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APR 23 1932 



OCH''\ rn 


C. HENRY SMITH, A. M., Ph. D. (Chicago) 
Professor of History in Goshen College 

Published by the Author 


Copyright 1909 

Mennonite Publishing House Press, Scottdale, Pa. 

To the memory of my 


For many years 

a bishop in the church 

and my 


This volume is affectionately 



Chapter Page 

Introduction 13 

I The Anabaptists 16 

II Menno Simons and the Mennonites of 

Europe 53 

III CorneHsz Pieter Plockhoy and the Men- 

nonite Colony on the Delaware . . 81 

IV Germantown 94 

V The Pequea Colony 134 

VI Franconia 183 

A'^II Expansion of the Pequea Colony before 

1800 192 

VIII The Amish 208 

IX During- the Revolution 253 

X The Mennonites of Ontario 265 

XI The Mennonites During the Nineteenth 

Century 275 

1. Settlements in Ohio, Illinois, Indi- 

ana and the Western States 

2. Schisms. 

3. The Civil War. 

XII The Immigration from Russia 324 

XIII The General Conference of Mennonites 343 


XIV The Mennonites and the State .... 353 

XV- Principles, Customs and Culture . . . 386 

XVI Literature and Hymnology 409 

XVII The Present 446 

XVIII Bibliography ' 456 


Germantown Church 

Dirck Keyser House 

Thones Kunders House 

Old Bench and Table 

Rohrerstown Church 

Doylestown Church 

Plot of Ground 

Christ Herr House 

Brick Graveyard 

Pequea Creek 

Conestoga Wagon 

Skippack Meeting House 

Franconia Graveyard 

Bank Church 

Weaver Church 

Kinzer Church 

Partridge Church 

Bethel College 

Schrock Barn 

Old Amish Homestead 

Landisville Log Church 

Boehm Chapel 

How They Went to Church 

Goshen College 

Bluffton College 

John F. Funk 

J. S. Coffman 

J. H. Oberholtzer 

Joseph Stuckey 


To write a history of the Mennonites of America 
is not an easy task. Material from which to con- 
struct the complete life story of the Mennonite people 
is meager, and hence in the selection of the subject 
matter of this book and in the method of treatment 
the dearth of material has made it impossible for the 
author to exercise much choice. If more attention is 
paid to the early settlements made by small colonies of 
the denomination throughout the land and to the 
various church schisms than to the history of the 
development of their church life, it is both because 
more has been recorded of the former than of the latter, 
and also because when this is told almost the whole 
of their story has been recited. 

The Mennonites have almost invariably been a 
rural people. They formed congregations which were 
generally self-governing and independent of one 
another, and hence had little of a common organized 
church life. They were a sober, quiet and unassuming 
people, took little interest in government and the 
affairs of the outside world. They were seldom 
molested in the even tenor of their way and conse- 
quently their history is largely the story of the life 


of a number of individual farming communities with 
little of special interest to lend color to their history. 

Although the story of the religious life of the 
Mennonites may be told in few words, yet they have 
been the founders of the first German colony in 
America and have been among the pioneers in many 
of the frontier settlements in the westward expansion 
of the American people. And for this reason their his- 
tory is of interest also to the student of general 
American history. I have attempted therefore to trace 
in this volume not only the history of the Mennonitc 
church but also the complete life story of the Menno- 
nitc people, and have treated such phases of the 
subject as I could find material for. 

I have attempted further to cover the entire field 
of American Mennonite history and have tried to place 
every event of importance in its proper perspective. 
So far as possible I have tried to be impartial toward 
the various branches of the church and have given 
each the amount of space which according to my judg- 
ment its importance deserved. 

It is hoped that this volume may be of interest and 
profit to the thousands who are no longer within the 
Mennonite church, but who trace their lineage to a 
Mennonite ancestry, as well as to those who are still 
to be found within the various branches of the denomi- 

I am indebted to many friends for criticisms, sug- 
gestions and the use of manuscript sources. These are 
mentioned throughout the book in their proper places. 
In addition to these I wish to thank especially John F. 
Funk of Elkhart, Indiana, for the use of his private 


library; H. P. Krehbiel and Christian Krehbiel of 
Newton, Kansas, for kindly reading the manuscript 
for chapters XII and XIII; N. B. Grubb of Phila- 
delphia for the use of a number of cuts relating to the 
Germ^ntown church; D. H. Bender, for editing the 
manuscript; the Mennonite Publishing House, for the 
use of a number of cuts ; and Professor D. S. Gerig, of 
Goshen College, for critical suggestions. 

C. Henry Smith. 
Goshen, Indiana, November 14, 1908. 



Regarding the origin of the Mennonites there is 
some difference of opinion among those interested in 

Mennonite history. Some trace them 
Origin of to the Anabaptists; others credit the 

Mennonites Waldenses with being their ancestors; 

still others try to follow, through numer- 
ous medieval sects which had certain religious beliefs 
in common, a continuous line of succession from the 
very days of the apostles themselves. While it is 
possible to trace several religious doctrines and prac- 
tices, common to the later Mennonites, through various 
medieval sects and a number of individual religious 
reformers, yet it is merely a waste of time to try to 
carry the continuity of the Mennonite church, either 
as an organization or as to its faith in its totality, be- 
yond the Anabaptists. 

The Anabaptists were a so-called radical religious 
sect which developed in middle Europe during the 

early sixteenth century, out of the Luth- 
Beginnings of eran and Zwinglian revolutions. In the 
Anabaptists early stages of the Reformation both 

Luther and Zwingli were in favor of a 
departure from the old system far more radical and 


more literally in accord with the teaching of the New 
Testament than that which they adopted a few years 
later. When it became apparent that both favored the 
retention of some of the fundamental principles of the 
old system, those who favored a more radical and 
thorough change began to withdraw from the move- 
ment. Among the demands made by the radicals was 
the withdrawal of the magistrates from all interference 
in matters of religion — in other words, a separation of 
church and state. To the common man especially, 
it seemed that all his ills, religious and social, were due 
to an established state church. And so, many were as 
much opposed to a Lutheran or Zwinglian established 
church as they had been to the Catholic system. True 
churches according to their views must be voluntary 
and independent organizations composed of members 
each of whom must be individually responsible to God 
for his religious beliefs. 

This opposition first appeared as a radical tail to the 
Zwinglian movement in Zurich. Dissatisfaction with 
Zwingli's reforms had begun as early as 1521 among 
some of his followers, but the first rupture took place 
in a disputation held in the fall of 1523 between the 
Catholics and Zwingli's party. In the controversy as 
to what should constitute the final authority on all 
religious beliefs, Zwingli demanded obedience to God 
and the Bible, He would reject what was unscriptural. 
Dr. Faber of the Catholic party insisted that the 
Universities should be called upon to judge. Here- 
upon Simon Stumpf, pastor at Hongg, who was in 
Zurich at the time and who was one of the radicals, 
declared that the Spirit of God must decide all matters 


of difference, and that furthermore each one must in- 
terpret the Bible for himself. Here we find the germ 
of the teaching of the people whom we later call 
Anabaptists — namely, that no outside authority, either 
lay or ecclesiastical has the right to force any religious 
system upon the people. 

Another fundamental question, which was lightly 
touched upon here but which later became the chief 
cause of contention between the Zwinglians and the 
radicals, was infant baptism. Even at this time the 
radical element had been forced by the logic of their 
position to question both the necessity and scriptural 
basis of infant baptism. If the church was to be a 
voluntary, independent organization, then infant bap- 
tism, the sign of initiation into a universal church, had 
to be discarded. 

It is impossible to designate any single individual 
as the author of these radical doctrines. Zurich had for 
some time been the rallying point for all those who 
were dissatisfied with the Zwinglian reform. The 
movement soon crystallized itself, however, and as- 
sociated itself with the names of several men who, if 
not the founders of the sect we know as Anabaptists, 
at any rate became its leaders. These men were 
Conrad Grebel, Felix Manz, William Reublin, George 
Blaurock, and several others. 

Conrad Grebel in the early period of the Reforma- 
tion was Zwingli's admired friend. As late as 1522' 
Zwingli spoke of him as "a most learned 
■Conrad Grebel and candid youth." His father was a 
member of the Zurich Council. Conrad 
was not a church man, but was educated at the Uni- 


versities of Vienna and Paris. By 1523 he differed 
from Zwingli on infant baptism, and also opposed the 
union of church and state. The church ought to be 
composed only of true believers, he said, those who 
were truly converted. He agreed with Zwingli on the 
discarding of pictures and the mass, but differed again 
on the question as to what was to take the place of the 
mass in religious worship. The real cause of difference 
however, lay deeper than any of these things. In 
his estimation Zwingli did not go far enough in his 
effort at reform. The Bible must be the final authority 
on all these questions, and the new church must be 
organized after the example of the early apostolic 
church. Some authorities say that Grebel hoped to be 
elected professor of Greek in a school at Zurich but 
that Zwingli used his influence against both him and 
Manz who hoped to become professor of Hebrew, and 
that consequently both these men arose in opposition 
to him from personal, rather than religious grounds. 
But from what we know of the later life, religious zeal 
and martyrdom of these two men, it does not seem that 
this accusation is just. 

Felix Manz, a native of Zurich, and also a thor- 
ough scholar and a firm friend of Zwingli's from the 

first, as early as 1522 began to question 
Felix Manz the scriptural grounds for infant baptism 

and a state church. After failing to con- 
vert Zwingli to his views he began to preach in the 
-fields and in his mother's house. He was arrested at 
Chur and sent out of the city, but soon returned, and 
remained for some time and became one of the 
founders of the new independent church in 1525. 

George Blaurock had been a monk at Chur, but 


some time before 1523 he renounced the Roman church 
and came to Zurich to seek light from 

George Blaurock Zwingli. Failing to find satisfaction 
here he joined the radical party and 

was the first to be baptized into the new organization 

which came into existence by virtue of that act in 1525. 

William Reublin in 1521 became a priest in Basel. 
He was a deep student of the Bible and a preacher of 

evangelical truths. Later he became 
William Reublin preacher at Wittikon near Zurich 

where he met Grebel, Manz and Blau- 
rock. He was one of the first of the priests to marry. 
He soon joined the Swiss cause and became a zealous 
worker for the movement. 

These are the principal characters concerned in 
the origin of the Anabaptists in Zurich. Many others, 

preachers as well as laymen, including such 
First men as Ludwig Hetzer and Hans Brodli, 

Meetings soon joined them. After the disputation of 

1523, it is likely that the followers of Grebel 
and Manz met separately for worship. Many of them 
said that the church must be made up of true believers, 
and thus they could not worship with those of the 
state church. They met at first in the home of the 
mother of Felix Manz for Bible study, and studied 
especially the history of the early apostolic church and 
made it a model for the new body. They found that 
the apostles and their followers said nothing about 
tithes, taxes and church benefices. Consequently they 
thought the present practices wrong and attempted to 
get back to the independent church and community of 
goods prevalent in the days of the apostles. They 
could not find that any of the members of the early 


church held office, so they considered it wrong for a 
Christian to be a magistrate. They saw that the early 
church did not fight, so th-ey could not use the sword. 
In fact the whole movement soon became an attempt 
to reproduce the letter as well as the spirit of the 
primitive apostolic church, with the Sermon on the 
Mount as the basis of their faith. 

Just how general these doctrines were and how 
thoroughly these people believed in them at this time 
(1524) is not easy to say. But judging 
Early from their earliest confession of faith on 

Doctrines record (Schleitheim, 1527) and from the ac- 
cusations made against them by the author- 
ities in their trials during persecution, these practices 
were embodied in well defined articles of faith by 1527, 
and must have been believed in quite generally even 
at this time. In the meantime the gap between the 
Zwinglians and the "Brethren," as they now called 
.themselves, was growing wider. Zwingli tried to win 
.over his opponents by disputations, both private and 
.public — a common practice at that time. As was to be 
•expected, however, these debates served only to confirm 
each side of the truth of its own position. Zwingli, 
having the temporal authorities in sympathy with him, 
was inevitably proclaimed victorious. The most de- 
cisive of the great public disputations was held 
January 17, 1525. On the side of the Brethren 
appeared Grebel, Manz, Reublin, Castelberger, 
Brodli, jHetzer and Blaurock. The principal 
issue was infant baptism, the Brethren maintaining 
that only true believers should be baptized and the 
Zwinglians declaring in favor of baptizing infants. 
Neither side was convinced, but the Brethren were 


declared vanquished in the debate. Zwingli, however, 
seeing that nothing could be hoped for from this 
method of coercion, determined to use his influence 
with the civil authorities in rooting out the dangerous 
doctrine. January 18, 1525, the Council issued a decree 
ordering the leaders to leave Zurich, and furthermore 
ordered that all unbaptized children were to be bap- 
tized within eight days. This last order was not 
observed, and on February 1, of the same year another 
decree ordered the disobedient to be arrested and all 
infants to be baptized as soon as born. 

About this time, 1525, whether before or after 
the great disputation is uncertain, the Brethren took 

the final and decisive step which com- 
Introduction of pletely cut them off from the state 
Adult Baptism church and branded them with the 

name that later became odious to them 
— the name Anabaptists. This step was the introduc- 
tion of rebaptism, or adult baptism, on confession of 
faith only. The scene is- best described by one of the 
earlier authorities.^ 

Blaurock was the first man to be baptized by Conrad Gre- 
bel and afterwards to baptize others. From this time on they 
were called Anabaptists. How this baptism was administered 
and how the Lord's supper was afterwards held is discussed 
in the account of Rudolph Thoman who was later put into 
■prison. The account reads as follows: Rudolf Thoman 
answeied that he desired to eat the Lord's supper with 
Brodlin of Wittikon, and with this in view he had invited him 
to his (Thoman's) house. He had not invited any others but 
by and by many others came and soon the room was full. 
Among other things, it happened, as they read and admon- 

1. Fuesslin, J. C, Beitrage zur Kirchen Geschichte des SchwciUer- 
landes. I. p. 225. 


ished one another, that Hans Brubbach of Zumikon arose, 
wept and cried out that he was a great sinner and asked that 
they would pray for him. Whereupon Blaurock asked him 
whether he desired the grace of God. He replied, "Yes." 
Then Manz arose and said, "Who shall hinder me from 
baptizing him?" Blaurock answered, "No one." Thereupon 
he took a pitcher of water and baptized him in the name of 
the Son, Father and Holy Ghost. After this Jacob Hottinger 
arose and demanded to be baptized. Manz also baptized him. 

This was the decisive step in the development of 
the new movement. It was the act which finally cut off 
the radicals from the state church. Its significance layin 
the fact that now the new church began definite organ- 
ization, and in the complete severing of church and 
state. Baptism became the outward sign of member- 
ship in the new organization. 

This is by no means the first case in history of 
adult baptism, or even of rebaptism, but the rite seems 
now to have a new meaning. Blaurock himself confesses 
that so far as he knows he was the first to be baptized. 
Some good authorities say, however, that Storch ad- 
ministered rebaptism. It is not likely that Miinzer re- 
baptized any one, although Bullinger says he did, and 
that Manz and Grebel learned the practice from him. 
Reublin probably baptized at Waldshut in 1524, the 
year preceding Blaurock's baptism. The Waldenses 
and other older sects also sometimes performed the 
rite. But whatever may have been the case heretofore, 
baptism from henceforth had a new significance. It 
was an indication that the baptized person had become 
a member of a new organization, one with a clear cut 
and well defined separation from the older church. 

In the meantime a movement had arisen in Saxony 


which in some respects was similar to the one in 
Switzerland. While the latter, however, 
The Zwickau was purely religious, the former was 
Prophets largely political and social. 

In Germany, as in Switzerland, 
there were those who were disappointed in the Refor- 
mation. The radical party here first arose in Saxony. 
Heinrich Bullinger, a contemporary of the leaders of 
that day, in speaking of these events, says : 

About the year 1521 or 1522 there arose in Saxony a 
number of restless spirits among whom Nicholas Storch was 
one of the most influential, who went about saying that God 
revealed himself to them through dreams and visions, that 
there must be a new world in which only righteousness 
shall prevail. Therefore all godless people must be destroyed 
from the earth and all godless princes and lords. They called 
all people godless who did not take part with them. At first 
they kept these matters secret. From this same school came 
Thomas Munzer who also had his followers, Pfeiffer, Rink 
and many others. This Miinzer boasted that God had re- 
vealed Himself to him. All his conversation and writing was 
bitter against the preachers and also against the magistrates. 

The leaders of this movement, Storch and Miinzer, 
because of these claims which they first made public in 
Zwickau, were called the Zwickau prophets. 

Storch was a weaver, and although a layman, was 
well read in the Bible. Munzer in speaking of him said 
that he knew the Scriptures better than any priest. Of 
his doctrinal system we have no exact knowledge. But 
it is thought that he imbibed his ideas from the 
Bohemian Picards, since he advocated many of the be- 
liefs of that religious sect. He rejected infant baptism, 
although there is no evidence that he practiced re- 
baptism. He is also charged with teaching the re- 


jection of oaths, of the magistracy, and of warfare, and 
the community of goods among Christians. He be- 
heved also strongly in visions and the inner light. An 
angel appeared before him one night, he said, and in- 
formed him that he would be placed on the throne of 
the archangel Gabriel, and that a new kingdom of the 
•elect would be established on the earth, while all un- 
believers would be destroyed. He exerted considerable 
influence over his fellow weavers and others of the 
masses in Saxony. By 1521 a separate religious organ- 
ization had been established by him. After the fashion 
of the primitive church, twelve apostles and seventy 
evangelists were sent out to spread broadcast his teach- 
ing. Among those who were won over to his views and 
who took a prominent part in the movement was 
Marcus Stubner, a Wittenberg student. 

Thomas Miinzer was born about 1490 and was well 
educated. He was a restless spirit and had taken up 
the work of reform even before Luther had, and in 1513 
lie had formed a conspiracy against the bishop of 
Magdeburg. After leading a wandering life for several 
years he finally became pastor of the Lutheran church 
at Zwickau with the full approval of Luther. Here he 
became closely associated with Storch and began a 
iierce attack upon the avarice and corruption of the 
monks and priests, and denounced many of the prac- 
tices of the new as well as of the old church. As a result 
■of these attacks he was forced to leave Zwickau in 1521. 

From here he traveled through Bohemia and the 
small towns of Saxony, preaching radical ideas. He 
finally came to Alstadt where he soon gathered a large 
-following and became pastor of a congregation in 1523. 
Here he began his denunciation of the Lutheran and 


the Catholic church, and the temporal government, and 
soon formed an organization whose members were 
bound by oath to stand by each other, the purpose of 
which was to overthrow the old government and set up 
in its place a new one. A crusade against the pictures, 
statuary, altars and church buildings near Alstadt was 
inaugurated by him, all of which he said savored of 
idolatry and were not necessary in the worship of God. 
He laid more stress upon direct revelation than upon 
the teaching of the Bible. "One might read ten thou- 
sand Bibles," he said, "and yet it would not help him."" 
He considered himself a prophet sent from God to set 
right the times. Like many of the enthusiasts of that 
day, he pretended to make the primitive church, to- 
gether with certain teachings of the Old Testament and 
Revelation, the basis of his new system. 

Infant baptism he rejected as useless, although In 
theory rather than in practice. He never baptized 
adults and it is not likely that he himself was ever 
rebaptized. In spite of his apparent rejection of the 
doctrine, however, he continued to baptize infants as 
late as 1522 and when he translated the Latin liturgy 
into German he retained the formula for infant baptism. 

Closely associated with Miinzer's religious views 
were many radical political ideas. He attacked the 
foundations of the state as well as those 
Miinzer's of the established church, and when the 

Political Ideas temporal authorities forbade him tO' 
preach he asked his followers to pay no 
attention to their demands. God, he said, gave the 
temporal princes in his anger to the world, and He will 
put them out of the way. 

Those princes who would not repent and would not 


accept the Gospel must even as the Catholic ecclesiasts be 
destroyed with fire and sword. They stand not only against 
the true faith but also against the natural rights of man. 
Consequently they must be strangled like dogs. 

Rulers must govern for the good of the people and 
are accountable to them. He also seemed to favor 
community of goods, equality in social life and a level- 
ing of all class distinctions. 

As a result of these fanatical teachings, George of 
Saxony finally ordered Miinzer to leave Alstadt and 
never return to his kingdom under penalty of severe 
punishment. Aliinzer seems to have gone to Miihl- 
hausen and other places in South Germany. Early 
in 1524 he made an eight weeks tour through Switzer- 
land and Lower Germany ; at Waldshut he met Hub- 
meier and other leaders of the Swiss Anabaptist move- 

He entered into warm sympathy with the peasants 
of Southern Germany in their struggle to free them- 
selves from the economic and social burdens to which 
the church and the land tenure system of that day 
subjected them. When the peasants' revolt broke out 
in 1525, Miinzer became one of the leaders of the 
peasants and was among the number who were cap- 
tured in the battle of Frankenhausen ; he was shortly 
afterward executed. 

Are Miinzer and his fellow laborers at Zwickau to 
be regarded as Anabaptists? On this question author- 
ities dififer. The difference, how- 
Were the Zwickau ever, seems to be largely one of 
Prophets Anabaptists? interpretation of the term Ana- 
baptist, li the term is to include 
all those radical sects which followed in the wake of the 
Reformation, and which rejected many of the doctrines 


and practices of the Lutheran and Zwinglian move- 
ments, including infant baptism, then the Zwickau 
prophets may be regarded as Anabaptists. But if the 
term is to be confined to the Swiss type who not only 
rejected infant baptism but also instituted adult bap- 
tism, and who refused to take an oath or to hold office 
and regarded all warfare as contrary to the teaching 
of Jesus, then Miinzer and his school can not be classed 
as Anabaptists, at least not of the peaceful, non- 
resistant type. 

Although Miinzer had traveled through Switzer- 
land early in 1524 and had received a friendly welcome 
from the leaders of the Swiss Brethren, it is not likely 
that he exerted much influence over them, especially 
after they learned of his attitude toward the civil 

The attitude of the Swiss toward Munzer can 

be learned from a letter written 

Attitude of the to him by them, under date of 

Swiss toward Miinzer September 5, 1524. It reads in 

part as follows : 

At this time we read your writings against the false faith 
and baptism. We were comforted and strengthened and 
wonderfully rejoiced to find one who had the same view of 
Christianity as we, and who dared to show the evangelical 
preachers their shortcomings, how they in all the principal 
articles conduct themselves falsely and set up their own good 
judgment instead of following the judgment of God. There- 
fore we beg of you as a brother to preach the true word of 
God earnestly and fearlessly; to set up and defend only godly 
practices, and value and defend the pure Gospel. 

They differ with Miinzer on certain minor points 
of practice, such as the substitution of singing for the 
mass, etc. In reference to baptism the letter goes on: 


Wc are very much pleased with your writing and desire 
to be taught more on the subject. 

In conclusion they say: 

Regard us as your brethren and understand this writing 
to have been done through great joy and hope of you through 
God, and teach and comfort as you well can. Pray to God for 
us that He may help us in our faith. We desire you to write 

This is signed by Grebel, Manz, Castelberg and others. 
Grebel adds a postscript to the letter in which he says 
that some one has written him that Miinzer taught that 
the peasants should lay violent hands on the temporal 
princes. He warns him against this and admonishes 
him to renounce the teaching. He says the true disciple 
of Christ must suffer persecution but cannot offer 
violence to any one. He adds that he warns him 
because of his love for him. 

This letter shows that although the Swiss were 
greatly impressed with Miinzer's writing and that they 
felt that they had found in him a kindred spirit, yet 
they were suspicious of his teaching regarding the 
Christian's relation to the temporal authority. Of 
Miinzer's influence in Switzerland, Ludwig Keller, 
probably one of the best and at the same time a sympa- 
thetic modern critic of Anabaptist lore says : 

Miinzer may in his visit to Switzerland have gained cer- 
tain individuals, yet it is true that he did not succeed in 
exerting any very great influence upon the heretofore leaders 
of the Swiss movement. The further development of this 
sect was not changed by him. 

Let us return to the Zurich Brethren. The introduc- 
tion of rebaptism gained for them the name "Wieder- 
taufer" or Anabaptists. They never acknowledged the 


term, but spoke of themselves merely as the Brethren. 
We shall speak of them here as Anabaptists. 

The year 1525 marks the beg-inning- of the persecu- 
tion of the Anabaptists. Zwingli noAv saw that the new 

movement was becoming a menace to his 
Early state s3-stcm and consequently did all he 

Persecutions could to persuade the Zurich authorities 

to stamp out the new teaching. Powers of 
persuasion were first tried, and to this end numerous 
public disputations were held with the Anabaptists. 
But when these failed, severer measures were resorted 
to. After the disputation of 1525, the leaders were 
ordered to leave the canton, their teaching was sup- 
pressed and a}I children were ordered to be baptized 
within eight days. At first the penalty for disobedience 
was a money fine. But when it was found that the 
Anabaptists Avere increasing in numbers and insisted 
on coming back, banishment and finally the death 
penalty was decreed for those who dared return. Blau- 
rock was sent out of the city. Grebel died a natural 
death in 1526. Felix Manz Avas the first of the leaders 
to suffer the death penalty. After converting hundreds 
to the new faith he was finally apprehended and 
suffered martyrdom by drowning in 1527. 

As a result of these persecutions the leaders were 
scattered over Switzerland and Southern Germany in a 
short time. Wherever they went they 
Rapid Spread ])reachcd the new doctrines and ad- 
of Anabaptists ministered the rite of baptism upon 
hundreds and thousands of believers. 
Grebel had gone to Schaffhausen, Brodli to Hallau, 
and Reublin to Waldshut where he had baptized Balt- 
hasar Hubmcir and his entire congregation. From 


here Reublin Avent to Strasburg in 1526. Soon 
churches were established in Zollikon, Griiningen, Ap- 
penzell, St. Gallen, Schaffhaiisen, Berne, Basel and all 
along the upper Rhine country in Switzerland and 
across the border in Germany, and soon the movement 
crept down the Rhine. Hetzer went to Augsburg from 
Zurich, In 1526 Hubmeir went to Augsburg, and later 
to Moravia. 

Some of these congregations grew to large dimen- 
sions. The one at St. Gallen soon numbered eight 
hundred members, to which fifteen hundred more were 
added from Appenzell. The little town of St. Gallen 
became so full of Anabaptists that it was called the 
little Jerusalem. The church at Augsburg also soon 
contained one thousand members. In 1526 a congrega- 
tion was established at Steyr and about the same time 
others were organized at Worms and Nuremberg. By 
1527 there were thirty-eight congregations in the can- 
ton of Zurich alone. 

Reublin, from Strasburg as a center, visited Rot- 
tenburg, Reutlingen, Esslingen and Ulm. All along the 
course of the Rhine in the large cities, Anabaptist 
communities were soon found. By 1528 the movement 
had entered the lower Rhine country and from there 
spread over the Netherlands. The cause for this rapid 
spread of the new faith is discussed later in this 

Sebastian Frank, an old chronicler of that day in 
speaking of the movement says : 

In the year 1526 a new party arose whose leaders and 
bishops were Hubmeir, Rink, Hut, Denk and Hetzer. They 
spread so rapidly that their teaching soon covered the whole 
land and they soon secured a large following and also added 


to their number many good hearts who were zealous toward 

Of course it is not to be supposed that a move- 
ment which spread so rapidly and which was subject 
to so many modifying local influences 
Tendencies of retained throughout its course all the 
the Movement tendencies of its early beginnings. 
Anabaptism was above all intensely 
individualistic, and in the course of its brief history 
it manifested a variety of tendencies according to 
the spirit and opinions of its chief leaders. It is im- 
possible here to name all these leaders, but next to the 
founders of the sect, among the most influential and 
those who were most responsible for these various 
tendencies of the movement were Hans Denk, Balt- 
hasar Hubmeir, Hans Hut and Melchior Hoffman. 
Each of these stamped his own personality upon the 
trend of the development of Anabaptism, and each 
modified the interpretation of its chief doctrines to suit 
his own theories. 

Hans Denk was a student at the University of 
Ingolstadt and early allied himself with the reform 
movement. In 1523 he was made profes- 
Hans Denk sor in the St. Albans school at Nurem- 
berg. Already at this place his orthodoxy 
was questioned by the Lutheran authorities in the city, 
and in 1525 he was required to write out his confession 
of faith. His chief cause for complaint seems to have 
been that the reform was not thorough enough. It did 
not attempt to reform the life of the individual. 
Nuremberg was a center of Waldensian teaching at 
this time and it may be that Denk imbibed some of 
their doctrines. 

As a result of these differences he was banished 


from Xurembcrq- never to return under penalty of 
capital punishment, lie at once went to the Swiss 
Brethren at St. Gallen, and soon afterward to Augs- 
burg where he found a large congregation of Brethren. 
It is supposed that he was secretly l)ai)tized in 1526 by 
Hubmeir who was preaching there at this time. On 
Easter, 1526, Dcnk in turn l^aptized Hut and many 
others. Near the close of 1526 Denk fled to Strasburg 
where a large church had been organized. While there 
he drew many noted merchants to the church — includ- 
ing two members of the lower council — to the number 
of eleven hundred. He soon had to leave the city, how- 
ever, and wandered about for another year, visiting 
Worms, Zurich and other centers of Anabaptism. He 
died at Basel October. 1527. 

Denk exerted great influence upon the history of 
the Anabaptists of his time both by his preaching and 
his writings. He spent much time in defending the 
.Anabaptists against the charges of the Catholic and 
Reform parties. He also helped to translate part of the 
Old Testament from the Hebrew^ to the German. In 
his faith he agreed, in the main, with the earlier Ana- 
baptists, although he dithered from them in some re- 
spects. This difference was great enough to attach 
to his followers the name "Dcnkianer." He w^as not an 
enthusiast on rcbaptism and said in later life he was 
sorry that he ever rebaptized any one. He taught that 
Christ alone Avas not sufficient for salvation. Free will 
must also be exercised. He further taught that n<^ 
man will remain forever damned. Even the evil spirits 
will be regenerated. In common with Hetzer he even 
doubted the Trinity and divinity of Christ. - 

2. Arnold, Gottfried, II. p. 864. 


Balthasar Hubmeir, preacher and professor at 
Ino-olstadt, was converted from Catholicism to 

Zwin-lianism in 1522. He first located at 
Balthasar Waldshut from whence he often visited 
Hubmeir Basel and spoke with Denk, Grebel and 

Manz. In 1523 he was present and assisted 
Zwingli in the great debate with the Catholics. From 
here he went to Schaffhausen, but becoming dis- 
satisfied with the Zwinglian movement on the ground 
that it did not insist strongly enough on a thorough 
reform of the individual and did not take the apostolic 
church as a model for its organization, he left the state 
church and cast his lot with the Anabaptists, being 
baptized by Reublin at Waldshut in 1525. Soon after 
this Hubmeir in turn baptized out of a milk pail over 
three hundred believers. From this time to his death 
two years later he lived the life of a fugitive. He first 
went to Constance where he spent some time in 
establishing Anabaptist communities and from there 
in 1526 fled to Aloravia which at this time was an 
asylum for the persecuted Anabaptists of other 
countries. Here he labored at Nicolsburg for about a 
year when upon the request of the Austrian govern- 
ment he and his wife were cast into prison. After 
nearly a year of imprisonment he was finally burned at 
the stake on March 10, 1528. Three days later his de- 
voted wife was cast into the Danube. Hubmeir had 
once been led by the excruciating pain which he 
suffered on the rack to recant, but later repented his 
weakness and when he was tied to the stake he first 
thrust his right hand into the flames because as he 
said it had been the hand with which he had written 
the recantation. 


Hubmeir built up large congregations wherever 
he went. He was a learned man, being educated at the 
University of Freiburg, and later he became a pro- 
fessor at Ingolstadt. He was also a voluminous 
writer and many of his writings are still extant. 

In his religious views Hubmeir was one of the 
most moderate of the Anabaptists. Unlike the radical 
elements of the party, he opposed communism. In 
most of the religious doctrines he agreed with the 
Swiss Brethren except that he did not follow them in 
their doctrine of non-resistance as regards warfare and 
the magistracy. He taught that a Christian might be 
a magistrate and even bear arms, although not for the 
purpose of enforcing any particular set of religious 
opinions. It is this half-way position of Hubmeir's 
among the Anabaptists of his day that leads the 
modern Baptists to regard him as the greatest leader 
of the movement, and as the one most nearly in accord 
with their own faith. 

In the meantime the persecution of the Anabap- 
tists went on apace. In almost every country, and by 
all of the established churches those who 
Continued showed any signs of belief in the new 
Persecutions doctrines were banished, imprisoned and 
burned at the stake or thrown into the 
rivers. Kirschmeyer estimates that from 1525 to 1530 
over one thousand were slain in Tyrol alone. Sebas- 
tian Frank counts up six hundred as having perished 
at iEnsisheim, the seat of the Austrian government in 
its southwestern dominions. In another small city 
seventy-six w^ere killed in six weeks] Duke William 
of Bavaria issued the blood-thirsty decree that all those 
who recanted should be beheaded, while those who did 


not should be burned. Cornelius, a reliable although 
Catholic historian says : 

The blood of these poor people flowed like water. But 
hundreds of them, of all ages and both sexes, suflfered the 
pangs of torture without a murmur, refusing to redeem their 
lives by recanting, and went to the place of execution with 
joy and singing psalms. 

Partly as a result of these severe persecutions, but 
more as a result of the fanatical teaching of certain 
leaders of the movement who perhaps were influenced 
somewhat by the teaching of Miinzer and other en- 
thusiasts, there appeared by about 1527 in Southern 
■Germany the first signs of those chiliastic tendencies 
which a few years later resulted in the disastrous 
Miinster episode. 

This chiliastic spirit which was poten- 
Chiliastic tially present in the teaching of some of 
Tendencies the earlier leaders was openly manifested 
in the life and work of Hans Hut. 
Hut was a native of Franconia. and by trade a 
book-binder. In 1524 he made the acquaintance of 
Thomas Miinzer whom he assisted in print- 
Hans Hut ing and circulating his pamphlets. Later 
he fell in with some Anabaptists and was 
converted to that faith. In 1526 he was rebaptized by 
Hans Denk. He now went about, preaching 

and baptizing. Although now an Anabaptist in his 
affiliations and in many of the essential tenets of the 
faith, yet he did not recognize the non-resistant doc- 
trine which at the time was still held by the majority 
of the Anabaptists, and had evidently not yet gotten 
away entirely from the teachings of Miinzer. He was 
one of the earliest among the sect to teach millen- 
arianism. Christ would shortly come, he said, and 


would give His kingdom over into the hands of the 
elect, w^hich of course meant those who had been re- 
baptized. He himself was the special agent appointed 
by God to make known these things to the elect, who 
in the last days were to have two-edged swords in 
their hands. Upon the establishing of Christ's king- 
dom all the temporal rulers as well as the priests and 
pastors would be punished for their intolerance and 
false doctrines. This work of vengeance was to be 
performed by an invasion of Turks, after which the 
earth was to be given over to the Saints. In 1527 Hut 
actually gathered together a large number of his fol- 
lowers in Franconia for the purpose of leading them 
to Switzerland, jMiihlhausen or, Hungary to await 
the coming of the Turks. The advent of Christ was set 
for Whitsuntide 1528. 

The Christian himself may use the sword in 
taking possession of the new kingdom but he must 
wait until God ordered him to unsheath it. Here we 
have, if not the actual teaching of the later Miinsterites, 
at least the germ out of which that teaching grew. 

These doctrines Hut preached first at Augsburg 
and the surrounding region and later at Nicolsburg 
where he tried to gain the large community in which 
Hubmeir was teaching, to his party. Hut was finally 
arrested and imprisoned in Nicolsburg. He lost his 
life in an attempt to escape from prison at Augsburg. 

In Melchior Hoffman we have the doctrines of 

Hans Hut carried one step farther. Hoff- 

Melchior man came originally from Suabia, and un- 

HofFman like some of the Anabaptist leaders he was 

a laboring man, being a leather-dresser by 

trade. As early as 1523 we find him in Zurich and 


soon after as a Lutheran agitator in Northern Ger- 
many. In 1524 we find him in company with Melchior 
Rink, a disciple of IMiinzer, on a preaching tour 
through Sweden. At Stockholm he became involved 
in a crusade against the images in the churches, and 
was forced to leave. In 1525 he finally appeared in 
Wittenberg where he first began his teaching regard- 
ing the kingdom of the elect. Hofifman, although not 
an educated man, knew his Bible from cover to cover, 
being especially saturated with the teachings of the 
Prophets and Revelation, which seemed to appeal to 
his imagination. In common with Hans Hut he be- 
lieved in a speedy coming of Christ's kingdom on earth 
and taught that he himself was a prophet and would 
be given the task of appointing the king when the time 
should come. 

In 1527 he appears again as an agitator of these 
views in Holstein. In 1529 he came to Strasburg 
which at that time was an asylum for Anabaptists. 
Soon he again left for East Friesland. 

Hoffman was not the first Anabaptist in Northern 
Germany and the Netherlands. AValdensians and 
other medieval evangelical sects had been found here 
for some time and at this time there were manv com- 
munities of non-resistant Anabaptists. It is not 
known just when Hoffman cast his lot with them. In 
1530 he advised a Zwinglian church at Strasburg to be 
put in charge of the Anabaptists and not long after 
this he was baptized at Embden, one of their strong- 
holds. From this time on he became an enthusiastic 
preacher of Anabaptist doctrines as he understood them 
and spent several years in Northern Germany and the 
Netherlands. He was finally imprisoned at Strasburg 


in 1533, and here he remained until his death some time 

In doctrine Hoffman agreed in the main \vith the 
large body of Anabaptists represented earher by 
Grebel, Blaurock, and partly by Denk on baptism, free 
will, justification, church discipline and the ban; but 
•differed in his attitude toward civil government, and 
also, as we have seen, on the kingdom of the elect. 
When he left Strasburg in 1532 for Friesland he pre- 
dicted that Strasburg was to be the New Jerusalem 
and that the end would come in 1533. He was the 
Elias who was to crown the new King at that time. 
When the day upon which his prophecy was to be 
fulfilled came and passed he extended the time to 
successive dates as occasion demanded. Finally the 
belief grew among his followers that Miinster, and 
not Strasburg was to be the New Jerusalem. From 
this time on the eyes of such as believed in the speedy 
establishment of a kingdom of the elect were turned 
toward Miinster. Just what part the elect were to 
play in bringing about the new kingdom Hoft'man did 
not explain. He did not make an appeal for an armed 
uprising as did his successors. Yet he taught that the 
non-believers must all be destroyed by the sword. 
This was dangerous teaching, and as we shall see 
prepared the way for the fierce fanaticism of Jan 

Hoft'man before his imprisonment had appointed 
•one Jan A'latthys as leader of his people in East Fries- 
land. Matthys now became the champion of millen- 
arianism. He proclaimed himself the Enoch who was 
to inaugurate the new dispensation. Unlike Hoffman, 
who merely prophesied that the new era would come, 


]\Iatthys now immediately set about to take a hand in 
bringing about the new kingdom by force. The move- 
ment now rapidly lost its religious character and as- 
sumed more and more a political nature.' The story 
of Jan IMatthys and his successor, John of Leyden, and 
the founding of the Miinster kingdom, together with 
its fanatical rule furnish one of the most familiar as 
well as most disgraceful episodes in Anabaptist history 
and need not be repeated here. 

In this brief sketch of the development of Ana- 
baptism the term has been used in its widest applica- 
tion. All classes and tendencies of the 
Peaceful movement have been included. It is not 

Anabaptists to be supposed for a moment, however, 
that the teachings just mentioned were 
everywhere accepted. These chiliastic tendencies were 
confined to Northern Germany and the Netherlands. 
The majority of the Anabaptists of Switzerland, 
Moravia and Southern Germany were not tainted 
with millenarianism, and had not departed from their 
earlier non-resistant doctrines. Neither had those of 
the peaceful non-resistant faith altogether died out in 
Northern Germany. They bore their persecutions 
patiently and not much was heard of them. There were 
still many in these regions who were not influenced by 
the teachings of Alelchior Hoffman or Jan Matthys. 
Bullinger, the avowed enemy of the Anabaptists, and a 
contemporary, in his book, "Against the Anabaptists," 
accuses them of fanaticism but never mentions, except 
in the case of the ]\Ii\nsterites, any revolutionary 
tendencies. These all had to face the charge of being 
Miinsterites but they always stoutly denied that they 


had any sympathy or even any historical connection 
with them. Judc;"ing' from Anabaptist confessions of 
laith which are still extant, from accnsations made 
a,ij;ainst them by the authorities and the records of 
their submissive spirit under persecution, it is safe to 
say that outside of the jNIiinsterites, the large majority 
were at least peaceable, loyal and obedient citizens, if 
not indeed altogether non-resistant. Sebastian Frank, 
•one of the early authorities characterizes them as fol- 
lows : 

I am thoroughly convinced that there are many simple, 
righteous people among this sect, and also their leaders try 
to fear God. Many of them desire such a holy, simple, conse- 

•crated Christian life that they no longer desire to live accord- 
ing to the flesh and no longer seek the things of the 

■earth. For this reason they say a Christian should not live 
for the world and not care for the world, should desire death 

■equally with life, etc. 

While it is true that often individuals and com- 
munities held a variet}' of opinions and doctrines, some 
of which resembled those of the ]\Iun- 
^Schleitheim sterites, yet the large assemblies or con- 
Confession ferences always rebuked any manifesta- 
tions of fanaticism and always declared 
for the non-resistant doctrines. As early as 1526 Hans 
Denk presided over a large conference of leaders at 
Augsburg at which a warning note was raised against 
■chiliastic and millenarian teaching, showing perhaps 
that already at that time these tendencies were crop- 
])ing out among some of the leaders. One of the most 
important of these as-semblages, and the one at which 
ihe earliest known Anabaptist confession of faith was 
drawn up, was held in 1527 at Schleitheim near 
.Schafifhausen. This confession, called, "A Brotherly 


Union of Some Children of God," contains in substance 
the following declarations of doctrine.^ 

1. Baptism. — Baptism shall be administered to all who- 
are tauglit repentance and a change of life, and truly believe 
in the forgiveness of their sins through Jesus Christ, and 
are wiUing to walk in newness of life; all those shall be 
I)aptized when they desire it and ask it by the decision of 
their own minds; which excludes all infant baptism accord- 
ing to the Scriptures and the practice of the Apostles. 

2. The Ban or Excommunication. — This shall be prac- 
ticed with all those wlio have given themselves to the Lord,, 
to follow His commandments, are baptized, and call them- 
selves brethren and sisters, and yet stumble and fall into 
sin, or are unexpectedly overtaken; these after admonition 
according to Matthew 18, if they do not repent shall be 

3. Breaking of Bread.— All who wish to break "one 
bread" in remembrance of the broken body of Christ, and 
drink of "one cup" in remembrance of His shed blood,, 
shall be united by baptism into one body which is the con- 
gregation of God and of which Christ is the Head. 

4. Separation from the World. — The Christian must be- 
separated from all the evil and wickedness that Satan has 
planted into the world. According to II Cor. 6:17,18. "We 
shall come out from among them and be separate:" separate 
from all Papistic works and services, meetings and church- 
goings, drinking houses and other things which the world 
highlj'^ esteem's. 

5. Ministers. — The ministers shall, according to tlie 
teaching of Paul, be of good report of them that are without. 
He shall teach, exhort, and help all the members to advance 
in their spiritual life. When he has needs he shall be aided 
by the congregation which chose him to his work. If he 
should be driven away, or imprisoned, or killed, another 
minister shall at once be put into his place. 

3. This confession can be found in many books on Anabaptist history^ 
This brief summary is taken from John Horsch's pamphlet, "The 


6. Taking the Sword. — The worldl}' governments of 
the land are to use the sword, but in the perfect congregation 
of Christ, excommunication is used, by which no one suffers 
violence to his body. Peter says: "Christ has suffered (not 
reigned) and has given us an example that we should follow 
his footsteps." Neither is it the Christian's work to have a 
part in civil government; because the rulings of government 
are according to the flesh, but the government of Christ is 
according to the Spirit. The weapons of the world are car- 
nal, but the weapons of the Christian are spiritual to the over- 
coming of the world and Satan. 

7. Oaths. — Christ, who taught the law in perfection, 
forbade His disciples all oaths, whether true or false. By 
this we understand that all swearing is forbidden. 

This declaration, it will be observed, is soundly 
Biblical and thoroughly in accord with the doctrine of 
non-resistance. Later confessions embodied practi- 
cally the same views. 

From what has been said in this chapter the reader 
will readily observe that when speaking of Anabaptists 

one must keep in mind that there were a 
Classes of variety of sects some of which had no 
Anabaptists connection whatever with the others. 

The non-resistant, peaceful type, with 
which we are here most concerned and which main- 
tained its identity all through this time, must not be 
confused with the fanatical, chiliastical element of the 

Bullinger in his work on the Anabaptists mentions 
no less than forty sects in his time under that name. 
Among the most prominent were: 1. The Apostolic, 
who read their Bibles very literally, traveled about 
without staff and shoes, carried no money. Some oT 
them preached from the housetops, acted like children 
because the Bible said they must become like children 


to enter the kingdom of heaven, and had all their 
property in common. 2. Those Excluded from the 
World. They had nothing in common with the rest of 
the world. Their clothing was simply made and they 
had rules for eating, drinking, and sleeping. They had 
neither weddings nor banquets. In fact they discarded 
everything that was common to the outside world. 
3. The Holy, Sinless Baptists.. They could not sin; 
did not believe in original sin. They omitted the 
phrase, "Forgive our sins," from the Lord's Prayer; 
they did not need the prayers of the faithful. 4, The 
Silent Brethren. They thought that preaching was of 
no avail. It was not necessary for the world to hear 
the Word. When asked concerning their faith they 
kept silent. 5. The Enthusiasts. They were filled with 
the spirit of prophecy, saw visions and had dreams, 
and believed in an early second coming of Christ. In 
Amsterdam, 1535, five women and seven men filled 
with the spirit ran naked through the streets, preached, 
prayed, fell into a trance and warned the city against 
the wrath to come. 6. The Free Brethren. They were 
shunned by most of the others. They made the 
spiritual freedom a freedom of the flesh. They paid no 
tithes, nor taxes, and opposed slavery. Entered all 
sorts of disgraces. Had property and women in 
common. They taught that a Christian must hate all 
that belonged to him, even wife and child. 7. Miin- 
sterites. All other branches- despised everything high 
and exalted, but these aimed at power. 

It is not necessary to prolong the list. The re- 
mainder show the same basis of classification as the 
first seven. These different branches are classified 
according to the emphasis they place upon some 


particular interpretation of certain portions of the 
Bible. In the essentials of Anabaptist doctrine, such 
as baptism, independence of church and state, exclu- 
sion from the world, the ban, etc., they generally 
agree. It is the minor differences that constitute the 
classes. And yet they agree even in their dififerences — 
in this that they show an attempt to follow closely the 
teaching of the Bible as they saw it, sometimes the Old 
Testament, but much more frequently the New and 
generally the early primitive church. Generally speak- 
ing, too, all of them had to a slight extent what each 
one had to excess. Each one of them embodied some 
Biblical truth and could find passages of Scripture 
which seemed to substantiate the particular peculiarity 
for which they stood. 

These classes must be taken as tendencies to 
excess in the entire bod}^ rather than well defined and 
distinct divisions, separate from all others. These 
were enthusiastic and fanatical tendencies that were 
likely to crop out occasionally but not characteristic of 
the body as a whole. It is difficult and impossible to 
say just how many belonged to one sect and how many 
to another, but it is fair to presume that the large body, 
as has already been suggested, were peaceable and 
law-abiding as well as deeply religious. 

It is not at all strange that these dift'erences 
occurred. The times oft'ered an excellent opportunity 

for ambitious leaders to impress their 
Reasons for personality upon the development of 

These Classes the movement. We have seen how 

various leaders as Denk, Hut, Hoft'man, 
Hubmeir and others differed and how each secured a 
large personal following. The masses were adrift. 


trusting- neither Catholics nor Lutherans nor Zwing- 
lians, anxiously awaiting leaders. 

Persecution, which soon set in, made secrecy 
necessar}^ and a common organization impossible. 
Each congregation was left to follow the bent of its 
own Biblical interpretation or fanatical impulse. 
Neither was S3^stem and organization consistent with 
the spirit of the movement. The people had just freed 
themselves from authority and tyranny and had just 
succeeded in separating church and state. The very 
thing they were fighting for was individual freedom in 
matters of religion. 

Amid all of this diversity the people whom we cal] 
Anabaptists, including even the most fanatical, had 
many things in common ; the most fundamental of 
which were probably : 

1. The attempt to return in matters of faith as well 
as church discipline to the example of the early primi- 
tive church as it existed in the apostolic times. The 
Bible was made the final authority on all matters of 
faith and discipline. The New Testament was given 
preference over the Old, which was generally not con- 
sidered binding on the true believers; yet some re- 
ceived from the Old Testament many sugges- 
tions for the establishing of the new Jerusalem. In 
addition to the Bible as authority there was the inner 
light or direct revelation from God. This belief w^as 
common to all to a certain extent but received different 
emphasis from difterent sects. Miinzer placed direct 
revelation far above the Bible as the guide for life. 
The same tendency prevailed among the followers of 
Hans Hut, and ]\Ielchior Hofifman. 

2. Complete separation of church and state. No 


temporal or ecclesiastical authority has a right to force 
an unsatisfactory Biblical interpretation upon an un- 
willing subject. Justification must come through an 
individual faith. But faith alone is not sufficient (and 
here they differed from the Lutherans) it must be 
accompanied by works, the exercise of man's own free 
will. Baptism was the outward expression of this 
belief. No importance was attached to the mere act of 
baptism. All were agreed that infant baptism was un- 
necessary, but not all insisted on the necessity of the 
outward rebaptism. With some, the inward baptism 
that comes from the regeneration of the heart was 

3. In many points of doctrine also there was a 
common dissatisfaction with both the Catholic and 
Reformed and Lutheran views. The Lord's supper 
was viewed only as a token of remembrance and not 
as containing the actual body of Christ. All agreed on 
the abolition of the mass. On the subject of the 
Trinity, incarnation and other doctrinal points there 
was a difference of opinion, giving rise to several 
distinct sects, 

4. The Anabaptists always excluded themselves 
from the rest of the world. They were the elect and 
all who would not believe as they did were lost. We 
have already seen that politically and religiously they 
had nothing in common with other people. Many of 
them carried this spirit of exclusion into their social 
and business relations. In many cases members of the 
congregations could carry on business only with mem- 
bers of the same faith. Marriage with outsiders was 
strictly forbidden. 

5. Of government there was no need by the 


Christian. It was a necessity, but only for the un- 
righteous. This is the view found in most of the 
confessions of faith ;psued by the large assemblages of 
the leaders as at Schleitheim, 1527. This was the non- 
resistant attitude, held by the majority of the Swiss. 
Goveinment was a necessity, was divinely ordained to 
punish the wicked and reward the rightequs. A 
Christian, however, could not become a magistrate 
although he must render obedience and pay his just 
taxes. He could not take up the sword to kill even at 
the call of his country. He could not take the oath. 
Christ taught him to say, "Yea, yea ; nay, nay." 

Bullinger includes the attitude of non-resistance 
in his long list of tenets held in common by the large 
majority of Anabaptists. There were, however, two 
other well-defined views regarding civil government; 
the one represented by Hubmeir and the other by John 
of Leyden. The former believed in government, paid 
all taxes and obeyed all its ordinances that did not 
interfere with the free exercise of religion. It was 
proper to use the sword outside of persecution. Th? 
latter believed in the establishment of Christ's 
kingdom by the sword at the cost of sedition and 

6. The disobedient were to be punished with the 
church ban. To be excluded from the rights and 
privileges of the membership at large. Later there was 
considerable difference of opinion on this question, 
which resulted in several distinct divisions. 

In addition to these principles which the large 
body of Anabaptists held more or less in common, 
there were certain other well-defined tendencies which 
in spirit at least were also common to all, but upon 


which there was a greater divergence of opinion and 
practice than upon the six articles above mentioned. 
On the question of community of goods there was 
much difference of teaching as well as practice. Traces 
of a well-marked tendency in that direction, however. 
can be found in all. It was a characteristic of the early 
apostolic church. The oppression that the poor, un- 
propertied classes had to bear, naturally strength- 
ened whatever natural tendency there may have been 
in a movement of this kind. Some actually had 
everything in common, others, including Hubmeir and 
Grebel, said it was not compulsory but that the 
brethren ought to be willing freely to help one another 
in case of need. 

The belief in the early coming of Christ was also 
characteristic of them to a greater or less degree, in 
their hopes and expectations. Among the earlier Ana- 
baptists the day may have been at some distance in the 
future and its coming may have been only a hope and a 
longing, but in the case of Hoffman and Hut, a definite 
time was set, while in the case of John of Leyden the 
day had actually come and John was to be the king of 
the new dispensation. 

The refusal to pay tithes and taxes on the part of 
the more radical, had its germ in the teaching of the 
more conservative, many of whom taught that they 
really owed nothing to the government, but paid taxes 
simply to escape persecution. Stumpf, one of the early 
founders, and Grebel told Zwingli that they desired to 
found a church which should be made up of truly con- 
verted Christians who would live righteously, cling to 
the Gospel, and who would not be burdened with taxes 
or other forms of usury. 


As we have already seen, the principles which 
characterized the faith of the Anabaptists can not be 
traced to any single individual as a source. The move- 
ment seems to have sprung up almost simultaneously 
over Switzerland and Southern Germany, especially 
along the upper Rhine country. The soil was well pre- 
])ared for the reception of Anabaptist doctrine by 
<.arlier evangelical sects. 

Among other deep seated causes that made possible 
this rapid spread, not the least potent was the increased 
and almost universal interest taken in 
Causes for the reading of the Bible among the 

Rapid Spread common people. The Bible for a long 
time had been a sealed book to the 
laity, but by the beginning of the sixteenth century a 
new interest was taken in the study of the book. Many 
translations appeared about this time making it possi- 
ble for the common people to get some knowledge of 
its contents. Between 1466-1518 there were no less 
than fourteen complete translations of the whole Bible 
in the High German language and four in the Low 
German dialect. In addition, up to 1518 the Gospels 
had appeared in about twenty-five editions, the Psalms 
in thirteen and other portions of the Bible in many 

The leaders of the Anabaptists were invariably 
wxll versed in the Bible, the uneducated as well as 
those who had studied at the Universities. It is fair to 
say that in knowledge of the text of the Bible the 
Anabaptists were much in advance of both the Luth- 
eran and Catholic clergy. It is not at all strange 
that these simple-minded people as many of them were, 
•coming fresh upon the contents of this hitherto sealed 


book should attempt to interpret it literally and rein- 
state the conditions which prevailed in apostolic times. 
The times were favorable for the movement. The 
peasants were oppressed and had to pay heavy taxes to 
support a government and a church in which they had 
no faith. They were denied many of the privileges and 
rights which they believed were theirs by nature but 
which had not been granted to them because the old 
feudal regime had not yet completely died out in 
central Europe. In the example of the early apostolic 
church they found a remedy for the burdens, industrial, 
social and political which they were bearing. It is not 
at all strange that in some places the movement be- 
came political and social as well as religious. In fact 
it was almost impossible for a movement of this kind, 
imder the conditions of the time, to remain entirely free 
from political and social questions. At any rate the 
hard lot of the peasant made it easier for the new faith 
to make its appeal to him than might otherwise have 
been possible. 

Bibliography. Sebastian Franck, Chronica: C. A. Cornelius, Dei 
Miinsterischen Aufruhrs ; Johann C. Fiisslin, Beitriige zur Kirchen Oe- 
schichte; Heinrich BuUinger, Der Wiedertouferen Ursprung, Fiirgang, 
.Sekten, etc. ; and the works of Keller, Egli. Erbkam, Beck, Nitsche, Bronn, 
Miiller, A. H. Newman, Belfort Bax, Heath, Burrage, etc. 



As we have seen, Anabaptists of several types 
appeared early in the Netherlands and Northwestern 

Germany. These were not all followers 
Early Life of IMelchior Hoffman and John of Leyden, 

but many retained their peaceful and non- 
resistant principles. Among the leaders of the latter 
in this region were Dirck and Obbe Philip, Leonard 
Bouwens and later ]\Ienno Simons. 

Menno Simons was born 1492, in the village of 
Witmarsum in West Friesland. He was educated for 
the priesthood and entered upon the duties of his office 
at the age of twenty-eight in the neighboring village of 
Pingjum, According to his own account he had at this 
time very little knowledge of the Bible and no religious 
convictions. For several years he lived a life of ease 
and self-indulgence and seemed entirely oblivious of 
the great religious reformation that was at this time 
sweeping over middle .Europe. This very apathy per- 
haps finally caused him to question the correctness of 
some of the traditional ceremonies of the church, for on 


one occasion during the early years of liis priesthood 
while he was perfunctorily administering; the mass, the 
thought suddenly struck him that the bread and wine 
he was handling could not be the body and blood of 
Christ. He attributed this suggestion to the devil and 
prayed and confessed, but the conviction did not leave 

Once led to doubt the truth of the prevailing 
svstem, it was but inevitable that he should be impelled 
to study the new teachings which already at this time 
had found their way into Lower Germany and the 
Xetherlan^ls. The martyrdom in 1533 of Sicke Snyder 
in a neighboring town, on the charge of Anabaptism 
made a deep imprcsssion upon Mcnno's mind, and led 
him to study the question of infant baptism. He read 
the New Testament and found that there was no 
scriptural basis for the practice. He then consulted 
the writings of Luther, who taught that infants should 
be baptized on their own faith. Not satisfied with 
Luther's argument he next consulted Bucer, who said 
that infants should be baptized in order that they might 
more easily be brought up in the way of the Lord. He 
next went to BuUinger who taught that infant baptism 
was a sign of the new covenant as circumcision was of 
the old. Menno was convinced by none of these con- 
tradictory views and decided that all were contrary to 
the teaching of the New Testament. 

During this time, 1534-5, occurred also the un- 
fortunate Miinster episode which brought shame upon 
the Anabaptist name and led thousands of well mean- 
ing, though fanatical enthusiasts to destruction. In 
February, 1535, over three hundred of these people had 


taken refuge in a monastery near jMenno's home and 
most of them, including his own brother, fell in battle. 

This event made a profound impression upon 
Menno's mind, and aroused him more than ever to 
take a firm stand against the errors of the time. 

lie says : 

Thus reflecting upon these things, my soul was so 
grieved that I could no longer endure it. I thought to my- 
self — I, miserable man, what shall I do? If I continue in this 
way and live not agreeably to the Word of the Lord, accord- 
ing to the knowledge which I have obtained; if I do not 
rebuke to the best of my limited ability the hypocrisy, the 
impenitent, carnal life, the perverted baptism, the Lord's 
supper and the false worship of God which the learned teach; 
if I, through bodily fear, do not show them the true founda- 
tion of the truth, neither use all of my powers to direct the 
wandering flock, who would gladly do their duty if they knew 
it, to the true pastures of Christ — Oh, how shall their blood, 
though shed in error, rise against me at the judgment of the 
Almighty, and pronounce sentence against my poor, miserable 

My heart trembled in my body. I prayed to God in 
sighs and tears that He would give me, a troubled sinner, 
the gift of His grace, and create a clean heart within me, 
that through the merits of the crimson blood ef Christ, He 
would graciously forgive my unclean walk and unprofitable 
life, and bestow upon me wisdom, Spirit, candor, and fortitude, 
that I might preach His exalted and adorable name and holy 
Word unperverted and make manifest His truth to His praise. 

This may be considered a turning point in Menno 
Simons' life; after this he followed with unswerving 
loyalty, and single-minded devotion the path of duty 
as his conscience and the Word of God pointed it out 
to him. 

In 1536 he openly renounced the Roman Catholic 


Church and a year later at the urgent request of a 
small deputation of peaceful and non- 
T?enounces resistant Anabaptists, whose leaders had 
Catholicism all been driven out of the land or put to 
death, he cast his lot with that despised 
people and was ordained to the ministry by Obbe 
Philip. Henceforth he readily became their most in- 
fluential leader. Thus he became not the founder of a 
-new religious denomination, but rather the organizer 
of a body of people who were already more or less 
numerous in the land, but who were awaiting a leader 
to gather together their scattered forces and organize 
them into an efficient working body. 

Menno immediately entered upon an active cam- 
paign in behalf of the new faith. The rest of his life 
was spent in preaching the Gospel, 
Controversial organizing new churches and writing 
Writings in defence of his position. His writings 

are still extant and have been fre- 
quently translated from the Dutch into the German 
-and several times into the English language. 

On baptism, the supper, faith, magistracy and 
other church doctrines and practices he held the views 
of the majority of the peaceful Anabaptists of his day. 

Infant baptism he renounces and says "it is a self- 
begotten rite and human righteousness ; for in all the 
New Testament there is not a word or command about 
baptizing infants, by Christ nor by the apostles." 

The true significance of baptism is set forth as 
follows : 

The believing receive remission of sins, not through baptism, 
but in baptism in this manner: As they now sincerely believe 


the lowly Gospel of Jesus Christ which has been preached and 
taught to them, which is the glad tidings of grace, namely the 
remission of sin, of grace, of peace, of favor, of mercy and of 
eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord, so they become of 
a new mind, deny themselves, bitterly lament their old, cor- 
rupted life, and look diligently to the Word of the Lord who 
has shown them such great love; to fulfill all that which He 
has taught and commanded them in His holy Gospel, trusting 
firmly in the word of grace, in the remission of their sins 
through the precious blood and through the merits of our 
beloved Lord Jesus Christ. 

They therefore receive the holy baptism as a token of 
obedience which proceeds from faith, as proof, before God 
and His church, that they firmly believe in the remission of 
their sins through Jesus Christ. 

The Supper according to Menno is not the eating 
of the actual flesh of Jesus, as both the CathoHcs and 
Lutherans maintained, but merely a symbol of His 

The bread is no flesh and the wine no blood; for were 
they flesh and blood as the idolaters pretend and teach the 
poor people, one of two consequences must follow; either 
the perishable bread and wine are changed into the imperish- 
able and heavenly Son of God, or the Son of God must be 
changed into bread and wine. This is incontrovertible. 
Christ Jesus is not like the fabulous Proteus, now like the 
everlasting Son of the eternal Omnipotent God, and then a 
perishable creature, bread and wine. Oh, no! He is un- 
changeable through all eternity. Neither can He be confined 
in any house, church or chamber, in silver or golden vessels; 
for according to His eternal, divine Being, earth is His foot- 
stool, and after His holy humanity He ascended into heaven 
and sits at the right hand of His Father. 

On the subject of the incarnation he differed not 
only from the leading theologians of the Lutheran and 
Zwinglian denominations but also from many of the 
leaders in his own. His views practically involved a 


<lenial of the true humanity of Christ and were the 
source of frequent disputes between himself and his 

The fundamental tenets of Menno's belief are 
quite well expressed by the following- extract from a 
treatise of his on the new birth: 

Behold, worthy reader, all those who are born of God 
with Christ, who thus conform their weak life to the Gospel, 
are thus converted, and follow the example of Christ, hear 
;!nd believe His holy Word, follow His commands, which 
He, in plain words commanded us in the holy Scriptures, 
form the holy Christian church which has the promise; the 
true children of God, brothers and sisters of Christ; for they 
.are born with Him of one Father, and of the new Eve, the 
pure, chaste bride. They are flesh of Christ's flesh, and bone 
-of His bone, the spiritual house of Israel, the spiritual city, 
Jerusalem, temple and Mount Zion, the spiritual ark of the 
Ix>rd, in which are hidden the true bread of heaven, Christ 
Jesus and His blessed Word, the green, blossoming rod of 
faith, and the spiritual tables of stone, with the commands of 
the Lord written thereon; they are the spiritual seed of 
Abraham, children of the promise, confederates of the cove- 
nant of God, and partakers of the heavenly blessings. 

These regenerated have a spiritual King over them, who 
rules them by the unbroken scepter of His mouth, namely, 
with His Holy Spirit and Word. He clothes them with the 
garment of righteousness, of pure white silk; He refreshes 
them with the living water of His Holy Spirit, and feeds them 
with the bread of life. His name is Christ Jesus. They are 
the children of peace, who have beaten their swords into 
plough-shares, and their spears into pruning-hooks.^and know 
of no war; and give to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, 
and to God the things that are God's (Isa. 2:4; Matt. 22:21). 
Their sword is the sword of the Spirit, which they hold in a 
good conscience through the Holy Ghost. Their marriage is 
that of one man and one woman, according to the ordinance 
of God. Their kingdom is the kingdom of grace, here in hope, 
and after this in eternal life (Eph. 6:17; Matt. 19:5; 25:1). 


Their citizenship is in heaven; and they use the creatures 
below, such as eating, drinking, clothing and dwelling with 
thanksgiving, and that to the necessary wants of their own 
lives, and to the free service of their neighbor, according to 
the Word of the Lord (Isa. 58:7). Their doctrine is the un- 
adulterated Word of God, testified through Moses and the 
prophets, through Christ and the apostles, upon which they 
build their faith, and save their souls; and everything that is 
contrary thereto, they consider accursed. They use and ad- 
minister their baptism on the confession of their faith, accord- 
ing to the command of the Lord, and the doctrines and usage* 
of the apostles (Mark 16:16). 

The Lord's supper they celebrate in remembrance of the 
farors and death of their Lord, and in reminding one another 
of true and krotherly love. 

The ban extends to all the proud scorners, great and 
small, rich and poor, without any respect to person, who heard 
and obeyed the Word for a season, but have fallen oflf again, 
and in the house of the Lord, teach or live offensively, till 
they again sincerely repent. 

They sigh and lament daily over their poor, displeasing, 
evil flesh, over the manifold errors and faults of their weak 
lives. They war inwardly and outwardly without ceasing. 
They seek and call the Most High; fight and struggle against 
the devil, world and flesh during their lives, press on towards 
the prize of the high calling that they may obtain it. And 
they prove by their actions that they believe the Word of the 
Lord; that they know and have Christ in power; that thcj- 
are born of God and have Him as their Father. 

Behold, worthy reader, as I said before, so I say again. 
These are the Christians who have the promise, and are 
assured by the Spirit of God, to whom are given and bestowed 
Christ Jesus, with all His merits, righteousness, intercessions,, 
word, cross, suffering, flesh, blood, death, resurrection, king- 
dom, and all His possessions, and this all without merit; given 
out of pure grace from God. But what kind of doctrine, faith,. 
life, regeneration, baptism, supper, ban and divine service,, 
sectarian churches have, of whatever name; and what kind of 
reward is promised them in the Scriptures, I will let the 


reasonable meditate upon, ■with the aid of the Spirit and the 
word of the Lord. 

The peaceful Anabaptists of the lower Rhine 
countries although in no way connected with the 
followers of John of Leyden yet were associated in the 
popular mind with the sect of Miinsterites. Menno 
found it necessary to deny the charge. In a tract de- 
nouncing John of Leyden he says : 

I can fearlessly challenge anybody, that under the broad 
canopy of heaven can show and prove that I ever agreed with 
the Miinsterites in regard to the before mentioned articles; 
for from the beginning until the present moment I have 
opposed them with diligence and earnestness both privately 
and publicly, verbally and in writing for over seventeen years 
and ever since I confessed the Word of the Lord and knew 
and sought His holy name according to my weakness. ^ 

In their attitude toward the civil government 
Menno and his followers were also misunderstood. 
They practiced non-participation in civil government, 
but were by no means opposed to properly constituted 
a.ithority. He says, 

We now publicly confess that the office of a magistrate 
is ordained of God, as we ever have confessed since we serve, 
according to our small talent, the Word of the Lord, and in 
the meantime, we have ever obeyed them when not contrary 
to the Word of God and we intend to do so all our lives, for 
we are not so stupid as not to know what the Lord's Word 
commands in this respect. We render unto Caesar the things 
which are Caesar's as Christ teaches (Matt. 22:21); we pray 
for the imperial majesty, kings, lords, princes and all in 
authorit}', honor and obey them. 

On these and a number of other doctrines and 
practices Menno was generally in accord with the 

1. Complete Works of Menno Simons, part I, p. 300. 


views of the peaceful Anabaptists. Where differences 
of opinion existed he usually by the force of his 
personality succeeded in establishing his own inter- 
pretations. The Mennonites of today in America have 
deviated very little from the teaching of their first 
great leader. 

On many of these questions Menno had public 
debates or disputations as they were called, with the 
leading theologians of the Lutheran and 
Public Zwinglian denominations. 

Disputations One of the earliest of these dis- 

putations was held in 1543 with John 
a Lasco on the incarnation, the two natures of 
Christ, sanctification, hereditary sin, etc. The debate 
lasted for three or four days, but, as was usually 
the case in such events, it ended without results, 
both sides claiming the victory. He later also 
entered into public debates and literary controversies 
with Martin Micronius and Gellius Faber, two well- 
known theologians of that day. 

These teachings of course brought Menno into 
bitter opposition to the Catholics, as well as the 
Lutheran and Reformed churches. Those who like 
him held or taught these opinions were never safe in 
their lives and possessions. Menno was compelled ta 
remain in hiding during the greater portion of his life. 

He spent the first few years after his renunciation 
of the Roman church in West Friesland where, under 

the tolerant Duke Charles of Gelders,, 
Price Set on the persecuted sects enjoyed a short 
Menno's Head period of rest. In 1542, however, the 

Emperor, Charles V, offered a reward 
of one hundred guilders, the equivalent of forty dollars 


for his arrest. A description of his person was nailed on 
the church doors to make his capture the easier. He fled 
to East Friesland and was finally driven to the city of 
Cologne where he remained for two j^ears, but he was 
finally driven from that place also. For the next seven 
years he found an asylum in the East Sea region with 
headquarters at Wismar where he organized a small 
congregation of his followers. During this time he 
visited Embden, the stronghold of the Mennonites of 
Northern Europe. In this region Menno and his fol- 
lowers were tolerated by the state authorities, but were 
compelled by the established church to lead a quiet 
and secluded life. Their worship was carried on in 
private houses, in fields and out of the way places. 
Their dead were buried without the sound of the 
church bell. Finally in 1555 the Lutheran cities of the 
Hanseatic league succeeded in banishing all Anabap- 
tists. Menno again fled for his life. This time he 
found an asylum on the estates of Count of Fresenburg 
in Holstein where he remained until his death four 
years later. 

Not only was a price set upon Menno's head but 
even those who gave him aid in any form were sum- 
marily punished. In 1539 a man was burned at the 
stake at Leuwarden for having taken him into his 
home. Two others met the same fate for printing his 
writings. In 1546 four houses were confiscated be- 
cause the owner had rented one for a short time to 
Menno's sick wife and children. 

The later years of Menno's life were saddened by 
dissensions and differences of opinion among his own 
followers and co-laborers. Among the most trouble- 
some questions Vv'as that of the ban, and its applica- 


tion to the religious and social relations. In 1547 
Menno met Dirck and Obbe Philip, 
DiflFerences among Leonard Bouwens and other lead- 
His Followers ers at Embden to discuss this ques- 

tion. Some of these men insisted on a 
rigorous application of the practice while others 
favored greater moderation. The specific point on 
which they disagreed was with reference to the 
marital avoidance. Menno contended that in case 
cither husband or wife were excommunicated from the 
church it was the duty of the believing member to re- 
fuse to co-habit with the one excluded. This extreme 
view he pushed with greater zeal than wisdom, for it 
resulted in driving Obbe Philip from the Anabaptist 
ranks and was the source of considerable trouble 
among his followers later on. 

In 1555 another conference was held at Strasburg 
of the German brethren at which the questions of the 
incarnation and church discipline were discussed. 
Menno was not present but received a report of the 
meeting and was dissatisfied with the results of its 
proceedings. He and Dirck Philip, in turn, drew up 
several rules of discipline which they wished the 
churches to follow. These rules declared in favor of 
a rigid application of the practice of shunning in all 
social and marital relations. Military service was 
prohibited and no one was to set himself up as a 
teacher or preacher until he had been chosen by the 
church and ordained by the elders. 

The first of these rules Menno and his friends 
found extremely difficult to enforce. He later let up a 
little in his exactions and spent his last years in visit- 
ing the various churches throughout Friesland in the 


interests of harmony, but he was not entirely success- 
ful. He died January 13, 1559, and was buried 
Death ^" ^^^ ^"^^ garden. 

Thus lived and died one of the great heroes 
of the Reformation. Although he played a less conspicu- 
ous role in that great crisis than did his contemporaries 
— Luther and Zwingli — yet his real greatness cannot be 
measured by the humble part he seemed to play upon 
the religious arena of that time. His task in many 
respects was more difficult than that of the found- 
ers of the state churches. While they de- 
pended upon a union of state and church and 
the support of the strong arm of the temporal 
government, ]\Ienno considered the force of love 
and the simple truth of the Gospel to be vital enough 
to secure the permanency of his system without 
being propped up by the temporal authority. As an 
embodiment of the simple, humble and Christ-like 
spirit and as an exponent of the religion of the 
common man, based upon the example of the early 
primitive Christian church, Menno Simons must ever 
be given a pre-eminent place among the heroes of the 

Menno's influence extended throughout the Ana- 
baptist communities of the Netherlands and Germany. 
Wherever he went he established new 
Influence churches and strengthened old congrega- 
tions. The conference already spoken of 
which was held at Strasburg in 1555 referred to him for 
advice on several questions of doctrine. Delegates 
were present here from Wurtemberg, Suabia, Alsace, 
Moravia, the Palatinate and Switzerland. It is evident 
that by this time he was already considered a leader 


among the Anabaptists of these countries, although he, 
had never visited any of them. His influence over 
these churches was such that soon they began to be 
known by his name. The term "Menist" was first 
used in 1544 by Countess Anne in West Friesland. 
From this time on the Anabaptists of the Netherlands 
as well as those of Germany and Switzerland were 
frequently called Menists, which term has since be- 
come in the English language, Mennonites. 

The Mennonites in the Netherlands 

The Netherlands remained for some time the prin- 
ciple stronghold of the Mennonites. Here they were 
severely persecuted by both the Catholic and Re- 
formed churches. They were forced to hold their 
meetings for worship behind dikes and on small 
islands. Frequently their property was confiscated. 
In Friesland from 1531 to 1574 eighteen suffered a. 
martyr's death. Duke Alva's rule was especially hard 
on them, for many of them held property which Alva 
desired for himself. In Holland and Zealand alone one 
hundred and eleven Mennonites lost their lives by 
burning and drowning. 

.; When in 1573 William of Orange openly re- 
nounced the Catholic faith and assumed the leadership 
of the Dutch patriots in their 
William of Orange struggle against Spanish tyranny. 
Protects Mennonites the Mennonites were given their 
first taste of religious toleration. 
Although they refused to bear arms during these criti- 
cal years, yet the Stadtholder's good will was gained by 
large contributions which they made to his treasury; 
for all through the war with Spain the Mennonites 


occupied the somewhat inconsistent position of refus- 
ing to bear arms, yet aiding the patriotic cause in- 
directly, by large contributions of money. 

During this period of limited toleration, the 
Mennonites became as a body a prosperous people. 
They were among the most thrifty and 
Thrifty and industrious people in the land, and were 
Industrious noted for their honesty and uprightness. 
They were also among the largest con- 
tributors to all benevolent causes. During the latter 
sixteenth century and all through the seventeenth they 
sent large sums of money and provisions to their 
persecuted brethren in the Palatinate and Switzerland. 
But their gifts were not confined to the needy of their 
own faith. Every appeal to help in a just cause met 
a hearty response from them. Although they insisted 
upon the greatest simplicity in every detail of daily 
living yet everything they used was of the very best 
material. The term "Menist fine" finally came to be 
used among the tradesmen of the Netherlands as a 
synonym for the best that could be secured. 

As soon as the Catholic church lost its hold upon 
the temporal powers in the Netherlands, the Calvinistic 

Reformed church assumed the 
Persecutions by the role of persecutor of the Mennon- 
Reformed Church ites. The Anabaptist doctrines 

of the separation of church and 
state and of the voluntary congregational form of 
church organization was as distasteful to the Reformed 
as to the Catholics, since these principles, if they could 
be put into practice, would put an end to the rule of all 
established churches. The efforts of the Calvinists 
proved of little consequence, however, since the 


Mennonites were protected at first by William and 
later by his successor, Maurice of Nassau. By the time 
of the death of the latter the spirit of religious tolera- 
• tion had attained sufficient strength in the land to 
prevent any religious organization from severely per- 
secuting another. 

As early as 1574 the Synod of Dort resolved to ask 
the States General to compel the Mennonites to have 
their infants baptized, and if they refused, to give the 
Reformed ministers the right to deal with them as they 
thought best. They also desired the privilege of enter- 
ing Mennonite assemblies to convince them of the 
error of their way. These privileges of course were 
not granted, although the latter was exercised for a 
short time in East Friesland. In 1577 a deputation of 
ministers appeared before the States General again and 
demanded that the freedom of the Mennonites be 

In 1596 a public disputation lasting for two 
months was held at Leuwarden between the Reformed 
and Mennonites. As usual in such debates both sides 
claimed the victory. The Reformed party published 
a complete report of the event which they closed with 
a fervent appeal to the temporal authorities to with- 
draw all toleration from the Mennonites, since as it 
was said, their principles were destructive of all 
religious and civil order. 

In 1603 the synod asked that Mennonite bishops 
be forbidden to evangelize and baptize; in 1604 an at- 
tempt was made to prevent young ministers from 
being ordained ; and in 1605 a petition was sent to the 
government asking that Mennonites be prevented from 


building any more houses of worship. In fact all 
through the seventeenth century the Reformed synods 
tried to annihilate the Mennonite faith, and if they 
were not successful, it was due, not to any lack of zeal 
on their part but only to the more tolerant spirit of the 
Dutch government. 

The dissensions which darkened the last days of 
Menno's life were by no means forgotten after his 

death. Honest dififerences of opinion 
Discussions were intensified by differences of race 

on the Ban and nationality. The chief contention 

was with regard to church discipline, 
especially the ban. On this question the denomination 
was split up into several party divisions. The Flem- 
ings occupied the extreme conservative position, main- 
tained a rigid application of the ban, and severe sim- 
plicity of dress and observed marital avoidance in the 
case of an excommunicated member. Like the later 
Amish in Switzerland, they wore beards and used 
hooks and eyes instead of buttons on their clothes. 
At the other extreme were the Waterlander churches, 
which were very liberal in their interpretation of the 
ban and other forms of discipline. They were con- 
temptuously called "Dreckwagen" by the stricter party 
while they in turn spoke of the latter as the "Be- 
kiimmerte." Midway between these two parties stood 
the High Germans and the Frieslanders who believed 
in a moderate discipline. These parties later became 
united, although the names by which they were known 
continued for some time. By 1649 thirty Flemish and 
German churches were represented in a conference 
held at that time. At later conferences delegates were 
found from all three of the divisions, although isolated 


congregations refused for a long while to join the main 

In their theological thinking the Mennonites were 
Arminians, which partly explains why they were hated 
so by the hyper-Calvinistic Dutch Reformed church. 
The wave of Socinianism which swept over Northern 
Netherlands during the early seventeenth century 
was not without some effect upon the Mennonites. 
Many of their leaders were in sympathy with the 

In 1619 there arose another movement in Rhyns- 
burg, Holland, which exerted some influence upon the 
Mennonites. The followers of this move- 
CoUegiants ment, the Collegiants, did not constitute 
a separate organization, but were to be 
found in all denominations. They met merely for 
religious worship ; repudiated all creeds, and their 
meetings were open to all believers. They evaded all 
controversies and tolerated all opinions not directly 
condemned by the Bible, and like the Mennonites they 
opposed oaths and war, but administered baptism by 
immersion. One of their distinguishing characteristics 
was the abolition of the office of teacher. Teaching 
and prophesying was not restricted to special teachers 
but was open to all. In this respect they resembled the 
later Quakers. They admitted all spiritual-minded 
Christians to the communion table. Many Mennonites 
worshiped with these Collegiants, and many of their 
younger ministers exercised their gifts in these meet- 
ings. These liberal ideas and practices were not with- 
out their influence upon the church in some parts of 

In their religious practices the main body of the 


Dutch Mennonites during the sixteenth and seven- 
teenth centuries were extremely simple and 
Religious unpretentious. Their dress was plain, all 
Practices unnecessary ornaments were discarded, 
even buckles and buttons in some in- 
stances being taken off. Their preachers sup- 
ported themselves and received no special education. 
During the latter half of the seventeenth century, 
however, it was recognized that the church was suffer- 
ing from the lack of a trained ministry, and preachers 
were chosen from men who had been to the Universi- 
ties, chiefly physicians and literary men. Later a 
theological seminary was established. Their children 
for a long while were not sent to the Universities. 
They refused to take the oath and to enter military ser- 
vice. Merchants were not allowed to arm their ships. 
Controversies were adjusted within the church and 
no recourse was permitted to the courts of law. In 
this respect also the Dutch Mennonites have deviated 
from the old customs. Their principles of non-re- 
sistance have practically all been discarded. Those 
who married unregenerate persons or members of 
other churches were excommunicated. Baptism was 
generally administered by affusion. In fact it is doubt- 
ful whether any church in that day or since has 
followed so nearly the spirit and practice of the prim- 
itive Christian church as did the Dutch Mennonites 
of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. 

One other phase of the subject demands a brief 
mention here — the relation of the Dutch Mennonites to 
the English Baptists and Quakers. 

During the reign of Elizabeth and the early 


Stuarts many Dutch found their way into Southeastern 
England. Some of these had come 
Relation to as a result of the close commercial 

English Baptists connection between the two coun- 
and Separatists tries ; others were driven out of Hol- 
land by the cruel persecutions of the 
Catholics. It is said that one hundred thousand left 
their homes during the bloody rule of Alva. Among 
these were large numbers of Anabaptists, many of 
whom were Mennonites. These were all termed 
Anabaptists, however, since the latter name had not 
yet been generally accepted in the Netherlands. That 
the two were identical can be seen by a comparison of 
their religious beliefs and practices. The records 
which were kept by the authorities, of those who were 
tried for heresy show that they were accused of re- 
jecting infant baptism, and of being opposed to the 
oath, warfare and the holding of office. They held the 
prevailing Anabaptist view regarding the incarnation, 
and stood for the entire independence of the church 
from the temporal authority, and for congregational 
church government. 

That these views must have been quite general in 
this part of England during this time is evidenced by 
the fact that all the leading churches found it necessary 
to distinctly repudiate them in their confessions of 

What influence Anabaptist doctrines had upon 
English, and incidentally upon American history is 
also a matter of dispute. But when we remember that 
Separatism, Congregationalism, Anti-pedobaptism and 
Quakerism, all of which embodied ideas that were new 
in England but old in Holland, all had their inception 


in Southeastern England in the very regions where the 
Dutch tradesmen and religious refugees were most 
numerous, we can not escape the conviction that these 
great religious movements owed their rise at least in 
part to the influence of the Dutch Anabaptists. 

The hot-bed of Separatism was Norwich, half of 
whose population it is said was composed of Dutch 
refugees, and the surrounding region. Among the 
earliest of the English Separatists was Robert Brown, 
the "father of English Congregationalism," who in 
1580 established an independent, though not an Ana- 
baptist congregation in Norwich. Driven from Eng- 
land he sought refuge in Middleburg, Zealand. Here 
was located a Mennonite congregation. It is said that 
a part of ^Brown's church united with that body 
although he himself returned to England and re- 
entered the established church. 

Another Separatist congregation was organized 
about 1602 at Gainsborough by one John Smyth. 
This church embraced a number of men who later 
became famous in English and American histoiy. It 
contained Helwys and Murton, who with Smyth be- 
came the founders of the General Baptist church ; John 
Robinson, the Father of the Pilgrims, the pastor of the 
small flock which left Leyden in 1620 to become the 
founders of the Plymouth plantation; William Brew- 
ster and William Bradford, two of the leading spirits 
of the first New England colony. 

Smyth, together with Helwys and Murton, and a 
part of the congregation were driven out of England. 
They finally established themselves at Amsterdam. 
Heretofore Smyth had been a Separatist but not an 
Anabaptist, but now he went a step farther. Desiring 


to receive believers' baptism, but not considering any 
of the churches then existing as true churches, he first 
baptized himself, and then the rest of his congregation. 
Later he became involved in a difficulty with Helwys 
and Murton, who withdrew from him. Smyth then, 
together with thirty-one others applied for member- 
ship in the Mennonite church at Amsterdam. His 
explanation for not .joining the Mennonites earlier 
was that he then thought there was no church with 
whom he could join with a good conscience, but since 
then he had discovered that the Mennonite churches 
were "true churches" and had "true ministers." Smyth 
died before he could be received by the Mennonites 
but his followers became a part of the Mennonite 
congregation. Some of these together with the fol- 
followers of Helwys and Murton later returned to 
England, and there established the first General 
Baptist church in England. Thus the Mennonite 
■church may be considered the mother of the modern 
Baptist denomination. The English church soon 
introduced immersion and discarded the doctrine of 

The Quakers, too, owe something to the Ana- 
baptists. George Fox traveled extensively through- 
out Southeastern England and preached 
Relation to in Baptist churches. The close re- 
Quakers semblance in almost every detail of 
religious belief between the Quakers and 
Mennonites makes it impossible to believe'that it was 
not the result of a close connection between the two 
denominations. Robert Barclay, himself a Quaker, 
and the best authority on this subject says in speaking 
of the doctrines of the Mennonites: 


So closely do these views correspond with those of 
George Fox, that we are compelled to view him as the un- 
conscious exponent of the doctrine, practice, and discipline of 
the ancient and strict party of the Dutch Mennonites, at a 
period when, under the pressure of the times, some deviation 
took place among the General Baptists from their original 

The visit of Fox, Penn, and Caton, to the Menno- 
nites in Holland and Germany is told in another 

The Mennonites in Switzerland 

The term Mennonite also came to be applied to 
the Swiss Anabaptists, although it was not so 
generally used as in the Netherlands where Menno's 
influence was more direct and potent. Here they were 
usually called Taufer or Wiedertaufer, or sometimes 
Taufgesinnte, which terms were also common in the 
German states where Anabaptists were found. All 
these people, however, formed one body of believers 
with the Anabaptists or Doopsgezinde of the Nether- 
lands, and delegates from these various countries often 
met in Conferences where questions of common church 
polity and usage were discussed. 

