St. Francis Xavier Church
Carlsruhe, Ontario, Canada


Nicholas Sr

Balthaser Josephus Nicholas Durrer (Nicholas Sr) was born in 1799 in Kerns Switzerland and died in 1822 in Formosa Ontario.

His wife Anna Maria was born in 1809 in Kerns Switzerland died in 1891 in Formosa Ontario.

Nicholas Sr. was a Papal Guard in Rome before he married Anna Maria.

He was an artist and woodcarver.

Nicholas Jr

Their son Joseph Nicholas Durrer (Nicholas Jr.) was born in Kerns Switzerland in 1833.

Nicholas Jr and his parents left Switzerland and immigrated to New York for a few years and built altars in churches.

They then went to New Germany (Maryhill) Ontario.

Sometime before 1857 Nicholas Jr. married Mary Batte. (Born Sept 4, 1838 and died Oct 8, 1922 in Formosa Ont.)

In 1860 they moved to Formosa and settled on a farm on the Elora Road.

Nicholas Jr was a wood carver by trade

He built altars at Formosa (intact), Walkerton (destroyed in the infamous 1970's) , Mildmay (1912) (all 3 intact), Teeswater  (destroyed in the infamous 1970's) and Dornoch (1890) (one is intact), and other churches.

In 1906 Nicholas Jr died.


Nicholas and Mary had a son Walter born in 1875 in Formosa.

Walter helped Nicholas Jr build the altar in the Carlsruhe church (1873) (intact but painted over) - the remnants of his bussiness card are on the back of the altar

            Note: The Altar of Sacrifice was built in his style by Darryl Diemert in 2009 - a very talented young parishioner.
                        It took over 400 hours to build this one alone  - ask his children.

Walter also built the altar in Dornoch (1890) - a handwritten inscription on the back contains his name and his profession - Altar Builder and Photographer.

He was a photographer in Mildmay and Formosa.

In 1904 he moved to Didsbury, Alberta and set up his photography equipment in a studio.
In 1905 Walter bought a building on the main street of Didsbury and started a furniture studio.
At the same time he began a funeral home at the back of the building.

In 1906 Nicholas Jr died and the St. Mary’s Kitchener (1900) (intact) altar was not finished. 
Walter came home from Alberta and finished the altar in 1907.

He had rented out his building before he came to Ontario.

In the spring of 1909 he returned to Alberta and in 1910 he married Adella Hallet and remained in Alberta.

Walter died in September of 1964 in Calgary Alberta.

Many of his descendents still live in Carrick Township - aka Formosa, Mildmay, Carlsruhe - aka the Municipality of South Bruce.


            Formosa      Immaculate Conception

1873   Carlsruhe      St. Francis Xavier

          Teeswater      Sacred Heart

          Walkerton      Sacred Heart

1890   Dornoch      St. Paul

1900   Kitchener      Our Lady of the Seven Dolours (St. Mary's)

1912   Mildmay      Sacred Heart