Rumples of Lowville

Lowville, in early days, was a bustling village with many businesses to support its residents. One of those business was the Rumple’s Cabinet Factory.

Ernst Wilhelm Christoph Rumple was born on September 16, 1837, in Muelhausen, Prussia. He came from a large family of 12 children.

On May 18, 1855, he left his home via Hamburg to travel to Canada. The ship’s records show that he travelled alone on the ship “Mary Mitcheson”. His occupation on the passenger list was carpenter.

The ship arrived in Quebec and Wilhelm made his way to Nelson Township. Nothing is known about that journey or why he settled here. Just a few years later, on March 3, 1858, Wilhelm married Eliza Ann Burkholder. Her father, Jacob Burkholder was born in Pennsylvania and her mother, Jane Vollick was born in Ontario. Their first child, a daughter Emily J. Winafred, was born the next year in Nelson Township. Elsie Johannah Florence was born in 1861.

In the 1861 Census he is listed as a cabinet maker from German. His religion was listed as Lutheran. Eliza was listed as Baptist. We know he; Eliza and their daughter Emily were living in the Lowville area as his neighbours were the Picketts, McLarens and the McCays.

1863 saw the birth of his son Harmon Frederick and 1865 his son George. Unfortunately, George passed away at a young age in 1868. That same year William Joseph Ernst as born.

In the 1869/70 County of Halton Gazetteer and Directory there is an advertisement that showcases William E. Rumple as the proprietor of the Lowville Saw and Planing Mills. It highlights “all kinds of wood turning, etc.”.

It was not long after this advertisement that Wilhelm/William passed away. On February 16, 1870, he succumbed to a massive heart failure. His death registration mentions that he had a gastric ulcer for the past year.

This advertisement adds to they question of where exactly the sawmill and furniture factory were located. According to local folklore, the sawmill was located on the Twelve Mile Creek while the store was located closer to the Guelph Line.

A few years before his death, William purchased 2/5 of an acre from Henry McDaid (McDade/McDavid) in Lot 7 of the 4th Concession in 1868. This is at the current location of Lowville Park.

Burlington Central Highschool students produced a series of booklets on Burlington history around 1980 entitled Brass Tacks. In Volume 2 they have a photo of a building located just in front of the park that they say was the furniture factory. As this building was located away from the creek the question remains as to how the equipment was powered to make the furniture? Was it steam driven? Was water brought from the creek? Was it hand turned or was horsepower used? Or, was this building the showroom and the actual factory on the creek?

After the death of her husband, Mrs. Rumple continued the business under the superintendence of Mr. J. H. Schooley. Advertisements in the Milton Champion indicate that her business was increasing and that she had a handsome stock of furniture on hand. A neatly finished hearse and coffins constantly kept on hand. The planing machine was offered to joiner and builders as well as a first-class turner. For the enjoyment of her customers, she sold “croquet setts”.

The 1881 Canadian Census shows Eliza with no occupation, Emily, age 22 as a schoolteacher, Johannah, age 19 as a dress maker, Harmon, age 17 working as a store clerk and William at age 12, most likely still attending school. The family at this time was now Methodist. Harmon, who was 17 at the time, had moved to Milton and was a clerk.

Only Eliza and William, age 22 remain in Lowville in 1891. William at that time was a farm labourer. We lose track of the family after that. Most likely the daughters were married with families of their own.

Both Johannah and Emily married Colling brothers. Johannah married David and Emily married William. They moved to Michigan.

In 1891, Eliza sold the property to George Bradt. The Albert Bradt family was one the very early families to settle the area and had land just south of this lot on what was known as Bradt’s Mountain.

Eliza passed away on July 26,1917, as a result of a fracture of the hip. Both William and Eliza were laid to rest in the Lowville Cemetery.

No doubt there are still pieces of furniture in existence that were made by the Rumple Furniture Factory. If you have a photo of a Rumple made piece of furniture, please contact us.

We would be very appreciative to hear from a descendant of the Rumple family and if you have a receipt or photo of a Rumple made piece of furniture, please contact us at kilbridehistory@gmail.com.


Contributing Author: Helen Callaway