The story of the Swiss, like that of their Dutch 
brethren, is largely a recital of cruel persecution on 
the one hand, and patient suffering on the other. In the 
cantons of Berne and Zurich, which were the principal 
Anabaptist strongholds, persecution was even more 
severe and lasted longer than in the Netherlands. 
While in the latter country the chief oppressors were 
at first the Spanish Catholics, in the former they were 
the Zwinglians and Lutherans. Even the peace of 


Westphalia in 1648, which is spoken of as the end of 
the religious quarrels of Europe, failed to bring rest 
to the Mennonites. The cause of this hostility on. 
the part of the established church was largely the 
attitude of the Mennonites toward a state church and 
their non-participation in civil government. They 
taught that state and church must be independent of 
each other, and refused to bear arms, take the oath 
and hold office. Misunderstood on these questions 
they were considered dangerous to both the state and 
church and were hounded to death by both. At first 
they were hunted like wild beasts, burned at the stake,, 
drowned in the rivers, or left to rot in filthy prisons. 
As the spirit of the times became more humane during 
the seventeenth century they were exiled from the 
country, sent to the galleys and their property was 
confiscated. In the eighteenth century they were 
punished with a money fine and denied many of the 
rights of citizenship. 

The masses of the people were often in sympathy 
with the persecuted and often the same decree which 
pronounced death or banishment upon the Anabaptists 
provided also for a money fine against those who gave 
them aid. A decree of 1580 declared that any aid given 
them would result in a fine or exile for one year. In 
1643, a year of severe oppression, many were exiled and 
an amount equal to eigthy thousand dollars was col- 
lected in fines. All through the seventeenth century 
they emigrated to other lands, principally to Holland, 
the Palatinate and Alsace. In 1671 seven hundred 
Bernese came to the Palatinate whither they had been 
invited, by the Count Palatine to settle upon his waste 
lands. In 1709 many were sent to the galleys. In 1711 


one hundred families came to Holland and established 
their own congregations there. The experiences of the 
Swiss in the early eighteenth century and the help 
they received from the Dutch is told more fully else- 
where in this volume and need not be repeated here. 
Through these measures the Mennonites of Switzer- 
land were nearly all banished, sold as slaves and forced 
back into the state church, or had voluntarily emi- 
grated to other more tolerant lands. By the nineteenth 
century the congregations were small and few. 

The Palatinate 

The Mennonites in the Palatinate experienced the 
same fate as did their brethren in other parts of Europe 
during the latter half of the sixteenth and the first half 
of the seventeenth centuries. The established church 
tried to turn them from their faith and when un- 
successful it persuaded the government to lock them^ 
up in prisons or put them to death. In 1571 the Count 
Palatine himself presided over a public disputation 
with the Mennonites at Frankenthal which lasted for 
nineteen days. Of the thirteen questions which were 
discussed the following are the most significant: 

I. Did the flesh of Christ receive its substance 
from the flesh of the Virgin Mary? 

II. Are children born in sin? 

III. Does faith in Jesus Christ sufBce for salva- 
tion, or are the cross and good works essential? 

IV. Will the body be resurrected at the Judgment 

V. Can the individual Christian own property? 

VI. Is the Christian permitted to be magistrate 
and may he use the sword? 


VII. Is the Christian allowed to take the oath? 

VIII. Must children be baptized? 

IX. Is the communion only a symbol and a token 
of remembrance? 

These questions it is observed strike at the root of 
the beliefs which differentiated the Anabaptists from 
the Lutherans and Zwinglians. Many such disputa- 
tions were held but always without result. The 
Mennonites were only confirmed more strongly than 
ever in their faith, and the established church con- 
tinued its persecutions until far into the seventeenth 
century. By the close of the Thirty Years' War the 
Count Palatine, Karl Ludwig, wishing to build up the 
lands laid waste by the war granted the Mennonites 
religious toleration and invited their persecuted 
brethren in Switzerland to join them. As we have 
already seen, a number of the Swiss accepted this- 
invitation in 1660 and again in 1671. But here again 
they enjoyed a mere breathing spell of libert3^ During 
the many wars fought between the French and Ger- 
mans in the time of Louis XIV, the Palatinate was 
made the battle field of the struggle. Several hundred 
Mennonite families were driven out of the country by 
the French and German armies. Many of these fled to 
the lowlands of the Rhine where they would hardly 
have been able to eke out an existence had not their 
brethren in the Netherlands again come to their rescue 
with money, food and clothing. Others of the Palat- 
ines, as we have seen elsewhere, found their way to 
America. The churches in Amsterdam and other 
cities in the Netherlands supported an organization^ 
the purpose of which was to help them find new homes. 


across the Atlantic. By 1732 over three thousand had 
arrived at Rotterdam from the Palatinate. 

During the first half of the eighteenth century 
they were oppressed by special head tax, inheritance 
tax, banishment, confiscation of property and were 
denied the freedom of worship. As a result the stream 
of emigration into Pennsylvania continued throughout 
this period. 

The Church in Prussia and Northern Germany 

Before the time of Menno Simons many Ana- 
baptists were found in what is now Prussia and other 
parts of Lower Germany, and after his time Mennonite 
churches were found in most of the leading cities. 
Menno himself traveled for several years through this 
region and visited the Anabaptist congregations. His 
friend, Dirck Philip, became the first elder of the large 
Mennonite church at Danzig. Among the earliest and 
most influential congregations in this region were 
those in Danzig, Thorn, Marienburg, Elbing, Fried- 
rich stadt, Hamburg, Altona, Konigsberg and Crefeld. 
The Mennonites here were in close touch with those of 
the Netherlands and enjoyed greater freedom than 
their brethren farther south. As early as 1585 they 
were granted the rights of citizenship. Instead of the 
oath they were permitted the use of the "yea and nay." 
Both Prussia and Poland invited the persecuted from 
other countries to settle on the marshes and waste 
lands of the Low Countries. During the 17th century 
they were granted additipnal privileges. In 1660 the 
Danzig church was allowed to erect a building for 
worship. Of course, complete religious freedom was 
not yet offered them. In times of war they were often 


obliged to serve in the armies or find substitutes Their 
attitude toward the state church and their non-re- 
sistant principles were always regarded with suspicion 
by the Lutherans. By 1710 Frederick, influenced 
partly by the States General of the Netherlands in- 
vited the Swiss Mennonites to settle upon some of his 
unoccupied lands. Numbers of the Swiss as we have 
already seen accepted the invitation. These were 
granted religious toleration and freedom from military 
service. -^ 

Under Frederick William they were ordered to 
eave Prussian soil. This was due to Frederick's dis- 
like of them because they dared to oppose him in his 
attempt to secure six of their promising young men 
for his famous Potsdam body guard. Few of them 
however, left the country because of the order. Under 
Frederick the Great they were again granted freedom 
of worship. As a result of these liberal policies they 
grew steadily in numbers until by 17/2 there were 
about thirteen thousand in Prussia. 

^ The next year they gained from the king the 
lollowing privileges: 

I Full freedom of worship in accordance with 
the Mennonite confession of faith. 

II. The privilege of building suitable structures 
tor worship. 

III. The right to teach their children in their own 

IV. Freedom from military service. 

y. The privilege of discarding the oath and using 
the yea and nay" instead. 

VI. The privilege of engaging in any industry 


open to their countrymen and the right of buying and 
selling, and holding property. 

These privileges were confirmed by Frederick in 
1780 on the condition that they pay yearly into the 
king's treasury the sum of five thousand dollars. This 
sum was to go to the support of a military academy^ 
but the Mennonites were free from military service. 

Such freedom, however, could not last. Under 
other kings and in times of war it was not an easy 
matter to maintain the non-resistant faith. A few 
years later, these privileges were somewhat restricted 
and several thousand families emigrated to Russia 
where in turn they had been promised freedom from 
military service. 

The story of the later Prussian, as well as of 
other European Mennonites, is omitted here since it is 
the province of this chapter merely to furnish a back- 
ground for the history of the church in America. 

Bibliography.— Complete Works of Menno Simons, (Elkhart, Indi- 
ana, Edition, 1871); A. H. Newman, History of Anti-pedobaptism ; T. J. 
van' Bracht, Martyrs' Mirror; Dirck Philip, Enchiridion; A. M. Cramer, 
Het Leven en de Verrigtingen van Menno Simons; B. K. Roosen, Menno 
Simons; Anna Brons, Ursprung, Entwickelung, und Schicksale der 
Taufgesinnten oder Mennoniten ; Ernest Miiller, Geschichte der Bernischen 



Just when the first Mennonites came to the New 
World is not definitely known, but it is likely that a 
few individuals settled in what is now 
Mennonites in NeW York and Delaware soon after 
Manhattan the first permanent English settle- 

ments were made along the Atlantic 
coast. Frequent references are made in the colonial 
records of New York to Dutch Anabaptists in New 
Netherlands soon after the Dutch gained a foothold on 
American soil. Some of these Anabaptists no doubt 
were Mennonites. The first printed mention of the 
latter by name is found in a report on the religious 
conditions in New Netherlands, made by a French 
Jesuit, Father Jogues, who had visited this region in 
1643. In a letter written the following year he says 
regarding the religious affairs in "Manhate"^ island, 

No religion is publically exercised but the Calvinist, and 
orders are to admit none but Calvinists, but this is not 
observed. For there are besides Calvinists in the colony, 

1. Manhattan Island. 


Catholics, English Puritans, Lutherans and Anabaptists, here 
called Menists.2 

The next reference so far as I have been able 
to discover in the same documents is 

Long Island in a report made in 1657 to Amsterdam 
regarding the early settlements on Long 

Island. The report says, 

Those at Gravesend are reported ]\Ienonists; yea they for the 
most part reject infant baptism, the sabbath, the office of 
preacher and teacher of God's Word, saying that through 
these come all sorts of contention into the world, whenever 
they meet together the one or the other reads something 
for them. 2 

This description does not fit the orthodox 
Mennonite of either that day or this day. Two explana- 
tions may be suggested to harmonize the seeming 
contradictory account. It is barely possible that the 
writer, who was a Dutchman and thus was acquainted 
with the Dutch Mennonites but perhaps knew nothing 
about the English Quakers confused the two and thus 
considered these people Mennonites when in reality 
they may have been Quakers. Their practices seem to 
have been nearer those of the Quakers than of the main 
body of Mennonites, and we know that soon after this 
Gravesend became a Quaker settlement.* On the other 
hand we must remember that at this time there were 
several sects of Mennonites, some of which differed 
very little in their religious practices from the early 
settlers at Gravesend. If these people were Mennonites 

2. O'Callahan, E. B., Documentary History of New York, IV. p. 15. 

3. Ibid, III. p. 69. 

4. In 1657. See A. P. Stockwell, Histroy of Gravesend. 


as the report says they were, then perhaps they be- 
longed to the sect of Collegiants, who had their origin 
in Rhynsburg in 1619 and who like the Quakers did 
not believe in a regular preacher.^ 

The first settlement in America of which we 
have anything like definite knowledge is that made 
by Plockhoy and his small colony on the 
Horekill Horekill in what is now Southwestern Dela- 
ware. Cornelisz Pieter Plockhoy of Zeirik 
Zee was a liberal-minded Dutch communist and social 
reformer of his day. He was of Mennonite descent 
and was perhaps himself a member of one of the 
several sects of that faith. Of his early life we know 
little, but by 1658 we find him. in London 
Plockhoy in addressing a letter to Cromwell in 
England which he laid before the Lord Protector 

a scheme for the social and political 
reorganization of English society.^ England it will 
be remembered was at this- time under the Common- 
wealth government, and at no period of her history 
has there been a greater diversity of opinion among 
Englishmen on social, religious, and political questions 
than just at this time. Plockhoy therefore was only 
one of many who felt that they had a remedy for the 
ills of society. 

In the mean time, however, Cromwell had died 

For a good description of the Collegiants see Robert Barclay, "The 
Inner Life of the Religious Societies of the Commonwealth." p. 90. 

For the facts regarding this part of Plockhoy's life I am indebted to a 
chapter headed "Plockhoys Social Planen" in a book Called 
"Beelden en Groepen Studien" written by H. P. G. Quack. an4 
published in Amsterdam, 1892 by P. N. van Kampen and Zoon. 


before Plockhoy's letter had reached him, whereupon 
the latter prepared a memorial to 
His Communistic Parliament, which together with his 
Schemes earlier letter and a pamphlet, in 

which he outlined his plans for re- 
form, he sent to that body in 1659. In his first letter 
his chief ambition seemed to be to harmonize the 
religious dissensions then prevalent in the Christian 
•church. After calling attention to the numerous sects 
he outlines his plan for bringing all these sects to- 
.gether. He suggests that Cromwell establish as an 
•experiment a common church in which all are to 
worship. Religious worship, however, is to be volun- 
tary. Church and State are to be entirely separated 
and there is to be no tithing for the support of a 
regular ministry. During the year, however, Plock- 
lioy's ideas seem to have enlarged, for in the above 
mentioned pamphlet he includes in his communistic 
plans a scheme for the alleviation of the poor. The 
title page contains an epitome of his program and 
reads as follows : 

A way propounded to make the poor in these and other 
Nations happy by bringing together a fit, suitable and well 
qualified people into one Household-government or little 
Commonwealth, wherein every one may keep his property 
and be employed in some work or other as he shall be fit, 
without being oppressed. Being the way not only to rid 
these and other Nations from idle, evil and disorderly 
persons, but also from all such as have sought and found out 
many inventions to live upon others. Whereunto is also 
annexed an invitation to this society or little Commonwealth. 
Psalm 42:1. Blessed is he that considereth the poor etc. — By 
Cornelison van Zierik Zee, London. Printed for the author 


and sold at Black Spread Eagle near the West end of Pauls, 

This scheme it is seen, although co-operative, was 
not entirely communistic, for those who entered the 
society were not bound to hold their property in 
common. The little trial commonwealth which Plock- 
hoy hoped to establish was to be composed of four 
classes of men — husbandmen, handicraftsmen, marin- 
ers and masters of arts and sciences. Until the society 
became firmly established unmarried men were to be 
preferred. All were to live together in houses large 
jenough to accommodate twenty or thirty families. 

Simplicity and economy were to be practiced in 
every detail of daily living. The women were to make 
their own apparel without unnecessary trimming. 

Apparel should be fitted for the body and convenient 
for the work, without being dyed to the fashions, colors or 
stuffs, only the unnecessary trimmings to be forborn that 
'God's creatures which He hath made be not misused. 

Education was to be provided for all. 

In religion the same spirit of equality and har- 
mony was to be encouraged as in other interests of 
life. There was to be one large hall for religious 
purposes. All sects were to be given freedom of 
worship but were encouraged to worship together. 
During religious service the Holy Scriptures were to 
be read and then each member of the congregation 
was to be free to express his own opinions on the 
passages read. 

In spiritual things we acknowledge none but Christ for 
head and master, who of old hath appointed in his church, 
apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, these 

This pamphlet is now very rare. There is a copy in the New York 
city public library, perhaps the only copy in America. The Britith 
Museum also contains a copy. 


having through the spirit of God brought forth and left 
behind them the writings in the New Testament, we own for 
ambassadors and their words (without any interpretation 
from men) for our rule and plummet, keeping in remem- 
brance when we meet together that we must allow that 
liberty of speaking to others which we desire ourselves, with- 
out tying anyone to our opinion, maintaining a firm friend- 
ship with such who have renounced all unreasonable things 
contrary to Scripture, without stumbling at any differences, 

which do not hinder love and piety We intend that 

we may bring the good people of all sects to unity, setting 
our meeting place open to all rational men. 

This in brief was to be the plan of government for 
a community which Plockhoy hoped with the aid of 
Parliament to establish somewhere in England. 

At the end of the pamphlet was inserted an in- 
vitation to all the poor and needy and others interested 
in forming such an association to co-operate with 
Plockhoy. His plan was to found the association in 
London. But later Bristol, and finally Ireland was 
•chosen as the place where the experiment was to be 
tried. We do not find, however, that the scheme ever 
materialized. Parliament, whose aid he sought, had 
far more important work in hand at this time, and 
Plockhoy soon left London again for Amsterdam, 
where he continued his efforts to secure help for 
putting his theories into practice. Here he was finally 
successful. The city of Amsterdam, being anxious at 
this time to secure colonists for her newly acquired 
territory along the Delaware river, promised Plockhoy 
financial aid and the privilege of establishing a colony 
of Mennonites on the Horekill. 

The Horekill is the name of a small stream flowing 
into the Delaware Bay near its southern extremity in 
what was then New Netherlands, but now the state 


of Delaware.^ The term which originated from the 
name Hoorn, a town in Holland, was applied not only 
to the stream but the entire surrounding region which 
was also sometimes called Swaanendael. The settle- 
ment at this place was one of the earliest made by the 
Dutch, south of Manhattan Island. 

The first settlement in this region was made in 
1631 by DeVries, a Dutch explorer, who built a fort 
called Oplandt near the stream.^ The colony was soon 
destroyed, however, by Indians. Later unsuccessful 
attempts at colonization were also made by the West 
India Company and the city of Amsterdam to which 
city the region had finally been sold. Amsterdam made 
repeated efforts to populate her new colony. In 1656 
three hundred Waldenses had been sent over. In- 
vitations were also sent to other persecuted sects of 
Europe to settle in the New World. It was no doubt 
this eagerness for colonists that made it possible for 
Plockhoy to get financial aid and permission from the 
burgomasters of Amsterdam to establish here a colony 
of Mennonites, based on his plan of social, political and 
economic equality. 

This region is described in a report sent to Amsterdam in 16S7 by 
Alrichs to the Commissioners of the colony on the Delaware. 

"I have already stated that there is a very fine country called 
the Whorekill abounding very much in wild animals, birds, fish, etc. 
And the land is so good and fertile that the like is nowhere to be 
found. It lies at the entrance of the Bay about two leagues up from 
Cape Hinlopen. I shall send a draft of it by the next opportunity. 
Please to keep it recommended. The place can be visited by a yacht 
of eight or ten lasts but some people must be there for security. 
This can be regularly done after numbers are sent and have arrived 
here and more of the place is taken up." — O'Callahan, Documentary 
History of New York, II. p. 19. 

See Benjamin Ferris, Original Settlements on the Delaware, p. 22, 
and Francis Vincent, History of Delaware, p. 130. 


On June 9, 1662, the burgomasters of Amster- 
dam made a contract with Plockhoy and twenty-four 
others, called Mennonites, regarding 
Contract with the conveyance of the proposed colony 
Amsterdam to the Delaware.^" According to this 

contract the city was to advance two 
hundred guilders to each of the twenty-five families 
making up the association. For the repayment of 
these loans the whole body was to be responsible. A 
tract of land was granted the colony on the Horekill 
which was to be free from taxes for twenty years. The 
society was authorized to make such laws and rules as 
were necessary for the government of the settlement, 
allowing to each member the right of appeal to the 
city authorities in case he felt himself unjustly treated. 
Such laws and rules, however, were not to be in con- 
tradiction to the fundamental conditions which the 
city had published in 1656. 

In the meantime Plockhoy, in 1662, had again 
published a pamphlet called, "Kort en Klaer Ont- 
werp"^^ in which he outlined in detail the communistic 
scheme by which the proposed colony was to be 
governed, and in which he invited associates to join the 
new enterprise. The following September was the 
date set for the departure of the company. 

Many of these regulations for the proposed com- 

10. O'Callahan, Documentary History of New York, II. p. 176. 

11. This is also a very rare book. S. W. Pennypacker has a copy in his 

private library. There is also a copy in the library of the New York 
Historical Society. See Collections of New York Historical Society, 
Second Series, Vol. Ill, part I, footnote page 291. A brief analysis 
of the book with something of its history can be found in H. C. 
Murphy's Anthology of New Netherland and also in G. M. Asher's 
Historical Essay on Dutch Books and Pamphlets relating to New 


munity were similar to those suggested in London in 
1658. The colony was to comprise 
Regulations for four clas-ses of people — agricultur- 
Proposed Colony ists, seafaring persons, all necessary 
trades people, and masters of useful 
arts and sciences. The associates were to be either 
married males, or single men twenty-four years old 
who were free from debt. Each was to obey the 
ordinances of the society and not seek his own ad- 
vancement over any other member. The colony 
evidently was not to be exclusively a Mennonite one, 
since as in the earlier scheme all Christian sects who 
composed the community were to be united. This 
was to be accomplished partly by the exclusion of all 
clergymen from the settlement, since it would be im- 
possible to gain the desired harmony, either by electing 
a clergyman for each sect or by selecting him from any 
one sect. Preachers, furthermore, according to Plock- 
hoy, were not necessary for religious instruction and 
worship. The colonists were themselves provided 
with the Holy Scriptures which all ministers agreed in 
pronouncing the best, and which they looked upon as 
"the most peaceable and economical of all preachers," 
Religious exercises were to be as simple as possible. 
Every Sunday and holiday the people were to assemble 
in the common meeting house. Here the services were 
to be opened by the singing of a psalm and the reading 
of a chapter from the Bible by one of the members. 
Any one present was to be at liberty to express his 
opinions on the passage of Scripture read. Another 

Netherland. For a further discussion of Plockhoy's scheme for 
establishing a colony on the Delaware see O'Callahan, History of 
New Netherland ; and John Romeyn Brodhead, History of New 
York. Vol. I. p. 697. 


psalm closed the services, and immediately after, the 
court was to convene in the same building for the' 
transaction of the public business of the community. 
There v^as to be no deviation from these simple 
exercises, for even the Lord's supper and baptism were 
to be considered as "signs or ceremonies becoming 
rather weak children than men in Christ." 

Public schools were to be provided, but no creeds 
nor religious formulas except the Holy Scriptures were 
to be taught. 

Plockhoy evidently was not entirely non-resistant, 
for those having conscientious scruples against bearing 
arms were to pay an extra tax for the support of those 
who entered military service. Only defensive warfare, 
however, was to be waged. 

Slavery was to be prohibited. 

In order to secure perfect harmony within the 
settlement certain classes of religious sects were to 
be excluded from the Society, 

All untractable people, such as those in communion with the 
Roman see, usurious Jews; English stififnecked Quakers; 
Puritans; foolhardy believers in the Millennium; and 
obstinate modern pretenders to revelation. 

Undesirable persons were to be subject to expul- 
sion by a two-thirds vote of the entire community. 

All laws and regulations for the governing of the 
colony were to be passed by a two-thirds vote of the 
members, but were to be subject to the approval of the 
authorities of Amsterdam. Each year ten persons 
were to be proposed for officers, from which the 
burgomasters of Amsterdam were to choose five. No 
magistrate was to be eligible for re-election until one 
year after the expiration of his term of office, nor was 


he to receive any compensation for his services. For 
the first year the oldest member was to preside over 
the court, but after that, the one longest in office. 

For five years after their arrival in their new home 
the colonists were to labor for the common good and 
live from a common store-house, but after that time 
the property might be divided proportionally among" 
the heads of families. 

Such in outline were the articles of association 
which were drawn up by Plockhoy for the government 
of his proposed American colony of Mennonites — a 
scheme which Brodhead in his history of New Nether- 
lands calls "one among the most extraordinary of the 
memorials of American colonization."^^ 

Of the actual history of the colony we have little 
knowledge. As we have seen, the company was to 
leave for the Horekill by September, 
Colony on 1662. But we do not know whether 

the Delaware they actually set sail at that time. It 
seems probable, however, that they did 
not start on their voyage until the following spring,, 
for from a letter written May 5, 1663, we learn that 
Plockhoy sailed in the ship St, Jacob for the Horekill,^* 
and in another letter dated August 4, 1663/* it is re- 
corded that the ship St. Jacob arrived at the Horekill 
on July 28, 1663, and left there forty-one souls with 

12. At hrst glance these regulations may seem entirely inconsistent with 

the doctrines and practices of the main body of the Mennonites of 
today. But as suggested in an earlier portion of this chapter, there 
were several sects of the denomination in the Netherlands during the 
seventeenth century which held views in n>any respects similar to 
these set forth bj' Plockhoy. 

13. Fernow, Documents Relating to the History of New York, XII. p. 


14. Ibid, p. 437, 450. 


their baggage and farm utensils. From these scraps 
of information it would seem that these forty-one souls 
comprised the twenty-five families who contracted 
with the burgomasters of Amsterdam to settle in New 
Netherlands. How they fared during the autumn and 
the following winter we do not know, but they had 
hardly begun their new settlement when they were 
unceremoniously driven out of the region by the 
^English who were now at war with the Dutch for the 
possession of New Netherlands. In 1664, all the 
Dutch settlements along the Delaware, including the 
Mennonite colony, were plundered and some of the 
inhabitants, perhaps principally soldiers, were taken 
to Virginia where according to Governor Stuyvesant 
they were sold as indentured servants. ^^ A report of 
the affair sent to Amsterdam in 1684 says that during 
this war all the possessions of the city of Amsterdam 
were plundered and occupied "as also what belonged 
to the Quaking Society of Plockhoy to a very naile."^* 
Of the ultimate fate of these Mennonites we are 
equally ignorant. Whether they later built up their 
settlement again on the Horekill, and perhaps lost their 
Mennonite faith; whether they became disheartened 

15. "The Dutch soldiers were taken prisoners and given to the merchant- 

man that was there in payment of his services, and they were trans- 
ported into Virginia to be sold. — All sorts of tools for handicraft, 
tradesmen, and all plow-gear and other things to cultivate the 
ground which were in store in great quantity were likewise seized, 
together with a saw mill ready to set up and nine sea buoys with 
their iron chains. Even the inoffensive Mennonites, though 
thoroughly noncombatant in principle, did not escape the sack and 
plunder to which the whole river was subjected by Carr and his 
co-marauders. A boat was dispatched to their settlement which was 
stripped of everything 'to a naile.' " — O'Callahan, History of New- 
Netherlands, II. 538. See also Documentary History of New York, 
II. 346. 

16. Documentary History of New York, III. 356. 


and returned to their native country ; or whether like 
some of the Dutch soldiers they were sold as servants 
in Virginia we may never know. Save for a brief 
mention made of Plockhoy sometime later in the re- 
cords of the Germantown court^^ these few facts are all 
that have thus far come to light regarding this, one of 
the earliest attempts of the Mennonites to secure a 
home in the New World. One day in 1694 Plockhoy 
now grown old and blind, accompanied by his wife, 
evidently friendless and penniless, having heard some- 
how of the later and more fortunate settlement made 
in the meantime at Germantown, and coming, we know 
not whence, wandered into the village, where he met 
a hearty welcome. The court appointed William' 
Rittenhouse and John Doeden to select a suitable 
home in the village and provide for the needs of the 
aged couple. And here with his wife, Pieter Cornelisz 
Plockhoy, the dreamer and social reformer, and so far 
as known, the only survivor in America of the ill- 
fated colony he tried to establish, after a long life of 
disappointments and vicissitudes, finally ended his 
days in peace among his brethren and countrymen. 

17. The Germantown Rathbuch. The original written in German is to be 
found in the library of the Pennsylvania State Historical Society. 


GERMANTOWN 1683-1708 

The first permanent Mennonite settlement in 
America was made at Germantown, Pennsylvania. 

The first settlers came from Holland and 
Relation of Germany, especially from the Lower 
Mennonites Rhine region along the borders of the two 
to Quakers countries — principally from the towns, 

Crefeld and Kriegsheim. The story of 
the early Mennonites in America is so closely inter- 
twined with that of the Quakers that it may not be out 
of place here to speak briefly of the early relation of 
these two denominations in Europe. Even the most 
casual student of their history must observe that they 
had much in common in doctrine, practice and spirit. 
As already indicated it is even suggested by some 
historians that Quakerism may owe its origin to 
Mennonite influence from Holland.^ The opinion of 
Robert Barclay on this subject has already been re- 
ferred to. 

1, Barclay, The Inner Life of the Religious Societies of the Common- 
wealth, p. 77. 


Whatever their origin may have been, the English 
Quakers very early in their history crossed Over into 
Holland and Northwestern Germany for the purpose 
of extending their faith. They were wise enough to 
begin their work wherfe the soil had already been well 
prepared for the reception of the Quaker doctrines of 
non-resistance, non-swearing of oaths, and rejection of 
infant baptism. And so we find their first evangelists 
almost invariably beginning their eiiforts among the 
Mennonites; and in Mennonite communities they 
found their first proselytes. 

One of the first of the Quakers to come to the con- 
tinent was William Ames who visited Holland and the 
Palatinate as early as 1655. Here he found his way to 
many of the Mennonite strongholds. In company with 
George Rolfe he visited Kriegsheim in 1657 where he 
gained a number of Mennonite converts.^ And it is a 
noteworthy fact that at a later time the entire Quaker 
body at this place emigrated to Pennsylvania.^ Dur- 
ing the same year Ames won for his faith also Judith 
Zinspenning, of Amsterdam, who had been a member 
of the Flemish Mennonite church. She was the wife 
of Jacob Sewell, also a Mennonite, and the mother of 
William Sewell, the well known Quaker historian.* 
Caton who labored in Holland at the same time, says 
he was well received everywhere by the Mennonites.' 
Stephen Crisp, another zealous Quaker, made a number 
of trips to Holland and Germany between 1663 and 

2. Pa. Ger. Soc, IX. 170. 

3. Sewell, History of the Quakers, I. 260. 

4. Ibid, II. 120. 

5. Barclay, 250. 


1684, gained a few proselytes, visited Hamburg,. 
Embden, Friedrichstadt and Danzig, and set up a 
meeting at Crefeld.^ In all of these towns the 
Mennonites had large congregations. 

By far the most significant missionary tour, how- 
ever, was that made in 1677 by a number of the Quaker 

leaders, including Robert Barclay,. 
Penn and Fox George Keith, Benjamin Furley,. 
in Germany George Fox and William Penn. On 

July 26, this party landed in Briel, a 
seaport town of Holland. From here they went to 
Leyden accompanied by Jan Roelof, a Quaker, whose 
father, Berend Roelof, had been a Mennonite preacher 
at Hamburg, and thence to Haarlem, where they 
attended a meeting consisting of Friends and 
Mennonites.^ The travelers visited all the places 
where meetings had been established and many new 
towns where they hoped to gain new proselytes. The 
tour included Amsterdam, Frankfort on the Main,, 
where Penn met a number of Pietists who had estab- 
lished a society in that city, Kriegsheim, Cologne,, 
Embden and many other cities.^ At Amsterdam Penn 
and Fox had a debate with the celebrated Mennonite 
preacher Galenus Abraham. The story of this debate 
is told very briefly but entertainingly by Sewell. 

Galenus asserted that nobody now-a-days could be- 
accepted as a messenger of God unless he confirmed his 
doctrine by miracles. Penn denied this and said miracles- 
at present are not necessary. Fox then also spoke something 

6. Oswald Seidensticker, William Penn's Travels in Holland and Germany 

in 1677, in Pennsylvania Magazine of History, II., 240. 

7. Pa. Mag. of History, II. 250. « 

8. Sewell, II. 268. 


to the matter; but he being somewhat short breathed, went 
several times away which some were ready to impute to a 
passionate temper but I well know that therein they wronged 
him. This dispute was a troublesome business, for the parties 
on both sides were fain to speak by an interpreter which 
generally was performed so imperfectly that at last the 
conference was broke off without coming to a decision al- 
though many weighty arguments were objected against the 
position. 9 

This tour of Penn's was full of significance for 
the future settlement of Pennsylvania. To be sure, at 
this time he was traveling merely in the interests of 
the Quaker religion. But when a few years later he 
was granted a large tract of land in the new world, and 
when he sent his agents to the continent to secure 
colonists, many of these persecuted Quakers, Mennon- 
ites. Pietists, and other sects more or less limited in • 
their freedom of worship, felt a personal interest in the 

Penn was by no means the last of Quaker apostles 
to visit the Mennonites. At Hamburg, Amsterdam, 

Crefeld, Kriegsheim, Altona, in fact 
Later Quakers wherever there was a Mennonite con- 
Among the gregation the Quakers got more or 

Mennonites less of a footing. The Mennonites 

evidently often heard the Quaker 
preachers gladly. The yearly meeting of London in 
1694 reported from Holland that at Twist and Hoorne 

there is found great openness and tenderness among the 
people who desire to be visited and salute Friends and that 
in some places is found good openness among the Mennists 
(or Baptists) to hear the Friends tell the 

9. Ibid, 277. 

10. Bealing, Epistles of London Yearly Meeting. Baltimore, 1806. 


In 1709 Chalkley after a visit to Rotterdam, Haarlem, 
Hamburg, Embden and other places said, 

I know not that I ever met with more tenderness and open- 
ness in people than in those parts of the world. There is a 
great people there whom they call Menonists who are very- 
near the truth and the fields are white unto harvest among 
divers of them spiritually speaking.^i 

In 1714 Story reported from Holland that he "met with 
great kindness especially from a sect called Minists 
who in many respects resemble the Friends." These 
people whenever he met with them tendered him "the 
use of their meeting houses," and assisted him in his 
labors "as far as they were able."^^ Thus we see that 
the Mennonites and Quakers^^ were by no means 
strangers to one another when Penn opened up Penn- 
sylvania as an asylum for the persecuted of all lands 
and where there was to be absolute freedom of wor- 
ship. It was but natural that through his agents he 
should first invite those with whom he had come into 
such close personal contact, and who, he had reason 
to believe, might easily be induced to cast their lot in 
the new country. 

The Mennonites at the close of the seventeenth 
century still felt the heavy hand of persecution and 

oppression upon them. The day of the 
Persecutions stake and the rack to be sure was past, 

but in Switzerland the followers of 
Menno Simons were still sold as galley slaves or left 

11. Chalkley, Journal, 99. 

12. Story, Journal, 176. 

13. Quaker preachers were not always received with open arms by the 

Mennonite churches, however. Occasionally individual Mennonites 
would join the Society but often a congregation as such would bar 
the doors against Quaker preachers. See Pa. Mag. of Hist., II. 242. 


to starve in prisons. In the Palatinate and other parts 
of Germany they were allowed freedom of worship, 
but their refusal to enter military service and to take 
the oath often brought upon them great hardships, as 
they often had to pay large sums of money for the 
privilege of exemption. In Holland and Northwest- 
ern Germany, and especially in Crefeld, they enjoyed 
practically most of the religious and civil rights granted 
to other citizens.^* Even in the most tolerant countries, 
bowever, the position of the Mennonites on the ques- 
tion of war, the oath and the magistracy, was a source 
of continual friction between them and the civil author- 
ities, while their opposition to infant baptism, and to 
the domination of the state churches brought upon 
them the suspicions of the ecclesiastical hierarchies. 
The lot of the Quakers on the continent as well 
as in England was even harder than that of the Men- 
nonites. Their aggressive zeal for the propagation of 
their faith, their peculiar practices, in addition to their 
refusal to enter military service and to take the oath — 
two doctrines which they held in common with the 
Mennonites— often brought them into trouble with 
the authorities. On several occasions Penn wrote to 
the authorities in behalf of his persecuted brethren. 
In 1677 he petitioned the Elector of the Palatinate for 
milder treatment of the Quakers at Kriegsheim, for 
^'tithes were exacted from them not only by the parson 
of the village but also by the popish priests of Worms. 
And the mayor of the town endeavored to restrain 
their due liberty of religious meeting.''^^ 

14. Barclay, 78. 

15. Sewell, I. 268. 


It was the desire, then, for fuller religious freedom, 
and for exemption from heavy burdens of taxation and 
civil obligations which they could not conscientiously 
accept that led the first Mennonites and Quakers to 
emigrate from Germany and Holland to Pennsylvania. 

Crefeld, the home of the first colony, is a city on 
the Rhine in Northwestern Germany, near the borders 
of the Netherlands. This city had for many years been 
.an asylum for various persecuted sects in Germany. 
It was from here also that the Dunkards came to 
America some years later. The Mennonite congre- 
gation had been in existence since the early part of 
the century. 

The individual who perhaps was most directly 
concerned with the first emigration was Jacob Telner, 

a Mennonite merchant of Crefeld, but 
Jacob Telner resident at the time in Amsterdam.^' 

Telner, who had been in America some- 
time between 1678 and 1681 in the interests of his 
business, had business relations with the Quakers of 
London and was on friendly terms with the leading 
merchants of New York. He may thus be regarded 
as a connecting link between Penn and the Crefeld 
congregation.^^ It was no doubt largely due to his 
influence that the enterprise was launched, partly per- 
haps as a business venture but principally in order 
that his brethren might enjoy greater civil and relig- 
ious liberty. 

Our knowledge of the history of the Crefeld colony 

16. Pennypacker in Pa. Ger. Soc, IX. 177. 

17. Hazard, Register, VI. 183. 


begins with May 10, 1682, when William Penn con- 
C f ifi veyed to Jacob Tehier of Crefeld,Jan Strey- 

_, , pers, also a merchant, of Kaldkirchen, and 

Purchasers . 

Dirk Sipman of Crefeld each five thousand 

acres in Pennsylvania. On June 11, 1683, Penn con- 
veyed to Govert Remke, Leonart Arets and Jacob 
Isaacs Van Bebber, all of Crefeld, one thousand acres 
each. These six, all Mennonites, constitute the orig- 
inal Crefeld purchasers. All of these men with the 
exception of Sipman and Remke finally found their 
way to Pennsylvania. Colonization was the purpose 
these purchasers had in view, and Penn stipulated 
that a certain number of families should settle in 
Pennsylvania within a specified time. 

In the meantime a group of thirteen men with 
their families, making thirty-three in all, nearly all 
related to one another were gathered together for 
the first colony. With the possible exception of one 
or two families they were all from Crefeld, although 
most of them were of Dutch ancestry. The names of 
these men are Lenart Arets, Abraham Opden Graff, 
Dirk Opden Grafif, Herman Opden Graff, William 
Streypers, Thones Kunders, Reynier Tyson, Jan Sie- 
mens, Jan Lensen, Peter Keurlis, Johannes Bleikers, 
Jan Lucken and Abraham Tunes. 

On June 18, 1683, this little company had arrived 
at Rotterdam whither they had been accompanied by 
Telner, Sipman and Jan Streypers, three of the largest 
purchasers. Passage had been secured for them 
(on the Concord) through James Claypool, a Quaker 
merchant in London. They were to sail July 6, but 
owing to delay in Rotterdam they did not begin their 


voyage from London until July 24.^* The Concord 
had other passengers besides the Crefeld emigrants, 
for it was provisioned with "14 oxen, 30 (fasz) beer, 
bread and water enough for 120 passengers."^' After 
a voyage of ten weeks they reached Philadelphia on 
October 6. One young woman had died on board the 
ship, but this loss Avas more than balanced by the birth 
of two children. Here we must leave this little band of 
pioneers and turn briefly to the consideration of an- 
other subject, — Pastorius and the Frankfort Land 

The Frankfort Land Company was composed of 
a number of Pietists in and around Frankfort on the 
Main, who at different times had bought 
Pietists about 25,000 acres from Penn for humani- 
tarian purposes. The Pietists were not a 
distinct religious sect. Pietism began among orth- 
odox Lutherans and was a protest against the 
formalism and dogmatism of the church at large. Its 
chief exponent was Philip Jacob Spener, who was born 
in 1635 in Alsace. He later studied at Strasburg and 
in 1666 became pastor of a church in Frankfort on the 
Main. It was here that he first began to discredit a 
mere intellectual belief as a means to salvation and 
to teach that a complete transformation of life was 
necessary. He encouraged Bible study and the culti- 
vation of the spiritual life. In 1670 he organized the 
"Collegia Pietatis" which was merely a gathering of 
pious souls for purposes of devotion. This was the 
group of men with whom Penn had come in contact 
in 1677. 

18. Claypool Letter Book. Extracts in Pa. Mag. of History, X. 275. 

19. Seidensticker, Bilder aus der Deutsch-Pennsylvanischen Geschichte, 

p. 26. 


The result of this meeting was the formation of 
the Frankfort Land Company, whose purpose was 
to establish in the wilds of Pennsyl- 
Frankfort vania for themselves and others an 

Land Company ideal retreat where they might devote 
themselves, free and unhindered, more 
exclusively to the cultivation of the religious life. The 
original plan, however, was never carried out. Land 
was actually purchased from Penn, as we have just 
seen, but the company far from maintaining its original 
ideals soon degenerated into a mere speculating enter- 
prise. The agent for these Pietists was 
Pastorius Francis Daniel Pastorius, an accomplished 
scholar and successful lawyer, who had 
traveled much as a student, and practiced law in Frank- 
fort, Worms, Mannheim and Speier, and it was at 
Frankfort in the spring of 1682 that he met Spener. 
Hearing much of Pennsylvania and of the proposed 
scheme of the Pietists to buy large tracts of land for 
colonization purposes, he was seized with the idea 
of going to Pennsylvania himself to enjoy the quiet, 
simple Christian life for which the new world seemed 
to afford such ample opportunities.^" As agent for the 
company Pastorius later purchased land for them from 
Penn, and for seventeen years acted as their attorney 
in Pennsylvania. 

Soon after his appointment Pastorius left for 
America. On his way to Rotterdam from which place 
he was to embark for Philadelphia he visited Kriegs- 
heim and Crefeld where he met many of the future 
colonists. In Rotterdam he met Jacob Telner and 
Benjamin Furley, Penn's agents in Holland. Telner 

20. Seidensticker, p. 55. 


and such Crefeld purchasers as did not immediately 
emigrate also engaged Pastorius to represent their 
interests in the new world. Much of the land bought 
by the Frankfort Company was located around what 
was soon to be Germantown and many of the early 
settlers bought their lands from this company. This 
explains why Pastorius played such an important role 
in the early affairs of the first Mennonite colony.^^ 
Pastorius accompanied by several of the Crefeld 
purchasers had left London early in the summer of 
1683 and had arrived in Philadelphia, August 20, about 
six weeks before the Crefeld colonists came. 

These colonists did not remain long in Philadel- 
phia, which was at that time a mere village, having 

been founded only the year before. They 
Germantown immediately set out in search of their new 
Founded homes. Following, it is said, an Indian 

trail, which is now perhaps Germantown 
Avenue, they selected as their first dwelling place an 
elevated spot between the Delaware and Schuylkill 
rivers about five or six miles north of where the village 
of Philadelphia then stood. This Indian path was lined 
with laurel bushes. The surrounding region was a 

21. In religion Pastorius has been claimed by both Mennonites and 
Quakers but as a matter of fact he belonged to neither denomination. 
He was himself baptized a Lutheran in Germany, and had his two 
sons, born in Pennsylvania, baptized into the same church. Being 
a Pietist (See J. F. Sachse, The German Sectaries of Pennsylvania) 
however, he no doubt felt himself very much at home with both 
Mennonites and Quakers. During the early years of the German- 
town settlement there was no Lutheran organization in the com- 
munity and so we find Pastorius taking an active interest in the 
religious affairs of the Quakers. His name often appears on the 
records as a delegate to the Quarterly Meetings (See Abington 
Records). There is nothing to show, however, that he took a similar 
interest in the religious affairs of the Mennonites. 


"very fine and fertile district with plenty of springs 
of fresh water, being well supplied with oak, walnut 
and chestnut trees and having besides excellent and 
abundant pasturage for the cattle." -' On October 
24, Thomas Fairman, Penn's surveyor, laid out the 
land for the colonists in a township afterwards called 
Germantown or Germanopolis in honor of the nation- 
ality of the colonists. On the next day they all gathered 
together in the cave of Pastorius and cast lots for their 
portions of land.-^ 

These early settlers were mostly mechanics and 
linen weavers "and not given much to agriculture." 
Consequently, instead of locating on large farms as 

did the Mennonites on the Pequea some 
Occupation years later, they established a village and 

divided their time between the cultiva- 
tion of the soil, which soon, however, became a 
secondary occupation with them, and the industry of 
weaving. The Opden Grafifs, Arets, Tunes and Lensen 
were all linen weavers, while Dennis Konders was a 
dyer.2^ In 1686 Abraham Opden Graff petitioned the 
Governor's Council to grant him the Governor's pre- 
mium for "the first and finest pece of linen cloth.''^" 
Penn encouraged the linen industry and gave Telner 
100 acres of Liberty land for his services in helping 
to establish the colony.-" 

22. Letter of Pastorius, quoted in Pa. Mag. of Hist., IV. 90. 

23. Watson, Annals, II. 18. 

24. Pa. Arch., Second Ser., XIX., p. 270. 

25. Col. Rec, I. 194. 

26. Pa. Arch. Second Sen, XIX. 256. 


As early as 1692 Richard Fraeme wrote: 

The Germantown of which I spoke before 
Which is at least in length a mile or more, 
Where live High German people and Low Dutch— 
Whose trade in weaving cloth is much — 
Here grows the flax as also you may know 
That from the same they do divide the tow. 27 

The village was laid out along one street 60 feet 
wide with cross streets 40 feet wide.-^ This street, 
Fraeme says, was one mile long in 1692, and by 1748 
when the famous Swedish Botanist Kalm visited Ger- 
mantown it had grown to two miles. An old chron- 
icler, writing in 1700, relates that at that time it was 
lined on both borders with blooming peach trees.^^ On 
both sides were erected the first temporary dwelling 
places by the settlers. Pastorius in March 1684, writes 
that the community already has forty-two persons in 
twelve families and each family has an estate of three 
acres. Later, however, the village was resurveyed into 
fifty-five lots of fifty acres each, running along both 
•sides of the main street.^" 

During the first few years the colonists were kept 
busy clearing the land, opening roads, and raising such 
grain as they needed for their sustenance. On October 
22, 1684, William Streypers wrote to Holland : 

I have been busy and made a brave dwelling and under it a 
cellar, fit to live in, and have so much grain such as Indian 

27. Old South Leaflets, Number 95. 

28. See Pastorius letter in Pa. Ger. Soc, IX. 145. 

29. Watson, II. 46. 

30. Pa. Ger. Soc, IX. 201. 


corn and buckwheat that this winter I shall be better ofif than 
I was last year. 31 

The temporary houses and caves were soon re- 
placed by other and more substantial buildings. The 

region abounded in sandstone and many of the 
First settlers, before 1700, erected large and corn- 
Houses fortable stone houses, some of which are still 

standing.22 ^phese buildings cost considerable 
time and labor in their erection, but were put up with- 
out very much other expense. Several of the original 
purchasers may have been men of means, but the actual 
settlers for some time were poor men. Pastorius in 
1684 says, — 

These honest people spent all their means on their journey 

31. Streyper's in a letter to his brother. Quoted by Pennypackcr in Pa. 

Ger. Soc. Preceedings, IX. 12. 

32. "Most of the old houses in Germantown are plastered on the inside 

with clay and straw mixed, and over it is laid a finishing coat of 
thin lime plaster; some old houses seem to be made with log 
frames and the interstices filled with wattles, river rushes and 
clay intermixed. In a house ninety years of age taken down, the 
grass in the clay appeared as green as when cut. Probably twenty 
houses now remain of the primitive population. They are of but 
one story, so low that a man six feet high can readily touch the eves 
of the roof. Their gable ends are to the street. The ground story 
is of stone or of logs — or sometimes the front room is of stone and 
the back room is of logs, and thus they have one room behind the 
other. The roof is high and mostly hipped, forms a low bed 
chamber ; the ends of the houses above the first story are of boards 
or sometimes of shingles with a small chamber window at each 

"In modern times those houses made of logs have been lathed 
and plastered over, so as to look like stone houses; the doors all 
divide in the middle, so as to have an upper and a lower door ; and 
in some houses the upper door folds. The windows are two doors 
opening outwards and were at first set in leaden frames with outside 
frames of wood." — Watson II. 18. 

Since the above was written many of the old houses have dis- 
appeared. Some of those still standing have since been remodelled. 


so that when provision was not made for them by William 
Penn they were obliged to serve others. ^^ 

From Indian ravages and deadly disease, the two 
most fatal enemies of so many of the early American 
colonists, the Germantown settlement was fortunately 
free. During the first winter there was only one death 
and that was of the aged mother of the Opden Graff 
brothers. While Abraham, who sent the news to Ger- 
manVj was sitting in his room with pen in his hand 
an Indian squaw came into the room. Curious to know 
what the writer was doing she took the pen in her 
hand, whereupon Opden Graff took her hand in his and 
traced the news of his mother's death across the page. 
Thus was the news of the first death among the colon- 
ists sent to their friends in Europe.^* 

The colony once established, was soon increased 
by fresh arrivals from Germany and Holland, influ- 
enced to emigrate either by their friends here 
Later or by Penn's agents in Europe who during 
Arrivals all this time were busily engaged in securing 
colonists for Penn's new province. For the 
first ten or fifteen years the immigration was very 
largely confined to those of the Mennonite or Quaker 

Among this number wholly or partially original are the Dirk Keyser 
house built 1738; the Thones Kunder's home now No. 5109 Ger- 
mantown Avenue; the Engle house built 1758; and the Rittenhouse 
mansion on the Wissahickon built 1709. The Hiefert Papen home, 
built in 1698 was torn down several years ag«. For a discussion 
on the old houses of Germantown see Jenkins, Guide book to His- 
toric Germantown ; and Keyser, Old Historic Germantown, in Pa. 
Ger. Sec, Sec, XV. (C. H. S.) 

33. Pa. Ger. Soc, IX. Pastorius letter p. 141. 

34. Letter of Abr. Opden Graff written to friends in Holland 1684. 

Translated and published by J. F. Sachse, in Letters Relating to 
the Settlement of Germantown. 


faith but soon after that the Reformed and Lutherans 
predominated, with a sprinkling of Dunkards, and 
many other denominations and sects. Germantown 
is not only the first home of the Mennonites in 
America, but the first home of the German race in 
America. Especially was it the religious cradle of 
German America, Here was organized not only the 
first Mennonite church in this country but also the 
first Dunkard,^^ German Reformed,^^ German 
Lutheran," Moravian, and one of the earliest 
Methodist congregations. 

Among several other persons concerning whose 
religious affiliations we have no positive information 
came, in 1684, these Mennonites, — Hans Peter Um- 
stat, Isaac Jacob Van Bebber from Crefeld, and 
Jacob Telner. The next year added to the list 
Hiefert Papen, who is said to have built the 
first stone house in Philadelphia, and Klas Jansen, 
and two families, Peter Shoemaker and Gerhard 
Hendricks from the Mennonite-Quaker congre- 
gation at Kriegsheim. Johannes Kassel, also 
a Quaker convert, came from the same place during 
the following year. In 1687 came Matthias Van 
Bebber, son of Jacob Isaacs Van Bebber, the founder,, 
a few years later, of the Skippack settlement. In 1688 
Dirck Keyser, who was a well known silk merchant 
of Amsterdam, arrived by way of New York. In this 
year came also William Rittinghuysen, the first 
Mennonite preacher in America. 

35. Brumbaugh, History of the Brethren. 

36. J. H. DubLs. German Reformed Church. (Am. Ch. Hist. Series) 245. 

37. H. E. Jacobs. The German Lutherans (Am. Ch. Hist. Series) 710- 



During the next fifteen years were added a 
number of names many of which have occupied a con- 
spicuous place ever since that day, not only in the 
annals of the Mennonite church but in the political 
history of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania as 

The Dick Kcyser House, built 1738 

well. All came from Lower Germany and Holland. 
They were, Hendrick Sellen, Hendrick Pennebecker, 
the first German surveyor for the province,^^ George 
Gottschalk, Hans Neus, a silversmith, four families 

38. For much of the detailed information on the early settlement of 
Germantown I am indebted to the writings of S. W. Pcnnypackcr in 
the Prc-^edings of the Pa. Ger. Society, Vol. IX. Where other 
references are not given I have drawn upon Pennypacker for my 


from the Hamburg congregation, Harmen Karsdorp, 
Claes Berends, Isaac Van Sinteren, and Paul 
Roosen, Paulus Kuster, Paul Engel, Christopher 
Schlegel, Evert In de Hoffen, Christian Meyer,^^ Hans 
Graff/" Cornelius Bom and Hendrick Casselberg, with 
perhaps several others. 

In the meantime those of other religious faiths 
were continually finding their way into the new colony. 
In 1694 Kelpius, a disciple of Jacob 
Other Boehm, came over with a number of 

Denominations followers. After remaining in German- 
town for a short time they withdrew to 
the lonely banks of the beautiful Wissahickon a few 
miles to the west and there Kelpius became known as 
the Hermit of the Ridge." With Kelpius came a party 
of Lutherans who held their first services in America 
in the house of the Mennonite, Van Bebber.''^ There 
were also a number of the Reformed denomination, as 
well as several Quakers who for the most part had 
been proselytes from the Mennonites in Crefeld, 
Kriegsheim or other places. The Reformed, however^ 
did not organize a congregation until 1710.*^ 

There seems to be considerable confusion in the 
minds of Avriters on this subject as to the relation of 
these various sects. This confusion 
Relation of arises undoubtedly very largely from the 
Various Sects fact that during the first few years while 
the community was still small and most 
of the denominations without preachers, the settlers 

39. Fretz, Moyer Family. 

40. Rupp, Hist, of Lane. Co., 133. 

41. For discussion of this subject see J. F. Sachse, the German Sectaries 

r>i Pennsylvania. 

42. Pa. Ger. Soc, XI. 79. 

43. Dubbs, History of the Reformed Church. 


irrespective of their religious affiliations often wor- 
shipped in common. In 1686 a public meeting house 
was built which served as a place of common worship. 
It was only as the different denominations grew, that 
separate organizations developed. The Quakers built 
their first meeting house in 170.5, and the Mennonites 
in 1708. There is much dispute especially concerning 
the religious complexion of the original thirteen 
families. What were they, Mennonites or Quakers?^* 
We have already noticed the close and intimate asso- 
ciations between the two denominations on the conti- 
nent. Whatever may have been the church relations 
of the first settlers after they came to Germantown 
there can be very little doubt that, with the exception 
of Pastorius, they were originally of Mennonite 
descent. According to Pennypacker" who has made 
a very exhaustive study of the family connections of 
these people, the Opden Graffs were grandsons of the 
Herman Opden Graff who as a delegate from Crefeld 
signed the Dortrecht Confession of Faith in 1632. 
Lensen was a member of the ^Mennonite church in 
1708 and is the only one of the thirteen whose name 
appears on the church roll at that time. Jan Lucken 
has the same name as the engraver who illustrated the 
Martyrs' Mirror of 1685 in Holland. A certain 
Leonart Arets was a follower of David Joris who be- 
longed to one of the Anabaptist sects in Holland and 
who died at Basel in 1556. Tunes was a common 
name among the Mennonite preachers of that time. 

44. The fact that the Mennonites never kept any church records makes 

a thorough study of their early history extremely difficult, especially 
on such a question as this. 

45. Pennypacker, in Pa. Ger. Soc, IX. 


William Streypers was a brother of Jan Streypers" 
who was an uncle to Hermanns Kuster known as a 
Mennonite in 1708. The Streypers furthermore, were 
cousins to the Opden Grafifs. The wife of Thones Kun- 
ders was a sister to Arets and a sister of the Streypers. 
The wife of Jan Streyper was a sister of Reynier 
Tyson. Keurles also was related to several of the 
group. This leaves no doubt as to the faith of these 
people before the coming of Stephen Crisp, the Quaker, 
into Crefeld some time before 1683. 

And yet some of them may have accepted the 
Quaker faith before the emigration*', but concerning 
this question it is difficult to reach a definite conclusion. 
We are certain, however, that a number of them 
showed decided Quaker qualities soon after they 
reached Germantown. 

The fact that at first family ties, lack of preachers, 
their common hardships and common interests made 

it necessary for all to worship as one body 
Common irrespective of their individual religious be- 
Worship liefs, makes it difficult to tell whether or not 

the company represented more than one 
religious faith. The first meeting seems to have been 
in the house of Thones Kunders, whom the Quakers 
claim as one of their members, and it is likely that this 
and succeeding gatherings partook more of Quaker 
than Mennonite characteristics. A number of the 

46. See Streyper Mms. in Pa. Historical Soc. Lib., Philadelphia. 

47. "Before their departure from Germany there had been a Friend's 

Monthly Meeting held at Crefeld which was discontinued immediate- 
ly after their departure, indicating that all or nearly all the full 
body of members had gone."— Jenkins, Guide Book to Historic 
Germantown, p. 18. 



colonists took an active interest from the very begin- 
ning in Quaker religious affairs. 

Among these was Abraham Opden Graff who lat- 
er became one of the leading participants in the Keith 
controversy. He left Germantown some time after 
1704 for the Skippack, and consequently the records 
of the Abingdon meetings make no mention of his 
name. It is likely that at Skippack he was again 
active in the Mennonite congregation, and he is buried 
in the Mennonite graveyard at that place. The name 
of his brother also, Derrick Up de Grave, is often found 
on the Quaker records as a delegate to the Quarterly 
meetings, as are also the names of Dennis (Thones) 
Kunders, Leonard Arets, Reynier Tyson (1709) and 
John Lukens (1705). During the first half of the 
18th century the names of Conrad, Tyson, Lukens, 
Streyper and Updegrave, all descendants of the origin- 
al thirteen, often appeared on the records of the 
Monthly Meetings. Many of these records it will be 

observed refer to a time long 
after the Mennonites had 
organized their congrega- 
tion, and thus there can be 
no doubt that the men 
named had deserted the 
Mennonite for the Quaker 
faith. These men with the 
arrival a few years later of 
theMennonite-Quakers from 
Kriegsheim constituted the 

Thones Kunders House. firSt and for SOmC time, the 

Built before 1688. A part strougcst rcligious body in 

of the original wall is still ^ 

standing. Gcrmantowu. 


This view is substantiated by a letter from Jacob 
Gottchalk, one of the early Mennonite preachers.** 
He says : 

The beginning of the community of Jesus Christ here at 
Germantown who are called Mennonites took its rise in this 
way, that some friends out of Holland and other places in 
Germany came here together and although they did not all 
agree, since at this time the most were still Quakers, never- 
theless they found it good to have exercises together but 
in doing it they were to be regarded as sheep who had no 
■shepherd and since as yet they had no preachers, they en- 
-deavored to instruct one another. 

Whatever the religious faith, however, of the 
larger part of the colony may have been during the 
■early years of the settlement, it must not be forgotten 
that originally they had all been Mennonites and that 
the leaders, Jacob Telner, Matthias Van Bebber and 
others remained true to that faith and that soon many 
other Mennonites came over. The Germantown 
settlement in its inception after all, must be considered 
a Mennonite enterprise. 

As the colony and the various parties grew in 
numbers and wealth, the different sects began to 
differentiate and crystallize into 
Mennonites separate organizations. We can 

Worship Separate get a glimpse of the religious con- 
ditions several years after the 
settlement was made from a letter written on June 7, 
1690, by Domine Rudolfus Varick, a Reformed pastor 
visiting at that time in Pennsylvania. In writing to 
Amsterdam he says, — 

I came to a German village near Philadelphia where 
among others I heard Jacob Telner, a German Quaker, 

48. Pa. Ger. Soc, IX. 220. 


preaching. Later I lodged at his house in Philadelphia. The 
village consists of 44 families, 28 of whom are Quakers, the 
other 16 of the Reformed church. Among whom I spoke to 
those who had been received as members of the Lutheran, 
the Mennonites, and the Papists, who are very much 
opposed to Quakerism and therefore lovingly meet every 
Sunday when a Menist, Dirck Keyser*^ from Amsterdam 
reads a sermon from a book by Jobst Harmensen.^" 

Although Varick's observations may not be 
altogether reliable, yet this much can safely be 
accepted, namely, that in 1690 the Mennonites had 
withdrawn from the Quakers in worship ; that they 
must still have been few in number; that they were 
still without a regularly ordained minister; and that 
other denominations, which likewise were without 
regular organization often met with them rather than 
with the Quakers for worship. According to Jacob 
Cotschalk, to whose letter reference has already been 
made, these meetings were held in the house of Isaac 
Jacob Van Bebber. In this year the Mennonite com- 
munity was increased by more of their brethren from 
Crefeld, who from "the first found it good or judged it 
"better for the building up of the community to choose 
by a unanimity of votes a preacher and some 
deacons." "^^ Accordingly William Rittenhouse was 
chosen preacher and Jan Neus, deacon. These were 
the first two officials of the ISIennonite church in 
America. On October 8, 1702, two other ministers 
were elected — Jacob Gotschalk and Hans Neus.^^ 

49. Keyset had not yet been ordained to the ministry. 

50. Pa. Ger. Soc, XV. A translation. 

51. Gotschalk letter. Pa. Ger. Soc, IX. 220. 

52. This information is given in a letter written to Holland in 1773 by 

Andreas Ziegler, Isaac Kolb and Christian Funk. These three 
men get tlieir information from the earlier Gotschalk letter. 
Pennypacker found the letter in Holland and published it in his 
"Ilendrick Pennebecker." 


Thus far the church was without a bishop and 
hence it was impossible to administer the sacrament of 

communion or the rite of baptism. Soon 
First after 1700 a letter was written to the church 
Bishop at Hamburg- Altona, from which several of 

the brethren had come in 1700, asking that a 
bishop be sent to them for the purpose of ordaining a 
bishop for the American church. But no one in Altona 
seemed to be willing to make the long journey, and 
the authorities therefore advised the Americans that 
if their selection could be made harmoniously, one of 
their own ministers might install a bishop. One of 
the four ministers from the Hamburg-Altona church 
whose signature appears to this letter of advice was 
Gerrit Roosen, a well-known preacher of that day^'. 
This advice seems to have been followed, for before 
1708 William Rittenhouse had become the first bishop 
of the congregation. 

In 1708 the congregation erected a building for 
worship. As early as February 10, 1703, Arnold 
Van Vossen had delivered to Jan 
Log House Neus in behalf of the church a deed 
of 1708 for three perches of land for a meet- 

ing house. The house was not put 
up, however, until 1708.^* It was a log structure 
and stood until 1770, when it was replaced by 
a stone building, which is still standing. The 
spring of 1708 must have been a season of re- 
newed life to the small brotherhood. On March 22, 
three new deacons were elected — Isaac Van Sinteren, 
Hendrick Kassel and Conrad Janz. On April 20, two 

53. Brons, Ursprung, Entwickelung, und Schicksale der Mennoniteti, 

p. 224. 

54. Pennypacker, in Pa. Ger. Sec. IX. 



new preachers — Herman Kasdorp and Martin Kolb, 
were chosen. On May 9, Bishop Jacob Gotschalk, 
successor to Bishop Rittenhouse, who ha4 died in 
February, administered the first baptismal services to 
eleven applicants for church membership. On May 
23, just two weeks later, all partook of the Lord's sup- 
per^". All tills evidently took place in the little log 
meeting house which had just been completed. Mor- 
gan Edwards says that the membership at this- time 
numbered fifty-two^". He must be mistaken, however, 
for he includes William Rittenhouse, who died several 

months before, and 
Gotschalk in his let- 
ter says that the con- 
gregation numbered 
forty-four members. 
Edwards no doubt 
included some who 
had either died or 
moved away from 
Germantown before 
May 23. The com- 
munity continued to 
grov/. In 1709 others 
came from the Palatinate so that by April 6, 1712, the 
entire membership including the settlement on the 
Skippack, counted up ninety-nine individuals.^^ 

Many of the later arrivals at Germantown were 

An old bench and table in the 
Germantown meeting house. Tradi- 
tion says they were used by the school- 
master Christopher Dock. 

55. Gotschalk letter, Pa. Ger. Soc, IX. 220. 

56. See Morgan Edwards, Material for a History of the Baptists, for 

a complete list of members at that time. The list is also copied 
by Cassel in Geschichte der Mennoniten. 

57. Gotschalk letter, Pa. Ger. Soc. IX. 220. 


an agricultural people and as the land about the village 
was taken up it was inevitable that new lo- 
Skippack cations should be sought for. Among the 
Settlement fertile valleys that very early began to at- 
tract attention as suitable for new settle- 
ments was that of the Perkiomen, watered by the 
beautiful Perkiomen creek which empties into the 
Schuylkill about thirty miles above Germantown. The 
Skippack is a branch of the Perkiomen flowing directly 
through the middle of what is now Montgomery 
county. It was on the banks of this stream that the 
second Mennonite church in America was established. 
On February 22, 1702, Matthias Van Bebber received 
a patent for 6166^^ acres of land in what is now the 
lower part of Perkiomen township, but which was for 
many years known as Van Bebber's township. Most 
of the early settlers were Mennonites from German- 
town, or recently from Europe. Among the Mennon- 
ites who bought land and located on this tract be- 
tween 1702 and 1709 were Hendrick Pennebecker and 
his brother-in-law, Johannes Umstat, Johannes Kuster, 
Klas Jansen, Jan Krey, John Jacobs, Herman In 
de Hoffen, Hermanns Kuster, Christopher Zimmerman 
and Jacob, Johannes and Martin Kolb. In 1717 Van 
Bebber gave one hundred acres to the congregation 
for a place "to bury their dead as also for all and 
every the inhabitants of said Township to build a 
schoolhouse and fence in a sufficient burying place,"^' 

58. Pa. Arch., Second Sen, XIX. 338. 

59. In the early days burying grounds were frequently owned in com- 

mon by several denominations. The same was frequently true of the 
schools held in the Mennonite churches. 


The house,*'*' however, was not built until about 1725.®'- 

In the early development of Germantown there are 
two events which deserve more than a passing notice 
and which are of more than local significance. These 
events are the protest against holding of slaves in 1688, 
and the incorporation of the little village in the form 
of a borough in 1691. 

It is but fitting that the Mennonites who in the 
old world were among the first of modern advocates 

for entire liberty of soul, should in the 
Protest against new be the first to raise their voice 
Slavery in public protest against the bondage 

of the body. On February 18, 1688, 
Gerrit Hendricks, Derick Op den Graff, Francis Daniel 
Pastorius and Abraham Op den Graff met in the house 
of Thones Kunders, it is supposed, and drew up, so 
far as is known the first public protest against the 
holding of slaves on record in America. This remon- 
strance begins immediately with the reasons for their 
opposition to "the traffick in menbody." 

Those who hold slaves are no better than the Turks. 
Rather it is worse for them, which say they are 
Christians; for we hear that ye most part of such 
Negers are brought hither against their will and consent, 
and that many of them are stolen. Now though they are 
black, we cannot conceive there is more liberty to have 
them slaves as it is to have other white ones. There is a 
saying that we shall doe to all men licke as we will be done 
ourselves: macking no difference of what generation, de- 
scent or colour they are. And those who buy or purchase 

60. Christopher Dock, the pioneer Pennsylvania schoolmaster, taught 

school here for a number of years. 

61. Bean, History of Montgomery County. 101. 


them, are they not all alicke? Here is liberty of Conscience 
which is right and reasonable, here ought to be likewise 
liberty of ye body, except of evil doers, which is an other 
case. But to bring men hither, or to robb and sell them 
against their will, we stand against. In Europe there are 
many oppressed for conscience sacke: and here there are 
those oppressed which are of black Colour. ^^ 

The Mennonites of .Europe evidently had inquired 
regarding the Quaker practice of holding slaves, for 
the protest adds — 

This makes an ill report in all those countries of Europe 
(Holland and Germany) where they hear ofif, that ye Quackers 
do here handel men, Licke they handel there ye cattle and for 
that reason some have no mind or inclination to come 
hither. But if they help to stop this robbing and stealing if 
possible and such men ought to be delivered out of ye hands 
of ye Robbers and set free as well as Europe. Then is 
Pennsilvania to have a good report, instead it hath now a 
bad one for this sacke in other Countries. Especially whereas 
ye Europeans are desirous to know in what manner ye 
Quackers doe rule in their Province and most of them doe 
loock upon this with an envious eye. But if this is done well, 
what shall we say, is don evil? 

This document, which appears in the handwriting 
of Pastorius, was carried by Derick Op den Grafif to 
the Quaker Monthly Meeting held at Dublin, (Pa.) on 
"ye 30 — 2 mo of 1688." The Dublin meeting, however, 
considered the matter of too great importance "to med- 
dle with it here" and referred it to the Quarterly Meet- 
ing. When the Quarterly Meeting came together at 
Philadelphia the protest met the same fate. It was re- 
commended to the Yearly Meeting, and that is the last 
action taken upon it. The Quakers, in spite of the 

62. Pa. Mag. of Hist., IV. 28. 


good service they later rendered in the cause of human 
freedom, were not yet quite ready to declare in favor 
of total abolition. 

Both Mennonites and Quakers claim the credit 
of the authorship of this document. The Quakers 
maintain that it was sent to their Monthly and Quar- 
terly meetings and that the original signers were all 
Quakers. This latter portion of their claim can cer- 
tainly not be substantiated. 

It is true that Derick Op den Grafif was a Quaker 
in 1688, and that his brother Abraham was also in- 
clined to accept that faith at the time, although he 
later again identified himself with the Mennonites. 
But on the other hand Pastorius, as we have already 
seen, cannot be counted a Quaker, while Hendricks, 
whose name heads the list of signers, remained true 
to the Mennonite faith throughout his life. 

But had all of them been Quakers at this time, 
the protest would still have to be considered more of a 
Mennonite than a Quaker document. In the first; 
place three of the signers had been brought up in the 
Mennonite faith and owed their abhorrence of human 
slavery to their German blood and to their Mennonite, 
and not Quaker training. In the second place it must 
be remembered that the Mennonites never held slaves, 
but the English Quakers did. So late as 1696 the 
Yearly Meeting of Philadelphia advised Friends to be 
careful to bring their slaves to meeting and to have 
■meeting with them in their families.^^ It must also 
not be forgotten that the Yearly Meeting in 1688 re- 

63. Davis. History of Bucks Co., p. 795. 


fused to act on the protest. It is perfectly clear that 
this appeal was made to the Quakers against a practice 
which was common among them, and that it was made 
as a result of Mennonite influence. To the Mennon- 
ites then, it would seem, should belong the credit for 
uttering this first public protest against "the traffick 
in menbody." 

The incorporation of the village of Germantown 
is of interest to the student of political science®* as 
well as to the student of Mennonite 
Incorporation history : to the former because German- 
of Germantown town was the first example in Pennsyl- 
vania of the borough type of govern- 
ment, the common form of local administration in the 
later history of the province ; to the latter, because it 
is one of the fevv times that the Mennonites in America 
had the opportunity to test the feasibility of non- 
resistant principles when applied to the establishing 
of a civil government. Here we have a group of men^ 
all of whom inherit the Mennonite prejudice against 
the holding of civil office and the use of physical force 
in any form whatever when applied to government ; 
they ask for separate incorporation which implies the 
establishing of a complete list of civil officers, the ma- 
chinery for the making of laws, and courts for execut- 
ing them. Theory and practice were completely in- 
consistent with one another, and it was inevitable that 
an attempt to harmonize the two should end in failure. 

The charter for the borough was obtained from 
Penn in 1689 but did not go into effect until 1691. It 
was granted to a corporation composed of a small 

64. See Johns Hopkins Studies, V. 



body of men to whom was given a limited power of 
government and opens with these words — 

I, William Penn, Proprietor of the province of Pensilvania in 
America under the Imperial Crown of Great Britian, by- 
virtue of Letters Patent under the great Seale of England 
DO grant unto ffrancis Daniel Pastorius, Civilian and Jacob 
Telner, Merchant, Dirck Isaacs Optegrafif Linenmaker, Her- 
man Isaacs Optegraff, Towne President, Tennis (?) (Den- 
nis or Tliones Konders) Abraham Isaacs Optegraff Linen 
Maker, Jacob Isaacs, Johannes Cassell, Heywait Hapon 
(Hiefert Papen) Coender Plerman Bon (Cornelius Herman 
Bom) Dirk Van Kolk, all of Germantowne, yeomen that they 
shall be one Body politique and corporate aforesaid in name 

To these men was given the exclusive right of 
managing the affairs of the village, of electing all 
necessary officers and of admitting 

such and so many persons into their corporation and society 
and to increase, contract, or divide theire Joynt stock or any 
part thereof .... as they shall think fitt. 

The officers provided for by the charter were a bailiff, 
four burgesses and six committee men. To these were 
added later, a recorder, clerk, sheriff and coroner. 
("Leichenbeschauer.") A General Court was to "gov- 
ern and direct all the affairs and business of the said 
corporation." In the words of the charter they 

shall have power to make, ordain, constitute and establish 
so many good and reasonable Laws, Ordinances and Consti- 
tucons as they shall deeme necessary and convenient for the 
good Government of the said Corporacon and theire affairs, 
and at theire pleasure to revoke, alter and make anew as occa- 
sion shall require — And also to impose and set such mulcts 

65. See Pa. Arch., p. Ill for charter in full. 


and amerciaments upon the breakers of such Laws and Ordi- 
nances as in their Discrecon shall bee thought necessary. 

The form of government here provided for, it will 
be seen, was that of a close corporation. The corporate 
members were granted the exclusive right of the 
franchise, of legislation and of admitting new members 
into the corporation. 

The charter named the first officers. Francis 
Daniel Pastorius was the first bailiff; Jacob Telner, 
Dirck Isaac Op te Graaf, Herman Op te Graaf, and 
Isaac Op te Graaf, Jacob Isaacs (Van Bebber), 
"Tennis Coender" the first burgesses; and Abraham 
Johannes Kassel, Heywart Haypon, Herman Bom 
and Dirck Van Kolk the first committeemen. These 
officials were to constitute the General Court. The 
judicial functions were placed in the hands of 
a Court of Record which was composed of the 
bailiff and the two oldest burgesses, who as in- 
dividuals were also to serve as Justices of the Peace. 
This court was to be held every six weeks and was to 

all civill causes, matters, and things whatsoever arising or 
happening betwixt the Inhabitants of the said Corporacon, 
according to the Laws of the said Province and of the 
Kingdom of England, reserving the appeal according to the 

Our chief interest for the purposes of our story is 
centered in the proceedings of the Court of Record. 
This court was by no means a useless institution,, 
though for several years it was concerned chiefly with 
litigation relating to stray pigs, fences, and such other 
trivial matters as are likely to become causes for dis- 
pute between neighbors in a primitive settlement. The 


promptings of the non-resistant spirit were evidently 
not always followed to their logical result, for in 1693 
we find Pastorius, the Pietist, and Shumaker, the Quak- 
er, asking in the General Court that "stocks for evil do- 
ers" might be erected. Aret Klincken, a brother Quak- 
er, delivered the stocks. In 1697 Klincken's house was 
converted into a temporary prison house, and at the 
same session it was decreed that all punishment im- 
posed in the past should be annulled but for the future 
all decrees were to be strictly enforced. 

The first Court of Record''*' was held August 6, 
1691, in the common meeting house which, as was the 
custom in many places in early colonial times, served 
the double purpose of a church building and a city hall. 
Pastorius was bailiff, and Jacob Telner, Derick Opden 
Graff and Herman Opden Graff as the three oldest 
burgesses constituted the court. In addition to these 
there were present, Isaac Jacobs Van Bebber, recorder; 
Paul Wulf, clerk; Andrew Souple, sheriff, and John 
Luken, constable. All of these with the exception 
of the ever-present Pastorius, and the Sheriff were 
either Mennonites or Mennonite-Quakers.^'^ 

The rulings of the Court are not without interest 
and throw some light on the every day life of the 
settlement. The following extracts are characteristic 
of much of the work of the Court and show that 

66. For a brief discussion of the proceedings of the Court of Record 

see Seidensticker, Eilder aus der Deutsch Pennsylvanischen Geschichte, 
p. 55, and following. For a few extracts from the laws of the 
General Court see Pa. Ger. Soc. Proceedings X. The complete 
records of the Court of Record in the original German are now 
deposited in the Pennsylvania State Historical Society Library in 

67. By Mennonite-Quakers I mean those ^lennonites who had turned 

Quaker either in Europe or America. 


occasionally even the Mennonites were inclined to 
forget the letter of the law. 

The first meeting was called to order by the 
sheriff, who read the proclamation and saw that the 
officers were properly installed.«« The Court fined 
one Carsten for menacing Constable Luken, who at- 
tempted to serve a warrant on him. The fine was 
two pounds and ten shillings. The Court then ad- 

December 21, 1692.— 

Court adjourned by reason of the absence of some for 
religious meeting over the Schuylkill. 
October 25, 1694.— 69 

Jacob Isaacs'O and Albertus Brand were called into 
court and told that because their fences were presented in- 
sufficient each of them was finable six shillings. 
March 7, 1695.— 

Peter Keurlis was attested why he did not come when 
the justice sent for him: he answered he had much work to 
do whereupon he was further attested why he refused to lodge 
travellers (?) Answer, he only intended to sell drink but not 
keep an ordinary. Then he was attested why he did not sell 
barley malt beer at 4d. a quart against the law of this pro- 
vmce? Answer, he did not know such a law. Lastly he was 
asked why he would not obey the law of Germantown cor- 
poration which forbids to sell more than a gill of rum or a 
quart of beer every half a day to each individual? Answer, 
they being able to bear more, he could or would not obey. 
September 10, 1696.— 

Overseers of fences reported as insufficient the fences 
of Herman Opden Grafif, Abraham Opden Graff, Isaac Jacobs 
an4 others. But Herman Van Bom and Johannes Umstat 

68. Both Quakers and Mennonites. 

69. Of course elections were frequently held and the officers first named 

were soon succeeded by others. 

70. Van Bebber 


pretending they did not know the several fences in their 
quarter refused to perform their duty. 

July 9, 1700.— 

Abraham Opden Graf? and Peter Keurlis were sent for 
to answer complaints made against their children by Daniel 
Fallkner,''! but the said Abraham Opden Graff being not well 
and Peter Keurlis gone to Philadelphia this matter was left 
to next session. 

John Lensen appeared in this court excusing himself 
from serving as committeeman because his conscience would 
not allow it, hereof the next General court shall consider and 
make an order concerning like excuses."^ 
December 9, 1701.— 

All the inhabitants of Germantown shall make their 
fences good and lawful within three weeks and set posts in 
the ground with their names upon both their side fences and 
those which are behind the lots. 
November 11, 1701.— 

John Lensen gave over with the assent of the court 
keeping an ordinary and Peter Keurlis promised in open 
court to keep a good and regular ordinary in this town 
whereof the town does allow. 
December 28, 1703.— 

Abraham Opden Grafif"^ did mightily abuse the bailiflf^* 
in open court wherefore he was brought out of it to answer 
for the same at the next Court of Record. 
December 8, 1704. 

Hermanus Kuster fined ten shillings for not appearing- 
as a juryman. 
April 18, 1704.— 

Jacob Gaetschalck and John Lensen say they will not 

71. Lutheran preacher. 

72. "The General Court decreed that those having conscientious scruples 

would be excused. Those not having but refusing were fined three 
pounds." — Seidensticker. 

73. Opden Graff seemed to be unusually quarrelsome. He was an active 

participant in the Keith controversy and was much in public life 
having twice been elected to the General Assembly. 

74. Aret Klincken. 


betray their neighbors, especially John Lensen, therefore the 
court appointed in his room Leonart Arets.'^^ 

October 3, 1704.— 

Abraham Opden Graff sued David Sherkes for saying 
that no honest man would be in his company. 

Dirk Keyser Sr. and Jr. and Van Vossen were among 
the jurymen. The Jury returned a verdict in favor of 
the defendent.'^® 

The last Court of Record was held December 
11, 1706-7, and the last General Court on December 
2, of the same year. Soon after the borough 
lost its charter for want of an election to fill the 
offices. The village was governed after this by the 
ordinary laws of the township until finally absorbed by 
the city of Philadelphia. 

The loss of the charter was due largely to the 
fact that the Mennonites had very little taste for civil 
government. At first so long as the matter of local 
government was hardly more than the regulating of 
the family affairs of the brotherhood there seemed 
to be little objection to the holding of office. Out of 
eleven of the first officers named in the charter six and 
probably seven were Mennonites while four of the 
remaining five were Mertnonite-Quakers. But the vil- 
lage grew in numbers. Many came in who were not 
in sympathy with Mennonite ideals. The making of 
laws and the administering of justice became more 

75. In a jury in a law suit. 

76. It must be remembered that only such proceedings of the court are 

here selected as concern the Mennonites and their relatives. They 
were by no means the only source of trouble and cause for legal 
proceedings in the little village. 


complicated. With the coming in of stocks and prison- 
houses the Mennonites lost their desire for politics. 
The offices were filled more and more by either Men- 
nonite-Quakers or by the Quakers, who seem never 
to have shared the prejudice of the Mennonites against 
the holding of civil ofifice. These two denominations 
in theory held similar views in their attitude toward 
the temporal power; both objected to the oath and to 
war. The Mennonites, however, carried out the prin- 
ciple of non-resistance farther than the Quakers and 
maintained that it was wrong to use force against the 
individual, and hence to be consistent no Mennonite 
could hold an office which involved the use of physical 
force in the execution of the laws. For this reason 
we have here the unparalleled instance of a corporation 
losing its charter because no one could be found to fill 
the offices. 

As early as 1701 Pastorius in writing to Penn said 
that he could not get men to serve in the General Court 
for "conscience sake" and he trusted for a remedy in 
an expected arrival of immigrants.'^^ Hiefert Papen 
had declined to be a burgess in 1701. In 1702 Cor- 
nelius Siverts had refused to serve, and Paul Engle in 
1703. John Lensen and Arnold Kuster declined to be 
committeemen in 1702. Others declined to serve in 
similar capacities. But why were not the offices filled 
by non-Mennonites? The Mennonites in 1707 were 
certainly outnumbered by those who were not in sym- 
pathy with their civil and religious principles. The 
charter it will be remembered put the government 
into the hands of a close corporation. This corporation 

77. Hazard, Register, I. 280. 


began predominantly Mennonite, and although later 
the Mennonites declined to serve as officials, they did 
not hesitate to exercise the franchise. They and the 
Mennonite-Quakers, who had never quite forgotten 
their early training in Europe, held the controlling 
vote and were very careful not to admit those into the 
corporation who were opposed to their principles. The 
offices were handed about to a group of men who from 
year to year held the various positions of influence in 
rotation. Although the Quakers held most of these 
positions during the later years, yet the Mennonite 
leaven was strong enough to control the political senti- 
ment in the corporation. The loss of the charter was 
due to Mennonite, not Quaker, influence. 

The remaining history of the Germantown church 
can be dismissed with few words. Immigrants contin- 
ued to come to America, but most of them being agri- 
culturists, they passed the first settlement by for more 
promising locations on the Skippack or the Conestoga. 
The congregation was never large and seems never to 
have been in a prosperous condition. It continued, 
however, for a good many years; but we get only 
occasional glimpses of its life and activities. The old 
log building was replaced by the present stone struc- 
ture in 1770, and at that time the congregation num- 
bered twenty-five.^» In a letter of October 27, 1796, 
from Jacob Oberholtzer of Franconia to Abraham 
Kolb of Germantown Township, he states that lots had 
been drawn for ministers to serve the congregation 
for the coming year. This indicates that there was 
no resident minister here at that time and that only one 

78. N. B. Grubb, the Mennonite Church of Germantown. 


preaching service per month was heldJ^ The congre- 
gation finally became extinct but was revived again 
in 1863 under the pastorate of F. R. S. Hunsicker. It 
is at present under the control of the General Confer- 
ence Mennonites and has nineteen members. 

Insignificant, however, as the later history of the 
Germantown church may seem in itself, it has never- 
theless indirectly exerted no mean 
Influence of influence both upon the Mennonite 

the Germantown church at large and indirectly upon 
Congregation the civil and religious history of 

Pennsylvania. In the house of Van 
Bebber was held in 1690 the first service of the German 
Lutherans in America, and at least ten of the promi- 
nent churches of Philadelphia including one Evangeli- 
cal, one Presbyterian, two Episcopal and two Lutheran 
were first organized in the early days in the little 
Mennonite meeting house. ^° Many of these congre- 
gations drew heavily upon the Mennonites for their 

In the civil and political history of Pennsylvania 
also we find many names with which we have been 
made familiar in the course of our story. In 1690 
William Rittenhouse, the first bishop, erected on the 
Wissahickon the first paper mill in America.^^ Here in 
1709 his son built a stone house, still standing, where 

79. The original letter is in the possession of S. W. Pennypacker. The 

facts here have been taken from a photograph of the original taken 
by N. B. Grubb of Philadelphia. The letter contains the names of 
twelve of the ministers of the Franconia District who were to 
preach at Germantown during the year. 

