MY RELATIVES :
Ultra Conservative Mennonites
Ontario by Charlotte Martin
A farm near Linwood belonging to a member of the David Martin Mennonites. Large hip roof barns with roof
SOCIETY OF ONTARIO 'chimney' ventilators are common .
Mennonites, for different people, conjure life . However, in studying the history of
up different images in the mind . To some, the David Martin Mennonites, I have
they are simply a religious group much like started to understand my ancestry and the
most other religious groups in Canada. To effects it has had on our family and on my
VOLUME XVI others, they are people with a strong social own childhood . Their history is one of
conscience who are involved in relief work major church splits over seemingly minor
NUMBER 1 in many parts of the world . To others still, issues followed by many excommunica-
they are very conservative people, farmers, tions and the cruel practice of shunning .
who live without modern conveniences like It is the story of families being torn apart
MAY 1998 electricity and indoor plumbing and cars . and alienated from each other for seem-
It is this latter image that best describes ingly trivial reasons . It is the story of my
my relatives and ancestors . maternal ancestry. The separation of my
ISSN 1192-5515 I remember often hearing, as I was
growing up, about the David Martin
own family from the David Martin
Mennonites reflects their general history
Mennonites, the group of ultra conserva- which is a fascinating story of uncompro-
tive Mennonites in which my mother was mising splits and separations .
raised .' They are a small group of The David Martin group of Mennonites
Mennonites who broke away from the began in 1917 when my great-great-grand-
Old Order Mennonites because the latter father Minister David B . Martin, and his
were becoming too worldly and who dis- son Deacon David W. Martin, and another
associated themselves from all Mennonite one of my great-great-grandfathers
conferences . They live very simply in Minister Daniel Brubacher joined together
Waterloo County of Southern Ontario and separated from the Old Order
around the towns of St . Clements, Mennonite group to which they previously
Wallenstein, Hawkesville and Linwood . belonged . One of the motivations for those
The history of the David Martin who left was the issue of owning bicycles .
Mennonites is the story of a people who David W . Martin was a young man
believe that they should be in the world who had been a deacon in the Wisler sec-
but not of it . They have struggled to put tion of the Old Order Mennonite church
into practice what they believe the Bible since 1913 . At the time, bicycles were not
to teach when it admonishes believers to allowed within the group but some men
"love not . . . the things that are in the had them anyway . When they were told to
world ." Although I have often heard the put them away, they refused . David was
stories about my mother's childhood in the asked to visit them and persuade them to
David Martin group, they never seemed to give up bicycles, but he didn't want to do
have any connection or relevance to my this unless he could use the ban on those
who still refused. The Bishop disagreed united with Minister Daniel Brubacher. Brubacher served as the new group's lead-
and thought that David wanted too much Daniel had been a minister in the ers, but the group was without a bishop .
authority for a young man. Conestogo Old Order Mennonite Church A bishop is needed to perform all the
The ban is a form of excommunication since 1876, but he left it in 1909 . The important ceremonies such as communion,
and complete shunning of any who does reason for his withdrawal is uncertain baptism, marriages and funerals . He can
not confess his/her sins . A sin could be although there are some hints of a racy only be a man who has already been a
anything from keeping company with scandal involving his son. Since his minister and has proven himself to be
someone outside the group to sitting in departure, he had been holding indepen- effective so that he can oversee numerous
the wrong pew in the meeting house to dent meetings in his home . ministers and numerous churches . This
disagreeing with a particular rule/tradition . Church leaders can only be men and problem was solved on Ascension Day of
Users of the ban believe that when people are chosen in the David Martin group by 1918 when Daniel Brubacher was chosen
leave their church and are excommunicat- lot, as in other conservative Mennonite as Bishop . The David Martin Mennonites
ed, they are lost and will not enter Heaven groups . A day is set aside for members to were now an autonomous group.
unless they rejoin the group. Among the choose candidates before the Bishop . The With their new Bishop, they were able
David Martin Mennonites, people who bishop then reads off the names, and the to hold their first communion that spring,
have erred are given the chance to confess following Tuesday or Wednesday every- on 26 May, with a total of forty-eight
in church before they are banned . The one comes together for the ordination . members, all of whom are listed in the
deacon calls on them individually and asks As many books as there are candidates are "General Records of the Orthodox
them if they confess before God that they set aside in a private room . The deacon Mennonite Church ." Many of the original
have sinned and want forgiveness . If the places a piece of paper in one of the books members did not end up staying with the
person responds positively then he/she is and hands them all over to another deacon David Martin Mennonites and only seven
able to sit back down and continue within or minister . This leader then mixes up the of David B . Martin's thirteen children
the group otherwise he/she is put out of books and hands them on to the bishop remained a part of the group. This includ-
the church and turned over to Satan. who shuffles them again. By this time it is ed my great-grandparents, Mr. and Mrs.
Apparently, the split between the obviously impossible to know which book John W. Martin, and their eleven children,
Old Order Mennonites and the David holds the paper. Each candidate takes a the second oldest of which, twelve year
Martin Mennonites also involved an issue book from the pulpit where they have been old Lovina, became my grandmother. My
with a government drainage ditch in the placed and the bishop delivers a short great-grandfather Peter P. Martin, his wife
Three Bridges area near the Conestogo prayer. The books are then handed, one Lydia Brubacher (daughter of Daniel
Church . The ditch went through the by one, to the bishop who finds the Brubacher), and seven of their nine
property of some of the Mennonites who one containing the paper. The candidate children, were also original members of
were therefore supposed to help pay for it . whose book held the paper becomes the this group although Lydia died 7 February
The Old Order Mennonites thought they new minister or deacon . 1918, before the first communion was
should simply obey the government and There are often three or four ministers held . Their son, my grandfather Peter
pay the price, but those who went with the as well as several deacons within one B . Martin, was only fifteen years old
David Martin Mennonites refused and a David Martin church . The deacon is a ser- at the time .
law suit followed . vant of the church who does not do any The following years brought many new
It was as a result of these issues, in the preaching but looks after finances and peo- members to the group as new people joined
spring of 1917, that David W. Martin left ple in need and is also involved in some of and young people were baptized, although
the Old Order Mennonites with his father, the ceremonies . A man becomes a leader funerals and excommunications also
who had been a minister in the Wisler sec- for his lifetime, whether he is good at it or occurred. Baptisms are performed on young
tion since 1889 . These men, with a follow- not, and he cannot decline the leadership people, around the age of seventeen or eigh-
ing of about 45 members, wanted more position . The leaders have never been to teen, who have decided to make a personal
rigid discipline and shunning . They had a Bible School or Sunday School or had any decision to become a member of the church .
fear that the Old Orders were becoming formal Bible teaching . Many can hardly The young people are given a catechism
too moderate and tolerant and they wanted read German, the language in which all book which they are supposed to read
a more conservative leadership with an preaching is done . Their mother tongue is although few can because it is in German
uncompromising stand. a German dialect known as Pennsylvania which they are not taught to read . For six
The new group had no meeting house Dutch and they learn English at school but weeks before the baptism they attend
of their own. They held a meeting in the they do not know high German . It is there- services on Sunday afternoons where they
South Peel meeting house where both fore easy to understand how their teaching learn the eighteen or so lessons in the cate-
Davids had served regularly, but after- is not really based on scripture but rather chism. At the end of each lesson they must
wards they were refused further use of the dependent on traditions . affirm that they agree with what they have
facilities . They started meeting in David Minister David B. Martin, Deacon learned. although again, few are sure what it
B . Martin's home until July when they David W. Martin and Minister Daniel all means. On the seventh week they meet
Ontario Mennonite History is published semi-annually by the Mennonite Historical Society of Ontario,
Conrad Grebel College. Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G6, and distributed to all members of the Society.
