Samuel and Barbara Bechtel family

Classification scheme: 
Hist. Mss. 1.62

Title: Samuel and Barbara (Bauman) Bechtel family fonds

Dates of creation: 1846-1988

Physical description: 10 cm of textual records ; 1 photograph album ; 40 loose photographs ; 1 commemorative plate

Biographical sketch: Samuel Bechtel (1791-1861) was the son of Rev. Joseph and Magdalena (Allebach) Bechtel. He married Barbara Bauman (1799-1871) in 1819. They lived on a farm along the Speed River adjoining what became Hespeler, Ontario. In 1830, Samuel donated a small piece of the property for a union meetinghouse, school and burial ground.

After Samuel's death, the farm passed from son to son for several generations, including Samuel's son Solomon (married to Hester Clemens), Solomon's son Jesse (married to Rebecaa Cober), and Jesse's son Nelson (married to Martha Snyder). Nelson was the last owner of the intact farm. In 1956 it was annexed for the town of Hespeler.

Scope and content: The fonds consists of family history materials collected and saved by descendants of Samuel and Barbara Bechtel, most recently George Bechtel (1932-2019).

Custodial history: Items 1 and 2 were deposited by George Bechtel in the Archives in the 1980s. Remaining items were donted in 2023 by Grace Bechtel.

Notes: See also the fonds Society for the Preservation of the Samuel Bechtel Burial Ground
Original archival description created by Sam Steiner; significant expansion by Laureen Harder-Gissing in 2023

File list:

  1. Notebook listing items received by Samuel Bechtel's children, 1848-1857
  2. Letter in German from Christian and Elizabeth Baumann, Brecknock Township, Pennsylvania, to Samuel Bechtel, June 22, 1846
    Note: Includes a translation, and itinerary for a 6-day journey by stage, boat and rail from Preston, Ontario to Brecknock Township
  3. Deeds, etc.
    Martin Bechtel, grandfather of Samuel Bechtel, will, 1786
    Martin Bechtel, estate inventory
    Deed, John Bear (Baer) to Christian Strome, 1827
    Railway right of way agreement with Samuel Bechtel, 1854
    Plan and description of Lot 5, 3rd concession surveyed by Samuel B. Bowman (for S. Bechtel and J. Hespeler), 1845
    Deed, Samuel Bechtel to Solomon Bechtel, 1857
    Deed, Joseph Bechtel et al. to Solomon Bechtel, 1864
    Deed, R. Forbes Company Ltd. to Solomon Bechtel, 1896
    Deed, Joseph B. Hagey and Aaron Snyder to Jesse Bechtel, 1898
  4. Mary (Bechtel) Goodrich ("Alma")
    Diary, Jan 1942-Dec 1943
    Marriage certificate and order of service, 1961
    Note: Alma was the daughter of Nelson and Martha Bechtel
  5. George Bechtel, misc.
    Note: George was the son of Nelson and Martha Bechtel
  6. Clemens family reunion, 1931
  7. Genealogy pages from Solomon and Hester (Cober) Bechtel family Bible
  8. Bechtel Reunion tour notes and commemorative plate, 1988
  9. Family notes and genealogies
    Note: Includes "Greetings from the Bechtel family at the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Mennonite Church in Cambridge," 2000
  10. Solomon Bechtel copybook, 1847
  11. Nelson Bechtel ledgers of household and farm expenses, 1916-1926, ca. 1921-1963
  12. Photograph collection
    Loose photographs
    Photograph album, late 1800s
    Note: Photographs are described in the Mennonite Archival Information Database.
  13. Painting by W. Hauser (Bill Hauser), The Bechtel Homestead.


Generally 9:00 am - 4:00 pm Monday to Friday. An appointment in advance is recommended.


Mennonite Archives of Ontario
Conrad Grebel University College
140 Westmount Road North
Waterloo, ON N2L 3G6

Phone: 519-885-0220 x24238