80. Per N. B. Grubb, pastor of First Mennonite Church of Philadelphia. 

81. See "The Rittenhouse Paper Mill" by H. G. Jones in Pennsylvania 

State Historical Library. The old mill site and the old Rittenhouse 
"mansion" on the banks of the picturesque Wissahickon is now one 
of the places of interest to the sight-seer in Fairmount Park. 


in 1732 was born his great-grandson David,^^ ^ho 
became a celebrated philosopher and astronomer of 
his day, the respected friend of Benjamin Franklin and 
Thomas Jeflferson. He was a prominent member of 
the Assembly during the Revolutionary war and was 
appointed first director of the United States mint by 
President Washington.^=* 

Another prominent Mennonite was Heinrich 
Pennebecker, many of whose descendants have become 
well known in Pennsylvania history. He was the first 
German surveyer employed by Penn in the province. 
Among a long list of distinguished men bearing the 
name Pennypacker is the recent governor of Pennsyl- 
vania, and Isaac S. Pennypacker some time United 
States Senator from Virginia.®* Space will not permit 
to speak of the Keysers, Updegraves, Cassels, and 
Van Bebbers but all of them could boast of a long 
line of men who have occupied positions of trust and 
influence in church and state. 

82. D. K. Cassel, Family Record of David Rittenhouse. 

83. William Barton, Memoirs of David Rittenhouse. 

84. "Of the descendants of old Hendrick Pennebecker, 27 have been 

lawyers, including three District Attorneys, one president of a 
law academy and assistant editor of a legal journal, and five judges: 
Isaac S., long a judge of the U. S. District Court, became Senator 
from Virginia."— S. W. Pennypacker, in The Pennypacker Reunion, 
1877. p. 31. 



The German immigration into Pennsylvania, and 
especially Mennonite immigration, for the first twenty 
years was not very large. The first settlers, as we have 
seen, came largely from the Lower Rhine country. 
But in 1710 began a second and much greater wave, 
which during the next seventy five years was to bring 
in round numbers nearly 100,000 Germans into the 
province, and which was to form the basis of that 
picturesque element of the population of Pennsylvania 
which we today know as the Pennsylvania Dutch. 
These people came from the Upper Rhine country, 
the region called the Palatinate, including, roughly 
speaking, the southwestern part of present Germany. 
Among the first to arrive was a small colony of Men- 
nonites who located on the banks of the Pequea, a 
branch of the Susquehanna in what is now Lancaster 

In order to understand the causes of this steady 
inflow of the Palatines it is necessary that we know 
something about the conditions prevailing at that time 


in the land from which they came. During the greater 
part of the seventeenth century there 
Unrest in the had been much distress and unrest 
Palatinate among the people of the Palatinate, 

due very largely to the wars and re- 
ligious disturbances of the period. This region, situ- 
ated as it was, on the borders between France and the 
German states, in the very heart of Europe, was made 
the battlefield for many of the great wars of the 
century. Throughout the entire' Thirty Years' War 
the armies of the opposing parties played havoc with 
the lives and possessions of the wretched Palatines. 
The year 1638 marked the climax of their misery. 
Rapine, plunder and fire were follovv'ed by famine and 
pestilence. The people 

tried to satisfy hunger with roots, grass and leaves; even 
cannibalism became more or less frequent. The gallows and 
the graveyards had to be guarded; the bodies of children 
were not safe from their mothers. So great was the desola- 
tion that where once flourished farms and vineyards, now 
whole bands of wolves roamed unmolested. ^ 

The Thirty Years' War was followed not many years 
afterward by the famous campaigns of Louis XIV, 
who in 1688, in order to starve out his enemies, ordered 
his generals to devastate the Palatinate, a command 
which was carried out to the letter,- This war was 

1. Kuhns, German and Swiss Settlements of Pa., p. 9. 

2. The following extracts from Macauley refers to an incident in one of 

these campaigns. 

"The commander announced to near half a million human beings 
that he granted them three days of grace, and that within that 
time they must shift for themselves. Soon the roads and fields, 
which then lay deep in snow, were blackened by innumerable mul- 
titudes of men, women and children fleeing from their homes 

Meanwhile the work of destruction went on. The flames went up 


closed by the treaty of Ryswick in 1698, but it was 
many years before the Palatinate recovered from these 

It was during this same time that the religious 
question became a serious menace to the peace of the 
province. The Treaty of Westphalia had provided that 
each Prince was to determine the religion of his people. 
Up to 1685 the Electors were either Lutherans or 
Calvinists, but in that year a Catholic once more came 
into possession of the Electorate. Then there began 
a systematic policy of Protestant extermination. 
Lutherans and Reformed, who were by far the most 
numerous in the province, were deprived of their lands 
and churches. Mennonites, Walloons, and Huguenots, 
who had found a refuge in the Palatinate for many 
years were now driven out of the land. It was con- 
ditions such as these together with the impoverish- 
ment of the country resulting from the many wars, 
that paved the way for the great Palatine emigration 
to America and other places during the first half of 
the eighteenth century. 

No attempt on a large scale was made, however, 
by the people who were oppressed to leave their native 
land until 1709. But during this year a perfect flood 
of Palatines poured into London expecting help from 
the English government to cross the Atlantic. Two 
causes may be mentioned among others for this sudden 

from every market place, every parish church, every country seat 
within the devoted province. The fields where the corn had been 
sown were plowed up. The orchards were hewn down. No promise 
of a harvest was left on the fertile plains near what had been 
Frankenthal. Not a vine, not an almond tree was to be seen on 
the slopes of the sunny hills round what had once been Heidelberg." 
Macauley, III. 112. 


desire at this particular time to seek homes in a new- 
country. In the first place the winter of 1708-9 was 
unusually cold and severe throughout Europe, in- 
creasing the distress and hardships of the poor people.' 
In the second place Queen Anne had for several years 
been actively trying to get colonists for her unoccupied 
possessions in America and had sent her agents to the 
Palatinate for this purpose. This together with the 
conditions previously described, may explain the sud- 
den German inundation of the city of London in the 
summer of 1709.* The English government was at a 
loss at first to know what to do with such a large 
number of foreigners but made the best of the situa- 
tion. Several thousand were sent to Ireland. Some 
were sent to North Carolina; others to New York. 
A few remained in England. Some died ; others were 
sent back to Germany. Many in after years found 
their way to Pennsylvania.* 

Thus far we have been speaking of general con- 
ditions which affected all, and especially all non- 
Catholics, alike. So much of a background is neces- 
sary for an understanding of our story."' But we are 
concerned here only with the Mennonites and it is 
to them that we now turn with special reference to 

2. "It was so cold that the birds froze in the air and the wild beasts in 
the forest." Loher, Geschichte der Deutschen in Amerika, p. 42. 

4. The story of the German emigration of 1709 is told in detail by 

F. R. Diffenderfer in the "German Exodus to England in 1709," 
in Pa. Ger. Soc. Proceedings, VII. 

5. There are several good histories of the Palatinate, any one of which 

will describe the condition of the country during this period. A 
very good brief account of the general European background of 
the Palatine emigration is found in chapter 1 of Kuhns, German 
and Swiss Settlements of Pennsylvania. See also a letter written by 
Benedict Brechbuhl in 1714 quoted by Miiller, in Geschichte der 
Bernischen Taufer, Chapter 12. 


their experiences in the Palatinate and in Switzerland, 
immediately before and after the emigration of 1709. 

The Mennonites had still other reasons in addition 
to those just named for leaving their homes in these 
regions at this time. As we have 
Swiss Mennonites already seen up to 1685 they had 
under Persecution been at least tolerated in the Pala- 
tinate. But in Switzerland through- 
out the latter half of the seventeenth century they had 
been severely oppressed. Because of their refusal to 
bear arms and to take the oath, they were exiled, sent 
to the galleys, robbed of their property, imprisoned, 
and occasionally put to death. As a result of these 
conditions many had found their way into the Palatin- 
ate before 1709. The Swiss Mennonites were found 
principally in the cantons of Berne, Zurich and Schaff- 
hausen. All of these cantons tried to exterminate 
them, but Berne was especially oppressive. And since 
we know more about the Mennonites of Berne, thanks 
to the labors of Ernst Miiller, than we do about those 
of the other parts of Switzerland, and since Berne 
furnished a large number of the later Swiss immigrants, 
it may not be out of order to relate briefly the experi- 
ence in that canton of many who later became citizens 
of Pennsylvania. 

As just stated, the Bernese as well as other Swiss 
Mennonites had been imprisoned and exiled all 
through the latter half of the seventeenth and the first 
part of the eighteenth centuries. Of special severity, 
however, and of special importance for our story were 
the persecutions of the years 1708-9-10-11. The Gov- 
ernment had frequently imprisoned or banished those 


whom they could lay hands on.^ But since they kept 
back the wives and children of the banished ones, the 
exiles naturally returned, in spite of the threats of the 
authorities. Finally in 1709 it was decided to end the 
matter by deporting all the prisoners then in custody^ 
about fifty-four in number, to America. 

The prisoners were finally placed on board a ship 
in charge of a certain Ritter, and on March 18, 1710, 
the voyage began down the Rhine. Passports had 
been secured from France and other states that bor- 
dered the river. In the meantime the representative 
of the Bernese government at the Hague was told to 
secure the necessary permission from the government 
of the Netherlands to pass through that country and 
to embark at Rotterdam.^ To gain permission for 
transportation proved a difficult task. There were 
many influential Mennonites in the Netherlands who 
now, as they often had done before, interested them- 
selves in their Swiss brethren. St. Saphorin, the Bern- 
ese representative, instead of gaining the desired per- 
mission was told by the States General 

that the Mennonites (in Holland) had always proved them- 
selves good subjects and that they (States General) therefore 
could by no means lend a hand to the transportation of these 
people to America; neither could they do anything that 

In the meantime the Council had written to Zurich to learn how they 
rid themselves of the Mennonites, whereupon they replied that they 
had put a number to death ; others they imprisoned ; some were 
forced into the armies in the war against the French while still 
others were exiled from the land." Letter of Runkel, the envoy 
of the Netherlands to Bern written in 1710, and quoted by Miiller, 

For information regarding the Mennonites of Switzerland during this- 
period I have relied almost entirely on Ernest Miiller's Gesch- 
ichte der Bernischen Taufer. For thg negotiations between Berne 
and the Netherlands sec Muller, p. 261. 


might in any way be interpreted as sanctioning the Bernese 
policy toward the Mennonites. 

St. Saphorin hereupon turned to the English am- 
bassador, Lord Townsend, in the hope that he might 
use his influence in his, St. Saphorin's, behalf with the 
States General. He described the desirable qualities 
in the Mennonites as colonists. They were "very good 
agriculturists, industrious, for the most part possessed 
of some means," and since the transportation would 
cost the English government nothing the advantage 
must all be theirs. Townsend, however, influenced by 
the Dutch Mennonites, decided against the request of 
St. Saphorin. Since neither passports nor permission 
for transportation were to be had, the proposed scheme 
of Berne to get rid of the Mennonites had to be 

But one shipload had already started down the 
Rhine. Thirty-two of the exiles, the old and sick had 

been left at Mannheim. The remaining 
Voyage down reached Nimwegen on April 6. Here 
the Rhine they asked permission to visit some of 

their brethren in the city, which per- 
mission was granted. They were now on free soil 
and since the Lower Rhine was closed to Ritter and 
his cargo he left his prisoners here and returned to 
Berne. Among those who arrived at Nimwegen were 
Benedicht Brechbiihl, a bishop from Trachselwald, 
and Hans Burchi from Langnau. These two men 
appeared to be the leading men among the Swiss 
Palatines at this time. Brechbiihl later came to Penn- 
sylvania and was one of the ministers from Conestoga 
to sign the confession of Faith printed in 1727. The 


arrival of the Swiss at Nimwegen is described by a 
contemporary as follows : 

Now they were free, for which we rejoiced with them 
greatly and we showed them every manner of friendship 
and love. After we had enjoyed ourselves together for a 
day and they had gained much strength they departed. But 
they could hardly walk, for their joints had grown stiff 
through long imprisonment. Somfe of them had been in 
prison for two years with great suffering, especially last 
winter during the great cold,since their feet were fettered with 
iron bands. I went with them several miles out of the town. 
We embraced one another weeping and parted with a fare- 
well kiss of peace. Thus they turned their steps toward the 
Palatinate to search for their wives and children who were 
scatterd there , as well as in Switzerland and Alsace, an(|. 
they did not know whither they had been sent. They were in 
good spirits even in their sorrow, although all their posses- 
sions had been taken from them. There were among them 
one preacher and two teachers. They were a very sturdy 
people by nature who could endure hardships, with long 
untrimmed beards, with plain clothes, and heavy shoes shod 
with heavy iron and large nails. They were very zealous in 
serving God with prayer, reading and in other ways. They 
were very simple in their bearing, like lambs and doves and 
asked me how the church here was conducted. I told them 
and they seemed very much pleased. But we could speak 
with them only with difficulty. For they had lived in the 
mountains of Switzerland far from villages and towns and 
had little communication with other people. Thus their 
speech is very blunt and simple and they could with difficulty 
speak with others who did not use precisely their speech. 
Two of them went to Deventer to see whether they could 
support themselves in this land.^ 

Such were many of the men who later settled 
Lancaster county. 

8. Translated from Mullcr. 


This letter no doubt partly answers a question 
which the reader may already have asked himself, — 
Why did not these persecuted Mennonites eagerly 
seize this opportunity of transportation to America 
where already a goodly number of their fellow believ- 
ers had built homes for themselves? This question 
perhaps may not be difficult to answer if we remember 
that the wives and children of these men had been 
kept back in Berne. Furthermore, as St. Saphorin 
said, they were extremely anxious, since Switzerland 
was the cradle of Anabaptism, that their faith should 
not be rooted out in that country. In addition to all 
this we must not forget that this was their home land 
which in spite of their sufferings remained dear to 

Many, including BrechbiJhl and Burchi went back 
to Berne and were again imprisoned. The Bernese 
government only redoubled its energies to destroy 
them entirely. They were accused of refusing to bear 
arms and to take the oath of allegiance. The civil 
authorities, however, were still largely under the in- 
fluence of the predominating church. The Mennonites 
owe their bitter experience in Switzerland quite as 
much to the intolerant spirit of the Reformed church 
as to the suspicions of the civil magistrates. Melchior 
Zahler in a letter written in 1710 relates that when 
he was captured he was taken before the ecclesiastical 
authorities of the parish and interrogated regarding 
his belief on the following questions : Infant baptism, 
the oath, the ordinance of the ban, bearing the sword 
and concerning the office of the magistrate. Most of 
the fines and confiscations were usually appropriated 
by the Reformed church. At Hiitwohl they used 500 


Gulden of Mennonite fine money for building a new 
church. In Roggwyl the money was used for church 
bells. Zofingen built a hospital and poor house. 

The persecutions continued. So relentless were 
the Swiss in their cruel treatment of the Mennonites 
that Townsend finally interceded in their 
Continued behalf with Queen Anne and suggested 
Persecution to both the Anabaptists and Quakers of 
at Berne England that they assist the persecuted 

to get to America. The king of Prussia 
invited them to settle in his own territory. The States 
General interceded with the Bernese government for 
a more liberal policy. Finally in 1711 those in prison 
were allowed their freedom on condition that they 
pay a fine and with their families and friends leave 
their native country. 

On July 13, 1711, four ships, loaded with several 
hundred Mennonites and Amish'-* began once more 

their voyage down the Rhine. Miiller 
Exiled gives us a vivid description of these 

from Berne Emmenthaler and Oberlander^" exiles as 

they drifted down the river 

and their homes disappeared behind the cathedral spires of 
Basle and the wooded hills of the Jura. Seated upon the 
chests and bundles which were piled up in the middle of the 
vessels were the grey-headed men and women, old and weak. 
On the sides were the j^oung people watching with delight 
and wonder the shifting scenery of the banks as they glided 
by. Now hopeful, now troubled, they cast questioning 
glances to the North and then with longing eyes they again 
turned their faces to the South in the direction of their be- 

9. In 1693 Jacob Amman headed a church division, since called the Amish 

branch of the church. 

10. The valleys in Switzerland from which they came. 


loved homes which they were leaving forever, the homes- 
which had so basely exiled them and yet the homes whose 
green hills and silver tipped mountains they could not for- 
get. And when overcome with sorrow some one began a 
song which comforted them. 

"O Herr, wir thun dich bitten, richt unser Herz und 
GemiJth, nach deinem heiligen Wort, durch deine grosze Giit, 
Zund du in unserm Herzen eine reine Liebe an, thu fiir uns 
wachen und streiten sonst mogen wir nit bestahn.''^^ 

Once beyond the Swiss borders they began to 
leave the vessels at many of the cities along the Rhine 
"wherever there were congregations of their brethren. 
And thus the Mennonites had all left before the ships 
reached Holland. The Amish alone arrived at Amster- 
dam. From these places they were finally scattered 
throughout the various cities of Holland and North- 
western Germany. Few of them started for America 
immediately but judging from the similarity of family 
names sometime during the next fifty years a large 
number of these Bernese exiles and their children must 
have found their way into Pennsylvania. Among this 
group can be found representatives of nearly all the 
names that have since become familiar in the history of 
the Pennsylvania Mennonites. Among the most char- 
acteristic of which are those of Burki, Gerber, Fluck- 
iger, Baumgartner, Gauman, Neukomm, Wisler^ 
Haldeman, Shallenberger, Hauri, Schlabach, Blanks 
Neuhauser, Meier, Reuszer, Steiner, Wenger, Streit, 
Stahli, Stucki, Bauer, Hofifman, Brechbiihl, Krahen- 
biihl, Bieri, Rupp, Schenk, Fahrni, Ashleman, Eber- 

But to return more directly to the emigration to- 

il. Miiller, 304. Translated from the German. 


Pennsylvania and the Pequea settlement. The Bernese 
exiles of 1709 and 1711, as we have 
First Palatinate seen, v^ere not the first of the Swiss 
Immigrants Palatines to seek new homes across 

the Atlantic. The first to emigrate 
were among those who had come into the Palatinate 
from Berne and Zurich many years before. Godshalk^^ 
says that in 1707 several Palatines came to German- 
town, among them Johannes, Jacob and Martin Kolb. 
From a few scattered references and letters, our only 
source of information, we learn that others followed in 
the years immediately succeeding. On April 8, 1709, 
a letter from the "Committee on Foreign Needs" at 
Amsterdam states that nine or ten poor families from 
near Worms had come to Rotterdam asking for help 
to be transported to Pennsylvania. The committee 
advised them not to go.^^ They evidently reached 
England, however, for under date of August 6, Jacob 
Telner wrote from London that eight families had 
gone to Pennsylvania and that there were six more 
Mennonite families in London too poor to pay their 
passage across. He asks the brethren at Rotterdam to 
come to their rescue." It was during this year that 
the Yearly Meeting of the Quakers at London voted 
fifty pounds to help the Mennonites- to get to Amer- 
ica.15 It is of these same people also no doubt that 
Penn wrote to Logan who was then in Pennsylvania. 

12. See the Godschalk letter quoted by Pennypacker in Hendrick 


13. Scheffer, Mennonite Emigration to Pennsylvania, translated in Pa. Mag. 

of History, II. 

14. Ibid, II. 122. 

15. Barclay, The Inner Life of the Religious Societies of the Common- 

v/ealth, p. 257. 


The latter is dated, "26th, 4th mo. 1709." Penn says,— 
Herewith come the Palatines, whom use with tenderness and 
love and fix them so that they may send over an agreeable 
character; for they are a sober people, divers Menonists 
and will neither swear nor fight. See that Guy uses them 

All of these, whoever they were, no doubt reached 
America safely and located somewhere near German- 
town or on the Skippack. 

The first notice that we have of the founders of 
the Pequea colony is in a letter written from London 
on June 27, 1710, by Martin Kendig, 
Pequea Colony Jacob Miller, Martin Oberholtzer, 
of 1710 Martin Maili, Christian Herr and Hans 

Herr to friends in Amsterdam. They 
Avere on their way to America and sent a letter of 
thanks to the brethren in Holland for assistance 
that the Dutch had rendered them.^^ These were 
likely of the earlier exiles into the Palatinate from 
Zurich and Berne.^^ The next appearance of the names 
of these men is on a warrant dated October 10, 1710, 
for a tract of ten thousand acres north of Pequea Creek 
in what is now Lancaster county.^" The warrant is 
drawn up in favor of John Rudolf Bundely, Martin 
Kendig, Jacob Miiller, Hans Graff, Hans Herr, Chris- 
tian Herr, Martin Oberholts, Hans Funk, Michael 
Oberholts and Weyndel Bowman "Switzers, lately ar- 
rived in the province." The tract is to be located on 

16. Penn-Logan Correspondence, II. 354. 

17. Entire letter in Miiller, 366. 

18. In 1731 in the church near Ebingen there was a Heinrich Kundig and 

a Jacob Oberholzer. In the church at Thirnheim near Sintzheim 
there was a Hans Herr, a Christian Herr and a Jacob Meili. All 
of these no doubt were of the same families as the emigrants to 
Pennsylvania. See Miiller, 209, 210. 

19. In the office of the Secretary of the Interior at Harrisburg. 

"This diagram shows the hjcation and size of the plots of 
land secured by the first Pequca settlers. The largest holder 
it will be seen was Jacob Miller and not John Heer as is usu- 
ally supposed. The Pequea here sketched is south of Willow 
Street. This sketch has been made from the original plot in 
the office of the Secretary of the Interior at Harrisburg." 


■"the northwesterly side of a hill about twenty miles- 
easterly from Conestoga near the head of the Perquin 
Creek." For these ten thousand acres the purchasers 
were to pay five hundred pounds sterling m.oney, and 
in addition one shilling sterling quit rent for every 
hundred acres. On April 27, 1711, six thousand four 
hundred and seventeen acres were distributed among 
the purchasers.-*^ The remainder was divided among 
later comers. It will be observed that in the first divi- 
sion several new names appear, while those of Hans 
GrafT and Martin Oberholts are not to be found. Of 
all these it is likely that Carpenter, (Zimmermann)^'^ 
Funk and Bowman joined the Kendig-Meilin colony 
at Germantown. 

Of the early incidents leading up to this settlement 
and of the early life of the settlers we know nothing 
above what we are able to glean from these land 
records. It is to be supposed, however, that while in 
England they met either Penn or his agents and there 
contracted for their land. Since Germantown and the 
surrounding country was already taken up by immi- 
grants, they consequently turned their faces westward, 
and traveling about sixty miles out of Philadelphia 
they reached a rich limestone region along the banks 
■of the Pequea, in what was then Chester, but now 
Lancaster county. Here they decided to put up their 
first log cabins, in spite of the fact that they were in 
the very heart of Indian territory and that with the 
exception of a few scattered Scotch-Irish hunters and 

20. For plot of original tract see Old Rights, Lancaster Co., in office of 

Secretary of Interior. 

21. Many of those names were early Anglisized. Henry Zimmerman 

came to Germantown 1701, returned to Germany and brought back 
his family 1706. 


fisherman they were the only white men for many 
miles around. Conyngham, a local historian, speaks 
of this region one hundred and twenty years later as 

a rich limestone country, beautifully adorned with sugar 
maple, hickory and black and white walnut, on the border of 
a delightful stream, abounding in the finest trout. . . . The 
water of the Pequai was clear, cold and transparent, and the 
grape vines and clematis intertwining among the lofty 
branches of the majestic button wood, formed a pleasant 
retreat from the noon beams of the summer sun.-- 

As already said, we know very little about these 
early days.-^ The colonists evidently were well pleased 

with their new home, for they im- 
Kendig's Mission mediately decided to send for their 
to Germany friends and relatives in the old 

country.-* A voyage across the 
ocean in those days was no small undertaking, and 
•consequently they agreed to cast the lot to decide who 
was to carry the news to Europe. The lot fell on Hans 
Herr, but either because he was their preacher whose 
services could not well be dispensed with or for some 
other reason, Martin Kendig offered to take his place. 
Kendig succeeded in his mission and some time during 
that year brought back with him Peter Yordea, Jacob 
Miller, Hans Tschantz, Henry Funk, John Houser, 
John Bachman, Jacob Weber, Christopher Schlegel'-' 

22. Hazard, Register, VII. 151. 

23. For some of the traditions of the early settlement see Mombert, 

History of Lancaster County, p. 421 ; also an article by G. N. Le 
Fevre in the "Home," Aug. 5, 1905, published at Strasburg, Pa. 

24. The details of this story are a matter of tradition. See Rupp ; 

History of Lancaster County and G. N. Le Fevre in the "Home" 
Aug. 5, 1905. 

25. Schlegel had come to Germantown 1701. Pa. Ger. Soc, IX. 191. See 

also Pa. Arch. 2nd. Ser., Vol. XIX. 56. 


and others,-'' most of them with their families. During 
the next fifteen years many others took up land near 
the Palatines. From the minute books of the Board 
of Property and from other sources we learn that in 
addition-^ to those already named there were added to 
the settlement before 1715 the following, most of them 
heads of families, — Christian Brenneman, Hans Haigy, 
Christian Hershi, Hans Pupather (Brubaker), Hein- 
rich Bar, Peter Lehman,-^ Benedictus Witmer, Mel- 
-chior Brenneman,29 Heinrich Funk, Michael Schenk, 
Johannes Landes, Hans Huber, Isaac Kaufman, 
Melchior Erisman, with others, sons of the first settlers 
who had in the meantime reached the age of twenty- 
one, and a very few more who were non-Mennon- 
ites.^" During the next two years there were added 
either from Europe or the Germantown settlement, 
Jacob Hostetter, Jacob Kreider, Hans Graff,^! Bene- 
dictus Venerich^S Jacob Bohm,^- Hans Faber, Theo- 
dorus Eby^^ Heinrich Zimmerman and others. 

The settlers from 1711 to 1717 came as individuals 
and in small groups. But in the latter year there was 
another wave of immigration including many of those 

26. Rupp, History of Lancaster County, p. 81. 

27. Pa. Arch. 2nd. Ser., XIX. See Index for well known Mennonite 


28. A minister in Oberpfalz in 1699. See J. Moser, i;ine Verantwortung 

gegen Musser. 
^9. See Muller, 201. 

30. Mombert, History of Lancaster County, p. 422; Rupp, Thirty Thou- 

sand Names, 436. Graff came to Lancaster county 1716. See Rupp, 
History of Lancaster County, p. IS. 

31. Name appears on the 1710 warrant. 

32. Father of Martin Boehm, one of the founders of the United Brethren 



who had been exiled from Berne in 1710 and 1711. 

These refugees, as we saw, were scat- 
Wave of 1717 tered throughout the Palatinate and 

other parts of Germany. They were 
never in prosperous circumstances. The country was 
wasted by wars. The churches were poor. They had 
to gain a livelihood as best they could, often by the 
help of their brethren in the Netherlands. Their num- 
bers, furthermore, were continually increasing by fresh 
exiles from Switzerland.^^ At this same time came a 
special invitation from King George I to settle the 
lands west of the Alleghanies.^* The glowing descrip- 
tion of the new country given by the king's agent 
■'together with the promising reports of friends who had 
.-already come across, as well as their own distressed 
condition finally prevailed over the love for their native 
land which had made these Swiss exiles so averse to 
deportation several years previously. They had now 
been absent long enough to be partly weaned from 
their love for the hills and valleys of their beloved even 
though cruel native land. Consequently, in February 
of 1717 a number of elders, including Benedict Brecht- 
tiihl and Hans Burghalter, met at Mannheim and 
decided to emigrate to Pennsylvania.^'' The "Com- 
mittee on Foreign Needs" which had been organized 
■some time before at Amsterdam for the purpose of 
helping their needy brethren in the Palatinate, and to 
nvhom these exiles now applied for assistance, dis- 

.33. See de Hoop Scheffer, in Pa. Mag. of History, II. 126; also de Hoop 
Scheffer's catalogue of documents for list of Swiss letters in the 
archives of the Mennonite church at Amsterdam. 

.34. For glowing descriptions of the country as given by these agents and 
the terms of settlement see de Hoop Scheffer in Pa. Mag. of Hist., 
II. 127. 

:35. Ibid, p. 132. 


couraged the movement. They feared that if a pre- 
cedent were once established there might be more 
calls for money than they could supply. In spite of all 
the endeavors, however, of the committee to check the 
emigration it was reported to them on March 20 
that more than one hundred persons had started. This 
number was soon increased to three hundred. In spite 
of their own refusal to render assistance, the commit- 
tee nevertheless helped the needy ones across the 
ocean. This was the history of the proceedings of this 
committee for many years to come. They publicly 
discouraged all attempts to emigrate but secretly 
rendered assistance when called upon for help. 

This year, 1717, must have been especially con- 
ducive to emigration for we find that many others 
besides Mennonites came into Pennsylvania at this 
time. In fact their great numbers began to excite 
some alarm among the English, in the province. Gov- 
ernor Keith fearing lest the English speaking popu- 
lation might be outnumbered by the foreigners, recom- 
mended that some steps be taken towards restricting 
future immigration. The minute books of the Board 
of Property contain many entries of land sold during 
the year near the Mennonite settlement in the Pequea. 
These newcomers were all "Relations, Friends or ac- 
quaintances who are honest conscientious people."^' 
Martin Kendig and Hans Herr were the richest and 
the most influential members of the colony, and much 
of the land for the new settlers was first taken up in 
the names of these two men." 

36. Pa. Arch. 2nd. Sen, XIX. 679. 
27. "Feb. 8, 1717." 

"Agreed with Martin Kendigg and Hans Herr for 5000 acres 
of land to be taken up in several parcels about Conestoga and 


The Mennonite settlement occupied at this time 
the southern half of what was then (in 1718) Cones- 
toga township. The northern part of the township was 
composed largely of Scotch-Irish and English. It 
must not be forgotten that although what is now 
Lancaster county has from that day to this been pre- 
dominantly a Mennonite settlement yet by 1718 many 
others besides Alennonites had found their way to the 
community. The first assessment of the township was 
taken in 1718,^^ and the list of tax payers for that year 
gives us a fair idea of the size of the Mennonite settle- 
ment. These names, however, do not include all the 
immigrants who had up to this time come into the 
province, for several of their number had moved away 
by this time, while others had not settled origin- 
ally within the domain of what was then Conestoga 
township. The list shows that in this immediate 
neighborhood there were added by 1718 among per- 

Pequea Creeks at 10 pounds ct. to be paid at the returns of the 
surveys and usual quit rents, it being for settlements for several of 

their countrymen that are lately arrived here." The warrant for this 
land is signed on September 22, to the following: 

Hans Moyer 3S0 acres 

Chr. Hearsay and Hans Pupather 1000 " 

Hans Kaiggy. 100 

Mich. Shank and Henry Pare 400 " 

Hans Pupather 700 

Peter Lehman 300 

Molker Penerman 500 

Henry and John Funk 5 SO 

Chr. Fransicus ISO 

Michael Shank • 200 '' 

Jacob Lundus and Ulrick Harvey ISO 

Emanuel Herr 500 

Abr. Herr 600 || 

Hans Tuber, Isaac Coffman and Melkerman 675 

Mich. Miller ■ 500 " 

Minute Book of Board of Property, Pa. Arch. 2nd. Ser., XIX. 622. 

38. Ellis and Evans. — History of Lancaster County, p. -9. 


haps others the following' names : Joseph Stemen, 
Isaac LeFevre,^" Hans Houre, Martin Bear, Henry 
Kendig, Andrew Kauffman, Isaac Kauffman/° Jacob 
Brubaker, Melchior Erisman, Hance Burghalter,*"- 
Hance Neucommer, Jacob Landes,*- Hance Henry 
Neff, Franz Neff, Felix Landes, Jacob Landes Jr., 
Martin Boyer, Hance Boyer, Benedictus Brackbill 
[Brechtbiihl] and Christian Schans. 

The wave of immigration in 1717 evidently re- 
lieved the immediate pressure in the Palatinate and for 

a few years there seem to have been few, 
Later if any new arrivals in Lancaster county. But 

Arrivals soon they began once more to come. In 1722 

Nicholas Erb*^ and others arrived from 
Europe and some time later settled on Hammer Creek 

39. See Rupp, Hist, of Lancaster County, for good sketch of the life of 

Isaac Le Fevre. Le Fevre was a Huguenot. In 1709 he was one of 
the company that located in New York at New Paltz where the 
name Lefevre is still very common. In 1712 he and his wife, 
Catherine, daughter of Madam Ferree came to Lancaster County. 
Here he became one of the largest landholders in the settlement. 
Either he or some of his immediate descendants joined the 
Mennonites. There are many Lefevers and Le Fevres in the Menno- 
nite church in the county to-day. See also History of New Paltz, by 
Ralph Le Fevre. 

40. See J. Moser ; Fine Verantwortung, etc. This pamphlet contains 

the names of many of the ministers in Switzerland who took part 
in the trouble between Amman and Reist in the years 1693-1710. 
Among them was Isaac Kauffman. 

41. Muller, Geschichte der Bernischen Taufer, p. 200. 

42. In 1717 three brothers. Rev. Benjamin, Felix, and John Landis, Swiss 

Mennonites came to America from Mannheim on the Rhine whither 
they had been driven from Zurich. Benjamin's descendants are 
found mostly in Lancaster county. In 1718 the first assessment in 
Conestoga township contained the names of Jacob Landis and Jacob 
Jr. The name Jacob is probably a mistake. It should have been 
Benjamin. D. B. Landis, The Landis Family, p. 12. Benjamin 
located in East Lampeter township. Felix in 1719 received a patent 
from London Company for 400 acres in Conestoga township. 
John located in Bucks county but in 1720 took up 300 acres at the 
junction of Middle and Hammer Creeks. 

43. Alex. Harris, Biographical History of Lancaster County, p. 194. 


in what is now Warwick township. Christian Bam- 
berger** and Peter Reist*^ also located in the same 
region. Each year b-rought a few more. Before 1727 
we meet the following additional names of Mennonites 
who had come into the county, — Christian Mosser, 
Samuel Hess, Abraham Burkhalter, Johannes Hess, 
Joseph Buchwalter, Peter Baumgartner, Jacob Niissli 
who settled in Mt. Joy township,*" Hans Schnebele, 
Jacob Guth, Jacob Beyer, Hans Jacob Schnebele,*'^ 
Heinrich Musselman, Jacob Kurtz,*^ John Ulrich 
Huber, Johannes Lichty,*^ Johannes Stauffer,^° Johann 
Heinrich Bar, Jacob Weber, Heinrich Weber, Jo- 
"hannes Weber, George Weber, David Longenecker,^^ 
Peter jEby,^- Matthias Stouffer,'^^ Johannes Guth, 
Christian Steiner,^* AdamBrandt,^^ Simon Konig,^® 
Johannes Rupp.^^ Philipp Dock,^® Rudolph Nageli,^^ 
and Michael Eckerlin."° There may perhaps have been 

44. Ibid, 62. 

45. Ibid, 480. 

46. Ibid, 425. 

47. Miiller, Geschichte der Eernisclien Taufer, 225, 290. 

48. Possibly Amish. 

49. The name Licliti frequently occurs in Miiller's book. 
•50. Muller, 202. 

51. Pennypacker, Hendrick Pennebecker, p. 16. 

52. A relative to Theodore. 

53. Pa. Arch. Second Sen, XIX. 134. 

54. Miiller, 277. 

55. Possibly Amish. 

56. Possibly Amish. 

57. Miiller, 277. 

58. Father of Christopher, the pedagogue who came to Germantown in 

1714. This list of names is taken largely from Mombert.. 

59. See Brumbaugh, History of the Brethren, p. 161 ; also Moser, in 

Eine Verantwortung. 
'60. Came to Germantown in 1725, to Conestoga, 1727. There he joined 
the Mennonites but soon cast his lot with Beissel and became one 
of the founders of the Ephrata movement. 


others of whom no record has been preserved.^^ 

In the meantime the original settlement on the 
Pequea was spreading itself over the central portion of 

what is now Lancaster county. The 
Graff's Thai Herrs, Meylins and Kendigs as we have 

seen were located on both sides of the 
Pequea southeast of the present village of Willow 
Street. The settlement soon spread across what are 
now Conestoga, Pequea, West Lampeter, Strasburg 
and Providence (northern part) townships. This re- 
gion was soon taken up, however, and it became 
necessary for those who desired large and cheap tracts 
of land to locate on the outskirts of the original settle- 
ment. Hans Graff was one of the first to begin a new 
community. The story goes that sometime in the year 
1717 while in pursuit of his stray horses he wandered 
into what is now known as Graff's Thai in West Earl 
township. He was so well pleased with the beauty 

61. I have taken great pains throughout this treatise to insert the name& 
of the early immigrants who I was reasonably certain were Men- 
nonites. This I have done for several reasons. In the first place 
since the Mennonites kept no church records, one of the difficult 
problems of the Mennonite historian is to ascertain who were and 
who were not Mennonites. These names all appear in all histories 
of the early settlers in these various localities and I have thought 
it worth while here to place them within their proper religious affili- 
ations. In the second place these names are still representative of 
many Mennonite families throughout the country and may be of 
interest to many Mennonites of today. The task was by no means 
an easy one. In a few instances I may have been mistaken but very 
few if any of those mentioned were other than Mennonite. I have 
relied very largely for my information on family histories, letters, 
lists of European Mennonites, local histories, naturalization lists, 
controversial pamphlets, records on tombstones, family traditions 
and my own personal knowledge of the Mennonite names of today. 
By a careful process of elimination and comparison in the study of 
com.plete and I think quite accurate list of at least the most prom- 
these various sorts of evidence I have been able to make a fairly 
inent of the early Mennonite immigrants. — C. H. S. 


and fertility of the surrounding country that he de- 
cided to remove his family and belongings from the 
Pequea to the new location.*'- During the same year 
he received a warrant for 1150 acres on what is now 
Grafif's Run, a branch of the Conestoga. Hans Graff 
was soon followed by others, — Alennonites and non- 
Mennonites. The preponderance of the names Groff, 
Graff, and Grove in the cemetery of the Groffdale 
Mennonite church, near the little station called Groff- 
dale indicates that many of the descendants of old 
Hans remained faithful to the church of his choice. 
That he must have been a man of considerable in- 
fluence in the community is shown by the fact that 
three townships — the three Earls — now bear his name 
although in an Angelicized form. 

A little later, in 1724, another Mennonite settle- 
ment was made about six miles east of Graff's Thai. 

Here in vv^hat soon became known as 
Weber's Thai Weber's Thai, three brothers, John, 

Jacob and Henry Weber bought from 
the Penns about three thousand acres of land between 
the Welsh Mountain near which some Welsh had 
settled, and the Conestoga. With them was associated 
Hans Guth a brother-in-law of one of the Webers. 
These were joined soon after by the Martins, Schneid- 
ers, Zimmermans and Ruths. These names are found 
today almost exclusively on the oldest tomb-stones 
in the graveyard of the Weaverland Mennonite church. 
Fully two thirds of the inscriptions bear the names of 
Weber or Weaver and Martin. This locality is un- 
doubtedly the original home of nearly all the Mennon- 

62. For this story see Diffcnderfer, The Three Earls; and Rupp, History 
of Lancaster County, p. 132. 


ite Weavers found in America today.*'^ At the same 
time settlements were being made in the west and 
northwest. In 1717, John Brubaker and Christian 
Hershey took out a patent for one thousand 
acres about two miles v/est of Lancaster city 
in East Hempfield.*'* Here Brubaker erected 
the first grist mill in Lancaster county near 
the present Abbeyville.**^ Later the tract of 
land was divided, Hershey taking the northern half 
and Brubaker the southern.*"' In the north we have 
already seen that as early as 1720 John Landes took 
up land at the junction of Middle and Hammer Creeks, 
which form a tributary of the Cocalico.*'^ A little 
farther to the west Peter Reist, Christian Bomberger 
and Nicholas Erb soon after became early settlers in 
this region. Land was also purchased very early west 
of the Conestoga in what was then Conestoga Manor 
but now Manor township. A draft made of the manor in 
1718 shows that land had been purchased before that 
time by John and Abraham Herr, John Shenk, Michael 
Shenk, Alartin Funk, Michael Baughman and many 
others. It is perhaps not necessary to proceed further 
with these details. Enough has already been said to 
show that the Mennonites were taking possession of 
the land. It was not long until the richest portions of 
the country were in their hands. 

The year 1727 marks another epoch in the history 

63. See Rupp, 124, and Diffenderfer, 26. 

64. Pa. Arch. Second Series, XIX. 628. 

65. Harris, 88. Brubaker had nine sons. John and Daniel later settled 

in Elizabeth township, while Abraham went to Virignia. 

66. Per. J. N. Brubaker, Mt. Joy, Pa. 

67. See Landis Family, by D. B. Landes. 


of the immigration of Mennonites as well as that of 
other Palatines.®^ So many foreign- 
Passenger Lists ers came over this year that the 
Required 1727 English Quakers again became 

alarmed. The Provincial Council on 
September 14, adopted a resolution which was em- 
bodied into law to the effect that all masters of vessels 
importing Germans and other foreigners should pre- 
pare a list of such persons together with the place 
from whence they came, and further that all such 
immigrants should sign a declaration of allegiance to 
the king of Great Britain and of fidelity to the Pro- 
prietary of Pennsylvania.*"* These lists begin with 
September 21, 1727, and continue to the Revolutionary 
war. They have since been printed by Rupp in his 
"Thirty Thousand Names" and can also be found in 
the Pennsylvania Archives publications.'^" These lists 
are of great value to any Pennsylvania German who is 
interested in the study of his ancestry. They show us 
that Mennonites continued to come to Pennsylvania 
more or less irregularly up to the time of the Revo- 
lutionary war. Not all of these immigrants, to be 
sure, came to Lancaster county. Many settled in 
Chester, Bucks, Berks and Montgomery counties. 

Many of these early ship passengers bear names 
that sound familiar to the ears of the student of 
Mennonite genealogy. The second ship to arrive 
under the new law, the James Goodwill, which regis- 

68. For the reasons for this emigration and for the efforts of the Com- 

mittee on Foreign Needs to stem the tide of emigration see Scheffer 
in Pa. Mag. of History II. 130. 

69. Colonial Records. III. 282. 

70. Pa. Arch Second Series, XIX. See Index for genealogical purposes. 

Index, liowever, is not reliable. 


tered on September 27, 1727, had on board Abraham 
Ebersohl, Peter Zug,^^ Ulric Zug,^^ and Ulric Stauffer, 
On September 30, the ship Molley brought over sev- 
enty Palatines including Peter Gut, Felix Gut, Hans 
Gut, Sr., Hans Funk, Martin Kendigh, Samuel Gut, 
Samuel Oberholtz and Christian Wenger." On board 
the Adventurer w^hich arrived at Philadelphia on Oc- 
tober 2, were Ulrich Pitscha,''* John Jacob Stutzman, 
Johannes Kurtz, Ulrich Riesser, John Beydeler and 
Hans Halteman. 

These ships arrived usually in the fall during the 
months of August, September and October. The first 
vessel to arrive in 1729, the Mortonhouse, had among 
other passengers Dielman Kolb, Uldric Root, Jacob 
Crebil, Jacob Eschelman, Christian Longacre and 
Hendrick Snevele. On August 11, 1732, among the 
passengers on board the Samuel from London w^e 
again meet many familiar Mennonite names, among 
others those of Jacob Oberholtzer, Oswald Hostetter, 
Hans Musselman, George Bender, Ulrich Burkhalter, 
Jacob Gut, Jacob Albrecht, Michael Kreider, Jacob 
Staufer, Jacob Gut, Andreas Shetler, Johannes Brech- 
bil, Wendel Brechbiehl, Heinrich Ramsauer and Peter 
Shellenberger. During the remainder of that autumn 
there were added to the list, — Conrad Frick, Michael 

71. Located in Milford township, Bucks county. See Battle, History of 

Bucks county. He later joined the Ephrata Monks. See Chronicon 

72. Hartzler Genealogy, p. 329. 

73. The founder of the Mennonite Wenger family. See Wenger, Wenger 

Family History. 

74. Possibly an Amishman. 


Witmer, Lenhart Mumma, Christian Martin, Johanrh 
Landis and Jacob Steli." 

The Mennonites, it will be seen, came in small 
groups during all these years. On September 21, 1742,. 
on the ship, Francis and Elizabeth, there were brought 
over a large company of Amish and Mennonites, 
among whom were the three Zug brothers, the ances- 
tors of most of the Amish Zooks in this country. The 
names of these men are, — Michael Kolb, Christian 
Newcomer, Ulrich Neuschwanger, Jacob Yoder,"^ 
Moritz Zug, and two brothers,^" Christian Jotter,^" 
Andreas Bachman, Johann Heinrich Schertz,^^ Jacob 
Kurtz, Jacob Guth,"* Johannes Gerber.'^^ On Sep- 
tember 30, 1754, the ship. Brothers, arrived at Phila- 
delphia with two hundred and fifty Palatineson board, 
twenty-seven of whom are designated in the records 
as Mennonites and seven as Catholics. Judging en- 
tirely from the names themselves we may conclude 
that the following were perhaps the twenty-seven 
Mennonites, — Jacob Brubaker, Franz Burghart, Abra- 
ham Mellinger, Johannes Hershberger, Johannes 
Eicher, John Jacob Brubaker, Michael Burckhart, 

75. A large proportion of these names are of Bernese origin and their 

duplicates can all be found in Miiller's Geschichte der Bernischert 

76. Amish. 

77. The name Schertz is not very common but where it is found in Illinois- 

and Ohio its bearers all belong to original Amish or Mennonite 

78. Rupp in his History of Religious Denominations says that by 173S' 

there were about five hundred families in Lancaster county, mostly 

79. It is not necessary to continue these names. Enough has been said! 

to illustrate the value of these lists to the student of Mennonite 
immigration. Any one personally interested in the subject is re- 
ferred to the sources mentioned. 

I am not absolutely sure that all the names mentioned here were 
those of Mennonites. But the exceptions, if any, are very few. 


Christian Eicher, Johann Christian Witmer, Jacob 
Detweiler, Johannes Frey, Peter Frey, Johann Jacob 
Witmer, Abraham Strickler, Wilhelm Eschelman, 
Heinrich Heistand, Jacob Kauffman, Jacob Huber, 
Heinrich Graff, Valentine Noldt, Abraham Hackman, 
Joseph Lemann. On October 1, of the same year the 
ship, Phoenix, had on board twenty-five Mennonites, 
including such names as Neuenschwander, Burck- 
halter, Aeschliman, Newcomer, Brechtbiihl, Burck- 
hart, Hunsicker and Geyman. Later lists do not men- 
tion the Mennonites specifically, but it is likely that a 
few came each year as late as the Revolutionary war. 
By about 1755, however, the steady inflow of immi- 
grants from the Palatinate had practically ceased. 

We have thus far confined our attention to the 
formation of early settlements. Let us turn now 
briefly to a subject of more interest — the 
Secular secular and religious life of the people. 

Life But to tell this story is not an easy task, 

for these people left no record of them- 
selves, except in the land offices and on their tomb- 
stones. Of church records there is not a scrap. Our 
story ol these early days must be pieced together from 
what we can glean from their land entries, family Bi- 
bles, petitions for naturalization or military exemption 
and an occasional letter to .Europe preserved in Euro- 
pean archives. 

The first thing to notice is that these men, unlike 
their brethren at Germantown, were agriculturists. 
In their Swiss homes most of them had been small 
farmers and dairymen.^" Consequently while the 
Germantown settlement took the form of a village 

80. Mialler, 290. 


that on the Pequea was spread over large farms, vary- 
ing in the first few years from two hundred to several 
thousand acres in extent. Thus the problem of gov- 
ernment was with them a simple matter. Although' 
the Mennonites were the first white settlers to come 
to Lancaster county, and although they have ever 
since far outnumbered all others in the rural districts,, 
yet they have always been ruled politically by others. 
They never took to politics. The local government 
was usually managed by their Scotch-Irish neighbors 
who orgainzed and named the townships and filled the 
various local offices. The Mennonites were a peace- 
ful, quiet and industrious people, well satisfied with 
their quiet life on the farm. They were willing to 
leave the matter of government to the Scotch-Irish 
whom they gradually dispossessed of such rich farms 
as were not already in their hands. Today the de- 
scendants of these Scotch-Irish are found almost alto- 
gether in the southern township, a region in which 
the soil is so poor that no industrious Mennonite has. 
ever located there. A glance at the county map will 
indicate that with the exception of the three Earls, 
most of the townships bear Irish and English names. 
Two of them only, Strasburg and Manheim, are 
named for the places from which the German settlers 
came. In the small villages and less conspicuous, 
localities, however, where places are more likely to be 
named after some original settler, more German 
names appear. Bareville, Beyertown, Eby's Post 
Office, Groffdale, Herrville, Hess Station, Landis Val- 
ley, Landisville, Martinsdale, Weaverland, Mast's 
Post Office, Rohrerstown, Weavertown, Witmer Sta- 
tion, Hertzler, Lapps, Brubaker, Neffsville and Good- 


ville, — all these names indicate that the Mennonites 
liave everywhere been pioneers in building up the 

Their industry very early attracted the attention 
of travelers through this region. In 1744 one of the 
■delegates to the Indian conference at Lancaster de- 
scribes their beautiful farms : 

"They sow all kinds of grain," he says, "and have very 
plentiful harvests. Their houses are chiefly built of stone 
and generally near some brook or stream of water. They 
have very large meadows which produce a great deal of hay 
and feed therewith a variety of cattle."^'- 

Before the days of the railroad all this produce 
had to be carried from the Conestoga region in large 
heavy v^agons. These were the famous Conestoga 
wagons which were used not only to transport farm 
produce from Conestoga to Philadelphia but in later 
years when the fever of western emigration began, 
they also became the means of carrying the emigrant 
and his family across the mountains and down the 
valleys to his new home.^- In more recent years on 
the western plains the same vehicle but under a new 
name, "The Prairie Schooner" has been used for the 

81. Witham Marshes Journal, Mass. Historical Society, First Series; VII. 

S2. Albert Cook Myers, of Moylan, Pa., a careful student of Pennsyl- 
vania history, tells me that the earliest reference found to the Con- 
estoga wagon is in 1716. 

"In this wagon, drawn by four or five horses of a peculiar breed, 
they convey to market, over the roughest roads, 2000 or 3000 pounds' 
weight of produce of their farms. In the months of September and 
October it is no uncommon thing on the Lancaster and Reading 
roads to meet in one day fifty or one hundred of these wagons on 
their way to Philadelphia, most of which belong to German farmers." 
Benj. Rush, in 1789 quoted by Kuhns Swiss and German Settlements 
in Pennsylvania, p. 98. 


same purpose. But the railroad has put an end to the 
old Conestoga wagon. Nothing but an occasional 
remnant of a few broken bows, an old wagon bed, or a 
few ponderous wheels found in obscure corners in 
Indiana, Ohio or Pennsylvania is left now to remind 
us of the famous old wagon that was once so essential 
to the well-being of these early pioneers. 

The Mennonites, as we saw, were a country peo- 
ple. They never took a liking to city life. And thus 
it is that while the central portion of the county was 
settled almost exclusively by Mennonites, Lancaster 
city, in the very center of the county, was composed 
largely of German Lutherans or Reformed, Scotch- 
Irish, English, and children of Mennonite parents but 
who had left the church of their fathers. It is only 
within very recent years that members of the Mennon- 
ite church have begun to find their way into the city. 
A large percentage of the present inhabitants of the 
city, however, trace their ancestry back to the early 
Mennonite immigrants. 

With the Indians the Mennonites were usually on 
good terms. We saw that at the time of the first settle- 
ment the Indians were still found in the 
Relation immediate neighborhood of the colony. 
to Indians Both Conestoga and Pequea Creeks were 
named after the tribes of Indians found 
along the banks of these respective streams. The 
Conestoga Indians were early transferred across the 
Conestoga to a reservation in the Manor where they 
had a village bordering on the land purchased by some 
of the early settlers. As early as June 8, 1711, Gov- 
ernor Gookin visited these Indians and in a speech 
to them said that Penn intended to present them with 


a belt of wampum and that he required their friendship 
to the Palatines settled near Pequea.^^ The Indians 
replied that since they were at war with the Tus- 
caroras they did not think the place safe for any Chris- 
tians. They were afraid furthermore that if any dam- 
age should happen to these the blame would fall upon 

The Mennonites evidently felt no alarm and do 
not seem to have been molested by the Indians during 
the earlier years. But as the settlement grew they 
found themselves encroaching upon the lands of their 
red skinned neighbors. On November 2, 1717, the 
Board of Property reported that 

the late settlements on and near Conestoga Creek hath made 
it necessary that the Indian fields about the town be enclosed 
ty a good fence to secure the Indians corn from the horses, 
cattle and hogs of these new settlers that would otherwise 
■destroy it and thereby cause an uneasiness in those Indians. 8* 

It was not until the French and Indian war, from 
1754 to 1763 that the Mennonites sufifered seriously at 
the hands of the Indians. The frontier line at this 
time was run along the Susquehanna on the west and 
the Blue Mountains on the north. This whole region 
was occupied by the Germans, among them the Men- 
nonites in Lancaster county and the Amish in Berks, 
Just how many Mennonites were killed by the Indians 
will never be known but from a few scattered refer- 
ences we can make at least an estimate. A letter writ- 
ten to Switzerland by Ulrich iEngel, Christian Brech- 
biihl, and Isaac Neuschwander under date of December 
7, 1755, says that Hans Jacob Konig had left his wife 
and three young children with Abraham Herr at Con- 

83. Colonial Records, II. 532-3. 

S4. Pa. Arch. Second Series, XIX. 626. 


estoga but that he, with a son, daughter and a servant 
"had settled on the frontier among the Indians at a place 
called "Shamogen". Other families followed. The 
Indians having warned them repeatedly that they had 
trespassed on Indian territory, suddenly fell upon the 
settlers, murdered six families and burned their houses. 
Thirteen persons were killed, including Konig. His 
son and daughter were carried away as captives.®'^ 

So great was the loss of life and property all along 
the frontiers of Pennsylvania and Virginia where the 
Mennonites had settled that in 1758 they found it nec- 
essary to send to Holland for aid. They sent over two 
of their number Martin Funk and Johannes Schneyder 
with a letter dated September 7, 1758, written by 
Michael Kaufman, Jacob Borner, Samuel Bohm and 
Daniel Stauffer, — all Lancaster names. This letter 
says that over two hundred families in Pennsylvania 
had during a recent incursion in May lost all of their 
property and that fifty of their number were dead. Of 
course this number refers to all the frontiers-men who 
suffered, but must no doubt include a number of Men- 
nonites. The envoys succeeded in obtaining a contri- 
bution of fifty pounds sterling and departed again for 
America December 17, 1758. ^^ 

We have already seen that the Provincial author- 
ities early became suspicious of the increasing number 

of German immigrants. The privilege 
Naturalization of naturalization without which no one 

could enjoy the full rights of citizenship 

■85. Muller, Geschiclite der Bernischen Taufer, 365. See also Rupp, Lan- 
caster County 353, and Pa. Arch., First Series III. 194. 

S6. Pa. Mag. of History, II. 136. For the list of letters written at this 
time to Amsterdam see de Hoop Scheffer's catalog of docu- 
ments in the Amsterdam Mennonite Church. 


was often very grudgingly conferred. In 1683 before 
German immigration had begun it was provided that 
all foreigners'^ who had taken the oath of allegiance to 
the king and to Penn were to be thereby to all intents 
naturalized.*' This law was repealed in 1705 by Par- 
liament, and from this time until 1742 naturalizations 
were by private act. It often took years of petitioning 
and waiting before the Assembly would grant the 
rights of citizenship. The unnaturalized were under 
■many disadvantages. At first these disadvantages were 
not so apparent and we find the Mennonites rather slow 
in becoming British subjects. As early as 1691, how- 
ever, Hendrick Casselberg and Clas Jansen of German- 
town were naturalized. They were followed in 1698 by 
Hans Neus, Paul Engle and others.'^ Petitions by 
others were sent to the General Assembly in 1706 ^"^ 
and again in 1709.®^ But it was not until September 29, 
1709, that the Mennonites as a body in and around 
Germantown were granted the rights of naturalization 
and thus were given equal civil rights with their Eng- 
lish neighbors."- No Lancastrians seem to have been 
naturalized until 1729. 

The disadvantages under which the unnaturalized 
were placed is very well stated by an entry which ap- 
pears in the minute book of the Board of Property 

87. Foreign here means non-English. 

:88. For a good discussion on Naturalization in Pennsylvania see Ameri- 
can Historical Review, IX. 300 ff. 

^89. Pa. Ger. Soc. VIII. 189. 

90. Colonial Records. II. 241. 

■91. Votes of the Assembly. II. 48. 

"92. Col. Rec, II. 493. The full list is given here including Pastorius, 
Dirk Keyser, Kiinders, etc. See also Statutes at Large, II. 299. 


tinder date of September 22, 1717. The entry is as 
follows : 

Martin Kendig, Hans Heer and Hans Funk with several 
other of the Palatines, their countrymen having applied to 
purchase land near Conestoga and Pequea Creek to ac- 
commodate those of them who have lately arrived in this 
province, who are their Relations, friends and acquaintances 
and whom they assure the board are Honest and Conscien- 
tious people. Their request being considered and the circum- 
stances of those people in relation to their holding of Lands 
in the Dominion of Great Britian were asked if they under- 
stood the Disadvantage they were under by their being born 
aliens, that therefore their children could not inherit, nor 
they themselves convey to others the Lands they purchase 
according to the laws of England which may in such case be 
extended hither. They answered they were informed thereof, 
before. However, inasmuch as they had removed themselves 
and families into this province they were, not with standing 
the said disadvantages willing to purchase lands for their own 
dwelling. It was further said by the commissioners that it was 
their business to sell and dispose of the proprietor's lands to 
such as would purchase it yet at the same time they were will- 
ing to let them know as they are aliens the danger that might 
ensue if not in time prevented, also that some years ago a law 
was enacted here and afterwards passed by the late Queen 
Anne for enabling divers Aliens particularly named there- 
in to hold and enjoy lands in this province and that the like 
advantage might probably be obtained for those amongst 
themselves that were of good report if a petition were pre- 
ferred to this present assembly, when they sit to do business. 
With this advice they seemed pleased and desired to be in- 
formed when such a sitting of the assembly would be that 
they might prefer a petition to them for such a law as is 
above mentioned. ^^ 

Petitions for the above privilege were sent to the 
Assembly, but this was just the time, it will be remem- 

93. Pa. Arch. Second Series, XIX. 624.' 


bered, when Governor Keith was especially alarmed at 
the German immigration, and it appears that no atten- 
tion was paid to the demands of the petitioners. Keith 
was followed by Gordon, who was more liberal, and it 
was under Governor Gordon's administration that the 
Mennonites of Lancaster county were finally permitted 
to become British subjects and thereby acquire the 
right to "sell and bequeath" their lands. Before 
naturalization had been granted them 

they were obliged to swear^^ to the value of their possessions 
and declare their religious views. They were denounced as 
being peculiar in dress, religion and notions of political 
government and resolved to speak their own language and 
acknowledge but the great Creator of the Universe.^'J 

The bill of 1729 was the result of a petition made 
November 27, 1727, by "Wendal Bowman, Martin 
Meiling and Benedick Hearsay in behalf of themselves 
and others called Menists" asking permission to bring 
in a bill "to enable them to hold lands and trade in the 
said Province" which was presented to the House, 
read and ordered to lie on the table.®® The year 1727 
was another year however, of heavy immigration and 
the petition was not immediately granted. It was dis- 
cussed at various times during the following year and 
finally on December 14, 1728, permission was given 
by the Assembly to present such a bill.^^ In the mean- 
time the Governor had made inquiry regarding the 
general character of the petitioners. In his message 
to the Assembly in 1729 he reported that these people 

94. Or affirm. 

95. Diffenderfer, Odds and Ends of Local History; in Lancaster County 

Historical Society report on June 1, 1906. 

96. Votes of the Assembly, III. 42, 45, 70. 

97. Votes, III. 71,72. 


are principally such who many years since came into this 
province under a particular agreement with our late honor- 
able Proprietary at London and have regularly taken up 
Lands under him. It likewise appears to me by good infor- 
-mation that they have hitherto behaved themselves well and 
have generally so good a character for Honesty and Industry 
as to deserve the esteem of this Government and a Mark of 
its regard for them. I am therefore inclined from these 
considerations to favor their request and hope you will join 
with me in passing a bill for their naturalization.^^ 

The bill was accordingly passed^'' but efforts were 
-made at the same time to discourage further immigra- 
tion of Germans by providing for a levy of a head-tax 
•of forty shillings on every alien who should come into 
the province. This was the last Mennonite petition 
for naturalization except the one in 1742 when the 
Amish of Lancaster county, as we have already seen, 
asked for the right of naturalization, but a little later 
the general law was passed which was made to cover 
the cases of all aliens.^"'' 

Most of the Palatine immigrants in Pennsylvania 
•during the eighteenth century were poor people, and 
the Mennonites were no exception. With the excep- 
tion of Telner and Van Bebber of Germantown and 
Herr, Kendig and Meilin of Pequea, all of whom 
became owners of from one to six thousand acres, 
the early settlers owned very little of this world's 
goods when they landed at Philadelphia. And even 

98. Votes and Proceedings, III. 100. 

99. The names of all who were naturalized by this act are found in 

Pennsylvania Statutes at Large, IV, 148. The list is made up 
almost exclusively of Mennonites and no doubt contains practically 
all the Mennonite male inhabitants of tvirenty-one years of age in 
the county. The list contains one hundred and thirteen names. 
400. For further legislation on naturalization and the dispute between the 
assembly and Governor Thomas in 1741 see Votes and Proceedings 
III. 451-3, 460, 466, 472, 488, SOS, SIS, etc. 


these men are likely to be considered wealthier than 
they really were. One thousand acres of wild land at 
that time was by no means a fortune. '°^ The fact that 
by 1745 the whole Pennsylvania colony of Mennonites 
did not consider itself able to print the Martyrs 
Mirror, and that in 1758 they felt obliged to ask help 
from Holland to make good the losses from Indian in- 
cursions shows that by that time they could by na 
means be considered rich. 

During the period preceding the Revolutionary 
war, and even later it was the practice of all emi- 
grants, who did not have sufficient 
Rftdemptioners money to pay their passage across the 
ocean, to sell their services for a 
number of years to some ship captain in return for 
free passage. The captain then owned the labor of 
the emigrant and could dispose of it as he saw fit. 
Usually the services of such people was sold by the 
captain at auction to the highest bidder soon after 
the ship's arrivah^^^ The persons who thus sold their 

101. The price of land in 1717 was ten pounds per hundred acres and one- 

shilling quit rent. 

102. "Every day Englishmen, Dutchmen and High German people came 
from the city of Philadelphia and other places, some from a great 
distance, sixty miles and one hundred and twenty miles away and' 
go on board the newly arrived ship that has brought and oflers for 
sale passengers from Europe and select among them the healthy 
persons such as they deem suitable for their business and bargain 
with them how long they will serve for their passage money, for 
which most of them are still in debt. When they have come to 
an agreement it happens that adult persons bind themselves in writ- 
ing to serve three, four, five or six years for the amount due by them 
according to their age and strength. But very young people from 
ten to fifteen must serve until they are 21." Gottlieb Mittelberger, 
Journey to Pennsylvania, (1754), p. 26. 

"The reason we (Lutherans) are invited to go to a distance here- 
and there are the following: Our German Evangelical inhabitants 
for the most part came latest into this province. The Entli»h and 


services were called redemptioners. A large portion 
of the immigrants into Pennsylvania were of this class 
of settlers. 

The number of Mennonite redemptioners was 
perhaps comparatively small, because, although many 
may have been poor, their friends who were already 
here, if necessary, paid their passage money which was 
to be returned later either in money or perhaps in 
labor. But this was not always the case. There are 
many family traditions which point to the fact that 
Mennonites were occasionally sold as redemptioners, 
sometimes to their own Mennonite brethren. Jost 
Yoder,"^ the founder of a long line of Yoders, well 
known in the Amish church today, bound his children 
to service to help pay the passage money for the 
family. Frederick Alderfer in 1734 was sold in 
Philadelphia to a man who lived in Montgomery 
county.^^* The traffic in redemptioners was profitable, 
and frequently ship captains would steal young chil- 
dren or entice both children and grown people into 
their vessels and then sell them on this side of the 
water. Melchior Plank, an Amishman, an ancestor of 
Bishop David Plank of Logan county, Ohio, was in- 

German Quakers, the Inspired, the Mennonites, Separatists and other 
such small sects came in first when the land was still cheap. These 
selected for themselves the richest tracts of land and arc now en- 
riched. But in later years after the poor Evangelicals also found 
their way and numerously came into this country also some perhaps 
here and there still found good land. Most of them, however, had 
to serve for their passage as men-servants and maid-servants and 
afterwards shift with the poor land and cat their bread in the 
copious sweat of their brows." Muhlenberg in "Hallischc Nach- 
richten" II, 51. 

103. An Amishman. Landed at Philadelphia, 1744. Settled later in 

Berks County. 

104. See Heckler, History of Lower Salford Township, p. 220. 


vited together with his wife by a ship captain on board 
a vessel just ready to sail. They were both brought to 
Pennsylvania and sold to a Mr. Morgan either in 
Berks or Lancaster county. Philip Lantz, when a boy 
of five was kidnapped in Europe and brought to 
Baltimore. From here he was taken to Lancaster 
county, where he was bound to Peter Yordy of 
Lampeter township until he was twenty-one years old. 
Lantz served Yordy until his time had expired and 
then married one of his master's, daughters. ^^'^ These 
are only a few instances of this practice. No doubt 
many of the early Mennonite settlers of Lancaster 
county had similar experiences. 

Concerning the church life of the Pequea colonists 
we know even less than of their secular life. But since 

they had at least one minister among them 
Church in the person of Hans Herr, it is likely that 

Buildings a church was organized immediately after 

the settlement began. The meetings of 
course were held for a number of years in private 
houses. These houses at first were made of logs, but 
as the settlement became older these were replaced 
frequently by large stone buildings made from the 
lime and sandstone with which the county abounded, 
many of which stood for over one hundred years. In 
1719 Christian Herr erected a large stone dwelling 
house north of the Pequea which is still standing, 
today the oldest building in Lancaster county."* 
Within the heavy walls of this old building was often 
heard the message of the Gospel as it fell from the lips 

105. See Egle, Notes and Queries, vol. III. 

106. For a good description of this house see article in the "Home" 
August 5, 1905, by George N. Le Fevre. 


of old Hans Herr, Benedict Brechtbiihl, or some other 
devoted preacher of the time. 

The earliest settlement, as we saw, occupied the 
tier of townships immediately south of Lancaster city. 
The nucleus of the colony evidently was near where 
the present Brick church stands near Willow Street, 
From here to the east, west and gradually to the north- 
west and northeast centers of worship with church 
houses were gradually established. The settlement, as 
wc have seen, never .extended very far to the south 
because of the poor soil in that region. Wherever 
centers of settlements were established, congregations 
were organized. The congregation usually, of course,, 
preceded the meeting house by a number of years. 
South of Lancaster city a log house was erected in the 
region now called Byerland as early as 1747; another 
at Millersville in 1756. These were both replaced later 
by more substantial buildings. The so-called Stone 
meeting house was put up in 1755 and was repaired 
later. In the Strasburg region meetings were held 
for many years in private houses. There is still 
standing near Strasburg a house built in 1740 by John 
Herr, the upper story of which was especially con- 
structed for holding church services. ^°^ The present 
stone church in Strasburg village was erected in 1804. 
Further south, in what is now Providence township, a. 
meeting house was put up as early as 1766. One mile 
west of Lancaster city a log house was erected about 
1730 on the tract of land purchased by Brubaker and 
Hershey in 1717. In the northwestern townships of 
the county one of the earliest houses to be erected was 
the Hernley meeting house built in 1766, the land being" 

108. Still standing one-half mile south- we&t of Strasburg. 


bought in 1745. The Landisville church, made of logs 
in 1790, is still standing. The Chestnut Hill, Risser 
and Erisman houses were all built before 1800. About 
three miles east of Lancaster stands the Mellinger or 
what was formerly the Lampeter meeting house which 
replaced in 1884 a stone building put up in 1767. In the 
northeastern part of the county the first log building 
for worship was put up at Grofifdale about 1755. The 
Weaverland house was erected in 1766 and a part of 
the walls are still standing. Farther east the Bow- 
mansville church was erected in 1794.^°* These are a 
few of the oldest buildings. Many others were 
erected during the nineteenth century throughout the 
county. There are at present fifty-one places of wor- 
ship in the county. 

Few of these old meeting houses are left. The 
present buildings in the older centers are of the third 
or fourth generation of meeting houses, the first being 
of logs, the second usually of stone, and the third of 
stone or brick. In the walls of most of them are in- 
serted stone blocks with the date of the first stone 
structure and a short inscription. The inscription on 
the Strasburg church reads as follows : 

Built by the 

Mennonite Society 

in the year of Christ 

whom they worship 


Many of the later inscriptions have the word" old" pre- 

109. Most of the information regarding these meeting houses has been 
gained from personal observation and from Ellis and Evans' History 
of Lancaster County, corrected from other sources. 


fixed to Mennonite to distinguish the main body from 
the New Meiinonites or Herrites who took their rise 
in 1811. .^ 

Near each of these buildings were laid out the 
earliest graveyards. The oldest cemetery in the county 
is undoubtedly the one near the Brick church, between 
the church and the old Christian Herr house. Here 
lies buried old Hans Herr and perhaps others of the 
early settlers. The earliest graves either were un- 
marked or have long since lost all signs of identifica- 
tion. The jMennonites were so much opposed to< 
publicity and outward display that for a time it appears 
they were even religiously scrupulous against the use 
of tombstones. The very earliest immigrants further- 
more, may have been buried in some out-of-the-way 
corner of their farms. The stones that were used to- 
mark their last resting places, if any were used at all, 
were small and made of slate or sand stone and may 
long ago have succumbed to the wear of rains and 
frosts. Whatever the reason, it remains true that with 
the exception of Hans Grofif whose grave lies dis- 
tinctly marked in the Groffdale cemetery, we are un- 
able to locate with certainty the final resting place of a 
single one of these early pioneers of Lancaster county. 
The earliest grave with any record in the Brick church 
cemetery bears the inscription . 

L. G. 


So far as I have been able to discover, this is the oldest 
marked Mennonite grave in the county. 

The Mennonites on the Pequea did not suffer for 

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want of preachers. Many of the early immigrants 
were ministers. Old Hans Herr, the first 
Early bishop, was followed by his son Christian, 

Preachers Benedict Brechtbiihl, Jacob Hostetter,"" 
Benjamin Hershey^^^ and others. In 1725 
a conference was held, but where is not known, of the 
entire Pennsylvania church, including the congrega- 
tions of Skippack, Germantown, Great Swamp, Mana- 
tant and Conestoga, as the Pequea settlement was 
then called. ^^^ The purpose of the conference is not 
definitely known but one of the duties of those present 
was to subscribe their names to an appendix which 
had been added to the Confession of Faith which had 
been translated into English in Amsterdam in 1712. 
The Conestoga ministers present at this conference 
were Hans Burghaltzer,^^^ Christian Herr, Benedict 
Hirschi,"* Martin Baer and Johannes Bowman.^^' 
Among other ministers and bishops who lived during 
the eighteenth century there have come down to us 
the names of Benjamin Landis,^^' Ben Schantz,"^ 
Martin Boehm,^^^ Tobias Kryter,^^^ Friederich Kauf- 
man,"^ Hans Schantz,'^^ Christian Bomberger,^^* 

110. Per. Abr. R. Burkholder of Willow Street, in New Era (Lancastcr> 

Feb. 1, 1905. 

111. Ellis and Evans, History of Lancaster County. See Index. 

112. Lancaster county was not organized until 1729. 

113. Came in 1717 with Brechtbiihl. See Gotschalk letter quoted by 
Pennypacker in Hendrick Pennebecker. 

114. Still living in 1770. See Morgan Edward's "Material for a History 
of American Baptists"' under Mennonists. Three brothers, Andrew, 
Benjamin and Christian were all ministers. 

115. See Confession of Faith of 1727, printed by Bradford, Philadelphia. 

116. Harris, History of Lancaster County, 360. Located four miles cast 
of Lancaster. 

117. See Gotschalk letter in Hendrick Pennebecker by Pennypacker. 

118. Ordained by lot, 1756. , 

119. See Gotschalk letter. 

120. In Hammer Creek District. Ellis and Evans. See Index. 


Christian Burkholder,^-^ Henry Martin/^i Peter 
Risser/" Jacob Brubaker/-" and no doubt a host of 
others who were faithful preachers of the Gospel in 
their day, but whose names now if not entirely for- 
gotten are preserved only in family traditions. 

Lancaster county like Germantown soon became 
a center for the peace sects. The Mennonites were 
followed by the Dunkards in 1724, and 
Relation to by the Moravians some time later, who 
Dunkards settled in the region of Lititz. The 

Dunkards in their early history usually 
followed up the Mennonites in their wanderings. 
They first associated with them in Crefeld, then fol- 
lowed them to Germantown, and thence to Conestoga, 
Oley, Great Swamp, and to many other of the early 
centers on Mennonitism. This was due, no doubt, to 
several reasons. The Dunkards, like the Mennonites 
had an instinct for finding the best lands. They were 
so much like the Mennonites in faith and practice that 
they felt very much at home among them, and more- 
over the Mennonites furnished good proselyting 
material, and were a fruitful field for Dunkard mission- 
ary zeal. 

So great is the similarity between these two 
denominations that we can but conclude that the 
Dunkards must have borrowed many of their religious 
practices and doctrines from the Mennonites. Both 
reject infant baptism, oppose the bearing of arms and 
the taking of oaths. Some of their religious practices 
are similar; the kiss of peace, the use of the prayer 

121. In Weaverland District. 

122. In Root District. 

123. Ordained bishop in 1783 in East Hempfield. Ellis and Evans. 


head-covering and bonnet for the women, and feet- 
washing at the communion service. 

There is much in the early history of the Dunkards 
to bear out this proposition. Alexander Mack was 
their founder. At first a member of the Reformed 
church he became dissatisfied with the formalism and 
ritualism of the Reformed religion, and with seven 
others he left the church in 1708. During the year he 
traveled among the Mennonites of Germany in the 
hope of finding among them the people nearest to his 
ideals of the Christian life. But learning that they 
would not admit that immersion was the only true 
mode of baptism he turned from them and was himself 
immersed by one of the group which with him had left 
the Reformed church.^-* He then baptized by trine 
immersion the rest of the group and thus became the 
founder of a new church. They were soon driven to 
Crefeld and there gained several adherents among the 
Mennonites. In 1719 they came to Germantown and 
there again won over some of the Mennonites, among 
them Peter Keyser, son of Dirk Keyser and for many 
years a leading minister in the Dunkard church. In 
1724, as we have seen, a party of them came into the 
Conestoga region. This was purely a proselyting tour, 
for having heard that "in the Conestoga country were a 
number of awakened souls"^^^ they decided to go to 
that locality. Starting one November day from Coven- 
try on the Schuylkill where a congregation had been 
established, they divided at the close of day into two 
parties for the night. They had by this time arrived 
in the Groflfthal and Weberthal region, and on that 

124. Brumbaugh, History of the Brethren, p. 38. 

125. Brumbaugh, 161. 


night those afoot remained with Hans Groff and those 
who rode spent the night at Jacob Weber's. The next 
day the party again reunited at the house of Rudolf 
Nagele, also a Alennonite. From here they visited 
Conrad Beissel, who was soon to cause the Dunkards 
much trouble.^-*' Beissel was a Pietist, who came over 
from Germany in 1720, and at this time was leading a 
hermit's life on the Conestoga. This little band of 
enthusiasts left its mark wherever it went. A few days 
later a congregation was formed on Mill Creek with 
Beissel himself as the first preacher. There do not 
seem to have been any Mennonites in this first group; 
but it is likely that Rudolf Nagele joined them a little 
later, for soon the meeting was held in his house in 
Earl township where this first Dunkard congregation 
in the Conestoga region worshiped for seven years. ^-'^ 
During the following years a number of familiar 
Mennonite names are found among the Dunkards — 
John Landes, Samuel Good, Henry Sneider, Peter 
Zug, Henry Nefif, Hans Grafif^-^ and many others con- 
cerning whose previous religious faith we know 

126. "Once we visited Conrad Matthew at Germantown who advised us 
to leave those regions because the people there lived in vanity and 
to go to tlie Conestoga where the people lived in great simplicity and 
which was like a new Switzerland to look upon. In August, 1727, 
we moved there. For a while we adhered to the Mennonites bcause 
their simplicity pleased us, but their mode of worship we could 

never adopt ourselves It is yet to be remembered that 

these same good people (the first congregation of solitary brethren, 
I think) had after the manner of that peoi)le a certain simplicity 
and lowliness of life and the superintendent (Beissel) in spite of 
the fact that he had had experiences in the world of vanity and 
show could so thoroughly adapt himself to their ways that his 
clothing, dwelling and household were fashioned on the poorest 
scale." Chronicon Ephratense, p. 35. 

127. Brumbaugh, 299. 

128. Not the pioneer of Groff 's Thai. Perhaps a son. 


-nothing but whose names bear almost certain evidence 
that they were of Mennonite descent.^^^ In 1728 
Beissel withdrew from the Dunkards and established 
on the Cocalico Creek at Ephrata the well known 
Seventh Day Baptist monastic community. Several 
Mennonites also became involved in this movement, 
among them Michael Eckerlin^^° who was soon to 
become one of the leading spirits and John Meylin, son 
of Hans Meylin, the pioneer.^^^ 

The attempts in 1741 of Count Zinzendorf, the 
Moravian, to unite the religious efforts in Pennsylvania 
■did not affect the Lancaster county Mennonites as it 
did their brethren in Berks county. The Wesleyan 
revival struck the county a little later and resulted in 
the apostacy of Martin Boehm, a leading Mennonite 
minister south of Willow Street. Boehm became one 
of the founders of the United Brethren church and 
later one of the pioneer Methodists in the region. 

The Mennonites, as has already been said, were 
not a proselyting people and gained very few ad- 
herents from other churches. The 
Mennonites not Lutherans and Reformed were, during 
Proselyters the early years, without much church 

organization and in that condition no 
doubt would have fallen an easy prey to missionary 
zeal among the other churches. Many of them found 
their way into the Dunkard church, but few into the 
Mennonite. On the contrary many Mennonites in later 
years joined the Reformed and Lutheran churches, 
A few of the Huguenots, however, who drifted into 

129. See Brumbaugh, p. 307 for complete list of members up to 1770. 

130. Pa. Ger. Soc. Proceedings, XV. 205. 

131. Rupp, History of Lancaster County, p. 74. 



Pennsylvania from New York, such men as the Le 
Fevers in Lancaster county and some of the De Turks 
in Berks county, the Bertolets and Fahrnis, cast their 
lot with the Mennonites. The entire number, how- 
ever, that the Mennonite church received from other 

Conestoga Wagon. See p. 163. 

'Churches was much smaller than the number it lost. 
Had it been able to keep its young men and women in 
the church it might today possess the solid wealth and 
influence of one of the very best counties in the state. 



We have already seen that the region around 
Germantown was soon all occupied by the immigrants, 
and thus the later arrivals had to seek 
The Skippack homes in other localities. By 1702 a 
Region new settlement had already been be- 

gun on the Skippack near the present 
little village of Skippack. From this center a large 
community gradually grew by natural increase and by 
constant immigration from Southern Germany and 
has since expanded to the north on both sides of the 
Skippack over an area about ten miles in width 
through the north central part of Montgomery county, 
and the western part of Bucks county, with a few 
scattered settlements in Eastern Berks, and Lehigh and 
Southern Northampton county. This region in this 
chapter is spoken of as the Franconia district because 
among the Old Mennonites who still control most of 
the congregations here it constitutes what is known 
as the Franconia conference district. 

It will be impossible here to name the first settlers 
in the various communities in this region and to tell 


the exact dates of the organization of 
Expansion of each congregation. They are all the 
the Pioneer result of the gradual expansion to the 
Settlement north of the original settlement, and a 

few dates and names must suffice to in- 
dicate the growth of the church in this part of the 
state during the eighteenth century. 

The first congregation to be detached from the 
Skippack community was the one at Salford, just a few 
miles to the north. As early as 1718 Henry Ruth and 
Hans Reif had located here. These were soon followed 
by Christian Allebach, Christian Meyers, Hans Ulrich 
Bergey, Nicholas Holderman. Frederick Alderfer, 
Christian Stauiter, Jacob Funk, Dielman, Martin, and 
Jacob Kolb and others. The first meeting house for 
this congregation was built about 1738. 

At about the same time a congregation was organ- 
ized at Franconia in what is now Franconia township. 
The pioneer in this region was bishop Henry Funk who 
settled on the Indian Creek in this township in 1719. 
The tax list for 1734 shows that by that time there were 
in the region, among others those bearing the names 
Frey, Rosenberger, Oberholtzer, Moyer, Godschalk, 


At the same time also the Mennonites were occu- 
pying the region to the east of the Skippack. The 
Towamencin congregation, north of Kulpsville, was 
organized perhaps as early as 1750. Settlers, however, 
had located here long before. Herman Godshalk 

1. For a detailed account of the early settlement of Salford township 
see James Y. Heckler, History of Lower Salford Township. 

2. For a detailed account of Mennonite settlements in Franconia Town- 
ship see History of Franconia Township, by Souder, pub. by Benj. 
L. Gehman, Harleysville, Pa. 1886. 

old burying grounds in the Franconia district are sur- 
rounded by stone fences. Some of the earliest pioneers 
lie in nameless graves in these cemeteries. At first no 
stones were used, and later the stones were of sand-stone 
which have long since succumbed to the frost and rain. 
The stones in the oldest quarter of this cemetery have 
decayed. The stones which appear in this picture all 
mark recent graves. 





bought land as early as 1720} The oldest marked 
grave in the churchyard bears the date 1733. The 
Methacton congregation, north of Fairview, was organ- 
ized before 1773. 

On the Perkiomen the Mennonites made few 
settlements, being preceded by the Schwenkfelders 
who still occupy nearly the whole valley, but as early 
as 1742 Muhlenberg, the Lutheran preacher, mentions 
a meeting house south of the Trappe, near the Per- 
kiomen. Before the close of the century a congrega- 
tion had also been established near Schwenksville. 

In what is now Bucks county,* the oldest con- 
gregation is the Swamp in Milford township, near the 
headwaters of the Perkiomen. One of 
Bucks the earliest settlers in the locality was 
County Velte Clemmer, who came here in 1717. 
By 1725 a congregation must have been 
established, for the name of Clemmer appears as 
the minister from the Swamp church in a confer- 
ence which was held that year. Among other resi- 
dents by 1734 were Samuel Musselman, John Byler, 
John Yoder, Sr., Jacob and Christian Clemmer, Abra- 
ham Shelley, Jacob Musselman, etc. A little to the 
east of this church was built the East Swamp meet- 
ing house in 1771 on land donated by Ulrich Drissel 
and for that reason it is sometimes called the Drissel 
church. North of the Swamp in what is now Lehigh 
county on Saucon creek, a branch of the Lehigh, a 
congregation had been established very early. Hans 
Yode^ bought land here in 1724^ and was followed by 

3. See article on this congregation in Family Almanac 1875. 

4. The most reliable history of Bucks County is the one written by 

W. H. H. Davis, A. M. and published in Doylestown, Pa. 1876. 

5. Pa. Arch. Sec. Sen, Vol. XIX, p. 726. 


men bearing the names Moyer, 'Gehman, Schliefer and 
a number of immigrants from Holland who settled 
near Coopersburg. A little later, but before 1760, a 
congregation was also organized to the east in Spring- 
field township, Bucks county. Another early settle- 
ment was likewise made in the center of Bucks 
on the Deep Run creek. By 1746 the first meeting 
house was built. The ministerial force at that time 
consisted of Abraham Swartz, Hans Friedt, Samuel 
Kolb and Martin Oberholtzer. The Line Lexington 
congiegation erected its first house in 1753.' To the 
northwest of the Lexington settlement is the Hilltown 
or Perkasie church, within the region which originally 
comprised the Perkasie Manor. Among the earliest 
Mennonite settlers here were Henry Funk, Christian 
Lederich, Andrew Godshalk, Valentine Kratz and 
many others, all of whom purchased land before 1750. 
In the eastern part of Berks county a community 
must have been established nearly as early as on Indian 

creek and the Swamp, for the conference re- 
Berks port of 1725 already referred to mentions 
County Daniel Longenecker and Jacob Bechtley as 

the two ministers representing the Manatant 
settlement m the region ot the Manatawny creek. 
Among the earliest settlers in this region were Jacob 
"Stauffer,'' Henry Staufifer,^ Hans Bauer, Hans Jacob 
Bechtley, and Daniel Longeneker. These pioneers 
"have left after them many descendants and have given 
names to two of the largest towns in this locality, 
Boyertown and Bechtelville. A congregation now 

6. Cassel, D. K. Geschichte der Mennoniten, p. 242. 

7. Bower, H. S. Genealogical Record of Daniel Stauflfer, Harleysville, Pa. 

1897. p. 27. 
8. Ibid, 196. 


called Hereford was organized north of the Manatant 
in the northeastern part of the county. The first 
meeting house was built in 1755. To the north of 
Hereford in Upper Milford township, Lehigh county, 
another meeting house was erected about 1740.*' 
Among the early settlers here were those bearing the- 
names SchifBer, Easier, Mayer, Schantz,^° etc. 

