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Motz, William John.
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April 14, 1896 (Photography)
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1 photograph : b&w ; 5 x 9 cm
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The Kitchener branch of the Motz family came to Canada on June 2nd, 1848 when John Motz (1830-1911) followed his elder sister Regina Motz (1819-1909) and her husband Frederick Noll (1810-1871) from Germany to Waterloo County. John Motz was born to Johannes Motz and Margaretha Schroeter in 1830 in Diedorf, Germany. As his elder brother Lorenz was set to inherit the family land, John opted to take the 64 day ocean voyage from Hamburg to Quebec City to find a new life for himself in Canada. Once he made his way to Kitchener he stayed with his sister and brother-in-law and worked briefly as a farmer and woodcutter before finding work as an apprentice tailor with Christoph Nahrgang. John Motz apprenticed with Nahrgang for three years and in 1857 moved to Rockwood, Ill. It was here that he met Joachim Kalbfleisch and the two moved back to Canada to settle in Kitchener. Kalbfleisch would later go on to run the Canadische Bauernfreund Newspaper of Waterloo.
On his return to Kitchener, John Motz enrolled in grammar school with the objective to learn English and become a teacher. However, his plans were sidetracked by his friend Frederick Rittinger who had come to Canada from Germany in the same year. Rittinger had been apprenticing as a printer with the Deutsche Canadier and in 1859 the two attempted to buy out the paper. When this proved to be unsuccessful, they decided to set up their own printing company and establish a new paper, the Berliner Journal. The first issue was published on December 29, 1859 and the two continued in partnership for almost 40 years until October 12, 1897 when a sudden illness took Frederick Rittinger. In 1880 John Motz was made mayor of Berlin and in 1900 he was appointed honorary Sheriff of Waterloo County after his 1899 retirement from the newspaper.
By this time John Motz had met and married Helena Vogt (1832-1924) on February 17, 1868. Helena had emigrated from Germany with her family in 1852. Helena’s older sister Barbara (1823-1890) married Rienhold Lang (1817-1883) in Germany and the two of them also immigrated to Canada in 1846 where they would found the Lang Tannery. John and Helena had four children: Mary (1868-1933), William John (1870-1946), Louisa (1874-1944) and Carl Joseph (1878). Mary became Sister Maria Anna, a nun of the order of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, Louisa married John A. Zinger (1871-1903) and lived on a portion of the Motz family lands in Kitchener with their daughter Leone, and William John followed in his father’s footsteps.
William John Motz took over his father’s place in Rittinger & Motz in 1899 when John retired. He and Frederick Rittinger’s son John Adam continued to run the company and the newspaper. By the time that William John took over from his father, the Berliner Journal had begun to amalgamate with other newspapers in the area. In 1897 they purchased the Daily News and Berlin Daily Record, in 1899 the Berlin News Record and Berlin Daily Express, in 1904 Die Ontario Glocke, in 1906 Der Kanadische Kolonist, in 1908 Canadische Volksblatt, and in 1090 Der Canadische Bauernfreund. In 1917 the Berliner Journal is renamed the Ontario Journal and absorbs the Daily News and Berlin Daily Record becoming the exclusively English language Berlin News Record, and in 1918 the Kitchener Daily Record.
While the name of the paper was undergoing its own changes, so was the ownership. In 1915 John Adam Rittinger died and his share in the company was purchased by Senator William Daum Euler. Euler and William John did not see eye to eye and correspondence in the collection shows that their business relationship was tense. Euler’s share in the company ended up becoming a minority share and was eventually purchased in 1953. In his personal life, William John had married Rose Huck (1875-1950) in 1901. Together they had two children, John George (1906-1908) and John Edward (1909-1975). William John was very involved in the publishing community and served as the President of the Canadian Daily Newspapers Association.
In 1946 William John died and his share of the company passed to his son John Edward who took over his father’s position as publisher. In 1948 the paper was renamed the Kitchener-Waterloo Record, a name that it would be known by until 1994. John E. Motz married Mary Helen Stoody (1912-1967) in 1932 and together they had eight children: William John (1933-?), John Edward (1934), Rosemary Eileen (1935-1962), Margaret Ann (1937-?), Mary (1941), John George (1943-?), Ann Elizabeth (1947-?) and Paul John (1950-?). In 1975 John Edward stepped down from his position at the Record, but three of his sons were still working there. In 1990 the Kitchener-Waterloo Record finally left the hands of the Motz family when it was sold to Southam.
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File consists of one studio portrait of William John Motz. The photograph shows five different angles of William John seated around a table playing cards and smoking.
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Scanned as TIF file September 2021.
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Black ink inscription on verso: Apr.14.1896
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- Motz, William John (Subject)