It is distributed free of charge to public libraries and school libraries in Ontario, upon request.
Editor : Brent Bauman
Editorial Committee : Linda Huebert Hecht, Lorraine Roth, Herbert Enns, Sam Steiner, Marlene Epp
Financial assistance from the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Culture is gratefully acknowledged .
Inquiries, articles, book notices or news items should be directed to the Editor, Mennonite Historical Society of Ontario
c/o Conrad Grebel College, Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G6 TEL. (519) 885-0220, FAX (519) 885-0014
on a Saturday afternoon for a final lesson usually a couple or more churches within along with two of my great-aunts and a
and then on the Sunday morning they are the group, overseen by the same bishop, great uncle who was too young to be a
baptized . The baptism ritual is by pouring . which hold services on separate Sundays . member . Although only seventeen years
The bishop cups his hands over the head of Members attend services when they are old, my grandfather Peter stayed with
the kneeling member and the deacon pours held at the closest meeting house, unless the David Martins when his father left
water into his hands, which are then opened they are going visiting . Services are held because he was working on another
slowly, allowing the water to pour over the at one or two of the meeting houses one member's farm . The David Martin group
person's head. Sunday, at the other meeting house(s) the was again without a bishop and with only
During the first years of the David next, and nowhere on the third Sunday Deacon David W. Martin and Minister
Martin group, the church continued to which is a day of rest when people can Enoch Horst as leaders . However, not
grow. In September 1918, Enoch Horst, visit and relax . There are no Sunday all was bad that year since they also built
one of the original recorded members, was Schools or Bible studies within the com- a new Center Woolwich meeting house
made minister, and in October of the same munity . In fact, people are discouraged near St . Jacobs .
year Daniel's son Menno Brubacher from reading the Bible themselves ; it is The group was not without a Bishop for
became a third minister. However, it was only read by the bishop or ministers in long . In January 1921 Deacon David W.
not until 6 July 1919 that meetings were church . My Grandma Lovina wrote in her Martin advanced to Minister, in February
held in their newly built meeting house journal, "We were always told not to listen his brother Solomon W. Martin was made
east of the village of Wallenstein . to anyone outside the church or try to read deacon and, in March Enoch Horst
The meeting houses are all built exactly anything about Spiritual matters on our advanced to the position of Bishop . On
the same with the side of the building own for it was so easy to be misled ." 16 July 1922, my Grandfather Peter B .
facing the road, although they can vary in However, it is very important to carry out Martin was baptized by Enoch Horst to
size . At one end of the building there is a all of the rules and traditions without become a member of the church . On 25
women's cloak room where the women deviating at all . A small song book with October 1922, Amos Bearinger, who had
take their babies if they cry, although German hymns and the German Bible are been taken in as a member in March of
diapers are changed in the main auditori- the only books used. There are no musical 1920, was chosen as a second minister.
um. There are separate entrances for men, instruments and singing is done in unison On 15 July 1923, my grandmother Lovina
boys, and women and girls which never only, often with the minister reading one S . Martin also became a baptized member
varies except at funerals when the line of the song and the congregation of the church .
bereaved family goes out the door nearest then singing it . It was around this time that my grand-
to the cemetery. A funeral is also the only The year 1920 brought heartache for parents, Lovina and Peter B ., began seeing
time when men and women, of the imme- the David Martin Mennonite group with each other. Peter was working on Lovina's
diate family only, sit together on the front, the loss of three of their early leaders . parents' farm at the time, and since it is
back-less benches facing the long pulpit Minister David B . Martin died in April . not proper for a couple going together to
where the ministers sit . At all other times, That fall, Bishop Daniel Brubacher and live on the same property, Lovina left her
the men and women sit on hard, unvar- Minister Menno Brubacher left the David family to work elsewhere . Since marriages
nished benches, with boards across the Martin Mennonites taking a group of occur only within the group (unless a
back for support, on opposite sides of the twenty-one members with them . Their young person is willing to be excommuni-
room facing each other and perpendicular withdrawal occurred after a disagreement cated), couples generally know each other
to the pulpit. The girls and boys also sit concerning the shunning of outsiders . The long before they begin dating or are mar-
opposite each other but facing their elders' Brubachers felt shunning should be more ried . As children they likely played togeth-
benches and the pulpit . lenient and as a result found themselves er but, when they finished school they
Members do not generally attend being shunned . My great-grandfather Peter were suddenly considered adults, no
church services every Sunday . There are P. Martin was among this group to leave longer allowed to run and play.
David Martin children attend public
schools which they walk or take a bus to,
unlike many conservative Mennonite chil-
dren who attend private schools . They are
generally considered to be good students
although they do not join in field trips and
tend to play alone . Their schooling only
lasts until grade eight or age fourteen,
whichever comes first . Higher education
is considered worldly and therefore not
permitted . Enjoying education is equated
with laziness which is almost a cardinal
sin . When their school days are over the
girls begin to wear the clothing of women :
ankle length dresses with one or two
petticoats underneath, a shawl, apron and
cape . Their hair is worn in a bun under
a black bonnet . This is often a time of
loneliness and displacement for the youth
who are too old to be children but too
young to fully enter the adult world of
Current meeting house east of the village of Wollenstein on Waterloo County, Road 86. marriage and children .
Fifteen is the magical age when youth The wedding itself is in the bride's in February 1933 leaving the group again
enter young adulthood and can become bet- home and starts at nine o'clock in the with only one. On 23 October 1934 my
ter acquainted with their peers through an morning, when the guests arrive, and lasts great-uncle Elam S. Martin, my grand-
activity known as the "time" . The "time" until almost midnight . Before the service mother Lovina's brother, was chosen as a
occurs on Sunday evenings with as many the young people wait upstairs while second minister. Elam became a member
as thirty or more young people who start married couples remain downstairs . Two on 9 August 1925 and five years later, on 2
the evening by getting together for supper of the youngest married men serve cookies November, he married Susy Bauman, who
at a member's home, often unannounced. and wine to all the guests after which the had recently been taken in as a member.
After the chores are completed, the older service begins . It generally lasts from It was around this time that my grand-
couple retires for the night and the young three quarters of an hour to an hour. parents began having doubts about their
people begin their activities . They sing Dinner, usually including fowl of some religious beliefs. Peter was working in a
German and English hymns in harmony, kind, is prepared by several young girls woodworking shop in Hawkesville and
play games, and visit. The games are some- appointed for the job and served immedi- came into contact with people who
times quiet sitting games but often become ately following the service. believed that you do not have to earn
noisy with much hugging and kissing. After dinner, the young people again go salvation because it is a gift from God.
