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Henry Mittleberger, an early settler in St. Catharines, was born in Montreal, January 20, 1802. His father, John Mittleberger, a German by descent, and a Royalist, left Philadelphia for Canada, prior to the outbreak of the colonies in 1775. In 1817 Henry, came into the Niagara district, and four years later, at the request of William H. Merritt, came to St. Catharines to take charge of the post office, Mr. Merritt being postmaster at that time. A few years afterwards Mr. Mittleberger became a merchant, and also, in a short time a banker, being, at first, agent for the City Bank of Montreal, then for the Commercial of Kingston, and finally manager of the Bank of Montreal.
When he first located here there was only one store and a few houses, mainly on St. Paul street. He bought fifteen acres where he now resides, corner of James and Duke streets, and at that time it was covered with timber, largely pine. Subsequently he purchased seventy-five or eighty acres north of Welland Avenue, laid it out in lots, and it was settled long ago.
He retired from business in comfortable circumstances nearly twenty-five years ago. On the 21st of May, 1833, eighty-four magistrates were appointed for the Niagara district, which included what is now the counties of Lincoln, Welland and Haldimand, and of those eighty-four officers, Mr. Mittleberger is the only one now living. In “Keele’s Justice ” he has a printed list of these eighty-four men, and checked off their names as they died, his only remaining unchecked.
In the rebellion of 1837-38 he commanded the “5th Lincoln,” and has since been an artillery officer, forming a battery with two guns.
Mr. Mittleberger may be said to have originated the fire department of St Catharines, and was for years the leading man in that department, spending his own money in purchasing and equipping machines.
He was one of the first five members of the village council, and was a reeve in the days when the county council met at Niagara. He has a vivid recollection of the condition of the roads between St. Catharines and the then county town, at certain seasons of the year.
Mr. Mittleberger was first married to Miss Ingersoll, county of Oxford, she living only one year. His present wife was Eliza Ann Adams, daughter of George Adams, an old settler in the Niagara district, and a soldier in the war of 1812-14, six children being the fruit of this union. Only two of them, both sons, are living. William Adams, the elder, is treasurer of the city of St. Catharines, and clerk of the Division Court, and Charles A. is in the Imperial Bank of Canada, St. Catharines.
The above sketch was written in August, 1879, and on the 25th of December, Mr. Mittleberger died.