In the meantime several Mennonite communities 
had been located along the Schulykill in Chester county. 

South of Pottstown in East Coventry town- 
Chester ship stands an old church which contains sl 
County stone with the date 1728 inscribed upon it. 

In Schuylkill township near what is now 
Phoenixville a congregation was also early established- 
Hans Staufifer, who came to America in 1710, soon 
after his arrival located near Valley Forge, several; 
miles to the east of Phoenixville. In 1720 Francis 
Buchwalter,^^ the progenitor of a large family, also- 
settled near here. These were followed by others 
with such names as Showalter, Bender, Haldeman, 
etc. By 1750 they were worshiping in a house which 
was also used by other denominations, but by 177Z 
they had erected a building of their own. Among 
their well known ministers were Matthias Pennebeker,. 

9. Cassel, 264. 

10 See account of this settlement in History of Lehigh County, pub. by- 
Matthews and Hungerford. Phila., 1884. 

11. "Buckwaher, a Protestant refugee from Germany, was subjected to 
many persecutions in the Fatherland because of his faith and it if 
a matter of family history that he was compelled to read his Bible 
by stealth concealed in a cow trough. He finally concluded to flee 
and after leaving his home was pursued for three days by his vin- 
dictive Catholic brothers who were determined upon his destruction. 
His children were Joseph, Jacob, Johannes, Mary, and Yost, andi 
from him are descended all the Buckwalter family in this vicinity."' 
S. W. Pennypacker in Annals of Phoenixville, p. 20. 


the great-grandfather of ex-Governor S. W. Penny- 

These are the earliest Mennonite communities of 
the Franconia district. Other congregations were es- 
tablished in the same general locality before the Rev- 
olutionary war. But soon after the war many from 
here moved to Ontario and other newer regions. This 
together with the fact that many of the younger ele- 
ment deserted the Mennonite church for other denom- 
inations accounts for the slow growth in the district 
during the nineteenth century. Few new congrega- 
tions have been organized since 1800, while several 
have become extinct. 

From a letter written to the church at Amsterdam 

in 1773 by Andrew Ziegler, Isaac Kolb, and Christian 

Communities in ^"^^ ^'^ ^^^™ ^^^^ the following 

America bv 1773 communities had been established in 

America at that time : — 

Germantown, Schiebach, Indian Krik, [Franconia] (to which 
belong also Salford, Rokkil [Rockhill] and Schwammen), 
Deep Ron to which belong Berkosen on the Delaware and 
Aufrieds, Blen [Plain], Grooten Swamb, to which belong 
Sacken and Lower ]\lilford, in two places, Hosenak, Lehay 
and Term, Matetschen [Methacton] Schuylkill (meeting two- 

These are the congregations embraced within the 
region described in this chapter. Farther away they 
say are 

Conestogis, where are many large congregations, Quitophilia 
[Lebanon county], great and little Schwatara [Dauphin 
county], Tulpehocken [western Berks county]. On the other 
side of the Susquehanna by Yorktown, great and little Cone- 
wago, Mannekesie [Monocacy]. To Virginia, Meriland, 


Schanatore [Shenandoah] and further to Cardinal^ where 
are many and large congregations. 12 

In their every day life the Franconians differed 
very little from their brethren in Lancaster county. 

Many of them came from the same region 
Every in Germany and had the same customs and 

Day Life practices. In Pennsylvania both w^ere 

among the earliest pioneers and as such 
endured all the hardships 01 pioneer life. The settle- 
ments in Berks county forming at that time the fron- 
tier line were frequently subject to Indian deprada- 
tions, especially during the French and Indian war.^* 
In August 1757 during one of these incursions a band 
of Indians murdered a number of the settlers includ- 
ing an Amish family by the name of Hostetler. Ac- 
cording to the traditions handed down by the Hostet- 
ler descendants the whole family with the exception 
of the father and one son, Joseph, was killed. These 
were taken captive, but the boy after being held by the 
Indians for seven years, finally made his escape. 

In industry the Franconians were not behind the 
Lancastrians, but living upon a thinner soil they never 
became so wealthy and prosperous. 

12. Quoted by S. W. Pennypacker, in Hendrick Pennebecker. 

13. It is difficult to obtain facts regarding the settlement in Carolina but 

it is evident that a settlement was made in that colony very early. 
Hans Stauffer, as we saw, landed there in 1710. Many of the Pal- 
atines who left Germany in 1709 found their way to Carolina, and it 
is not improbable that among them may have been some Mennon- 
ites. The congregation however could not have been very large. 

14. "Jan. 16, 1756. Den Tag vorn neuen Yohr haben die Menisten von 

Schiebach und die ferner hinauf v.'ohnen 7 wagen mit mehl und and- 
erm Proviant nach Bethlehem und Nazareth gesandt vor die arme 
Leute welche dahin gcfliichtet sind wegen die Indianern." Quoted 
from Sauer's paper in "The Perkiomen Region," by H. S. Dotterer, 
Vol. 1. p. 30. 


In literary activity, however, they surpassed their 
more prosperous brethren. The men who signed the 
letter which was sent to Amsterdam de- 
Literary manding a translation of the Martyrs' Mirror 
Activity were all from Franconia, Failing in interest- 
ing the church at Amsterdam in the project, 
the work of translation was finally undertaken in 
Pennsylvania under the supervision of two Francon- 
ians. The first Mennonite writers of America, Henry 
Funk and Christian Funk, were both from Montgom- 
ery county. In 1790 two men by the name of Hirstein. 
and Smutz^^ from the same county went to Europe 
where they had five hundred copies of Denner's Ser- 
mons printed at their own expense and brought them 
to America in the hope of selling them. Many were 
sold in Montgomery county but few in Lancaster. 
Finally the first religious paper for the Mennonites 
was published in 1852 at Milford Square in Bucks- 

The influence of these early settlements upon 
the Mennonite church at large has not been small. 
The Canadian Mennonites came, as we saw. 
Influence largely from Bucks county. Montgomery, 
Berks and Bucks counties are also claimed 
as the original home of many of the Mennonite 
communities throughout the country. Among the 
most common names within this district are the 
following: Funk, Staufer, Godshalk, Ziegler, Clem- 
mer or Clymer, Roth, Bechtel, Boyer, Moyer, Ber- 
gey, Detweiler, Hallman, Gehman, Bauman, Kolb, 
Pennebecker, Frey, Showalter, Kratz, Oberholtzer, 

IS. Mennonite Year Book and Almanac, 1906, p. 8. 


Longenecker, Yoder, Hunsicker, Alderfer, Wam- 
bold, Haldeman, Fretz, High, Geisinger, Schliefer, 
Geil, Benner, Heistand, Souder, Allebach and Beidler. 
Many of these have become familiar throughout vari- 
ous parts of the country both within and without the 
Mennonite church. 


FROM 1750 TO 1800^ 

Long before the middle of the eighteenth century 
the best lands of Southeastern Pennsylvania had been 
occupied by the German and Scotch- 
Overflow of Irish immigrants. Consequently the rapid 
Southeastern growth of the native population together 
Pennsylvania with the continuous stream of new arriv- 
als which kept pouring into the province 
as late as the French and Indian war made it neces- 
sary for the younger generation as well as the 
later immigrants to seek homes farther out on 
the frontier. The Scotch-Irish, bolder and given 
more to a roving life than the Germans, usually 
ventured out first into the wilderness. Here they 
frequently built their cabins along some stream and 
devoted their time to hunting, fishing and a little 
farming. Or sometimes they located in the fertile 
valleys, but if they did they soon made way for the 

Most of the information in this chapter has been gained from various 
county and other local histories, from the records in the deed books 
at the various county seats, and from manuscripts kindly furnished 
by such local historians as Bishop 1,. J. Heatwole of Dale Enterprise, 
V«., and D. S. Lesher of Shippensburg, Pa. 


more thrifty Germans who, coming for the purpose of 
establishing permanent homes, usually spied out the 
most fertile spots for their future dwelling places. 
Since the two races never were congenial neighbors, 
the Scotch-Irish usually moved on, thus leaving to the 
Germans the fat of the land. 

Very early the Germans of Lancaster county 

crossed the Susquehanna into the Cumberland Valley, 

in what are now York and Cumberland 

^ ^ , , counties, and then down the valley, 
Cumberland , , \t i i • . .1 r .1 01 

through Maryland mto the fertile bhen- 

andoah. Others, soon after the French 
and Indian war, ascended the Susquehanna, and cros- 
sing the Alleghenies, established homes along the 
banks of the Juniata. Among the earliest of these 
pioneers were the Mennonites, who occasionally came 
as individuals with their neighbors and friends, but 
more frequently settled in small colonies, which were 
large enough, however, to form church congregations. 

We have already seen that such communities 
were established before 1773 in Dauphin county, near 
the mouth of the Swatara, ajid in Lebanon county, 
on the Quittaphia and on the Little Swatara. 

The first settlement west of the Susquehanna in 
York county was made even earlier, perhaps about 

1750, between the Conewago and Little Con- 
York ewago in Dover township. Just when the 
County first Mennonite settlers located in this region 

is not known but by 1753 the colony was 
large enough to effect a church organization. Anoth- 
er early congregation was organized east of Hanover 
in Heidelberg township. In 1774 John and Thomas 
Penn granted to Michael Danner twelve acres of 


land for the use of the Mennonite church. The col- 
ony must have existed some time before this, how- 
ever, for Michael Danner, evidently a Mennonite, 
resided here in 1749 in which year he was made one 
of the commissioners to organize York county. Soon 
after the grant of land was made, a building was 
erected for church and school purposes. Some time 
after this a church was also established east of York 
near Stony Brook station. This was followed later 
by other congregations in the southwestern part of 
the county, between the headwaters of the Little Con- 
ewago and Codorus creeks. All of these churches 
were established by settlers from Lancaster county 
as can be seen by the appearance in the land records 
of such familiar names as Hershey, Reifif, Rodes, 
Brubaker, Bare, Kaufifman, Frantz, Danner, Shenk,. 
Welty, Roth, Garber and so forth. 

Cumberland and Franklin counties occupy a val- 
ley between two parallel ranges of the Blue Ridge 

which form a gateway from Southeast- 
Cumberland ern Pennsylvania through Maryland into- 
and Franklin the Shenandoah country. This valley. 
Counties called the Cumberland, is drained by the 

Conococheague which flows south into 
the Potomac, and the Conedogwinet which flows 
northeast into the Susquehanna. It was through this- 
gateway that the Pennsylvania Germans early passed 
into Virginia, and it was along these streams that the 
first Mennonite settlements of the region were made. 
Mennonite communities seem to have been established 
in Franklin county earlier than in Cumberland, which 
was nearer to Lancaster and York than was Franklin,, 
but later than in Washington county, Maryland, and 


in the Shenandoah Valley. It is altogether likely that 
•of the stream of settlers that began to enter the 
Shenandoah Valley about 1730 individual Mennonites 
settled here and there through the Cumberland Valley 
in Franklin and Cumberland counties and in Maryland, 
perhaps even before the Shenandoah settlements were 
made. There is no record, however, of such settle- 

Several Mennonites seem to have located in 
Franklin as early as 1735, among whom were Jacob 
Schnebele and Samuel Bechtel. Others may have 
followed but not enough came to form a congregation 
until after the Revolutionary war. The largest num- 
ber entered the county during the last decade of the 
eighteenth century when a small colony located on the 
Conococheague, east of Chambersburg. One of the 
first to settle here was Daniel Lehman who became 
the first resident minister. The first meeting house 
for this congregation was built in 1804. Soon after 
this, other communities were established near Stras- 
burg and several in the southern part of the county 
along the Conococheague. 

No settlement seems to have been made in Cum- 
berland county until about 1800 when near Shiremans- 
town there was organized what is now known as the 
Slate Hill congregation, the first building for which 
was erected before 1820. Before the middle of the 
nineteenth century congregations were also estab- 
lished in the western half of the county, near Shippens- 
burg, Huntsdale, and Carlisle. 

In the meantime a small colony had gone up the 
Susquehanna and the Juniata and had located on 


the Mahantago near what is now Richfield, in Snyder 
county. The pioneer Mennonite as 
Up the Juniata well as one of the very first of white 
men in the region was John Graybill, 
who came from Lancaster county in 1772. He was 
followed soon after by Jacob Moyer, Michael Lauver, 
John Shellenberger, Jacob Sellers and others. John 
Graybill, son of the pioneer, became the first minister 
of the congregation, which was soon organized. From 
this settlement have developed several small congrega- 
tions in the extreme northern part of Juniata county. 
Among the prominent Mennonite names still to be 
found here are Graybill, Winey, Leiter, Bergey, and 
others. Soon after this a large community of Amish 
located a little farther west in Mifflin county, but of 
these more is said elsewhere. 

At about the same time small colonies were being 
formed across the Alleghenies, in the southwestern 
part of the state, along the 
Near the Headwaters valleys of the Monongahela, 
of the Ohio Youghiogheny, and the Cone- 

maugh rivers within the region 
of the headwaters of the Ohio. The earliest and most 
important communities were located in Westmoreland, 
Fayette and Somerset counties. These were followed 
later by a few scattered settlements in Cambria, 
Blair, Center, Clearfield and Butler counties. The 
first Mennonite to cross the mountains into this 
locality was Christian Blauch, from Lancaster county, 
who located in the county near Berlin, in 1767, a year 
before this region was opened to settlements. - 

In 1790 Jacob Blauch, brother of Christian, 

2. Per. D. D. Blough, Johnstown, Pa. 


located at the junction of the Quemahoning and Stony 
creek, in Conemaugh township, Somerset county. 
These were perhaps of the Amish branch of the 
church, but Mennonites were found in the same 
locaHty soon after. Jacob Blauch, son of the above 
mentioned Jacob, became the first Mennonite 
preacher in the settlement and in 1814 he was ordained 
bishop. From these early beginnings have since de- 
veloped several congregations in this part of the 
county. By about 178G a colony had also been estab- 
lished along Casselman creek, near Myersdale in the 
southern part of the county. 

At the close of the eighteenth century two settle- 
ments were made in Fayette and Westmoreland coun- 
ties. The one in Fayette was located in the south- 
western part of the county between Masontown and 
Uniontown ; the one in Westmoreland, on both sides 
of Jacobs creek which forms part of the boundary 
between these two counties. The settlers on the 
We&tmoreland side of the creek came principally 
from Bucks county while those on the Fayette side 
came from Lancaster. 

At the same time too, a colony was planted near 
Martinsburg in Blair county where Frederick Rhoads 
became the first bishop. In the early part of the 
nineteenth century small settlements were also made 
near Rockton in Clearfield county and near Harmony 
in Butler, where in 1816 Abraham Ziegler, David 
Stauffer, John Boyer and others bought the land upon 
which George Rapp, the founder of the Rappites, who 
later moved to Indiana, had tried to establish his 
communist colony. The first meeting house was 
erected in 1816. 


From these original settlements, all of which 
were established during the latter part of the eight- 
eenth century and the first of the nineteenth, other 
congregations have since developed within the coun- 
ties named. During the first three-fourths of the past 
century, the growth of the church was very slow, 
some congregations becoming almost entirely extinct. 
But during recent years, with the introduction of more 
aggressive methods of work, the church in this part 
of the state has shown a continued increase in its 


The first Mennonite settlement in Maryland was 
made in Washington county. This county forms part 
of the same Cumberland Valley through which the 
Germans of Pennsylvania passed on their way to Vir- 
ginia. The settlement here is older than those farther 
up the valley in Pennsylvania and almost as old as 
those in Virginia. The first church was located in 
what is known as the Leitersburg district between 
Conococheague and Antietam creeks. Christian Burk- 
hart had come here as early as 1755 and John Reiflf 
and Jacob Good as early as 1765. By 1776 the com- 
munity had grown large enough to demand some 
recognition upon their refusal to bear arms during the 
Revolutionary war from the State convention which 
at the time was establishing a new constitution, as 
well as from the county Committee of Observation. 
Both the constitutional convention and the local com- 
mittee exempted them from military service, but re- 
quired them to furnish transportation for the county 
troops and contribute to the support of the families of 


the men in the army. Before 1800, among others, the 
following had found their way into this region: 
Michael Miller, Andrew Reiff, John Newcomer, John 
Strite, John Barr, Jacob Miller and John Shank. The 
community at present comprises four congregations. 
Several congregations have also been established in 
the western part of the state. 


As already said, the fertile valley of the Shenan- 
doah early attracted the attention 
Germans in the of the thrifty Germans of Pennsyl- 
Shenandoah yania. As early as about 1730 set- 

tlers from Lancaster and York coun- 
ties had entered this region by way of the Cumberland 

Among the earliest of these German pioneers, 
who were the first permanent settlers of the Valley,' 

were several Mennonites. Dr. John 
First Mennonites W. Wayland of the University of 
in the Valley Virginia says that Abraham Strick- 

ler from Lancaster county, Penn- 
sylvania, bought a tract of land from Jacob Stover 
at Massenutin in what is now Page county as early as 
1729.^ Strickler thus became one of the very earliest 
of the settlers in the Shenandoah Valley, preceding by 
three years the well known Jost Hite who is usually 
spoken of as the pioneer of the valley. This man Dr. 
Wayland believes, was a Mennonite. He bases this 
belief upon the fact that the later Stricklers of this 

3. For much of the information regarding these earliest settlers I am 
indebted to the excellent book by Dr. John W. Wayland, The 
German Element of the Shenandoah Valley. 


reg-ion were of that faith. It may be added as a further 
evidence of the correctness of this opinion that among 
a list of the names of twenty-seven Mennonite pas- 
sengers who landed at Philadelphia on September 
30, 1754, on the ship, Brothers, appears the name of 
Abraham Strickler, a relative no doubt of the pioneer 
in the Shenandoah. Jacob Strickler, said to be a 
Mennonite preacher and son of the Abraham who 
bought land in Page county in 1729, located near 
Luray in 1731. In a petition sent to Governor Gooch 
in 1733 appear the names of Abraham Strickler and 
Michael Kaufifman, originally from Lancaster county. 
Kaufifman, Dr. Wayland thinks, was also a Mennonite. 
The name appears several times among the lists of the 
Bernese exiles who were deported from Berne, Switz- 
erland, some years before this. 

After this, characteristic Mennonite names are 
met frequently in the records of the early valley 
counties. From the Orange county deed books we 
learn that in 1735 Jacob Funk and John Prupecker 
(Brubaker) both from Lancaster county, bought land 
along the North fork of the Shenandoah. In the same 
documents are recorded under the year 1736 the names 
of Martin Coffman, John Prupecker, and Christian 
Niswanger. In 1739 Peter Ruffner, the ancestor of a 
later well known Mennonite family, bought a tract of 
land along the Hawksbill in what is now Page county. 
He found living here at the time families by the names 
of Strickler, Heistand, Beidler and Stovers — all familiar 
Mennonite names. In the same year in a petition to 
Governor Gooch from inhabitants of the lower valley 
appear the names of Henry, John and Jacob Funk, and 
Christian Blank. Dr. Sachse of Philadelphia thinks 


3 ' amtin 



Jacob Funk was a member of the society of the 
Ephrata Brethren. But the Funks were originally of 
Mennonite stock and it is Hkely that some of the 
Virginia branch were still of that faith. Christian 
Blank is a name that frequently appears in the records 
of the religious controversy between Hans Reist and 
Jacob Ammon in Switzerland in the last decade of the 
seventeenth century, and among the Pennsylvania 

These early settlers all came from Lancaster 
county, and since in that county those of a similar 
name were almost invariably Mennonites, it is but 
reasonable to suppose that these also were either of 
that faith at the time or at least of Mennonite descent. 
This view is supported by more definite evidence 
a few years later. The Moravian missionaries from 
Pennsylvania often visited the various German settle- 
ments in Virginia. Joseph Spangenberg and Matthew 
Reutz, in a visit made through the valley in 1748, 
wrote of themselves in the third person as follows : 

On July 27, they journeyed from this place (Timberville) 
to Messinuty, where Germans of all kinds of denomination 
live— Mennonites, Lutherans, Separatists, and Inspira- 

In the same year another Ad:oravian, speaking of 
Ihe Massenutin settlement in Page county says: 

Many Germans live there. Most of them are Mennisten, 

who are in a bad condition. Nearly all religious earnestness 

■and zeal is extinguished among them. Besides them a few 

church people live there, partly Lutherans, partly Reformed.' 

The deed books of Frederick county show that 

•4. Virginia Magazine, Vol. XI. No. 3. p. 240. Quoted above from Dr. 

Wayland's "German Element, etc." 
■S. Virginia Magazine, Vol. XI. No. 3. p. 229. See Wayland, German 

Element, p. 112. 


soon after this familiar names are also found in what 
is now Shenandoah county. The records indicate that 
Jacob Good bought land on the North Fork between 
what are now Woodstock and Strasburg, in 1752, 
and that John Funk came in 1755. Between 1755 and 
1765 there appear in this region such names as Grove, 
Brubaker, Plank, Mellinger, and Niswander, all from 
Lancaster county, and undoubtedly of Mennonite an- 

These early settlements in what are now Page 
and Shenandoah counties were perhaps never very 
large. Just when the first churches were organized 
among these early pioneers it is difficult to say. But 
since the settlers were few in number and scattered 
•over large tracts of land, it is not likely that there was 
much church organization before about 1750. By 1758 
nineteen families were compelled to leave the valley 
for Pennsylvania because of Indian depredations. But 
these returned after the French and Indian war, and 
with them a number of others. 

Durinof the French and Indian war the Indians 
made several raids upon the inhabitants of the valley. 
An incident which occurred during the 
Indian Raids last of these raids and which was re- 
lated by an old lady early in the last 
century to Samuel Kercheval, the historian of the 
valley, illustrates the dangers to which these early 
pioneers were exposed during this war. The story 
refers to the murder of John Rhodes, a Mennonite 
minister and his family in Page county in August, 

A party of eight Indians and one white man, approached 
the house and shot Mr. Rhodes dead, while he was standing 
in his doorway. His wife and one of the sons were killed 


•in the yard. Another son was at the distance of one hundred 
yards from the house in a corn field. Hearing the reports of 
the guns, he climbed a peach tree to see what it meant, 
when he was discovered and was instantly killed. A third 
poor lad tried to save himself by running to cross the river,, 
but was overtaken and killed in the river. The place where 
he attempted to cross is still known as the bloody ford. 
The eldest daughter, Elizabeth, at first remained within the 
house, but later caught up her little sixteen or eighteen- 
months old sister and ran into the barn. An Indian followed 
her and tried to force open the door that she had secured 
behind her. Not succeeding, he with oaths and threats 
ordered her to open it, and as she of course refused, he ran 
back to the house to get some fire. While he was gone, 
Elizabeth crept out at an opening at the opposite side of the 
barn, and with her little sister in her arms ran through a 
field of tall hemp, crossed the river, reached a neighbor's 
house and thus saved herself and little sister. The Indians, 
after setting fire to all the buildings, started of? on their trip 
across the mountains, taking with them two sons and two 
daughters that remained alive, as captives. The youngest of 
the sons, being sickly and not able to travel fast enough, they 
killed him. The two daughters then refused to go farther^ 
upon which both were killed. After three years of captivity 
with the Indians, the remaining son made his escape and 
came back to his friends.* 

This was the last raid made into the valley by the 
Indians. They soon disappeared across the mountains 
into the back country and the inhabitants were com- 
paratively free from danger after this. 

The Mennonite settlement in this region, how- 
ever did not prosper. The congrega- 
The Fairfax tions which were established have long- 

Controversy since become extinct. This was due 
largely to the fact that the colony was 
located in what was called the Northern Neck, 

6. Samuel Kercheval: A History of the Valley of Virginia, p. 91. 


a region to which Lord Fairfax for many years tried 
to establish a private claim. During the controversy 
which followed, many of the settlers in the locality, 
including the Mennonites, feeling that their titles to 
their lands were uncertain, moved farther up the val- 
ley into what are now Rockingham and Augusta 
counties. Before the Revolutionary war families by 
the name of Brannerman, Showalter and Shank were 
found on the north side of the North Shenandoah, near 
the present town of Broadway in what was then 
Augusta, but now Rockingham county. By about 
1800^ the Mennonites had occupied the greater portion 
of the Linville Valley, the most fertile 
The Linville portion of Rockingham county. The 
Valley settlement embraced the region extend- 

ing from Linville creek on the east to 
the North mountain on the west and the Shenandoah 
on the north to Linville and Singers Glen on the 
south, a district about ten miles long by eight miles 
wide. After 1780 when Harrisonburg 
The was established as the county seat of the 

Harrisonburg newly organized Rockingham county 
Region many of the settlers of the Linville dis- 

trict moved southwest of the new town 
where a large Mennonite community has since de- 
veloped. This and the settlement above mentioned 
are still the stronghold of the church in Virginia. 

By about 1780 the principal families among the Virginia Mennonites 
were Allebaugh, Burkholder, Beery, Brunk, Branner, Brannerman, 
Driver, Fultz, Funk, Frank, Good, Geil, Hoover, Kiser, Kauffman, 
Minnich, Roadcap, Ruebush, Rhodes, Shoalter, Swank, Shank, Tris- 
sel, and Wenger. Before the close of the eighteenth century there 
were added to these, families by the name of Blosser, Hartman, 
and Weaver from Page County, and Swope and Swartz from 
Shenandoah, and Heatwole, Hildebrand, Harshbarger, Graybil, 


No meeting houses appear to have been built by 
the Virginia Mennonites until nearly a whole century 

after the first pioneers entered the 
Early Meeting valley. During these years religious 
Houses meetings were held in private houses.* 

The first church house to be erected 
was the Trissel meeting house near Broadway, built 
in 1822. Three years later the Pike church, four miles 
west of Harrisonburg, at the southern end of the 
settlement was erected. Between these two were 
built the Brannemans, west of Edom in 1826 and the 
Weaver church in 1827. Many other houses have 
smce been built and new congregations have been 
establ-shed in various parts of Rockingham, Augusta 
Frederick and Shenandoah counties. The Virginia 
Conference, including several congregations and mis- 
sion stations in West Virginia now comprises thirty- 

Grove, Fry, Landis, Layman, and Niswander directly from Penn- 
sylvania Later .on a few of the Fauber, Grove. Hildebrand, Harsh- 
barger, Kendig, Roadcap and Stauffer families removed to points in 
Augusta County, while several Kauffman, Fry and Wenger families 
located at a point west of the Allegheny mountains near what is now 
Lewisburg, Greenbrier County, West Va."-L. J. Heatwole, in 
±lartzler and Kauffman's Mennonite Church History, p. 200. 
"With the increase of population, there came a time, however, when 
the congregations that were assembled could no longer be accom- 
mouated in private family residences. The women and older mem- 
bers occupied all the room, which left the children, the boys and 
the girls and the worldly minded people out of doors to pass the 
time as best they could— which was done in a way that gave to the 
outside gathering at least, the appearance of a Sunday social, where 
sports and games of various kinds were common, as a means of 
diversion for the crowd. Besides, if the dinner hour was prolonged 
which was generally the case, it was no uncommon thing for the 
cellar, the spring house, and even the orchard to be drawn on 
to such an extent that there were not sufficient provisions left to 
provide dinner for those who occupied their time at worship."—!, J 
Heatwole, in Hartzler and Kauffman's Mennonite Church History! 
p. 202. 


two congregations with a total membership of about 
twelve hundred. 

The Virginia settlement, although comparatively 
small in point of numbers and separated some distance 
from other communities, has nevertheless exerted no 
mean influence upon the church at large. It has be- 
come the mother church of many of the newer western 
settlements, including the congregations in Medina, 
Columbiana and Allen counties, Ohio, and Tazewell 
and Livingston counties, Illinois. 

Being the only Mennonite settlement within the 
Confederacy during the late Civil war it also serves as 
an illustration of the experiences of a non-slaveholding 
and non-resistant people when their principles are put 
to a test. The Mennonites of Virginia, by refusing to 
hold slaves and to go to war when the war was waged 
to save the institution of slavery and when every able 
bodied man in the South was needed for the struggle, 
naturally became objects of suspicion to the state and 
Confederate authorities. They stood by their convic- 
tions, however. Their experiences during the war are 
told elsewhere in this volume, and their position on 
the question of holding slaves can be learned from the 
records of a conference of the churches which was 
held April, 1864. 

The subject of hiring slaves was introduced by 
Bishop Geil. 

Decided that inasmuch as it is against our creed 
Attitude and discipline to own or traffic in slaves, so it is 
Toward also forbidden a brother to hire a slave unless such 
Slavery slave be entitled to receive the pay for such labor 

by the consent of the owner. But where neighbors 
exchange labor, the labor of slaves may be received. 

In literature and music the Virginians have con- 


tributed more than their share to the progress of the 
Mennonite church. We have already 
Literature seen that Joseph Funk's printing press 
and Music during the middle of the last century was 
often used to promote the literary in- 
terests of the Mennonite people. The first English 
song book, Burkholder's Confession of Faith, and 
other publications had their birth here. To the cause 
of music also Funk's services were great. The print- 
ing of song books, especially the Harmonica Sacra, 
and the teaching of singing schools for which the 
region around Singers Glen was well known did much 
to interest not only the local Virginia community but 
the entire church in the subject of sacred music. It 
was from this region that the most talented musicians 
of the church— the Funks, Goods, Brunks and Sho- 
walters— have come. And finally Virginia gave the 
church John S. CofTman, the pioneer evangelist, who 
did more than any other man of his day to inspire the 
Mennonite people everywhere with higher ideals of 
culture and service. 

By the close of the eighteenth century, then, the 
Mennonites of Southeastern Pennsylvania had ap- 
peared among the pioneer settlers in the fertile valleys 
of Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. No new 
communities have been established in these states 
since that time. But with the opening of the North- 
west Territory these settlements became in turn the 
mother communities of many congregations organ- 
ized early in the next century in Ohio, Indiana and 



The Amish branch of the church derives its name 
from one Jacob Amman, a Mennonite preacher in the 

canton of Berne in Switzerland. Not 
Jacob Amman much is known of his life. But he 

was evidently a man of conservative 
tendencies and decided opinions, for in 1693 we find 
him visiting the Swiss churches and urging a closer 
observance of earlier and more conservative customs 
and practices. He advocated especially a more rigid 
application of the practice of "avoidance" or "shun- 
ning" of such as had been excommunicated by the 
church. The practice of the Swiss church at the time 
was to "shun" one who had been expelled from their 
body only at the communion table, but now if Amman 
were to have his way, the practice was to be extended 

Most of our information of the origin of the Amish division of the 
church is obtained from a series of letters written at the time, 
which have been preserved by the church at the Emmenthal. These 
letters have been published by Joseph Stuckey in a pamphlet called 
"Eine Begebenheit," and by Johannes Moser in a pamphlet entitled 
"Eine Verantwortung gegen Danitl Musser." Ernst Miiller in hi* 
history of the Eernese Mennonites devotes a chapter to the subject. 


to many social and even domestic relations. Not even 
the wife and children of such an ex-member, if they 
were church members, were to be permitted to eat 
with him at the same table. The usual conjugal rela- 
tions also between husband and wife were to be sus- 

Amman soon gained a small following. His prin- 
cipal opponent was Hans Reist, and the two factions 
were locally named after these two leaders. There 
was much bitter discussion between the two parties all 
through the Oberland and Eramenthaler regions, and 
many conferences were held to settle the controversy, 
but none were successful. Reist and his party failed 
to appear at one of these appointed meetings, where- 
upon Amman immediately pronounced them under 
the ban. Reist soon after retaliated with the same 

Among other conservative customs which Am- 
man introduced among his followers were the use of 
hooks and eyes instead of buttons on the clothes of 
men, and the practice of feetwashing, which had been 
neglected among the Swiss by this time. 

For many years there was bitter feeling between 
the two factions throughout the canton. As late as 
1711, at the time of the exodus from Switzerland, the 
bitterness was still so strong that the two parties re- 
fused to enter the same ship in their voyage down the 
Rhine. Attempts at reconciliation also proved fruit- 
less. In 1700 Amman and several of his leading fol- 
lowers wrote a letter to Reist, asking for forgiveness. 
The signatures to this letter are those of Isak Kaufif- 
man, Niggli Augsburger, Ulrich Amman, Jacob 


Amman, Christen Blank, Jacob Kleiner, Hans Bach- 
man, Felix Jaggi, and Hans Bieri — with a few excep- 
tions all familiar names among the Amish of America 
today. Reist, however, refused to extend the olive 
branch and the division has remained to the present 

The Amish church in Europe- has never been 
large. It began in the canton of Berne and from there 
emigrants carried the division to Alsace, Lorraine, and 
the Palatinate where still exist a number of congrega- 
tions. From these places have come the immigrants 
to America. 

Just when they first came to America it is not 
possible to say. The assertion made by some local 
historians that they arrived with the 
First Amish Mennonites at the Pequea in 1710 is 
in America based on no evidence. But since there 
were a number of Amish among the ex- 
iled Bernese at Amsterdam in 1711, it is barely prob- 
able that a few may have reached this country soon 
after that date. If there were any, however, they must 
have been few in number. An examination of the 
names of the early settlers of Lancaster county shows 
that by 1725 Jacob Hostater, who came in 1715,^ 
Johannes Lichty, Adam Brandt, and Simon Konig 
were residents of the county. These are all character- 
istic Amish names, but whether their bearers were of 
that faith is not certain. Soon after 1727, however, 
Amish names appear frequently in the lists of passen- 
gers on the immigrant ships.* In 1727 there arrived 

2. The name "Amish" is no longer in common use in Europe. 

3. Pa. Arch., Second Series, Vol. XIX. p. 632. 

4. See Rupp, I. D. Thirty Thousand Names. 


among others in Philadelphia Jacob Mast, Peter Zug, 
Ulrich Pitscha, John Jacob Stutzman and Johannes 
Kurtz. The fact that these men bear characteristic 
Amish names and that they arrived on the same 
vessels v^^ith others whom we know to have been 
Mennonites, makes it quite probable that they 
were Amish men. Between 1727 and 1740 appear such 
names as Jacob Mast, Jacob Beuler, Johannes Lapp, 
Jacob Lantz, Christian Blank, Oswald Hochstetler, 
John Jacob Kauffman and a number of others. The 
period of heaviest immigration appears to have been 
between 1742 and 1745. One vessel, the Francis Eliza- 
beth, had on board in 1742 Moritz Zug and his two 
brothers, John and Christian, the ancestors of 
hundreds of Zooks in this country, a number of Jot- 
ters, Johann Heinrich Schertz, John Gerber and 
others. In 1744 among others came Peter Jutzy. 
During the next twenty years Amish names are found 
frequently on the immigration lists. In 1749 came 
Jacob Hartzler the ancestor of a long line of Hartzlers 
in this country. He was followed the next year by the 
Blauch brothers, Christian and Hans, and Andreas 
Hoelly. Nicholas Stoltzfus landed at Philadelphia in 
1766 and Peter Bietch (the founder of the Peachy 
family) in 1767. All of these as well as others who 
■came with them if living today could count their off- 
spring by the hundreds both within and without the 
Amish church. By the time of the Revolutionary war 
Amish as well as Mennonite immigration had prac- 
tically ceased and no foreign additions were made to 
the American Amish settlements until near the middle 
of the nineteenth century. 

Just where the first immigrants located is also 


uncertain, but one of the very earliest congregations 
was established about 1740 in the north- 
Pioneer western corner of Berks county, along 
Settlements the North Kill creek, near what is now 
Hamburg. Among the pioneers in this 
community were the Zugs, Jotters and others whose 
descendants can be found today in nearly every Amish 
settlement in America. By 1742 enough had located 
in this region to petition the Provincial Assembly for 
exemption from the oath in becoming naturalized, a 
privilege which had already been granted the Quakers 
and Mennonites of Pennsylvania. This request was 

Another early congregation was established in 
Lancaster county, near the head waters of Conestoga 

And within these two pioneer communities most 
of the first immigrants located. The entire immigra- 
tion could not have been large as can be seen by the 
comparatively small number of family names which 
are to be found in the Pennsylvania church today. 
The following list is practically all-inclusive — Yoder, 
Zook, Mast, Plank, Stoltzfus, Stutzman, Hooley, 
Beiler, Koenig, Beachy, Miller, Hostettler, Kauffman, 
Jutzi, Troyer and a few others. 

Of the early history of these people we know very 
little except that they were extremely conservative in 
their religious customs, simple in their tastes and 
habits and generally prosperous. They 
Early Life never erected public church buildings, 
but worshiped in private houses. In their 
•everyday life they had to meet the usual hardships of 

5. Watson, T. F. Annals, II. 109. 


the frontiersman. On several occasions and especially 
during the French and Indian war the outlying settle- 
ments fell prey to the Indian tomahawk and scalping- 

It is not possible to say which of the two above 
mentioned pioneer settlements is the older, but it is 
evident that soon the one in Berks county became 
the more prominent. It was the home of the Zug 
brothers, the Yoders and other pioneers of 1742, Not 
long after, other communities were established in 
Berks county, one on Maiden creek, one near Oley, 
and another in the southern part of the county near 
the Lancaster line. Most of the early congregations 
of Berks have since become extinct, the settlers hav- 
ing left for other more promising localities. Very 
early a number of the Zooks and others moved to 
Chester county where a church was established. Some 
of the Hartzlers and Beilers began a settlement in 
Lebanon county near the headwaters of the Tulpe- 

From all these communities many emigrated in 
turn to Mifflin county before the close of the eight- 
eenth century. 

The Lancaster county settlement near the head- 
waters of the Conestoga and the Pequea has always 
loeen prosperous and is now one of the largest com- 
munities in America. In 1900 there were eight con- 
gregations with an estimated membership of about 
eleven hundred. 

From these various pioneer churches all the later 
settlements in western Pennsylvania — in Somerset, 

See article by J. K. Hartzler in Herald of Truth, June 1, 1902. "Fifty 
Years in the Amish-Mennonite Churches of Pennsylvania." 


Westmoreland, Mifflin, and Juniata counties — were 
made, and indirectly many more in Ohio, Indiana, 
Illinois, Iowa and other western states. 

The Amish do not seem to have followed the 
Mennonites and other Germans southward into the 
Cumberland and Shenandoah Valleys. 
Somerset The first movement away from Southeast- 
County ern Pennsylvania was across the Alle- 
ghenies, into what is now Somerset county. 
Here as we have already seen came the Blauchs, 
Jacob and Christian, who we have reason to believe 
were Amishmen, into Conemaugh township, the latter 
•as early as 1767. In 1776 two men by the names of 
Yoder and Hooley settled in what is called the Glades 
■region in the same county.^ About the same time 
another community was established in the southern 
part of the county, along Casselman creek. One of 
the earliest settlers here was Christian Gnaegi who 
in 1774 took up five hundred acres of land two miles 
east of Myersdale.^ Most of these settlers came from 
Berks, Chester and Lebanon counties. The Glades 
church has since become extinct. The membership 
in this entire region in 1900 was three hundred and 
twenty-nine. The church in Somerset county has in 
turn become the founder of congregations in Elkhart 
and Lagrange counties, Indiana ; Douglas and Moul- 
trie counties, Illinois; and has furnished new settlers 
to many other Amish communities. 

Before the close of the century another large 

7. D. D. Miller in Heroic! der Wahrheit, Feb. 1, 1893 
«. Gnagey, Elias. Gnaegi Family History. 


colony was begun in the beautiful and fertile valley 
of the Kishocoquillas, a tributary of 
The the Juniata, in what is now Mifflin 

Kishocoquillas county. This valley is about three or 
Valley four miles wide and about fifteen miles 

long, lying between Jacks mountain 
on the southeast and another low range on the oppo- 
site side. This picturesque retreat was discovered 
by the Amish of Berks and Lancaster about 1790, and 
they soon began to buy large tracts of land from the 
Scotch-Irish who had been in the region since about 
1760. The deed books at Lewistown, the county seat, 
show that the earliest purchasers were the following 
—John Zook (1792),^ John Yotter, Christian Zook, 
John Hooley, Jacob Yotter and Christian Yotter, all 
in 1793; and John Hartzler, 1794. These were fol- 
lowed during the next twenty years by the Beilers, 
Beacheys, Kaufifmans, Blanks and others. The colony 
grew by natural increase and by new settlers until the 
middle of the next century. The Amish now occupy 
nearly the entire valley. 

Being hemmed in, however, on both sides by the 
mountains, it was impossible for the community to 
accommodate the coming generations with new homes 
after all the available land in the valley had been 
bought from the Scotch-Irish. Hence, as the settle- 
ment grew, the younger members were forced to seek 
homes elsewhere. From about 1840 to 1870, Mifflin 
county furnished many members for new congrega- 
tions in Champaign, Logan and Wayne counties, Ohio; 
in McLean county, Illinois ; and in other places in 
Indiana and other western states. The entire mem- 

9. Runk, J. M. Biographical Encyclopedia of Juniata Valley, p. 745. 


bership, including the various branches is still about 
one thousand. 

During the last few years of the eighteenth cen- 
tury and the early part of the nineteenth, a small 
congregation was located in Buffalo Valley, Union 
county, and two in Tuscarora valley and Lost Creek 
valley, in Juniata county. These latter, however, have 
since disappeared. About the middle of the last cen- 
tury a settlement was also made in Lawrence county, 
which still has a membership of about one hundred 
and fifty. 

The Amish of IMifflin county are still very con- 
servative and are still principally of the several va- 
rieties of the Old Order type. Consequently church 
houses are scarce. The first one was erected in 1868 
by the progressive wing of the church. 

Few new communities were established in Penn- 
sylvania after 1800. By that time more inviting 
prospects for settlement were afforded by the cheap 
lands of the newly organized North-west territory and 
soon in the state of Ohio. 


The first Amish to cross over into Ohio came 
from Somerset county, just a few years after Ohio 
became a state. ^° In the fall of 
Tuscarawas and 1808 preacher Jacob Miller and his 

Holmes Counties two sons, Henry and Jacob, to- 
gether with their wives, located on 
farms they had purchased on Sugar creek in the west- 

10. See article by S. H. Miller in Mennonite Year-Book and Directory for 
1908. Also History of Tuscarawas County, published by Warner, 
Beers Company. 1884. 








ern part of what is now Tuscarawas county. Two 
years later Jonas Miller, Joseph Mast, John Troyer, 
Christian Yoder and perhaps others, also from Somer- 
set county, settled in this same region, but along 
Walnut creek in the eastern part of Holmes county. 
Others were ready to come from Pennsylvania, but 
the Indian incursions of the war of 1812, not only 
stopped emigration from Pennsylvania for a few years 
but drove back to their original homes some who had 
entered Ohio before 1812. After the war, however, 
many new settlers were added to the community bear- 
ing such names as Miller, Yoder, Gerber, Hershberger 
and others. Judging from the prevalence at present 
of the Millers, however, most of the early settlers 
must have belonged to that family. The first religious 
services were held near Shanesville in 1810 by the 
above mentioned Jacob Miller, familiarly known as 
"Yockle" Miller. The settlement soon outgrew the 
two small valleys where the first pioneers located and 
spread out over the hills of the eastern part of Holmes 
and the western part of Tuscarawas county until now 
it is the largest Amish community in America. The 
entire community, including the three congregations 
which worship in meeting houses and the seven dis- 
tricts of the Old Order contains about two thousand 
church members. These congregations have furnished 
a number of settlers for the churches which later were 
established in Logan and Geauga counties, Ohio; 
Howard and Elkhart counties, Indiana; Johnson 
county, Iowa ; Seward county, Nebraska, and in other 
newer communities. 

The second Amish colony in the state was located 
in Wayne county. The pioneer settler was Jacob 


Yoder who came from Mifflin county, Pennsylvania in 
1817. He was followed during the years im- 
Wayne mediately succeeding by Jonathan S. Yoder, 
County David Stutzman, John Zook and Christian 
Lantz from the same county, and Peter, 
Jacob and Abraham Schrock from Somerset. Chris- 
tian Brandt from Switzerland was the first minister 
and David Zook from Pennsylvania, the first bishop. 
Later other settlers came from Europe as well as from 
the older congregations in Pennsylvania. The settle- 
ment has since grown to a fine large congregation of 
about five hundred members. This congregation is 
perhaps the most progressive and cultured Amish 
community in the country. It has produced and kept 
within the church more intelligent and educated young 
men and women than any other single congregation 
in the land. Here was also the home of the late John 
K. Yoder, for many years one of the best known and 
most influential bishops in the church. 

The next settlement was made in Butler county 
along the Miami river. This congregation is of special 
interest because it introduced new 
Butler County, blood into the Amish church of 
a New Element America. The communities thus far 
described in Pennsylvania and Ohio 
were all outgrowths of the parent settlements in Berks 
and Lancaster counties. But now, beginning about 1820, 
a new stream of European immigrants of both Amish 
and Mennonite persuasion again sets in. The causes 
of this general movement to America has been dis- 
cussed elsewhere and needs no repetition here. The 
immigrants usually first reached the older settlements 
in the East and from thence started out in quest of 


new homes in the states farther west. The Amish 
who located in Butler county first came to Lancaster, 
and from thence struck the Ohio river at Pittsburg. 
From here they floated down the Ohio to the Miami, 
then up that stream as far as what is now Butler 
county where they established their first settlement. 

The pioneer in this immigration seems to have 
been Christian Augsburger, who with a family of 
twelve and five other families, arrived here in 1819.^^ 
Other families bearing the names of Imhoff, NafTziger, 
Kennel, etc., soon followed, and by 1830 a flourishing 
congregation had been established. These early set- 
tlers came mainly from near Strasburg. In 1832 
several new families bearing the names lutzi, Hooley, 
Kinsinger, etc., came from Hesse-Darmstadt and 
located near the original settlement. These Hessians, 
coming from a different German state, did not always 
agree with their Strasburg brethren in their religious 
practices. They held more liberal views on many 
questions, among others on the use of musical instru- 
ments, and in the matter of the conventional dress. 
These differences culminated in 1836 in a division. 
The Hessians were served in their religious worship 
by a minister who had come to them from Europe by 
way of Canada, Peter Naiifziger, familiarly known in 
later years as "The Apostle"; and the conservatives 
by Jacob Augsburger. This breach lasted until 1897 
since which time the two congregations have again 
acted in harmony in their religious work. 

Butler county afforded a stopping place for a few 

11. See History of Butler County, published by Western Biographical 
Publishing Company, Cincinnati, 1882; also Centennial History of 
Butler County by B. S. Bartlow. 1905. 


years for many European Amish who during the next 
twenty years drifted down the Ohio, enroute for the 
Illinois settlements which had been begun in the mean 

A number of Germans about 1820 also located in 
§tark county. 

Still another colony, composed mostly of immi- 
grants from near Miihlhausen was established in 
Fulton county. From 1834 to 1850 many 
Fulton families settled in what is now German- 

County town township. Among the earliest set- 
tler were Nicholas King, Jacob Bender, 
Christian Lauber, Christian Rupp, Henry and Jacob 
Roth and John Gunday, who came in 1834. These 
were followed in 1835 by Peter Rupp, Christian Beck 
and others, and in the following years by those bear- 
ing the names Burkholder, Rivenaugh, Stutzman, 
Gascho, Schmucker, Klopfenstein, Stuckey, and 
Wise.^^ This congregation has since grown to large 
dimensions, and although it has within recent years 
furnished a number of recruits for the Egli branch of 
the church, it still contains a membership of about 
six hundred. 

Two more colonies of Pennsylvanians were planted 
in the state before the middle of the century, one in 
1834 in Fairfield county,^^ the other in 1840 in Logan 
county. The Fairfield county congregation was lo- 
cated principally in Pleasant and Berne townships, 
near the earlier Mennonite settlements. It has since 
disappeared, however, most of the members having 

12. See History of Henry and Fulton Covinties, pub. by D. Mason and 

Co., Syracuse, N. Y. 1888. 

13. See article by Joseph Kurtz, in History of Fairfield County, by Har- 

vey Scott. 1877. 


gone to Lagrang-e county, Indiana, and Champaign 
county, Ohio. 

The church in Logan county was founded by the 
Yoders, Troyers, Kings, Bylers, and Kauffmans, who 
had come from Mifflin county between 1840 
Logan and and 1850. The first settlers were Peter 
Champaign Yoder in 1840, followed by Daniel Yoder 
Counties the next year, both of whom had come from 
Mifflin, by way of Wayne county, Ohio. 
Several of the later families came from Holmes 
county. The church was organized in Harrison town- 
ship in 1845 with Joseph Kauffman and Jonas Troyer 
as first ministers. By 1850 the settlement had ex- 
panded over into Champaign county, and in that year 
the first services were held there. In 1863 the first 
Sunday school was organized in Logan county. This 
was the first Sunday school ever held by the Amish in 
America as well as by the Old Mennonites." 


The first settlement in Indiana^^ was the result 
of an extended tour of inspection made by a group of 
land seekers from Somerset county, Pennsylvania, in 
1840. By that time this community again found it 
necessary to seek nevv^ homes for its surplus member- 
ship. Accordingly a group of four men, Daniel S. 
Miller, Joseph Miller, Nathan Smeiley and Joseph 

14. See article by Bishop David Plank, in Historical Review of Logaa 

County, by Robert P. Kennedy. 1903. 

15. For printed information regarding the church in Indiana see. 

Family Almanac, 1875 ; The Amish Mennonites, by S. D. Guengerich,' 
in Gospel Witness, April 5, 1905; Fine Geschichte der ersten An- 
siedlung der Amischen Mennoniten im Staat Indiana, by John F. 
Borntreger; and History of Lagrange and Noble Counties, published 
by Batley and Co., Chicago. 1882. 


Speicher undertook to look up a suitable location for 
a colony in what was then the far "West." They took 
a boat at Pittsburg down the Ohio to the mouth of 
that river, and then ascended the Mississippi to Bur- 
lington, Iowa. From here they traversed by foot the 
present counties of Henry, Johnson, and Washington 
as far as Iowa City. They were well pleased with the 
fertile, rolling prairies of this region and started back 
to report to their brethren at home. The return was 
made across northern Illinois to the little village of 
Chicago, thence across Lake Michigan to the mouth 
of the St. Joseph, and thence up that river by boat. 
Leaving this river after they had ascended it some 
distance, they again started on foot across northern 
Indiana. They soon reached the fertile region east of 
Goshen in Elkhart county. They were so well pleased 
with this locality that they decided to make this, 
rather than Iowa, their future home, and returned to 
Pennsylvania to report their decision. 

Accordingly the next summer four families, con- 
sisting of twenty-four souls, arrived from Somerset, 
and located first on the Elkhart 
Pioneer Congregation prairie, but later on the wooded 
in Elkhart County lands east of Goshen. The 
heads of these families were 
Daniel S. Miller, preacher Joseph Miller, Joseph Born- 
treger, and Christian Borntreger. Two of these soon 
moved ten miles east into Lagrange county. During 
the years immediately following many other settlers 
came to both of these pioneer communities from 
Pennsylvania and Holmes county, Ohio. The first 
church services were held in the spring of 1842 in the 
house of preacher Joseph Miller in Clinton township. 


The church which was organized contained fourteen 
members. From these small beginnings there have 
since developed in Elkhart, Lagrange and Noble coun- 
ties eleven congregations, six of which are of the Old 
Order, with an aggregate membership of about twelve 

Before the Civil war, small colonies had also been 
established in Marshall and Adams counties, and since 
that time a number of congregations, principally of the 
Old Order, have located in Newton, Howard, Miami, 
Allen, Jasper, Davies and Brown counties. These 
settlements are composed largely of Pennsylvanians, 
and the combined membership at present counts up 
about six hundred. 

Several small congregations have also recently 
been organized in Michigan, principally by settlers 
from Indiana and neighboring states. 


The first settlement in lowa^* was made near 
West Point, in Lee county, before 1840, along the 

banks of the Mississippi in the extreme 
West Pont southeastern part of the state. The first 
Colony settlers were European immigrants who 

had stopped for several years in Butler 
county, Ohio, long enough to earn a little money to 
purchase homes for themselves on the cheap lands of 
Illinois and Iowa. Among these men were John 
Rogie, C. Werey, C. Kinsinger, and Andrew Hauder. 

16. See Amish Mennonites of Iowa, by B. L. Wick, printed in Publica-. 
tions of Iowa State Historical Society, 1894, and article by S. D. 
Guengerich in Gospel Witness, April 5, 1905. Some of this informa- 
tion has also been received from John Goldsmith of Wayland, lowa,^ 
«on of the pioneer bishop of the state. 


A little later others came from Wayne county, OhiO" 
and Canada. In 1846 Joseph Goldschmidt, the first 
bishop in the state came from Butler county. This 
colony had located on a tract of land which had been 
set apart as an Indian reservation, and because of 
some difficulty in getting clear titles to their lands 
most of the early settlers later left for other localities, 
some for Illinois ; several others for Henry and Davis- 
counties, Iowa, Before the Civil war the congrega- 
tion had disappeared. 

In 1845 another small prospecting party com- 
posed of Daniel P. Guengerich from Garfield county- 
Ohio, and J. J. Swartzendruber from 
Later Alleghany county, Maryland, came ta 

Settlements Iowa in search of cheap lands. After 
remaining for awhile with the colony in 
Lee county they traveled through the present coun- 
ties of Lee, Henry, Washington and Johnson, and 
decided upon the last for their prospective homes.. 
They returned east and the next spring these two men, 
together with one William Wertz and their families- 
began the first Amish settlement in Johnson county. 
These were followed in succeeding years by many 
others from Germany and from Pennsylvania and 
Ohio, and in recent years from Illinois, who settled in 
all of the above mentioned counties and in Iowa 
county. In the early fifties a small community was 
established in Davis county by one or two Lee county 
settlers and others from Ohio. 

The largest congregation in the state at present 
is to be found in Henry county. The earliest settlers 
here ni addition to those who had moved from Lee 
and Davis counties came principally from Alsace by 


way of Butler county, Ohio. Among them were 
Daniel Conrad, John and Peter Roth, Abraham and 
John Hostetter, J. Lichty, J. Graber and others. 

The combined membership of these settlements 
including several large congregations of the Old Order 
is about eleven hundred. Within recent years small 
communities have also been established in Pocahontas, 
Wright and Calhoun counties. 

Some years ago a division occurred in Henry 

county which under the late Benjamin 

The "Eicher" Eicher developed into a large congre- 

Church gation. This congregation, with two 

places of worship, is now a member 

of the General Conference Mennonites. 

Immigration from 1820 to 1850 

As we have already seen, there was very little 
immigration of either Mennonites or Amish, from 
about 1760 to 1820. But from the latter date to about 
1850 large numbers again left their .European homes 
for this country, owing to the hardships resulting 
from the Napoleonic wars, together with the great 
prosperity which the people of America enjoyed dur- 
ing this period. The Amish came largely from Alsace, 
Lorraine, Bavaria, and Hesse-Darmstadt, and settled 
as we have seen in Butler and Fulton counties, Ohio; 
Lewis county, New York; Wilmot township, Ontario; 
Lee and Henry counties, Iowa; and in Woodford, 
Tazewell and Bureau counties, Illinois. A study 
of the names of these immigrants shows that 
they were for the most part of different stock 
from the Pennsylvania Germans who had come 
to America in the early eighteenth century. The 


most common of these names were Naffziger, 
Oesch, Virkler, Gascho, Schertz, Fahrney, Roggy, 
Rupp, Stucki, Gerber, Guengerich, Belsley, Auer, 
Zehr, Moser, Burkey, Roth, Litwiller, Schrock, Stein- 
man, Albrecht, Bachman, Kennel, etc. They were 
usually poor men and women who upon coming to 
America found their way to the older settlements,, 
generally to Lancaster county, but later to Butler 
county, where they remained long enough to earn a 
little money which they could invest in cheap lands 
in the newer countries. 


The region which next to Butler county evidently 
offered the greatest attraction to these homeseekers 
was Ontario, for there the second settlement was 

made. The history of the Can- 
Pioneer adian Amish begins with the 
Christian Naffziger wanderings of one Christian 

Naffziger from Bavaria, who 
came to America to look up a suitable location 
for a proposed colony from his native congregation. 
Naffziger landed at New Orleans in the spring of 1822, 
from whence he finally found his way by foot, to 
Lancaster county. Here he was directed to Waterloo 
township, Ontario, where a thriving Mennonite com- 
munity had been established some twenty years be- 
fore, and near which there was still plenty of cheap 
land to be had. He arrived at Waterloo in the fall of 
the same year, and being well pleased with the country 
he secured at a nominal cost from the governor of 
Upper Canada a large tract of land, just west of 
Waterloo in Wilmot township, for his proposed 


colony. Returning to Bavaria by way of London 
where he had secured a confirmation of his grant from 
the king, he prepared to lead a colony to the new 
home. He was detained, however, and was not able 
to come back to America until 1826. But in that year 
he and his family, together with a number of friends, 
including two ministers, Peter Naffziger, a bishop, and 
Christian Steinman, arrived safely in Wilmot town- 

In the meantime, however, Naffziger and his 
small colony had been preceded by several German 
families who had reached this region by 
Wilmot way of Lancaster county. Among these 

Township were John Brenneman, Joseph Gold- 
schmidt, John Guengrich, Jacob Kropf, 
Jacob Burky, Isaac Moser, and Joseph Becher. The 
first church was organized in 1824 with John Brenne- 
man and Joseph Goldschmidt as the first ministers. 
This colony has since developed into four large con- 
gregations near the original settlement, and one near 
Lake Huron, founded in 1849.^^ 

New York 

A little later, between 1830 and 1835, several 
families bearing the names Virkler, Fahrney, Naff- 
ziger, Zehr, Moser, and Ringenberg, located near the 
headwaters of the Mohawk, along Beaver creek in 
Lewis county. New York. This congregation, which 
now numbers about one hundred and fifty members. 

17. C. M. Bender. Die Amischen-Mennoniten in Canada, in Familiea 
Kalender. 1903. 


as well as those in Canada, is still very conservative 
in all matters of religious practice.^* 


By far the largest and most important settlement 
made by the immigrants of this period was the one 

made in 1831 along the banks of the 
Wesley City Illinois in what are now Woodford, 
Colony Tazewell and Bureau counties. In the 

spring of 1831 a small company of young 
men and women, most of them unmarried, arrived on 
the banks of the Illinois near what is now Wesley 
City, Tazewell county, and began here the first Amish 
or Mennonite community west of Ohio. These pio- 
neers had come from Alsace and Lorraine the year 
before and had reached the Illinois country by way of 
Pennsylvania, then down the Ohio, up the Mississippi 
and Illinois as far as Fort Clark, now Peoria, a few 
miles to the south of which they began the first settle- 
ment. This company included David Schertz, a miller, 
and his father; Christian Roggy with three daughters; 
Joseph Rusche and two sisters ; Jacob Auer and Peter 

At about the same time other immigrants from 
Alsace began to locate about ten miles farther up the 
river along Partridge creek, between Spring Bay and 
Metamora. During the year, "Red" Joe Belsley pur- 

18. This information was furnished by Christian Roggi of Croghan, 

N. Y. 

19, See in appendix autobiographical sketch of Christian Ropp, manuscript 

in possession of John Ropp, Bloomington, 111. The information 
regarding the Illinois settlements has been secured almost entirely 
from the oldest settlers. 


chased a farm in the bottom lands of the Illinois, near 
Spring Bay, and John Engle who 
Woodford and had spent several years in Penn- 

Tazewell Counties sylvania on his way westward, 
located near the eastern edge of 
the Illinois river's wooded belt, and one mile west of 
Metamora. In 1833 several additions were made to 
the Partridge settlement. Christian Engle, father of 
John, Peter Engle and several Engle sisters, John and 
Joe Virkler settled near Metamora. ''Black" Joe 
Belsley, Christian Smith, and John Kennel located 
near Spring Bay. To the Wesley City colony were 
added this year Peter Guth, John Sweitzer, and Joseph 

Up to this time the colony had been without a 
minister, but after the arrival of Christian Engle, a 

bishop ordained in Europe, a 
The First church was organized in 1833, in 

Church Organized the home of John Engle. This 

was the first church of any de- 
nomination to be organized in Woodford county. 

The colony grew rapidly. Each year new immi- 
grants came from Alsace, Lorraine, Bavaria, or occa- 
sionally from Hesse-Darmstadt, at first by way of 
Pennsylvania and the Ohio river, but later by way 
■of New Orleans and the Mississippi. Between 1834 
and 1850 in addition to those already mentioned came 
the ancestors of those families now bearing the names 
Schertz, Bachman, Garber, Naffziger, Litwiller, Esch, 
Yordy, Burkey, Zehr, Slagel, Summer, Oyer, Ropp, 
Springer, Guth, Sweitzer, Belsley, Allbrecht, Camp, 
Imhoff, Rediger, and several others. By 1840 the 
settlement extended along the Black Partridge creek 


from Spring Bay to Metamora, along the Ten Mile 
creek from Peoria to Washington, along Dillon creek 
in Tazewell county, along the Mackinaw river in 
Woodford county, and along Rock creek in McLean 

In the meantime a few families had also located 
in Putnam county on the banks of the Illinois. In 

1835 a Burkey family from Butler county 
Putnam settled near Hennepin. The next year seve- 
County ral others by the name of Burkey came from 

Bavaria. These were followed in 1837 by 
the Allbrechts from the same place, Hooleys and 
Brennemans from Ohio, and others from Germany 
came later. In 1838 the Allbrechts moved across the 
river into Bureau county, near Tiskilwa. Others fol- 
lowed and soon the entire colony had moved across. 
For a while the congregation was in charge of Bishop 
Andrew Ropp from the Dillon creek congregation, but 
later Joseph Burkey was ordained as the resident 
bishop, a position which he still holds. 

For several years after the first pioneers arrived 
the various settlements in Woodford and Tazewell 
counties formed but one congregation, and services 
were held on Sundays in turn in each locality. But 
as the colony grew separate congregations were or- 
ganized in the several centers of the settlement. Be- 
fore 1840 the following congregations had been formed 
— Partridge, Wesley City (known as "Die Busche 
Gemein"), Dillon creek (now Pleasant Grove), and 
Rock creek, or Mackinaw. The following were the 
first bishops of these respective congregations — Chris- 
tian Engle, Michael Moseman, Andrew Ropp, and 
Christian Ropp, all ordained before 1840. 


All of the early settlers thus far mentioned had 
come from Europe, but between 1848 and 1852 several 
families — Lantz, Troyer, Yoder, 
Pennsylvanians in Kaufifman — from Mifflin county, 
McLean County Pennsylvania, located on the wild 
prairies near the present town of 
Danvers, close to the Rock creek settlement. With 
them came Jonathan Yoder, a well known bishop of 
his day and also Joseph Stuckey from Butler county. 
In 1853 the Rock creek congregation built the first 
Amish meeting house in the state and one of the very 
first in the country. 

In the early fifties a number of Hessian immi- 
grants also settled near Danvers. One of their earliest 
and best known preachers was Michael 
Hessians Kistler, who had originally come from But- 
ler county, but directly from Putnam 
county, Illinois, where a small colony of Hessians 
had also settled. Kistler and his congregation who 
had brought with them from Europe many religious 
practices and customs at variance with those of their 
brethren from Alsace and in America, soon found them- 
selves out of harmony, especially with that part of 
the congregation which had come from conservative 
Mififlin county. Yoder and Kistler represented the 
two extremes of Amish practice of that day. Accord- 
ingly about 1854 the Hessians formed a separate con- 
gregation, as their countrymen had done in Butler 
county some time earlier, and in 1862 built what is 
Icnown as the South Danvers church. The old Rock 
•creek congregation is now the North Danvers church. 

These pioneer settlements, with the exception of 


the last one mentioned were all made in the timbered 
sections of the country along the 
The Prairie Illinois river and its tributaries. Be- 

Congregations ginning with the early fifties, how- 
ever, many of the descendants of the 
original settlers moved to the more fertile prairie 
lands, and in course of time the original congregations 
were transplanted to the prairies near by. In this way 
churches were established, beginning in 1854 at Hope- 
dale, Delavan, Gridley (on the Gridley prairie), 
Roanoke and Fisher. The original Partridge congre- 
gation has erected a church building several miles 
east of Metamora. 

From these original settlements there have de- 
veloped ten congregations. .Exclusive of several con- 
gregations which have joined the "Egli' ' and 
""Stuckey" branches of the church, and of many who 
have moved to other western states the combined 
membership, made up almost exclusively of the de- 
scendants of the early immigrants, is still about eleven 

In addition to the settlements made by the immi- 
grants from Europe, a colony of the Old Order was 
also established soon after the Civil 
Old Order from war in Douglas and Moultrie coun- 
Pennsylvania ties by Pennsylvanians. In 1865 

Mose Yoder and Dan Miller and 
Dan Otto from Somerset county visited Illinois for the 
purpose of finding suitable homes for themselves and 
friends. They decided upon the fertile lands of Moul- 
trie and Douglas counties, in the vicinity of the town 
of Arthur. They moved to the new location the 
following year and were soon followed by their friends 


from Somerset county, and others who had gone to 
Johnson county, Iowa, some time before, and also by 
a number from Holmes county, Ohio. The settlement 
has since developed into four large congregations or 

The Illinois churches have in turn furnished many 
settlers for colonies in Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas and 
•other western states. 


The pioneer congregation in Missouri was located 
in Hickory county about the middle of last century, 
partly by European immigrants, and partly by Amish 
irom the East. Joseph Nafifziger was the earliest 
■settler and was followed by those bearing the names 
Rebe*-, Yoder, Klopfenstein, etc. Soon after the Civil 
war another settlement, now by far the largest in the 
state, was made in Cass county. Small congregations 
"have since been founded also in Johnson, Vernon and 
Boone counties. Jacob Kenagy was the pioneer 
"bishop of this community and was for many years a 
man of great influence among his people.-" 


The cheap lands of Nebraska attracted the Amisk 
.soon after the state was organized. The first settle- 
ment was made by a small colony of eight families in 
1873 in Seward county. The colony grew rapidly 
from the beginning by the addition of many home- 
seekers from Iowa, Illinois and other states. Illinois 

20. See Mennonite Church History, by Hartzler and Kauffman. 


has furnished the larger part of the new settlers.'^ 
Bishop Joseph Schlegel came to the congregation in 
1879 from Iowa, and has ever since exerted a com- 
manding influence over the churches in the western 
states. The congregation now numbers about four 
hundred members. Other settlements, including some 
of the Old Order, have been made in Fillmore, Cum- 
mings. Holt, Hamilton, and Snell counties. 


The earliest settlements in Kansas were made by 
the Old Order in the early eighties in Reno county 
where they now have three congregations. Later 
colonies were established by either one or the other of 
the two branches of the church in Harvey, Pawnee, 
Reno, Lyons, Decatur and Anderson counties. 

Within recent years small communities of Amish 
have been located in Oregon, North Dakota, Colorado, 
Arkansas and Oklahoma, and the work of searching 
for cheaper larKls in the newer states is still being 
carried on, largely by the poorer members of the older 

In doctrine there was not much difference be- 
tween the Amish and the Mennonites. Both adopted 
the Dort confession of 1632 as the best 
Doctrine expression of their faith. The Amish, 

and Practice however, insisted on a more rigid appli- 
cation of the ban and the practice of 
"shunning." They held no conferences and each com- 
munity was independent of every other in its religious 

21. See History of Seward County by W. W. Cox. 


i.ike the Mennonites they had developed a strong 
denominational spirit. They always settled in small 
colonies and thus came very little in contact with out- 

They were in many respects even more conserva- 
tive than the Mennonites and slow to adopt new cus- 
toms in their daily living and religious worship. In 
Europe they had had no meeting houses. Religious 
services were always held in private houses. When_ 
they came to America, at first necessity, but finally 
custom fixed the same practice here. Meeting houses 
before 1850 were everywhere looked upon as worldly, 
and tew were erected. Since the members of the 
congregation often were scattered over a considerable 
territory and many had some distance to the place of 
meeting, the members with whom the congregation 
met, served dinner to all those present. Services were 
generally long, lasting until late in the afternoon, and 
were conducted in the German languge, or in the 
East in the "Pennsylvania Dutch." Preachers usually 
were plentiful. The Partridge congregation in Illinois 
at one time was blessed with thirteen, four of whom 
were bishops. Preachers and other church officials 
were chosen by lot and were of three classes, "vollige 
diener" (bishop), "diener zum buch" (preacher), and 
"armendiener" (deacon). The old hymn book, the 
Ausbund, popularly known as "Das dicke Liederbuch" 
was still used exclusively in religious worship. In 
their singing all sang the melody or "einstimmig" as 
it was called. To sing more than one of the four 
parts seemed worldly and hence was not permitted. 
The use of notes with the hymns was regarded as 
savoiing of pride and for that reason also prohibited. 


The conservatism of the Amish manifested itself 
especially in their personal appearance and manner 
of dress. Pride is apt to show itself most conspicu- 
ously in bodily adornment, and hence in order to be 
"unworldly" which to them frequently meant to be 
unlike other people, they were slow to adopt any 
changes, and frequently went to absurd lengths in 
their customs. Their clothes were home made, of 
prescribed material and cut. The men wore no sus- 
penders, for these were considered useless and worldly 
innovations long after they had come into common 
use among their fellow men. The most conspicuous 
departure from the usual customs of dress was the use 
of hooks and eyes instead of buttons on their coats 
and vests. This also was a relic from an earlier day 
when buttons were unknown. Amman in 1693 had 
insisted on the maintaining of the older custom. For 
this peculiarity the Amish were known in some lo- 
calities in Europe as "Haftler", while the Mennonites 
on the other hand were spoken of as "Knopfler" Taufer, 
Every young man also was required as soon as he was 
able, to grow a beard, but was not permitted to wear 
a mustache. This custom in some European com- 
munities had given them the name of "Bartmanner.'^ 
The hair was worn long and was cut according to a 
prescribed rule. The women, likewise, were extremely 
plain in their clothes. Their dress was of a plain 
color, made with a cape over the shoulders and always 
accompanied with an apron. On their heads they 
wore the old fashioned, long, "slat" bonnet. 

In their homes and in their everyday life the 
Amish were equally plain and simple. Pictures, cur- 
tains, carpets, and everything that did not serve some 


immediate useful purpose was discarded as an evi- 
dence of pride. In the early half of the nineteenth 
century modern top-buggies and in some cases wind 
mills and other modern improvements and conven- 
iences were often regarded as too worldly. 

They were opposed to higher education as were 
also the Mennonites, but were in sympathy with such 
elementary training as would enable their children to 
read and write. 

In spite of these peculiarities, however, the Amish 
possessed the sounder and homelier virtues to a high 
degree, and always won the respect of those among 
whom they lived. They were hardworking, industri- 
ous, frugal, honest, and usually prosperous, owning 
the finest farms and best houses in their communities. 
Above all, they were religious. Wherever a colony 
was located there a church was soon organized. 

This characterization does not apply equally to 
all the Amish before 1850. The Hessians as we saw, 
and to a slight degree the immigrants from other parts 
of Europe differed somewhat in their customs and 
practices from their Pennsylvania brethren. 

Up to 1850, with the exceptions just mentioned, 
the Amish of America were one body and differed 
little in their social customs and religious faith and 
practices. But by that time, owing to the new element 
from Europe, the lack of conferences and the dis- 
integrating influences due to the practice of settling 
in small colonies in various parts of the country, slight 
differences both in opinions and customs began to 
creep into the church. 

The first question to arouse a general discussion 


was that of baptism. About 1850 Solomon Beiler, a 
bishop in Mifflin county, declared that 
Discussions baptism ought to be administered in a 
on Baptism running stream, and not within a house,, 
as had been the practice up to that time. 
The question was taken up by others in the Kishoco- 
quillas Valley, and created considerable discussion, 
Beiler's chief opponent was Abraham Pitsche, another 
bishop in the valley. Under the leadership of these 
two men the discussion was kept up for the next ten 
years. The dispute was never compromised and re- 
sulted in a division of the Mifflin county church. The- 
followers of Pitsche during this time are now called 
the "Pitsche" church. 

In the meantime the question was taken up in 
other localities.-- In 1850 Jacob Yoder, a minister in 
Wayne couniy, Ohio, declared in favor of Beiler's 
views. He succeeded in getting a small following in 
his own county, but was strongly opposed by the 
Holmes county churches which were still very con- 
servative. Differences of opinion on other questions 
also had arisen between these two communities during^ 
this time. So by 1860 one of the Holmes county ad- 
herents, in speaking of Wayne says, 

Es wurde nicht fiir gut oder notwendig angesehen dasz die 
Diener in dem Abrath gehen. Und es wurde zu zeiten Rat 
gehalten bei offnen Thiiren in der Gegenwart von auswartig- 
en Personen. Die alten dicken Liederbiicher wurden ver- 
worfen und die neuen Springweisen eingefiihrt. Auch die 
Gebetbiicher brauchten sie nicht mehr. Bann und Meidung 
wurden selten geiibt. Hochmut, Pracht und Ubermut nahm 
iiberhand. Es hiesz es kommt nicht auf das auszerliche 
an, wenn nur ihr Herz gut ist. Die Hauser wurden prachtig 

22. See Shem Zook. Eine Wahre Darstellung, etc, and David A. Troyer. 
Ein Unpartheiischer Bericht, etc. 


ausgeziert. Alles das und noch viel mehr von solcher art 
entstand durch den obengemeldeten J. Yoder und seinen 

It was for the purpose of harmonizing these and 
other differences which had arisen among the various 
churches of the country that a series 
^^^^^^ of general conferences were held." 

Versammlungen The first of these conferences, which 
1862—1878 were known as "die Diener Versamm- 

lungen," was called together in 
1862 in Wayne county. At this session there were 
present seventy-two ministers from Pennsylvania, 
Maryland, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Iowa. Jonathan 
Yoder of Illinois was chosen as the first moderator. 
The question which had been the source of so much 
discussion for ten years, was taken up for considera- 
tion, but after various opinions had been expressed, 
the subject was dropped without any definite agree- 
ment having been arrived at. This, however, was not 
the only subject upon which the churches differed. 
Levi Miller of Holmes county, representing the con- 
servative element, said that other subjects also needed 
consideration, such as lightning rods, photographs, 
lotteries, large meeting houses, insurance, etc. 

That there was considerable dissension through- 
out the church at this time is shown by the fact that 
the conference appointed special committees to in- 
vestigate the troubles existing between the congre- 
gations of Holmes and Wayne counties, Elkhart and 
Lagrange, and Champaign and Logan. Complaint 

23. David A. Troyer. 

24. For a detailed account of the proceedings of these conferences lee 

the reports pubhshed annually under the title "Die Diener Ver- 
sammlung," Elkhart, Ind. 1862-1878. 


was also made that the congregation in Butler county 
permitted the use of musical instruments. The sub- 
ject of "kleiderpracht" likewise received some atten- 

After a two days' discussion of these various sub- 
jects, evidently without coming to any definite conclu- 
sion on any of them, the conference adjourned to meet 
again the following year in Mifflin county, Penn- 

These meetings were held (annually for some 
years in various states. Questions relating to the 
general policy of the church were discussed. Gen- 
erally discussions were plentiful, but definite decisions^ 
few. One of the sessions held during the war decreed 
that no member could serve as a teamster in the army, 
neither could any one who had been in the war and 
had been disabled before he had been a member lay 
claim to any pension that might be due him. In 1868 
it was decided that since the Amish were a non- 
resistant people, they could not deliver up a thief to 
the civil authorities for punishment. During several 
of the following years the trouble with Joseph Stuckey 
claimed some attention from the conference, but the 
later sessions with a few exceptions are not of great 
interest. Among the leading spirits of these confer- 
ences were J. K. Yoder of Wayne county, Jonathan 
Yoder and Joseph Stuckey of Illinois, John P. King of 
Logan county, and Shem Zook, a layman from Mifflin 
county, who frequently acted as secretary of the con- 
ference. Although these meetings may have been 
productive of some good, yet they failed to bring 
about the object for which they were first called — har- 
mony among the various factions. The last sessior* 

^ THE JONATHAN SCHR(3CK BARN of Wayne county, 
Ohio. Here was held in 1862 the first of the series of the Amish 
"Uiener Versammlungen." The meeting houses were not large 
enough to accommodate the large crowds that used to attend 
these meetings and so many of the conferences were held in 
large barns. 



was held in 1878 near Eureka, Illinois. The reasons 
for the discontinuance of the sessions were lack of 
interest on the part of the ministry, failure of the con- 
ference to bring about harmony, and to a slight degree 
petty jealousies among some of the leaders. Some 
years later the general conference was replaced by 
state and district conferences. 

During this time the church had become divided 
into several permanent factions. On the one hand the 
congregations in Butler county, Ohio, and McLean 
county, Illinois, discarded some of the earlier restric- 
tions on dress and adopted a more liberal church policy. 
On the other hand a goodly number of the extreme 
conservatives withdrew from the conference and to- 
gether with others who had never favored it, main- 
tained without any modification the good old customs 
of the fathers. These are now generally known as the 
Old Order. In between these two were left a large 
number of congregations which occupy a middle posi- 
tion. These have gradually assumed the name Amish- 
Mennonite, and are found principally in Ohio, Indiana 
Illinois and the western states. 

The Old Order furnish an interesting relic of the 
customs which prevailed among all the Amish several 
generations ago. In spirit they have 
Old Order changed none at all within the last fifty 
Customs years, and in practice very little. The 
men still use hooks and eyes and wear 
beards and long hair. Their clothes are still home- 
made and cut after a pattern common generations ago. 
Many are still suspenderless. The women still wear 
the plain tight-fitting dress, with the cape and apron, 
and the old fashioned bonnet. In addition, their con- 


servatism has kept them from adopting many of the 
daily conveniences as well as religious practices which 
have come into use during the last fifty years. Among 
the "new" things which are still under the ban are 
telephones, top-buggies, dashboards, bicycles, furn- 
aces, carpets, window curtains, musical instruments, 
"note" books, "store" suspenders, etc. They have no 
meeting houses and are opposed to conferences, Sun- 
day schools, revivals, and evening meetings. 

Even within these limitations, however, there are 
slight differences among the various communities. 
The church in Mifflin county serves as a good illustra- 
tion of the different varieties of Amish. There are 
five in the valley, ranging from the most conservative, 
locally known as the "Nebraskas" whose women still 
wear the old Shaker hat, the predecessor of the bonnet, 
tied under the chin, and whose men are not permitted 
to adorn themselves with suspenders ; and the 
"Peacheyites", two steps higher, who may wear one 
single suspender provided it be home made ; and next, 
those who may hold up their trousers with the double 
suspender but who insist on most of the other restric- 
tions ; the congregation organized a few years ago by 
Abe Zook, then last the Amish Mennonites who wor- 
ship in church houses, maintain Sunday schools and 
have discarded most of the restrictions on dress with 
the exception of the bonnet. 

The principal centers of the Old Order are Lan- 
caster and Mifflin counties, Pennsylvania, Holmes 
county, Ohio, Lagrange, Elkhart, Howard and Davies 
counties, Indiana, Douglas and Moultrie counties, Ill- 
inois, and Washington and Johnson counties, Iowa, 
with smaller communities in many other places. 


While these events above mentioned were tak- 
ing place, the church in other parts of the country 
was being agitated by the appearance of 
The "New a new sect from Switzerland — the so-call- 
Amish" ed New Amish. 

These "New Amish," as they are call- 
-ed in Illinois, or "Neu Taufer," as they are known in 
Ohio, or the Apostolic church, as they name them- 
selves, are not a branch of the Amish as their name 
might suggest, but their early history both in Europe 
and America is so closely associated with that of the 
Amish that a brief sketch of this connection is not 
out of place here.-^ 

The Apostolic church was founded by Samuel 
Frolich, a theological student at Zurich, who in 1832 
was deposed from the ministry of the Reformed 
church in Argau. He immediately began to organize a 
ohurch of his own. While engaged in this work he 
visited Emmenthal, and there was well received by 
Christian Gerber and Christian Baumgartner, two 
Amishmen who were dissatisfied with their own 
•church. Two years later George Steiger, a disciple 
■of Frolich's, and at that time a young man of twenty- 
one, appeared among the Amish of Emmenthal and 
•organized a large church of sixty dissatisfied Amish, 
including Gerber and Baumgartner, and of a larger 
number of the national church. Steiger rebaptized 
all the new proselytes and taught that only those who 
followed his teaching could be eternally saved. All 
other teaching was false. The new sect grew rapidly 
and early manifested that seclusive and self-righteous 
spirit which has been characteristic of them to this 

25. See Ernst Miiller, Geschichte der Bernischen Tauf«r, p. 389. 


•day. They kept themselves from contact with the 
■outside world as much as possible, and would not 
send their children to public schools, but established 
private schools. They followed to the letter the teach- 
ing of Luke 10: "Salute no man by the way." 

In 1846 seven of these people came from Switzer- 
land to Ohio, where they soon found their way to the 
Swiss Mennonites in Wayne county and secured a 
small following among them.-* In 1852 several more 
appeared among the Amish of Lewis county. New 
York, and won over to their faith some of the Verk- 
lers, Fahrneys and others. From here one of the 
Verklers and a certain Weynet, one of the leaders 
from Switzerland came to Woodford county, Illinois, 
and began proselyting among the Amish. Their 
first converts were Joseph Graybil, who became their 
first minister in Illinois, John and Joseph Verkler, 
cousins of their namesake from New York, Peter 
Engle, one of the earliest settlers of Woodford county, 
and others who had been more or less dissatisfied 
with the church, and thus fell an easy prey to the 
proselyting zeal of the strangers. A small following 
was also gained in the Dillon creek settlement. Gray- 
bil was a zealous devotee of the new sect and labored 
unceasingly to win new converts. In 1862 he went 
to Butler county, Ohio, and established a small church 
among the Amish at that place. 

Small congregations have since been organized in 
•other states, but Illinois is still the stronghold of the 
sect. The growth at first was slow. By 1877 they 
numbered in all only eighty-nine members. But dur- 
ing recent years there has been a heavy immigration 

'.26. See introduction to "Glaubens Bekenntnisz der Neuen Baptisten." 


from Switzerland and now there are a number of 
large congregations in central Illinois, aggregating in 
all perhaps several thousand members. 

In doctrine and practice this sect has been in- 
fluenced somewhat by the fact that many of its earliest 
adherents came from the ranks of the Amish. They 
are thoroughly non-resistant, and have nothing to 
do with civil government. In dress they are extreme- 
ly plain, but as a result of Swiss influence the women 
are permitted to wear plain hats instead of bonnets. 
In doctrine, however, they differ in several respects 
from the Amish. They baptize by immersion and ob- 
serve the practice of feetwashing, although not in 
connection with the communion service. They are 
very exclusive and have as little business and social 
relation with others as possible. Religious associ- 
ation with other churches they have none whatever. 
They are forbidden by the rules of their organization 
to listen to the preaching or praying, or any religious 
exercise performed by a minister not of their faith, 
and for that reason they never attend the funeral 
services of even their nearest relatives if such relatives 
or friends were not members of their sect. 

They make free use of the ban in their religious 
discipline, and insist on a rigid application of the prac- 
tice of "shunning of such as are expelled. This prac- 
tice shuts out an expelled member from all business,, 
social and religious association with his former fel- 
low-members. Frequently the ban completely dis- 
rupts the domestic relations of the family. Husband 
and wife are not even permitted to eat at the same 
table when one or the other has been excommunicated. 
The practice has worked havoc in a number of fam- 


ilies in central Illinois. The most notorious case was 
that of Samuel Moser, who because of strained fam- 
ily relations was led to brutally murder his wife and 
three children several years ago. This case and sev- 
eral others similar to it have given the New Amish 
within recent years considerable notoriety, and called 
forth a great deal of unfavorable criticism throughout 
the state. 

Hardly had the excitement which was caused by 
the appearance of the New Amish in New York, Ohio 

and Illinois subsided when another church 
The "Egli" trouble arose, this time in Adams county, 
Defection Indiana. The principal in the factional 

strife here, which was the beginning of 
another church division, was Henry Egli, a minister 
of the Amish congregation in this county. 

About 1864 ,Egli began to urge the necessity of 
a definite experience of regeneration in the religious 
life. His charges against the church were that it was 
too formal, that applicants for membership, especially 
among the younger element, were received with in- 
sufficient preliminary instruction, that the members 
were lacking in spiritual life and that they were not 
strict enough in maintaining the old customs, especial- 
ly with regard to dress. Some of these charges no 
doubt were the result of personal contention, but that 
the church at this time frequently paid more attention 
to the letter than to the spirit there can be no doubt. 
Even though some of these charges were well founded, 
it cannot be said that Egli and his immediate follow- 
-ers reduced this formality to a very appreciable ex- 
tent. It simply cropped out among them in another 


Egli in 1866 withdrew from the church and or- 
ganized another which has since been called the "Egli" 
Amish by those of the organization which he forsook. 
A large part of the congregation in Adams county 
later became identified with the movement. 

