town of Berlin now stands. That was just fifty years ago. He built the fifth or sixth house in the place, and followed the wheelwright business till a few years ago, his specialty being spinning wheels and reels. He is in his 76th year, and somewhat deaf and infirm. His wife is also living, and quite smart and active. Mr. Hailer is a prominent member of the Evangelical Association, and has long been an officer of the same.