The "time" usually ends with a "show" upstairs but not without some fun from the He slowly began questioning everything
which consists of boys taking girls into a hostlers who block the top of the stairs and he had believed and been taught . He read
dark room and holding them on their laps demand money for the cooks. It becomes tracts and Bible verses he had not previ-
to converse quietly and privately while very playful as some young men try to ously known existed. He would often
those not involved pester them with flash- wrestle their way through without paying, secretly check the family Bible at home
lights . At the end of the evening, the boys although many good suits have been torn to assure himself that these verses were
take the girls home. It is usually not long during this activity . In the middle of the in fact there. In October 1937, he came to
before a young man decides who he is afternoon cookies, wine, candies and fresh believe in Jesus Christ as his Savior and
interested in . If the young woman is fruit, as well as cigars for the men, are by the following June my grandmother
equally interested, he starts visiting her passed around . All the guests then remain accepted these beliefs as well . Lovina and
at her home on Saturday evenings every for supper after which more cigars, candy Peter Martin, with their six children, began
three or four weeks. At this time they and wine are once again enjoyed. The attending the Gospel Hall, a Plymouth
are considered to be "going steady". older couples generally head home shortly Brethren church, in Hawkesville and were
For a couple of years, during the time after supper while the young people stay excommunicated from the David Martin
when my grandparents were dating, things for a "time ." The newly married couple church in August 1938 . Their decision
went smoothly in the David Martin group never goes on a honeymoon as that would to leave was a severe one as they were
with only a few members being excommu- be considered too worldly . shunned completely and were never
nicated, most of whom later rejoined the When my grandparents married they allowed to see their family again.
group, and numerous baptisms . However, lived in Hawkesville and my grandfather My mother was only eight years old.
on 4 May 1924 Bishop Enoch Horst and worked as a day laborer. They had their Shortly after her parents excommunica-
Minister Amos Bearinger were excommu- first child, my Aunt Saloma (Sally), on 24 tion, my mother remembers she and Sally
nicated on the question of observing the August 1928 and my mother, Leah, was once again visited their grandparents . It
ban . The group was again left with only born 22 May 1930 . There are, of course, was a Wednesday night after school . They
one minister, David W. Martin, and one no baby dedications or baptisms within the attended school in Heidelburg which was
deacon, Solomon W. Martin . David Martin group but babies are brought about 10 kilometers from their grandpar-
On 17 August 1924, David W. Martin to church after six weeks, before which ents' farm between Linwood and
was made bishop by circumstance. . My time they do not leave the house at all. Hawkesville. Therefore, they received a
mother tells me that "Uncle David," the My mother Leah and her sister Sally ride from the principal, Mr. Kenneth
bishop at the time, was highly honored were the first grandchildren for Mr. and Williams, who lived in Linwood. He
and that anything he said was taken as Mrs . John W. Martin . My mother remem- dropped them off at the end of the lane
gospel truth; no one would question him. bers being very close to them and going and was supposed to pick them up the next
The group remained without a minister with her sister to visit them often. I remem- morning. My Grandmother Lovina was
until 9 June of the following year when ber a story from my childhood about a quite concerned about this visit but my
Martin B . Frey, who had left the Old ceramic doll's head with a pillow stuffed Grandfather Peter thought that her parents
Orders andjoined the group in November into it for a body that my great-grandmoth- couldn't possibly turn away their adored
1918, was ordained. It was 15 December er kept in her bottom bureau drawer. My grandchildren. As soon as Leah and Sally
of that same year, 1925, when my grand- mother had a great love for dolls so, when arrived at their grandparent's door, their
parents Lovina S . Martin and Peter B. my grandmother received the doll's head in grandfather told them to leave and never
Martin were married. a bag of used articles, she saved it for my return . Luckily, plans had been made for
When a couple decides they want mother to play with . However, the Bible the girls to walk over to Manassah
to be married, they tell the bishop who says, "Thou shalt not make unto thee any Weber's farm if anything went wrong.
announces it in church the three Sundays graven image, or any likeness of any thing Mr. Weber attended the Gospel Hall in
before the marriage occurs . On the last that is in heaven above, or that is in the Hawkesville so he gave them a ride to the
Saturday before the wedding (which earth beneath" and for the David Martin Wednesday night prayer meeting where
occurs on a Tuesday or Thursday), the Mennonites that included life-like dolls, they met their father and returned home .
young couple personally invites all of their snapshots, and paintings . The doll's head It is difficult to imagine how grandparents
guests . Wedding presents are not a part of did not stay around for long . could so heartlessly turn away small chil-
the custom . The only cost is small change On 12 October 1930 Deacon Franklin dren but it must be realized that they truly
given to the "hostlers," for looking after Hauser was taken in as a member, giving thought they were doing the right thing
the guests' horses . the group two deacons, although he died even though it was extremely painful for
them. Shunning had become such a strong he had the nerve to question his uncle the industries" because farming does not pro-
part of the David Martin Mennonite histo- `great' Bishop David W . Martin and they vide enough income for them to live on .
ry and traditions that even grandchildren had a falling out. This was devastating to However, there is a bylaw which states
could be turned away by their grandpar- Mr. and Mrs . John W . Martin, Elam's that agriculture must be the major source
ents . My mother has always wondered parents, who had already lost two daugh- of income on farms and this is no longer
what Mr. Williams thought the next day ters to the outside world . Elam was the case for many of the Mennonites . For
when he came to pick them up! replaced 8 May 1956 by Abraham Frey, this reason, there is talk of subdividing the
Very few members of the David Martin another son of Minister Martin B . Frey . farms and giving one acre to each family
Mennonites have ever left the Mennonite Then, on 23 December of the same year, for their home, barn and animals, and
faith entirely although many have joined Deacon Samuel Horst was also excommu- industry to get around this law . This
other Mennonite groups . Therefore, my nicated and replaced on 12 March 1957 would really make the David Martin
grandparents joining the Gospel Hall was by Abraham Martin, son of the deceased Mennonite group a self-contained com-
something that had never been done Solomon W. Martin . munity and there is some concern about
before . My grandmother's younger sister These two excommunications were fol- what would happen if more splits
Annie also left the David Martins to join a lowed by serious disagreements within the occurred within the church .
more liberal group of Mennonites and has church and on 1 September 1957 twenty- The David Martin Mennonites have,
since left the Mennonites entirely as well . eight members withdrew from Bishop over the years, become much more mod-
Aunt Annie was baptized 17 July 1938 David W. Martin to gather in the home of ern than even the Old Orders who they
and excommunicated in the spring of 1941 Emanuel Sherk who had become a originally left for being too worldly .
for keeping company with a young man baptized member of the David Martin Apparently they no longer even have
who was not from the David Martin Mennonites 15 July 1923 . Before these Bishops in their churches . It is quite com-
group . He later became her husband . 28 members left there had been approxi- mon for them to have computers and fax
Her story is a very interesting one . mately 180 members in the David Martin machines for their businesses, although the
Aunt Annie remembers enjoying school Group . My great-grandmother Mrs . John equipment must be run on generators .
and being in contact with people who did W. Martin died in August prior to the split Many of them also have indoor plumbing
not belong to the same religious order as which left her children broken into two and phones in their homes . They are even
her. It was through one of these children groups, completely separate from each known to accept OHIP and Old Age
that she first heard about Santa Claus other. Again shunning was more important Pensions which remains unheard of in
who thrilled her, but her joy was quickly than familial ties . The remaining members most conservative groups . However, they
destroyed when she was informed that of the David Martin group continued to still do not have rubber tires or bicycles
her church would have nothing to do grow over the years and remains even which were issues when they first split. It
with him . When she later heard about God today, although more recent records for seems that new conveniences which make
through the same friend she believed that the David Martin Mennonites could not business easier can be accepted but the old
he was real but that her church would also be obtained . traditions must still be maintained . This
have nothing to do with Him . This demon- The David Martin Mennonites are gen- includes shunning people like my mother
strates how little Biblical teaching the chil- erally known to be more aggressive than and great-aunt Annie who left the group .