A few years later the same contention arose in 
Livingston county, Illinois, under the leadership of 
Joseph Rediger, bishop of the congregation. Rediger, 
with the assistance of Egli, who was a distant rela- 
tive of his and with whom he had had some communi- 
cation before on the subject organized a small "Egli" 
church out of a few of the dissatisfied members of the 
Gridley congregation. 

In the Wesley City congregation almost the en- 
tire membership, including Michael Moseman, one of 
the pioneer bishops of the state, and Nicholas Roth, 
another minister, turned to the new faith. From 
these small beginnings have developed large congre- 
gations at Gridley and Groveland, Illinois, Berne,Ind- 
iana, Archbold, Ohio, and a number of smaller con- 
gregations in other states. 

This church although spoken of as the Egli Am- 
ish by the members of the parent organization, 
calls itself officially the Defenseless Mennonite church. 
The name is somewhat misleading to those unac- 
quainted with Mennonite history, since "defenseless- 
ness" is no more characteristic of this than of other 
branches of the Mennonite denomination. The name 
was officially assumed during the Civil war when in 
negotiating for a deed to the church property at Grid- 
ley this term was hit upon. 

At first the Egli people were very strict in their 


discipline and were more rigid in maintaining the 
old regulations with regard to dress than the Amish, 
They were quite exclusive and had little religious or 
social affiliation with the church from which they 
withdrew. They insisted on a definite "religious ex- 
perience" and rebaptized all those that could not con- 
fess that they had been truly converted at the time 
of their first baptism, a confession which of course 
under the circumstances few could make. 

During recent years, however, a marked change 
has taken place in the relation of the two organiza- 
tions. The second generation of the Egli branch has 
assumed a more liberal attitude toward the old church, 
and the latter too has changed decidedly for the bet- 
ter, and so the two are again working in harmony in 
the interests of a broader Christianity. 

Hard upon the Egli division followed the trouble 
between Joseph Stuckey and the general conference 
already mentioned. Stuckey was a 
Illinois Conference bishop in the Rock creek, Illinois, 
of Mennonltes congregation, and was one of the 

leading men in the church. He 
was intelligent, of strong personality, a writer of some 
ability, and talented with more than ordinary execu- 
tive power. He was one of the leading spirits 
Joseph in the general conference, and was more 
Stuckey liberal minded on religious questions than 
most of his fellow ministers. This brought 
liim into friction occasionally with other leaders even 
before 1870, about the time when his troubles began. 

About this time a certain Joseph Yoder, a member 
of Stuckey 's congregation, a school teacher and a dab- 


bier in verses, wrote a long poem which he published 
under the title of "Die Frohe Botschaft." 
■"Die Frohe The leading thought in the poem was 
Botschaft" that all men will be saved eternally and 
none punished for their sins. This senti- 
ment was rank heresy among the Amish and natur- 
ally aroused a good deal of resentment. The confer- 
•ence which met in Fulton county, Ohio, in 1870 dis- 
cussed the question. What is to be done with those 
members who do not believe in future punishment? 
and finally resolved after a long discussion to expel 
such from the church if they persisted in their er- 
rors. Stuckey who evidently was of the same opinion 
as Yoder on this question refused to excommunicate 
the latter and thus ran counter to the decision of the 
conference. The next session, held in Livingston 
county, Illinois, took up in secret meeting the con- 
tention between Stuckey and his fellow ministers. A 
committee of seven was appointed to investigate the 
matter. Another committee of three — Abner Yoder 
of Iowa, Samuel Yoder and Moses B. Miller of Penn- 
sylvania — was appointed to visit the churches in Ill- 
inois and report their condition at the next conference. 
The conference of 1872 met in Lagrange county, 
Indiana. After reading the report of the above 
committee which was carefully worded so as not to 
make any definite charges but was full of general ad- 
monition, Stuckey was requested to make a public 
confession. Stuckey was present at the conference but 
his name does not appear on the official register, be- 
ing withheld at his own request, as he said that he was 
absent part of the time, and did not wish to sub- 
scribe to the proceedings with which he had nothing 


to do. There is no evidence from the records that he 
made a confession. "Die Frohe Botschaft" again 
came up for discussion at this session. Several verses 
were read before the conference and it vv^as again de- 
clared that all members holding such opinions as were 
expressed in the poem were to be placed under the 

In the meantime another committee consisting 
of J. K. Yoder, J. P. King and A. Yoder, all easterners, 
was appointed to visit the Illinois congre- 
Eastern gations and adjudicate the difficulties be- 

Committee tween Stuckey and Christian Ropp, an- 
other bishop in the same locality. In Oc- 
tober of 1872 this committee visited Stuckey and 
among other questions asked him whether he acknowl- 
edged the author of "Die Frohe Botschaft" as a broth- 
er in the church. He replied in the affirmative and 
added that he had permitted Yoder to participate in 
the communion service. Whereupon the committee 
declared that they could no longer consider him in 
harmony with the church at large, and consequently 
they were obliged to withdraw from him and his con- 
gregation. Most of the churches in Illinois accepted 
the decision of the committee as final and it was an- 
nounced in the various congregations that Stuckey 
and his congregation were no longer considered a 
member of the general conference. After this he was 
no longer present at the conferences which continued 
to be held for several years. There was no further 
formal division however. The Illinois congregations 
were independent of each other and each went its own 
way. But when in the eighties, the Western district 
conference was organized Stuckey's church was not 


included. Since then, his followers have been con- 
sidered as a separate branch of the church. 

This is the story as it appears in the conference 
reports. Of course this does not tell everything. 
Back of it all there were in addition to the contentions 
already mentioned, many petty jealousies and lack 
of forbearance on the part of various conference lead- 
ers. Stuckey was without doubt more liberal minded 
than most of the ministers of his time, but on the other 
hand many of the others, especially the easterners, 
were still addicted to formalities which have since 
been discarded. Had the Illinois congregations been 
permitted to settle the controversy in their own way 
it is altogether probable that there would have been 
no division. 

As we saw, Stuckey's congregation stood by him 
in this contention. He also retained supervision over 
a small church at Meadows, which he 
The Stuckey had served as bishop before 1870. Soon 
Congregations after, he also organized a church near 
Washington among a number of mem- 
bers of the Partridge congregation who had become 
involved in a church quarrel. His brother, Peter 
Stuckey, had charge of this congregation for many 
years. Since then many of the old church have gone 
over the Stuckey following, which has grown con- 
tinually from the first. There are at present twelve 
congregations in central Illinois and nearly as many 
more scattered throughout Ohio, Nebraska, Iowa and 
Indiana. The entire membership approximates two 

In 1899 these congregations organized a confer- 


ence now known as the "Illinois Conference of Men- 
nonites," Although a branch ■ of the 
Conference Amish church they disown the name 

Organized 1899 as well as the term "Stuckey" Amish, 
by which they are commonly known 
among the old church, and have assumed the more 
comprehensive name of Mennonite.^^ 

In doctrine this branch of the church does not 
differ from the main body. In their practices they are 

a little more liberal, especially with re- 
Leading Men gard to dress. Women are permitted to- 

wear hats instead of bonnets. Under 
the leadership of such men at Peter Schantz, Valen- 
tine Strubhar, Joseph King, Emanuel Troyer and Lee 
Lantz, all of them comparatively young men and tal- 
ented, the church is making steady progress both in 
numbers and spiritual life. 

27. This tendency manifests itself in all the branches of the denom- 
ination. All, with the exception of the Old Order Amish, arc- 
now assuming the name Mennonite. The factional names are 
used in this book merely for the sake of convenience and greater 



The Mennonites during the Revolution were gen- 
erally opposed to the war.^ It was not because, like 
the Tories, they favored the .English crown, 
Opposition but because they were antagonistic to all 
to War war and rebellion as inconsistent with their 
religious principles. Their attitude toward 
the questions at issue was generally one of neutrality, 
although at heart many of them may have secretly 
wished well to the cause of the colonies. 

How they were exempted by several of the col- 

See Pa. Arch., V. 767. Also Governor McKean's letter to John, 
Adams, written Jan. 7, 1814, quoted in Mass. Hist. Coll. Fifth 
Ser., Vol. IV. p. 506. 

"Dear Sir— In your favor of the 26 of November last you yen- 
ture to say that about a third of the people of the colonies were 
against the Revolution. It required much reflection before I 
could form my opinion on this subject, but on mature deliberation 
I conclude you are right and that more than a third of the 
influential characters were against it. The opposition consisted 
chiefly of Friends or Quakers, the Mennonists, the Protestant Epis- 
copalians whose clergy received salaries from the Society for the 
Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign parts, and from the officers^ 
of the crown and proprietors of Provinces with their connections, 
adding the timid and those who believed the colonies would be 
conquered and that of course they would be safe in their persons- 
and property from such conduct, and also have a probability o» 
claiming office and distinction, and also the discontented and ca» 
pricious of all grades." 


onies in the early years of the war from active rhilitary 
service has been told elsewhere. This ex- 
Fincs and emption was secured, however, by the 
War Taxes payment of a money fine, or in other cases 
by other service such as hauling provis- 
ions, and similar work. 

That these fines were imposed and collected can 
be seen by an examination of the records of the war 
officials of that time. From Lancaster county in 1780 
among others, the following fines are reported,^ 


Martin Funk 50 

John Shank 50 

John Hostater 90 

Michael Staufifer 110 

Peter Yorty 110 

John Hertzler SO 

From Chester county are reported among others^ 

£ d. d. 

John Buckwalter 26 12 10 

Christian Holdeman 13 

Matthias Pennypacker 55 5 1 

David Buckwalter 55 5 1 

These fines as well as the regular war taxes were 
not always paid willingly nor without some attempt 

to evade them. The question of war taxes 
Fines led, as we shall see, to dissension among 

Opposed some of the congregations of the Franconia 

conference district. Being a nonresistant 
people, many of them, like the Quakers, felt that to pay 
a fine or a special tax for the support of war was as in- 
consistent with their religious principles as to enlist in 

2. Pa. Arch., Sec. Ser., VI. p. 433. 

3. S. W. Pennypacker. Annals of Phoenixville, p. 118. 


the army for actual service. How general this view- 
was among the Mennonites it is difficult to say, but 
Christian Funk,* waiting of the conditions at this time 

The majority of the ministers in the western part of 
Montgomery county were opposed to the payment of a new 
war tax of three pounds, and ten shillings which had been 
levied in 1777. 

The Mennonites objected not only to service in 
the army and the payment of fines and occasional 
war taxes, but also to the new oath which soon after 
the Declaration of Independence was required of all 
subjects of the newly formed sovereignties. Penn- 
sylvania, like all the other states required a new oath 
of allegiance from all its citizens. To the usual ob- 
jections to oaths in general, the Mennonites added 
to this one in particular the fear lest it might obligate 
them to espouse the Revolutionary cause and to take 
up arms in its defense. 

That this opposition was quite general is shown 
by a letter written in 1778 by a local official in Lan- 
caster county to a Mr. Bryan, at that time the Vice 
President of Pennsylvania. He says. 

You will forgive these hints which will give your 
weightier affairs but little interruption to be used as you think 
they deserve. I have been in several parts of three counties 
of this state and find in all great complaints made by 
Menomsts and Quakers, of the oath of allegiance now re- 
quired of its subjects as including an obligation to fight con- 
trary to their known principles. They say, a good many at 
least, that they would affirm to be faithful subjects of the 
state endeavoring nothing to its hurt, but discover all they 

4. See Christian Funk's Mirror for all Mankind. 


knew doing so etc., in consistence with their principles 
against bearing arms. To require more of them they say is- 
persecution. And though the constitution promises the rights 
of subjects to all denominations, presently oaths are required 
which they cannot take unless otherwise qualified, without 
renouncing their principles and they are sincere in their 
profession. I find some of our sensible Whigs say that an 
oath of allegiance suited to these people's known sentiments 
might increase the Friends of the state and lessen the warm 
discontents of many, and then levy more from them than 
others under the name of a Tax for the use of the state, but 
not fines, as they would enjoy greater advantages by not 
bearing arms. And such as refuse qualifications so framed 
would have no excuse but appear plainly to be enemies. ^ 

Many of the Mennonites refused to take the oath 
and in some cases such as did take it were excommun- 
icated from the church.^ The state authorities, how- 
ever, knowing them to be peaceable citizens and not 
enemies, were lenient toward them. 

It is not at all surprising to find that the motives of 
the Mennonites in their refusal to support the war 
and take the new oath were misunder- 
Misunderstood stood and frequently misconstrued. Not 
to take up arms against the British 
and not to take the oath were construed as indica- 
tions of loyalty to the king of England and of un- 
friendliness to the state of Pennsylvania, As we 
have seen, both the state and colonial governments 
in Pennsylvania were generally considerate of Men- 
nonite and Quaker consciences on these questions. 
Usually also Mennonites were not seriously disturbed 
by the radical patriots in their own immediate local- 
ities. Occasionally, however, when the heat and ex- 

S. Pa. Arch, First Ser., VI. p. 572. 

t. See case of Henry Funk. Pa. Arch., Sec. Ser., III. p. 463. 


citement of the struggle was at its highest, attempts 
were made by irresponsible mobs to deprive them, 
like the Tories, of their property, and in other ways 
to intimidate them, A broadside now to be seen in 
Independence Hall in Philadelphia shows that even 
in Lancaster where their principles ought to have 
been best understood by their neighbors, they were 
not altogether secure from mob violence. The broad- 
side was issued by the Committee of Inspection and 
Observation of Lancaster county under date of May 
29, 1775, and reads in part as follows. 

The committee having received information that divers 
persons whose religious tenets forbid their forming them- 
selves into military associations have been maltreated by 
some violent and ill disposed people in the county of Lancas- 
ter not-withstanding their willingness to contribute cheer- 
fully to the common cause otherwise than by bearing arms, 

The Committee then proceeds to discourage such 
mob spirit. 

In still another sense were the Mennonites, es- 
pecially those of Southeastern Pennsylvania, brought 
face to face with the realities of war. Many of the 
campaigns for the possession of Philadelphia during 
the year 1777 and later were carried on within the 
Mennonite settlements. The little stone church at 
Germantown which had been built just a few years 
before occupied the very center of the battle-field 
in the battle of Germantown and it was from behind 
the stone fence which surrounded the churchyard that 
one of the leading British generals was shot. The 
famous winter quarters of 1777-78 were located in 
the Skippack region and in Chester county between 
Phoenixville and Valley Forge. A number of the 


Mennonites in this region were impressed into the 
teaming service during this time. 

Lancaster county was not invaded by either army 
during these campaigns, but the commissary depart- 
ment of the Continental army during the 
Lancaster later years of the war cast longing eyes 
Raided upon the fair fields and well fed cattle of 

the rich farmers of this region. Horses 
and wagons were also frequently impressed into ser- 
vice for hauling provisions. The following list of 
articles impressed from the farmers of Manheim 
township in 1780 shows the valuation placed upon 
horses and wagons at that time in terms of continental 

Benjamin Landis. . Wagin, cloth feeding trought, lockchain, 

water Bucket and Tar Pat. £1,080. 

Henry Landis. . Black horse, hind geers and two bags £1,800 

Christian Meyers.. 1 Grey horse, hind geers and 2 bags, 


The well to do German farmers of the county, 
most of whom were Mennonites, had no intention, 
liowever, of trading their stock for worthless con- 
tinental scrip, if they could escape it. A member of the 
Commissary department in writing to President Reed 
in 1780 regarding the difficulty of getting cattle, says, 

Ycur excellency will please observe that many of the 
wealthy Mennonists who live in the neighborhood of Lan- 
caster, Manheim and Conestoga drive Flocks of cattle over 
the mountains in the Spring season to the great distress of 
the poor inhabitants. These men have them undoubtedly to 
spare, otherwise they would keep them on their farms and' 
therefore ought to be taken from them. But this cannot 
be done without the assistance of 10 or 12 men to drive them 

7. Pa. Arch., Sec. Scr., III. p. 376. 







together which would be attended with extra charges. There- 
fore wait your Excellency's particular Instructions in the 

As we have already seen, the majority of the 
Mennonites during the Revolutionary war, although 
in real sympathy with the cause of the colon- 
Funk ists, yet tried to maintain a strict neutrality 
Schism so far as taking active part in the controversy 
was concerned. Some, however, were out and 
out in sympathy with the Crown and after independ- 
ence had been won a number of them, principally 
from Bucks and Montgomery counties, emigrated to 
Canada where they might still enjoy the rule of the 
king. Others again, were as eager to declare their 
sympathy for the American cause. Among these was 
Christian Funk of Indian creek in Montgomery county 
who in bringing this question to an issue was the 
author of the first division in the Pennsylvania church. 

The trouble began in 1776 when a meeting was 
held in Indianfield township (now Franconia) two- 
thirds of the inhabitants of which were Mennonites, 
for the purpose of choosing three men to represent 
the township in a general convention which was to 
determine whether or not Pennsylvania should join 
the other colonies in the war and whether she should 
acknowledge her independence from England. Most 
of the Mennonites who were present took the position 
that since they were a "defenseless people and could 
neither institute nor destroy any government, they 
could not interfere in tearing themselves away from 
the King." In this opinion Funk seems at the time to 
have concurred. But when during the following year 

8. P«. Arch. First Series. VIII. p. 38. 


his fellow ministers felt that their nonresistant prin- 
ciples obliged them to refuse to pay a special war tax 
which had just been levied he disagreed with them. 
The fact that the prospects of American success at 
this time seemed gloomy may have had something to 
do with determining the attitude of the majority, for 
"the Congress and American Government," Funk says, 
was rejected as rebellious and the King acknowledged by 
my fellow ministers under the idea that Congress would 
soon be overpowered. I now began to say that we ought 
not denounce the American government as rebellious. 
Funk contended that the tax ought to be paid and 
said, "Were Christ here he would say give Congress 
that which belongs to Congress and to God what is 
God's." Andrew Ziegler, the spokesman for the op- 
posite party, replied, "I would as soon go to war as 
pay the three pounds and ten shillings."^ 

This was the beginning of a difference of opinion 
which soon spread among the churches of Montgomery 
county. Funk in the fall of 1777 was denied the right 
of communion, then soon after the right to preach and 
finally in 1778 he was excommunicated because, as 
he says, he paid the "three pounds and ten shillings 
and would not oppose Congress." He organized a 
small band of his followers into a church which grad- 
ually built up small congregations at Evansburg, 
Line Lexington, Towamencin and several other places. 
In 1805 and again in 1806 Funk tried to heal the 
breach which he had helped to make in 1778, but he 
was not successful. After his death, his son, John, 
assumed the leadership of the "Funkites," as the sect 
was called. The organization never developed much 
strength. Meetings were held in the scattered con- 

9. See Christian Funk's Mirror for all Mankind. 


gregations for some time, but the sect began to de- 
cline and by 1850 became extinct. One of the chief 
causes of this decline, according to the author of the 
Funk Family history, was 

allowing one John Herr, a heretic from Lancaster county, to 
preach among them and divide them, some taking sides with 
John Herr in his peculiar doctrines, and others opposing 
which caused a division among themselves a part adhering 
to the Herrites and a part opposing.!"^ 

About the time of the Funk schism, occurred also 
the apostasy of Martin Boehm. This event, while in 
no way the result of the Revolutionary war, 
Martin yet occurred during that period of our story 
Boehm and may as well, be told here as elsewhere. 
Martin Boehm was a grandson of Jacob 
Boehm who came to Pennsylvania in 1715 where he 
soon joined the Pequea settlement in Lancaster county. 
Martin was born in 1725 and when he entered man- 
hood inherited the family homestead, one mile south 
of Willow Street. In 1756 he was ordained a Men- 
nonite minister by lot, as was the custom at that time 
among the Mennonites. Four years later he was 
chosen in the same manner to the office of bishop. 
We know very little about his ministry until a few 
years later when he visited Virginia, and there came 
into contact with the so-called "New Lights." These 
New Lights were a by-product of the great religious 
revival which at that time was sweeping through the 
colonies. As a result of this revival a few of the 
churches of the several denominations of that day 
were divided into two classes, the New Lights, as 
those were called who laid great stress upon inward 

IG. A. J. Fretz. Funk Family History, p. 340. 


experience and outward manifestation of the Spirit in 
religion, and the Old Lights, or those opposed to the 
revival and its methods. It was this wave of revival 
excitement which caught up this man, who had begun 
to preach, as he said, not because of inward conviction, 
but because he was formally chosen by lot. This 
must have taken place in 1761, for his son Henry, a 
well known pioneer Methodist preacher in Pennsyl- 
vania, says in his Reminiscences that in that year he 
(Martin) "found redemption in the blood of the Lamb 
and became a flame of fire and preached with the 
Holy Ghost sent down from Heaven. His success 
was wonderful and the seals of his ministry were 
numerous. "^^ From this time on no doubt the re- 
lations between Boehm and his fellow ministers be- 
came strained, although we do not find that any defin- 
ite action was taken against him until about 1775. 

From an old manuscript written during the Rev- 
olutionary war and quoted by John F. Funk in his 
Mennonite Church and her Accusers we learn that 
after repeated efiforts to reconcile Boehm with his 
congregation, the church finally expelled him on the 
following charges,^" 

1. Because he had too much intercourse and fellowship 
with professors who admit and allow war, and the swearing 
of oaths. 

2. In this that he says that Satan is a benefit to man- 

3. He said the Scriptures might be burned. The word 
is a dead letter. 

4. He said that Faith cometh from unbelief, life out 
of death, and light out of darkness. 

11. See Henry Boehm. Reminiscences of Rev. Henry Boehm. 

12. John F. Funk. The Mennonite Church and her Accusers, p. 41. 


-\ -+ — t-- ^ <D 

"> rt q 3,0 3 ro 

3 rt> „ :z. 5. ^r 

trq rt- C- rD o 3 


5. He said that the old men (bishops and ministers) 
lay so much stress upon the ordinances, viz., baptism and 
communion, and the people are thereby led to the Devil and 
not to God. 

In the meantime the Methodists had just entered 
Pennsylvania, and began their preaching in Lancaster 
county. Boehm soon became attracted to them by 
their fervent appeals. In 1775 a Methodist "class" was 
organized in his home and his wife became one of the 
charter members. During the years immediately fol- 
lowing, his house was frequently used as a stopping 
place for pioneer Methodist preachers, and he himself 
frequently preached with them. In 1791 he built a 
small chapel on his farm in which services were held. 
"This building, which is still standing, is considered 
by the Methodists as their first meeting house in 
Lancaster county, and one of the very earliest in the 
state. Although working with the Methodists, yet 
Boehm did not wholly identify himself with their 
organization. He was rather for a time an indepcnd- 
•ent preacher, laboring with any church which he 
found congenial. 

A little later he became, in connection with Otter- 
tein, a minister of the Reformed church, the founder 
of the United Brethren organization. The story of 
the beginning of this church is told briefly by Henry 
Boehm as follows : 

Mr Otterbein's church was built on Howard's hill. My 
father and he met at Isaac Long's a few miles from Lancas- 
ter. Various denominations had been invited to meet there 
and my father preached the first sermon which was attended 
with peculiar unction and when he had finished, Mr. Otter- 
bein arose and encircled him in his arms and exclaimed, 
■"We are brethren." Shout after shout went up and tears 


■flowed freely from many eyes, the scene was so pentecostal. 
Such was the origin of the United Brethren church. 

In 1800 Boehm and Otterbein were both elected 
as the first bishops of an organization which grew 
up soon after the above mentioned episode. Boehm 
was re-elected in 1805. But in the meantime he had 
his name also enrolled in the Methodist class book. 
It is difficult to say just what his church connections 
were during this time. His own son says that in his 
later years he was a Methodist. He died in 1812 and 
lies buried near the little chapel which he built in 1791. 
The epitaph on the stone which marks his final resting 
place fittingly describes his checkered religious ca- 

Here lie the remains of Rev. ISIartin Boehm who de- 
parted this life (after a short illness) March 23, 1812, in the 
«7th year of his age. Fifty four years he freely preached the 
Gospel to thousands and labored in the Vineyard of the Lord 
Jesus in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia among many 
denominations but particularly the Mennonites, United 
Brethren and Methodists with the last of whom he lived and 
died in fellowship. He not only gave himself and his ser- 
vices to the church but also fed the Lord's prophets and 
people by multitudes. He was an Israelite in whom was no 
gnile. His end was peace. 



As we have already seen, the attitude of the ma- 
jority of the Mennonites toward the Revolutionary 
war was one of neutrahty. Some, 
Emigration from however, and especially those of 

Pennsylvania after western Bucks and Montgomery 
The Revolution counties, while apparently neu- 

tral, yet at heart favored the cause 
of the king. The period of anarchy which followed 
the close of the war from the signing of the treaty 
•of peace to the formation of the constitution naturally 
did not lessen the distrust of these loyalists, of the 
new government. 

At the same time some of the younger and poorer 
people of Lancaster, Bucks, Montgomery and other 
of the older counties in Pennsylvania were looking for 
cheaper lands in newer regions, since the land in the 
southeastern part of the state had already all been 
taken up. Even before and during the war colonies 
had emigrated to Maryland, Virginia and across the 

1. For the facts of this chapter the author is indebted largely to the 
work of Ezra E. Eby. A Biographical History of Waterloo 
Township. (1895) 


Allegii^iiies into the valleys of the Juniata and Yough- 
iogheny. Colonization societies were being formed for 
the purpose of helping the poorer members of the older 
communities to find homes. 

Why not go to Canada? Here the home seeker 
might find large tracts of cheap uncultivated land not 

far from the American line, and the 
Lincoln County loyalist, an opportunity to serve the 
Colony 1786 king. Among the first to turn their 

eyes in this direction were a small 
group of men from the region of Plumstead, Bucks 
county. As early as 1786- John, Dilman, Jacob and 
StofiFel Kulp, Franklin Albright and Frederick 
Hahn left this community for the Canadian 
"border. Following up the Susquehanna through 
Penns3dvania and then through New York they 
crossed the Niagara River and located in Lin- 
coin county, about twenty miles from Niagara 
Falls. In 1799 there were added to the colony Jacob 
Moyer, Amos Allbright, Valentine Kratz, Dilman 
Moyer, John Hunsberger, Geo. Althouse, Abraham 
Hunsberger and Moses Fretz ; and in 1800 John 
Fretz, Daniel High, John Wismer and a number of 
others. Later several small scattered settlements 
were made to the south in Wellington, Welland and 
Haldimand counties. 

This settlement thus far was without a minister. 
In 1801 one of the members wrote to the church in 
Bucks county, asking that the parent church send a 
bishop to help them ordain a minister. The Bucks 
county church advised them to select one of their own 
number to serve them. In accordance with this 

2. W. H. H. Davis, History of Bucks County. 


advice Valentine Kratz became the first minister of 
the settlement in 1801 ; and Jacob Moyer in 1807 was 
elected as the first bishop. 

In the meantime another colony had been estab- 
lished farther out on the frontier. In 1799 Joseph 
Schoerg and Samuel Betzner from Franklin 
Waterloo county crossed Pennsylvania and New York 
County for the region beyond the lakes. After spend- 
ing the v^inter on the Canadian side near 
Niagara, the next spring they started out on a tour 
of investigation, and finally selected the fertile and 
heavy timbered regions along the Grand river in vi^hat 
is now Waterloo county as their future home. This 
part of the country was as yet still unsettled, except 
by a few fur traders who had erected temporary 
quarters along the banks of the river. Returning to 
Niagara, these two pioneers the next year took their 
families to the new country and located about thirty 
miles beyond Dundas, Waterloo county, which then 
marked the line of settlements. Schoerg bought a 
tract of land on the east side of the Grand river 
directly opposite the present village of Doon, and 
Betzner, on the west side near the present village of 

Later in the spring of the same year several 
families from Lancaster county came with teams^ 
wagons, and household goods, and located in the same 
neighborhood. This second party was composed of 
Samuel Betzner, Sr., John Reichert and Christian 

These early settlers, although they had to endure 
all the hardships incident to pioneer life, yet were well 
pleased with their new homes and wrote encouraging 


accounts of the possibilities of the new country to- 
their relatives and friends in Pennsylvania. As a re- 
sult several families from Lancaster and Montgomery 
counties decided to emigrate to Canada the following^ 

The first party to arrive in the spring of 1801 was 
composed of David Gingerich and family, and his 
father Abraham, from Lancaster county. These were 
followed a little later by a small company of seven 
families and several unmarried men from Montgomery 
county, composed of George, Abraham and Jacob 
Bechtel, Dilman Kinsey, Fenjamin Rosenberger, John 
Biehn, Sr., John Biehn and several others. During the 
same year also came Michael Bear from York county.. 
By the fall of 1801 there were twelve families in the 
new colony, all of whom located in the southern end 
of Waterloo township near the Grand river. During 
the following year, in 1802, the colony was increased' 
by new settlers from Cumberland, Montgomery and 
other counties in Pennsylvania. 

These early settlers had to endure many hard- 
ships. The journey from the Pennsylvania settle- 
ments to Waterloo covered about five hundred miles 
and had to be made over mountains,. 
Through Swamp through forests and almost impass- 
and Forest able swamps. Some went on horse- 

back, but most of them loaded their 
household goods upon the well known Conestoga 
wagons to which were hitched four or five horses. 
The earliest pioneers frequently took their cattle with 
them and thus were often supplied with milk on their 
way. The road, usually followed, led across the Alle- 
gheny mountains, thence up the Susquehanna through 


New York and struck the Niagara a little below 
Buffalo. From here the journey was made to Duudas 
by the way of what is now Hamilton, and from there 
through the almost impassable "Beverly Swamp" to 
the new settlement along the Grand. The time oc- 
cupied in the entire journey was usually from four to 
eight weeks. 

This region was all heavily wooded and the first 
few years were occupied largely by the settlers in mak- 
ing small clearings from which they might extract a 
scanty living, and in erecting their first log cabins. 

The land thus far had all been purchased from one 
Richard Beasley who owned the greater portion of 
Waterloo township. The purchasing" 
The Beasley price ranged from one to four dollars 
Fraud per acre. In 1803 it was accidentally dis- 

covered that the land owned by Beasley 
was under a heavy mortgage, amounting to twenty 
thousand dollars. Those who had already bought 
tracts became alarmed and feared lest their titles 
might prove defective. Others refused to buy, and 
immigration to the colony ceased for the year. Beas- 
ley now suggested to the settlers that they buy the 
entire township and assume the mortgage. The set- 
tlers accordingly in 1804 met and sent Samuel Bricker 
and Joseph Shoerg to Franklin and Cumberland coun- 
ties for the purpose of raising the required am.ount 
among their relatives and friends. They were not 
successful here and Bricker returned to Canada. But 
Shoerg proceeded to Lancaster county in the hope that 
he might enlist the sympathy of the Lancastrians in 
the enterprise. Here too his efforts would have come 
to naught had it not been for old Hans Eby, who ad- 


vised his brethren at a meting which had been called 
to consider this question, not to regard the matter 

from the standpoint of a profitable in- 
Hans Eby's vestment, but as an opportunity of help- 
Advice ing their brethren in distress. His advice 

prevailed and soon a stock company was 
organized for the purpose of buying the entire town- 
ship. Samuel Bricker was appointed as the agent for 
the newly organized company, and Daniel Erb as his 
assistant. These men then finally were given twenty 
thousand dollars, all in silver, which it is said was 
placed in a large box and carried in a light wagon to- 
Canada, where finally it was turned over to Beasley, 
while the company in return received a clear title to 
60,000 acres of land in what is now Waterloo county. 
A draft of the township of Waterloo was then made 
and a copy sent to the stockholders in Lancaster. The 
entire tract was then divided into lots of 448 acres 
each, and each stockholder drew by lot his share of 
the entire tract according to the amount of stock 
which he held. 

In the meantime, while these events were taking 
place in Waterloo, the tide of immigration had been 
turned in another direction. In the same year in 
which the Beasley fraud was detected, 1803, a new 
settlement had been made in York county, near Mark- 
ham, about twenty miles north of Toronto. ■ Among 
the first settlers here as well as one of the earliest 
ministers was Henry Weidman. The community now 
consists of four small congregations. Soon after this- 
a stock company was also formed in Pennsylvania for 
buying land in Woolwich township, just north of 
Waterloo. Forty-five thousand acres were purchased 
in 1807. 











After 1804 Waterloo township again received the 
largest share of Pennsylvanians. Each year brought a 
few new colonists from Lancaster, Berks, Bucks, 
Montgomery, Franklin and Cumberland counties. 
Some years brought more than others. During the 
war of 1812 immigration was light, but it was heavy 
in the years 1825 to 1829, owing to rather hard times 
in Pennsylvania during those years. By 1835 Penn- 
sylvania immigration had practically ceased, although 
a few individuals continued to come as late as the 
American Civil war. The Canadian settlements also 
received a part of the European wave of immigration 
during the second decade of the century. The col- 
onists of Waterloo located as we have seen on both 
sides of the Grand river near Doon and Preston. 
Later, settlements were made to the north until all of 
Waterloo township was occupied by the Mennonites 
and finally the community extended over Woolwich 
and surrounding townships. Berlin, the principal 
town in this region, was once called Ebytown and in 
1827 it was given its present name upon the suggestion 
of Bishop Benjamin Eby. Among the most common 
names to be found among the descendants of these 
early pioneers to Canada are Bauman, Bechtel, Bergey, 
Betzner, Brubacher, Burkholder, Cressman, Detweiler, 
Eby, Erb, Gehman, Gingrich, Reist, Sherk, Staufifer, 
Grofif, Hagey, Hallman, Kolb, Horst, Honsberger, 
Hoffman, Martin, Moyer, Musselman, Reichert, 
W^eber, Schneider, Shoemaker, Shantz, Witmer, and 

During the war of 1812 communication between 
the Canadians and their Pennsylvania brethren of 
course was broken off, and there was no immigration 
for a few years. The Mennonites were not forced to 


serve in the army, but a number of them were im- 
pressed with their teams into the trans- 
War of 1812 portation service. None lost their lives 
while engaged in the service, but in the 
battles fought around the Niagara peninsula and in the 
vicinity of Detroit several of them lost their teams and 
wagons. After the war the British government made 
good these losses and paid them for actual service. 
Christian Schneider, Jr., was paid $5.00 per day for 
the time he served with a two horse team, and $8.00 
for service with a four horse team. 

We have already seen that at "The Twenty" 
Valentine Kratz was ordained to the ministry in 1801. 

When the settlers of Waterloo first 
First Minister organized for religious purposes we 

do not know, but no doubt very soon 
after their arrival. In 1806 Benjamin Eby came to 
the settlement. Three years later he was ordained to 
the ministry and in 1812 to the office of bishop. From 
this time till his death in 1853 he exerted a strong in- 
fluence over the Canadian church. In 1813 the first 
Mennonite church building, made of logs, was erected 
on his farm and was known as the Eby church. Here 
bishop Eby preached and also taught school during 
the winter months for many years. He was a man of 
more than ordinary talent, and wrote several books 
the most important of which is a short history of the 

The first conference of the Canadian church was 
held about 1820. By this time there were, as we have 
seen, three Mennonite communities in Ontario each of 
which became a conference district — Waterloo, Lin- 
coln and York county. 


The Mennonites of Canada like their brethren in 
the States did not escape internal dissensions. About 

the middle of the last century there be- 
Internal gan a movement in Lincoln county in 

Dissensions favor of more aggressive church work. 

The leader of the movement was Daniel 
Hoch, a minister, who advocated more modern meth- 
ods of church work and especially greater evangelistic 
activity. The result of this agitation was a division of 
the church. Hoch soon affiliated himself with Ober- 
holtzer in Franconia, who, as we shall see elsewhere, 
led a similar movement in Pennsylvania. Hoch 
warmly seconded the efforts of Oberholtzer in 
1860 for the establishing of a general conference of 
a number of liberal independent congregations in 
America and was one of the organizers of that move- 
ment. His followers in Canada never developed much 
strength and in 1875 affiliated themselves with the 
"New Mennonites." 

The New Mennonites, under the leadership of 
Solomon Eby and others, founded another schism 
which soon united with the Reformed Mennonites of 

The Martinites or "Woolwich people", as they are 
spoken of locally, include a number of members of the 
Woolwich township church who in the early seventies 
sympathized with Jacob Wisler of Indiana in his stand 
for conservative ideas. In the eighties these formally 
withdrew from the church and now form an inde- 
pendent body, although they associate in religious 
work with the Wisler Mennonites of Indiana. 

The general awakening of the Mennonite church 


throughout the United States in recent years of which 
mention is made elsewhere, also 
Coffman's Work manifested itself in Canada. In 1890 
in Ontario the first Mennonite Sunday school 

conference in America was held in 
Canada. This was soon followed by the evangelistic 
work of John S. Coffman. Here Cofifman did some 
of the best work in his entire evangelistic career. 
Immense crowds were drawn to the meeting houses 
to hear him preach. Large numbers of young people 
were converted and brought into the church, and the 
churches everywhere revived. From this time on the 
Canadian Mennonites have made steady progress both 
spiritually and numerically. There are at present 
about thirty congregations in the three districts in 
Ontario, most of which are in Waterloo county, with 
a total membership of about fifteen hundred. 



Settlements in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and the Western 


In the settling of the North West Territory the 
Pennsylvania Germans were not far behind the New 
Englanders, who established the first 
Pioneers in the colony in Ohio in 1788. Just ten 
Hocking Valley years after Marietta was founded a 
small group of Germans from Lan- 
caster county, Pennsylvania, on a prospecting tour, 
floated down the Ohio, past the village of New Eng- 
landers to the Hocking river, then up that stream as 
far as what is now Fairfield county. Here a few years 
later was founded a little village called Lancaster in 
"honor of the county from which these early settlers 
came. In this group there was at least one Mennonite, 
Martin Landis, who having returned to Pennsylvania, 


came back again the following year, 1799, and located 
two miles south of the town of Lancaster.^ 

Landis built a church on his land which was to 
be used, however, by all denominations. No Menno- 
nite congregation was organized until several years 
later when a number of Mennonites came to this 
region from Virginia and Fayette county, Pennsyl- 
vania. Among these were Henry Stemen,- who 
located near the present town of Bremen in 1803. He 
was followed by families bearing the names Good, 
Brenneman, Beery, Lechrone, Gulp and Steiner. In 
1809 Stemen became the first resident minister of the 
congregation which must have been organized some 
time before this, and in 1820 he became one of the 
pioneer Mennonite bishops of Ohio. For over thirty 
years he performed the duties of his office — visiting 
his scattered congregations in various parts of central 
Ohio, and was finally succeeded by J. M. Brenneman. 
The second settlement in the state was made in 
1811 in what is now Stark county,^ on the left bank of 

the Tuscarawas creek, near the present 
Stark County city of Ganton. The first settlers in 

the community, the Lehmans, Rohrers, 
McLaughlins, Oberlys, Shefifards and others came from 
Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, and Rockingham 
■county, Virginia. The first log church house was built 
in 1823. This was replaced by a larger building in 
1874, but the congregation is now almost extinct. 

1. Sec A. A. Graham. History of Fairfield and Perry Counties. 

2. See C. B. Stemen. History of the Stemen Family. 

Z. For much of the information regarding the church in Ohio I am 
indebted to manuscript sketches compiled by various local authori- 
ties for M. S. Steiner, of Columbus Grove, Ohio, and kindly loaned 
by him to me. 


Soon after this, another colony was established 
along- the borders of Mahoning- and Columbiana coun- 
ties. In 1815 Jacob Oberholtzer, a preacher from 
Bucks county, Pennsylvania, 
Mahoning and located on a farm in Beaver 

Columbiana Counties township. He was followed 
during the years immediately 
succeeding by the ancestors of the present Blossers 
from Virginia, Metzlers from Lancaster county, Leh- 
mans from Franklin county, Detweilers from Mont- 
gomery county, Yoders from Bucks and Lehigh coun- 
ties, and others from Southeastern Pennsylvania. All 
of these settled in the southeastern part of Mahoning 
county and near Leetonia in Columbiana county. In 
1817 Bishop Jacob Nold from Bucks county, Pennsyl- 
vania, located near Leetonia and became the first 
Mennonite bishop in the state, and later organized 
congregations in Georgetown, Canton, Orrville and 
Wadsworth, In 1825 a meeting house was erected in 
the northern part of the settlement and in 1828 another 
in the southern. The community how comprises 
several congregations with an aggregate membership 
of about three hundred and is the largest Mennonite 
settlement in the state. 

In the meantime a number of Mennonites from 
Switzerland had immigrated to Ohio. As we have 
already seen, the martial spirit engen- 
The Swiss dered by the Napoleonic wars in South- 
Immigrants western Europe during the early part of 
the nineteenth century drove many Men- 
nonites and Amish from Switzerland and Southeastern 
France, and Germany, to seek homes in America, 
which at this time appealed especially to the Europeans 


as the land of opportunity for the oppressed. This 
immigration began about 1817 and continued until the 
early fifties. The Amish, as we saw elsewhere, began to 
arrive about 1820 and located principally in Butler and 
Fulton counties, Ohio, Canada, Lewis county, New 
York, Illinois, and Southeastern Iowa. The Menno- 
nites settled in Ohio, Indiana, St. Clair county, Illinois, 
and Southeastern Iowa. 

The Mennonites from the canton of Berne in 
Switzerland led this stream of immigrants.* In 1817 
Benedict Schrag left for America, and arriving in Ohio 
mot long after, located on a farm near Orrville, Wayne 
•county. He wrote to his friends in Switzerland, urg- 
ing them to cast their lot with him. In 1819 he per- 
•suaded Isaac Sommer, David Kirchofer, Peter and 
^Irich Lehman to join him. These men left Berne in 
April and took ship for New York at Havre. After a 
-voyage of forty-seven days they landed at New York 
^rom whence they came to Wayne county on foot by 
■way of Philadelphia, Lancaster, Pittsburg and Canton. 
They all purchased land in the eastern part of the 
county in the very center of what later was called the 
Sonnenberg congregation. In 1821 seven families with 
several single men were influenced to join the new 
colony. These were followed by other small 
parties in 1822, 1824 and 1825. Between 1825 and 
1835 the immigrants came in large numbers.' It soon 

For a more detailed sketch of the Swiss settlement in Ohio see article 
by D. A. Schneck in Gospel Witness, Scottdale, Pa., for Jan. 1, 
1908. See also History of Allen County by R. H. Harnson, Phila. 

Among the Swiss immigrants to this locality from 1821 to 1825 were 
Bishop John Lehman, Abraham Zuercher, Jacob Bixler, Peter Hof- 
stetler, Jacob Moser, John, Christian and Abraham Lehman, David 
and Samuel Zuercher, Ulrich, Jacob and Michael Gerber, Christian 
Recr, Peter and John Welty, John and Abraham Tschantz, John 


became necessary to found new settlements. In 1833 
Michael Neuenschwander, who had located in Wayne 
county in 1823, moved to Putnam county.* He was 
soon followed by others from Wayne and Holmes 
counties, and new arrivals from Switzerland. Here 
was organized what has since become a large and 
prosperous congregation, near Bluffton. About the 
same time also others moved to Adams county, Indi- 
ana, where there has since developed a large congrega- 
tion. Some of these settlements have grown into large 
communities. The original Sonnenberg congregation 
has a membership of about four hundred, the Bluflf- 
ton, about seven hundred, while the congregation at 
Berne, Indiana, numbers about seven hundred and 

The Swiss Mennonites did not affiliate themselves 
with the main body of the American church. They 
brought with them from Switzerland, and maintained 
after their arrival, new customs, new forms of dress, 
and a strange dialect, all of which tended to separate 
them in religious worship from the Old Mennonites. 
The congregations at Bluffton and Berne, together 
with a part of the Sonnenberg church have within re- 
cent years affiliated themselves with the General Con- 
ference Mennonites. 

In 1825 a number of Mennonites from South- 

and Christian Wahley, Christian and Abraham Gilliom, Abraham 
Falb, Nicholas Hofstetler, Michael Boegly, John Lugibihl, David 
Baumgartner, Ulr'ich Sommer, Peter Schneck, David Althaus, UI- 
rich and Peter Moser, Bishop Daniel Steiner, Ulrich and Christian 
Steiner. — D. A. Schneck, in Gospel Witness, Jan. 1, 1898. 

See Mennonite Year Book and Almanac (Eastern Mennonite Confer- 
ence). 1907. 


eastern Pennsylvania, bearing- the names Overholt, 
Geisinger, Weidman, Leatherman, 
Pennsylvanians in Rohrer, Hoover and Tintsman 
Medina County established a community near 

Wadsworth, in Medina county. 
This community in spite of the fact that it has been 
the battle ground of three church controversies during 
the last half century has since developed into several 
good-sized congregations. 

In 1834 another settlement was made by Penn- 
sylvanians, just south of the Medina county com- 
munity, near Orrville in Wayne county. The first 
settlers were John Rohrer and Jacob Buchwalter, fol- 
lowed soon after by families bearing the names Horst, 
Brenneman and others. 

During the next thirty years numerous attempts 
were made to establish congregations in the north- 
western part of the state — in 
I^ater Settlements in Wood, Seneca, Williams, Ash- 
Northwestern Ohio land, Clark, Franklin, Hancock, 
Allen and Putnam counties. 
With the exception of the last three, however, 
the congregations in this region never made 
much progress. The largest and most prosperous 
community in this part of the state is now near Elida, 
in Allen county. John Thut who came here in 1849 
was for many years a prominent Mennonite bishop in 
the state. 

During all this time of early settlement numerous 
Amish communities were also being established within 
the state, but their story is told elsewhere. 

The history of the church in Ohio differs very 
little from that of the same body in other states. Be- 


ing among the earliest settlers in the state, the Menno- 
nites experienced all the hardships of pioneer life. 
Their communities were small and scattered, and per- 
haps for this reason they were a little less conservative 
and more open to outside influences than the larger 
and older settlements from which they came in Penn- 
sylvania. Within recent years especially, the Ohio 
conference has occupied a position well to the front in 
all educational, missionary and other progressive 
movements of the church at large. 

New York. 

In the meantime several small settlements had 
been made in Northwestern New YorkJ It is said that 
one Johannes Roth from Lancaster county located near 
what is now Williamsville, in the northwestern part 
of Erie county, before the Revolutionary war. It does 
not seem, however, that he was immediately followed 
by others. But by 1824 families by the name of Leib, 
Lehman, Martin, Frick and others had settled near by. 
John Lapp became the first minister. Several other 
families came later, including Jacob Krehbiel, who 
arrived from Weyerhof in Rheinpfalz in 1831. 

A little earlier, in 1810 and 1811, another colony 
had been located a little farther north. Hans and 
Abraham Wittmer from Lancaster county had settled 
in Niagara county. These communities never made 
much progress and are now nearly extinct. 

7. John Krehbiel, Clarence Center, N. Y., in D. K. Cassel's History of 
the Mennonites. 



The first Mennonites to come to Indiana, as just 
indicated, were the Swiss who settled in Adams county 
in 1835. The Old Mennonites located 
Swiss in Adams in the state a few years later than 
County 1835 either the Swiss or the Amish and in 

the same county as the latter, — Elk- 
hart.« In 1843 one John Smith from Medina county, 
Ohio, visited the county and de- 
John Smith in cided to locate in Harrison town- 
Elkhart County 1843 ship. He went back to Ohio but 
two years later returned with his 
son Joseph, Christian Henning and Bishop Martin 
Hoover, all from Medina county. In the Spring of 
1848 Christian and Jacob Christophel and Jacob Wisler 
came from Columbiana county, Ohio, and on Ascen- 
sion day of that year the first meeting was held in a 
log school house. Sixteen persons were present on 
this occasion. During the course of the same year 
twenty-four families, including those by the names of 
Hartman, Holdeman, Moyer, Rohrer, Weaver, Nuss- 
baum, Freed, Weldy, Yoder, Brundage and Smeltzer 
from Wayne, Medina and Columbiana counties, all 
settled in the southwestern part of Elkhart county. 
The next year the first meeting house, now known as 
the Yellow Creek church, was erected. 

In 1853 a small colony of Dutch led by R. J. 
Schmidt and N. J. Symensma immigrated to the same 

a. See Family Almanac, Elkhart, Ind., 1876. 


locality from Holland. For a number of years these 
people held separate services in their own 

The Dutch language, but finally most of them joined 

Colony what is now known as the Salem congre- 

gation, and their descendants now make 

up a large part of that community. 

From these beginnings there have developed 
eleven congregations in Elkhart and surrounding 
counties with a membership of about eleven hundred. 
There are also several congregations in Michigan 
which are included in the Indiana Conference district. 

The church in this state, being composed largely 
of Ohioans has differed very little in its development 
from the church in Ohio. Some of the leading men 
among the Mennonites in the state during the last 
half century have been Jacob Christophel, Daniel 
Brenneman, Jacob Wisler, John S. Cofifman and John 
F. Funk, none of whom, however, were born in 

Two enterprises which have grown up in the state 
have exerted considerable influence upon the entire 

body of Mennonites. One, the Men- 
Influence of the nonite Publishing Company located 
Indiana Church at Elkhart, has done more than any 

other agency for the last forty years 
through its church papers and other publications to 
inspire Mennonites of all branches with a deeper re- 
spect for their common faith and history and with 
higher conceptions of religious duty. The other, 
Goshen College, recently established at Goshen, is 
beginning to exert considerable influence upon every 
phase of religious and intellectual activity, especially 
among the younger element in the church. Neither 


of these institutions, however, can be claimed by the 
churches of Indiana. Both began as individual enter- 
prises, and both have very largely been under the con- 
trol of men who originally came from without the 


Mennonites settled in Illinois even before they 
came to Indiana. In the Spring of 1833 Benjamin 

Kindig, a member of the original 
Kindig Settles in Lancaster county Kindig family, to- 
Tazewell County gether with his family left his home 

in Augusta county, Virginia, to seek 
better opportunities for himself on the cheaper lands 
of Illinois.^ Loading all his worldly possessions on 
three wagons, he began his journey overland through 
Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois for his new home. In 
October of the same year, after a journey of eight 
hundred miles which was made in seven weeks, he 
reached what was then known as Hollands Grove in 
Tazewell county. 

Kindig was a Mennonite and was soon followed 
by other families from the same region in Virginia, 
who although not of the same faith' at that time were 
undoubtedly of Mennonite descent. Soon after, other 
Mennonites came. In 1837 Peter Hartman arrived 
from Bavaria, Germany, by way of Lancaster county, 
Pennsylvania. From the same county came also Ben 
Kauffman, in 1842. Ben Brubaker arrived from Rich- 
land county, Ohio, in 1851. These were followed by 
families bearing* the names Althaus, Hirstein and 
others. The first minister and bishop was one Yost 

9. See Journal of David Kindig. 


Bally, who had come to Illinois very early from Penn- 
sylvania. Not much is known of his early life as a 
minister except that for many years he was the pioneer 
bishop of the early settlements in the state. He was 
later assisted by Henry Baer, who afterward became 
the first preacher in the congregation which was es- 
tablished in Livingston county. This first congrega- 
tion in Illinois never prospered. Its membership has 
always remained small. Nearly all the descendants of 
the earliest settlers have left the church. Among 
these are the Kindigs, Kaufifmans and Brubakers, 
names which today are well known in central Illinois. 
Soon after, beginning about 1842 several families 
immigrated from Bavaria and located near Galena in 
Jo Davis county. The first to come 
Jo Davis County was Henry Musselman. He was fol- 
lowed some years later by Johannes 
Baer, Peter Neuenschwander and others. A congrega- 
tion was organized but had a feeble growth. 

Another settlement of Bavarians and other Ger- 
mans was made a little later, from about 1843 to 1860 
in St. Clair county, near Summer- 
Bavarians in field. Among the earliest immi- 
St. Clair County grants were Jacob Pletcher, 1843, 
Christian Baer, 1844, and Jacob 
Leisy, 1852. At this time, from about 1840, many of 
the German immigrants located in Iowa. Some of 
these moved to Summerfield between 1855 and 1860. 
Others came later from Germany and the community 
has since grown to large dimensions. This congrega- 
tion has been one of the most progressive in America 
and has had among its pastors some of the ablest men 
in the entire church. In 1861 it formed, together with 


three congregations in Iowa, the General Conference 
of Mennonites of North America. It has ever since 
held an influential position in that organization.^" 

About the same time, also in the forties a small 
settlement was begun in Stephenson county, near 
Freeport. Among the earliest 
Stephenson County families to locate here were those 
of Godfrey Groft, John Brubaker, 
and Martin and Samuel Lapp from Clarence Center, 
New York. Others came later from Canada and Penn- 
sylvania. The first resident minister was Martin 
Lapp, who also later became the pioneer bishop of 
Missouri. ^^ 

In 1858 four families, those of Abe Harshbarger, 
Samuel Graybill, Samuel Harshbarger and John 

Heckelman came from Virginia to 
The Cullom Livingston county, and located on 

Congregation what was then still a raw prairie near 

the present town of Cullom. These 
were soon followed by others from Grundy county, 
Illinois, where a settlement had been formed some 
time earlier but which has since disappeared, and from 
Woodford county. 

During this time too a number of families had 
located in Whiteside county, near Sterling. Among 

the first settlers were Jacob Suavely, 
Settlement Leonard Hendi^cks, Henry Heckler, 

Near Sterling and others, principally from Bucks and 

Lancaster counties, Pennsylvania. 
This has since grown to be the largest Mennonite con- 
gregation in the state. 

10. For information regarding this settlement I am indebted to Rev. C. 

van der Smissen of Summerfield, Illinois. 

11. John Horsch, in Herald of Truth for December 1, 1891. 


In 1865 William Gsell from Franklin county, 
Pennsylvania, settled near Morrison. He was fol- 
lowed by Henry Nice and several other families and a 
church was organized in 1868. 

In this same year also was organized near Sterling 
a congregation of Reformed Mennonites who had 
come from Pennsylvania. 

No new communities were started in the state 
after 1865. By that time the states farther west 
afforded greater attractions for such Easterners as 
were seeking cheaper lands and broader opportunities. 
The Old Mennonite church in Illinois has never grown 
to large proportions. This was due partly to the fact 
that the various congregations have been scattered 
throughout the state and have come from different 
localities in the East and from Europe, and thus hav- 
ing little in common but their faith, they did not unite 
their efforts to extend their cause. There are at 
present six congregations with a total membership of 
scarcely four hundred. 

Western States 

Although the Amish had located in Iowa as early 
as 1839, few Mennonites from the older states seem 
to have crossed the Mississippi before the Civil war.^^' 
In Missouri a small colony had been established in 
Shelby county during the fifties. In Iowa also quite a 
number of immigrants from Bavaria and the Palatin- 
ate had located in the southeastern part of the state 

12. For more detailed information regarding the recent settlements and 
history of the Mennonites and Amish in the western states the 
reader is referred to Hartzler and Kauffman's Mennonite Church 


during the early forties and fifties/^ The three con- 
gregations which resulted from this German settle- 
ment as we have seen were among the charter mem- 
bers of the General Conference of Mennonites. 

These two settlements, however, with perhaps 
several individual members in other parts were the 
only Mennonites to be found west of the Mississippi 
before 1860. 

Soon after the war there was considerable immi- 
gration of all classes into these western regions, and 

among some of these settlers were several 
Missouri bands of Mennonites. In Missouri small' 

colonies were planted in Shelby, Cass, 
Moniteau, Morgan, Chariton, Cedar, Hickory and 
Jasper counties. Some of these communities were 
hardly formed, however, before they were again 
broken up. The hard times of 73 together with the 
poor judgment which some had exercised in the 
choice of their lands drove some back to their eastern 
homes, and others to Kansas where they fared even 
worse than they had in Missouri. For a number of 
years the church decreased in membership, but finally 
with what may be called the general awakening of the 
Mennonite church all over the country during the 
early eighties, the church in Missouri was also given 
a new lease of life. With the help of eastern evan- 
gelists, foremost of whom was John S. Cofifman, old 
communities were revived and new ones established.. 

13. In 1845 John Miller, one of the pioneer Mennonite ministers of the 
state, and Henry Leisa were cruelly murdered in their log cabin 
by a gang of robbers. The leader of the robbers was finally- 
executed. The trial was given wide publicity at the time. 


In Iowa the earliest Old Mennonites were found 
in Page county and later in Keokuk county, 
Iowa which now contains the only congregation in 
the state. 

Settlements in Kansas and Nebraska were begun 
about 1870. Henry Yother, a Pennsylvania bishop was 
one of the first to locate as far west as 
Kansas and Nebraska. During the years immediately 
Nebraska following, others, principally from Penn- 
sylvania and Virginia, settled in Marion 
and McPherson counties, Kansas. About the same 
time also several families of the "Holdeman" branch 
of the church and large numbers of Russians came to 
Kansas, but of these we have spoken elsewhere. Later 
new congregations were formed in Osborne and 
Harvey counties, Kansas, and in Adams county, Ne- 

The early settlers in these states had to endure 
many hardships during the early days. Many were 
poor and had located on homesteads. They lived in 
sod shanties and often were able to eke out a bare 
existence. Hot winds and grasshoppers drove some 
back to their former homes in the East or other more 
favorable parts. But others remained and have since 
become fairly prosperous. 

From these states and from some of the churches 
in the older states small communities have within re- 
cent years been established in Idaho, Oregon, North 
Dakota, Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas. Most of 
these congregations are small. The entire membership 
of the Old Mennonite church west of the Mississippi 
is hardly more than fifteen hundred. 


The reader has perhaps already been struck with 
the fact that the Mennonites and Amish have every- 
where appeared among the pioneers in 
Mennonites the settlement of the unoccupied lands of 
as Pioneers our country. By founding Germantown 
in 1683 they not only became pioneer 
settlers in Pennsylvania, but established the first reg- 
ular German settlement in America. In 1710 they 
were the first white settlers of the Conestoga region 
and followed hard on the heels of the Scotch-Irish 
huntsmen who had blazed the way for the first per- 
manent settlers. Before 1750 they appeared in the 
Shenandoah Valley with the earliest Germans to ven- 
ture into that region. In 1772 they crossed the Alle- 
ghanies and established one of the earliest communi- 
ties in the valley of the Juniata. Again before the 
Revolutionary war they appeared among the first set- 
tlers in Southwestern Pennsylvania, near the head- 
waters of the Ohio. 

In Ohio they ascended the Hocking river and 
located in Fairfield county just ten years after the 
founding of Marietta. In Illinois they began to clear 
the timber along the banks of the Illinois in 1831, just 
ten years after the first log cabin had been erected in 
that part of the state. In Iowa in 1839 they located in 
the southeastern part of the state before the raw 
prairies had ever been occupied by white men. And so 
all through the West and the Northwest — in Kansas, 
Nebraska, the Dakotas, Oregon, Oklahoma and the 
Canadian Northwest, wherever new lands have opened 
up for settlement there the Mennonites have been 
among the first to put up their log cabins and sod 


shanties, and among the first to organize pioneer 


No other religious body has been divided into so 
many factions as has the Mennonite denomination. 

The cause is to be sought partly in the 
Causes of form of church government and partly in 
Schisms the spirit and the character of the people 

composing the church. The congrega- 
tional form of government permits each congregation 
to develop such religious practices and customs and 
to a certain extent such opinions as it thinks fit. This 
is destructive to uniformity, for uniformity is much 
more easily maintained where the entire body is con- 
trolled by a central authority. 1. The Mennonite as 
w^ell as the Anabaptist faith before it always fostered 
a strong spirit of individualism. From the beginning, 
Mennonites were taught that each individual must in- 
terpret the truth as expressed in the Bible for and by 
himself, not by a priest. This spirit of independence, 
while it tends toward the development of the strongest 
character, yet necessarily does so at the expense of 
uniformity and harmony. 2. As a class the Menno- 
nites 'have come from the humbler walks of life and 
were not trained to subordinate the nonessentials to 
the broader and more important interests of life. 
3. And finally they were thoroughly religious and 
took their religion seriously. Hence such convictions 
as they had they clung to persistently. Several divi- 
sions took place in Holland, Germany, and Switzerland 


during the seventeenth and the eighteenth centuries. 
Some of these, however, were again united. 

The Reformed Mennonites^* 

The first schism of the century in America must 
be laid to the account of John Herr, the founder of 
the Reformed Mennonite church.^* The history of this 
sect really begins with the excommunication of the 
father of John Herr, Francis Herr, of Lancaster 
county. Francis, who was born in 1748, was the son 
of a well known Mennonite minister of that day and 
was himself a member of the organization. During 
his later years, however, he became dissatisfied with 
the church and finally near the close of his life he be- 
came involved in a dispute with several of his fellow 
members which resulted in his excommunication on 
the alleged ground that he had taken undue advantage 
of a neighbor in the sale of a horse. ^^ 

Being evidently of a religious turn of mind, how- 
ever, he, together with several others who had a griev- 
ance against the congregation of which they were 
members, Abraham Landis, Jacob Weaver, David 
Buckwalter and several others held meetings for re- 
ligious purposes in their houses. Although no attempt 
was made to organize a separate church, these meet- 
ings were kept up until Herr's death in 1810. 

John Herr, now a young man of twenty-eight, 
who had never been a member of the Mennonite de- 

14. For a complete history of the Reformed Mennonites from their own 

point of view see Daniel Musser's The Reformed Mennonite 
Church (1873). John F. Funk published a reply to Musser's book 
in his Mennonite Church and Her Accusers (1878). 

15. See lettc- of Susannah Herr in J. F. Funk's Mennonite Church and 

her Accusers, p. 110. 


nomination, now after the death of his father became 
'convicted of sin" and began to attend the meetings 
of his father's associates. Being a man of some in- 
fluence he soon assumed the leadership of the small 
group. John Herr, prejudiced against the Mennonites 
by his father, would not cast his lot with them, while 
his associates had already left the church. And so the 
logical result of these meetings was the organization 
of a new body. This took place finally in the spring 
of 1812 in the house of John Herr, in Strasburg town- 
ship, Lancaster county, when Abraham Landis, who 
had already been baptized as a Mennonite, now bap- 
tized Herr, who in turn baptized Landis and Abraham 
Groff. Immediately Herr was elected bishop, Landis 
preacher, and Groff deacon of the new organization. 
Thus was launched what soon became known as the 
Reformed Mennonite church among themselves, but 
among others as the "New Mennonites" or frequently 
as "Herrites." Others, chiefly relatives and friends of 
the charter members joined the organization. Meet- 
ings were at first held in dwelling houses, school 
houses and barns. 

Herr, whose mind it is reasonable to suppose had 
been poisoned against the Mennonites by his father 
now in seeking an apology for the organization of a 
new sect began a bitter attack upon the church, his 
main contention being that it had become, since the 
days of Menno Simons, a dead, spiritless and corrupt 
body, and that its ministers were no longer the true 
ministers of God. In one of his controversial pam- 
phlets appears the following rather elopuent, although 
unjust paragraph in which he compares the Mennon- 
ites of the days of Menno Simons and Dirck Philip 


with those of his own generation, very much to the 
discredit of the latter : 

Therefore I will direct thee, my dear reader, to them. 
Search the above mentioned writings with an unprejudiced 
heart, and spiritual mind, and observe how they pictured the 
church of Christ and how gloriously they set it forth by 
the testimony of Apostolic truth and Divine power, and 
which also their church members testified by their fruits and 
sealed with their blood; and when thou hast rightly appre- 
hended this truth, then look over also on the present com- 
munity with a spiritual eye, and view their spiritual life: 
their arrogant deportment, and their careless heart in Divine 
things, their insatiable world spirit, their dealing and their 
way, how sensual it is in every point, almost through the 
whole of them. And when thou hast observed this, then go 
a little further, where thou wilt find a great many defense- 
less, unarmed men. Then ask the judge and the attorney, 
they will tell thee that some are engaged in strife and law- 
suits, as much as others. And go and ask the debtors and 
criminals; they will tell thee that they see none more fre- 
quently on the seats of judgment passing sentence upon 
them and assisting to judge them, than these. Then ask the 
tavern keepers and they will also tell thee that many resort 
thither who are lovers of spirituous drinks, and from which 
even some of their teachers are not free; and if thou wouldst 
ask the race riders and their like they would tell thee that 
they also have some as spectators, as well as others. And if 
thou wilt search all of these fruits impartially according to 
the Gospel, then thou wilt soon find that they falsely term 
themselves the church of Christ; and so far as the evening 
lis from the morning, or darkness from light, so far are they 
separated from our first reformer's doctrine or the community 
of Christ. And it is to be feared that the candlestick is re- 
moved from them, that they cannot see; and even if they do 
see it and do not repent, it will ultimately be taken from 
them because they will not receive the truth which is yet 
offered to them.^^ 

16. Quoted from Herr by J. F. Funk in Mennonite Church and her 
Accusers, p. 14. 


Daniel Musser who later became the leading de- 
fender of the sect continued Herr's policy of denuncia- 
tion and in his history makes these interesting charges 
.against the Mennonites : 

From such persons as were friendly to the church, I learned 
in my early youth, that at the time alluded to, viz: the latter 
part of the last and the beginning of the present century, the 
members of the church were, in regard to inward or spiritual 
life, as ignorant, cold and dead as any carnal, unconverted 
person could be. It was the custom generally, that when 
their children would grow up to years of maturity, they were 
baptized and received into the church; that their preachers 
or teachers were altogether inexperienced, and ignorant in 
spiritual matters; and as a consequence, their preparatory 
instruction, and examination was a mere matter of form. 
They had neither the knowledge of sin or righteousness. 
Their parents belonged to the church and they were told 
that they also should be joined to it. There was nothing in 
the step which forbade the enjoyment of what the flesh could 
have life and glorification in, and they generally agreed to the 
proposition of their parents. The natural result of such a 
■course was a carnal, cold and senseless religion. The public 
•service was generally cold and formal, and private religious 
-exercises was something almost unknown. They 'had their 
amusements and pastimes in rustic sports and plays, telling 
stories, jesting and making fun generally. They were gen- 
erally what the world accounts moral, industrious, frugal and 
honest. But as there are always dispositions which tend to 
extravagance in conduct and behavior, there were not want- 
ing many instances where the conduct rather exceeded the 
bounds of propriety; but there were so many precedents 
where these were passed over without notice, that they had 
to be very flagrant, if any notice was taken of them by the 
church authorities; and if notice was taken, it was in a 
mere formal manner which excited more merriment and 
sport in the church, than grief and sorrow. At that time 
•spirituous liquor was more freely used in all families than at 
present; and inebriation was a thing not at all uncommon, 
.and had to be very aggravated if any notice was taken of it. 


Cases were related to me, where members got outrageously 
disorderly and no notice was taken to it. 

It was a very customary thing, at the time we refer to, 
for the younger members to meet together on Sunday after- 
noon, from church service, and spend the afternoon in such 
sports as wrestling, jumping, running foot-races, playing ball, 
or whatever sports and games of the kind were in vogue at 
the time. The older members, with preachers would look on 
as spectators, and had for a proverb, "Honorable sports or 
diversions no one can forbid." At their marriages, feasting, 
■drinking, and noisy mirth were carried to great extremes. 

At that time the old-fashioned fairs were annually held 
.at all the towns of any size, even down to small villages. At 
Lancaster, the gatherings were usually very large. Numbers 
of the members of the church attended also. There was, as 
may well be supposed, all kinds of wickedness and ungodly 
deeds practiced there. I have no information how far the 
members of the church took part in these acts of wickedness, 
but by their presence they showed them such countenance as 
tended to uphold and support them. The old portion of the 
community usually attended the second day, when many of 
the elderly members also attended. It was the custom of 
these old men to have their bottle of wine, round which they 
would sit, and often become partially intoxicated, and some- 
times considerably more than partially. At this time nearly 
all attended elections, and many of them participated very 
actively in electioneering, to further the chances of their 
favorite candidate. This I have myself seen, and heard one 
:say openly that he had on one occasion voted twice at the 
same election. These things were not of accidental or private 
occurence. They were common, open and known to the 
world; and well known to the church also, and even some 
■of their preachers were not free from the charge. 

They still as a general thing, were plain in their dress 
and manner of life. They also still professed to be nonre- 
sistant, and refused to swear; but they very grossly violated 
their nonresistance, by acts tending to countenance and abet 
warfare, and more especially, by seeking redress of grievance 
at law, and defending themselves at law against claims which 
they considered just. This was violating a very decided prin- 


ciple of Menno Simons' profession. The washing of feet if 
tiot rejected, was at least practically omitted for many years. 
The kiss of peace was very little, if at all practiced. The 
refusal to hear the service, or join the worship with those 
who reject and refuse to obey the plain commands of the 
Gospel, together with avoiding excommunicated members, 
both of which Menno so strenuously upheld, they rejected al- 
together and do so still, to the present day, in our part of the 
country. A church that does not walk in the love of God, 
must be destitute of the Spirit, and consequently a dead body. 
If the members of this church lived and walked as we have 
related that tradition reports they did, they certainly were 
not obedient to Christ. ^^ 

Of course it is to be expected that such partisans 
as Herr and Musser should fail to find any good in the 
Old Mennonites, but see only their faults which they 
have unduly magnified. It is true that in some re- 
spects the church in 1800 was more addicted to the 
forms of religion than now, and some of the charges 
made by these men may not be altogether unfounded, 
but that the whole body was hopelessly corrupt is 
an accusation that could come only from such a bitter 
and ultrapuritanical spirit as that of John Herr's. That 
the new sect which he founded was even more formal 
than the church which he denounced, but of which he 
-never was a member can be seen by an examination of 
the discipline and religious practices of the new body. 

In doctrine and practice the Reformed Mennonites 
have borrowed much from the main body. As is true 
of most of the other factions which have separated 
from the church, so here the differences between Herr 
and his friends, and the church were more of a per- 
sonal than of a doctrinal character. And so the nev/ 
organization has deviated very little from the funda- 

17. Quoted in Mennonite Church and her Accusers, p. 10. 


mental doctrines of the Old Mennonite body. In some 
of their practices, however, they have carried several 
of these principles to extreme length. They are still 
severely plain in their dress, and in the furnishings of 
their houses. They believe in a rigid application of the 
ban and the avoidance, and are very exclusive. They 
consider it a sin to worship with those who are not 
members of their own organization, or even to listen 
to the preaching of ministers of other denominations. 
In this respect they resemble the so-called "New- 
Amish" of Illinois. 

In numbers they have not grown strong. Lan- 
caster county is still the stronghold of the sect, the 
largest congregations being in Lancaster city and near 
Landisville. They also have a small number of con- 
gregations scattered throughout other counties and 
states. Their influence has not been great, but in Lan- 
caster county there was often much bitter feeling for 
many years between the "New" and the "Old" Men- 

The Oberholtzer Schism 

The next church division commonly spoken of as 
the Oberholtzer schism,^^ appeared first in Montgom- 
ery county, Pennsylvania, in 1847. To appreciate the 

18. The principal printed sources of information regarding this contro- 
versy are to be found in several pamphlets written by Oberholtzer, 
and in a brief of an appeal to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, 
in 1877 which was printed in 1883. This appeal was the result of 
a lawsuit between the two factions for the possession of the 
Mennonite meeting house at Boyertown, and contains the state- 
ment of Oberholtzer himself and others regarding the events of 
1847. A copy of this printed appeal can be found in the library of 
J. F. Funk, Elkhart, Ind. 


reasons for Oberholtzer's withdrawal from the church 
one needs to remember that the Mennonites in this 
part of Pennsylvania, the Franconia conference dis- 
trict, were at this time still very conservative in regard 
to all religious as well as secular customs and prac- 
tices. Out of this ultra-conservatism and partly be- 
cause of it there developed a small element of ultra- 
liberalism. The two sides came into conflict and the 
natural result was another division. The following 
extract from an article which was written recently 
from the ultra-liberal point of view by one no longer 
a member of either branch of the denomination, per- 
haps states fairly well a few of the conflicting interests 
of the time. This writer, speaking of the customs of 
that day says, 

My father was an ardent Whig, and he supported the 
measures that looked for the lightening of the burdens 
the country was under. 

He attended the township primaries, the county con- 
ventions that framed the ticket, and attended political meet- 
ings, believing as a good citizen it was his duty to do so. He 
was waited upon by minister Eli Landis and elder John 
Gotwals, warning him of having ofifended the rules of the 
meeting, assuming that such was the duty of the people of 
the world. This may be said to be the beginning of church 

It was about this time when linen covers on dearborns 
were giving way to black oilcloth covers. When my father 
availed himself of a black oilcloth cover for his dearborn he 
was charged with violating a long established custom of the 
Mennonites in making such a change; and when a year or 
so later he had elleptic springs put on the running gears of 
his carriage he sinned even more grievously. Then too came 
the charge that his children did not conform to the style and 
dress of the Meeting. Though my father always wore the 
Mennonite garb, he laid no stress on it and allowed his boys 
and girls to dress like others around them. I remember it 


was under discussion that my sisters must wear caps at 
meeting, and be otherwise plain in dress. Other matters 
came up, such as forbidding marrying outside of the denomi- 
nation, attendance on civil duties, such as voting at election, 
resorting to process of law to recover property, favoring 
liberal education, etc. I remember a deep impression was 
made on me by these outside restraining influences to my 
ambition in striving to obtain an education, as father was 
charged with being worldly minded and allowing too much 
latitude to his children, and thus also influencing others grow- 
ing up around him. 

My father was regularly ordained to the ministry on 
New Year 1847, some months before the split took place. My 
uncle, John Hunsicker, who was then bishop in the district 
comprising Skippack, Methacthen, Providence and Zieglers 
(now Gotwals) died in the autumn of 1847, and my father 
became bishop of the above named district. 

This continued and intensified opposition by the Menno- 
nites as referred to above, and perhaps some I have omitted, 
culminated in a schism or split at the conference at Franconia 
in May, 1847, when John Hunsicker, my uncle, John H. 
Oberholtzer, William Landis, Israel Beidler and my father 
Abraham Hunsicker, ministers ordained as Mennonites, were 
literally put out of the meeting for holding liberal views in 
advance of the church. ^^ 

Among the liberal minded men of the church at 
tlie time was a young school teacher and minister by 
the name of John H. Oberholtzer. Oberholtzer was 
born in Montgomery county in 1808. At the age of 
sixteen he began to teach school, and at thirty-four he 
was ordained to the ministry in the Swamp church. 
Being a young man with perhaps a little better educa- 
tion than his fellow ministers and of a more progressive 
spirit, he did not always work in harmony with them. 

19. Henry A. Hunsicker, in Mennonite Year Book and Almanac, for 


His troubles began soon after he entered the ministry. 
Among the prescribed customs for the ministers of 
those days was the wearing of the so-called "regula- 
tion" coat, which was collarless and of a prescribed 
cut. This, Oberholtzer together with a few others 
refused to do, but continued to wear his usual dress. 
In speaking of this matter some time later he himself 

Soon after I began to preach some of the members were 
displeased with the way I was operating, and for different 
reasons. One because I did not change my coat from what it 
was before; some thought it unbecoming for me to wear a 
collar on my coat, or to have buttons on both sides. Most 
objections were made against the form, some contending that 
it ought to be round. But as the Mennonite creed did not 
say what form of coat the minister had to wear, in view of the 
Gospel I exercised my own privilege as to what would be 
appropriate and continued to wear my usual dress. 

The question was finally taken up by the Franconia 
conference which in 1844 decided in favor of the con- 
ventional coat, and further declared that all who dis- 
regarded this ruling would be denied the right to vote 
in the conference. Oberholtzer refused to comply, but 
the next year declared that he would wear the coat 
provided the resolution of 1844 were withdrawn, which 
of course the conference refused to do. Thus the 
quarrel on this and perhaps other questions continued 
until the spring of 1847 when matters were brought 
to a crisis at the spring meeting of the conference. Ta 
the old subject of dispute there was now added an- 
other. Heretofore no records had been kept of the 
conference sessions. Neither had there been any con- 
stitution nor by-laws for the regulation of its proceed- 
ings. Oberholtzer, feeling that both would serve the 
best interests of the conference drew up a constitution) 


which he first read to several of his friends and then 
submitted it to the conference in the spring session. 
The majority of his fellow ministers, however, either 
because they objected to any departure from the old 
methods of work, or because they had lost patience 
with Oberholtzer, who for some time had not been 
in good standing among them (although at this meet- 
ing he appeared with the conventional coat) refused to 
consider his draft by a vote of 60 to 16. Oberholtzer 
and his friends, however, insisting upon thrusting their 
constitution upon the conference again submitted it at 
the fall session of the same year. Being again refused 
a hearing, Oberholtzer with fifteen other ministers and 
deacons from the western end of the district withdrew 
from the Franconia conference and Oberholtzer was 
at the same time expelled from the conference, and on 
October 28, 1847, the party met in the old Skippack 
church and there organized a new conference. 

This is the story of the division as it is told by 
Oberholtzer and others who lived at the time, and as 
it lives in tradition. But the real cause of the trouble 
lay deeper than in a difference of opinion over the 
cut of a coat or the adoption of written by-laws for the 
conducting of conference sessions. These disputes 
were mere superficial evidences of more fundamental 
differences between Oberholtzer and his friends on the 
one hand, and the majority of the Franconia Mennon- 
ites on the other. Judging from the statement of prin- 
ciples which the new body drew up soon after their 
formal withdrawal, the two parties were irreconcilably 
at variance in their doctrinal views. The new organ- 
ization declared in favor of open communion, and a 
loose interpretation of the ban. They expressed them- 


selves in favor of using the law^ whenever necessary 
to protect their interests. They permitted intermar- 
riage v^ith members of other denominations, and also 
soon instituted a salaried ministry and other liberal 
policies.^" On most of these questions they differed 
radically from the main body of the church. A division 
under these conditions was inevitable. 

The withdrawal of these sixteen from the confer- 
ence soon had its influence upon various congregations 
within the district. That there was quite a consider- 
able liberal element in the church in this region is 
shown by the fact, that immediately several entire 
congregations went over to the new organization. In 
the churches at Schwenkville, Skippack and Swamp, 
the few who were left of the old church had to build 
new meeting houses. At Bally und Deep Run the new 
wing erected new houses of worship, while at Boyer- 
town the two parties occupied the same building om 
alternate Sundays for many years, but finally became 
involved in a lawsuit for the possession of the building. 
Other congregations were later established at Saucon,. 
Springfield, Phoenixville, Philadelphia and several 
other places. 

These "Oberholtzer" congregations finally united 
with many of the Russian churches in the western 
states and with a number of independent congrega- 
tions in various parts of the country in the formation 
of a general conference. All of these are now members 
of the General Conference of Mennonites. 

20. See J. H. Oberholtzer. Verantwortung und Erlauterung der Wahre- 


Jacob Stauffer 

At about the time of Oberholtzer's withdrawal 
there appeared another man in the Pennsylvania 
church who became the leader of a small following. 
This was Jacob Stauffer, who becoming involved in 
a church dispute, was excommunicated, whereupon he 
soon tried to build up a new organization. Unlike 
Oberholtzer, who found the old church too conserv- 
ative, Stauffer accused it of being too liberal. Like 
John Herr whom he resembled in many respects he 
now suddenly discovered after his expulsion that the 
church had drifted from its original foundation and 
had recently fallen into decay, and that he was called 
upon by Providence to restore the old principles in a 
new organization. His specific charges against the 
denomination were '*worldliness" and "pride".. 

There are many whose whole heart is turned to earthly- 
things. They speak and think only of worldly things, of 
buying and selling, of planting and building. One advises the 
other how he can make and win much money, and that even 
on Sunday on the way to and from the meeting house. One 
asks the other what is the market worth, have you sold your 
grain, etc? One very seldom hears of salvation and the 
eternal heavenly treasures. Many instruct one another on 
worldly elections, and even electioneer for their favorite 
candidates. They become jurymen to judge the lawsuits, 
thievery, and murders of worldly people. Some have joined 
insurance companies. Others, even bishops and preachers 
put lightning rods (through lack of faith) upon their houses. 
Much pride has also entered into the hearts of many. They 
pride themselves in their finely ornamented clothes, in the 
combing and braiding of hair and in the wearing of gold. 
Their houses are adorned with all sorts of colored and gaudy 
tinsels, and upon the walls hang many idolatrous pictures. 

Among other "worldly" practices to which Jacob 


Stauffer objected were camp meetings and singing 

Thus appeared to the eyes of this puritan, the 
Mennonites of his day, who in all matters of dress and 
outward display at least, must still have been severely 
plain and modest. His attempts to build up a new 
church, however, never succeeded, and his following 
has been small. 

The Church of God 

The next attempt at a reformation was made in 
Wayne county, Ohio, by John Holdeman, a member of 
the congregation in charge of Bishop John Shaum and 
minister Peter Troxel. Holdeman was a man of un- 
usual learning among his brethren, of strong convic- 
tion, and of bold egotism. He was a believer in dreams 
and visions and was largely guided in his religious life 
by "the voice of the Holy Spirit" which called to him 
sometimes in his dreams and sometimes in his work 
during the day. These visions, he says, began soon; 
after his baptism at the age of twenty, in 1853. At 
this time and even before, he said he had a strong 
conviction that he would some day be a minister of the 
Gospel. This conviction he confided to Bishop Abra- 
ham Rohrer on the day of his baptism. In the mean- 
time he also had a vision through which he understood 
that some one would be converted through his minis- 
try. In a dream he saw before him stems, and upon 
them were pieces of glas-s triangular in shape, some of 
which were turned into ice, and one melted in his 

No sooner had he joined the church than he began 
to find fault with many of his fellow members. Many 


he said had come into the church unconverted. He was 
also troubled because of the "worldly and light minded 
conversation amongst the brethren, the great lack in 
the raising of children and the neglect of the avoidance 
of the excommunicated". This faultfinding spirit 
brought him into trouble with those in authority. 

Finally after four years of fruitless effort to im- 
press his views upon the church, and of disappointment 
for not being called into the ministry, he decided upon 
a new course of action. One Sunday in the winter of 
1858, he again heard the "voice of the Spirit" which 
told him that the melted ice which had appeared ta 
him in his earlier vision meant his father, who that 
day would be converted. Whereupon he invited his 
father and others to his house on that day and preached 
to a little company of eleven for two hours. He says, 

I was much moved, and spake in fervency of spirit. I placed 
before them the decay of the church. I taught the raising of 
children, and reproved the corruption therein; and reproved 
their going to election; and taught the avoidance of the 
excommunicated; and I also reproved the manner of giving 
testimony under what I believed (and yet believe) to be an 
oath. I also affirmed my calling; and taught that the lot was. 
no command whereby to ordain ministers into their office. I 
also was moved to say that God would divide the church 
into two parts, and if it would not take place, then I would be 
a liar and not sent of God; and if it would not come in one 
year, then it would come in two; if not in two, then in. 

These meetings were continued irregularly for 
some time and naturally brought Holdeman more than 
ever into disfavor with his fellow members. Not satis- 
fied with the church, and yet not quite willing to with- 
draw from the denomination entirely, he and his 

21. John Holdeman. History of the Church of God, p. 189. 


father visited the so-called "Stauffer" people and the 
^'Herrites" in Pennsylvania, in the hope of finding 
congenial association among them, but not satisfied 
with either, they organized a new sect commonly 
known as the "Holdeman" branch of the church, but 
officially as the Church of God in Christ. Holdeman 
now took up his pen in defence of his action and, like 
Herr and Stauffer before him, maintained that the 
old church had departed from the ways of truth, and 
that his organization was the true church of God which 
had maintained the lineage of saints from the apostolic 

The sect grew very slowly. Outside of his own 
family Holdeman for a while received scant recogni- 
tion. By 1865 the congregation consisted of twenty 
members. It has since grown, however, into a number 
of small congregations in Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, 
Manitoba, and several other western states. 

In faith and practice this branch differs little from 
the Old Mennonites, except that, in addition to the 
differences noted above they also oppose the "taking of 
usury" and practice the "laying on of hands" after 

The "Wisler" Mennonites 

The next church division took place in Elkhart 
county, Indiana, in what is called the Yellow Creek 
congregation.^- Among the pioneer settlers in this 
community was Jacob Wisler from Ohio, who soon 
became the first bishop of the church in the state. He 

22. For information on the Wisler and the Brenneman divisions I am 
indebted among other sources to a manuscript prepared especially 
for my use by Daniel Brenneman of Goshen, Indiana, 


was a man devoted to the principles of his faith, but 
exceedingly conservative by nature, and opposed to the 
introduction of all "new things" in forms of worship 
and religious practice. The church under his charge 
was slow to adopt some of the nev/er methods of work 
•common to other communities. The services were all 
•conducted in the German language. Four part singing 
was still considered worldly. Sunday schools, evening 
meetings, protracted meetings and in fact every slight- 
est departure from the customs of the fathers was 
looked upon with disfavor by Wisler and a consider- 
able portion of his congregation. Some of them, how- 
ever, demanded a more progressive policy, desiring 
especially some English preaching and good singing. 

About this time, 1864, there came from Fairfield 
■county, Ohio, another minister in the person of Daniel 
Brenneman, who was much younger than Wisler, 
more progressive in his ideas, a better speaker and 
more attractive in personality. 

Around these two men were grouped respectively 
the conservative and progressive elements of the church. 
Wisler was the bishop and as such dictated the prac- 
tices and forms of worship. He favored neither four- 
part singing nor English preaching. Brenneman met 
the demand for both by holding meetings in school 
houses, and other places where he often spoke to 
crowded audiences. This practice AVisler disapproved 
of on the ground that it savored too much of pro- 
tracted meetings. 

