Chesley Ontario Welcomes the Krug Brothers who were looking for a place to make their future and their fortune. They were not only successful, but they made significant contributions to the social fabric of their adopted home town.
Last week in this column I wrote about how the Krug family assisted in the economic development of the Bruce County community of Chesley. However, the Krugs made many other significant contributions to the social fabric of the community.
The Krug family held deep religious beliefs. Their move to Chesley had a great impact on the religious life of the community. Mrs. Peter Krug's new home town did not have a church which held services in her native German language. Probably due to the leadership of Peter Krug and his wife, church services were soon established at first in the school house and later in the town hall. However, in 1889 a disastrous fire destroyed Chesley's business district. As part of the rebuilding process William Krug provided the land and the means to build a new church.
In 1905 the Krug brothers placed a bell in the tower of the new church in honour of their parents, Peter and Elizabeth Krug.
The brothers and their families did more than build a church and adorn it with a bell, they took an active part in the life of the church. John served as choir leader while William was the first superintendent of the Sunday School and he remained in that capacity for 21 years.
George played the piano in the Sunday School and all the brothers took active roles on the Church board for many years.
In 1906 Chesley received its incorporation as town. Conrad Krug was elected as the first mayor of the new town. The next election found William Krug sitting in the mayor's chair. Later W.P. Krug served as mayor for a total of 13 years. Many other family members have served terms in some municipal office or another.
The Chesley Citizens' Band was founded in 1887 under the leadership of John Krug who played the coronet.
The women of the Krug family were also very community spirited. They often welcomed various church and youth groups to the homes. The Krug women helped start and fund the Red Cross branch in Chesley. They played a key role in the establishment of a Women's Institute in the area as well as a Horticultural Society.
In 1936 the town of Chesley held an official town meeting to celebrate the 50 years that the Krug Brothers had been in operation in the community. In recognition of their contributions to life in Chesley the town presented each of the brothers with a gold headed cane and an engraved marble plaque.
The Krug family made many valuable economic, social and cultural contributions to life of the community of Chesley. Their community spirit was immense and without a doubt played a large role in Chesley being able to become incorporated as a town in 1906.
The information used in this article came from documents held in the Grey County Archives.
A version of this article originally appeared in my Local History column in the Owen Sound Sun Times on May 4, 2001.
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