dren get and the importance of their tradi- many Mennonites and do very well in Although Aunt Annie does try to visit
tions over personal spiritual growth . small businesses . They are somewhat some of her remaining siblings once a
Everything is done according to the rules arrogant because of the security involved year, she knows that if she went too often
of the church . They do not learn how to with their faith and depth of belief that the relatives she visits might get in trouble .
make personal choices and decisions, or their church is the only right one . In The twenty-eight members who left the
to have opinions because it is not allowed . Wellesley Township, many of the David David Martin group in 1957 joined Minister
Of course, even after the excommuni- Martin young men have started "cottage Elam S . Martin and Deacon Samuel Horst
cations of my grandparents and great-aunt,
the David Martin group continued . On 29
May 1941, Samuel Horst, who became a
baptized member on 7 September 1924,
was chosen as a second deacon . The group
continued with these leaders for some time
and held their first services in the new
Center Wellesley meeting house in July
1945 . Deacon Solomon W. Martin died in
February 1946 . In the autumn of the same
year a group from Virginia was taken in,
including Minister Paul Shank. In 1952
Minister Martin B . Frey's son Manassah,
who became a baptized member 2 August
1936, was made minister.
For numerous years the David Martin
Mennonites lived on without any major
disruptions . Baptisms and weddings, as
well as funerals, were performed periodi-
cally . However, on 11 March 1956
catastrophe struck when minister Elam S .
Martin was excommunicated . Apparently A small manufacturing factory near Hau kesville .
of moving back to the Hawkesville area
to help Anson's father "summer sausage
Noah" with his business . Nicknames, like
this one, are often used to differentiate
Mennonites from each other because it
is common for many of them to have
the same name .
After losing their original leader, the
Hoover group struggled on until 1986, by
which time the group had grown to approx-
imately 100 members, when increasing
problems arose. Numerous people were
excommunicated and others were no longer
present at services . By the spring of 1987
approximately seventy of the previous
members had rejoined with the David
Martin group, including one of the deacons.
Some of the members also returned to the
Elam group, including the bishop and two
ministers. Still others did not join the Elam
An existing small lot with a house and horse .shed located outside of Wallenstein . or David group and were left without
church fellowship . They still live exactly
the same as before but they no longer have
plus twenty married couples and 17 single group in 1970 with Minister Edward
a church home . By April 1987, the Hoover
members, some of whom had been banned Martin . Many baptisms were also
from the David Martin group earlier. group no longer existed but the reasons for
performed so that the group continued
its disintegration are unclear.
Minister Peter Nolt, and a number of others to grow to one hundred and eleven
In 1974 when the Hoover group began,
from Pennsylvania, were also among this members by 1974 .
the Elam Martin group was broken heart-
group. On 6 April 1958, Elam S. Martin At this time there was again serious
ed . Again families had been torn apart as
was made Bishop by circumstance and the upheaval in the church when sixty mem-
first communion of the Elam Martin Group the majority of their members left.
bers joined together on 26 February in
was held . This group was much stricter than However, they decided to continue with
hopes of establishing "the lamp of right-
services and on 14 April 1974 communion
the David Martin group believing that eousness and the truth of Jesus Christ once
was held with only forty-three members
members who falter should not be given a again into the assembly of believers ."
including Bishop Elam S. Martin,
chance to make a public confession in place Shortly thereafter, on 17 March 1974, Ministers Edward Martin, Noah
of excommunication. They also have their Minister Anson Hoover and his wife were Brubacher, Henry Bowman and Deacon
own private schools where children are accepted into the newly separated group Samuel Horst. It was around this time
taught to read German but still only attend and thus began the Hoover Mennonites that the group moved about one hundred
until the age of fourteen . who remained registered as an Orthodox kilometers north-west to the Gorrie area.
All those from Pennsylvania, and some Mennonite Church . Again the church grew as new mem-
other of unknown origin, were shortly The main issue for the Hoover split, bers were taken in and baptized, although
excommunicated, including Minister Peter apparently, arose over disagreements about Minister Noah Brubacher died in May
Nolt, so that the group was comprised of the wearing of beards by men . Bishop Elam 1977 . He was replaced 9 May 1978 by
members who had previously belonged to S. Martin felt all married men should wear John Sherk, an original member of the
the David Martin Mennonites . This split beards but those who joined the Hoover Elam Martin group who later, in October
was painful for all involved because fami- group felt it should be up to the individual . 1980, became the Bishop in office as
lies were literally ripped apart, unable to Many of the reasons for splits seem incom- Elam S. Martin was becoming too old
ever speak to each other again . prehensible to me but it is important to for all that was required of him. 19
On 15 December 1959, Henry remember that their beliefs are based on tra- November 1985, Ephraim Weber, who
Bowman, one of the twenty-eight, was dition and the decisions of their leaders, so joined the group on 2 April 1967, was
ordained minister . Numerous baptisms and it is difficult to resolve arguments. Forming ordained Minister.
weddings followed and new members new groups seems to be the only solution . By 1986, when the Hoover group
were accepted . In 1962 the Elam Martin The Hoover group remained relatively began to disintegrate, there were approxi-
group became registered as the Orthodox small and did not last very long . In 1976 mately sixty members in the Elam group.
Mennonite Church to distinguish itself minister Anson Hoover was banned, appar- As mentioned previously, some of the
from the David Martin Mennonites . On ently for preaching the gospel too freely, members from the Hoover group were
24 June they held their first meeting in that is, preaching about salvation by faith then accepted back into the Elam group
the new 13th Line meeting house. On 12 alone rather than with works. increasing the membership further. On 26
October 1965, Anson Hoover, excommu- Anson and Katie Martin, daughter of April 1987, there were seventy-nine
nicated from the David Martin group in Emanuel Sherk and Mary Anne B. Martin, members involved in the communion
1954, was ordained minister of the Elam my Grandfather Peter's sister, were also service, including, from the Hoover
group. There were few excommunications included in this ban and later moved up to group, Ministers Jesse Bauman, Menno
in the Orthodox group and many people Barwick, near Fort Frances where they Brubacher and Bishop Amos Sherk, who
were taken in, including a group in 1967 joined a conservative Mennonite group. quickly laid aside his bishop office but
with Minister Noah Brubacher and a However, they are currently in the process remained a minister.
The disintegration of the Hoover group knew the person well, attend the funeral previously, it is very uncommon for young
left only one Orthodox Mennonite Church, which begins with a service at nine people to leave the faith . When a couple
again under the leadership of Elam S . o'clock in the morning in the home of the marries, they are provided with a farm and
Martin . However, in December 1987, Elam deceased . The coffin is placed in the cen- the community ensures them safety . It is a
died at the age of 80 years, 7 months and 7 ter of the sitting room . The service place where they belong and never have to
days . Even so, the membership grew and includes a short message, two hymns sung worry about making their own way in the
no one is known to have left the group, at in the usual slow dirge-like manner, and world . If they leave, for whatever reason,
least until 1991 when the Orthodox prayer. At the same time, the girls from the they lose everything and are shunned com-
Mennonite Church records end . At that neighborhood prepare a lunch for any who pletely without any basic training in how
time, there were a calculated one hundred came by horse and buggy and therefore to survive outside the community. Even
and twenty-two members . Further research had to eat breakfast very early . The lunch years after leaving the group, my grand-
revealed four hundred and fifty-four people always consists of buns, cheese and mother Lovina would not even try to
in the church in 1996. However, two hun- coffee . After lunch they go to the cemetery speak to her siblings if she passed them
dred and twenty-two of these were under where they open the casket in the yard out- on the street because she realized they
sixteen years of age and, since not all the side the cemetery gate, regardless of the would still shun her.