Thus the rivalry continued and grew more bitter 
until finally Wisler, who was possessed of a stubborn 
will, determined to forbid on pain of excommunication 
the introduction of everything "new" into churcli 


worship. His arbitrary method of enforcing this 
policy, together with other quarrels with some of his 
brethren finally resulted in a church trial which was 
held at Yellow Creek in 1870, by a committee of 
bishops from neighboring states and Canada. Wisler's 
conduct at this trial was such that he was deprived of 
his ministerial ofiice by the committee. After vainly 
trying to settle his difficulties with the church, Wisler, 
during the next year formally withdrew and together 
with his followers organized what is commonly spoken 
■of as the "Wisler" branch of the denomination, 

Wisler had a number of followers in his own and 
other congregations. These sympathizers were prin- 
cipally from those who preferred the good old customs 
of the fathers to the innovations which always follow 
in the path of progress. In 1872 a number of mem- 
bers of the Mennonite congregation in Medina county, 
Ohio, joined his organization. In more recent years 
several new divisions in the old church in Canada and 
in Pennsylvania have slightly swelled the ranks of the 

In 1886 a number of conservatives from Woolwich 
townships, Waterloo county, Ontario, withdrew from 
the main body on the ground that it tolerated English 
preaching, Sunday schools, evening meetings, "falling" 
top buggies, all of which were considered too worldly 
for pious Christians. These people known sometimes 
locally as "Woolwichers," finding in the Wislerites 
kindred spirits now work in harmony with that body. 
They have about a dozen small congregations scat- 
tered throughout Waterloo, York, and Lincoln coun- 

In 1893 Bishop Jonas Martin of the Weaverland 


•congregation in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, be- 
coming involved in a dispute with some of his mem- 
bers regarding a new pulpit which he considered too 
line for his church, withdrew from the congregation 
and by posing as a conservative on other church 
questions retained about one third of his congregation. 

In 1901 there was also a "Martinite" church of 
about one hundred members established in Rocking- 
ham county, Virginia, which was made up of the ex- 
treme conservatives of that region. 

These four small bands of conservative Menno- 
nites, which hardly deserve the name of a separate 
branch of the church, now count up all told hardly 
more than two thousand members scattered through 
about thirty congregations in Pennsylvania, Indiana, 
Ohio, Canada, Michigan and Virginia. 

In doctrine the Wislerites, including the other 
above mentioned communities, do not differ from the 
main body. In religious customs and practices, how- 
ever, they are extremely conservative. In dress, in 
language, in forms of worship and in social customs 
they are slow in accepting new ideas. They occupy 
among the Mennonites a position similar to thai of the 
Old Order Amish among the Amish people. They 
might well be called the "Old Order" Mennonites. 

Mennonite Brethren in Christ 

Hardly had the trouble with Wisler been settled 
before a new difficulty arose in the Yellow Creek 

■ church. The larger part of the congregation was still 

■ conservative in all methods of religious work, even 
:-after a few of the ultra-conservatives had withdrawn. 


Protracted meetings and other practices now recog- 
nized as helpful were then still under the ban. Brenne- 
man both because of his early training, and more 
liberal spirit and superior talents favored more aggres- 
sive church work. The strained relations between 
himself and a majority of the congregation, which re- 
sulted from these differences, were brought to a head 
when he and J. Krupp, a fellow minister, went to 
Canada to investigate a revival which had broken out 
among the Mennonites at that place, under the in- 
fluence of one Solomon Eby, a Mennonite preacher at 
Berlin, who as he said had preached for thirteen years 
before he had been converted. Both Krupp and 
Brenneman seemed favorably impressed with the re- 
vival. Returning to Indiana, they were closely ques- 
tioned by their fellow members regarding what they 
had seen. Krupp, upon whom the revival had made 
a deep impression, spoke unreservedly of it in glowing 
terms. Brenneman, however, knowing that protracted 
meetings or revivals were not regarded favorably by 
either the Canadian or Indiana Mennonites, said little, 
But he determined to go to Canada a second time for a 
more thorough investigation. During his absence, 
Krupp in the meantime by his unwise conduct and too 
zealous speech, had brought the displeasure and sus- 
picion of the conservative elements of the church upon 
his head, and had been expelled. Brenneman upon his 
return seemed more than ever impressed with the Can- 
adian revival. Finding that Krupp had been expelled 
on what he considered insufficient ground, he openly 
espoused his cause, and finding that the differences 
between himself and the church could not be adjusted, 
practically withdrew from the organization. Soon 


^fter this the congregation formally expelled him on 
the following charges : 

1. For leaving the church and supporting an excom- 
municated minister. 

2. For teaching and preaching unscriptural customs. 

3. For causing dissensions and working disorderly at 
liome and abroad. 

Brenneman and his friends having now been cast 
out looked about for another church with which they 
might worship. They were still at heart Mennonites, 
however, and after considering respectively the Dunk- 
ards, Quakers, Evangelicals, and Free Methodists all 
of whom either had many doctrines in common with 
the Mennonites or had shown Brenneman some kind- 
ness during this time by offering him the use of theii 
meeting houses for the services which he continued to 
hold, they finally decided to establish a separate organ- 
ization. This decision was carried out in 1874 when 
at iEby's meeting house in Berlin, Ontario, they, to- 
gether with their Canadian sympathizers, formed the 
"Reformed Mennonite" church. Of course by the 
congregation from which they withdrew they were 
always known as "Brennemanites." In doctrine and 
religious practices the new organization differed little 
from the old, except that they manifested a greater 
zeal for the propagation of their views, and laid greater 
stress upon "inner experience" and the necessity of a 
definite "change of heart" in conversion. 

The new church at first was small in number, 
being confined to Brenneman's friends of the Yellow 
Creek congregation and Canada. But as a result of 
their zealous missionary spirit, and by uniting with 
several other small offshoots of the main body, it has 


grown to a church of no mean strength. These small 
bodies had arisen under similar circumstances, and 
having much in common in spirit and religious opinion 
they finally, one after another united their forces. 

The New Mennonites was the name adopted by a 
small group of Canadian advocates of revivals, who 
had withdrawn from the church for the same reasons 
as had the Reformed Mennonites. 

In 1875 in the Bloomingdale meeting house in 
Waterloo county, Ontario, these two branches united 
into one society under the name of the United Men- 

Some time before this, as early as 1853, a small 
division under the leadership of William Gehman had 
been made in Bucks county, Pennsylvania. In 1879 
in Ontario this branch known as the Evangelical 
Mennonites, formed with the United Mennonites a 
new body called the Evangelical United Mennonites. 

In Ohio near Jamton, in 1883, these Evangelical 
United Mennonites united with the Brethren in Christ, 
a small branch of the River Brethren, to form the 
church now called the Mennonite Brethren in Christ. 

Thus by a series of amalgamations with a number 
of these small bodies, all of which sprang either di- 
rectly or indirectly from the Old Mennonite church, 
the original socalled "Brenneman" organization has 
developed from a local faction to an institution of 
considerable size and influence. With these unions 
there have come slight changes in both the doctrine 
and practices of the original body. The Reformed 
Mennonites differed from the main body very little. 
The Mennonite Brethren, while still insisting in general 
upon modest attire, have let up a little on their restric- 


tions on dress. In doctrine they maintain the funda- 
mental principles of the Mennonite faith — non-resist- 
.ance, non-swearing of oaths, opposition to secret so- 
cieties, life insurance, etc. But in several respects they 
have developed certain differences. They baptize by 
immersion and believe strongly in "entire sanctifica- 
tion," and the millennium. They are quite demon- 
strative in their worship, and their camp meetings 
have lost nothing of the noise and excitement of those 
•of the old time shouting Methodists. 

During the Civil War 

In the North during the Civil war, as we have 
.already seen, the Mennonites were not forced to serve 
in the army. The Conscription Act of 
Experiences 1864 provided for the exemption of such 
in the North as were conscientiously scrupulous 
against bearing arms if they were 
drafted, by a payment of three hundred dollars. A 
number of the Mennonites and Amish throughout the 
country were struck by the draft in 1864. Such were 
compelled to appear before the local recruiting officer 
.and satisfy him that they were members in good stand- 
ing of a non-resistant religious organization and that 
they were conscientiously opposed to the bearing of 
arms and that their conduct had been consistent with 
their profession. Usually they were then dismissed 
upon the payment of the three hundred dollar exemp- 

Sometimes this exemption was the source of ill- 
feeling and jealousy among those who lived in the 


same communities with the Mennonites, and who felt 
that the latter enjoyed greater privileges than they. 
In Fulton county, Ohio, on one occasion while a 
company of Amish had assembled for the purpose of 
securing exemption, they were attacked by a mob of 
men some of whom had been less fortunate than they 
in escaping the draft, and barely escaped serious bodily- 
injury. Such occasions however, were rare. 

In the South the Mennonites did not escape so 
easily. Neither Virginia nor the Confederate govern- 
ment were as liberal toward them as 
The Mennonites was the North. And besides, the 
of the South Virginia settlement was located in 

the very heart of the Shenandoah 
Valley, the scene of Sheridan's raid. The experience 
of the Virginians during this time is best told by 
Bishop L. J. Heatwole who was a young man at the 
time, and was an eyewitness of the events he describes. 
The following sketch was prepared by him for Hartz- 
ler and Kauffman's Mennonite Church History: 

With the beginning of this period (1861), there were in 
the Virginia church three bishops: John Geil, Sr., (Lower 
district); Samuel Coffman, (Middle district), and Jacob- 
Hildebrand, (Upper district); twelve ministers and six dea- 
cons, with a membership all told of about three hundred' 
fifty. In the three districts were seven meeting houses, in 
each of which worship was held once every four weeks. 

For a number of years prior to thfe outbreak of the 
Civil war, the state of Virginia maintained a strict military 
organization known as the State Militia, which required every 
able-bodied man in the state, if not otherwise exempted, to 
attend in time of peace, no less than four days' drill each 
year, in the tactics of war. The exemption laws, as they were 
then framed, afforded no opportunity for our brethren to 
escape this service, except in the payment of the minimum^ 
fine — 50 cents for absence from each muster drill. With but 


a few exceptions, this was always done and hence our 
brethren avoided doing violence to the principle of non-re- 
sistance and deliberately ignored each call as it was made to 
serve in the muster drills. 

But with the outbreak of the war, the military laws 
became a far greater menace to the brotherhood, and in time 
proved a severe test of their loyalty to the church. First, 
there came the call for all the Militia to take the field. Such 
of our brethren whose names were on the muster rolls found 
themselves no longer excusable from military duty by pay- 
ing their muster fines, but had to go into the ranks or be dealt 
with as deserters. 

It was a time of sore distress to the church. What were 
they to do in the face of such circumstances? To remain at 
home meant sooner or later to be taken away by force before 
a court martial to be tried and shot. To go voluntarily into 
the ranks and line up for the field of battle would be treason 
to the church. When the final test came, a few of the 
younger brethren went into the army with the first 
volunteers; others hid themselves away in the mountains 
and timbered sections of the country and made frequent 
visits to their families under cover of night; while others — 
along with such as were drafted into service later in the fall 
of 1861 — were taken into the arm.y under protest with the 
understanding among themselves and their families at home, 
that neither of them would strike a blow or fire a gun. 
Though these brethren were with the regular army and were 
in action near Winchester, and before Harper's Ferry, 
they proved true to their pledges, and in conse- 
quence, a number of them were soon reported to 
the officers, as such who refused to shoot when the order 
was given to open fire on the enemy. In their refusal to obey 
orders on this point, some were threatened to the point of 
being court-martialed and shot; this threat not having the 
effect to change their minds in the least, a number of the men 
found themselves detailed, by and by, as cooks, teamsters 
and on the relief corps, to attend to the sick and wounded. 
When the army lay in camp it was a custom with them to 
meet when off duty, to join together in singing some of the 
old familiar church hymns to which they were so well ac- 


customed when at home. It was not an uncommon thing for 
the soldiers to have their attention, drawn to some particular 
tent or corner of the camp where a number of earnest voices 
were joined in singing: — "O, For a Closer walk with God,"' 
or "Am I a Soldier of the Cross," etc. 

During the winter of 1861-62, while the army lay in. 
winter quarters at Winchester, nearly all these brethren-, 
found their way back to their homes, but with the opening 
of the campaign of 1862, there came the general call from 
the Confederate government for every man between the ages- 
of eighteen and forty-five years and capable of bearing arms,, 
to go to the front. This call being made universal, there was 
no avenue of escape left, and to respond to this universal call 
was looked upon by the church as equivalent to volunteering 
for military service. Owing to the force of circumstances 
and the highly exciting nature of the times, some of the 
younger brethren responded and went into the ranks. Bishop 
Coffman, however, took the bold stand and preached his con- 
victions from the pulpit that Mennonites could not go into the 
army and at the same time be loyal to their church, and that 
our people must, notwithstanding their opposition to slavery,, 
occupy neutral ground in the present crisis. 

From this time on was the real crisis for the Menno- 
nites. A considerable number of the brethren went into their 
former custom of hiding away in secluded places;: 
others continued about their homes as usual. Threats 
were made against Bishop Coffman by some of 
the military authorities, for his public declarations,, 
one certain Colonel having sent word that he was- 
coming with his regiment to take Bishop CofTman and all 
his members, capable of bearing arms, into the army; there 
was, of course, some consternation among the brotherhood- 
Brother Coffman, thinking it prudent to leave the state for a 
time, passed through the lines safely and reached the com- 
munities of our people in Maryland and Pennsylvania, where 
he remained until the feeling against him at home had 
sufficiently subsided for him to return to his family. 

In the meantime, quite a number of the brethren, to- 
gether with a number of their sons and others, who were not 
at the time members of the church, to the number of about 


seventy persons, all met at a certain rendezvous ground not 
far from the mountains where they decided to travel together 
in a body across the mountains to West Virginia to Ohio 
and other states, expecting to remain there as refugees until 
the close of the war. The ministers who remained were not 
molested, but some of the brethren who yet remained in hid- 
ing about their homes, were either apprehended on surprise 
or hunted down by scouting parties of the provost-marshal 
and were taken forcibly into the army or confined in the 
county jail at Harrisonburg. Strange as it may seem, some 
of the brethren who were yet of military age, remained at 
their homes unmolested through all this trying period, while 
others, who were known to be in hiding, were hunted and 
chased from place to place like wild beasts of the forest — it 
was those who had been taken into the army and afterwards 
deserted, that were made thus to suffer — those who had 
managed to keep out of the ranks from the beginning of the 
war, had not nearly so much trouble. Those who managed 
to elude the scouts spent their time at camping places far up 
in the mountains, and returned occasionally to their homes 
for supplies. Others had hiding places under their dwelling 
houses that were reached by means of trap-doors covered 
with carpets or bedding to throw the searching party off the 
trail, and several instances are recalled when the fugitive 
brother lay with only the thickness of a board and carpet 
between himself and his would-be captors. 

The company of seventy, who started on their journey 
across the mountains early in the spring of 1862, were sur- 
prised and captured by a squad of Confederate cavalry, near 
Petersburg, West Virginia, on the second day after leaving 
home. They were immediately marched from that point 
some sixty miles to the southeast of Staunton, from which 
place they were sent by train to Richmond, which had al- 
ready become the seat of the Confederate government. 
Here, with two exceptions, they were all lodged as common 
prisoners in the famous Libby Prison, at that place. These 
exceptions were twio brethren who effected their escape, and 
came home immediately and reported the fate of the rest of 
the party. Had it not been for this, it might not have been 
known for a time indefinite, that matters had taken the turn 


they had, and besides the brethren might have been languish- 
ing in prison much longer than they did, without their con- 
dition being known at home. 

It was a "serious and a solemn time," when genuine 
and earnest supplication was made to God for help. By the 
time the excitement and intense anxiety caused by the news 
of the capture at Petersburg, had sufficiently subsided at 
home, the members came together for calm consultation. 

Officers connected with the Confederate government at 
Richmond, who were known to have some acquaintance with 
the Mennonites and their doctrine, were notified of the con- 
dition of things. With a copy of the Mennonite Confession 
of Faith placed in their hands, these officials were enabled 
to impress upon the Confederate Congress the fact that the 
fathers and sons of our people, whom they were then holding 
as prisoners, were far from being enemies to the government, 
but were a peace-loving people and that the only motive they 
had for leaving their homes was because of the encroachment 
upon their religious liberties. 

With this convincing explanation, the Confederate 
Congress was moved to adopt a bill that led to the release 
of, not only the Mennonites who were in prison, but also 
liberated such who were in the army and such as were in 
hiding near their homes. This bill provided that all people 
professing the peace doctrine as part of their religion, such 
as the Mennonites, Dunkards, Quakers, and Nazarites, resid- 
ing within the Confederate States, would be exempt from 
military duty on condition that each male member of such 
religious bodies who was subject to bear arms, should pay 
into the treasury, the sum of five hundred dollars. After this 
bill was adopted the required amount was made up as soon 
as possible, a brother delegated by the church to go to 
Richmond to see that it was paid, and the brethren liberated 
from a confinement that had already been prolonged to six 
weeks in a prison that was reeking with filth and vermin, and 
a ration that barely kept them alive. 

The unfeigned joy that was experienced by the church 
over the home-coming of the captive brethren, as well as the 
happy reunions brought about in the restoration of the others, 
who had been in the army or in hiding, was profoundly deep 


and sincere. Their unexpected release from prison and 
military bondage was attributed to the same "Mighty Hand" 
that had brought Israel of old, from under the bondage of 

Egypt One unpleasant feature still remained, and 

that feature lay in the fact that not all of the seventy who 
were captured were members of the Mennonite or Dunkard 
Church and hence could not be released from prison on the 
payment of five hundred dollars fine. They were, however, 
liberated from confinement on condition that they went 
immediately into the army as conscript soldiers. The fact 
that they were about all either sons or relatives of the 
brethren who were exempted did not count for anything in 
their case. There was no other course for them to take but 
to go into the army, and it is sad to relate that some of these 
poor boys never again reached their homes alive. After serv- 
ing as soldiers for a time, the most of them, however, left the 
army, came home, and spent the rest of the war period either 
in hiding or refugeeing in the Northern or Western states. 

During the next eighteen months of the war, the Men- 
nonites, as a rule, were left undisturbed on their farms, ex- 
cept that the government levied heavily upon their crops for 
army supplies. The commissary wagons came with un- 
pleasant frequency to haul away wheat, corn and other 
supplies, all of which they usually took without leave or 
license or a cent of pay. 

In the summer of 1864 the war cloud again settled thick 
and dark over the Mennonite homes in the Shenandoah 
Valley. With the suddenness of a thunderclap there came 
from the seat of government at Richmond, the announcement 
that the substitute Exemption Law was abolished and that all 
able-bodied men from seventeen to sixty years of age were 
now required to go into the army. This of course started off 
many of the seventeen-year-old boys and most of the older 
brethren to hiding again, numbers of them going in squads- 
of three and four across the mountains into West Virginia 
and Ohio until by September and October, the exodus of 
brethren from the state was so general that it is remembered 
as the time when the Sunday congregations were composed 
of a few old men, the younger boys and the women. The 
meetings at this time are remembered as being made all the 


more solemn because of the many sad and weeping faces that 
were seen in the audience. It sometimes happened that these 
meetings were seriously disturbed and even stampeded by 
the real or imaginary approach of soldiers, and at times for 
a period indefinite no meetings were held by reason of 
soldiers being quartered on the grounds and occupying the 
meeting house where our people were accustomed to meet 
for worship. 

Then, to cap the climax, there came the never-to-be- 
forgotten Sheridan's raid through the Shenandoah Valley. 
From the evening of Oct. 6th, 1864, to the morning of the 
8th following, nearly all the barns and mills, and in some 
cases the dwelling houses also, were set on fire in that part 
of Rockingham county where the Mennonites were located. 
These buildings being burned, together with their stores and 
provisions, and the live stock driven from the farms — the 
whole country being overrun by troops of both sides, keeping 
up a desultory warfare between them — with the fences 
obliterated in a way that left their farms a desolate waste. 
It is not to be wondered at that quite a number of our Men- 
nonite families and nearly all the sixteen and seventeen-year- 
old boys bade farewell to the hallowed surroundings of the 
dear places they used to call home, and rather than to longer 
bear the hardships of a war-ridden country, took the oppor- 
tunity to remove to Pennsylvania and Ohio under the protec- 
tion of Sheridan's army as it marched northward in October, 

Before the hard, cold winter of 1864-65 had fully set in, 
those of our people who remained at their homes managed 
to provide some shelter and to divide with one another the 
scanty supplies that remained for them. There was perhaps, 
never a time before this that Mennonites in America had 
things more "in common" than during the war period of 1864- 
65. Every possible article of wearing apparel had to be manu- 
factured at home — no leather to make shoes except that 
which was tanned at home; no hats were worn except the 
home-made article; no sugar or salt or pepper or spices to 
season food with; no coffee, except such as was made from 
parched wheat or rye. Upon the whole, it was like going 


back to the purely primitive life of the grandfathers of a 
hundred years before. 

The citing of a few instances, with reference to the try- 
ing experiences of such of the brethren who were in hiding,, 
may not come amiss before closing this chapter. 

A certain brother who had spent much of his time hid- 
ing away from the observation of the military officials, was- 
accused, not only as a fugitive from the ranks of the army, 
but also for rendering aid to others and acting as guide to 
some of the numerous squads of refugees that were finding 
their way across the mountains to the Federal lines. By 
some means it became known to the military authorities that 
he was at home on a certain night when some soldiers were 
sent out with the order that he be shot on sight. The 
soldiers approached and surrounded the house in the dead 
hour of the night. Calling him to the door, he was told that 
they were there with orders to kill him. He coolly replied that 
before doing that, they would certainly give him time to bid- 
farewell to his family and also to write his will. This being 
granted, he waked his wife and a number of children, and 
after telling what the soldiers were there for, sat down in 
perfect composure to write his will. As he proceeded with, 
the writing, he suggested to one of the soldiers that his 
neighbor would be needed to sign the paper as witness.. 
While the messenger was gone to bring in the neighbor, the 
brother's personal coolness, together with the pathetic atti- 
tude of the family, so operated upon the minds of the soldiers 
that they left their intended victim unharmed and made a 
hasty departure. 

Another brother had repeatedly been searched for by 
detachments of the provost-marshal's guards, but in each 
case he managed to elude them. Finding that he was no 
longer safe at or near his home, he went back into the 
mountains where he spent many days in a solitary cabin all' 
alone. By some unknown means his hiding place was located' 
by the provost-marshal and several soldiers were sent to 
capture him. The soldiers were already more than half way 
on the road to his camp, when they were seen by a near 
family relative, who, surmising what their errand was, him- 
self started off at full speed and like Ahimaaz, who outran' 


Kushi, he outstripped the marshal's guard and reached our 
brother's place of concealment just in time for him to save 
himself by flight. But as there was snow on the ground at 
the time, he was easily followed by his pursuers. After 
going some distance up a mountain ravine, he performed the 
feat of climbing to the top of a high mountain, walking 
backward in the snow and by this means succeeded in throw- 
ing his would-be captors off his trail. The first night of his 
flight he spent at a cold and cheerless place under a spruce 
tree, fifteen miles or more away from the haunts of civiliza- 
tion. Fearing to come back to his home, or even to his 
cabin in the lonely mountain glen, he traveled on westward 
for several days, until he reached the eastern slope of the 
Allegheny mountains. Finding himself among a people 
who treated him with great kindness, he made his home 
among them. From him these people soon learned some- 
thing of the doctrine taught by the Mennonites, and by 
■means of a copy of the Confession of Faith, which he had 
with him, they became greatly interested in the peace doc- 
trine taught by the church. It only remains for us to add that 
the very means that served to drive this brother across the 
•mountains as a fugitive from military service, has resulted 
ultimately in the establishing of a church and the building 
of the first meeting house in the state of West Virginia. 



The Mennonites of Europe during the eighteenth 
century were everywhere recognized as an industrious 
and thrifty people. Peter the Great first 
Catherine's came into contact with them at Zaandam 
Invitation while serving his ship-building appren- 
ticeship in Holland, and while there se- 
lected one of their number as his private physician. 
In 1786 Catharine the Great, desiring to build up the 
waste lands of Southern Russia, invited the Mennon- 
ites of Prussia to locate on her crown lands near the 
mouth of the Dnieper, in the province of Jekater- 
inoslav. As an inducement to immigration she prom- 
ised them free transportation, free lands, religious 
toleration and freedom from military service. Al- 
though denied passports by the Prussian government, 
many of them accepted these terms and established 
a colony among the wooded hills along the lower 
Dnieper, not far from the town of Jekaterinoslav. By 
1788 about two hundred families had settled in this 

In 1796 Catherine died and the new colonists, fear- 


ing lest her successor, Paul I, might forget the prom- 
ises of his mother to them, sent 
Charter of Paul I two men to St. Petersburg to ask 
that Catherine's concessions might 
be continued. These men secured from the Czar in 
1800 a charter of privileges which is still preserved in 
a fire proof building at Chortitz. Paul, not only re- 
newed his mother's promises, but in order to en- 
courage further immigration he oflFered them even 
added privileges. The most important provisions of 
the charter were : 

1. Religious toleration. 

2. Exemption from military service. 

3. The substitution of the affirmation for the oath. 

4. Sixty-five dessatin of free, arable land for each 

5. Freedom from taxation for ten years. 

6. The right to fish, and to establish distilleries, of 
which they were to have a monopoly within their settlement. 

7. Freedom from the quartering of soldiers among 

As a result of these privileges the emigration 
fever again seized the Prussians. The first colony 
had been made up largely of the poorer people, but 
now even many of the well-to-do decided to emigrate 
to Russia. The lands offered them were on the tree- 
less plains of Taurien, some distance east of the old 
colony. The first settlers came in 1803 and located 
on the river Molotchna, not far from w^here the stream 
enters the Azov. During the first two years three hun- 
dred and four families found their way to the new 
settlement. Others came during the succeeding years 
and by 1836 the entire population of the Molotchna 


colony was estimated at ten thousand, grouped into 
forty-six villages. 

In addition to these two colonies another was es- 
tablished in 1860 in Crimea, largely by settlers from 
the Molotchna community. 

In the meantime many other Germans besides 
the Mennonites had also settled in these regions. It 

is estimated that by 1870 there were 
The Germans several millions of Germans in South- 
in Russia ern Russia. The Mennonites of course 

constituted only a small portion of 
this entire number, perhaps between thirty and forty 
thousand. These Germans had settled in villages as 
the first occupants of the soil and thus they still kept 
up their German customs and habits, and spoke the 
language of the Fatherland, and maintained their 
various forms of religious worship. They were thrif- 
ty, and many had grown rich. None were more pros- 
perous than the Mennonites. An American traveler, 
passing through these Mennonite villages in 1874 
speaks as follows : — 

The dwelling houses were large brick structures with 
tile roofs, a flower garden between the street and the house 
and well kept vegetable garden and orchard in the rear. The 
stables with splendid work horses of every build, and the 
sheds with vehicles of every description, among them family 
coaches and all kinds of farming machinery. They were 
certainly the best appointed farming communities I had seen 
anywhere. Scattered over the country were large, isolated 
estates, with buildings reminding one of the feudal baronial 
castles of Western Europe. Their owners were millionaire 
Mennonites, who had acquired large tracts of land by private 
purchase. I was entertained by one of them, who had the 
reputation of being the largest sheep owner in Europe. 
When I asked how many sheep he owned he could not tell. 


but said he had three thousand shepherd dogs taking care of 
his flock. A little figuring developed that he owned over a 
million sheep, scattered in flocks all along the coast of the 
Black Sea.i 

This prosperity, together with the exclusiveness 
of the German colonists, engendered on the part of 
the native Russians a strong feeling of jealousy and 
suspicion against them. This feeling was intensified 
by the special religious and political privileges which 
had been granted them at the time of their immigra- 
tion into the Empire. For in addition to the military 
exemption enjoyed by the Mennonites, all Germans 
were still more or less under the political guardian- 
ship of Prussia from which state most of them had 
come, and thus enjoyed certain privileges denied the 
native Russians. 

And so the Russian government was importuned 
to withdraw these privileges. As a result of this 
pressure it soon became evident that 
Withdrawal of the Czar intended to Russianize his 
Privileges German subjects as soon as possible. 

As early as 1869 it was rumored that a 
new treaty was to be made with Prussia regarding the 
rights of the Germans. During the Franco-Prussian war 
it was agreed between the Czar and Bismarck that the 
newly created German government should withdraw 
its political guardianship over the Germans in Russia 
on the condition that all Germans who did not wish to 
become full-fledged Russian subjects might be given 
ten years in which to dispose of their property and 

C. B. Schmidt : Reminiscences of Foreign Immigration Work. An 
address at the fourth annual convention of the Colorado State 
Realty Association. Held at Colorado Springs, June 20-23, 1901. 


emigrate to some other country. This international 
agreement was received by all the Germans with dis- 
favor, and by the Mennonites with consternation. To 
the latter it meant not only that their children must 
now be educated in Russian schools, but their young 
men must now also enter the Russian army, for at the 
same time it was also rumored that universal military 
service was to be established. Several delegations 
were sent to St. Petersburg for the purpose of secur- 
ing military exemption in the proposed law, but noth- 
ing was accomplished. 

Nothing seemed to be left for the Mennonites now 
but either to violate their non-resistant principles, or 

leave for some other land where they 
Looking for might still enjoy the freedom of their 
a New Home religious convictions. Many decided 

upon the latter alternative. But where 
were they to go? Some suggested Africa; others 
Australia. A delegation was sent to Siberia to hunt 
for a suitable place for a colony and a small colony 
actually set out for that country. Of all the places 
suggested, however, America seemed the most prom- 
ising- Here were many of their own faith who, cen- 
turies before, had come for the same purpose. Here 
also was still much raw land where large communities 
might be established on the plan of their native Russ- 
ian villages. Here also they could enjoy freedom of 
religious opinion. But with all of these advantages 
there were misgivings in the minds of many to whom 
America still meant little more than an asylum for 
European convicts, and the haunt of untutored sav- 
ages. In the language of one who later became a 
leader in the emigration to the West, America was a 


country "interesting- for the adventurer, an asylum for 
convicts. How could one think of finding a home in 
peace under his vine and figtree among such and other 
like people in addition to the wild natives."^ 

In the meantime several families already began 
to leave for America. In 1870 and 1871 several indi- 
vidual travelers made inspection tours 
Delegation through the country. In 1872 a small 
to America delegation, among whom was Bernhard 
Warkentin, who later took an active part 
in the emigration movement, reached the Mennonite 
congregation at Summerfield, Illinois. From here 
they were directed to the western states as best suited 
for colonization. The Russians were becoming more 
and more restless, and in 1873 another delegation 
reached America for the purpose of looking up a good 
location for a large colony. This committee was 
composed of twelve men from Russia and West 
Prussia. Their names were Jacob Buller, Leonard 
Suderman, William Ewert, Andreas Schrag, Jacob 
Buller, Tobias Unruh, Jacob Peters, Heinrich Wiebe, 
Cornelius Buhr, Cornelius Toews, David Classen, 
Paul Tschetter and Lawrence Tschetter. 

Accompanied by John F. Funk of Elkhart, Indi- 
ana, and J. Y. Schantz of Berlin, Ontario, this delega- 
tion proceeded on an inspection tour down the Red 
River valley through Dakota and Manitoba. Here 
were still large tracts of raw prairie land to be had 
almost for the asking. They were best pleased with 
the region south of Winnipeg and here is where a few 
years later the largest settlement was made. From 
here the committee also visited Minnesota, Nebraska 

2. Leonard Suderman, 


and Kansas, and several members also went to Texas. 
In the meantime the western fever had also taken 
hold of a number of members of the Summerfield, 
Illinois, congregation. As early as 1871 a small group 
of men under the direction of Christian Krehbiel, had 
visited Kansas with a view to planting a colony of their 
own in that or some other western state. And so 
such Russian home-seekers as came under the in- 
fluence of the Summerfield congregation were directed 
to that region. Many of them later settled in this state 
and in Nebraska. 

When it became known that there was a proba- 
bility of a large immigration of industrious Europeans 

to these western regions, various induce- 
Americans ments to settlement were offered them 
Interested by such agencies as were interested in 

having these lands occupied. The Can- 
adian government through its agent at Winnipeg 
offered large tracts of cheap lands and freedom of 
conscience. In Kansas, the Atchison, Topeka and 
Santa Fe Railroad, which was built about this time, 
offered railroad land at two and one half dollars per 
acre. So determined was this railroad company to get 
these immigrants for Kansas that in 1875 it sent a 
special agent to Russia for the purpose of influencing 
the Mennonites who expected to emigrate, to locate 
upon its lands. Other roads in Nebraska and Minne- 
sota seemed equally bent on selling their lands, but 
none of these sent special representatives to Russia. 

In the meantime the delegation which had visited 
these regions dnring the summer of 1873 had returned 
home and made such a favorable report of what they 
had seen that many of the Russians prepared to leave 


for America immediately. Many sold their property^ 
always at a loss, and applied to the government for 
free passes for emigration. 

But the Czar, now upon hearing the rumor of the 
intended emigration, regretted the prospect of losing 
so many of his most thrifty people. 
Von Todtleben and sent a member of his ministry, von 
Todtleben, as a special agent among 
the Mennonite colonies to persuade them not to leave 
the country. Von Todtleben dwelt upon the hardships 
of the long voyage to America and promised the Men- 
nonites certain exemptions from military service in the 
proposed new military law. This exception in favor 
of the Mennonites as it finally appeared is as follows : 

The Mennonites who shall be called out for military service 
shall be assigned to duty only at other places than at the 
front, as in hospitals, in military works and similar establish- 
ments, and are exempt from bearing arms. This provision, 
however, shall not include such Mennonites, who shall unite 
with the church after the new military law shall have come 
into force or such as shall come into the Russian Empire 
from any foreign country.^ 

The majority of the Mennonites accepted these 
conditions and remained in their native land, and these 
selected the forestry service in lieu of the military 
service, which was soon demanded of all the young 
men of Russia. 

To a large minority, however, the promises made 
by von Todtleben were not convincing. To this class 
belonged many of the more scrupulous and some of 
the poorer families. To these, forestry service seemed 

3. Isaac Peters, in Herald of Truth. 


little better than military service. Their point of view 
is best expressed in the words of one of their number: 

Although the forestry service in and of itself embodied 
nothing that can be called contrary to the Scriptures, it 
nevertheless always means or stands for military service on 
the statute books and is not consistent with our non-re- 
sistant confession, since this always implies alliance or con- 
nection with military life and affairs, where the soldier is 
taken and trained and is subject to the army officials yoked 
together with them and the profession they represent. Be- 
sides this, the forestry service is for the present limited to 
twenty years, and thus the government keeps the back door 
open for the introduction of new things at any time, and 
perhaps assign the soldiers at any time to service in any of 
the branches named in the provisory clauses of the new mili- 
tary law, all of which are designed to foster war.* 

And so the preparations for departure continued 
in many of the villages. Although a few individuals 
had already crossed to this country during 1872 and 
1873, the general breaking up of the Russian settle- 
ments did not begin until the summer of 1874. In 
both colonies, the Molotchna and the old colony, many 
sold all their possessions and secured their passports. 
In some cases whole villages emigrated bodily to the 
new country. In others only a few members left their 
native homes. But everywhere the emigration fever 
had seized the people. 

Although the great exodus from the two largest 
colonies did not begin until early in the summer of 

1874, several families had arrived 
Exodus of 1874 here in the fall of 1873 and began 

settlements in Kansas, Dakota and 
Minnesota. From the files of the Herald of Truth we 

4. Isaac Peters, in Herald of Truth. 


learn that by January, 1874, there were ten or twelve 
families near Mountain Lake, Minnesota, and several 
families in Marion and McPherson counties, Kansas. 
In the same issue it is announced that one thousand 
families are to start for America in April. B}'- May the 
stream had begun. The issue of the Herald for May 
5, announces the arrival of fifty-eight Mennonites from 
Poland. By May 20, fifty more Poles under the leader- 
ship of Andreas Schrag have arrived and located near 
Yankton, Dakota. By June forty more from the same 
place were brought by William Ewert to Summerfield,. 
from which place they soon after went to their new 
homes in Kansas. On July 8, seven more families 
stopped at Summerfield enroute to Kansas. And so 
they continued to come in an increasing stream 
throughout the summer. 

In the meantime this expected exodus of Russian 
Mennonites to America was not awaited by their 

brethren here without interest 
American Mennonites and some anxiety as to how 
Aid Immigrants they were to provide for 

them. As soon as it was known 
that they would come in large numbers, steps were 
taken to furnish them with such money and care as 
might be necessary to settle them in their western 
homes. For many of the new arrivals were not rich. 
Some were poor to begin with. The expenses of 
transporting entire families were heavy. Such as had 
property in Russia had to dispose of it at a loss and so^ 
very few of them were left rich when they arrived at 
their new homes. 

In 1873 the western conference of the General 
Conference Mennonites, under the influence of Chris- 


tian Krehbiel had appointed a committee to collect 
money for such of the immigrants as might need help, 
and to direct them to their new homes. About the 
same time a similar organization was effected under 
the influence of John F. Funk among the Old Men- 
nonites of the middle west. These two movements 
were soon consolidated into the Mennonite Board of 
Guardians, with Christian Krehbiel as president; 
David Goerz (an immigrant), as secretary; John F. 
Funk, treasurer; and B. Warkentin (an immigrant), 
agent. The Mennonites of Eastern Pennsylvania or- 
ganized the Mennonite Executive Aid Committee, and 
the Canadian church under the leadership of J. Y. 
Schantz, of Berlin, Ontario, also appointed a com- 
mittee. All of these organizations did valuable ser- 
vice in providing for the needs and the conveniences 
of the Russians while they were becoming settled. It 
is estimated that a total of about $100,000 was collected 
and expended in this work. In addition to this sum, 
there were many individual loans, and in Manitoba the 
Canadian government loaned the settlers of that re- 
gion a sum of $96,000 at six per cent interest upon 
securities furnished by the Mennonites of Ontario. 
Within twenty years almost all the money loaned tO' 
the Russians both in Manitoba and in the United 
States was paid back by them. 

Aided and directed by these organizations, the 
immigrants continued to find their way to the western 
settlements by the hundreds throughout the summer 
and autumn of 1874. The Herald reports that on 
July 18, eighty families had reached Burlington, Iowa, 
enroute to Nebraska. July 19, thirty arrived at ,Elk- 
hart, Indiana, where they remained for the night in the 


Mennonite meeting house at that place, and the next 
day left — some for Kansas, others for Yankton, 
Dakota. The total number of arrivals at the harbor 
of New York by July 18, was six hundred. In the 
meantime many had arrived at Toronto, Canada. On 
July 20, three hundred and seventy are reported, and 
on July 30, two hundred and ninety more. The next 
day five hundred and four left for Manitoba. And 
thus they continued to come in a steady stream 
throughout all the summer and fall. A report made 
in November, 1874, shows that the Mennonite Board 
of Guardians reported from the Inman line the 
arrival of two hundred families. The Pennsylvania 
Aid Committee reported thirty-five families from the 
Red Star line and three hundred and eighty-six 
families on the Hamburg line. The Canadian com- 
mittee reported the arrival of two hundred and thirty 
by way of the Allan line for the year. The total 
estimate for the year was about twelve hundred 
families with the prospect that at least a thousand 
more families were preparing to come during the 
following year. And the year 1875 saw no less come 
across than the previous year. Whole vessels were 
chartered by the immigrants. In December, 1874, 
seven hundred had arrived in the "Fatherland," and 
four hundred in the "Abbotsford." On July 25, 1875, 
the "Netherlands" steamed up to the dock at New 
York with five hundred and fifty Mennonites on 
board. And soon after the "Nevada" unloaded five 
hundred and seventy. By the fall of 1875 the greatest 
rush was over, but they continued to come in small 
bands up to 1880. In August, 1879, it was estimated 
that in Manitoba alone, which was however the largest 


settlement, there were seven thousand three hundred 
and eighty-three Mennonites.^ Perhaps nearly an 
equal number came to all the other settlements com- 
bined — Kansas, Nebraska, Dakota and Minnesota. 
No reliable statistics are at hand at present regarding 
the present number in these various settlements, but 
it would be safe to place the estimate at more than 
double that of the above number. 

In the meantime a number of Mennonites from 
West Prussia also emigrated at this time to America. 
These located in Harvey and Butler counties, Kansas. 

As we have seen, the first settlers in 1873 located 
near Alountain Lake, Minnesota, and in Dakota and 
Kansas. Soon after in Manitoba two col- 
Settlement in onies were established, one twenty-five 
Manitoba miles south of Winnepeg and the other 

about eighty miles south. To the for- 
mer the Canadian government granted a reserve of 
eight townships ; to the latter, a reserve of seven- 
teen townships. Here, on the raw prairie, se- 
cluded from the outside world, they were at 
liberty to establish such forms of religion and, 
within certain limits, such civil government as they 
wished. The Manitoba settlers were principally from 
the old colony in Russia, which was more conserva- 
tive than the other settlement. These immigrants 
from the latter colony settled principally in Kansas. 
Naturally the colonists built up such civil and relig- 
ious institutions as they were accustomed to in their 
native land. They grouped themselves over their 
vast reserves in small villages, containing from live 
to thirty families each. These villages were scattered 

5. See Herald of Truth, January, 1877, and August, 1879. 


irregularly over the reserve, and sometimes two or 
three were built quite close together, and then again 
sometimes there were long distances between them. 
Their houses the first year were dug half in the earth, 
for the nearest timber was ten to twenty miles away, 
but later were made of oak logs, covered with prairie 
grass. A traveler passing through the colony in 1877 
describes one of these villages in the "Pembina" 
settlement which at that time contained twenty-five 
villages, occupied by four hundred and eighty-five 

The houses are built on both sides of the street, about 
one hundred feet back from the street, giving ample space 
for trees, flowers, etc., between the houses and the streets. 
The houses are built on a line with the street about two 
hundred feet apart, and all with the gable end toward the 
street, giving them a regular and handsome appearance. In 
this colony they have erected a building for a steam mill, 
and expect to have it all completed yet this fall with two 
run of stones. This mill is situated within two miles of the 
timber. 6 

According to another writer there was frequently 
a mill and nearly always a blacksmith shop in every 
village. In addition there was also the village school 
house which sometimes 

is used as a place of worship and this sometimes has extra 
rooms in which a teacher resides. In the larger villages they 
have separate buildings for religious service. These meeting 
houses are usually very plain buildings and the roofs, like 
some of their dwellings, are thatched with straw.'' 

These settlements also furnish an interesting 

6. J. Y. Schantz, in Herald of Truth, December, 1877. 

7. Family Almanac, 1896. 


study in the religious and civil government of their 
native Russian Mennonite village, for on 
Government the raw prairies of Manitoba they vv^ere 
of Colony left almost entirely free to institute such 
local form of government as they might 
choose. Naturally they reproduced as nearly as their 
new environment would permit such institutions as 
they were familiar with. As is always the case with a 
religious people when they are given an opportunity 
to form their own civil government, this government 
was that of a theocracy, and here with the highest 
source of authority vested in a bishop chosen by the 
whole settlement. The following description of the 
local government of one of these settlements, the 
Reinland, which consisted of twenty-five villages, was 
written in 1877 by Peter Wiens, himself an immigrant 
from Russia. 

In matters concerning the church there is one bishop 
for the whole settlement, and seven ministers, which are 
elected for life, and preach the Word of God in their public 
meetings. In the management of affairs of the church the 
bishop occupies the highest position and is looked to first in 
deciding and settling any difficulties that may arise in the 
church. The bishop and preachers are chosen by lot by the 
church during life. 

For the management of their temporal affairs, to see 
after roads, bridges, etc., the colony has a district office in 
Reinland. To fill this office the whole colony elects a general 
superintendent, each village a director and two assistants. 
A secretary for the district office is hired for a year. The 
general superintendent or director and the village directors 
or village superintendents, as they are sometimes called, and 
their assistants are elected for two years. The general 
superintendent and the village superintendents are each paid 
a small salary. 

The general superintendent gives all general orders, or 


when anything is to be done, the order is made through the 
secretary of the district to the superintendents of the villages 
who in turn make it known to the village. When matters of 
importance are to be attended to, the general superintendent 
through the secretary calls the village superintendents to a 
general conference in which all the village superintendents 
in the district must appear in Reinland and sometimes also 
the bishop of the church takes part in the councils. The 
general superintendents, when considered necessary, makes 
known the proceedings of the council through the secretary 
to the superintendent of the villages, who make it known 
to the villages. Ofttimes also when the proceedings are short 
and they can remember them without difficulty, the pro- 
ceedings are delivered verbally to the village superintendents. 

As long as everything goes on in peace and all are 
obedient, the general superintendent and the village superin- 
tendents have only to give the needful instructions, but if 
any become disobedient and refuse to obey the instructions 
of the general and village superintendents, they are, after they 
have been exhorted several times, given over to the bishop 
■of the church. He again exhorts them to obedience. If they 
hear him, all is again well. If, however, they refuse to hear 
Iiim, the bishop and general superintendent together visit 
them several times in order if possible to adjust the diffi- 
culties, sometimes also some of the ministers go with them 
to assist in settling the difficulty. If they hear these, all 
is well again, but if they refuse to hear them tkey are called 
into the church before the whole congregation where the 
bishop is the director of the meeting. The bishop presents 
the matter to the congregation and makes the necessary in- 
quiries of them, and if the whole congregation agrees, when 
these disobedient persons are not willing to hear after the 
matter has been again seriously and solemnly presented to 
them, then these disobedient persons are excommunicated 
from the church until they become obedient, acknowledge 
that they have done wrong, and ask for forgiveness. When an 
•excommunicated member comes again in this manner peni- 
tent and sofry, he is presented before the congregation, and 
when he there makes his confession, he is again, according 
to the Word of God, received into the church. 


The entire colony has an office for the care of the 
orphans to fill which two persons are elected for three years. 
These have in charge all money of the orphans, widows and 
other weakly persons, which they loan out at five per cent 
on good security and are required to keep a correct account 
of all their transactions. 

The colony has a fire office to which a fire overseer is 
chosen. In this office every family is secured and a record 
is kept of the amount of property that each family has se- 
cured. When a fire occurs the fire overseer makes an estimate 
of the percentage of the loss. He then reports to the 
-village superintendents who collect the money and hand it 
over to the fire overseer who pays it to the person who sus- 
tained the loss. Each village has also a school teacher who 
is employed by the village for a year for such salary as they 
can agree upon. The bishop and ministers receive no pay. 
The above is briefly an account of the manner in which 
our colony is conducted.^ 

Although there has been some dissatisfaction 
Avith this form of government on the part of the 
younger and more aggressive members of the colony, 
yet the local government here described with slight 
modifications is still in vogue in the Manitoba settle- 

The Kansas colony, which was next to those in 
Manitoba in size, was composed largely of immi- 
grants from the Molotchna settle- 
Kansas Colony ment. Here too, although they came 
from a less conservative community, 
they at first tried to reproduce the village life of their 
native land. In the fall of 1873 the first arrivals pur- 
chased twelve sections of railroad land in Marion 
■county, and laid out two villages, "Gnadenau" and 
•^'Hoffnungsthal." Each of these villages "occupied 

S. Peter Wiens, in Herald of Truth, November, 1877. 


one section of land, the main street running through 
the center, with the dwelling houses and flower gar- 
dens facing the street, the barns, the stables, orchards 
and vegetable gardens in the rear of the lots. The 
remaining ten sections of land were devoted to the 
farms proper."^ This manner of settlement, how- 
ever, was abandoned by the later immigrants to the 
colony, who adopted the American plan of having 
their houses on the land they farmed. 

The Kansas settlers at first met with many hard- 
ships. They came into the state in the year of the 
financial panic of 1873, which was followed the next 
year by the grasshopper plague. As a result many 
of them had to call upon their brethren in the eastern 
states for the necessaries of life. They have since, 
however, become among the most prosperous people 
in the western states. They have also become among 
the most useful and faithful of American citizens. 
One of their number, Peter Jansen, a wealthy land- 
owner and sheep raiser, was at one time a member of 
the Nebraska legislature and was appointed by Presi- 
dent McKinley as one of the commissioners from this 
country to the Paris Exposition in 1900. 

In their conference relations the Russian churches 
are not a unit. A small division had taken place in 

Crimea a short time befor,e the immigra- 
Conference tion. This branch, known as the 
Relations "Briider Gemeinde," practices baptism 

by immersion and is more conservative 
in its religious life than the main body. It is repre- 
sented in this country by several congregations in the 
western states. 

9. C. B. Schmidt, in Reminiscences of Foreign Immigration Work. 


The Manitoba settlements have remained isolated 
from the American churches. But in the United 
States there has been a closer connection between the 
native and Russian congregations. The majority have 
affiliated themselves with the General Conference 
Mennonites. About thirty congregations, principally 
from Kansas , including the large Alexanderwohl 
church of about eight hundred members in Harvey 
county, are now included in that body. 

A number of small congregations in Nebraska 
and Minnesota have united in the Minnesota-Nebraska 
conference. The leading spirit in the movement had 
been Isaac Peters, from Henderson, Nebraska, and 
hence these churches are sometimes spoken of among 
other Mennonites as the "Peters" churches. 

Several of the congregations of Kansas have fur- 
nished a number of members for the so-called "Holde- 
man" people, while a number of churches in Minnesota 
have remained independent of all conference relations. 



As already seen in another chapter, J. H. Ober- 
holtzer and his followers after their expulsion from 
the Franconia conference in 1847 
J. H. Oberholtzer immediately organized themselves 
into a new religious body. Ober- 
holtzer began an aggressive campaign for the spread 
of the new movement. For the advancement of the 
religious interests of his congregations he founded in 
1852 the first Mennonite religious paper in America, 
called Religioser Botschafter. This paper soon 
changed its name to Christliches Volksblatt and is 
still published at Berne, Indiana, under the name of 
Christlicher Bundesbote. 

Although Oberholtzer was active in promoting 
the interests of the new movement, he had not entirely 
abandoned the hope of effecting a reconciliation with 
the mother church. He was earnest in his desire 
for union and as late as 1860, he suggested in a 

1. For the infomation in this chapter I am indebted almost entirely to 
the excellent history of the General Conference movement written 
by H. P. Krehbiel. 


pamphlet called Verantwortung und Erlauterung, 
terms upon which the two churches might unite. 
These terms, however, were rejected and no reconcilia- 
tion was brought about. 

In the meantime a liberal movement similar in 
many respects to the one in Franconia had made head- 
way among a few of the scattered 
Liberal Movement churches near Niagara Falls, in 
in Ontario Lincoln county, Ontario. The 

movement was one in behalf of 
more aggressive church work, especially of greater 
evangelistic efforts, and the leading spirit was a min- 
ister by the name of Daniel Hoch. In 1853 Hoch was 
appointed by these congregations as evangelist to visit 
some of the scattered churches in the region. He also 
evidently came in touch with a small congregation 
near Wadsworth, Ohio, for in 1855 these churches 
■organized themselves into the Conference Council of 
the Mennonite Community of Canada West and Ohio. 
The purpose of the organization seems to have been 
to promote a greater evangelistic and missionary zeal 
among the churches, 

Oberholtzer had taken a great interest in the 
Canada movement from the very beginning, for here 
might perhaps be an opportunity of enlarging the 
•circle of churches that favored a more liberal policy, 
and of beginning the realization of a dream which he 
already began to cherish, namely, the unification of all 
the Mennonite churches of America. Consequently in 
the Volksblatt in 1856 he advocated the union of the 
Canada-Ohio conference already referred to with his 
own Pennsylvania conference in the interests of the 
mission cause, and suggested a general council of the 


two conferences. The plan was favorably received by 
the Canadian churches but no action was taken 
upon it. 

While this subject was being discussed in the 
East, a question of a similar nature had arisen in the 
West. In Lee county, Iowa, there 
Iowa Movement were two congregations which were 
composed largely of Bavarian immi- 
grants who had come to the state a few years before. 
They were located near the Amish settlement which 
had been made here some time earlier. But being 
more recently from Europe than the Amish and differ- 
ing from them in some of their customs, they never 
worked in harmony with them. Consequently these 
two congregations found themselves isolated from the 
other Iowa churches. Feeling the need of united 
effort, especially in evangelistic work among such 
members of the church as had settled some distance 
from the main body of the two congregations, in 1859 
they held a joint meeting of which J. C. Krehbiel was 
the chairman, near West Point in Lee county, for the 
purpose of "devising ways on the one hand for the 
centralization of the Mennonite churches, but chiefly 
on the other for supplying isolated families with the 
Gospel blessings." The ideal of a union of all Men- 
nonite churches in the interest of the mission cause, 
or at any rate of such Mennonite churches as were in 
sympathy with a more aggressive church policy seems 
also to have taken hold of the imagination of the 
leaders in the Lee county congregations. Near the 
close of the meeting it was decided to invite other 
churches to meet with them in another conference to 
be held the next year near West Point. The report of 


the meeting together with this invitation was pub- 
lished in the Volksblatt. 

Oberholtzer naturally was interested in the Iowa 
movement. During the year he repeatedly urged 
through the columns of his paper that his own and the 
Canadian congregations send representatives to the 
coming meeting in Lee county. Neither, however, 
seemed enthusiastic in responding to the invitation, 
and that for several reasons. In the first place Iowa 
was at that time on the frontier line of American civil- 
ization, and why should the eastern churches go so far 
west to attend a meeting the purpose of which was to 
form a union of congregations almost all of which 
were located in the East. Secondly, the lowans were 
recent European immigrants in whom the easterners, 
whose ancestors had been in this country for two 
centuries, felt little interest. Neither of the local con- 
ferences appointed delegates to the western meeting. 
Hoch and Oberholtzer appeared to be the only indi- 
viduals who manifested any interest in the enterprise, 
and it seemed doubtful whether even they could go. 
But finally at the very last moment Oberholtzer with 
one companion contrived to attend and they were the 
only representatives at the meeting outside of the Iowa 

The conference, if such it may be called, was held 
May 28-9, 1860, near West Point, and was composed 
of the two congregations already 
The Conference mentioned, another minister from a 
of 1860 nearby settlement and the two repre- 

sentatives from Pennsylvania. J. H. 
Oberholtzer was chosen chairman, and Christian Sho- 
walter of the home congregation, secretary. Although 


unpretentious and local in character, this meeting was 
not deterred by that fact from discussing an ambitious 
and lofty ideal, namely, the unification of all the Men- 
nonites of America under one working organization. 
Deploring the fact that there was so much strife 
among the congregations and that the "denomination 
has never since its existence in America constituted an 
ecclesiastical organization," the assembly drew up 
a set of resolutions which might serve as a common 
platform upon which all might unite for the extension 
of the mission and other church interests. These 
resolutions, are as follows, — 

1. That all branches of the Mennonite denomination in 
North America regardless of minor differences, should extend 
to each other the hand of fellowship. 

2. That fraternal relations shall be severed only when a 
person or church abandons the fundamental doctrines of the 
denomination; namely, those concerning baptism, the oath, 
etc., as indeed all those principal doctrines of the faith which 
we with Menno base solely upon the Gospel as received 
from our Lord Jesus Christ and His apostles. 

3. That no brother shall be found guilty of heresy unless his 
error can be established on unequivocal Scripture evidence. 

4. That the General Conference shall consider no excom- 
munication as scripturally valid, unless a real transgres- 
sion or neglect conflicting with the demands of scripture, 

5. That every church or district shall be entitled to continue 
without molestation or hindrance and amenable only to their 
own conscience, any rules or regulations they may have 
adopted for their own government; provided they do not 
conflict with the tenets of our gefieral confession. 

6. That if a member of a church, because of existing customs 
or ordinances in his church, shall desire to sever his connec- 


tion and unite with some other church of the General Con- 
ference, such action shall not be interfered with. 2 

As indicated, the motive for this united action was 
for more effective evangelistic efforts, but two other 
subjects were discussed during the meet- 
Its Purpose ing, — the establishing of a publishing 
house, and of an institution for theolog- 
ical training. Both of these measures had been advo- 
cated by Oberholtzer and Hoch before, and the former 
no doubt introduced them in the discussions at this 
time. After a two days session the assembly ad- 
journed, but not before it was decided to meet again 
the following year at Wadsworth, Ohio. 

Thus was launched the General Conference of 
the Mennonites, or what became popularly known as 
the General Conference Mennonites. The aim of the 
movement was an ambitious, but a worthy one. Just 
how seriously the leaders of the cause at this time 
entertained the thought of a union of all Mennonites it 
is not easy to say. It may be safely inferred, however, 
that none expected to see the work accomplished in 
their own generation, for the task was almost an im- 
possible one. The gap between the opposite extremes 
of Mennonite custom and practice of that time was 
too wide to be bridged over easily. But a union of 
some of the more liberal of the native American 
churches and a number of the recent immigrant con- 
gregations was entirely feasible, and the leaders of 
the movement perhaps hardly hoped to accomplish 
more than that. 

The General Conference, however, was hardly a 

2. Krehbiel. p. 57. 


fact as yet. Neither the Canada-Ohio Council nor the 
several other independent congregations which it was 
hoped might be brought into line had accepted the first 
invitation. It remained to be seen what action these 
WHDuld take at the next meeting at Wadsworth. 

This session, the second of the General Confer- 
ence, was held at Wadsworth, Medina county, Ohio» 

Second Session ^^^^ ^^' ^^^^' ^^ ^^^ ^°°^^ ^°""*^ ^^^^ 
at Wadsworth ^^'^ unification movement was growing, 
for now eight congregations were 
represented, including in addition to those represented 
the previous year, those at Waterloo, Ontario, Wads- 
worth, Ohio, Summerfield, Illinois, and several from 
Pennsylvania. Two new subjects were discussed at 
this session. A new article discouraging secret soci- 
eties was added to the platform adopted the previous 
year, and the first steps were taken toward the estab- 
lishing of a theological school. This was founded 
several years later at Wadsworth. The conference 
was now a fact. After this, sessions v/ere held regu- 
larly, at first biennially, but later triennially. Under 
Mie leadership of such able men as J. H. Oberholtzer^ 
Daniel Krehbiel, Christian Showalter, A. B. Shelly, 
Christian Krehbiel, Ephraim Hunsberger, S. F. 
Sprunger and many other younger men within recent 
years, the movement grew steadily from the beginning 
along the lines laid down at the first meeting in Iowa. 
Each session since then has shown an addition of new 

The largest additions have come from the more 
recent immigrant churches,— the Swiss of Ohio and 
Indiana, and the Russians of Kansas and other western 


states.' Among the largest congregations are now the 
magnificent church at Berne, Indiana, with a member- 
ship of over seven hundred, and the Alexanderwohl 
congregation of Russians, in Harvey county, Kansas, 
which has a membership of about eight hundred. In 
1908 the Conference embraced a total membership of 
about twelve thousand. 

It will be seen that the General Conference of 
Mennonites is not a separate division of the church. It 

is rather a conference whose ulti- 
Character of the mate aim is the union of all 

General Conference branches of the denomination. 

This it hopes to do along the lines 
laid down in 1860. No restrictions or limitations are 
placed upon the congregations composing it. Each 
governs itself and determines its own church policy. 
But all unite upon certain lines of Christian activity — 
such as missions, education, publication interests and 
evangelistic efforts. The purpose of the General Con- 
ference is best set forth by H. P. Krehbiel, the his- 
torian of the movement. He says, — 

The churches constituting the General Conference have by 
their union not become something else' from what they were 
before. Each church remains just what it was and retains 
all peculiarities she had if she chooses. Each church retains 
her individuality as well as her independence. It is not a 
separate class or division of Mennonites which may be distin- 
guished from others by special doctrines or customs. It is 
impossible to class the Conference as such a division because 
her membership list contains churches which differ very 

This was because both the General Conference and the recent immi- 
grants were in favor of heathen mission work while the old Men- 
nonites still opposed such work, and because both were more liberal 
in their views regarding religious customs and practices than the 
main body of the native American church. 


much in customs and special views, and which to this day- 
retain these differences precisely as they did previous to 
uniting with the Conference. The General Conference is 
therefore in no sense a branch or division of the denomina- 

After all, however, the members of the organiza- 
tion necessarily have certain common interests and 
religious ©pinions and practices which differentiate 
them from all other Mennonites, and which give them 
many of the characteristics of a separate branch of the 
church. In fundamental doctrines they differ little 
from other divisions of the denomination. In 
the main they accept the same confession of 
faith as all others — the Dordrecht Confession 
of 1632, and they accept all the fundamental 
doctrines of the Mennonite faith with the excep- 
tion that some of them insist on rather a modified 
form of the doctrine of non-resistance as applied to war 
and especially as applied to the practice of availing 
one's self of the law in personal controversies. 

In practice and customs, however, they differ in 
some respects from the main body of Old Mennonites. 
They do not practice feetw'ashing, and no restrictions 
are laid on the form of dress. They maintain a salaried 
ministry and favor in general a liberal church policy. 

And consequently they have made little headway 
in interesting the more conservative bodies of the 
church in the movement for union. For among both the 
Amish and the main body of native American Mennon- 
ites, these earlier practices are still firmly rooted. 
Whether the various branches will ever again reunite 
and if so, whether the union will be along the lines 
suggested by the General Conference Mennonites, is 
a question the solution of which no one can foretell. 


It is but natural that this, the most liberal wing- 
of the denomination, should be the first to venture out 
into new lines of Christian activity. It is 
Christian here that the first church paper, the first 

Activity church school, and the first missionary- 

enterprise among the American Mennon- 
ites were established. Although at times there has 
been considerable friction between the eastern and 
western churches, due to the fact that the former were 
native Americans while the latter were recent Euro- 
pean immigrants, yet the growth of interest in edu- 
cational and missionary enterprises has been constant 
from the beginning, and the General Conference move- 
ment has done much to enhance both the interests and 
the good name of the whole denomination. 


The purpose of this chapter is to show how in 
America the non-resistant principles of the Mennonites 
often came into conflict with the civil authorities, but 
how, also, absolute religious liberty was finally se- 
cured. The subject will be treated from the stand- 
point of the civil powers, and I shall not discuss here 
the experience of the Mennonites in the application of 
these laws. In this respect the Quakers and Mennon- 
ites have in many instances had a common history, 
and the two must necessarily be treated more or less 

No part of their creed has subjected the Mennon- 
ites to more misrepresentation and misunderstanding 
than their attitude toward the civil 
Attitude toward authorities. They adopted bodily 
Civil Government the faith of the peaceful type of 
Misunderstood Anabaptists, and that was a rejec- 

tion of all civil and a great deal of 
the prevailing ecclesiastical government as unneces- 
sary for the Christian. The Non-resistant Anabaptists 
of whom the Mennonites were the direct successors, 
went no further, however, in their opposition to the 
temporal authority than to declare that the true church 


and the temporal powers had nothing in common and 
must be entirely separate; not only must the state not 
interfere with the church, but the true Christian must 
be entirely free from participating in civil matters. 
The temporal authority must needs exist since it was- 
instituted of God to punish the wicked, but in that 
work the Christian had no hand. This position they 
reached from a literal interpretation of the Sermon on 
the mount where Christ taught his disciples among 
other things to "love their enemies", and to "swear not 
at all." Hence their position involved opposition to- 
the oath, holding of office and bearing of arms. This 
often brought them into trouble with the civil author- 
ities, and in Europe they seldom got exemption from 
these civic obligations. This was one of the causes of 
their emigration. Nor were they granted entire exemp- 
tion in America without many years of struggle. 

The earliest Anabaptist confession of faith drawn 
up at Schleitheim in 1527, teaches very distinctly that 
the use of the sword is ordained by 
Anabaptist View God to punish the wicked but no^ 
of the Sword Christian can wield it. As to the 

right of the Christian to be a magis- 
trate, this declaration states, "it was intended to make 
Christ King and He fled and did not regard the ordi- 
nance of the Father. Thus should we do, and follow 
him and we shall not walk in darkness." Neither can- 
the Christian take an oath, for "Christ who teaches 
the perfection of the law forbids to his people all 
swearing whether true or false." This was the position 
taken by Menno Simons^ and by all those Anabaptists 

See Menno Simons' Complete Works, Elkhart, Ind., Edition. Part II_ 
p. 301. 


who later were known as Mennonites. The Ana- 
baptist movement was not confined to Germany and 
Holland but soon appeared also in England, That this 
view of the Christian's attitude toward the civil author- 
ities had made some headway in the latter country is 
evidenced by the fact that the earliest confessions of 
faith of the Presbyterian, Anglican and Baptist 
churches found it necessary to explicitly state that it 
is not unlawful nor inconsistent for the Christian to 
swear, bear arms, or be a magistrate.- On the con- 

The following extracts taken from various Confessions of Faith and 
other sources illustrate the prevalence of these ideas : 

(a) "It is lawful for a Christian to be a magistrate or civil officer 
and also it is lawful to take an oath so it be in truth and judgment 
and in righteousness for confirmation of truth and ending all strife 
and that by rash and vain oaths the Lord is provoked and this land 
mourns." Article 49. Confession of Faith of so-called Anabaptists 
in London, 1646, — See Schaflf, Confessions of Faith of Baptists in 
the Seventeenth Century, p. 46. 

(b) "We ought to pay tribute, custom, and all other duties. 
Magistrates may be members of the church of Christ, retaining 
their magistracy, for no ordinance of God debarreth any from being 
a member of Christ's church. They bear the Sword of God ; which 
Sword in all lawful administrations is to be defended and supported 
by the servants of God that are under their government, with their 
lives and all that they have, according as in the first institution of 
that holy ordinance." — Declaration of Faith of English people re- 
maining at Amsterdam, printed 161L See Schaff, p. 10. 

> (c) "A lawful oath is a part of religious worship wherein upon 
just occasion the person swearing solemnly calleth God to witness 
what he asserteth or promiseth." 

It is lawful for Christians to accept and execute the office of a 
magistrate when called thereunto." — Westminister Confession 1647. 

(d) "It is lawful for Christian men at the commandment of the 
magistrate to weare weapons and serve in the wars." 

■'We judge that Christian religion doth not prohibite, but that 
a man may sweare when the magistrate requireth in a cause of 
faith and charitie, so it be done accordyng to the prophet's teaching 
in justice, judgment and truth." — The Book of Common Prayer of 
Church of England. 1571 Edition. 

(e) "The Sword — An ordinance of God, to punish the wicked. 
The Christian can not use it." "Magistrate — It was intended to 
make Christ king and he fled, and did not regard the ordinance of 


tinent several peace sects borrowed a part or all of 
these doctrines from the earlier Anabaptists or later 
Mennonites. The most prominent of these, most of 
whom followed the Mennonites to America early in 
the eighteenth century, were the Moravians, Schwenk- 
felders and the Dunkards. 

His Father. Thus should we do and follow Him and we shall not 
walk in darkness." "Oath — Christ who teacheth the perfection of 
the law forbids to his people all swearing whether true or false." 
Substance of the Schleitheim Confession of Faith 1527 as quoted by 
Armitage in his history of the Baptists. This is the first Anabaptist 
confession and was adopted by the Mennonites. 

(f) In as much as we thus confess and cordially believe and be- 
sides confess that no emperor or king may rule or command con- 
trary to his word since he is the head of all princes and is the king 
of kings and that unto Him every knee shall bow which is in heaven 
in earth or under the earth, and as he has plainly forbidden us to 
swear and points us to yea and nay alone, therefore it is that 
we swear not by the fear of God, nor dare swear, though we must 
bear and suffer so much on that account from the world." — Menno 

(g) "God has instituted civil government for the punishment of 
the wicked and the protection of the pious, etc." 

"Regarding revenge whereby we resist our enemies with the 
Sword, we believe and confess that the Lord Jesus has forbidden 
his disciples and followers all revenge and resistance and has there- 
by commanded them not to return evil for evil nor railing for 
railing; but to put up the sword into the sheath, or as the prophets 
foretold, beat them into plough shares, etc." 

"Regarding the swearing of oaths we believe and confess that 
the Lord Jesus has dissuaded his followers from and forbidden the 
same ; that is, that he commanded them to swear not at all ; but 
that their "Yea" should be "yea," and their "Nay," "nay," etc. — 
Mennonite Confession of Faith, 1632. 

(h) "And whereas many of us are now prisoners can not take 
the oath of allegiance because we can not swear at all." — Anabap- 
tists of Kent County, England in a petition to Charles II, 1660, 
quoted in Tracts on Liberty of Conscience by Hansard Knollys 
Society, p. 307. 

Error 104. 

"That Poedobaptism is unlawful and anti-christian and 'tis as 
lawful to baptize a Cat, or a Dog, or a Chicken as to baptize the 
infants of believers." — Part II. 28. 
Error 158. 


In England, on the other hand, by the close of the 
seventeenth century the Quakers stood alone as ex- 
ponents of the non-resistant doc- 
Struggles of Quakers trine. Here at the time when 
for Exemption from Pennsylvania was settled they 
the Oath had not yet gained any exemp- 

tion from the oath. It was not 
until 1689 that any concessions were made to their 

"Tis unlawful for Christians to defend Religion with the Sword 
or to fight for it when men come with Sword to take it away, 
Religion will defend itself." — Part II. 34. 
Error 159. 

" 'Tis unlawful for Christians to fight, and take up arms for their 
laws and civil liberties." 
Error 160. 

■' 'Tis unlawful to fight at all or to kill any of the creatures for 
our use, as a chicken or any on other occasion." 
Error 168. 

"That 'tis unlawful for a Christian to be a magistrate but upon 
turning Christian he should lay down his magistracie, neither do 
we read after Cornelius was baptized (though he were a Centurion 
before and a man in command and authority) that ever he meddled 
any more with his band called the Italian band." Part II. 35. 
Error 40. 

"That tis not lawful for Christians to take an oath, no not when 
they are called before authority and brought into court." Part III. 
14. — These extracts are taken from "Edwards Gangrena", a "Trea- 
tise on the Sectaries of England and their Errors", published in 
London, 1647. 

(j) "For as much as the consciences of sundry men, truly con- 
scienable may scruple the giving or taking of an oath, and it would 
be noways suitable to the nature and constitution of our place (who 
profess ourselves to be men of different consciences and not willing 
to force another) to Debar such as can not do so, either from bear- 
ing oiifice amongst us, or from giving in testimony in a case de- 

"Be it enacted by the authority of this present Assembly that a 
solemn profession or Testimony in a Court of Record, or before a 
Judge of Record shall be accounted, throughout the whole Colonic 
of as full force as an oath." — Rhode Island Colonial Records I 181 

(k) "For as much as experience hath plentyfully and often 
proved yet since ye first arising of ye Anabaptists, about a hundred 
years since they have been ye incendaries of Commonwealths, and 


tender consciences. The Act of Toleration permitted a 
solemn promise and declaration to take the place of 
the oath of allegiance and abjuration. In 1696 Parlia- 
ment passed an act providing a modified form of the 
affirmation, which however was still objectionable to 
the Quakers. This act was renewed frequently in later 
years and was given a wider application, but it was 
not until 1833 that the affirmation was made equal in 
every respect to the usual oath. 

The law of 1696 was applied to Pennsylvania by 
Queen Anne but withdrawn again in 1705.^ No provi- 
sion was made in it for the Men- 
Pennsylvania nonites. The laws passed by the 
Laws on the Oath colony of Pennsylvania very early 
made it possible for those con- 
scientiously opposed to the oath to substitute the 
affirmation. The laws of England discriminated in 
favor of the Quakers only, and it may be for this reason 
that the Mennonites in 1706 petitioned the Provincial 
CounciP that 

ye infectors of persons in Maine matters of religion, and ye 
troublers of churches in all places where they have bene and yet 
they who have held ye baptizing of infants unlawful have usually 
held other errors or heresies together therewith, though they have 
(as other hereticks use to do) concealed ye same till they spied out 
a fit advantage and opportunity to vent them, by way of question or 
scruple and whereas divers of this kind have since our coming into 
New England, appeared amongst ourselves, some whereof have (as 
others before them) denied ye ordinance of magistracy, and ye law- 
fulness of making war, and others ye lawfulness of magistrates and 
their inspection into any breach of ye first table, which opin- 
ions, if they should be connived at by us, are like to be increased 
amongst us and so must necessarily bring guilt upon us, infection 
and trouble to ye churches, and hazard to ye whole community." — 
It is ordered and agreed etc."— Mass. Rec, II. 85. (1644). 

3. Restored again 1725. See Proud, History of Pennsylvania. II. 190. 

4. Col. Rec, II, 241. 


since they (with their predecessory for above 150 years past) 
could not for conscience sake take an oath, the same provi- 
sion may be made for them by Law as is made for those 
called Quakers in this Province and that the said Law may 
te sent home With the rest passed by the late Assembly in 
order to obtain the Queens Royal approbation. 

The Quakers who had control of the government of 
Pennsylvania had a tender regard for the religious 
scruples of the Mennonites and granted them all the 
religious liberty they themselves enjoyed. In 1717 the 
Council, alarmed at the large German immigration 
that seemed to threaten them, passed an ordinance to 
the effect that all newcomers should take an oath of 
allegiance to his Majesty and his Government. The 
Mennonites, however, "who can not for conscience 
sake take any oaths" are to be admitted "upon their 
giving any equivalent assurance in their own way and 
manner:"^ This provision evidently did not apply to 
any of the non-resistant denominations except the Men- 
nonites, for on November 4, 1742, a petition was re- 
ceived by the council from the Amish*' demanding that 
the oath be changed in the naturalization laws, since 

though not Quakers, are conscientiously scrupulous to taking 
any oath, they can not as the Law now stands be naturalized.''' 

5. Col. Rec, III. 29. 

6. Hazard, Register, VII. 151. 

Conyngham the author of this article says that this petition was 
written in 1718. Conyngham however is altogether unreliable in 
almost everything he says about the Amish. His statement here is 
not consistent with facts. It is altogether likely that this may be the 
1742 petition referred to by Watson. See Watson, Annals, II. 109. 

7. Without naturalization they could not bequeath their lands to their 



"The Assembly passed the desired legislation.^ From 
this time on it appears that neither Mennonites nor 
Amish had any occasion to petition for further civil 
exemptions, until the time of the Revolution, after the 
control of the government had passed out of the hands 
of the Quakers and when all non-resistant sects found 
it difficult to maintain a strictly neutral attitude to- 
ivard the war. 

Maryland is the only state to mention the Men- 
nonites by name in its constitution. Article 36 

in the Declaration of Rights 
Maryland Constitution drawn up by the Constitutional 
Exempts Mennonites Convention of 1776 declares 


the manner of administering an oath to any person ought to 
be such as those of the religious persuasion, profession or 
denomination of which such person is one generally esteem 
the most effectual confirmation, by the attestation of the 
Divine being, and that the people called Quakers and those 
called Dunkers, and those called Menonists holding it unlaw- 
ful to take an oath on any occasion ought to be allowed to 
make their solemn affirmation in the manner that Quakers 
have been heretofore allowed to affirm and to be of the same 
avail as an oath in all such cases as the affirmation of Quakers 
has been allowed and accepted within this state instead of 
an oath. And further on such affirmation, warrants to search 
for stolen goods, or the apprehension or commitment of 
offenders, ought to be granted or security for the peace 
awarded and Quakers, Tunkers and Menonists ought also 
on their solemn affirmation as aforesaid to be admitted as 
witnesses in all criminal cases not capital. 

Votes of Assembly, III. 505. The Records call them German Pro- 
testants. They were not Quakers but were scrupulous of taking any 
oath. Hazard calls them Ornish (See Hazard Register V. 21) and 
I am inclined to think that this is the petition quoted in Hazard 
VII. 151. 


In 1794 the General Assembly confirmed this 
article and further enacted that Quakers, Menonists 
and Tunkers when elected to any civil office might 
substitute a simple affirmation for the usual oath.* 
In 1797 a law was passed to the effect that before any 
of the above mentioned were to be admitted as a wit- 
ness in a court of justice 

the court shall be satisfied by such testimony as they may 
require, that such person is one of those who profess to be 
conscientiously scrupulous of taking an oath. 

In Virginia there was less religious liberty before 
the Revolution than in Pennsylvania and Maryland. 
Here there was an established 
Virginia State church which enjoyed many 

Liberal toward civil and religious privileges that 

Mennonite Scruples were denied the other denomina- 
tions. This church was sup- 
ported out of the common funds, controlled very 
largely the education of the youth, and her priests 
alone could perform marriage rites. Other denomina- 
tions by the time of the Revolution were generally 
permitted freedom of worship, but in addition to sup- 
porting themselves they were compelled to help keep 
up the established church. 

The Shenandoah Valley, where the Mennonites 
were located, contained comparatively few Anglicans. 
Many of the early settlers were Dissenters, Baptists, 

9. Kilty, Laws of Maryland, II. 1794, Ch. 49. See also Index under 
Menonist and Quaker. 


Presbyterians, Mennonites, Quakers and Tunkers.^" 
Here the established faith was especially unpopular, 
and in the struggle for religious liberty in Virginia the 
inhabitants of the Valley played a conspicuous role. 
All the dissenting churches maintained a vigorous 
fight for exemption from the payment of tithes, and 
for equal privileges to perform marriage rites among 
their own number. The Mennonites and Quakers 
furthermore were compelled to demand the additional 
exemption from the oath and military service. 

The Mennonites, as we have seen, came into the 
Valley before the middle of the eighteenth century, 
but some were driven back into Pennsylvania again 
before 1758. They must have returned in considerable 
numbers again before the Revolution, for we find in 
the Records of the House of Burgesses for June 15, 
1775, a petition 

of the community of Christians called Menonists presented 
to the House and read, setting forth that the petitioners hold 
it to be contrary to the Word of God to swear in any matter 
whatever so that they can not become witnesses in matters 
•of controversy depending in any court nor can execute the 
office of Executor of any Testament, nor undertake the ad- 
ministration of any intestate's estate whereby they suffer 
many inconveniences, and therefore praying that they may 
have the same liberty of affirming to the Truth of any matter 
as is indulged to the people called Quakers, whose religious 
persuasion that of the Petitioners nearly resemble. "^^ 

This petition was referred to the committee for 

10. In 1780 a new marriage law making concessions to Quakers and 

Mennonites was passed. See Henning, X. 362. 

"There were not many church of England ministers in the Valley 
and they had to ride far and charged exhorbitant prices. Wedding 
parties often had to go to them."— Foote, Sketches of Virginia, 331. 

11. Kennedy, Journal of the House of Burgesses, 217. 


religion who were ordered to examine the matter and 
report the same with their opinion thereupon to the 
next house. Although there seems to be no record 
of any statute passed in consequence of this request 
it is likely that the Mennonites were granted the same 
privileges as the Quakers in this as in other matters 
of religious toleration. 

The Mennonites were also among the first in the 
state of Virginia to secure legal exemption from the 
marriage laws. In 1780 the Assembly enacted that 
any Menonist or Quaker minister might legally cele- 
brate the rites of matrimony and 

join together as man and wife those who may apply to them, 
agreeable to the rules and usage of the respective societies to 
which the parties to be married respectively belong.12 

The contracting parties were to secure marriage certi- 
ficates from the proper civil authorities. Any clerk of 
a Mennonite or Quaker meeting who failed to return 
such certificate within three months was subject to a 
line of five hundred pounds of tobacco. Only four 
ministers of each sect in each county were to be 
granted licenses by the judge or elder magistrate to- 
perform marriage rites. This brought no hardship 
upon the Mennonites, however, since at this time there 
was only one settlement in the state and that a com- 
paratively small one. The same act provided that no- 
persons of other denominations were to be joined to- 
gether in matrimony without a lawful license or thrice 
publication of bans in the respective parishes where 
the parties to be married resided in accordance with 
the provisions of an act passed in 1748. 

12. Hcnning, X. 361, 363. 


The three states mentioned were the only ones in 
which Mennonites were found before 1800. After 
1800 they spread rapidly into other states but nowhere 
outside of Maryland, Virginia, or Pennsylvania, did 
they find it necessary to repeat the struggle for the 
right of affirmation. Many of the later states, in- 
fluenced, no doubt, by the example of these older ones, 
made provision either in their constitutions or by 
statute for substituting a simple declaration or affirma- 
tion for the usual oath wherever such oath is required. 
The United States Constitution provides for the use 
of the affirmation in the Presidential and other oaths 
of office, an alternative which seems to have been in- 
serted by the Convention without debate.^^ 

In the struggle for exemption from military ser- 
vice the peace sects frequently encountered a more 

vigorous opposition than in their de- 
Exemption from mand for the right of affirmation. 
Military Service The objection to the oath was a 

question which was of little interest 
to others, but the refusal to bear arms in 
time of war was a matter not so easily over- 
looked and often misunderstood by their neigh- 
bors and those in authority. In Pennsylvania 
so long as the Quaker regime lasted, the Mennonites 
found no difficulty in practicing their peace principles. 
In fact for the fifteen years immediately preceding the 
downfall of the Quaker government in 1756 these two 
denominations were forced to combine their strength 
in a common fight for the maintenance of their peace 
principles. These were the years of one of the Colonial 

13. Elliot, Debates, V. 498. 


wars and of Indian incursions. The Assembly, in 
which the Quakers were still in the majority, refused 
to declare war against the Indians or provide for the 
defense of the frontier. The larger part of the popula- 
tion, including among the leaders, Benjamin Franklin 
and Governor Thomas, were strenuously opposed to- 
the peaceful measures of the Quaker Assembly.^* The 
Quakers although representing a minority of the popu- 
lation yet were able to retain control of the Assembly 
largely through their political alliance with the Ger- 
man peace sects who shared the Quaker views on non- 
resistance. We learn from a letter written by Dr. 
William Smith in 1755 that the Quakers succeeded in 
manipulating the German vote in such a way 
as to elect assemblymen from the German 
counties who were committed to the Quaker 
principles of government. This was done largely 
through the influence of Christopher Sauer the 
Dunkard printer, who by means of his al- 
manacs, newspapers and other German publications,, 
had secured wide acquaintance among the Germans, 
and especially the non-resistant Germans — the Men- 
nonites, Dunkards, Schwenkfelders and Moravians — 
in the frontier counties.^^ It was through fear of 
military conscription and heavy taxes that the Ger- 
man non-resistants were drawn to the side of the 
Quakers in the struggle for the maintenance of their 
peace policy. Just how generally and how effectively 
the German vote was cast for Quaker assemblymen it 
is difificult to tell, but the political broadsides printed 
by Sauer and still preserved in the library of the 

14. Votes of Assembly, III. 364. 

15. Sharpless, Quakerism and Politics, p. 131. 


Pennsylvania State Historical Society leave no doubt 
as to the reality of the struggle between the peace and 
war parties for the support of the German non-re- 
sistants, who held the balance of power. .Especially 
is it difficult to tell just how much the Mennonites con- 
tributed to the net result of this struggle. Documents 
are not available and perhaps not extant from which 
a conclusive judgment might be made. It is alto- 
gether likely, however, that the Mennonite vote in 
Lancaster county and perhaps in Bucks did much to 
keep the Quaker assembly in power long after it had 
fallen out of favor with the people at large.^' The 

16. The following letter written to a politician in Bucks county in 1765 
shows that even after the downfall of the Quaker regime the Men- 
nonites were still a local political factor that needed to be reckoned 

"I went up lately to Bucks Court in order to concert measures- 
for their (i. e some friends) election, in pursuance of which we 
have appointed a considerable meeting of Germans, Baptists and 
Presbyterians to be held next Monday at Neshaminy, where some 
of us, some Germans and Baptists of this place have appointed to 
attend, in order to attempt a general confederacy of the three soci- 
eties in opposition to the ruling party. We have sent up emis- 
saries among the Germans which I hope will bring them into this 
measure, and if it can be effected, will give us a great chance for 
carrying matters in that county. Could that be carried, it would 
infallibly secure our friends a majority in the House, and conse- 
quently enable them to recall our dangerous enemy, Franklin, with 
his petitions, which is the great object we have in view, and which 
should engage the endeavors of all our friends at the approaching 
election to make a spirited push for a majority in the Assembly, 
without which all our struggles here will prove of little service 

to the public interest If you knew thoroughly the methods 

Mr. Franklin is taking at home to blacken and stigmatize our soci- 
ety, you would perhaps judge with me that you never had more 
reason to exert yourselves in order to overset him, which we can- 
only do by commanding a majority in the Assembly. I have seen 
a letter lately from a person of character, that advises us of hi» 
wicked designs against us. The little hopes of success, as well as 
the difficulty of engaging proper persons for the purpose, has dis- 
courged me from attempting a project recommended by some 
friends of sending up some Germans to work upon their country- 


final break came, as we saw, in 1756, when the Quakers 
lost their majority in the Assembly and that body im- 
mediately voted to make war upon the Indians. From 
this time on until the Revolution the Mennonites were 
in constant fear lest they might be forced to violate 
their relisrious convictions. 

men. But that no probable means may fail, I have sent up some 
copies of a piece lately printed by Sowers of Germantown, to be 
dispersed, and which may possibly have some effect. 

As I understand the Mennonites have certainly resolved to turn 
out Isaac Saunders this year, though the only good member your 
county has, I would beg leave to offer you and other friends 
the following scheme, as the only probable chance, I think, you 
have to carry the election and keep Mr. Saunders. If the scheme 
is properly executed and can be conducted without danger of a 
riot, I think you could infallibly carry your ticket by it. 

