54 HISTORY OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
CHAPTER V.-REV. PETER SCHNEIDER, 1838 TO 1844.
The most active and persevering missionary of Western Ontario was without question Father Peter Schneider. He was an Alsatian, like his predecessor, Father Wiriath. He came to Waterloo County from Amherstburg, Ont., where he had been the first year and a half after his ordination, towards the end of 1837. He made his headquarters at New Germany and served his co-religionists like his predecessor, from Puslinch, and Guelph to Goderich and south of this line.
He began a register here in December, 1837, and entered therein his ministrations throughout his district without giving the place where he performed them.
At New Germany there was then no priest's house. A miserable log shanty was there and was used as church and school.
On April 13, 1838, he writes to Bishop Gaulin, Toronto, not to come for confirmation then, but in July, when the roads would be better and the people better instructed, as some of the young people 16 to 18 years old were still so ignorant that they had not been able yet to go to confession.
Before this, Dec. 11, 1837, he writes from New Germany that there were then 50 Catholic families, all Germans, in the Mission of New Germany, that Father Wiriath had been among them for about one year and then left them on account of dissensions and want of support; that the people had already sent the Bishop two petitions for a priest through Father Wiriath and a third one later. This document is drawn up in French by the school teacher, Theobald Wadel, and shows that the writer was a man of parts. It is signed by 26 heads of families as well as by the Secretary, Mr. Wadel. It is likely that Father Schneider came here in response to these petitions.
Another letter of Jan. 6, 1838, states that there were then 60 to 70 families, all within three miles of the church, and many more further distant; that he had bought two acres of land beside the old school on which he proposed to build a church 40 x 22 ft.; that he had collected $350.00 for this purpose, asking how he should go about electing church trustees and how many; that dissensions had arisen about the site and the deed.
July 3, 1839, he writes that he had to defend himself against vicious newspaper attacks and complains of poverty, debts and poor health.
March 25, 1838, he writes from Waterloo Township (not New Germany) that his difficulties in New Germany were increasing, first, because the people were refusing to give the land title to the Bishop and would not pay their dues. Secondly, that disorders of drinking, sprees, quarreling and fighting were prevalent, that for these reasons he had been obliged to go to St. Agatha, from where he still attended sick calls, etc., when necessary.
April 27, 1838, he gives the population of New Germany at 446 souls, without mentioning the number of families.
Nov. 13, 1840, writing from St. Agatha, he asks the Bishop's permission to stay away from New Germany till they had reformed and come to an understanding regarding the deed and the building of the church and payment of dues. During his absence the people had begun the erection of a presbytery.
In a letter dated Wilmot (St. Agatha), Feb. 22, 1842, he asks the Bishop's consent to complete the presbytery and in the meantime use it for a church