people aged seventeen to twenty would be weather, and everyone files past. The There is definitely a certain appeal to a
baptized, there were less than two hundred small, self contained group like the David
coffin is then lowered into the ground and
and thirty one members . This is still an Martin or Elam Martin Mennonites with
four men immediately begin shoveling dirt
impressive growth from the one hundred their simple life and security . However,
into the hole while the people sing a
and twenty-two members in 1991 . The much heartbreak would also be involved
hymn . When the job is finished the large
average couple who has finished their child with the splits and severe shunning .
mass files back to the meeting house for
bearing years have seven to twelve children Personal growth would be almost impossi-
the main funeral service which lasts for
and younger couples have one to seven . ble . I sometimes like to imagine what my
about two hours . Two ministers preach
Aunt Annie greatly enjoys visiting her life would be like if my grandparents had
with kneeling for silent prayer between the
relatives who belong to the Elam Martin
sermons and audible prayer at the end . To not had the faith to leave the David Martin
group because she finds them very friend-
my mother's surprise, the first minister at Mennonites . It is truly amazing that I am
ly and accepting of her. They remained
Aunt Susy's funeral preached in English where 1 am, with all the privileges I have
much plainer than the David Martin group,
for the benefit of any non-German speak- been given such as going to University,
using only white dishes and wearing main-
ing neighbors and relatives . A hymn is considering that I come from such a
ly brown dresses ; they have only one
sung following the sermons and then all distinct and conservative group of people .
small mirror above the sink in the kitchen
are invited back to the home of the
and do not seem to cut their lawns . They
deceased for dinner . It is common for as Endnotes
remain simple farmers without any mod-
ern conveniences like phones, electricity, many as 200 people to attend the meal .
At aunt Susy's funeral there were two sit- 1 . Much of the information in this article
and indoor plumbing .
tings, each with about 85 people, and all was gathered in conversations with,
In February 1996 my mother went with
the food was prepared without electricity and writings by, former members of
Aunt Annie to her Aunt Susy's funeral .
Susy was the wife of Elam S . Martin, who or running water . the David Martin Mennonites .
started the Elam Martin group . She had 9 It is amazing to think that I am only
children, 85 grand children, and 125 great- one generation away from this lifestyle Charlotte Martin is the winner of the 1997
grandchildren . My mother had not seen her and these strangers in our midst . I can not J . Winfield Fretz Award for Studies in
aunt since her family left the Mennonites even imagine what it must have been like Ontario Mennonite History. She is a stu-
when she was only eight years old. for my grandparents to leave their secure dent at the University of Waterloo and
Funerals are very traditional and big community of strong beliefs for the wrote this essay for a Mennonite History
affairs. All the relatives, and anyone who unknown outside world . As mentioned course at Conrad Grebel College.
Burkholder, L . J . A Brief History of the Holy Bible, King James Version . New Martin, Lovina. Personal Journal .
Mennonites in Ontario . Markham, York : Regency Publishing House, 1976 . Information unknown .
Ontario : Mennonite Conference of Martin, Annie. Autobiography . Martin, Margaret . Personal Conversation .
Ontario, 1935 . Unpublished . Allenford, Ontario : 23 March 1997 .
Epp, Frank H . Mennonites in Canada, -- . Personal Conversation . Kitchener,
1920-1940 : A People's Struggle for Martin, Peter B . Letter to Anna Martin .
Ontario : 13 March 1997 .
Survival . Toronto : Macmillan of Waterloo, Ontario : 1956 .
Martin, Leah . "Aunt Susie's Funeral,"
Canada, 1982 .
Mar*Star , Vol . 7, No . 3 . Kitchener. McNaughton, Elizabeth . The Old Order
Families of the Orthodox Mennonite Summer 1996 . Mennonite Community in the Early
Church of Huron County, Ontario . Twentieth Century . Waterloo : Regional
-- . "Real Doll for Christmas," Mar*Star ,
Ontario : October 1996 . Municipality of Waterloo, 1988 .
Vol . 5, No . 2 . Kitchener : December 1993 .
General Records of the Orthodox - . Personal Conversation . Allenford, - . Personal Conversation . Kitchener,
Mennonite Church . Information unknown . Ontario : 22 March 1997 . Ontario . 21 March 1997 .
SING IT AGAIN
A Brief Survey of Two Centuries of Mennonite Church Music in Ontario
by Lawrence Martin and Mark Diller Harder
When "Hymnal. A Worship Book" was Amish home near Goshen, Indiana for a ing the choice of hymns, only to include
published in 1992 it brought together Wednesday evening when some of the the most familiar, and with some, only the
many musical traditions . It also represent- musicians of the church got together to most stirring verses ; quite convenient for
ed much of the history of music in the practice the hymns for Sunday morning . travelers to carry, as well as to take along
Mennonite church here in Ontario over the What is now written down in our for use in public worship ."
past two centuries . This is a survey of the "Hymnal : A Worship Book" is an approxi- The hymnal is comprised of 222
influences made by the hymn books used mation of how this hymn would be sung . German hymn texts in Gothic Print . There
by Mennonites in the past, which in turn The original chorale tune has been embell- is no music included, but after each hymn
will show how many of these hymns came ished through a long aural tradition . A it lists the melody usually used and the
to be in our current hymnal. "forsaenger" sang the first word "O" on metre number. There are 37 different
several syllables, and then we all came in metres used, and each metre would have
on the word "Gott ." The whole verse one or more tunes associated with it . Mark
THE AUSBUND would take several minutes to sing . Mark was helped tremendously in his research
Our story begins with the book used in was amazed by the powerful impact of this by a commentary by Isaac R . Horst,
our early Mennonite tradition, and which slow style of singing . There was a strong "Lieder Sammlung Commentary," where
is still used in Amish Communities in effort being made to preserve this tradition he lists translations of key words, all the
Ontario and beyond - "The Ausbund ." in the Amish community. authors and writes out all the tunes, which
"The Ausbund" is the earliest Anabaptist normally are known by aural tradition . It
hymn book . In fact, "The Ausbund" is the was fascinating going through the differ-
oldest Protestant hymnal in continuous DIE GEMEINSCRAFTLICHE
ent tunes . These are unison melodies that
publication and use today. This book, have been passed down aurally for genera-
which dates from the Reformation, makes (1836 Benjamin Eby)
tions - sometimes altering the melody
use of choral tunes and sixth century The story of Mennonite hymnals in until it is hardly recognizable . For exam-
Gregorian Chants . It was brought to Ontario begins with a hymnal published in
ple, metre 18 (Geneva 42), which we
Ontario by Amish settlers . Earlier it was 1836 under the direction of Benjamin Eby know in the current hymnal as #176 -
brought to America by early Swiss and called "Die Gemeinschaftliche
"Comfort, comfort ye my people," has no
Palatinate Mennonites, and was the first Liedersammlung ." When Mennonites first
syncopation but several added notes and a
book published in America in 1742 . It was came from Pennsylvania to Ontario they
different rhythm .