Don't attempt to change any of your members save Webb. If 
you can run Dr. Kuhn, or any popular German, and can keep Mr. 
Saunders, you will do great things. As soon as your ticket is 
agreed on let it be spread through the country, that your party 
intend to come well armed to the election, and that you intend, if 
there's the least partiality in either sht-riflf, inspectors, or managers 
of the election that you will thrash the sheriff, every inspector, 
Quaker or Menonist to a jelly; and further I would report it, that 
not a Menonist nor German should be admitted to give in a ticket 
without being sworn that he is naturalized and worth 50 pounds and 
that he has voted already ; and further, that if you discovered any 
person attempting to give in a vote without being naturalized, or 
voting twice, you would that moment deliver him up to the mob to 
chastise him. Let this report be industriously spread before the 
election which will certainly keep great numbers of the Mennonists 
at home. I would at the same time have all our friends warned to 
put on a bold face, to be every man provided with a shillelah, as 
if determined to put their threats in execution, though at the same 
time let them be solemnly charged to keep the greatest order 
and peace. Let our friends choose about two dozen of the most 
reputable men, magistrates, etc., who shall attend the inspectors, 
sheriffs and clerks during the whole election, to mount guard half at 
a time, and relieve one another at spells, to prevent all cheating and 
administer the oath to every suspicious person, and to commit to 
immediate punishment every one who offers to vote twice. I'll en- 
gage if you conduct the election in that manner, and our people turn 
out with spirit, you can't fail of carrying every man on your ticket, 
as I am well assured not a third of the Mennonists are naturalized, 
I would submit this to your consideration. If its well thought of. 


During the early stages of the Revolution there 
was little of united action in preparing for the common 
defense. Each colony mustered 
Associators during its own militia, provided its own 
the Revolution arms and ammunition and in gene- 

ral regulated its own affairs re- 
gardless of what other colonies or the Continental 
Congress were doing. Early in 1775 the Assembly of 
Pennsylvania recommended that all able-bodied white 
male inhabitants of the province "associate" for the 
common defence. Those who would not join such 
voluntary military organizations were called "non- 
associators." Remembering, however, that many of 
the people of Southeastern Pennsylvania were 
Quakers, Mennonites, Dunkards and of other non- 
resistant denominations, the Assembly on June 30,. 
1775, since 

many of the good People of this Province are conscien- 
tiously scrupulous of bearing arms further recommended to 
the associators for the defence of their county and others,, 
that they bear a tenderly and brotherly Regard toward this 
class of their Fellow subjects and Countrymen. ^'^ 

To these conscientious people on the other hand it was- 
suggested that 

they cheerfully assist in proportion to their abilities such 
associators as can not spend their time and substance in the 
Public Service without great injury to themselves. 

take your measures immediately, I beg no mention may be made of 
the author of this. I see no danger in the scheme but that of a 
riot, which would require great prudence to avoid." Samuel Pur- 
viance, Philadelphia, to Col. Burd, quoted by Thomas Balch, in 
Letters and Papers Relating chiefly to the Provincial History of 
Pennsylvania. (Phil 1885). 209. Quoted also in Hart's Source 
Book, p. 127. 
17. Votes of Assembly, I. 594. 


It will thus be seen that while the Mennonites were 
excused from military service it was suggested that 
they pay for the privilege. 

There was much opposition from the various 
military associations to this lenient policy of the As- 
sembly. Many petitions soon came in complaining 
that the people who were religiously scrupulous were 
few compared to those who "made conscience a con- 
venience." A very considerable share of the property 
they said was in the hands of people professing tender 
conscience in military matters.^* They were especially 
opposed to the arrangement by which the non-com- 
batants were allowed to make voluntary contribu- 
tions. The proportion each was to pay they 
said ought to be fixed. No doubt these contribu- 
tions were not large, but the Quakers were out and 
out opposed to paying at all. They objected as con- 
scientiously to the supporting of war by money as to 
the bearing of arms.^^ The Mennonites were less con- 
sistent. While they would not carry weapons them- 
selves, they appear generally not to have objected to 
supporting the cause by their means. 

As a result of these petitions the Assembly re- 
solved on Nov. 7, 1775, that all non-associators con- 
tribute an equivalent to the time spent by the as- 
sociators in acquiring military discipline.-*' Ministers 
and servants alone were excepted. In order that no one 
might escape paying his just portion it was further 
ordered on November 24, that the committee which 
was appointed to adjust the accounts of the various bat- 

is. Votes of Assembly, I. (Sep. 27, 1775). 

19. Votes, I. 635. 

20. Votes, I. (Nov. 7, 1775). 


talions of associators, be directed to make particular 
enquiry concerning the contributions made 

by the people called Menonists, Amisli Menonists and Sunday- 
Baptists (possibly the Ephrata Dunkards in Lancaster county) 
in pursuance of the late House of Assembly on the thirtieth 
of June last, and report to this house at their next meeting 
how much of the said contributions has been paid. 21 

The Mennonites fearing that their position might 
be misunderstood and that they might be forced to 

join the associators sent (in 
Mennonite and Dunkard conjunction with the German 
Petition of 1775 Baptists) a petition to the As- 

sembly in which they stated 
definitely that although they could not conscientiously 
take up arms in defence of their country, yet they had 
always thought it their duty to pay tribute. The 
petition was reported in the Assembly on November 
7. In spite of its length it is given in full here in the 
hope that it may throw some light upon the subject 
under discussion. 

An address or Declaration by divers persons in Behalf 
of the Societies of Mennonists and German Baptists in this 
Province was presented to the House and follows in these 
words, viz.. 

In the first place we acknowledge us indebted to the most 
high God, who created Heaven and Earth, the only good 
Being to thank him for all His great Goodness and Manifold 
Mercies and Love through our Savior Jesus Christ who is 
come to save the souls of Men, having all Power in Heaven 
and on Earth. Further we find ourselves indebted to be 
thankful to our late worthy assembly for their giving so good 
an Advice in these troublesome Times to all Ranks of People 

21. Votes, I. 653. 


in Pennsylvania, particularly in allowing those, who, by the 
Doctrine of our Savior, Jesus Christ are persuaded in their 
consciences to love their enemies, and not to resist Evil, to 
enjoy the Liberty of their Consciences for which, as also for 
all the good Things we enjoyed under their Care, we heartily 
thank that worthy Body of Assembly and all high and low in 
office who have advised to such a peaceful measure hoping 
and confiding that they and all others entrusted with Power 
in this hitherto blessed Province, may be moved by the same 
spirit of Grace which animated the first Founder of this 
Province, our late worthy Proprietor William Penn to grant 
Liberty of Conscience to all its inhabitants that they may 
in the great and memorable Day of Judgment be put on the 
right Hand of that just Judge, who judgeth without Respect 
of Person and hear of him these blessed Words, "Come ye 
blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you, 
etc., what ye have done unto one of the least of these my 
Brethren ye have done unto me," among which number (i. e. 
the least of Christ's Brethren) we by his Grace hope to be 
ranked; and every Lenity and Favour shewn to such tender 
conscience, although weak, Followers of this our blessed 
Saviour will not be forgotten by him in that great Day. 

The Advice to those who do not find Freedom of Con- 
science to take up Arms that they ought to be helpful to 
those who are in Need and distressed Circumstances we re- 
ceive with Cheerfulness towards all Men of what Station they 
may be — it being our Principle to feed the Hungry and give 
the Thirsty Drink. We have dedicated ourselves to serve all 
Men in Every Thing that can be helpful to the Preservation 
of Men's Lives but we find no Freedom in giving or doing, 
or assisting, in anything by which Men's Lives are destroyed 
or hurt. — We beg the Patience of all those who believe we err 
on this Point. We are always ready, according to Christ's 
command to Peter, to pay the Tribute, that we may offend 
no Man, and so we are willing to pay Taxes, and so render 
unto Caesar those Things that are Caesar's and to Godd those 
Things that are God's. Although we think ourselves very 
weak to give God his due Honour he being a Spirit and Life, 
and we only Dust and Ashes. We are also willing to be 
subject to the higher Powers and give in the manner Paul 


directs us: for he beareth the Sword not in vain, for he is 
the Minister of God, a Revenger to execute wrath upon him 
that doeth Evil. This Testimony we lay down before our 
worthy Assembly and all other Persons in Government, 
letting them kno^vi that we are thankful as above mentioned 
and that we are not at Liberty in Conscience to take up 
Arms to conquer our Enemies but rather to pray to God, 
who has Power in Heaven and Earth, for us and them. We 
also crave the Patience of all the Inhabitants of this Country 
what they think to see clearer in the Doctrine of the blessed 
Jesus Christ, we will leave to them and God, finding ourselves 
very poor; for Faith is to proceed out of the Word of God, 
w;hich is Life and Spirit, and a Power of God and our Con- 
science is to be instructed by the same, therefore we beg 
for Patience, our small Gift, which we have given, we gave 
to those who have power over us, that we may not offend 
them, as Christ taught us by the Tribute Penny. We heartily 
pray, that God would govern all Hearts of our Rulers, be 
they high or low, to meditate those good Things which per- 
tain to our and their Happiness. (Ordered to lie on the 

As we have just seen, military exemption was 
granted by the Assembly to all non-resistants on the 
very day this petition was received. This provision 
obtained throughout the war and was re-enacted later. 
'The Constitution of 1790 declared that "those who con- 
scientiously scruple to bear arms shall not be com- 
pelled to bear arms but shall pay an equivalent for 
personal service." This article was preserved in later 
-constitutions and is a part of the fundamental law of 
Pennsylvania today. 

In Maryland there were comparatively few Men- 
nonites before the Revolution. Their influence was 
much less than that of their Pennsylvania brethren 
and thus they met less opposition to their demands. 

22. Votes of Assembly, I. 645. 


But here, too, they had to resort to petition for all the 
exemptions they enjoyed. The pe- 
Maryland Exempts tition for freedom from military 
•on Payment service is not to be found any- 

of War Tax where in the published records, 

but a resolution recorded in the 
minutes of the Constitutional Contention of 1776 
■shows us what its contents must have been. Under 
date of July 6, the following entry occurs in the 
Journal on the reading of the petition of the "Society 
of Mennonites and German Baptists :" 

Resolved that the several committees of observation may 
at their discretion prolong the time or take security for the 
payment of any fine by them imposed for not enrolling in the 
militia and may remit the whole or any part of the fines by 
•them assessed and it is recommended to the committees to 
pay particular attention and to make a difference between 
such persons as may refuse from religious principles or other 

The Mennonites were exempted from militia duty but 
were under obligations during the war to pay a fine if 
the local committee of observation saw fit to collect it. 
These same provisions were re-enacted later. The 
law of 1793 provided that "Quakers, Menonists and 
Tunkers and all others who are conscientiously scru- 
pulous of bearing arms and who refuse to do militia 
<luty shall pay a sum of three dollars annually." In 
1811 a new act exempted Quakers, Menonists and 
Tunkers between 18 and 45 years of age on payment 
of five dollars annually. This would excuse them, 
however, only from the militia musters in time of 
peace. When called into active service all were com- 

23. Am. Arch. 4th Sen, VI. 1504. 


pelled to enlist. The law of 1834 says nothing about 
fines but declares that all Quakers, Menonists and 
Tunkers must submit to the commanding officer of 
the district a certificate from a licensed preacher in 
the Society who shall certify of their good standing 
in their respective churches. This legislation con- 
tinued practically unchanged until the time of the 
Civil war.-* 

Virginia was exceedingly liberal in her militia 
laws at first. In 1766 the Quakers were granted en- 
tire exemption from all militia 
Virginia Liberal duty,'^ and in July, 1775, the same 
in Military Laws favorable terms were extended to 
the Mennonites.-'' During the Rev- 
olutionary war, however, there arose considerable 
opposition among those who lived in Mennonite com- 
munities to this liberal policy. The Committee of 
Observation in Frederick county 
Frederick County presented a petition to the Con- 
Objects. 1776 stitutional Convention on June 19, 
1776, in which they set forth that 
altogether they had a tender regard for the con- 
scientious scruples of every religious society, they at 
the same time thought it an injustice to subject "one 
part of the community to the whole burden of govern- 
ment while others equally share the benefits of it." 
They suggested that all Quakers and Mennonites be 
compelled to pay a sum of money assessed by the 

24. Kilty, Laws of Maryland, II. 1793, Ch. S3; Ibid, 1798. Ch. 100; 

Kilty, Harris and Watkins, Laws of Maryland, IV, 1811. Ch. 182. 

Sec. 12, 44. 18; Ibid, 1812, Ch. 9. Sec. 2. 

Hughes, Laws of Maryland, (183S) 1834, Ch. 251. Sec. 1. 

25. Hcning, VIIL 242. 

.26. Hening, IX. 34; also IX. 139. 


county court for failure to appear at the militia mus- 
ters and that in case of active service they should be 
drafted in the same proportion as the other inhabitants 
of the county; if they refused to serve then they were 
to furnish a substitute.-^ 

This petition evidently had some effect, for in 
October of the following year these suggestions were 

embodied in a new law. Accord- 
Militia Act During ing to this act Mennonites when 
Civil War drafted were to be discharged, but 

were under obligation to furnish a 
substitute who was to be paid for by a levy on the 
membership of the entire church.^^ This law remained 
in force with practically few changes until the Civil 
war. The Code of Laws in force in 1860 made no 
direct mention of Mennonites, but provided for a 
minimum fine of seventy five cents on all privates 
who failed to attend militia musters or other meetings 
required by law. This fine of course the Mennonites 
paid each year. Virginia, however, under the pressure 
of the Civil war soon resorted to more severe measures. 
The militia act of 1862 exempted those who were pre- 
vented from bearing arms by the tenets of the church 
to which they belonged, only on the following condi- 
tions: (1) that they pay to the sheriff of the county 
the sum of $500, and the further sum of two per cent 
of the assessed value of all their taxable property; 
(2) that they take the oath or affirmation of allegiance 
to the Confederate government ; (3) in case they re- 
fuse to pay the said fine then they shall be employed 
in the capacity of teamsters or in such other character 

27. Am. Arch. 4th Sen, VI. 1579. 

28. Hening, IX. 345. See also X. 314, 261, 417 ; XL 18; XII. 24. 


as the service may need which does not require the 
actual bearing of arms ; (4) and provided further that 
.all persons thus exempted surrender all arms which 
they may own for the public use.-^ This law was soon 
succeeded and partially annulled by the Conscription 
Act of the Confederate government in October of the 
same year. The Constitution of 1870 finally provided 
for militia exemption on payment of a fine, but no 
musters are required in time of peace. 

Many of the newer states, influenced either by 
the direct petitions of non-resistants or by the example 
of the three states already named, 
Many States Exempt have since provided either intheir 
irom Oath and constitutions or by statute for the 

Military Service conscientious scruples of those 

opposed to militia duty. Militia 
service, furthermore, is now practically everywhere 
placed on a voluntary basis and consequently there 
is no longer any military question in this country for 
the Mennonite. Even in the case of actual war it is 
not likely that conscription acts will be necessary as 
was true in the late rebellion. 

Thus far we have been concerned with the relation 
of the Mennonites to the colonial and state govern- 
ments. The Civil war brought them into 
Conscription direct touch for the first time with na- 
Act of 1864 tional legislation. During the early years 
of the struggle the national government 
found comparatively little difftculty in keeping 
the armies supplied with men. After the first 
flush of enthusiasm and patriotic ardor had spent 

29. See Militia Act, March 29, 1862, in Acts of the General Assembly of 
Va. 1861-2. (Richmond, 1862) p. SO. 


itself, however, and it was seen that the war was to 
be long and bloody, it became evident that the ranks 
could not be kept full by volunteers alone. On March 
3, 1863, an act was passed for the enrolling of the 
national forces, one section of which provided for a 
draft if necessary. There is no reference whatever in 
this act to exemptions on religious grounds. On Feb. 
24, 1864, a more stringent conscription act was passed. 
Section 17 of this measure exempts in general terms all 
the non-resistant denominations and reads as follows : 

And be it further enacted, that members of religious 
denominations who shall by oath or affirmation declare that 
they are conscientiously opposed to the bearing of arms and 
who are prohibited from doing so by the rules and articles of 
faith and practice of said religious denominations, shall when 
drafted into the military service be considered non-com- 
batants, and shall be assigned by the Secretary of War to 
duty in hospitals or to the care of freedom, or shall pay the 
sum of $300 to such person as the Secretary of War shall 
designate, to be applied to the benefit of the sick and wounded 
soldiers: Provided, that no person shall be entitled to the 
benefit of the provisions of this section unless his declaration 
of conscientious scruples against bearing arms shall be sup- 
ported by satisfactory evidence that his deportment has been 
uniformly consistant with such declaration.^^ 

Although these provisions are worded in general 
terms, yet they are meant to apply to specific non- 
resistant denominations, all of which had been send- 
ing in petitions since the spring of 1863 asking for 
exemption from compulsory service. This section was 
as much debated in Congress as any other in the bill 
and every particular provision in it was the result of 
careful consideration both on the floor of the two 

30. United States Stat, at Large, Vol. 13, Chap. XIII. Sec. 17. 


houses and in the committee rooms. Without these 
various petitions section 17 would never have been a 
part of the act. The Quakers no doubt were the most 
influential in securing the exemption. They were 
better known than the other denominations, were the 
most vigorous petitioners, and had some influence 
among those in authority.^^ But the Mennonites de- 
serve no little credit for the final result. They had in 
Thaddeus Stevens from Lancaster, who was then one 
■of the most prominent members of the Lower House, 
a warm friend and staunch defender of their interests. 
Being from Lancaster he was thoroughly acquainted 
w^ith their principles, and as a lawyer he did much of 
the legal business for the Mennonites of the county. 
These were usually Republican in their political beliefs 
and voted solidly for Stevens. As a part of his con- 
stituency he could not afiford to lose their support, 
Stevens did not take a leading part in the debates on 
the floor of the House but in the committee room, 
where after all the most of the legislation is made, he 
was frequently consulted,^- and no doubt had consider- 
able to do in the outlining of the main features of the 

While this is not exclusively a Mennonite measure 
yet it became the act under which Mennonites all over 
the country were drafted into service in 1864. And 
since Mennonites were to a certain extent responsible 
for one section of the bill it may not be out of order here 
to recount briefly its history in Congress. An analysis 

31. Senator Anthony and Secretary Stanton were of Quaker descent. 

See Cartland, Southern Heroes, p. 129. 

32. Congressional Globe, 38 Cong. 1st. session, Part I. See Index under 

Army, bill (36). 


of its history will help us also to understand what each 
of the non-resistant denominations contributed to its 
final form. 

As early as December 16, 1863, a motion was 
made to amend the army bill that had been passed the 
previous spring.^^ The old bill contained a $300 com- 
mutation clause in accordance with which one could 
pay $300 in lieu of actual service when drafted. Ac- 
cording to the new bill this clause was to be repealed. 
It was this proposed repeal that brought in the peti- 
tions from the peace denominations. The first petition 
to be introduced came on December 23, 1863, from the 
Amana Society in Iowa. On January 6, 1864, a peti- 
tion was read from the Quakers of Baltimore and New 
York, who objected not only to the repeal of the clause 
but to any exemption clause with a money fine at- 
tached. As in former years they objected just as 
seriously to the payment of- money for war purposes 
as to actual military service. Other petitions were 
soon sent in by the Mennonites, Dunkards, Shakers 
and Moravians. 

A new bill had finally been introduced in the 
Senate on December 16. The first mention of an ex- 
emption clause appears on January 14, when Senator 
Wilson moved that "all members of religious denomi- 
nations conscientiously opposed to bearing arms, be 
assigned to hospital service or pay $300." Harlan wha 
was afraid lest this might be made to cover many who 
were not members of such denominations added the 
clause "and are prohibited from doing so by the rules 
and articles of faith of said religious denominations."" 
Doolittle then moved to amend by exempting "those 

33. Congressional Globe, 38 Cong., 1st Sess. Part I. p. 37. 


of good standing." The entire day was taken up in 
discussing this exemption clause and especially the 
Quakers' objection to the payment of money. In order 
to overcome these scruples it was proposed that this 
exemption money should be applied to the care of the 
sick and wounded. The bill was passed by the Senate 
on the 19th with the following exemption clause: 

1. Those religiously opposed to military service are to 
be assigned by the Secretary of War to duty in the hospitals 
or to the care of freedmen. 

2. If they refuse to serve then they are to pay the sum 
of $400 to be applied to the care of the sick and wounded. 

3. Such persons are to be exempted from the draft 
during the time for v/hich they have been drafted. 

The bill was brought to the House, read and dis- 
cussed. Stevens immediately moved to reduce the 
exemption money from $400 to $300. Schneck pro- 
posed that the clause referring to the disposition of 
the $300 be stricken out, whereupon Stevens spoke 
in behalf of the Quakers. "I do not think," he said, 
"that we ought to violate their religious belief." Mr. 
Denning, chairman of the committee which drafted 
the bill, explained the difficulty the committee had in 
agreeing on the details of the exemption clause. His 
statement contains several interesting facts and shows 
that others in addition to those who took part in the 
open debate in the House, were responsible for its 
final form. He said, the committee in drafting their 
amendment had before them petitions from Quakers, 
Society of Ebenezer, Amana Society, Dunker, Shaker, 
and Moravians. 

There are also the Mennonites, he said, whose conscience 


tells them to take no oath, to do violence to no man, to take 
patiently the spoiling of their goods, to pray for their 
enemies, and to feed and refresh them when hungry or 
thirsty.2* It was thought such a vast door would be opened 
by admitting conscientious scruples as a ground of exemption 
that the committee was in favor of rejecting it altogether. 
From the best information we could get there are now about 
500,000 non-resistants in this country, and if this principle is 
once adopted there will be an active revival among all the 
non-resistants soon and their ranks will be suddenly and fully 
recruited, at least it was in view of the immense number that 
might claim conscientious scruples as a ground of exemption 
either truly or falsely, that induced the committee to oppose 
conscientious scruples altogether. 

Had it not been for Stevens and others who were sup- 
ported by large non-resistant constituencies the clause 
might have been omitted altogether. 

But, continues Denning, upon consultation with members 
upon this floor, particularly members representing non-re- 
sistant constituencies we found that there is an earnest wish 
so far as their respective districts are concerned, that some 
amendment of this kind should be introduced into the bill. 

The debate continued at intervals all through 
January and far into February. On the tenth of the 
latter month Creswell moved to amend the exemption 
clause which was now section 17 of the original army 
bill by the addition : 

that no person shall be entitled to the benefits of the pro- 
visions of this section unless his declaration of conscientious' 
scruples against bearing arms shall be supported by satis- 
factory evidence that his deportment has been uniformly 
consistent with such declaration. 

34. Congressional Globe, 38 Cong. 1st Sess. Part I. p. 579. 


The bill finally passed the House, was slightly 
altered by the Senate, and with the exemption clause 
as stated in the beginning of this discussion, it was 
signed by the president on February 24, and thus be- 
came the law of the land. How the Mennonites fared 
under this law during the fall of 1864 is told in other 

In the meantime the same subject had been up in 
the Congress of the Confederacy. During the summer 
of 1862 a new army bill was introduced. 
Conscription During August and September a number 
Acts of the of the peace denominations of Virginia 
Confederacy sent memorials to the Congress asking 
for exemption from service.^^ The bill 
which passed October 11, 1862, released from military 
duty all persons 

who have been and now are members of the Society of 
Friends, and the Association of Dunkards, Nazarenes, and 
Mennonists in regular membership in the respective denomi- 
nations: Provided members of the Society of Friends, Nazar- 
enes, Menonists and Dunkards shall furnish substitutes or 
pay a tax each of $500 into the public treasury. ^s 

We saw that in 1860 the militia code of Virginia, 
the only state of the South in which Mennonites were 
found, exempted them from the militia musters on the 
payment of a minimum fine of seventy-five cents. 
When Virginia seceded, however, and war broke out 
this provision was annulled. In 1861 a draft was made 
and several Mennonites were forced into the service. 

35. See Confederate Congress Journal. H. R., V. 336, 379, 460. Also 

Journal of Confederate Senate, 410. Both found in Senate Doc. 
V. 26. 58th Congress, Second Session. 

36. Va. Stat, at Large, 11. 


Many others were imprisoned in Richmond for re- 
fusing to serve.^" It is said that Algernon A. Gray 
who was well acquainted with the Mennonites at 
Harrisonburg had much to do with the release of the 
prisoners and perhaps with the passage of the exemp- 
tion clause in the act passed by the Confederate Cong- 
ress in 1862.^* The Mennonite Confession of Faith 
was placed in the hands of the Confederate officials 
for the purpose of explaining the Mennonite position 
on the question of war. 

The law passed by the Congress in 1862 remained 
in force for about twenty months. But the war began 
to tell heavily on the ranks of the southern armies. 
Every effort was put forth to send men to the front. 
On December 8, 1863, President Davis suggested to 
the Confederate Congress that the list of exemptions 
be curtailed. ^^ In accordance with this suggestion a 
new law was passed in the summer of 1864, removing 
all exemptions on religious grounds. *° During the 
rest of the war the Mennonites of Virginia suffered 
many hardships. 

With this exception, which must be explained on 
the ground of the desperate straits in which the Con- 
federate government found itself toward the close of 
the war, the civil authorities in America have always 
been very considerate of the tender consciences of 
the Mennonites. It is true of course that frequently 
their motives were misunderstood and that in a few 

ZT. See article by L. J. Heatwole in Hartzler and Kauffman's History of 
Mennonites, 210. 

38. See Harrisonburg (Va.) Register for Aug. 13, 1885. 

39. Senate Doc, Vol. 30. 38 Cong. Second Session. 594 Journal of 

Confed. Congress. 

40. Va. Statutes at Large, 162. 


cases they were rather severely dealt with in times of 
war by those lawless elements for which in such times 
no authority can be held responsible. 

But before the law, when once their principles 
were comprehended, they have always had a hearing, 
iThey have many reasons to be thankful for free 
America. Few nations have granted them such free 
exercise of their religious faith. They have asked for 
much and have received much. Exemption from mili- 
tary service is the last privilege any nation is likely to 
grant but in America that right is now recognized. In 
Pennsylvania the Mennonites were fortunate in cast- 
ing their lot with the Quakers and were granted equal 
privileges w'ith them:. In Maryland their religious 
tenets were recognized in the fundamental law of the 
state. In Virginia during the rule of the established 
church they were favored above all other dissenting 
bodies.*^ Today nearly every state in the union ex- 
empts them from bearing arms and from taking the 

But if the civil powers have been considerate of 
Mennonite scruples, the Mennonites on the other hand 
have not been undeserving of those favors. Although 
no people have less to do with the state than they, 
none are less of a burden to it. Practically none ever 
resort to a lawsuit, except in defense and for that pur- 
pose very seldom; few are ever brought before a 
criminal or civil court. Taken all in all, there are few 
people more industrious, frugal, thrifty, honest, peace- 
ful and law-abiding than the Mennonites. Even 
though their direct influence upon the course of Amer- 

41. See Foote, Sketches of Virginia, for objections of the Presbyterians to 
concessions made to the Mennonites in the education bill of 1784.. 


ican history may have been slight, yet they have been 
the very first of modern religious denominations to 
stand for an ideal that may be called distinctly Ameri- 
can — complete separation of church and state, and 
universal peace. In conclusion we can not help quot- 
ing what Dr. Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declara- 
tion of Independence, said of the Lancaster County 
Mennonites over one hundred years ago, in his Man- 
ners of the German Inhabitants of Pennsylvania, "Per- 
haps those German sects of Christians who refuse to 
bear arms for the shedding of human blood may be 
preserved by Divine Providence as the center of a 
circle which shall gradually embrace all nations of the 
Earth in a perpetual treaty of friendship and peace." 



The Mennonites of today are the direct lineal as 
well as the spiritual descendants of the European Ana- 
baptists of the sixteenth century. Most of them trace 
their ancestry through the centuries to the days of the 
early reformers. Mennonite names today are almost 
identical with the names of the Anabaptists of 1600. 

In faith, in doctrine, in religious 
Origin of practice and in their social spirit,. 

Mennonite Doctrine they differ little from their an- 
and Practice cestors. The Anabaptist doctrines 

of non-resistance, non-swearing 
of oaths, non-participation in civil government, an4 
rejection of infant baptism and seclusion from the 
world are just as rigidly maintained by the main body 
of the Mennonites in America as ever they were by 
Grebel, Mantz, and Blaurock in the early sixteenth 

The significance and meaning of these religious 
tenets, as well as their influence upon the Quakers, 
Baptists, and Dunkards has been told elsewhere and 
needs no repetition here but it may not be out of 


order to remind the reader that in America, too, 
the Mennonites have been among the earliest, if not the 
very first of those who stood for two ideals which have 
been characteristic of American religious and political 
life, namely — complete separation of state and church, 
and universal peace. 

In religious practices also as well as in doctrine, 
the Mennonites have perpetuated the teachings of the 
Anabaptists. Among the customs which 
Peet-washing the latter introduced into their religious 
worship was that of feet-washing, in 
connection with the communion service. This 
practice was common among some of the Ana- 
baptists of Europe and was in vogue in some form also 
among other religious organizations. The pope still 
practices the observance on certain occasions of relig- 
ious ceremony, as do also some of the church officials 
of the Greek Catholic church. The practice was also 
common at one time among some branches of the 
Baptist denomination as well as among other offspring 
of the Anabaptists. The "Primitive" Baptists still ob- 
serve the custom. 

Among the Mennonites of Europe there was no 
uniformity of practice. The custom was not observed 
everywhere in Holland, nor, as we have seen, in 
Switzerland. With the exception of the Mennonites of 
Germantown and Franconia, it was introduced by the 
early immigrants into America due perhaps partly to 
Amish influence. It is now still rigidly maintained 
among all Mennonites in America with the exception 
of the General Conference branch of the church. 

Another religious custom which is now confined 
almost exclusivelv to the Dunkards and the Mennon- 


ites is the wearing of the prayer head covering among 
the women of the church.^ The prac- 
Prayer tice of wearing a covering of some 

Head-covering sort on the head during religious 
worship was common among the Ana- 
baptists, and if one may judge from the portraits of 
the women of past generations it was not unusual 
among later Protestant denominations. This covering 
which at first was perhaps some sort of veil finally 
developed into a small cap made of light material and 
just large enough to cover the head. The custom is 
common among most of the branches of the American 
Mennonite church, but has been discarded by the 
General Conference Mennonites and other of the more 
liberal elements of the denomination. 

In their social spirit the Mennonites have ever 
been exclusive. This spirit also has been a bequest 
from their Anabaptist ancestors. It was 
Social Spirit a development which resulted partly from 
the conception that the world was cor- 
rupt and the Christian must remove himself from it as 
much as possible, and partly from the persecutions 
which they suffered during their early history. For 
centuries in Europe they were hounded from one hid- 
ing place to another, and it was but natural that they 
should develop the feeling that their rights in this 
world were few. These circumstances together with 
the fact that they came largely from the ranks of the 
common people engendered within them a humble 
and seclusive spirit. When they immigrated to 
America they always settled in comparatively new 
regions where it was possible for them to form small 

1. Based on I Corinthians 11 :2-16. 


colonies and thus perpetuate their own religious and 
social environment. Disintegrating influences from 
without were guarded against by a rule of the church 
which forbade intermarriage with members of other 
denominations. And thus as a result of these various 
forces which have been operating for more than three 
centuries, the main body of the American Mennonites 
has been able to maintain and perpetuate not only the 
religious principles, but the customs, the language, the 
spirit and in a few cases almost the style of dress of 
their European ancestors of the sixteenth century. 
Nowhere else in America can one get so near to the 
spirit and the customs of the common people of 
Switzerland and Germany of three hundred years ago 
as among the Amish and some of the Mennonites of 

This exclusive spirit engendered conservatism. 
The Mennonites have always been slow to change 
their habits and opinions. This tend- 
Conservatism ency is manifested especially in their 
attitude toward the adoption of new 
forms of dress. They have always been among the 
last to discard old styles for the new. This has been 
due in part to a commendable desire to escape the 
changing whims. and vanities of fashion, and in part 
to their conservative instincts which suspected every- 
thing "new" as worldly. Both men and women have 
always been exceedingly plain and modest in their 
style of dress. The significance attached to plain dress 
is well typified by the phrase "turned plain" which in 
Lancaster county always means to join church. In 
recent years a considerable change has taken place in 
many localities on the subject of dress restrictions. 


Today with the exception of the most conservative 
branches of the church most of the restrictions regard- 
ing the style and cut of dress have been discarded so 
far as the men are concerned, but the women are still 
required to wear the cape in Lancaster county; and 
with the exception of several of the more liberal 
branches of the church they are still required to wear 
the bonnet instead of a hat. 

The bonnet, once in common use among the 
Quakers, is a relic of a form of head dress which was 

once common among the wives and daugh- 
Bonnet ters of many of the pioneers of the country. 

The first German immigrants were usually 
of the poorer people, and the women wore a sort of 
shawl or kerchief on their heads. This was soon re- 
placed by the home made bonnet. The next stage in 
the evolution of woman's head dress was the hat which 
admitted of more ornament, but the majority of Men- 
nonites never adopted that form of head gear. 

In church government the Mennonites have al- 
ways followed the congregational type. Robert Brown, 
the Englishman, is often called the father 
Church of Congregationalism, but long before 

Government Brown was born small bands of Ana- 
baptists were found in the cities along 
the Rhine, in Germany and Holland and in South- 
eastern England. These communities were self-gov- 
erning so far as religious matters were concerned, and 
claimed absolute independence both from the state and 
outside ecclesiastical organizations. 

Conferences of these independent bodies, to be 
sure, were frequently held, not for the purpose, how- 
ever, of passing regulations which were to be binding 


on individual congregations, but rather to unite upon 
some common statement of the principles 
Early and doctrines of their faith and to 

Conferences confer on other questions of common 
interest. One of the earliest of these 
meetings was held at Schleitheim, Germany, in 1527, 
when one of the earliest Anabaptist confessions of 
faith of which we have any record was drawn up. 
Among other meetings of a similar nature and for a 
similar purpose was the one called in 1632 at Dord- 
recht, Holland, at which was drawn up the confession 
which has since been adopted by most of the Mennon- 
ites of both America and Europe. 

In America a conference was held of all the min- 
isters in Pennsylvania in 1725 for the purpose of decid- 
ing on an English translation of their confession. 
Similar meetings no doubt were held more or less 
regularly for various purposes throughout the eight- 
eenth century, although we have no record of any prior 
to the Revolutionary war. Finally several districts held 
regular conferences, the oldest of which were the 
Franconia and Lancaster districts. By 1844 Christian 
Herr wrote : — 

The Mennonite congregations in Pennsylvania are divided 
into three general circuits, within each of which semi-annual 
conferences, consisting of bishops, elders or ministers, and 
deacons, are held for the purpose of consulting each other, 
and devising means to advance the spiritual prosperity of the 

As new settlements developed, new conferences 
were organized. Thus the Canadian churches have 
met in conference since about 1820. Virginia did not 
establish one until 1835. During the last fifty years 
others have been established among- all the western 


congregations, generally by states. The Amish churches 
did not favor such meetings, and it was not until 1862 
that they held their first "Diener Versammlung" of all 
the American churches. These ministers' conferences 
were kept up annually until 1878 when they were 
abandoned. Since then the Amish Mennonite con- 
gregations have all organized themselves into confer- 
ence districts, but the Old Order are still opposed to 
any departure from the old ways. 

The purpose of these meetings in the early history 
of the church, both in Europe and America, as we 

saw, was merely advisory, with no thought 
Their of passing regulations binding on the vari- 

Purpose ous congregations. Each congregation 

had its own deacons, preachers and many 
of them their own elders commonly called bishops. 
In America, however, as the communities grew in 
number the jurisdiction of the bishops extended over 
a larger number of congregations. With the exception 
of the General Conference Mennonites and the Illinois 
(Stuckey) Conference, the Mennonites are drifting 
away from the earlier form of church government. The 
conferences are more and more assuming the authority 
to make regulations which shall be binding on all the 
congregations within the district. In some of the 
larger communities the government has been almost 
completely transformed from the congregational type 
to a rule by bishops. Lancaster county with a mem- 
bership of over 8,000 is almost completely under the 
control of a few bishops. Much might be said both for 
and against this tendency. On the one hand the con- 
gregational system of self-government may prevent 
the church from acting unitedly and thus most effect- 


ively in any particular cause. But on the other hand 
the Episcopal form affords an opportunity for a few 
men of strong personality to dominate the conference 
and dictate the policy of the church. Uniformity and 
formality may thus be gained at the expense of indi- 
viduality and spirituality. 

One of the most interesting studies in the life of 
the Pennsylvania Mennonites as well as of all Pennsyl- 
vania Germans is the development of 
Pennsylvania their spoken dialect, the so-called 
Dutch "Pennsylvania Dutch" which is not 

Dutch at all, but German. This dialect 
is by no means confined to the Mennonites, but is 
common among all of the descendants of the original 
German settlers, including the Lutherans, Reformed, 
Dunkards, Schwenkfelders and Moravians. No his- 
tory of the Mennonite people, however, can be com- 
plete without some reference to their language. 

This dialect which is a strange mixture of English 
and German words, with many forms peculiar to itself, 
is the product of the close contact of the two tongues 
during the last two hundred years. The German immi- 
grants maintained their own language when they first 
entered the colony. But they were surrounded by 
English Quakers and the official language of the state 
was English. From the very beginning the modifica- 
tion of the German speech began by the introduction of 
English words which were often attached to German 
forms. Pastorius himself, the founder of German- 
town, was one of the first to yield to this tendency. 
Pennsylvania Dutch may be said to begin with an 
expression which he made very early in the history 


of Germantown. Speaking of certain lawyers' fees, he 
says, "Ich fand, dasz alle lawyers gefeed waren". 

The first step in the development of the dialect 
was the introduction of many .English nouns to replace 
the German names for the same object. The following 
extract taken from Armbruster's Almanac for 1760 
illustrates this method of growth and also the stage 
which Pennsylvania Dutch had reached at that time. 

Ein Gesprach zwischen zwei deutschen Leuten in Ame- 
rika, welches hier aufgeschrieben und an die Deutsche Ge- 
sellschaft auf der Universitat zu Leipzig geschickt worden, 
um zu horen ob die Gelehrten in Deutschland solche Sprache 
verstehen konnen. 

"Oh Andi du Hannes, Servant Kobes, hast du schon 

"O nein, Ich habe so viel Trubble, dasz ich jetz mit Brikfest 
nicht meddlen kan." 
"Was is den die Matter?" 

''Well der Matter is Ich schickte meinen Serven auf ein paar 
Errants eine meile von Taun und gab ihm meinen Stallion 
mit, aber der Roock geht mit ein paar gut for nothing fellows 
in ein Tavern und trinkt eine Mocke Krock. In des worked 
der Stallion den Breidel ab und lauft in Trint Yockels 
meddos. Yockel sagt er ist iiber die Bort Fennse von der 
Orchard gesprungen, und so durch die Yard in eine Lane bey 
Yockels Barn vorbey und langst den Waal von seinen Flower 
Garten iiber den Kleinen Run auf die pastert gekommen und 
hier ist er noch mals iiber die Fensse gesprungen. Aber mein 
Serven bube sagt es sind nur Storys. Die gate ist aufgestan- 
den, und Yockels journeymen und seine zwei Prinzisse nebst 
noch einem Carpenter standen bey dem Ditch zwischen der 
Roth und der Fenz und sie hatten den Stallion wohl ketchen 

Man hat in Deutschland von diesem bunten Gesprach 
geurteilet, dasz es nicht Deutsch sei und hat sich gewundert 
wies moglich ist, dasz man so viel Hauptworter in English 
redet, dasz man nicht lieber die wenige deutsche Worter, wo- 


mit die vorigen verbunden sind auch Englisch macht. Als- 
dann konntens doch die Englischen verstehen. So aber ver- 
stehts niemand als die Deutschen in America. 

In course of time, however, more marked changes 
took place, and the Pennsylvania Dutch of today is 
no longer a mixture of German verbs and English 
nouns, but a distinct compound made up of both, but 
unlike either. The following poem by H. Harbaugh,, 
from a book of poems called "Harbaughs Harfe" 
serves as a fair example of the dialect as it is still heard 
in Bucks and Montgomery counties. 


O heert, ihr liebe Leit, was sin des Zeite; 

Dass unser ens noch dess eriewe muss. 
'N jeder Bauerbuh muss Karridsch reide, 
Un Baure-Mad, die schleppe rum in Seide, 

Un Niemand nemmt an all dem Schtoltz Verdruss. 

'N eegne Boghie hot 'n jeder Bauerbuh, 

'N schrier Gauel un G'scherr mit Silwerb'schlege druf,. 
Un plenti Zehrgeld ah im Sack, — do is kee' Ruh, 
Am Samschdag gehn die Dschent' Leit 'm Schte'del zu 

Un schtelle dort am deirschte Wertshaus uf. 

Wie is des junge Bauervolk doch ufgedresst, 

Wie heewe se die Kepp so schteif un hoch. 

Wie dhun se in de schtolze Fasch'ns renne, 

M'r kann se nimme vun de Schtadtleit kenne, 

Sie mache all ihr Hochmuts Wege noch. 

D'er Vatter denkt: Was hab ich schmarte Sehne, 
Die Mutter sagt: Mei Mad die kumme raus. 

So schteil kosst Geld. Ja well, m'r kann jo lehne. 

Sell geht'n Weil, bass uf, du werscht's ball sehne, ' 
Der Vater "geht d'r Bungert Fens ball 'naus". 



Vor Alters war es en Sinn un Schand, 
Meh' Schulde mache as m'r zahle kann; 

'Sis net mehr so: m'r gebt just Notice dorch die Editors 
M'r het geclos't, un dhut cumpounde mit de Creditors, 

Wer so betriegt, der is en Dschent'lmann. 

Wie lebt m'r nau? Ich sehn dhu weescht noch nix. 

M'r lebt juscht d'rvor: des fixt die Lah. 
M'r eegent nix — die Fraa hots all in Hand — 
M'r is ihr Edschent, manedscht Geld un Land 

Un geht nau in die Koscht bei seiner Fraa. 

This dialect in its different stages of development 
has been in common use in conversation among the 
Mennonites in Pennsylvania from the time of their 
first settlement in the colony almost up to the present. 
Their reading matter, however, was written in High 
German and thus the language of the pulpit was likely 

How They Went to Church 

to be more dignified than that used in ordinary con- 
versation. It was far into the nineteenth century, how- 
ever, before the English replaced the German even in 
religious services. At present the church worship is 
conducted in the English tongue everywhere except 
in Bucks county and among the more recent immi- 


grants in the western states, where some form of Ger- 
man is spoken, and among the Old Order Amish, who 
still speak from the pulpit as well as in daily conversa- 
tion in the dialect of their fathers. 

Toward higher learning the American Mennonites. 
have never until recently been well disposed. This 

was due in part to their inherited prejudices. 
Attitude in part to their form of occupation and in 
Toward part to their experience. The leaders of the 
Learning Anabaptists, Grebel, Hubmeir and Denk, 

and the early Mennonites, Menno Simons 
and Dirck Philip, were all men of learning. 
But the rank and file of their followers were of 
the common people, with little learning outside of a 
more or less thorough knowledge of the Bible. And 
even these leaders, although educated men themselves, 
taught that University training was not necessary for 
preaching the Gospel. As a consequence, after these 
early leaders had died, learning disappeared from 
among the Mennonites. It was not until the beginning 
of the eighteenth century that it was again revived 
in Europe and educated leaders once more began to 
direct the work of the church. 

The early immigrants to Pennsylvania, being 
pioneer farmers, had neither opportunity nor inclina- 
tion to devote any time to higher learning. The early 
pioneers of Germantown, many of whom were Hol- 
landers, seemed an exception to the general rule, for 
here the Mennonites and Quakers together established 
in 1701 the Germantown Academy, with Pastorius 
as the first teacher. Here a number of the Mennonite 
youths of the community received their first school 


But while opposed to higher learning, the Men- 
nonites favored such elementary instruction as seemed 
practical to them. Consequently they established 
private subscription schools where reading, writing 
and some work in numbers were taught. In many 
cases the meeting house also served as a school house. 
By 1718 Christopher Dock= had begun a school in the 
Skippack settlement which was soon held alternately 
in the meeting houses of the Salford and Skippack 
congregations. Wickersham in his History of Edu- 
cation in Pennsylvania says that before 1740 the Men- 
nonites had established schools in Upper Hanover, 
in Montgomery county, and in the church houses near 
Coopersburg, and Upper Milford in Lehigh county. 
The latter he says was built of "logs and divided into 
two apartments by a swinging partition suspended 
from the ceiling. One apartment was used for relig- 
ious, the other for school purposes".^ The early meet- 
ing houses in Lancaster county were made to serve a 
like purpose. Schools were kept during the eighteenth 
century in the houses at Willow Street, Mellingers, 
Strasburg, two in the north west part of Manheim 
township, three in Warwick, and one in Brecknock 

When the free public school system was inaugur- 
ated in Pennsylvania in the early part of the nineteenth 
century, the Mennonites together with the other Ger- 
man sects, were at first opposed to the movement, be- 
cause it would take the education of the youth out 
of the hands of the church and would substitute the 
English for the German language. But after they had 

2. See Martin G. Brumbaugh. The Life and Works of Christopher Dock. 

3. Page 165. 


once adjusted themselves to the new system none 
supported it more heartily than they. 

While Mennonites everywhere encouraged in- 
struction in the elements of learning, none of them 
favored higher education until far into the nineteenth 
century. This does not mean that none of their young 
men ever wandered from the trodden paths, for occa- 
sionally one would find his way to some college or 
university where he invariably made a good record as 
a student. Scores of men who hold high positions in 
other churches, in colleges and in every walk of life 
claim a Mennonite ancestry. But thes« men at the end 
of their college career had been trained away from 
many of their earlier religious beliefs, and finding little 
inducement to return to the church under whose wing 
they had been brought up, drifted into other denomina- 
tions. This only intensified the prejudice against such 
training, and at the same time robbed the church of 
the very element which ought to have helped it most 
to higher ideals of service and culture. 

It finally began to dawn upon a few of the leaders 
of the denomination that if this process were to con- 
tinue indefinitely, the Mennonites must 
First ever play an insignificant role in the relig- 

Colleges ious world. The first to awaken to this 
fact was the General Conference branch of 
the church, which in this as in several other lines of 
progress took the lead among the various branches of 
the denomination. J. H. Oberholtzer was one of the 
first to advocate a more thorough training for the 
ministry. His efforts were warmly seconded by Daniel 
Hoch of Canada, Daniel Krehbiel of Iowa, and Eph- 
raim Hunsberger of Ohio. At the suggestion of Ober- 


holtzer the first preliminary conference which was 
held in Iowa in 1860, discussed the need of a theolog- 
ical seminary. 

The conference of 1863 decided to establish a 
school which was to be known as the "Christian Edu- 
cational Institution of the Mennonite De- 
School at nomination", and appointed a committee 
Wadsworth to collect funds and choose a suitable 
location. On January 2, 1868, the school 
was opened at Wadsworth, Ohio, with Christian Sho- 
walter of Iowa as the first principal, one other in- 
structor, and twenty-four students. Its purpose was 
primarily to train young men and women for Christian 
work, although secular subjects were also taught. 
Most of the instruction was to be conducted in the 
German language. The school never prospered. The 
attendance scarcely ever went beyond that of the 
opening day. Although there were only three teach- 
ers, expenses could hardly be met. C. J. van der 
Smissen who had been called from Germany to the 
chair of theology did not always agree with Principal 
Showalter as to the management of the school. The 
latter finally resigned and the former was given entire 
control of the institution. Finally, the churches of 
the West and those of Pennsylvania fell into a quarrel 
over certain matters of policy. As a result of these 
conflicting interests, the institution had to be closed 
in 1878, just ten years after the first students entered 
its doors for instruction. 

There remained, however, still a demand espe- 
cially among the western churches for a church school. 
In 1882 the Kansas conference which was made up al- 
most exclusively of German immigrants from Russia 









and Prussia, established at Halstead, Kansas, the 
"Mennonite Seminary," with H. H. Ewert 
Bethel as the first principal. The instruction was 

College to be carried on in both the German and 
English languages. This institution has 
since enlarged its policy and offers regular collegiate 
courses. In 1893 it was removed to Newton, Kansas, 
and became known as Bethel College. The faculty in 
3907, under the presidency of C. H. Wedel, consisted 
of ten instructors, and a total enrollment of 121 regular 
students. The patronage is largely from the local 
Kansas churches. 

The Old Mennonites did not awaken to the need 
of a church school until within the last ten years and 

even then there was very little sentiment 
Goshen in favor of such an institution in the church 
College at large. Goshen College owes its existence 

to the efforts of a few of the more liberal 
minded leaders of both branches of the main body, 
who recognized that it was only through an educa- 
tional institution controlled by the church that the 
young men of talent could be saved from casting their 
lot with other denominations. Among these men were 
John S. Coffman, Jonathan Kurtz, D. J. Johns, J. S. 
Hartzler, D. D. Miller, Herman Yoder, Lewis Kulp 
and J. F. Funk. All of these men were from near 
Elkhart, Indiana, which at the time was the religious 
and intellectual center of the main branch of the de- 

In 1895 Dr. H. A. Mumaw established a private 
Normal and Business school in Elkhart under the 
name of Elkhart Institute. Soon after, the Elkhart 
Institute Association composed of most the above 


named men and a few others was formed for the pur- 
pose of developing this institution into a general 
church school. The next year a building was erected 
in which the school was held until 1902 when it was 
moved to Goshen, Indiana, at wjhich time also its name 
was changed to Goshen College. This college which 
began thus as a private enterprise has since been placed 
under the management of the Mennonite Board of 
Education whose members are appointed by the con- 
ferences of both branches of the main body. Goshen 
College has grown steadily from the beginning. It 
has been fortunate in securing and maintaining a fac- 
ulty under the presidency of Noah E. Byers, made 
up of young men and women every one of whom has 
had thorough training in the best universities in the 
land, and at the same time is conservative and sensible 
enough to retain the respect and confidence of the 
church at large. During the year which closed in 1908 
the faculty was composed of twelve regular instructors 
and the enrollment was three hundred and six, 

Goshen College has not yet passed through the 
experimental stage. While it has gained many friends 
especially among the more liberal minded and more 
influential men of the church, yet there are a number 
of communities especially in Pennsylvania which are 
not in favor of a church school. The college neverthe- 
less has already exerted a marked influence upon the 
religious activities and ideals of culture within the 
church, and if it retains the confidence of its constitu- 
ency as no doubt it will, it should do more than any 
other agency to transform the ideals and the policy 
of the entire body, and together with other Mennonite 
schools ought to do much to bring about a better 


understanding between, if not an entire unification of 
at least all the more progressive wings of the Mennon- 
ite denomination. In 1909 another Mennonite school 
wias established at Hesston, Kansas. This school has 
just been organized with D. H. Bender as principal and 
T. M. Erb as business manager. 

The awakening of the entire church to the need 
of educating its young people is only one of the evi- 
dences of renewed life. With this in- 
Evangelization terest in education there sprang up also 
and Missions an interest in other lines of advance- 
ment, such as Sunday schools, mis- 
sions, and evangelization. 

Here again the General Conference branch was 
the first to catch hold of the spirit of progress. It was 
for the cause of evangelization and home mission work 
that Hoch and Oberholtzer urged a closer union 
among their congregations in the late fifties of the last 
century. Finally a missionary society was established 
for the purpose of supporting a foreign missionary. 
But it was some years before active work began. 
S. S. Haury a student at Wadsworth was the first 
volunteer, but the society was undecided where to 
begin work. Haury first visited Holland in the hope 
of enlisting his services with the Mennonite missionary 
society at Amsterdam, but he soon returned. After 
a visit to Alaska, he finally established an industrial 
and educational mission in 1880 among the Arrapahoe 
Indians in Indian Territory. Among other early mis- 
sionaries to the Indians were C. H. Wedel, H. R. Voth, 
A. E. Funk, and O. S. Shultz. 

The famine in India in 1897 turned the eyes of the 
church to that country as a promising mission field. 


J. A. Penner and his wife now represent the General 
Conference Mennonites in a station located in Central 

Among the Old Mennonites and the Amish Men- 
nonites the mission interest appeared a few years later. 
The general spiritual and intellectual awakening of 
these two wings of the denomination was due among 
other causes, very largely to the liberalizing influences 
of the Mennonite Publishing Company of Elkhart, 
Indiana. Here was concentrated the best talent and 
the most progressive congregation of the entire church. 
Here were published the Herald of Truth and numer- 
ous papers and religious books. Many of the brightest 
young men and women of other localities were em- 
ployed in various capacities by the firm, all of whom 
helped to make the congregation at Elkhart the most 
progressive and cultured in the entire denomination. 
The influence of the Publishing house and the congre- 
gation was felt throughout the entire church. Among 
the men who dominated the spirit of the Elkhart 
church were J. F. Funk, president of the company, 
A. B. Kolb, editor of the Herald of Truth, and John S. 
Coflfman, the pioneer Mennonite evangelist. 

Of these Coffman who was a man of strong and 
pleasing personality, came into contact with the great- 
est number of young men of promise. In the course 
of his evangelistic visits throughout the country during 
the late eighties and early nineties, he brought new 
life to many congregations which had hitherto done 
little aggressive work, and inspired many young men 
to higher ideals of life. Among these men who have 
since gained a strong influence over the church were 
M. S. Steiner of Ohio, D. H. Bender of Maryland, 


J. A. Ressler of Pennsylvania, A. D. Wenger of Iowa, 
C. K. Hostetler of Ohio, N. E. Byers of Illinois and 
Daniel Kaufifman of Missouri. Cofifman was ably 
assisted in his work of evangelization and the finding 
of young men of promise by such ministers as D. J. 
Johns, D. D. Miller, and J. S. Hartzler of Indiana; 
J. S. Shoemaker of Illinois; C. B. Brenneman and John 
Blosser of Ohio, and others. 

The first important result of the work of these 
men was the organizing of a Sunday school conference 
which was to represent the entire church. The first 
session was held in 1892 at Middlebury, Indiana. For 
the first time now the younger men of the church were 
given an opportunity to discuss and organize various 
lines of aggressive Christian work. These conferences 
have since been divided into districts. They are largely 
conducted by the younger people and have done more 
than any other one agency to promote the missionary 
and educational interests of the church. 

Among the questions discussed at the meeting at 
Middlebury was the question of establishing a mission 
in Chicago. The prime mover in the enterprise was 
M. S. Steiner, who has ever since been the leader in 
the missionary caus€. At the next session of the Sun- 
day school conference which was held at Bluflfton, 
Ohio, Steiner wias appointed Superintendent of a mis- 
sion which was to be established in the city. This 
station, the first one established by the Old Mennon- 
ites and the Amish is at present in charge of A. H. 

Since the Chicago Mission was organized a num- 
ber of others have been founded in other cities, includ- 
ing Philadelphia, Kansas City, Toronto, Canton, Ohio, 


Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Lancaster, Pennsylvania. 

The first foreign mission was located in India, in 
the wake of the famine of 1896-7. The tale of misery 
which came from that country touched the hearts of 
the Mennonites, and a "Home and Foreign Relief 
Commission" was organized at Elkhart for the purpose 
of sending them relief. This organization collected 
from all branches of the denomination a large supply 
of provisions and money and sent a shipload of grain 
to India in charge of George Lambert, well known in 
the church as a traveler through the Orient. Lambert, 
after his return aroused considerable interest among 
the various congregations in behalf of the natives of 

A sentiment gradually began to spread among the 
leaders in the home mission cause that this act of 
-mercy ought to be followed with an attempt to bring 
to the benighted people of India the message of the 
'Gospel. Among the men most active in urging the 
'Cause were M. S. Steiner, Dr. W. B. Page, who as a 
student at Ada, Ohio, a few years before had volun- 
teered as a foreign missionary, and J. A. Ressler of 
Pennsylvania. At a meeting held at Elkhart in 
November, 1898, at which these men and many of the 
leaders of the church were present, it was decided that 
J. A. Ressler and Dr. W. B. Page and his wife, be sent 
to India to open up a mission station in that country. 
This little party set sail the following spring and fin- 
ally selected a site near Dhamtari, Central Province, 
for the proposed mission. Ressler has ever since re- 
tained the superintendency of the enterprise, but Dr. 
Page was soon obliged because of ill health to return 
home. A number of other devoted Christian young 


men and Women have since dedicated their Hves to the 
work. Some of these have also been obliged to return 
because of the unwholesome climate. Others have 
sacrificed their lives in the cause and lie buried near the 
scenes of their labors. But the broken ranks are con- 
tinually being filled by those who are willing to sacri- 
fice their all upon the altar of Christian duty and love 
for their fellow men. In 1907 the entire force consisted 
of eleven men and women. 

All of these mission stations both home and for- 
eign are now under the control of the Mennonite Board 
of Missions and Charities* of which organization M. S. 
Steiner is the president, and are supported by all 
branches of the denomination except the General Con- 
ference, the Defenseless Mennonites, and the Menno- 
nite Brethren in Christ, all of which have mission 
stations of their own. The interest in missions has 
been growing rapidly, and there is at present con- 
siderable agitation in favor of another station in South 

No sketch of the secular and religious life of the 
Mennonites would be complete without at least some 
reference to their habits of thrift and in- 
Mennonite dustry. Throughout their entire history 
Virtues they have everywhere been spoken of 

as an honest, industrious and prosper- 
ous people. Mosheim, the historian, says of the 
Mennonites of Holland in his day that they "owned 
the fines^t land, drove the finest equipages, lived 
in the best houses, and were in every way the 
m.ost industrious people in Holland". This character- 

4. This board also has control of an orphan home located at West 
I<iberty, Ohio, and an old people's home in Wayne county, Ohio. 


ization might be applied with just as much truth to 
almost any of the settlements in America. The Men- 
nonites of Lancaster county, and the Amish of Wood- 
ford county, Illinois, have attained perhaps, to as high 
an average of material prosperity as any other farming 
community in the entire country. 

With the other virtues which enter into the com- 
position of true character the Mennonites as a whole 
are endowed to an unusual degree. While as a de- 
nomination they may fall behind others in their attain- 
ments in the world of culture, yet in the possession of 
the sounder virtues they are surpassed by none. They 
are sober, honest, industrious, peaceable and religious, 
— withal among the most useful citizens of the land. 



The early Mennonite immigrants brought with 
them few books, although such as they had they knew 
well. In addition to their Bibles, prayer 
Books Brought books and confessions of faith, there 
from Europe may have been found scattered copies 
of the works of Menno Simons, Dirck 
Philip or of the Bloedig Toneel among the Hollanders, 
and of the Froschauer^ Bible and the Ausbund among 
the Palatines. This slight stock, furthermore, was 
soon exhausted and since neither Dutch nor German 
religious books wlere to be had in America, the Ger- 
mantown church as early as 1708 wrote to the church 
at Amsterdam, asking for a supply of Bibles, prayer 
books and catechisms.^ 

The first book published expressly for and at the 

The so-called Froschauer Bible was issued by a well known publisher 
at Zurich, Switzerland, by the name of Froschauer. It was popular 
among the Swiss Anabaptists and was condemned by the civil and 
religious authorities of Berne and Zurich. Many old editions are 
still to be found among the Mennonites and Amish of Pennsylvania 
and Illinois. 

See de Hoop ScheflFer. Inventaris der Archiefstukken Berustende bij 
de Vereenigde Doopsgezinde Gemeende te Amsterdam. 


request of the Pennsylvania Mennonites was an Eng- 
lish edition of their confession of faith 
Confession of which was printed at Amsterdam 1712.' 
Faith 1712 This was one of the very first books to 
be printed anywhere for the Germans 
of America, and the only English edition of any of the 
standard Mennonite books for more than a century. 
The preface explains the demand at this time for an 
English translation of the confession. 

Since among the Christians many controversies, divi- 
sions, quarrels and strife about many and several articles and 
things concerning the Christian religion have been raised 
inasmuch that every religious society hath given out and 
published their separate meaning and their own confession 
that so it might be known what they believe and 
what they do assert or not and that the Confes- 
sion of Faith of the harmless and defenceless Christians 
called Menonists or Baptists is as yet but little known in 
many places without the United Provinces for the greatest 
part of the people doth not know what they believe and con- 
fess of the wtord of God and by reason of that ignorance can't 
speak and judge rightly of their confession nor the confessors 
themselves, nay through prejudice as a strange and unheard 
of thing do abhor them so as not to speak well but ofttimes 
ill of them. Therefore it hath been thought fit and needful 
to translate at the desire of some of our fellow believers in 
Pennsylvania our Confession of Faith into English so as for 
many years it hath been printed in the Dutch, German, and 
French languages, which Confession hath been well approved 
of both in the Low countries and in France by several 
eminent persons of the Reformed religion. And therefore it 
hath been thought worth while to turn it also into English, 
that those of that nation may become acquainted with it and 
so might have a better opinion thereof and of its possessors 
and not only so but every Well meaning soul might enquire 
and try all things and keep that which is best. 

3. A copy of this book can be found in the library of the Pennsylvania 
State Historical Society, at Philadelphia. 


This edition evidently was soon exhausted, for in 
1727 it was reissued, but this time it was printed on the 

press of A. Bradford, of Philadelphia, 
Later Editions a well known printer of that day. This 

was the first book published in America 
for the Mennonites. After this there seemed to be no 
more demand for an English confession of faith until 
1810, when the Mennonites of Virginia had an edition 
printed at New Market, Virginia. A few years later, 
in 1814, another edition was published at Doylestown, 
Pennsylvania, and in 1837 appeared the well known 
Burkholder confession, published at Winchester, Vir- 
ginia. The first three were all translations of the Dort 
confession of 1632, but the last was a copy of the so- 
called "large" confession of thirty-three articles found 
in Martyrs Mirror, to which was added "Nine Reflec- 
tions" by Bishop Peter Burkholder of Virginia, all 
written in the German language and translated into 
English by Joseph Funk. During recent years many 
English and German editions of the Dort confession 
have been printed at Elkhart, Indiana. 

The next Mennonite book to be published was 
the old song book, Ausbund, printed by Christopher 
Sauer at Germantown in 1742. But since the book is 
described more fully elsewhere it is given merely a 
passing mention here. 

The greatest literary undertaking with which the 

Mennonites of the Colonial period were connected was 

the translation from the Dutch into Ger- 

The Martyrs man, and the printing of their well 

Mirror known book of martyrs, now commonly 

called the Martyrs Mirror. The Martyrs 

.Mirror, as its name suggests, is the record of the mar- 


tyrs of the Mennonite and kindred faiths, and is one 
of the sources of information on Mennonite history. 
It was not written by one man, but is a compilation 
made by a number of men during a period of nearly 
one hundred years. It had its inception in a small 
book, written in the Dutch language and printed in 
the Netherlands in 1562 under the title of 
"Het Offer des Herren," which contained a 
short history of the "Doopsgezinde." This book ap- 
peared in many editions during the next fifty years 
and was frequently burned at the stake with the Ana- 
baptist martyrs by the Spanish inquisitors in the 

In 1617 a large edition was compiled by two well 
known Mennonites, Hans de Ries and Jacques Outer- 
man, and printed at Hoorn by Zacharias Cornelisz, 
under the title of "Historic der Warachtighe Getuygen 
Jesu Christi." In 1631 it was again enlarged at Haar- 
lem by Hans Passchiers von Wesbrich, under the name 
"Martelaars Spiegel der Wereloose Christenen." The 
book was given its final form at Dortrecht in 1660 by 
a Mennonite theologian, Thielman Jansz van Bracht, 
with the title "Het Bloedig Toneel der Doopsgezinde 
en Wereloose Christenen." The same book was repro- 
duced in 1685 with 104 copper plate engravings made 
by a well known artist of that time, Jan Luyken. This 
is the final form of the work from which all later trans- 
lations have been made.'' The title in full, translated 
reads as follows, — "The Bloody Theatre or Martyrs 
Mirror of the Defenseless Christians who bap- 
tized only upon confession of faith and who 

4. For a full account of the history of the Martyrs Mirror see Historical 
and Biographical Sketches by S. W. Pennypacker. 


suffered and died for the testimony of Jesus 
their Savior from the time of Christ to the 
year A. D. 1660. Compiled from various authentic 
chronicles, memorials and testimonials by Thielman 
J. van Bracht." 

As can be seen by the title the author does not 
confine himself to the martyrs of the Mennonite faith, 
but includes all those who according to his judgment 
opposed infant baptism, war and the oath. In general 
this would mean the Anabaptists but van Bracht be- 
gins with the martyrdom of Jesus, John and Stephen, 
whom he includes among the defenseless martyrs, 
then traces the history of persecutions through the 
period of the Roman emperors, and then takes up often 
in harrowing detail the fate of various sects of the 
medieval and early modern age, including the Lyon- 
ists, Petrobrusians, Waldenses, Wycliffites, Hussites, 
Anabaptists and Mennonites. In this way the com- 
piler of the Martyrs Mirror tries to trace the history, 
not of a distinct religious sect, but of several religious 
practices and beliefs which a number of the sects in 
spite of many differences held in common. 

In addition to the detailed accounts of the martyr- 
dom of numerous individuals, the book contains brief 
historical sketches of various non-resistant sects, to- 
gether with numerous confessions of faith of the Ana- 
baptists in different communities. Some of thjs infor- 
mation van Bracht secured from original documents 
to which he had access. The greater part of the work, 
however, is a compilation of what earlier historians 
had to say on the subjects which he discusses. In all, 
he consulted three hundred and fifty-six authorities in 
the preparation of the Martyrs Alirror, 


Next to the Bible, this book was the one most 
highly prized by the Mennonites during and after the 
years of persecution. It told of the sufferings, courage 
and sublime faith, not only of those of their own 
religious belief, but often of those of their 
own blood. Many of the names found in 
the Martyrs Mirror, such as Kuster, Rhoads, Got- 
walts, Landis, Meylin, Keyser, Brubaker, Zug, Bach- 
man, Garber and others still sound familiar to one 
acquainted with the Mennonites of today, and explain 
in part why the book was so highly esteemed by them. 

This book written in the Dutch language, several 
of the early immigrants brought with them to Penn- 
sylvania. Although there were only a few copies in 
the settlement, and these written in a language under- 
stood by a comparatively small number, yet there did 
not seem to be much demand for more until about 
1745 when the war between the English and French, 
and the danger of Indian incursions made the Men- 
nonites who lived along the frontier in the border 
counties fear for the inviolability of their non-re- 
sistant principles. Feeling that their younger people 
needed some instruction in this direction they be- 
thought themselves of the old Martyr book. There 
now began to be a general demand for a translation in 
the German language which could be read by all. 
Accordingly on October 19, 1745, Jacob Godschalk, of 
Germantown, Dielman Kolb of Salford, Michael Zieg- 
ler of Skippack, and Heinrich Funck of Indiantown 
wrote to the church at Amsterdam, asking for 
a German translation. The Hollanders, however, 
unwilling to undertake the work did not reply 
for four years, and then only to say that they 


cou)'! not grant the request of their American 
brethren. In the meantime the Pennsylvanians 
had undertaken the translation and printing of 
the book themselves. Under the supervision of 
Heinrich Funck and Dielman Kolb they had arranged 
with the Seventh Day Baptists of the Ephrata cloister, 
w^here a printing press had been established only a few 
years before, for an edition of 1300 copies. This was 
considered a great undertaking in those days, since 
the book was exceptionally large and all the paper to 
be used had first to be manufactured at the cloister. 
The entire work of making the paper and printing and 
binding consumed the time of fifteen men for three 
years. The translation w^as made from the Dutch 
edition of 1685 by Peter Miller the well known linguist 
of the cloister. The work was finally completed in 
1749,^ as a large folio volume of over 1200 pages with 
the title, "Der Blutige Schauplatz oder Martyrer 
Spiegel," etc. S. W. Pennypacker, in speaking of this 
enterprise says : — 

It was the most extensive outcome of the literature of the 
American colonies. The paper was made at Ephrata; the 
binding was done there; and there was nothing anywhere 
else in the colonies to compare with it as an illustration of 
literary and theological zeal. 

In 1814 the second American edition Hvas published 
by Joseph Ehrenfried of Lancaster, Pennsylvania 
which was authorized by a number of ministers of that 
day. The edition was sold by subscription and was 

This edition is rare. Copies can be found in the libraries of John F. 
Funk, of Elkhart; S. W. Pennypacker, Philadelphia; John E. 
Roller, Harrisonburg, Virginia ; The Mennonite Publishing House, 
Scottdale, Pennsylvania ; and the Pennsylvania State Historical 
Society, Philadelphia. 


largely a reprint of the Ephrata book. Shem Zook 
of Mifflin county, Pennsylvania, published a third 
edition in Philadelphia in 1849, which was reissued by 
John F. Funk and Brother of Elkhart, Indiana, in 1870. 
The first English translation was made by I. D. Rupp 
in 1837. The Hansard Knollys Society of London in 
1857 printed the first English edition in Europe for 
the English Baptists. The last English edition in 
America was issued by the Mennonite Publishing 
Company of Elkhart, Indiana, in 1887. This is the 
last and perhaps the most reliable edition in America. 
It was translated by J. F. Sohm and John F. Funk 
from the Dutch edition of 1660. 

Equally as well known as the Alartyrs Mirror 
were the works of Menno Simons, the early leader of 

the Mennonite faith. Menno Simons 
Works of found time amid the various duties 

Menno Simons of an unusually active life to write 

many letters to his brethren and to 
reply with his pen to many attacks made upon his reli- 
gious views by his enemies. These controversial and 
polemical treatises on the doctrines of the Christian 
church as understood by himself and the Anabaptists 
in general constitute almost his entire literary efforts 
from his renunciation of the Roman church to his 

Among the various subjects upon which he 
wrote during this period are baptism, the holy supper, 
magistracy, oaths, capital punishment, warfare and the 
ban. On all of these doctrines he practically held the 
views of the peaceful, non-resistant Anabaptists of 
that day. On the incarnation, however, he approached 


the opinions of Melchior Hoffman, who denied the 
true humanity of Christ. This view was repudiated 
by most of the Anabaptists of his time as well as by 
the Mennonites of the present. 

In 1543 Menno became involved in a controversy 
with John a Lasco, a famous theologian of that time, 
on the question of the incarnation, hereditary sin, 
sanctification and the Christian ministry. This contro- 
versy culminated in a three days' public disputation 
proposed by a Lasco and agreed to by Menno. A 
misleading report of the event published by a Lasco 
drew from Menno the next year two written treatises. 
In 1553 he held a public disputation on the same 
general subjects with Martin Micronius, another well 
known theologian. This also resulted in a written de- 
fence by Menno. During the preceding year he had 
also written a defence against a bitter attack mad^ 
upon the Anabaptists by Gellius Faber. Among the 
short treatises of Menno's are his "Renunciation of 
Rome," and his "Testimony against Jan van Leyden." 
The most important, however, of all his writings and 
the most complete exposition of his views is his "Foun- 
dation Book," first published in 1555. It was written 
as a consequence of the differences of opinion which 
existed at the time among the Anabaptists of the 
Netherlands with reference to the application of the 
practice of shunning to the conjugal relations. Menno 
who believed that the usual relations between husband 
and wife should be suspended in case either were ex- 
communicated, wrote a vigorous defence of his posi- 
tion. The treatise does not confine itself, however, to 
this subject but contains the mature views of Menno 
on most the Anabaptist doctrines, and has since be- 


come a sort of confession of faith for his followers.' 

These various treatises were frequently published 
during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, both 
singly and collectively in both the Dutch and the Ger- 
man languages. When the first American edition ap- 
peared I have not been able to determine, but as early 
as 1794, at least, the "Fundament Buch" containing 
675 pages was published at Lancaster by Joseph Al- 
brecht and Company. In 1833 Heinrich Kurtz of 
Osnaburgh, Ohio, translated from the Dutch, and pub- 
lished "Menno Simons' Samtliche Schriften." Later in- 
complete editions in German were published by Johann 
Baer of Lancaster in 1835, and one at Skippack, Penn- 
sylvania, in 1851. The first complete work was printed 
at Elkhart in 1876. John Herr about the middle of the 
century published an incomplete English edition as did 
also L D. Rupp in 1863. The first and last complete 
Edition came from the press of John F. Funk and 
Brother of Elkhart in 1871. 

After the Martyrs Mirror and the Works of Menno^ 
Simons, the next best known book among the early 

Mennonites was perhaps Dirck Philip's 
Dirck Philip's Enchiridion, or Handbook. Dirck Philip 
Handbiichlein was a younger contemporary of MennO' 

Simons and was also a Dutchman. At 
Embden the two were closely associated in their work 
of preaching the Gospel, and they maintained the most 
friendly relations throughout the life of Menno. The 
Enchiridion or "Handbiichlein," as it has been called 
in German, deals with the same subjects as do the 
writings of Menno and largely from the same 
point of view. The following table of contents reveals 

6. See A. H. Newman. History of Antipedobaptism. P. 302. 


the nature of the subject matter— "Baptism, Incarna- 
tion, New Birth, Shunning-, The Spiritual Restitution, 
Sending of Preachers, The Church of God, etc." The 
book first appeared in the Dutch language printed at 
Haarlem in 1578. Since that date many German edi- 
tions have appeared. It has never been translated into 
English. The first American edition was published in 
1811 by Joseph Ehrenfried at Lancaster under the 
title "Enchiridion oder Handbiichlein." It was pub- 
lished the second time in 1857 by Christian Moser at 
New Berlin, Ohio, and a third time in 1872 at Elkhart. 
The book is still popular among the conservative 
Amish and especially among the Old Order branch, 
largely because Philip advocates a rigid observance of 
the practice of shunning, a custom still literally ob- 
served by this branch of the church. 

There are two other Mennonite books with which 
the early Mennonites of Pennsylvania were more or less 
familiar— Jacob Denner's Sermons, 
Jacob Denner and the works of Johann Deknatel. 
Jacob Denner (1659-1746) was a 
Mennonite preacher at Hamburg, Germany. It was 
while he was pastor here that he published 
a series of sermons under the title of "Christliche 
und Erbauliche Betrachtungen tiber die Sonn— und 
Festtags Evangelia des Ganzen Jahrs," in Altona, No- 
vember, 1730. A special edition of five hundred 
copies of this book was published in Germany in 1792, 
under the supervision and at the expense of John Her- 
stein and John Smutz of Schwenksville, Pennsylvania. 
These men brought the books from Germany and sold 
them to their brethren in Montgomery, Bucks, and 


Lancaster counties/ An American edition was pub- 
lished in Philadelphia in 1860 under the direction of S'. 
B. Musselman. 

Johannes Deknatel was also a preacher at Amster- 
dam. His book, which in German bears the title "Acht 

Predigten iiber Wichtige Materien," 
Johann Deknatel was first printed in Dutch but later, in 

1757, in German. It has never been 
printed in America except in fragments. 

In addition to the books thus far described which 
were all written by Mennonite authors, and in the 

interests of their faith there were other 
Non-Mennonite works which were not always written 
Works by Mennonites nor especially for 

them, but yet popular among them 
during the early days. Among these may be men- 
tioned "Giildene Apfel in silbernen Schalen," first 
printed at Ephrata in 1745, at the request of several 
members of the Mennonite church ; "Geistliches Blu- 
men-Gartlein Inniger Seelen," published for the eighth 
time in America in 1800; "Die Wandelnde Seele," 
written by a Dutch Mennonite preacher in Holland in 
the seventeenth century and published many times 
since in both English and German and still in print; 
and Gottfried Arnold's "Kirchen und Ketzer Historic," 
imported from Europe in 1785 but never printed in 

As already seen, the Mennonites of America added 
very little of their own to their original store of liter- 

7. N. B. Grubb, in Mennonite Year Book and Almanac, 1906. 


ature during- the first century of their settlement here. 
Few of them seemed to have liter- 
Books by ary talent and none the time to ex- 
Amencan Authors ercise such as they had. The build- 
ing of homes in the wilderness 
and the establishing of churches left little time for 
anythmg else. And so although eager to supply them- 
selves with such religious books as 
Hemnch Funck they could get from Europe, they pro- 
duced nothing of their own until 1744 
when Heinrich Funck published on the press of Christ- 
opher Sauer, his "Ein Spiegel der Taufe mit Geist 
mit Wasser und mit Blut." 

This book, as is suggested in the title, is a disser- 
tation on the subject of baptism. Sauer, who was a 
Uunkard and consequently held views different from 
i^unck's on the subject, withheld his name from the 

f^.J^'for- ^^"^ ^''^'^°"' °^ ^^'^ book appeared in 
1834, 1850 and in 1861. Bishop Funck also wrote an- 
other and larger work which was published in 1763 by 
Aaron Armbruster of Philadelphia under the title 
Erne Restitution oder Erklarung einiger Hauptpunkte 
des Gesetzes." This book was widely read among the 
Mennonites at that time, and was reprinted at Biel 
Switzerland, in 1844, and again at Lancaster in 1862' 
It contains over 300 pages and gives "an explanation of 
some of the principal parts of the law, their fulfillment 
through Christ and their signification under the Gospel 

Another book or pamphlet written about the same 
time as "Ein Spiegel der Taufe," although not distinct- 

8. John F. Funk. The Mennonite Church and her Accu 

sers, p. 63. 


ively a Mennonite work in the sense that it deals with 
the doctrines or practices of the 
Christopher Dock's church, yet deserves mention here 
Schulordnung because it was written by a Men- 

nonite and describes the methods 
of a pioneer Mennonite school teacher. The pamphlet 
in question, the first work on pedagogy published in 
America, is Christopher Dock's "Schulordnung", writ- 
ten about 1750 and printed in 1770 by Christopher 
Sauer, Jr., of Germantown.^ 

Christopher Dock was- one of the early immigrants 
to Pennsylvania, having arrived with his father in 1714. 
Not much is known of his early life, but by 1718 we find 
him teaching a subscription school among the Mennon- 
ites on the Skippack where he remained for ten years. 
At the expiration of that time he became a farmer for 
the following ten years, in the meantime, however, 
teaching for four summers at Germantown. In 1738 
he again returned to his earlier profession, that of 
teaching, which he followed until his death in 1770. 
Most of his time was spent in two communities in 
Montgomery county — Salford and Skippack. Being a 
successful teacher he was invited by Christopher 
Sauer, the printer of Germantown to write and publish 
a treatise on his method of teaching, for the benefit of 
other teachers 

to whom it is given to properly instruct their children, but 
who may not be so well gifted that they may find something 
therein to be helpful to them; as well as others who are un- 
concerned whether the children learn anything or not, just 
so they get their money, that they may be made ashamed 

9. See S. W. Pennypacker. Historical and Biographical Sketches ; also 
Martin G. Brumbaugh. The Life and Works of Christopher Dock. 


when they see that the parents also know how a well ordered 
school should be conducted; and finally also to instruct the 
parents how to deal with children whom one desires to 
teach something good, since in this land the parents them- 
selves must teach the children, and many others would rather 
do it than send the children to such teachers who are in- 
fected with an inconsistent life. 

Dock wrote the pamphlet but modestly requested 
that its publication be deferred until after his death. 
And so it was not printed until twenty years later, after 
both Dock and the elder Sauer had died and the print- 
ing establishment had passed into the hands of Christ- 
opher Sauer, Jr., who had at one time been a pupil of 
Dock's. The full title of the pamphlet is, "Eine ein- 
faltige und griindlich abgefaszte Schulordnung, dar- 
innen deutlich vorgestellt wird, auf welche Weise die 
Kinder nicht nur in denen in Schulen gewohnlichen 
Lehren bestens aufgebracht, sondern auch in der 
Lehre Gottseligkeit wohl unterrichtet werden mogen 
aus Liebe zu dem menschlichen Geschlecht. Auf- 
gesetzt durch den wohl erfahrenen und lang geiibten 
Schulmeister Christoph Dock: Und durch einige 
Freinde des gemeinen bestens dem Druck iibergeben. 
Germantown. Gedruckt und zu finden bey Christoph 
Sauer. 1770." 

The Schulordnung consists of answers to a num- 
ber of questions suggested by Sauer regarding Dock's 
methods of teaching, among others, — How he receives 
his children, How he teaches them their A,B,C's, 
How he maintains discipline. How he secures the love 
of the children, etc. In answer to the first question, 
the school master says he meets the children with a 
friendly handshake, and asks them whether they will 
be obedient children. He starts them out in 


their educational career by teaching- them the 
A, B, C's. As soon as they have mastered 
this their first step they pass on to the Ab's. 
Dock believed in rewarding diligence and in- 
dustry, and in securing the co-operation of the parents 
in encourag-ing the child to learn. For as soon as it 
had reached this stage the father owed it a penny and 
the mother had to boil it twto eggs. Very little time 
evidently was given for play during the day. Since 
many of the children came from a distance, not all 
would be present at the appointed time. While they 
were gathering in, those present would read from the 
New Testament for the first exercise, and when all had 
arrived the work of the day was begun with a song and 
the Lord's Prayer. One hour was given for dinner, 
but since children would be likely to misuse this time, 
the school master read to them from the Old Testa- 

Dock believed in appealing to the pride of the chil- 
dren as an incentive to good work. The poorest reader 
in the New Testament class, which was the advanced 
reading class, had to go to the foot of the bench. The 
last one wias always designated a "lazy" scholar. In 
the elementary classes the child that learned its lessons 
well received a cipher marked on the hand with chalk. 
This meant that it had failed in nothing. When one 
"had three mistakes all cried out "faul" (lazy). "This", 
he says, "does more to make them study than a con- 
tinual dread of the rod." If the child who had failed 
did not correct its mistakes before night the other 
children might carry the word "faul" home with them. 
If it corrected the mistakes the word "fleiszig" (indus- 
trious) was called out by all. 






In his methods of discipline Dock was perhaps 
typical of the school masters of his day, but yet he 
understood human nature well and realized the limi- 
tations of the rod as a corrective for all the sins of the 
children under his care. "A slap of the hand", he says, 
''and the birch rod may keep wickedness from mani- 
festing itself but it cannot change the heart." Speak- 
ing of the prevailing bad habits among the children 
and the method of dealing with them he says, — 

Concerning the means to prevent these evil growths from 
getting the upper hand, I see clearly that it is not in the 
power of man to destroy the root in the ground. God alone 
through the strength of His Holy Spirit must give us His 
blessing. Still it is the duty of the preacher and elders, and 
parents and school masters, first to themselves and neighbors 
and fellowmen and to the young to work as much as they are 
able through God's mercy, not only to make this stained coat 
hateful but that it may be taken oflf. 

Among the faults common to the children of his 
day he mentions swearing and cursing, lying, which 
he calls "an old time sin since Adam", stealing, pride 
and quarreling. His remedy for swearing is to ask the 
boy (since this fault is confined to the boys) whether 
he understands what he says and whether he learned 
the words from some one else or not. Generally this 
is learned from some one else, Dock says. The boy is 
then instructed in the meaning of the words he uses 
and is told to instruct, in turn, the one from whom he 
learned them. For the first ofifence no other punish- 
ment is provided. For the second ofifence the boy is 
seated on the bench of punishment. If he promises to 
be more careful in the future, he is given several slaps 
with the hand. For later offences the penalty is made 
more severe. As to lying, it is not in man's power 


to root out the evil. Preachers and parents must help 
in destroying- the habit. It is the teacher's duty to in- 
struct the child and to quote appropriate verses of 

Dock next tells how he maintains silence in the 
■school room. Lessons in those days were studied in 
a whisper or in an audible tone, as was also the custom 
in the schools of England at that time. "I walk up 
and down the room," he says, "and when I think they 
have learned their lesson I order them to be quiet." 

The last question which he discusses is^ How to 
teach the children to love and fear their teacher. Here 
again Dock shows himself a natural born teacher. He 
says, "I have a great love for the children, a grace from 
God, otherwise it would be a great burden among the 

The religious tone of this, as of all rural schools 
of the time in Pennsylvania was high. The Testament, 
Old and New, was used as a text book and was made 
the basis for both reading and writing. Although Dock 
was a Mennonite and taught in Mennonite meeting 
houses, yet he had many pupils from other denomina- 
tions. Catechisms and creeds he could not teach, but 
this did not make his teaching any the less religious. 
He read to his pupils from the Bible, sang religious 
songs, and made lists of questions with answers taken 
from the Scriptures wherein they were taught "the 
fear of God." 

In addition to this work on teaching, Dock com- 
posed many devotional songs for children and also 
wrote, "A Hundred Rules of Conduct for Children," 
in which he describes minutely what should be the be- 
havior of children in all hours of the day under every 


circumstance, — in the morning, at bed time, at the 
table, in school and on the street.^" 

The "schulordnung" was put through a second 
edition the same year, and was issued a third time in 
1861 by Bishop Jacob Nold of Ohio.^^ It was perhaps- 
never widely read even among Mennonites, and is 
known today only by the antiquarian. It is given 
space here for its historical interest, since it was per- 
haps the first work on pedagogy or school teaching 
printed in this country. Today no history of education 
in America is complete without at least some reference 
to Christopher Dock, the pious schoolmaster on the 
Skippack, and for that reason too it is thought worthy 
of a place in this short sketch of the literature of the 

The remainder of Mennonite literature through- 
out the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries is largely 
doctrinal and controversial in character, written for 
the most part by those who have headed the numer- 
ous schisms from the main body. Except to the var- 
ious branches of the church founded by these writers 
the only interest attached to these works lies in the 
information they give to the student of Mennonite 

The first of these justifications is Christian Funk's 

10. Several of these rules may not be without interest to the reader- 

Rule 48. When you have had enough get up quietly, take your 
stool with you, wish a pleasant meal time and go to one side and 
■wait what will be commanded you. 

