The Krug Impact
on Chesley Ontario 

The Krug Impact on Chesley Ontario was immense not only in terms of the community's social fabric but with regards to community's economic growth.

In the 1880s, the dream of six young men to own their own business led to a dramatic economic expansion for a small Bruce County community. 

The young men were five brothers, John, Conrad, Christian, William and George Krug, and their brother-in-law Henry Ankenmann. They were employed by the Hess Furniture Company in Listowel, but they were frustrated by the frequent layoffs and the uncertain future of their careers. 

In the winter of 1885-86 the opportunity to determine their own destinies appeared when their cousin made them an offer which would impact on all of their lives as well as the community of Chesley. 

Their cousin, Kaspar Grosch, owned a felt manufacturing company called Grosch and Rolston. 

Grosch offered the young men the opportunity to purchase one half the water power at their plant in the village of Chesley for $2,250. 

In January 1886, two of the brothers, Christian and William, travelled to Chesley to explore the possibilities. 

After agreeing to the deal, the four brothers and their brother-in-law returned to Chesley on May 18, 1886 to begin working on their new business. Shortly afterward, the eldest brother, John, arrived from Cleveland with their father who was a cabinet maker. 

Soon the Krugs were building furniture and their small company boasted five employees. Their first sale went to Port Elgin. The young men decided to build only furniture that was essential for homes. Therefore, they focused their efforts on dining room and bedroom furnishings. The company delivered its products to area communities via horse-drawn wagons. 

But it was not long before the company was shipping furniture by train to destinations in the Maritimes and Western Canada. 

As the demand for Krug furniture grew, the workforce at the company also expanded. Many friends from the Listowel area, looking to shed the constraints of uncertain employment made their way to Chesley to work for the Krug's. 

Prior to the Krug Furniture Company beginning operations in 1886, Chesley was a community of 900 residents. There were two grist mills, a felt factory, a foundry and two saw mills. The arrival of the Grand Trunk Railway in 1881 and the availability of water power made Chesley an ideal 10 cation for an industrial complex such as the factory established by the Krug brothers and their brother-in-law. 

The Krug company grew to become one of the most important furniture manufacturers and enjoyed many decades of success. 

What makes their story even more intriguing is the fact that when they began their business venture only one of the young entrepreneurs had reached the ripe old age of 25! 

The Krug company was more than business venture it became an integral part of the life of the town of Chesley. The impact went far beyond simple, business and employment benefits as the Krugs took an active part in virtually all aspects of the life of the community

The information used in this article came from several sources, including, newspaper articles 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 April 27, 2001.

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Bruce County History

Bruce County history is rich with stories about the development of communities along the Lake Huron shoreline and shaped by memorable events and the people.

The "Battleship By-Election" was the result of a debate that embroiled all of Canada but was settled in a rural region of southwestern Ontario prior to the First World War.

Bruce Road 3: A Colonization Road linked prospective settlers to undeveloped Crown Lands and a new life.

British Peerage a Source for Township Names. It is interesting to check the origin of the names bestowed on pioneer places such as towns, townships and counties.

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.

Billy Crawford: Pioneering Spirit Personified. If you take the time to consider the people you have met during your life you too may know or have known, someone with pioneering spirit just like Billy Crawford.

Frozen Rivers & Lakes can be Hazardous: Icy waterways offer many benefits such as ice fishing, but beware weak, or thin ice is not easily detected and can spell disaster.

Kincardine Ontario's First Settlers using a bit of savvy and some luck created a future for themselves and their families on the Lake Huron shoreline.

The Krug Impact on Chesley Ontario was immense not only in terms of the community's social fabric but with regards to community's economic growth.

Wilfrid Laurier: Despite the town's best efforts to make Wilfrid Laurier's visit a memorable occasion, it would be clouds of dust that would remind the Prime Minister of  the Lake Huron community.

Mildmay Ontario overcame competition from other communities to claim its spot in Carrick Township on an important settlement route to the Lake Huron shoreline.

Pioneer Diaries provide Interesting Information about many topics, but sometimes information about the weather can be quite surprising!

The pioneer settlement in Arran Township was completed in 1851. The survey crew had been impressed, by the cheap cost and the potential of the land, that two members of the team, George Gould and Richard Berford, took up plots of land. 

Port Elgin Ontario Started with a Storm. A ship forced to seek refuge from Lake Huron's stormy wrath signalled to one man the idea of starting a new community.

Southampton's early history was a time of identity crisis, and with a connection to an early Arctic mystery story. 

Southampton Ontario Suffered a Major Fire in 1886: The havoc was created by a furious high wind storm that spread the flames over much of the town.

Tara Ontario's Mill Started the Village Economy and with the entrepreneurial and inventive genius of one man the community prospered!

Walkerton Ontario: The Beginning of this Bruce County town is the result of the drive and determination of one man, Joseph Walker.