Sebastian Freyvogel was born on December 1, 1791 in Gelterkinden, Switzerland in the Canton of Basel-Landschaft. His father ran an inn called the Auberge des Baines, located in their native Switzerland. In 1806, the Freyvogel family emigrated to Philadelphia, where their last name was anglicized to Fryfogel. Sebastian Fryfogel later moved to Lancaster, Pennysylvania, where he met and married Maria Eby. Born May 7, 1799 in Lancaster, Maria Eby was the daughter of Peter Eby and the granddaughter of Jacob Eby. Her family played a significant role in developing the Kitchener-Waterloo area. Her second cousin, Bishop Eby, was the founder of Berlin (now Kitchener). The family’s ancestry can be traced back to the Lombardy Plain, now forming the northern part of Italy. They were practicing Waldensians, a religious sect with beliefs similar to those of Quakers or Mennonites. The Eby family originally immigrated from Switzerland in 1715, long before the birth of Maria.
After marrying, Sebastian and Maria had 5 children before making the move to Waterloo Region in 1827. The Canada Company wanted to open taverns along the proposed Huron Road, approximately every 20 miles (a day’s length of travel). In order for the taverns to operate properly, they needed to be run by those knowledgeable. Having grown up as an innkeeper’s son, Sebastian Fryfogel was well prepared for this responsibility.
Upon arriving in the Waterloo Region, Sebastian Fryfogel was asked by Anthony Van Egmond of the Canada Company if he could open an inn near what is now Shakespeare for a stopping place along the Huron Road. He agreed, was given a plot of land and offered an annual stipend of £40 for running a tavern. Thereupon, his family began the 11 day trek to the site of their future home. Sebastian Fryfogel is remembered as the first person to take up residence in Perth County. During his time operating the Fryfogel Tavern, he also served as the Reeve of South Easthope Township, the Provisional Warden for Perth County, and a captain in the local militia.