Rule 49. Do not stick the remaining bread in your pocket, but. 
let it lie on the table. 

Rule 34. The bones, or what remains over, do not throw under 
the table, do not put them under the table cloth, but let them lie 
on the edge of the plate. 

11. A copy of this edition can be found in the library of John F. Funk^ 

£)lkhart, Indiana. 


"Ein Aufsatz oder Vertheidigung von Christian Funk 
geg-en seine Mit-Diener der Mennon- 
Christian Funk iten Gemeinschaft," which was pub- 
lished by Liebert and Billmeyer of 
Germantown in 1785. It contains an account of the 
"Funk" schism of 1777 and is practically the only 
printed source of information on that period of Men- 
nonite history. The work also appeared in English in 
1809 under the title, "A Mirror for all Mankind," a 
reprint of which was made in 1814. 

Another author of several controversial pamphlets 
was John Herr, founder of the so-called "Herrite" 
or Reformed Mennonite faction. In 
Writings of 1816 he published a pamphlet, "The 
John Herr True and Blessed Way." In 1819 ap- 
peared "Eine Kurze und Apostolische 
Antwort von mir Johannes Herr auf den Brief von 
Abraham Reinke." His "Erlauterungs Spiegel, oder 
Eine Griindliche Erklarung von der Bergpredigt," was 
published at Lancaster in 1827. As already seen, in 
1863 he edited and published an incomplete edition of 
the works of Menno Simons. In this edition he wrote 
a preface in which he compares Menno's teaching with 
his own and points out that in no way has he deviated 
from the path follow^ed by that leader. 

The most able writer of the Reformed Mennonite 
church, and its historian, was Daniel Musser of Lan- 
caster county, whose first liter- 
Daniel Musser's ary effort was a pamphlet pub- 
History of the lished in 1860 under the title. 
Reformed Mennonites "A Comparison of the Present 
Nominal Church with the Script- 
ural Representation of the Church of Christ." This 


was followed by "Nonresistance Asserted", which was 
published near the close of the Civil war. Both of 
these pamphlets have appeared in the same volume 
with his larger and most important work, "The Re- 
formed Mennonite Church, Its Rise and Progress, with 
its Principles and Doctrines," published at Lancaster 
in 1873. 

The purpose of Musser's history is to justify Herr 
and his followers in the schism of 1812. Although de- 
cidedly biased in his judgments, he shows a wide 
range of knowledge in the general field of Mennonite 
history. He takes up the history of the old Mennonite 
church from the days of Menno Simons and tries to 
show that although it has since become spiritually 
dead, yet at that time it was a pure church. Soon after 
persecutions ceased, however, and the Mennonites 
were given religious liberty they began to forget God 
and to become corrupt. This corruption had probably 
already set in when the first settlement was made in 
America in 1683. But from this time on the church 
hastened rapidly to a complete corruption, so that by 
1800 it was a dead institution. It was this condition of 
things, according to Musser, that caused Herr's follow- 
ers to withdraw from the old body and organize what 
they considered a pure church. The major part of 
the book is taken up with an attempt to show from 
contemporary authority that the church was spiritually 
dead, and with a history of the early steps in the 
organization of the Reformed Mennonites.^- 

Another book similar in character and purpose to 

12. The Mennonite Church and her Accusers by John F. Funk is a reply- 
to Musser's book. 


that of Miisser's, was written in 1850 by Jacob Stauffer 
and published at Lancaster in 1855 un- 
The StauflFer der the title, "Ein Chronik oder Ge- 
Book schicht-Biichlein der Sogenannten Men- 

nonisten Gemeinde." Stauffer, like 
Musser, covers briefly the early history of the church, 
but dwells chiefly upon his own personal experience in 
the church at the time he was expelled, and upon his 
efforts to build up an organization of his own. 

About this same time, in 1847, occured the Ober- 
holtzer schism, which was also productive of several 
controversial pamphlets, the most im- 
Pamphlets by portant of which are two written by 
Oberholtzer Oberholtzer himself. The first ap- 
peared in 1853 under the name, "Auf- 
schlusz der Verfolgungen gegen Daniel Hoch von 
Canada." The second, "Verantwortung und Erlauter- 
ung," was published at Milford Square, Pennsylvania, 
in 1860. 

The most prolific writer among all the Mennonite 
schismatics was John Holdeman, of Wayne county,. 

Ohio, founder of the so-called Holde- 
John Holdeman man branch of the church. In 1864 
a Prolific Writer appeared, "A Reply to the Criticisms 

of I. W. Rosenborough," on the work 
entitled the "Old Foundation." The next year he pub- 
lished, "Eine Vertheidigung gegen die Verfalscher Un- 
serer Schriften, wie auch eine Erklarung und Erlau- 
terung der Absicht der Christlichen Taufe." This 
was followed in 1876 by, "A History of the Church of 
God", which is the chief printed source of information 
for the origin of this branch of the denomination. In 
1878 appeared a comprehensive doctrinal work called 


"Ein Spiegel der Wahrheit." This was followed in 
189U by, "A Treatise on Redemption, Baptism and the 
Lord's Supper," and in 1891 by, "A Treatise on Mag- 
istracy, War, Millennium, Holiness and the Manifesta- 
tion of Spirits." 

One other book deserves mention in this short 
sketch of Mennonite literature, Benjamin Eby's 
"Kurzgefaszte Kirchen-Geschichte und Glaubenslehre 
der Taufgesinnten oder Mennoniten." This was prac- 
tically the first unbiased historical sketch of the Men- 
nonites that was writen by an American author. It 
was first printed in 1841 and was later reissued at Lan- 
caster in 1853, since which time it has appeared in 
several editions. 

The modern rage for writing books has not 
escaped the Mennonites. During recent years a con- 
siderable number of works of a doctrinal, historical or 
devotional character have appeared. These are too 
numerous to mention here, and whether any of them 
will live beyond their own short day time alone can 
tell. Among the best known of living writers on Men- 
nonite subjects are J. F. Funk, M. S. Steiner, Daniel 
Kauffman and John Horsch among the Old Mennon- 
ites, and H. P. Krehbiel and N. B. Grubb among the 
General Conference Mennonites. 

Turning now to the hymnology of the early Men- 
nonites we find of course that they brought with them 

such hymnbooks as were in use among 
Hymnology their brethren in their native land. The 

Hollanders no doubt brought the hymns 
sung among the Mennonites in the Netherlands, while 
the Palatines came with the well known Ausbund, or 
"Dicke Liederbuch" as it was popularly called in later 


years. Since the settlement in Pennsylvania came to 
be almost entirely German, the Ausbund became the 

leading hymnbook in all the Mennonite 
Ausbund churches. The Ausbund, the full title of 

which reads, "Ausbund; das ist etliche 
schone Lieder, wie sie im Gefangnis zu Passau in dem 
Schloss von den Schweitzer Briidern und anderen 
Rechtglaubigen Christen gedichtet worden," is a com- 
pilation of hymns, sung originally by the Schweizer 
brethren^^ who were imprisoned in the castle of Passau 
in Bavaria in 1527. To the hymns sung by these peo- 
ple, others were added from time to time until in its 
final form the Ausbund contained one hundred forty 
hymns, some with more than thirty long stanzas. The 
first edition was printed in Switzerland in 1571 where 
it soon became the popular song book of the Mennon- 
ites of that region. When later the Swiss were driven 
into the Palatinate, it was introduced into Germany. 
Several editions were printed during the seventeenth 
century, although it had to be done secretly. The first 
American edition was printed in 1742 by Christopher 
Sauer of Germantown, It was reprinted in 1751, 1767, 
1785, 1815, and six times since, making eleven editions 
in all, the last of which appeared in 1905 at Elkhart, 

It was at first in common use among both 
branches of the Mennonite church, but before 1800 the 
Mennonites began to discard it for more modern 
hymns. The Amish, however, everywhere retained it, 
and it is still in use among the Old Order Amish. 

The Ausbund is perhaps one of the oldest hymn- 

13. For a short history of the Schweizer Briider see Martyrs Mirror. 


books in use anywhere among Protestant churches. 
It contains hymns written by the early martyrs, most- 
ly Anabaptist, hymns reciting the story of the death 
of some of these men and women, and hymns expound- 
ing various church doctrines. 

Among those of the first class is hymn five written 
by George Blaurock who was burned at the stake in 
1527. Number six was written by Felix Mantz, while 
Michael Sattler, another early martyr wrote the sev- 
enth, and Hans Hut, the eighth. These men were the 
leading Anabaptists of their day and all died for their 
faith. Among hymns which were not written by Ana- 
baptists is number thirty-eight of which John Huss 
is the author. 

The eleventh hymn, still popular among the 
Amish, tells the story of the martyrdom of Jorg Wag- 
ner. The second verse illustrates the narrative char- 
acter of many of the songs of this class. 

Also that Jorg der Wagner auch 
Gen Himmel fuhr er in dem Rauch 

Durch Kreuz ward er bewahret 

Gleich wie man thut dem klaren Gold 

Von Herzen ers begehret. 

Verse seven continues the story of his death, 

Der Henker fiihrt ihn an ein'm strick 
Im Rathaus las man ihm vier stiick 

Darauf stund ihm sein Leben 
Eh er eins widerrufen wollt 

In Tod that er sich geben. 

One of the best known of these hymns during the 
middle of the last century among the Amish, and still 


sung in some localities is the so-called Haszlibacher 
Lied, which tells of the faith and death of Hans Haszli- 
bach. The first verse is introductory to the story 
which the following verses narrate. 

Was wend wir aber heben an 

Zu singen von ein'm alten Mann 

Der war von Haszlibach. 

Haszlibacher ward er genannt 

Aus der Kilchori Summiswald. 

This Haszlibach, being suspected of heresy, was 
taken into custody by the authorities of the State 
Church and cast into prison. Considering it their 
duty, however, to turn him from the error of his ways^ 
the priests entered his cell one Friday morning for 
that purpose, but all of no avail. 

Der Haszlibacher auf der Statt 

Sie ijber disputiret hat 
Da sprach er bald zu ihn'n 

Von mein'm Glauben thu ich nicht abstan 
Eh will ich Leib und Leben lahn. 

On Saturday night an angel visited him in prison 
and urged him to remain steadfast in his faith, promis- 
ing to sustain him in the coming ordeal. On Monday 
night the priests again entered the prison to persuade 
tim to recant, but again in vain. The old man nobly 
determined to stand by his convictions. 

Von mein'm Glaub thu ich nicht abstahn 
Das Gottlieb Wort ich Selber kann 

Mein sach befehl ich Gott 

Es ist mein'm Herz ein ringe Busz 

Wan ich unschuldig sterben musz. 


He was finally put to death but before the deed 
had been done an angel had again appeared to him and 
had prophesied that three signs would appear at his 
beheading. These prophecies were fulfilled as the 
•executioner severed the head from the body. 

Darnach man ihm sein Haupt abschlug 
Da sprang er wieder in sein' Hut. 

Die Zeichen hat man gesehen 
Die Sonne ward wie rothes Blut 

Der Stadel-Brunn that schwitzen Blut. 

The executioner, witnessing these signs, became 
convinced that he had shed innocent blood and him- 
self became a convert to the new faith. 

This song with the moral at the end wiritten by 
one who was a fellow prisoner of Haszlibach's is typ- 
ical of many of the martyr songs in the book, with 
this exception, however, that few contain such a large 
•element of superstition and show such a firm belief in 
the supernatural. 

In addition to these martyr hymns, the book con- 
tains a few of a devotional nature and a larger number 
of a doctrinal character. Religion in those days was 
much more closely associated with doctrine than now, 
and hence we find that many of the songs of the time, 
instead of giving expression to the gratitude of the 
Tieart for favors bestowed or to some spiritual longing 
of the soul, contain an exposition of some Bible doc- 
trine. Thus hymn number fifty-seven treats of love, 
and begins with, "Die Lieb ist kalt jetzt in der Welt." 
Number fifty bears the title, "Ein Ander Schon Lied 
von den Sieben Gaben des Heiligen Geistes." Hymn 
iifty-four discusses infant baptism. Eighty-one deals 


wi*h the doctrine of the Trinity, and is a good illustra- 
tion of this class of songs. The first verse reads as 
follows : 

Herr Gott Vater, zu dir ich schrey 

Ich bitt, dein Weisheit mir verley 
Dasz ich ein Lied mog singen 

Vom wesen deiner Einigkeit 
Das sich verlegt in die Dreyheit 

Herr Gott, lasz mir gelingen 
Dann je allein du warst und bist 

Ewig zu alien Zeiten. 

Die Dreyheit sollt du wohl verstahn 

Wie sie Johannes zeiget an 
Vater, Wort, Geist thut nennen 

Sie in dem Himmel Zeugeri seyn. 
Die drei namen dienen in ein 

Ihr sollt es wohl vernehmen 
Des Vaters allmachtige Kraft 

Wird ersehen bei'n Geschopfcn 
Die er durch das Wort hat gemacht 

Sein Geist all's thut bekraften 
Wann er sich des wiird unterstahn 

Den Geist in sich zu sammeln 
Miiszt's all's wieder vergahn. 

Then follow seventeen more stanzas of the same 
length and along the same strain. 

These hymns have been sung in America for two 
hundred years, and in Switzerland for almost two 
hundred more, with scarcely any change either in mel- 
•ody or in words. The book has never been revised, 
merely reprinted. The Amish have always been op- 
posed to the use of notes and so the melodies even 
within the last hundred j^ears wherever the book is 
■used, have been learned by ear and in this wiay trans- 


mitted from one generation to another.^ These old 
hymns although pervaded by the somber and gloomy 
atmosphere of the times when they were written, and 
with no poetical merit and with very little of the true 
spirit of praise, yet have this decided superiority over 
many of our modern songs — they have the ring of 
sincerity in them. Many of them were composed by 
writers who were in prison waiting to be led to the 
stake or the executioner's block. And thus whatever 
€lse may be said about them, they at least express a 
real and sincere anguish or hope of the heart. It is 
this sincerity together with the simplicity of expres- 
sion which has made these hymns hold their own for 
so many years.^* 

As already said, the Mennonites began to discard 
the Ausbund before the close of the eighteenth cen- 
tury. The first distinctively Mennonite hymnal after 

3.. The Atnish never set their hymns to written music. For the two 
following songs I am indebted to Professor Joseph W. Yoder, 
director of music in the State Normal School of Lockhaven, Penn- 
sylvania. The music attempts to reproduce as nearly as possible 
the exact melody of these two songs as they are still sung among 
the Amish of Pennsylvania and other states. Professor Yoder 
gives these instructions for reading music : 

"All the notes between two consecutive bars are sung to one 
syllable. This necessitates slurring throughout the entire piece, 
and as slurring is one of the characteristics of these tunes, the 
marks indicating slurs are omitted, but understood. The whole 
notes represent a sustaining of the voice almost as long as a whole 
note in 2-2 time ; the half note somewhat shorter and the quarter 
note a quick swing of the voice, a mere touch of the voice to that 
note ; and the double notes represent a rather long sustaining of 
the voice. A slight stress of the voice on the first part of each 
syllable, is probably as near to the accent as we can come, as 
there is little if any accent." 

14. Many of the editions of the Ausbund have an appendix containing 
the names of Swiss martyrs from 1635 to 1646. Many of these 
names sound familiar to American Mennonites and Amish. Among 
them are — Meyli, Frick, Gut, Kolb, Landis, Huber, Bachman, 
Heesz, Egly, Niissly, Schnebly. 

Weil nun die Zeit vorhanden ist. 


nun die 

Zeit vor - han - 



■^— -^-F<9-^5= -^:r^ 



ist, Dasz wir hie miis - t^en 



J-g- F^j 

-J — 

schei - den 



u| ^-xA—r r J r 

woU uns 



g?->g-i>? -|-— J— ^h — j^ 


zu die - ser Frist Ge - uii - dig - lich 




lei - ten : Dasz 

Avir be 


P^5^ jg^ i ^=^^ ^ 

tracb - ten fort und fort Sein jetzt ge 

pfe=^g g2^^^ .^^;=^ g:g: ^ ^^T^.|:^zz^gg|g:g^ ^ 

hor - tes heil 







mo - gen be 

rei - ten. 


Der Lobgesang. 




Gott Va 

du dich, 












r.g'-^-^-^-'g-i^ r- — (^ Y 7:r^ 



dei - 







--_ _^g-g-gI ^ g-^_ 









- Bc-^-^=^^4 j^ 
















-zg -^s*-^ 


'-ig 1 ^ p li ^H 







■g-gl- — S<- -6^^^-gi-— hg,-^-s) 



the Ausbund was a book called "Die Kleine Geistliche 
Harfe," which consisted of four hun- 
Die Kleine dred and seventy- five psalms and 

■Geistliche Harfe hymns, for a few of which the music 
was printed with the words. The 
first edition was printed in 1803 on the Billmeyer press 
of Germantown, under the title of "Die Geistliche Harfe 
der Kinder Zions oder Auserlesene geistreiche Ge- 
sange alien Heilsbegierigen ; Insonderheit aber 
alien Christlichen Gemeinden des Herrn zum Dienst 
und Gebrauch mit Fleisz zusammen getragen und in 
gegenwartige Form und Ordnung gestellt nebst einem 
dreyfachen Register. Auf Verordnung der Mennonis- 
ten Gemeinden." The purpose of the publishing of a 
new hymn book appears in the preface of this edition, 
which shows that for some time before the Ausbund 
had no longer been in common use. The preface reads, 

Weil die Psalmen David's mehrenteils gebrauchlich waren 
in der Versammlung und man docli nicht uberall solche 
biicher gehabt auch in mancher Versammlung zwei oder 
dreierley Gesangbiicher waren so hat Man es dienlich an- 
gesehen ein Gesangbuch drucken za lassen damit Man sich 
mit mehrer gleichformigkeit in dem Lob und der Anbetung 
Gottes Unsers Heilandes Jesus Christus Vereinigen konnte. 

Other editions of "Die Kleine Harfe" appeared in 1811, 
1820, 1834, 1848 and several times since. 

Another book which appeared about the same 
time and was in general use among the Mennonite 
churches during the first three quarters 
Unparteiisches of the nineteenth century, was the 
Gesangbuch "Unpartheiisches Gesangbuch." The 

first edition was printed by Johann 
Albrecht of Lancaster in 1804. The title page reads as 
follows, "Ein Unparteiisches Gesangbuch, enthaltend 


Geistreiche Lieder und Psalmen zum Allgemeinen Ge- 
brauch des wahren Gottesdienstes. Auf Begehren der 
Briiderschaft der Mennonisten Gemeinen aus vielen 
Liederbiichern gesammelt mit einem dreifachen Re- 
gister zum erstenmal ans Licht gestellt." This hym- 
nal was reprinted in 1808, 1820, 1829, 1841 and several 
times since, and is still used in some parts of Pennsyl- 
vania. The "Allgemeine Lieder-Sammlung", popular 
among the German speaking Mennonites and the 
Amish, w^as first published by J. F. Funk and Brother, 
of Elkhart, in 1871. 

The first .English song book was compiled by a 
committee of Virginia Mennonites and published at 
Harrisonburg, Virginia, in 1847, under 
First English the title, "A Selection of Psalms, 
Hymnal— 1847 Hymns and Spiritual Songs." The 
book was reprinted five times by Joseph 
Funk on his hand press at Singers Glen, Virginia. He 
later sold his rights to J. F. Funk and Brother who 
have since printed several editions. 

Almost without exception these books thus far 
described were without notes, since both Mennonites 
and Amish regarded written music in 
"Note" Books the church hymnals as a worldly inno- 
vation. There v^s no objection, how- 
ever, to learning new tunes for the old hymns from 
other note books. Joseph Funk in order to supply 
this need published in 1832 a note book of sacred melo- 
dies, "The Harmonia Sacra." This book soon became 
very popular among the Mennonites 
Harmonia Sacra of Virginia and Pennsylvania, and 
was extensively used in singing 
schools and as a book of melodies for the hymnals 


which appeared later. It passed through seventeen 
•editions, and was for many years the recognized com- 
pendium of church music in Virginia, Pennsylvania 
and other eastern states. 

"The Philharmonia," compiled by Martin Wenger 
and first published by J. F. Funk and Brother in 1875, 

was the successor to the Harmonia 
Philharmonia Sacra and fulfilled the same purpose. 

It is still in print. 

During the -past fifty years many hymnals have 
appeared among the various branches of the Mennonite 
<:hurch, but space can not be taken here to enumerate 
them. Neither is it necessary, since none of them 
"have occupied an important place in the history of 
Mennonite church music. They have usually lasted 
for only a few years. 

In addition to the various forms of religious liter- 
ature thus far described there was another form of 
reading matter with which the Mennon- 
German ites of Colonial times as well as other 

Almanacs Germans of Southeastern Pennsylvania 
were familiar, — the well known Sauer 
Almanac, published first by Christopher Sauer, Sr., 
and later by his son, Christopher Sauer, Jr. This al- 
manac which was printed annually for about three 
quarters of a century, together with perhaps a few 
books on medicine and household economy furnished 
practically all the secular reading matter found on the 
book shelves of that day. The Sauer Almanac was 
followed early in the nineteenth century by the 
Baer Almanac of Lancaster. This publication 
"was found in nearly every Mennonite home in 


Pennsylvania and other eastern states during the 
middle half of the century and is still in print. The 
first almanac published expressly for the Mennonite 
people was issued by J. F. Funk and Brother. It first 
appeared in 1870 and has since then acquired a wide- 
circulation. It contained the names of all the min- 
isters of the church and other church information of 
value. In addition to this almanac there have also 
appeared within recent years two year-books, one 
published by the Eastern Conference of the General 
Conference Mennonites, and the other by the Mennon- 
ite Board of Missions and Charities. 

No branch of the denomination until within recent 
years has owned or controlled a printing establish- 
ment. Such books as the church need- 
Early Printing ed or as individuals desired to publish 
Presses were printed by the early German 

printers of Pennsylvania, or during the 
nineteenth century, occasionally in other states. The 
Lest known of these early printers of Pennsylvania 
were Christopher Sauer of Germantown, and the Eph- 
rata Brethren in Lancaster county. Nearly all of the 
Mennonite books of the eighteenth century were issued 
from these two establishments. These in turn were 
followed near the close of the century by the Billmeyer 
press of Germantown the successor to the establish- 
ment of Christopher Sauer, Jr., Avho in turn had suc- 
ceeded his father. During the early part of the nine- 
teenth century Joseph Ehrenfried of Philadelphia,, 
printed an edition of the Martyrs Mirror, an edition 
of Dirck Philip's Handbiichlein and perhaps several 
other Mennonite books. The press, however, which 
occupied a position among the Mennonites and other 


Germans of Pennsylvania during the early part of the 
nineteenth century similar to that of the Sauer press 
during the eighteenth, was that of Johann Baer and 
Son of Lancaster. None of these printers were Men- 

The first venture of the American Mennonites in 
the publication field was made by Henry Bertolet, a 
minister in the Skippack congregation, who published 
a paper called "Der Evangelische Botschafter" in July 
1836, There was so much opposition to the move- 
ment, however, that only one issue was published.^' 

In 1847 Joseph Funk of Virginia established in a 
small village, since called Singers Glen, in Rocking- 
ham county, a small hand press upon 
Mennonite which for many years were printed the 
Presses Harmonia Sacra, the Collection of Hymns 

and Songs, and other publications. Soon 
after this, in 1852, J. H. Oberholtzer set up a small 
press in Milford Square, Bucks county, Pennsylvania, 
upon which was printed the "Religioser Botschafter", 
the predecessor of the "Christlicher Bundesbote," the 
German organ of the General Conference branch of the 
denomination. The largest and most important of the 
printing establishments devoted to the interests of the 
church was that of John F. Funk and Brother, first 
located in Chicago in 1864, but later removed to Elk- 
hart, Indiana. This firm which has since become the 
Mennonite Publishing Company, for many years 
issued the Herald of Truth, the leading organ of the 
main br.-inch of Mennonites, and a number of other 
religious papers, and has served as the official publish- 

15. See article by Daniel Kauffman in Family Almanac, 1909. Scottdale, 


ing house for a large part of the church. The most 
recent private Mennonite publishing concern was the 
Gospel Witness Company of Scottdale, Pennsylvania. 
None of these enterprises were owned or controlled by 
the church. In 1908 a publication board, appointed by 
various Mennonite and Amish Conferences purchased 
the periodicals of the Mennonite Publishing Company,, 
the Gospel Witness Company and the Mennonite Book 
and Tract Society, and established The Mennonite 
Publishing House, which is now located at Scottdale, 
Pennsylvania. The new firm is now controlled by the 
church and is the church publishing house of the Old 
Mennonites and the Amish. The Herald of Truth 
and the Gospel Witness have been merged into the 
Gospel Herald. The House now publishes five weekly 
papers in both the German and English languages, one 
monthly and various church and Sunday school sup- 
plies. Other branches of the denomination also have 
their church papers which are issued either by private 
enterprises, or by church publishing houses. 



It is the purpose here to present the reader with 
a brief summary of the present status of the various 

branches of the denomination. The 
Branches of the names assumed by some of these 
Denomination divisions may be misleading to one 

not acquainted with the history of 
the church. The tendency among all is to use the 
term Mennonite. Even the Amish now speak of 
themselves as Amish-Mennonites, and two of the 
divisions of this branch have assumed the name 
Mennonite, without any reference to the prefix. The 
classification made here is based not upon the name 
used but upon the origin of the dififerent branches. 
The two main divisions which existed at the begin- 
ning of their American history, and from which all 
later divisions have sprung are the Mennonites and 
the Amish. The largest of these is the Mennonite, 
which is further subdivided into the Old Mennonites, 
Reformed Mennonites (Herrites), "Wisler" Menno- 
nites, General Conference Mennonites, Mennonite 
Brethren in Christ, Church of God in Christ (Holde- 
manite), and Brueder Gemeinde. 


Of these the Old Mennonites embrace the largest 
membership. This is the parent body from which 

the others have sprung and is still 
Old Mennonites conservative in spirit and religious 

practice. The term old is not an 
official part of the name, but is used here merely to 
distinguish the main body from the later divisions. 
It includes the following conferences, all of which 
are entirely independent of one another — Lancaster 
county, Franconia (composed of the churches in 
Montgomery, Bucks and Berks counties), Southwest- 
ern Pennsylvania, Washington county (Md.) and 
Franklin county (Pa.), Virginia, Ohio, Indiana-Mich- 
igan, Illinois, Iowa-Missouri, Kansas-Nebraska, Pa- 
cific coast, Nebraska-Minnesota (composed of Ger- 
mans from Russia), Ontario, and Alberta-Saskatch- 
ewan. By far the largest of these is the Lancaster 
county conference. It is also the most conservative 
and is not altogether in sympathy with the progressive 
spirit of some of the western conferences. 

The official church organ of the Old Mennonites 
is the Gospel Herald, published by the Mennonite 
Publishing House, at Scottdale, Pennsylvania. These 
conferences also support the Mennonite Board of Mis- 
sions and Charities, which has established a foreign 
mission in India, and a number of home missions in 
various large cities, including Chicago, Philadelphia,. 
Kansas City, Toronto, Ft. Wayne, Canton, and others. 
Some of the conferences also through the Mennonite 
Board of .Education, control Goshen College and the 
school at Hesston, Kansas. Among the men still liv- 
ing, who have been most influential within recent: 
years in the church are John F. Funk, founder of the 


Herald of Truth and the Mennonite Publishing Com- 
pany, author, publisher and preacher; Daniel Kauff- 
man, writer, editor of the Gospel Herald, and evan- 
gelist; J. S. Shoemaker; Menno S. Steiner, author 
and preacher, and president of the Mennonite Board 
of Missions and Charities; Jacob N. Brubacher and 
Isaac Eby, bishops of Lancaster county; A. S. Mack,, 
bishop in the Franconia district; A. D. Wenger, 
traveler and evangelist; J. A. Ressler, superintend- 
ent of the India Mission; Noah E. Byers, president 
of Goshen College; D. H. Bender, associate editor of 
the Gospel Herald and the first principal of the Hess- 
ton Mennonite school ; A. H. Leaman, superintendent 
of the Chicago Mission; J. S. Hartzler, I. R. Det- 
weiler, J. E. Hartzler, S. F. Coffman, Aaron Loucks^ 
L. J. Heatvvole, John Blosser, Noah Mack, George 
Lambert and others whom space does not permit to 

The General Conference Mennonites rank next 
with a constituency of about twelve thousand. In 
addition to the general confer- 
General Conference ence which meets triennially^ 
of Mennonites there are five district confer- 

ences — (1) the Eastern, com- 
posed of the congregations of eastern Pennsylvania, 
principally in Montgomery, Bucks and Berks counties ; 

(2) the Middle district, composed of the scattered 
congregations in Ohio, Indiana, Iowa and Missouri; 

(3) the Western, which is made up largely of the 
churches in Kansas but also embraces several in Ne- 
braska and Oklahoma; (4) the Northern, comprising 
several congregations in Minnesota and the Dakotas; 
and (5) the Pacific conference. 


The Mennonite Book Concern, located at Berne, 
Indiana, is the official publishing house, and the Bun- 
desbote and the Mennonite, the leading papers of the 
church. The Western conference supports Bethel 
College, at Newton, Kansas; the Middle conference 
has established the Central Mennonite College at 
Bluffton, Ohio; while the Eastern conference is rep- 
resented on the Board of Trustees of Perkiomen Sem- 
inary, a Schwenkfelder school, and sends many of its 
young men to that institution. Small local schools 
are also conducted among the Russian Mennonites in 
various localities. Mission stations are supported 
among the Arrapahoe Indians in Indian Territory, 
and in Central Province, India. Among the men still 
living who are doing most to enhance the interests of 
the church are Christian Krehbiel, pastor of the con- 
gregation at Halstead, Kansas; C. H. Wedel and 
David Goerz, of Bethel College; C. H. A. van der 
Smissen, of Summerfield, Illinois; H. P. Krehbiel, 
historian; N. B. Grubb, preacher and writer of Phila- 
delphia; I. A. Sommer, editor, and J. J. Kliewer, 
pastor, both of Berne, Indiana ; J. B. Baer, evangelist, 
of Blufifton, Ohio; and A. S. Shelley, of Pennsylvania. 

The Mennonite Brethren in Christ have a mem- 
bership of about six thousand or more and are divided 
into five conference districts, — Canada, 
Mennonite Michigan, , Pennsylvania, Indiana-Ohio 
Brethren and Western. The official organ of the 
in Christ church is the Gospel Banner, which was 
formerly published in Berlin, Ontario, but 
since 1908 it is published by the Union Gospel Printing 
Company, of Cleveland, Ohio, under the editorship 
of C. H. Brunner. This church is imbued with a 


strong missionary spirit and supports stations in the 
Soudan, Chili, and Turkey. 

The remaining branches of the Mennonite divi- 
sion of the church with several exceptions are too- 
small to have separate publishing plants or mission 
stations and either read such religious papers as may 
suit their individual fancies, or such as are printed 
by the larger branches of the denomination. 

Among the Amish the largest branch is the 
Amish-Mennonite, with a membership of a little over 
eight thousand. It comprises three confer- 
Amish ence districts — (1) the Eastern, composed 
of the congregations in Pennsylvania, Ohio 
and Ontario; (2) Indiana; and (3) the Western 
district, which comprises the churches in all the states 
west of Indiana. The Amish-Mennonites have no 
church institutions of their own, but are officially rep- 
resented on all the boards of the institutions of the 
Old Mennonites. These two churches are practically 
one in spirit, doctrine and religious practice, and act 
together in all church enterprises. Among the men 
who have recently done most to promote the interests 
of the body at large are Bishop Benjamin Gerig, and 
C. Z. Yoder of Wayne county, Ohio; D. D. Miller, 
evangelist and assistant editor of the Gospel Herald, 
and Bishop D. J. Johns of Indiana; S. H. Miller of 
Holmes county, Ohio; Bishop John Smith^ of Illinois 
and Samuel Gerber of the same state; Levi Miller of 
Missouri; Bishop Sebastian Gerig of Iowa, and Bishop 
Joseph Schlegel of Nebraska. 

The Old Order Amish with a membership of 

1. Deceased, 1906. 


about four thousand five hundred have no confer- 
ences, nor church institutions, but gene- 
Old Order rally support the missionary enterprises 
of the Old Mennonites and Amish-Men- 
nonites, and read the literature published by them. 

The Conservative Amish number a little over six- 
teen hundred in the United States and Canada. They 
differ little from the Old Order except that they wor- 
ship in meeting houses and are less given to maintain- 
ing the old customs. They have no conferences. 
Each congregation is independent of all others. 

The Illinois Conference of Mennonites is the 
name by which the so-called "Stuckey" Amish are 
known. The church is a branch 
Illinois Conference of the Amish division, but it has 
of Mennonites assumed the simple name of Men- 

nonite. It numbers about fifteen 
hundred members, principally in Illinois, but there 
are a few scattered congregations in Iowa and Ne- 
braska. It maintains no separate church institutions, 
but supports the educational and missionary enter- 
prises of the Old Mennonites and reads the literature 
of both publishing houses. The conference has no 
power to issue decrees that are binding on the con- 
gregations which compose it. It is merely an ad- 
visory body. 

The Defenseless Mennonites, sometimes called 
^'Egli" Amish, are likewise a branch of the Amish 
church. They have a membership of 
Defenseless about one thousand principally in Illi- 
Mennonites nois, Indiana and Ohio. C. R. Egli, one 
of the leading spirits, publishes at Grid- 
ley, Illinois., a paper in behalf of the church, called 


Heilsbote. The church also supports an orphans* 
home near Flanagan, Illinois, and several mission- 
aries in Africa. It is also beginning to support many 
of the enterprises of the Old Mennonites and the 
Amish. The bond of sympathy between this branch of 
the denomination and the Amish and other divisions 
is growing. 

These are the various divisions into which the 
Mennonite denomination is broken up. In addition 
to these there are still a number of independent con- 
gregations, especially among the immigrants from 
Russia in Manitoba and some of the Northern states 
which cannot be classified except according to their 
geographical location. 

As to the number of Mennonites at present in 
America, accurate statistics are not at hand. The 
report of the United States census while not far out. 
of the way, yet is not altogether accurate. The sta- 
tistics for the Old Mennonites, Amish Mennonites 
and several others published in the Mennonite Year 
Book and Directory is fairly reliable. The official 
statistician of the General Conference Mennonites is 
H. P, Krehbiel. The following table compiled from 
several sources is meant to be only an approximate 
estimate, in round numbers, but it is not far from 
correct : 

I. Old Mennonites. 

1. Franconia 3,500 

2. Lancaster 8,000 

3. Washington and Franklin counties 800 

4. Virginia 1,150 

5. Southwestern Pennsylvania . . . 1,300 

6. Ohio 1,300 


7. Indiana-Michigan 1,250 

8. Kansas-Nebraska 800 

9. Illinois 370 

10. Iowa-Missouri 565 

11. Pacific coast 150 

12. Nebraska-Minnesota 450 

13. Minnesota (independent) .... 500 

14. Alberta-Saskatchewan 150 

15. Ontario 1,500 

II. General Conference Mennonites . . . 12,000 

III. Mennonite Brethren in Christ . . . 6,000 

IV. Wisler Mennonites 1,900 

V. Reformed Mennonites 1,700 

VI. Brueder Gemeinde 700 

VII. Church of God in Christ (Holdeman) 600 

VIII. Mennonites in Manitoba (Russian) 8000 

IX. Amish Mennonite 

1. Eastern district ........... 3,800 

2. Indiana-Michigan 1,150 

3. Western district 3,150 

X. Amish-Mennonite (conservative) . . 1,650 

XI. Old Order Amish 4,500 

XII. Defenseless Mennonites 1,000 

XIII. Illinois Conference of Mennonites 1,500 

Total 68,435 

In round numbers then the membership of the 
entire denomination in Canada and the United States 

counts up about 70,000. This includes 
Total Number only those who are actual members 

of the church. Since Mennonite fam- 
ilies are on the average large, it may be safe to esti- 


mate the entire Mennonite population in America at 
about double the above number or about 150,000. 

The Mennonites of all classes are still almost en- 
tirely a rural people. Very few congregations are 

found in the cities. Among the few excep- 
A Rural tions are the churches in Philadelphia, Lan- 
People caster, Pennsylvania; iElkhart, Goshen and 

Berne, Indiana; Newton, Kansas, and sev- 
eral missions in the larger cities. There is a tendency, 
however, at present among the Mennonites as among 
all people, toward the towns and cities. 

The different branches of the denomination have 
little religious intercourse with one another. As has 
already been indicated, the differences between them 
lies not in fundamental articles of faith, but in minor 
customs and practices, in several cases largely in 
customs of dress. There are, however, several centers 
from which radiate influences which are making for 
unification. As already seen the General Conference 
Mennonites aim at a final union of all branches, but 
they have not as yet made much headway except 
among scattered independent liberal congregations and 
among the more recent European immigrants. The 
Old Mennonites and Amish-Mennonites are practi- 
cally one working body now, and have established a 
general conference in which these churches are repre- 
sented. The Franconia and Lancaster conferences, 
however, do not as yet recognize the movement, and 
thus the influence of this conference is limited to the 
western congregations. The Defenseless Mennonites 
are also beginning to work in harmony with these two 
■main branches of the denomination. But the time 
when all branches will unite again into one ecclesiast- 


ical body lies some distance in the future. 

The Mennonite denomination is passing through 
a critical period of its history. The two questions of 
most vital importance to the future of 
Critical Period the church are its relation to the uni- 
fication movement, and to the ques- 
tion of a more liberal education for its young people. 
The denomination will never take the position which 
rightly belongs to it in the religious world until it 
passes favorably upon both of these questions. 



Source material, either in print or manuscript, for 
the study of Mennonite history is meager. The Men- 
nonites kept no church records and very often no 
family records. Hence our knowledge about them 
must be gleaned very largely from what their contem- 
poraries incidentally said about them, from scattered 
letters here and there preserved either in family Bibles 
or some of the European church archives, or from 
such records as were kept by the civil authorities, of 
land entries, and Menmonite petitions from time to 
time for naturalization or for exemption from the 
oath and military service. The fact, however, that the 
Mennonites were pioneers both in Germantown and 
in Lancaster county makes it possible for us to know 
more about the early life of the first immigrants than 
would otherwise have been possible. They were in 
the very front of the great wave of German immigra- 
tion which poured into Pennsylvania during the first 
half of the eighteenth century, and for this reason they 
have been given some general consideration by the 
students of the early Germans in America. 

By far the most exhaustive and thorough work 


done upon the subject of Pennsylvania Germans is 
that done by the Pennsylvania German Historical So- 
ciety, the annual reports of which now cover seven- 
teen large volumes (1891-1908). Separate volumes have 
been devoted to the Lutherans, Reformed, Schwenk- 
felders, Moravians, and Dunkards, but so far no com- 
plete treatise on the Mennonites has appeared. Many 
of the histories of these separate churches necessarily 
contain references to Mennonites which are of con- 
siderable value to the Mennonite historian, while vol- 
ume nine is devoted almost entirely to biographical 
and historical sketches by Samuel W. Pennypacker, 
pertaining to the early history of the Germantown 
Mennonites. The chapter on the founding of German- 
town has been written from information which Mr. 
Pennypacker has been gathering for years, and so far 
as it goes is perhaps the final word on the subject. 
Other works by Pennypacker, based largely on original 
sources and family history are "Hendrick Penne- 
becker," and "Annals of Phoenixville," both of which 
contain much of Mennonite family history. 

Professor O. Seidensticker's "Bilder aus der 
Deutsch-Pennsylvanischen Geschichte" (1886) con- 
tains several chapters on the Germantown Mennonites 
which have hardly been excelled by Pennypacker. 
Two earlier sources for this subject which, however, 
need to be read critically and in some details discarded 
entirely, are the notices in Watson's Annals (1843), 
and in Hazard's Register (1828) and (1831). Volume 
XIV (1906) of the Pennsylvania German Society pub- 
lications contains a chapter on Germantown which 
includes several letters and other matters of interest 
on the Germantown Mennonites. Morgan Edward's 


""Material for a History of the American Baptists" 
(1770) contains a brief sketch of the Mennonites at the 
time and also gives a brief historical review of the Ger- 
mantown church. The letterbook of James Claypool 
the original of which is in the library of the Penn- 
sylvania Historical Society, and extracts from which 
appear in the Pennsylvania Magazine of History, Vol. 
X, gives a brief account of the sailing of the Concord 
in 1683. The Streiper papers in the library of the 
Pennsylvania Historical Society include a number of 
letters written by members of the Streiper family in 
Cermantowti to relatives in the Netherlands. The 
Pennsylvania Magazine of History, Vols. IV and V, 
contain several helpful sketches. Also suggestive are 
many of the family histories of the early Germantown 
families, including those of Konders, Shoemaker, Kas- 
sel, Keyser, Sauer and others. On the relation of the 
Quakers and Mennonites in Europe we must rely for 
our information on the journals of the Quaker mis- 
sionaries themselves, including Fox's Journal, Sewell's 
"History of the Quakers," Story's Journal and Chalk- 
ley's Journal. The best general treatise on the subject 
is found in several chapters of Barclay's "The Inner 
Life of the Religious Societies of the Commonwealth," 
(London, 1876). The Pennsylvania Magazine of His- 
tory, Vol. II, contains an article by Professor Seiden- 
sticker on "Penn's Travels in Germany and Holland in 
1677." For the facts regarding the relation of the two 
■denominations in Germantown we must rely largely on 
family histories and traditions, and on the records of 
the Abington Monthly Meeting, from which we can 
learn something of the religious activities of such of the 


early settlers as affiliated themselves with the Quakers 
in their religious work. 

On the early settlement of Lancaster county^ 
Rupp's "History of Lancaster County" (1844) is per- 
haps still the best authority. Alexander Harris's 
"Biographical History of Lancaster County" contains a. 
great deal of biographical material, on the whole fairly 
reliable, of the early Mennonite families. The latest his- 
tory of the county, by Ellis and Evans, has several ar- 
ticles on the Mennonites. The one written by E.K.Mar- 
tin on the general field of Mennonite history is perhaps 
the best short treatise in English. The other is a short 
sketch of the early churches and ministers in the 
county written by Bishop J. N. Brubacher. All of 
these county histories contain much valuable informa- 
tion, but need to be critically examined, and the facts 
often need to be modified from other sources of in- 
formation. De Hoop ScheflFer's "Mennonite Emigra- 
tion to Pennsylvania," translated from the Dutch by 
S. W. Pennypacker in the Pennsylvania Magazine, 
Vol. n, contains many facts on the European phase 
of the emigration to Lancaster county. Ernst Miiller's 
"Geschichte der Bernischen Taufer" is also valuable 
for a comparison of European with Lancaster names. 
Pennsylvania Archives, Second series. Vol. XIX, con- 
tains many references to land entries made by early 
Mennonite immigrants. Of equal value are the re- 
cords catalogued "'Old Rights, Lancaster County" in 
the office of the Secretary of the Interior at Harris- 
burg, Occasional notes can be found in Watson and 
Hazard, as well as in the various volumes of Penn- 
sylvania Archives, and "Votes and Proceedings of the 
Assembly." For genealogical purposes much infor- 


mation can be gained from Egle's "Notes and Queries," 
and from Rupp's "Thirty Thousand Names," which 
contains a list of all the immigrants landed at Phila- 
delphia from 1727 to 1776. 

On the subject of the State and the Mennonites 
nothing has been written. The only sources of infor- 
mation are the occasional references to Mennonites 
found in the Pennsylvania Archives, Votes and Pro- 
ceedings of the Assembly (Pa.), Journal of Burgesses 
(Va.), Constitutions and Statutes of Virginia, Mary- 
land, and Pennsylvania, Colonial Records (Pa.), Con- 
gressional Globe and Journal of the Confederate Con- 
gress. On the Germantown experiment of self govern- 
ment the chief source of information is the original 
record book of the Court of Record, at present in the 
possession of the Pennsylvania State Historical So- 

On the subject of Anabaptists a large number of 
books have been written in the German language. 
Among the older works are Heinrich Bullinger's "Der 
Widertoufferen Ursprung, Fiirgang, Sekten," etc. 
(1561); Sebastian Franck's "Chronika" (1578); and 
J. C. Fuesslin's "Beitrage zur Kirchengeschichte des 
Schweitzerlands" (1741). Among modern treatises 
are Ludwig Keller's "Wiedertaufer" (1880), "Die Re- 
formation" (1885), and "Hans Denck" (1882); Emil 
Egli's "Aktensammlung zur Geschichte der Ziircher 
Reformation" (1879) ; and C. A. Cornelius' "Geschichte 
des Miinsterschen Aufruhrs" (1855). In English not 
much has been written on the subject. Among the 
books that have appeared are Richard Heath's "Ana- 
baptism — From its Rise at Zwickau to its Fall at 
Miinster" (1905) ; and Belfort Bax's "Rise and Fall of 


the Anabaptists"; A. H. Newman's "A History of 
Antipedobaptism" contains an excellent bibliography 
on the subject. 

On later American Mennonite history, printed 
and manuscript sources are also very meager. The 
historian must depend for his information largely on 
family histories, county and other local histories writ- 
ten during the past twenty-five years from information 
which is not always reliable. Two general histories 
of the Mennonites of America have been written, one 
by D. K. Cassel, and the other by Hartzler and Kauff- 
man. Neither of these, however, are trustworthy ex- 
cept for such history as has been made during the 
present generation. 

The best collection of Mennonite literature, which 
is largely polemical, however, and of little value to the 
historian, is to be found in the private library of John 
F. Funk, of Elkhart, Indiana. The Pennsylvania State 
Historical Society also has a number of books and 
pamphlets writen by Mennonite authors in its library 
in Philadelphia. 

For the history of the church since 1865 the files. 
of the Herald of Truth, of Elkhart, Indiana, furnish 
the most helpful source of information. 

Many of these American sources mentioned in 
this brief sketch need to be accepted with extreme 
caution. To all this the student of Mennonite history 
needs to add such information as he has gained from 
personal observation in the localities named, special 
investigation into family histories, deed books and land 
surveys; and especially does he need to draw upon 
his personal knowledge of the manners, customs,, 
habits, traditions, and characteristic names of the Men- 


nonite people. All of these will often help him to 
settle points of fact which otherwise would remain 
subjects of doubt in his mind. 

The following list practically exhausts the ma- 
terials, secondary and original, on the American Men- 
nonites and includes some of the most important works 
on the German and Swiss Anabaptists. 

Asher, G. M. Historical Essay on Dutch Books and 
Pamphlets Relating to New Netherlands. 

American Historical Review. Vol. IX. 

American Archives, Fourth Series. Vol. VI. 

Acts of the General Assembly of Virginia, 1861-2, 
Richmond, 1862. 

Abington Records of Monthly Meetings of 1682-1746. 
Original records are in Friends Meeting House 
at Ogontz, Pa. A typewritten copy has been 
made for the Pennsylvania State Historical So- 
ciety library in Philadelphia. 

Augusta County (Va.) Records. From 1745 on. 

Albert, G. D. History of Westmoreland County, 
Philadelphia, 1882. 

Ausbund; das ist etliche schoene Lieder, wie Sie im 
Gefangniss zu Passau in dem Schloss von den 
Schweitzer Briidern und andern recht glaubigen 
Christen gedichtet worden. Elkhart, Ind., 1905. 

Barclay, Robert. The Inner Life of the Religious 
Societies of the Commonwealth. London, 1876, 

Bean, T. W. History of Montgomery County. Phila- 
delphia, 1884. The best history of the county. 

Barton, William. Memoirs of the Life of David Rit- 
tenhouse, L. L. D., F. R. S. Philadelphia, 1813. 

Burkholder, Peter. Eine Verhandlung von der auszer- 
lichen Wassertaufe und Erklarung einiger Irr- 
thiimer. Harrisonburg, Va., 1816. A copy of this 
pamphlet can be found in the private library of 


Dr. John W. Wayland, of the University of Vir- 

Mennonite Confession of Faith, with nine 

reflections. Translated from the German by Jo- 
seph Funk. Winchester, Va., 1837. 

Boehm, Henry. Reminiscences of Rev. Henry Boehm. 
New York, 1875. 

Brumbaugh, Martin G. A. History of the German 
Baptist Brethren in Europe and America. Mount 
Morris, 111., 1899. 

The Life and Works of Christopher Dock. 

Philadelphia, 1908. 

Brubacher, J. N. Brubaker Genealogy. Elkhart, Ind.^ 

Bower, H. S. A Genealogical Record of the Descend- 
ants of Daniel StaufTer and Hans Bauer. Harleys- 
ville, Pa., 1897. 

Balch, Thomas. Letters and Papers relating chiefly 
to the Provincial History of Pennsylvania. Phila- 
delphia, 1855. 

Brons, Anna. Ursprung, Entwickelung und Schick- 
sale der Altevangelischen Taufgesinnten oder 
Mennoniten, Norden, 1891. 

Brodhead, John R. History of New York, Harper 
Bros., 1853-1871. 2 Vol. 

Borntreger, John E. Eine Geschichte der ersten 
Ansiedlung der Amischen Mennoniten und die 
Griindung ihrer ersten Gemeinde im Staate Indi- 
ana. Elkhart, Ind., 1907. 

Bell, H. C. History of Leitersburg District. Leiters- 
burg, Md., 1898. 

Bartlaw, B. S. Centennial History of Butler County,. 
Ohio, 1905. 

BuHinger, Heinrich. Der Widertoufiferen Ursprung,. 
Fiirgang, Sekten, etc. Zurich, 1561. 

Bax, Belfort. Rise and Fall of the Anabaptists. Lon- 
don, 1903. 


Beck, J. Die Geschichtsbucher der Wiedertaufer in 
Oesterreich-Ungarn. 1883. 

Butler County, Ohio, History of. Western Pub. Co.^ 

Cassel, D. K. Geschichte der Mennoniten. Philadel- 
phia, 1890. This book consists largely of a com- 
pilation of sketches written by Pennypacker for 
other works, from various county histories, and 
several original articles on individual congrega- 
tions. The work is not well arranged, is decidedly 
uncritical and fails to give proper credit for copied 

The Kulp Family. Norristown, Pa., 1895. 

The Cassel Family. Norristown, Pa., 1896. 

Chronicon Ephratense. Lancaster, Pa., 1889. This is 
a history of the community of Seventh Day Bap- 
tists at Ephrata. It is translated by J. Max 
Mark, D. D. 

Bachman, Richard. Kiclas Storch, 1880. 

Colonial Records of Pennsylvania. 

Cartland, F. C. Southern Heroes. Boston, 1895. 

Congressional Globe, 38 Congress, Second session,. 
Part I. 

Conrad, Henrv C. Thones Kunders and his Children, 
Wilmington, Del., 1891. 

Chalkley, Thomas. Journal. Philadelphia, 1866. 

Confession of Faith, Philadelphia, 1727. Printed by 
A. Bradford. Contains the names of the Men- 
nonite ministers then living in Pennsylvania. 

Claypool. Letter Book. Original in the library of 
the Pennsylvania State Historical Society. 

Cox, W. W. History of Seward County, Nebraska. 
Lincoln, Neb., 1888. 

Campbell, Douglas. Puritans in England, Netherlands 
and America. 1892. 

Christianity Defined. A Manual of the New Testa- 


ment Teaching. Hagerstown, Md., 1903. A doc- 
trinal work published by the Reformed Mennon- 

Cornelius, C. A. Geschichte des Munsterschen Auf- 
ruhrs. 1855. 

Day, Sherman. Historical Collections of the State of 
Pennsylvania. Philadelphia, 1843. 

Davis, W. H. H. History of Bucks County. Doyles- 
town, Pa., 1876. The best history of the county. 
Contains many local sketches on the Mennonites 
in the county. 

Diffenderfer, F. R. The German Exodus to England 
in 1709. Lancaster, 1897. Published in Proceed- 
ings of Pennsylvania German Society, Vol. VH. 

The Three Earls: An Historical Sketch. 

New Holland, Pa., 1876. A brief account of the 
settlement in Graffdale, Lancaster county, of 
Hans Graff in 1717. 

Odds and Ends of Local History. Pub- 

lished in Proceedings of Lancaster County His- 
torical Society, Vol. X. No. 6. Lancaster, 1906. 

Dock, Christopher. Eine Einfaltige und griindliche 
abgefaszte Schulordnung. Germantown, 1770, 

DiekhofT, A. W. Die Waldenser im Mittelalter. 
Gottingen, 1851. 

Dollinger, J. v. Beitriige zur Sekten Geschichte des 
Mittelalters. Munich, 1890. 

Dexter, H. M. The True Story of John Smythe. 1881. 

Egle, W. H. Notes and Queries, Historical and Gene- 
alogical. Harrisburg. From 1879 on. 

Edwards, Morgan. Alaterial for a History of the 
American Baptists. Philadelphia, 1770. Very 
rare. A copy in the library of the Pennsylvania 
State Historical Society. 

Ellis and Evans. History of Lancaster County. Phil- 
adelphia, 1883. Contains article by E. K. Martin, 


on Mennonites and other material of value. But 
few of the articles are altogether reliable. 
Egli, Emil. Die Zurcher Wiedertaufer. Zurich, 1878. 

Akten Sammlung zur Geschichte der 

Zurcher Reformation. Zurich, 1879. 2 Vol. 

Die St. Galler Taufer. 

Eckhoff, A. In der neuen Heimath. New York, 1885. 
Eby, A. Die Ansiedlung und Begrunding der Ge- 

meinschaft in Canada. Milford Square, Pa., 1872. 
Eby, Ezra E. A Biographical History of Waterloo 

(Ont.) Township. Berlin, Ont., 1895. A detailed 

account of the earliest Mennonite settlements in 


The Eby Family. Berlin, Ont., 1899. 

Eby, Benjamin. Kurtzgefaszte Kirchengeschichte der 

Taufgesinnten oder Mennonisten. Elkhart, Ind.^ 

Erbkam, H . W. Geschichte der Protestantischen 

Sekten. 1848. 
Ellis, Franklin. History of Fayette County, Pa. 1882. 
Fox, George. Journal. 
Fretz, A. J. Wismer Family History. Elkhart, Ind., 


Funk Family History, Elkhart, Ind. 

Foote, W. H. Sketches of Virginia. Philadelphia, 


Family Almanac. Mennonite Publishing Company, 
Elkhart, Ind. 1870-. Contains many short bio- 
graphical sketches of early Mennonites. 

Frederick County (Va.) Records. From 1743 on. 

Funk, John F. The Mennonite Church and her Ac- 
cusers. Elkhart, Ind., 1878. 

Futhey and Cope. History of Chester County, Penn- 
sylvania, 1881. 

Ferris, Benjamin. Original Settlements on the Dela- 

Franck, Sebastian. Chronika. 1578. 


Peestgave op Menno Simons (1892). Amsterdam, 

Funck, Heinrich. Eine Spiegel der Taufe, mit Geist, 
mit Wasser, und mit Blut. Germantown, 1744. 

Funk, Christian. Ein Auffsatz oder Vertheidigung 
von Christian Funk gegen seine mit-Diener der 
Mennoniten Gemeindschaft. Germantown, 1785. 

A Mirror for all Mankind. Germantown. 


Fernow, — . — . Documents Relating to the History 
of New York. 

Fuesslin, J. C. Beitrage zur Kirchengeschichte des 
Schweitzerlandes. Zurich, 1741. 

Grubb, N. S. The Mennonite Church of Germantown. 
Philadelphia, 1906. 

Gibbons, Phoebe Earle. Pennsylvania Dutch, and 
Other Essays. Philadelphia, 1784. Largely de- 
scriptive, but one of the earliest books on the 

Orowell, A. American Book Clubs. 

Gnagey, Elias. The Gnaegi Family. Elkhart, Ind.. 

Glaubensbekenntnisz der neuen Deutchen Baptisten 
in den Vereinigten Staaten. Elkhart, Ind., 1877. 

Gibson, John. History of York County. Chicago, 
1886. The best history of the county. 

Germantown Rath-buch, 1691 to 1706. The original 
is in the library of the Pennsylvania State His- 
torical Society. 

Griffis, W. E. Influence of the Netherlands upon 
England and America. 

Brave Little Holland. 

Hallesche Nachrichten. A translation. Philadelphia. 

Heckler, James Y. History of Lower Salford Town- 
ship. Harleysville, Pa., 1886. 


Herald of Truth. Chicago and Elkhart, Indiana. 
From 1864 to 1908. 

Hening, W. W. Statutes at Large (Va.), 1619-1822. 
13 volumes. 

Hazard, Samuel. The Register of Pennsylvania. Phil- 
adelphia, 1828-1832. Volumes I and VII contain 
many notices on early Mennonites. These are 
not reliable. The article in Vol. I on the Amish 
13 altogether untrustworthy as to dates and most 
of the facts. 
Hartzler, J. S. and Kauffman, D. Mennonite Church 
History. Scottdale, Pa., 1905. Contains a great 
deal of valuable material never printed before on 
the last fifty years of the history of the church, 
but not reliable on the earlier events. 
Hartzler, Sr., John. Hertzler Genealogy. Elkhart, 

Ind., 1885. 
Holcomb, W. P. Germantown, its Origin and Form 
of Government. Johns Hopkins Studies, Vol. IV. 
Hess, John H. Genealogy of the Hess Family. Lititz, 

Pa., 1896. 
Harris, Alexander. Biographical History of Lancaster 

County. Lancaster, Pa., 1872. 
Holdeman, John. History of the Church of God. 
Lancaster, 1876. 

Ein Spiegel der Wahrheit. Lancaster, 

Hunsicker, Abraham. Das Religions, Kirchen und 
Schulwesen der Mennoniten. Milford Square, 
Pa., 1862. 
Henry and Fulton Counties, Ohio, History of. D. 

Mason & Co., Syracuse, N. Y., 1888. 
Herr, John. The True and Blessed Way. Lancaster, 

Eine Kurtze und Apostolische Antwort. 

Lancaster, 1819. 
Erlauterungs Spiegel. Lancaster, 1827. 


Heath, Richard. Anabaptism — From its Rise at 
Zwickau to its Fall at Miinster, London, 1905. 

Jenkins, C. P. The Guide Book to Historic German- 
town. Germantown, 1904. 

Jones, H. P. The Rittenhouse Paper Mill. Manu- 
script in the library of the Pennsylvania State 
Historical Society. 

The Levering Family. Philadelphia, 1858. 

Keyser, Charles S. The Keyser Family. Philadel- 
phia, 1889. 

Kalm, Peter. Travels in North America. London, 

Kennedy, J. P. Journal of the House (Va.) of Burg- 
esses, 1773-1776. Richmond, 1905. 

Kilty, W. Laws of Maryland. Annapolis, 1800. 2 

Kilty, Harris, and Watkins. Laws of Maryland, 1799- 
1818. Annapolis, 1818. 4 Vol. 

Kercheval, Samuel. A History of the Valley of Vir- 
ginia. Woodstock, Va., 1850. 

Kuhns, Oscar. The German and Swiss Settlements 
of Colonial Pennsylvania. New York, 1901. 

King, Henry M. Religious Liberty. Providence, 1903. 

Keller, Ludwig. Hans Denck. 1882. 

Wiedertaufer. 1880. 

Die Reformation. 1885. 

Die .Waldenser. 1886. 

Klaasen, M. Geschichte der Taufgesinnten. 1873. 

Kennedy, Robert P. Historical Review of Logan 
County, Ohio. Chicago, 1903. Has a good article 
on Amish of Logan county, by Bishop David 

Krehbiel, H. P. History of the General Conference 
of Mennonites of America. St. Louis, 1898. 

Locke, Mary Stoughton. Antislavery in America, 
Radcliffe College Monographs. Boston, 1901. 


Le Fevre, Ralph. History of New Paltz. Albany, 
N. Y., 1903. 

Landis, D. B. The Landis Family. Lancaster, 1888. 

Laws of Maryland. (Hughes), 1834. Annapolis, 1835. 

Miiller, Ernst. Geschichte der Bernischen Taufer. 
Frauenfeld, 1895. This book contains many orig- 
inal letters and lists of names of Bernese Men- 
nonites at about the time of the emigration to 
Pennsylvania. It is the best source for the Euro- 
pean background of the emigration to Lancaster 

Mombcrt, J. L An Authentic History of Lancaster 
County. Lancaster, 1869. Contains good lists of 
early settlers. 

Moser, Johannes. Eine Verantwortung gegen Daniel 
Musser's Meidungs Erklarung. Lancaster, 1876. 
A small pamphlet on the Ammansch-Mennonite 
controversy in Berne, 1693-1711. It contains 
many original letters w^ith names of men who 
later came to Lancaster county. 

Mittelberger, Gottlieb. Journey to Pennsylvania in 
the year 1750, and return to Germany in the year 
1754. Translated by C. T. Eben. Philadelphia, 

Menno Simons' Complete Works. Translated from 
the Dutch by J. F. Funk. Elkhart, Ind., 1871. 

Minute Book of the Board of Property. Pennsylvania 
Archives, Second Series. Vol. XIX. Contains 
many notices regarding lands taken up by early 
settlers in Southeastern Pennsylvania. 

Murphy, H. C. Anthology of New Netherland. 

Mennonite Year Book and Directory. Published by 
the Mennonite Board of Missions and Charities. 
Scottdale, Pa., 1905-. 

; Montgomery, M. L. History of Berks County. Phil- 
adelphia, 1886. 


Mennonite Conferences of the Valley of Virginia, 1835- 
1884, Proceedings of. Elkhart, Ind., 1884. 

Matthews and Hungerford, History of Lehigh County 
Philadelphia, 1884. ^' 

Martyrs Mirror, by Tielman van Bracht. Translated 
by J. F. Sohm from the Dutch. Elkhart, 1887. 

Musser, Daniel. The Reformed Mennonite Church; 
Its Rise and Progress with its Principles and 
Doctrmes. Lancaster, 1873 

Merx, Otto. Thomas Miinzer und Heinrich Pfeiffer 

Mifflin County (Pa.) Records. From 1789 on. 

New York Historical Society Collections. Second 
series. Vol. 3. Part 1. Appleton and Co., N. Y., 

Newman, A. H. A History of Antipedobaptism. Phil- 
adelphia, 1897. Contains an excellent bibliog- 
raphy on the Anabaptists. 

Nitsche, Richard, Geschichte der Wiedertaufer in der 
Schweiz. 1885. 

Old Rights, Lancaster County. A manuscript collec- 
tion of surveys, warrants, and deeds of early 
tracts of lands in the county. Found in the office 
of the Secretary of the Interior at Harrisburg. 

Old South Leaflets, No. 95. A translation of part of 
Pastorius' description of Pennsylvania, with an 
introduction to the "Pennsylvania Pilgrim" by 
John Greenlief Whittier. 

O'Callahan, E. B. History of New Netherlands. D 

Appleton, 1855. 2 Vol. 
i Documentary History of New York. 4 

Vol. Albany, 1850. 

Oberholtzer, John H. Aufschlusz der Verfolgungen 
gegen Daniel Hoch von Canada. 1853. 


Verantwortung und Erlauterung . Milford 

Square, Pa., 1860. 

Osiander, Lucas. Eine Predigt von dem Wiedertauf. 


Pennylvania German Society, Proceedings. Published 
by the Society. 18 Vol. Lancaster, 1891 — . 

Pennsylvania Archives, Philadelphia and Harrisburg, 
1852-1902. Four Series. 

Pastorius, Franz Daniel. Beschreibung von Penn- 
sylvanien, 1700. This work is edited with an in- 
troduction by Frederick Kapp, and published at 
Crefeld, 1884. 

Pennypacker, Samuel W. Historical and Biographical 
Sketches. Philadelphia, 1883. Includes the Set- 
tlement of Germantown, Christopher Dock, Der 
Blutige Schau Platz, David Rittenhouse, etc. 

Annals of Phoenixville. Philadelphia, 1872. 

Hendrick Pennebecker. Philadelphia, 1894. 

The Pennypacker Reunion. Philadelphia, 


Bebbers Township and the Dutch Patroons 

of Pennsylvania. Published in the Pennsylvania 
Magazine of History, Jan., 1907. 

Pennsylvania German Society, Proceed- 

ings. Vol. IX, Contains a revised reprint of the 
sketches in Historical and Biographical Sketches, 
with additional articles on Mennonites. 

Philip, Dirck, Enchiridion oder Handbiichlein. Lan- 
caster, 1811. 

Peachey, S. M. Memorial History of Peter Bitche. 
Lancaster, 1892. 


Poore, B. F. Charters and Constitutions. Washing- 
ton, 1878. 

Penn-Logan Correspondence. Published by the Penn- 
sylvania Historical Society. 1872. 2 Vol. 

Perkiomen Region. The Past and Present. Edited 
by H. S. Dotterer. Issued periodically. Phila- 
delphia, 1895—. 

Proud, Robert. The History of Pennsylvania in North 
America. Philadelphia, 1797. 2 Vol. 

Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography. 
Published by the Pennsylvania State Historical 
Society, Philadelphia. Vol's. 1-22. 

Quack, H. P. G. "Plockhoy's Social Planen," in Beel- 
den en Groepen. Amsterdam, 1892. 

Rockingham Register, Harrisonburg, Va., for June 14, 
and July 26, 1895. Contains good sketches of 
Virginia Mennonites by L. J. Heatwole, 

Rupp, I. D. History of Lancaster County. Lancaster, 
1844. ,For many things still the source of all 
later histories of the county. 

A Collection of Upwards of Thirty Thous- 
and Names of German, Swiss, Dutch, French and 
other Immigrants to Pennsylvania (1727-1776). 
Of great value to the genealogist. The same list 
with index is found in Pennsylvania Archives. 
Second series. Vol. XVII. 

The Religious Denominations of the United 

States. Philadelphia, 1844. 

Ruofif, Ph. D., H. W. History of Montgomery County. 
Philadelphia, 1895. 

Regier, Peter. Kurtzgefaszte Geschichte der Men- 
noniten Briider Gemeinde. Berne, Ind., 1901. 


Reiswick und Wadzek. Beitrage zur Kenntnis der 
Mennoniten Gemeinde. Berlin, 1821. 

Rockingham County (Va.) Records. From 1777 on. 

Runk & Co. Biographical Encyclopedia of Juniata 
County, Pennsylvania. Chambersburg, Pa., 1897. 

Sewell, William. History of the Quakers. 

Story, Thomas. Journal. Newcastle on Tyne, 1747. 

Seidensticker, Oswald. Bilder aus der Deutsch-Penn- 
sylvanischen Geschichte. New York, 1886. 

First Century of German Printing in 

America, from 1728 to 1830. 

Sachse, Julius F. The German Sectarians of Penn- 
sylvania. Philadelphia, 1899. 

The German Pietists of Provincial Penn- 
sylvania. Philadelphia, 1896. 

Letters Relating to the Settlement of Ger- 

mantown. Philadelphia, 1903. 

Strieper Papers. In Manuscript in the Bucks county 
collection in the library of the Pennsylvania State 
Historical Society. They include a number of 
letters writen by the early Striepers of German- 
town to their friends in Holland. 

Sharpless, Isaac. Quakerism and Politics. Philadel- 
phia, 1905. 

A Quaker Experiment in Government. 

Philadelphia, 1898. 

Shoemaker, B. H. The Shoemaker Family of Chel- 
tenham. Philadelphia, 1903. 


Scheffer, Hoop de J. G. Inventaris der Archief Stuk- 
ken Berustende bij de Vereenigde Doopsgezinde 
Gemeente to Amsterdam. A catalogue of docu- 
ments and books in the Mennonite church in 
Amsterdam. It contains the titles and often the 
substance of many letters that were written from 
Switzerland and other parts of Europe to the 
Mennonites in Amsterdam and also several letters 
written from Pennsylvania. 

The Mennonite Emigration to Pennsyl- 

vania. Translated from the Dutch by S. W. 
Pennypacker in Pennsylvania Magazine of His- 
tory. Vol. 2. 

Geschichte der Reformation in den Nieder- 


Schmidt, C. B. Reminiscences of Foreign Immigra- 
tion Work. An address at the Fourth Annual 
Convention of the Colorado State Realty Associa- 
tion. Held at Colorado Springs, June 20-23, 1905. 

Stuckey, Joseph. Eine Begebenheit die sich in der 
Mennoniten Gemeinde in Deutschland und in der 
Schweitz von 1693 bis 1700 zugetragen hat. Elk- 
hart, Ind., 1883. 

Suderman, Leonard. Eine Deputations Reise von 
Russland nach America. Elkhart, 1897. 

Stemen, C. B. History of the Stemen Family. Fort 
Wayne, Ind., 1881. 

Souder, . History of Franconia Township. Har- 

leysville, Pa., 1896. 


Stockwell, A. P. History of Gravesend, Long Island. 

Scott, Harvey, History of Fairfield County, Ohio. 
1887. See article by Joseph Kurtz on the Amislr 
settlements of the county. 

Stapleton, A. Memorial of Huguenots in America. 
Carlisle, Pa., 1901. 

Stauffer, Jacob. Eine Chronik oder Geschicht-Buch- 
lein von der so genannten Mennonisten Gemeinde. 
Lancaster, 1855. 

Schyn, H. Historia Mennonitorium. A.msterdam, 

Starck, J. A. Geschichte der Taufe und Taufgesinn- 
ten. Leipzig, 1789. 

Senate Document V. 26, 58. Cong., Second session. 

Statutes at Large of the Confederate States of Ameri- 
ca. Ed. by Matthews. Richmond, 1864. 2 Vol. 

Statutes at Large of Pennsylvania, 1682-1801. Har- 
risburg, 1897. 4 Vol. 

Taylor Papers. Land surveys in Lancaster county 
before 1734. In collection of manuscripts in 
library of Pennsylvania State Historical Society. 

Troyer, David A, Eine Unpartheischer Bericht von 
den Hauptumstanden welche sich ereigneten in 
den so-genannten Alt Amischen Gemeinden in 
Ohio vom Jahr 1850 bis ungefahr 1861 wodurch 
endlich eine vollkommene Spaltung entstand. 

The Christian Confession of Faith of the harmless 
Christians in the Netherlands knowti as Mennon- 
ists. First printed in English at Amsterdam in 

1712. Reprinted by A. Bradford, Philadelphia, 


1727. Very rare. A copy in the library of the- 
Pennsylvania Historical Society. 

Ten Gate, Bl. Geschiedenis der Doopsgezinden in 
Groningen, Overyssel, en Friesland. 1842. 

United States Statutes at Large, 13 Vol. 

Votes and Proceedings of the House of Represen- 
tatives of the Province of Pennsylvania. Phila- 
delphia, 1776. 6 Vol. 

Wayland, Ph. D., John W. The German Element of 
the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Charlottes- 
ville, Va., 1907. Contains many references to the 
Mennonites of Virginia. 

Woolman, John. Journal. Philadelphia, 1864. 

Watson, J. F. Annals of Philadelphia and Pennsyl- 
vania, in the Olden Time. Philadelphia, 1891. 3 

Wedel, C. H. Abrisz der Geschichte der Alennoniten. 
Newton, Kansas, 1904. A good brief summary of 
the whole field of Mennonite history. 

Wing, Conway P. History of Cumberland County,. 
Pa. Philadelphia, 1879. 

Warner Beers & Co., History of Franklin County, Pa. 
Chicago, 1887. 

Wickersham, J. P. History of Education in Penn- 
' sylvania. Lancaster, 1886. 

Weingarten, Herman. Die Revolutions Kirchen Eng- 
lands. Leipzig, 1868. 

Zook, Shem. Eine wahre Darstellung von dem wel- 
ches uns das Evangelium in der Reinheit lehrt, so- 
wie auch ein unpartheischer Bericht von den 
Haupt Umstanden welche sich in underschiedlich- 


en Gemeinden ereigneten woraus endlich die un- 
christlichen Spaltungen entstanden sind. Mat- 
tawana, Pa., 1880. 

zur Linden, Otto Friedrich. Melchior Hoffman, ein 
Prophet der Wiedertaufer. 1885. 


Allebach, Christian 184 
Alstadt 28 

A Lasco, John 60, 417 
Albrecht, Joseph and Com- 
pany 418 
Amish 160 

Canada 226 

Doctrine and practice 234 

Diener Versammlung 239 

Early Life 213 

Egli defection 247 

First in America 210 

In Ohio 216 

In Indiana 221 

In Illinois 228 

In Nebraska 233 

In Missouri 233 

In Kansas 234 

In Iowa 223 

Immigration from 1820 to 
1850 225 

New York 227 

New Amish 243 

Origin 208 

Old Order 241 

The Stuckey congrega- 
tions 248 
Anabaptists 17 
Arets, Lenart 101 
Armbruster, Aaron 421 
Arnold, Gottfried 420 
Augsburger, Christian 218 
Ausbund 431, 432 

Baer, Martin 177 
Baer, J. B. 449 
Baer Almanac 442 

Baer, Johann 418, 444 

Ban 49 

Baptists, Seventh Day 180, 

Baptism, infant 20 

Basel 32 

Bechtley, Jacob 186 

Beissel, Conrad 180 

Bender, D. H. 404, 448 
Berne 32 

Bergey, Hans Ulrich 184 
Bethel College 401, 449 
Blanch, Christian 196, 214 
Blauch, Jacob 196 
Blaurock, George 19, 40, 433 
Blosser, John 405, 448 
Bluffton College 449 
Bowman, Wendal 146, 169 
Bowman, Johannes 177 
Boehm, Martin 177, 181, 216 
Bouwens, Leonard 53 
Bonnet 390 

Brenneman, Daniel 308, 311 
Brethren 22, 31 
Brodli, Hass 22, 23 
Brechbuhl, B. 140. 142 
Brunner, C. H. 449 
Brubacher, J. N. 448 
Brueder Gemeinde 341 
Burghaltzer, Hans 177 
Burkhart, Christian 198 
Burchi, Hans 140, 142 
Bullinger, Heinrich 41, 49 
Byers, N. E. 402, 448 

Castelberger 22 
Charter of Paul I 325 



Church Government 390 
Chiliasm 37 

Christlicher Bundesbote 444 
Church of God 305 
Civil government 48 
Clemmer, Velte 184 
Conestoga wagon 163 
Collegiants 68 
Coffman, J. S. 274 
Community of goods 22, 50 
Conferences 390 
Confession of faith 410 
Conscription Act of 1864 2>76 
Confederate Conscription 

Acts 382 
Cof=fman, S. F. 448 
Crefeld 101 

Cumberland valley 193 
Customs 386 
Culture 386 

Banner, Michael 193 

Denk, Hans 33, 37, 40 

Der Lobgesang 439 

Der Evangelische Botschaft- 
er 444 

Detweiler, I. R. 448 

Denner, Jacob 419 

Deknatel, Johann 419, 420 

Diener Versammlung 239 

Die Kleine Geistliche Harfe 

Die Frohe Botschaft 249 

Die Wandelnde Seele 420 

Doctrines of early Anabap- 
tists 22 

Dock, Christopher 422, 423, 

Eby, Hans 270 
Eby Benjamin 431 
Ebersole, Abraham 159 
Eby Isaac 448 
Eckerlin, Michael 181 
Egli defection 246 
Egli C. R. 451 
Ehrenfried, Joseph 415, 479, 

Ein Spiegel der Taufe 421 
Ein Spiegel der Wahrheit 431 

Eicher, Johannes 160 
Eicher church 225 
Elkhart Institute 401 
Engle, Christian 229 
Enchiridion 418 
Ephrata 181 
Erlauterungs Spiegel 428 

Faber, Gellius 417 
Fairfax controversy 203 
Feet-washing 387 
Franconia 183 

Bucks county 185 

Berks county 186 

Chester county 187 

Every day life 189 

Literary activity 190 

Skippack region 183 
Frick, Conrad 159 
Frank Sebastian 32, 36 
Friesland 39 
Funk, Christian 427 
Funk, Hans 159, 168 
Funk, Henry 184 
Funk, Heinrich 415, 421 
Funk, J. F. 329, 401, 404, 416, 

431, 447 
Fundament Buch 418 
Funk, Joseph 441 

Gerber, Samuel 450 
Gerig, Sebastian 450 
Gerig, Benj. 450 
Geistliches Blumen Gartlein 

Germantown 94 
Germans in Virginia 199 
Godshalk, Herman 184 
Graybil, John 196 
Good Jacob 198 
Gnaegi, Christian 214 
Goshen College 401 
Gospel Herald 447 
Gospel Witness 445 
Goerz, David 449 
Gospel Banner 449 
Graff, Hans 146, 155 
Grubb, N. B. 431, 449 
Grebel, Conrad 19. 30, 31, 40 
Giildene Aepfel 420 



Halteman, Hans 159 
Haury, S. S. 403 
Haszlibach, Hans 434 
Hartzler, J. E. 448 
Haszlibacher Lied 434 
Hartzler, J. S. 401, 405, 448 
Harmonia Sacra 441, 444 
Herr, Christian 173, 177 
Hessians 231 
Heatwole, L. J. 315, 448 
Herald of Truth 445 
Heilsbote 452 
Hershey, Benedict 169 

Herr, Hans 168, 146 
Herr, John 292, 418, 428 

Herstein, John 419 
Hetzer, Ludwig 32 

Hirschi, Benedict 177 

Hostater, Jacob 210 

Hostetler, Oswald 159 

Horekill 82 

Hoffman, Melchior 33, 38, 40, 

Horsch, John 431 

Holdeman, John 305, 430 

Hostetler, C. K. 405 

Hoch, Daniel 344 

Hocking valley 275 

Hubmeir, Balthasar 31, 33, 35 

Hut, Hans 33, 34, 37, 47 

Hungary 38 

Huss, John 433 

Illinois Conference of Men- 

nonites 248 
Ingolstadt 36 
Indian Creek 184 
Indian Raids 202 

Jansen, Peter 340 
Jotter, Christian 160 
Johns, D. J. 401, 405, 450 
Juniata 196 

Kauflfman, Daniel 431 
Kendigh, Martin 159 

Kendig, Martin 146, 168 
Keller, Ludwig 20 
Keyser, Dirck 109 
Kishacoquillas valley 215 
Kistler, Michael 231 
King, Joseph 252 
Kindig, Benjamin 254 
Kirchmeyer 36 
Kliewer, J. J. 449 
Kolb, A. B. 404 
Kolb, Jacob 184 
Kt)lb, Dielman 184, 159, 415 
Kolb, Martin 184 
Krehbiel, J. C. 345 
Krehbiel, Christian 330, 449 
Krehbiel, H. P. 350, 431, 449 
Krehbiel, Daniel 399 
Kurtz, Heinrich 418 
Kurzgefaszte Kirchen-Ge- 

schichte 431 
Kiunders, Thones 101 

Landis, Benjamin 177 
Lambert, George 406, 448 
Lantz, Lee 252 
Leyden, John of 41, 50, 60, 

406, 417, 448 
Leaman, A. H. 448 
Lensen, Jan 101 
Lincoln county 266 
Linville valley 204 
Longacre, Christian 159 
Longeneker, Daniel 186 
Logan county 220 
Loucks, Aaron 448 

Mack, A. S. 448 

Mack, Noah H. 448 

Manitoba 336 

Manz, Felix 19, 30, 31, 433 

Matthys, Jan 40 

Martyrs Mirror 411 

Maryland 198 

Meilin, Martin 169, 146 

Mennonite Printing Presses 

Mennonite Board of Guard- 
ians 334 

Mennonite Executive Aid 
Committe 334 



Mennonite Publishing Com- 
pany 404, 416 

And the State 352 

Attitude toward civil gov- 
ernment 352 

Attitude toward Learning 

As Pioneers 290 

During the Civil War 315 

Exemptions from the Oath 
357 _ 

Exemptions from military- 
service 365 

First use of name 65 

First in America 81 

General Conference 343 

In Ontario 265 

In Prussia 78 

In Switzerland 74 

In the Palatinate 76 

In Netherlands 66 

Literature and Hymnol- 
ogy 409 

Mennonite Brethren in 
Christ 310 

Origin of Doctrine 386 

Protest Against Slavery 120 

Relation to English Separ- 
atists 71 

Reformed 292 

Swiss in America 277, 282 

Virtues 406 

Wisler 307 
Menno Simons 

Birth 53 

Beliefs 58 

Controversial writings 56 

Death 62 

Influence 64 

Public disputations 61 

Price set on his head 61 

Renunciation of Rome 55 

Works of 416 
Missions 403 

Miller, D. D. 401, 405, 450 
Miller, Jacob 216 
Miller, Levi 450 
Miller, Peter 415 

Miller, S. H. 450 
Moseman, Michael 230, 247 
Molotschna 325 
Micronius, Martin 417 
Mirror for all Mankind 428 
Millenarianism ZT , 40 
Munzer, Thomas 24, 25, 26, 
Musser, Daniel 428 


Miinster 40 
Muhlhausen 38 

Nageli, Rudolf 180 
Naffziger, Christian 226 
Newcomer, Christian 159 
Neus, Hans 110 
New Amish 242 
Netherlands 41 
Non-resistance 40 
Nold, Jacob 427 

Oberholtzer, J. H. 298, 343, 

430, 444 
Op den Graff, Abraham 101 
Op den Graff, Dirck 101 
Overholts, Martin 146 

Pastorius, Franz Daniel 102 
Page, W. B. 406 
Pennsylvania Dutch 393 
Pennebeker, Hendrick 110 
Peters, Isaac 342 
Penner, J. A. 404 
Persecution 31, 36, 98 
Perkiomen creek, 184 
Pequea colony 

Early Preachers 177 
Church Buildings 173 
Not Proselyters 181 
Naturalization 166 
Relation to Indians 164 
Redemptioners 171 
Relation to Dunkards 178 
Settlement 134 
Secular life 161 
Pennypacker, S. W. 415 
Philharmonia 442 
Philip, Obbe 53 



Philip, Dirck S3, 418 
Pingjum 53 
Pitscha, Ulrich 159 
Plank, Melchior 172 
Plockhoy, Pieter Cornelisz 

Principles, 386 
Prayer Head-covering 388 
Putnam county 230 

Ramsauer, Heinrich 159 
Reiff, John 198 
Revolutionary War 253 
Religioser Botschafter 324, 

Ressler, J. A. 405, 448 
Reublin, William 19, 31, 35 
Rebaptism 23 
Rink, Melchior 39 
Rittinghuysen, Willem 109, 

Root, Ulrich 159 
Ropp, Andrew 230 
Ropp, Christian 230, 250 
Ruth, Henry 184 
Russian Immigration 324 
Rupp, I. D. 416 

Sauer, Christopher 422, 442 
Schleitheim Confession 22, 

Schantz, J. Y. 329 
Schertz David 234 
Schlegel, Joseph 234, 450 
Schaffhausen 31, 35 
Schantz, Peter 252 
Schisms 291 

Schellenberger, Peter 159 
Schantz, Ben 177 
Schulordnung 427 
Showalter, Christian 346, 400 
Shoemaker, J. S. 405, 448 
Shelley, A. S. 449 
Skippack 119 
Slavery 206 
Smith, John 450 
Smutz, John 419 
Snyder, Sicke 54 
Somerset county 214 

Sohm, J. F. 416 

Sommer, I. A. 449 

Sprunger, S. F. 349 

Stauffer Jacob 304 

Storch, Niclas 24 

Steiner, M. S. 404, 406, 431, 

Stutzman, Jacob 159 

Stumpf, Simon 18, 50 

St. Gallen 32 

Strasburg 39, 40 

Strickler, Abraham 199, 161 
Strickler, Jacob 200 
Stuckey, Joseph 240, 248 
Strubhar, Valentine 252 

Tazewell county 229 
Telner, Jacob 100 
Tithes 50 

Troyer, Emanuel 252 
Tuscarawas county 216 
Tyson, Reynier 101 

Van Bebber, Isaac Jacob 109 
Van der Smissen, C. H. A. 

Van der Smissen, C. J. 400 
Verantwortung und Erlauter- 

ung 430 
Virginia 199 
Von Todtleben 331 

War, Civil 314 

Revolutionary 253 
Warkentin, Bernard 334 
Waldenses 17, 24, 39 
Waldshut 28, 31, 35 
Wadsworth school 400 
Wayne county 218 
War taxes 254 
Waterloo county 267 
Wagner, Jorg 433 
West Point 345 
Wenger, Christian 159 
Wedel, C. H. 401, 449 
Wenger, A. D. 405, 448 
Westmoreland county 196 
West Point Colony 223 



Weil nun die zeit Vorhanden 

ist 438 
Wenger, Martin 442 
Webersthal 156 
Wesley City 228 
Witmarsum 53 
Wilmot Township 227 
Wisler, Jacob 307 
Woodford county 229 

Yoder, Jacob 160 

York county 193 
Yoder, J. K. 240 
Yoder, C. Z. 450 

Zooks, 160 

Zook, Moritz 160, 211 

Zook, Shem 240, 416 

Zook, Abe 242 

Zug, Peter 159 

Zurich 18 

Zwickau Prophets 25