used throughout the eighteenth century by brought one of two different hymnals with
In fact, there are many hymns between
Mennonites . them, depending on whether they were
the new "Hymnal : A Worship Book" and
At the core of the book are 51 hymns from the Franconia or Lancaster settle-
the 1836 "Die Gemeinschaftliche
written by Anabaptists who were impris- ment. Now in Ontario, they couldn't agree
Liedersammlung ." It is surprising how
oned in the dungeons of Passau between to use the same book . In what might be
many common texts and tunes there are
1537 and 1540 . There's a strong theme of called a shrewd political move by
between the two hymnals . There are at
martyrdom and reliance on God . Often the Benjamin Eby, most of the hymns in his
least ten different tunes that we still use.
hymn would tell a story of a particular new hymnal came from either the 1804
Fourteen texts are the same and with five
martyr. One of the hymns we have in our Lancaster hymnal ("Unpartheyisches
of those, we still use the same tune and
1992 Hymnal is #535 - "Who now would Gesangbuch"), or the 1803 Franconia
hymnal ("Die kleine geistliche Harfe der text . We use the same music and text for
follow Christ in life ." It comes from one
Kinder Zion's"), thus uniting the two hymns like : "Blessed Jesus, at your word"
of these stories, although the reference to
groups under one hymnal . Does this sound (#13) ; "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty"
the particular person is not in this transla-
somewhat familiar? This hymnal has been (# 37) ; "Now thank we all our God" (#86) ;
tion . It's second graphic verse reads
in continuous use since then, and is the and "How brightly beams the morning"
"Christ's servant follow him to death and
present hymnal used by the Ontario Old (#222) . "O little children, gather" (#489) is
give their body, life and breath on the
Order Mennonites . Up until 1981 it had one of the few hymns not from the
cross and rack and pyre . As gold is tried
been reprinted seventeen times, always as German Chorale tradition . This is a hymn
and purified they stand the test of fire ."
a small black covered book easy to carry by Christopher Dock, an American
Other "Ausbund" hymns in our current
in your pocket . Mennonite . Both the text and the music
hymnal include the Felix Manz hymn "I
sing with exultation" (#438), "The word of These are a few sentences from the found in "Hymnal : A Worship Book" is
God is solid ground" (#314), and "Our Preface of the first edition : "To all what is in the 1836 hymnal .
Father God, thy name we praise" (#32) . Godloving souls . Herewith appears the Some common texts in both hymnals
On page 770 of "The Ausbund" is the Lieder-Sammlung for the first time . include : "O God thou faithful God"(#376) ;
hymn "O Gott Vater wir loben dich," the However, it is by no means the intention to "From heav'n above to earth I come"
original German text for "Our Father God, bring other hymn books into contempt ; but (#205) ; "If you but trust in God to guide
thy name we praise ." It is called the since there is a need for hymn books in you" (#576) ; and "Out of the depths I cry
"Lobgesang" - or "Song of Praise" - by public worship, it is hoped through this to you" (#133) . In "Hymnal : A Worship
the Amish, and is the second hymn sung in Lieder-Sammlung to help to some extent . Book" hymn #22 is "Lord Jesus Christ, be
every Amish service . A few years ago Since this work is intended to remain present now." This text, "Herr Jesus
Mark had the privilege of going to an small . special concern was exercised dur- Christ, dich zu uns wend" is #3 in
church leader. It is said that when he over-
heard the local Elkhart concert band, the
beat of the bass drums gave him inspira-
tion to writing the bass notes in the chorus
part of the hymn . Bass singers were
encouraged to produce a drum effect as
they sang .
THE MENNONITE HYMNARY
Ncw Mennonite immigrants from
Russia brought with them a new music tra-
dition . Much of their music was memo-
rized, or lined out as it was sung . In 1940,
"The Mennonite Hymnary," edited by
Lester Hostetler and Walter Hohman, con-
tinued the story of music in the General
Conference Mennonite Church . This hym-
nal would have been used by Waterloo-
Kitchener United Mennonite and Stirling
Avenue Mennonite . It is fascinating to
look at how the hymnal is organized . It is
divided into seven books . The first 400
hymns, Book One, follow a standard for-
mat ; Worship, God the Father, Jesus
Benjamin Eby's hymnal . It's not sung, LIEDER UND MELODIEN BUCH Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Christian life,
however, to this original syncopated the Church, Missions, Home and Family,
While English was making its way into
melody. It uses the tune Old 100th - Mennonite congregations, a new German and Special Services and Seasons . Book
or the Doxology . In the 1969 "Mennonite Two are hymns for children . The rest of
Mennonite book "Lieder and Melodien
Hymnal," this text is returned to its the hymnal is uniquely divided up by
Buch" was published in 1895 . It was used
original tune . musical styles : Book Three are Gospel
extensively in the Amish Mennonite
In terms of the texts, it is surprising, Songs ; Book Four, a section following the
Conference congregations until the 1930's .
but very few are actually Mennonite or liturgical year using Chorales ; Book Five
Anabaptist texts . There is little influence are Metrical Psalms ; Book Six are
of "The Ausbund ." There are only two THE CHURCH & SUNDAY Responses, Chants, Doxologies and
American Mennonites, Christopher Dock SCHOOL HYMNAL Amens ; and Book Seven are the
and Christian Herr, who have several of In 1902 the first official English hymn Responsive Readings .
their hymns included . The majority of the book in the Mennonite church was pub- Book Four, the Chorales, is made up of
hymnal comes from the Lutheran German lished . "The Church and Sunday School about 70 hymns . "Holy God, we praise thy
Chorale tradition . The most common Hymnal" contains 412 hymns and a name - Grosser Gott Wir Loben Dich"
authors are Gerhard Tersteegen, Joachim German supplement of 50 hymns . In 1911 #121 WB) perhaps best represents the
Neander, Johann Heermann and Paul the book was published with a supple- 1940 "Mennonite Hymnary ." Many of the
Gerhardt, familiar names if you like look- ment. It used the shaped notes notation chorales come from the earlier German
ing at all that small print at the bottom of from the Singing School movement . 1890 General Conference book
hymnals . It is interesting that this German Songs such as "For God so loved us - Gott "Gesangbuch Mit Noten ." Russian
chorale tradition is basically lost in later iss die Liebe" (#167 WB) were sung either Mennonites would have known these
Swiss Mennonite hymnals, and only in English or German and reminds us of songs as well in various Ziffern books,
returns in the 1969 hymnal with the our two language heritage . where the notes are indicated by numbers
General Conference influence . No hymn sing in an Ontario Mennonite or `ziffern .' The hymnal's editors wrote
congregation is complete without singing that : "In all of our hymnody there is noth-
"Come, we that love the Lord" (#14 WB) . ing finer than these Chorales . They are
This entered the tradition in the "Church noble, dignified and powerful . The har-
The winds of change were blowing and Sunday School Hymnal ." monies are rich and satisfying and espe-
through the Mennonite communities in the cially effective when sung by large groups .
mid to late nineteenth century. Local They should not be sung in a dragging
Singing Schools were introducing change THE CHURCH HYMNAL manner, and certainly not too fast . The
into church music by teaching four-part a In 1927 the era of "The Church Chorales permit of no sentimental or 'pret-
capella singing, introducing new American Hymnal" was ushered in . Sunday School ty' effects of shading . Choirs will find the
and British hymns and folk tunes to and worship services were now clearly Chorales, as well as many other hymns in
replace the German choral tunes of earlier separate institutions - a pattern it has taken the book, invaluable for special numbers
hymn books, and they encouraged the use us a hundred years to overcome . This is to be sung as anthems . In our opinion, our
of English in worship settings . By the win- the book many of us grew up with, and it church music would undergo distinct
ter of 1862 five churches conducted shaped our piety and theology . One song improvement if much of the anthem litera-
singing schools, and then gathered at the in "The Church Hymnal" - "Christ who ture, now in use, were discarded and these
new Freeport United Brethren Church to left his home in glory" (#283 WB) - was Great Chorales and hymns substituted for
sing individually and as a mass choir. composed by A .B . KoIb, a former Ontario choir use ."
