If there is a self made, self educated man, in the Town of Waterloo, that man is Moses Springer, who never had a year’s schooling in his life, who was left an orphan at ten years of age, and thrown entirely upon his own resources. He was a son of Benjamin Springer, merchant, and, afterwards, farmer, and Mary Rykeman, a prominent member of the Mennonite church, and was born in the Township of Waterloo, within five miles of where he now lives, on August 21, 1824. His father was born near Poughkeepsie, New York, and died of the cholera, at Blenheim, County of Oxford, in 1834. His great-grandfather was from Stockholm, Sweden. He studied for the ministry, went to London, England, to complete his theological studies, against his father’s wishes, crossed the ocean, to Delaware, then called New Sweden, built the first church in Wilmington, a stone structure, which is still standing, and preached there for some years. The grandfather of our subject, Rev. David Springer, born in Wilmington, was an Episcopal minister, and a loyalist, and was shot in his own yard, near Poughkeepsie, soon after the Revolutionary war broke out.
As good luck would have it, Moses early fell into the hands of a Mennonite preacher, Joseph Hagey, a noble souled man, by whom he was reared. Not satisfied with the little knowledge he had picked up, at odd intervals, in a public school, he was proffered the gratuitous aid of an honest and kind hearted Scotchman, William Collins, to give him night lessons, and Moses made good progress in his studies.
Mr. Springer farmed until twenty years of age; taught school, off and on, for seven years; was a number of years engaged in surveying; subsequently, was a general merchant; and, latterly, has been in the conveyancing, insurance and general business. Several years ago he assisted in establishing the Waterloo Mutual Fire Insurance Company, and was its president seven years.
Mr. Springer was appointed a magistrate in 18.52, and still holds that office; was elected the first Reeve of the village of Waterloo, in 1857; held that office six years in succession, and, after being out two years, held it four years more; was then out of the council for a year or two, was elected Reeve by acclamation, and held the office for five years in succession; and, when Waterloo was incorporated as a town, in 1876, he was elected the first mayor, and re-elected the next year without opposition, and then retired. Nobody takes more interest in the progress and general welfare of Waterloo than Mr. Springer, or has done more solid work in its municipality, and that of the county. He has been Secretary and Treasurer of the North Waterloo Agricultural Society since 1860, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Agricultural Mutual Insurance Company, of London, Ontario. He secured the railroad which connects Waterloo with Berlin.
In 1867 he was elected to the Ontario Assembly, for the North Riding of Waterloo, and continues to represent that constituency, being very popular, and giving good satisfaction. He is a Reformer of the indomitable “Grit” school, and can give a reason for his political faith.
Mr. Springer is, we believe, a member of no church, but cherishes a warm regard for the Mennonites. He is well disposed, in fact, towards all Christian people, and generous in support of the churches generally.
In 1845 he married Miss Barbara Shantz, of Waterloo, and they have ten children living, and have lost two. Two sons and two daughters are married, Joseph, the only farmer, has a family, and lives in the Township of Waterloo; Menno has his family at Strathroy, Middlesex County; Mary Ann is the wife of Henry Roos, of Waterloo; Elizabeth is the wife of Cyrus Moyer of Berlin. The other six are single.