Page 1 0
THE MENNONITE HYMNAL HYMNAL : A WORSHIP BOOK worship services . This means that music
In 1969 the first cooperative hymnal, Published in 1992, "Hymnal : A used in Singing Schools, Sunday Schools,
"The Mennonite Hymnal" was published. Worship Book" is the Mennonite Church's Young People's Association, Evangelistic
It brought together the Mennonite Church current hymn book. Once again it was a or Revival Meetings remain for another
and the General Conference Mennonite joint venture. This time between the time. Also, books such as our "Life
Church in ajoint venture. These two General Conference Mennonite Church, Songs" numbers 1 and 2, "Sheet music of
denominations actually began work on a Mennonite Church, and Church of the Heaven," "Songs of the Church" and the
new hymnal independently and then real- Brethren. Many new hymns grace its many other supplements used over the
ized they couldjoin in their work. "The pages, such as #433 - "Go, my children, years were not the primary focus of this
Mennonite Hymnal" brought together the with my blessing." It is a Norwegian text study. But what this does show is that
best of the "Church Hymnal" and the by Juraslav Vajda set to a Welsh melody . music was, and continues to be an impor-
"Mennonite Hymnary." It brought together Lawrence was a Publishing Agent for this tant part of Mennonite life and worship,
the strong tradition of Watts and Wesley book, and one of the exciting tasks was to and "Hymnal: A Worship Book" is an inte-
and the American folk tunes, with the find new texts and find the right music for gral part of that tradition .
German Chorale tradition and the Metrical it. But this hymnal also allows a congrega- Adapted from the presentation given by
Psalms, plus many other sources . tion to get in touch with our rich musical Lawrence Martin and Mark Diller Harder at
The above mentioned "Holy God, we tradition . the full Mennonite Historical Society of
praise thy name - Grosser Gott Wir Loben We would like to give special recogni- Ontario meeting November l, 1997 at Breslau
Dich" in the "Mennonite Hymnary" is tion to Lorna L. Bergey who provided Mennonite Church .
chosen Hymn #1 in the 1969 "Mennonite much of the research for this essay. This Lawrence Martin is pastor at Breslau
Hymnal ." I find it interesting that the was not meant to be a complete list of the Mennonite Church. Mark Diller Harder is
hymn itself is a Catholic hymn based on music used in the Mennonite church over Music Director at Stirling Avenue Mennonite
the fourth century Te Deum. It's truly an the past two centuries . We limited the Church and MCEC Student and Young Adults
Ecumenical hymn. scope to hymn books used in Mennonite Minister
Diane Zimmerman Umble, Holding Order with the history and implementation by establishing a network of community
the Line : The Telephone in Old Order of the telephone, focusing on Lancaster telephones, centrally located for the use of
Mennonite and Amish Life, County, Pennsylvania . Included is an several families . This compromise has
(John Hopkins University Press : explanation regarding the significance of allowed the Old Order Amish "to hold to
Baltimore and London, 1996) . the telephone on 20th century Old Order the old order of their forefathers ." By
life . At issue are : "holding the line" on the telephone debate
Reviewed by Catherine Schlegel and resisting individual ownership of tele-
1) the preservation of traditional phones, they have succeeded in keeping
The "telephone troubles," as experi- patterns of communication
enced by Old Order Mennonite and Amish the telephone and thereby the "world," out
and language. of Amish homes.
communities, serve to remind the rest of
society that "the telephone is not merely 2) the maintenance of a rural The perspective of the Old Order
a neutral instrument." Widespread social way of life. Mennonites, illustrated by the collection
change in areas of communication and 3) the fracturing of the collective of the papers of Bishop Jonas Martin,
social interaction have occurred with the nature of work. outlines the reason for the prohibition of
introduction of the telephone for society telephone ownership by church leaders .
4) the centrality of the church The debate concerning appropriate tele-
in general, as well as the Old Order. community .
The "world" has embraced the tele- phone use continues today. The rules are
phone to the extent that it has become an 5) the influence of values not in the subject to continuing renegotiation as the
indispensable tool on contemporary cul- spirit of non-conformity and Old Order face the challenges to their way
ture with regard to social interaction and separation from the world. of life posed by the telephone and its
function. The Old Order, as communities 6) the temptation to gossip and related technologies. Their discussions
with clearly marked distinctions from the disrupt the social harmony focus on what is necessary and what is
wider culture, are deliberate in their of the community . appropriate with regard to telephone use .
attempt to understand the social signifi- Behind this, is the ever-present concern of
7) the pursuit ofprofit and personal
cance of the telephone and its effect on the impact of today's decisions on the next
pleasure resulting from individu-
community boundary maintenance . generation, framing the discussion as a
alism and pride rather than
The book reflects on the method and "struggle of faith ."
meaning of communication within Old The book offers an excellent perspec-
Order communities . It documents the In response to the pro-telephone voices, tive on these particular faith communities'
involvement, or lack of it, of the Old the Old Order Amish have compromised efforts to meet this "struggle of faith ."
Page I I
"THOSE ENTERPRISING sent, and it is not always clear who wrote were rare or non-existant . When that situa-
PENNSYLVANIA GERMANS, some of the articles . Some are scholarly tion ended, so did the beef rings .
Canadian-German Folklore Vol. 13" works, like "Three Schneider Pioneering A couple of things stand out as you read
by The Pennsylvania German Folklore Families" and "Reichard & Hallman this volume . One is that many of the com-
Society of Ontario, (Stewart Publishing, Sawmills in Rosebank, 1828-1990" which panies recorded in this book are quite well
Markham, 1995, 253 pages .) include research and footnotes from known locally and elsewhere . Names such
outside sources . as Maple Lane Dairy, United Breeders
Reviewed by Brent Bauman Others are written by descendants of Incorporated (now Gencor), Bingeman's
those original enterprising pioneers . In the Park, Hybrid Turkeys, Kitchener Farmer's
"The Pennsylvania German chapter on "Marmills in York County, Market, Ontario Livestock Exchange and
Mennonites of Waterloo County have 1846" you can sense the pride for the fam- Hallman Organs all owe their beginnings
developed a reputation for community ily business coming through in the writing and development to some enterprising
living, hard work and for well organized, of the essay . In a piece on the "Baker Pennsylvania Germans .
productive farms . They are almost as Sugar Bush" there is a feel to the words The other is that many are also family
equally well known for being quiet, soft- that tell you they truly enjoy their work . In businesses passed down through several
spoken, and reserved about their beliefs, many of these types of articles humourous generations . This is the case not only on
opinions, and accomplishments - especial- anecdotes are shared with the reader, leav- farms that are so often worked by father
ly when in contact with persons outside ing one with mental images such as live- and son and grandson, but also businesses
their immediate community ." This is how stock feed being shot across the room by like Byer Honey, Ratcliff Sawmill,
the essay about farmer, innovator and agri- malfunctioning equipment . Or you learn Brubacher Auctions, Bingeman's Park,
cultural commentator Roy M . Brubacher, with the writer the skills needed to sell old Cressman Meats and the many branches of
"Eighty Acres are Enough," begins . This limburger cheese that has `past its prime .' Bowman/Bergey Cheese . All of these had
also describes the motive behind the com- Some sections are simply portions of parents and children working together,
piling of this book by the Pennsylvania diaries written a century ago which are passing on the skills and trades from one
German Folklore Society of Ontario . used as a window to see into the lives of generation to the next . Edward and Robert
Mennonites are indeed known for past generations . It shows a life centered Bergey both write about working for their
being hard working and industrious, around work, family, church and commu- parents selling cheese . Though neither one
strong believers in the `Protestant Work nity, and how they were often entwined . stayed in the family business, they both
Ethic .' Because of this reputation, it is not As mentioned before not all enterprises share how they will never forget the valu-
surprising that "Those Enterprising started by those enterprising Pennsylvania able lessons about the importance of hard
Pennsylvania Germans" would be written. Germans were farms . For early settlers work and honesty, as well as the lessons
What is surprising is it took until the other industries were just as important to they received in retail, marketing and cus-
Society's thirteenth volume to cover the their survival . It follows than that some of tomer relations .
topic, but you can't do everything at once . these settlers would start sawmills and flour This volume by no means could cover
Though many of the essays dealt with mills . For others, side businesses were all the businesses began and developed by
farming or agriculturally based business- started to earn extra money to make ends Mennonites and other Pennsylvania
es, they did not limit themselves to only meet, such as cheesemaking, maple syrup Germans . Even some of the stories in the
Mennonite farmers of Waterloo County production and beekeeping . Many of these book seem too short, and deserve more
for their investigation of this topic, but ventures grew into full scale businesses of research and recording to tell the full story .
included a variety of enterprises . In fact their own, replacing the farm as their liveli- I hope this book will inspire someone to
it was not limited to only Waterloo hood . In some circumstances businesses do just that . For the rest of us, the book is
County , but to all three original naturally grew out of the farm operation in enjoyable reading, and a good overview
Mennonite settlements : Waterloo, order to market their produce, such as "The of a people whose impact on this province
Markham and the Twenty. Old Oak Country Barn" built near Vineland should not be minimized, and whose
The volume is a collection of short sto- Station by Michael Culp and Dean High to reputation seems to be well deserved.
ries, or vignettes, of our province's past. It sell their fruits and vegetables .
is aided by a generous amount of This is a recurring theme in many of The book costs $10, plus postage .
photographs dispersed though out the the essays, that people saw a need or Copies can be obtained from
book to help illustrate the many stories, opportunity, and took the necessary steps The Pennsylvania German Folklore
and identify the principle characters to meet it. Such is the case in the section Society ofOntario
involved . Because of this format, there on "Beef Rings" which provided fresh 1202-1414 King Street East,
are many different authors and styles pre- meat to people at a time when freezers Kitchener, Ontario N2G 4TS
People and Projects
RITTENHOUSE FAMILY REUNION NAIRN MENNONITE CHURCH, "EnGendering the Past: Women and Men
will be held July 17-19, 1998 to commem- Ailsa Craig, will celebrate their 50th in Mennonite History," a conference spon-
orate the 310th Anniversary of the arrival Anniversary from June 27 to 28. All are sored by the Chair of Mennonite Studies,
of William Rittenhouse in Germantown, invited to the various events that include University of Winnipeg in Manitoba is
Pennsylvania in 1688. Rittenhouse an open house, barbecue, campfire remi- planned for Oct . 16-17, 1998 . MARLENE
became the first Mennonite minister in niscing and a worship service . EPP and LINDA HUEBERT HECHT
America, and builder of the first paper mill are members of the planning committee .
at Philadelphia in 1690. The theme of the Both will be presenting papers there,
event to be held at the Adam's Mark TORONTO UNITED MENNONITE Marlene on "Masculinity and
Hotel, Philadelphia will be "Our CHURCH will celebrate their 50th Conscientious Objection," and Linda on
Pennsylvania Dutch/Deutsch Heritage ." Anniversary from June 13 to 14. "Shared Authority : Analysis of Female
Pastor Frederick S. Weiser, an authority on Leadership Roles in Profiles of Anabaptist
this topic will be the keynote speaker. Women." Other speakers include James
Any Rittenhouse descendants, or persons CONFERENCE OF MENNONITES Urry, Royden Loewen and Katie Funk
interested in the history of the Rittenhouse IN CANADA will be holding their annual Wiebe.
family, are most welcome. Detailed infor- sessions in Stratford from July 8 to 12.
mation of reunion program/plans will be Seven different tours are being offered,
GLENN H. BAECHLER, compiler of
mailed to all who forward their name and including the area's many Mennonite
THE HISTORY AND GENEALOGI-
address to: LARRY RITTENHOUSE Historical sites, including original
CAL STUDY OF JOSEPH G. BAECH-
93 Rousseaux St., Ancaster, ON L9G 2W6 Mennonite and Amish settlements at
LER ( [Waterloo : Glenn H . Baechler],
Telephone (905) 648-0564 Kitchener, St. Jacobs, Millbank and
1996, 229 pp.), traces the events and con-
Aylmer. There are also tours of Six Nations
ditions surrounding the immigration of
Reserve, Conrad Grebel College and the
Joseph G. Baechler and his family from
GOVERNOR GENERAL'S CARING House of Friendship. Most tours are from
Lorraine, France, to Canada as well as his
CANADIAN AWARD was received on 2 :30-8:00 p.m . Friday July 10 (supper
descendants to the present generation.
December 12, 1997 by MHSO member included at an area Mennonite church) .
Gertrude Bergey, a 21 year volunteer with Tour guides include SAM STEINER and
Mission Services of London. The award GLENN ZEHR . For further information A new book by LORRAINE ROTH,
honours selfless generousity and special check CIVIC Sessions information or THE AMISH AND THEIR
contributions by people to their communi- contact Maurice Martin at (519) 662-1031 NEIGHBOURS : GERMAN BLOCK,
ty and country . After 37 years in teaching, or 662-1577 . WILMOT TOWNSHIP, 1822-1860 is
Gertrude responded to an invitation to being published by the MHSO in 1998.
become involved with Mission Services.
Executive Director, Fred Haggland, paid A conference was held May 7-9, 1998 in
tribute to Gertrude's long and faithful ser- Abbotsford, B.C. "One People, Many MARLENE EPP was appointed as Editor
vice. "She brought her expertise as an edu- Stories : Charting the Next Generation of of the "Conrad Grebel Review" as of
cator into our social service field and that Mennonite Historical Writing in the U.S . January 1998.
has been very helpful ." and Canada ." It was sponsored by the
In an interview by John Herbert, London Mennonite historical societies in Canada LAUREEN HARDER-GISSING has
Free Press Reporter, Gertrude indicated and the United States to celebrate the com- been appointed as the writer of the STIR-
that soon after she became involved with pletion of the history series, "Mennonites LING AVE. MENNONITE CHURCH'S
Mission Services she discovered it was in Canada" and "Mennonite Experience in history in preparation for their 75th
started by a group of Mennonites . "Since America" . Two people from Ontario pre- anniversary in 1999.
my father's people were Mennonite there sented papers, MARLENE EPP on
was a large Mennonite connection in my "Masculinity and Conscientious
family . I guess I became hooked right Objection," and LINDA HUEBERT The NITH VALLEY MENNONITE
away because of that." Excerpt from The HECHT on "Photographs as a Source for CHURCH is writing a history of their
London Free Press article "Her second the Historian: The Case of MCC congregation for their 25th anniversary
,career' was caring." Kitchener, The Canadian Office." in 1999.