Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta Newsletter.pdf by tongxiamy


									     Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta Newsletter
Second Series, Volume V, #2                                                                             Octo b e r 2 0 0 2

Mennonites from                           above federal policies effectively       period that defines them, rather than
                                          separated the more conservative          geography. These are not analytical
Mexico                                    and poorer Mennonites from the           terms, but rather terms, which the
by Bill Janzen                            more liberal and progressive             Mennonites, themselves, used to

I n Calgary, there is a Genealogy
  Group that meets once a month.
  A variety of interesting topics have
                                                The more conservative were
                                          less reluctant to strike official
                                                                                   differentiate them and so, should
                                                                                   continue to be employed.

been discussed. One of the topics
was about the Mennonites from
Mexico. What follows is a brief
summary of that presentation.

Immigrant Group Definitions
      Mennonites who came to
Canada from Russia in the 1870’s
became known as Kanadier
(Canadian) and numbered about
7,000. At the same time, about the
same number or more immigrated to
the United States from Russia. Due
to different settlement policies in the
two countries, the Mennonites of
Canada had the opportunity to
retain their culture to a greater
degree than the Mennonites of the
United States.
      Canada’s multicultural policy
(which permitted separate and
private schools, and didn’t
discourage use of other languages)
combined with encouragement to
Mennonites to settle on one of two
reserved land settlements (East and       contracts with the government, to        Conditions back in Russia
West Reserve of Manitoba) meant           ensure separation of settlement,              In 1872 Czar Alexander II took
that Mennonites continued to be a         retention of the German language,        the opportunity to visit the Colonies
people separate from the rest of          and the ability to school their own      of Mennonites, Lutherans, Catholics
Canadians. In the United States,          people. Those who moved to the           and Jews – all groups that were
where the policy was much more            United States were not as anxious        actively courted and settled by
assimilationist, Mennonites may           to strike those bargains. However,       policies of Czarina Catherine the
have chosen to settle near each           many of them later made the move         Great. What he saw disturbed him:
other, but the government                 from the United States to Canada.        they had become wealthy, whereas
inducements to do so were missing.        Frank Epp in Mennonites in Canada        the majority of Russian Nationals
      A second difference existed         1876-1920 refers to them as “late        had served as serfs and had only
between the Kanadier and                  Kanadier”.                               been emancipated in 1861.
American-settled Mennonites. The                The next major wave of             Ironically, he could not convey this
                                          migration was in the 1920’s when         to the immigrants directly because
Contents:                                 Canadian Pacific Railways and the        they didn’t have a language in
Mennonites from Mexico                    Canadian Mennonite Board of              common; the immigrants had never
Editorial                                 Colonization assisted about 20,000       learned Russian.
Chairman Jake's corner                    Mennonites. Due to a shortage of              His response to the situation
MHSA Opens New Facilities                 arable land and a lack of resources      was to introduce the beginnings of
Music from Siberia                        to purchase that land, many moved        the Russification Policy. Included in
David Toews Book Review
                                          on to Alberta, Saskatchewan or           this policy was the requirement of
Aaron and Elizabeth (Miller) King
Henry J. Eckert                           Ontario within two or three years        teaching and learning Russian in
Dick Family Sponsors Siberian             where they either found open land        school. It was also a time of much
Mennonite                                 to homestead or employment on the        military posturing in Europe and the
Yarrow Research Committee Initiative      farms or in the homes of others.                                 cont’d, p. 2
MHSA Launches Library and Archives        These immigrants were known as
History of Chinese Mennonite Church       Russländer.                                MHSA will hold its Fall meeting
MHSA’s Bookshelf                                The terms are confusing              in LaCrete. Plan to join us for
MHSA Members' Ancestry Corner                                                            a bus trip to the “most
                                          because both groups came from
Biographical Profile: Wm. G Marten
Fonds in MHSA Archives                    Russia and settled in Canada. The              northerly” Mennonite
The Church in Chortitza                   critical difference is one of temporal              community.
2                           Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta Newsletter                    October 2002

                                              Canadian government decisions.         setting. Early in July all was ready to
  Editor: Diedrich P. Neufeld                 Now some of them are retracing         make the move from MCCA to the
  Editorial Committee: Diedrich               their steps, back into Canada.         new address. Again volunteers,
Neufeld, Roger Epp, Judith Rempel                   We included a review of the      including a group of young people,
      Layout: Judith Rempel                   biography of David Toews written by    came to help and the transfer was
    Distribution: D. P. Neufeld               an admirer.                            soon accomplished.
                                                    Two more stories of family             At our May meeting the MHSA
           Visit our Website:                 migration came to my attention.        Board had agreed to hire Judith                There must be an endless supply        Rempel to work for one month to
                                              available and more being written       organize and catalogue the materials
                                              every day. Our ancestors’              accumulated. She flung herself into
  Alberta publishes this newsletter           devastating experiences in Russia,     the task. With many extra hours and
 three times a year. Subscription is          prompted a search for the right        help from volunteers she was able to
through membership in the Society.            homeland. That search is bring         complete the major portion of the
Cost of membership is $15 per year.           continued by many families.            work in time for our “launch” and
      To join, send payment to:                     We are encouraged by the         open house on October 5th.
                MHSA                          emphasis on further research into            Then she donated the
         2946 - 32 Street NE                  both documented and oral records.      contracted remuneration back to
           Calgary, AB T1Y 6J7                The Mennonite story is increasingly    MHSA. What dedication and
                                              being documented.                      generosity!
       Send submissions, photos                     MHSA is venturing into new             Now that we have a permanent
         and correspondence to:               territory, geographically, by taking   address and our materials are
             Diedrich Neufeld                 its fall 2003 meeting to LaCrete,      inventoried, we need to make them
           2946 – 32 Street NE                where Mennonites began to settle in    available so that interested people
          Calgary, AB T1Y 6J7                 the early 1930’s. We look forward      can use them. To aid in this the
      Or to:           to one or perhaps even two bus         archives/library will be open every
                                              loads of interested people, joining    Saturday from 10:00 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.
    Current Executive                         the Board for the 12-hour trip from    staffed with a volunteer attendant.
    Chair, Jake Harder, Edmonton              Calgary. LaCrete Mennonites have             The MHSA website is already in
    Vice Chair, Henry Goerzen,                published several historical books     operation. In the near future we
    Didsbury                                  and continue to gather stories         want to use the Internet to provide
    Secretary, Irene Klassen, Calgary         about the experience of                information to clients. To this end we
    Treasurer, George Paetkau, Gem            homesteading in such a remote          need some additional equipment. We
    David Wiebe Neufeldt, Lethbridge          agricultural part of the province.     haven’t a phone yet, and the old
                                                    You are invited to participate   computer we have hasn’t the
                                              in the history collection and          capacity or the functions needed.
    Area Representatives                      preservation process by submitting     Else where in this Newsletter you will
    Northern Alberta – Peter Goerzen          your family stories either to the      find a list of items for which we need
    Edmonton Area – Colin Neufeldt            Newsletter or for retention in the     sponsors. Our income is erratic as
    Tofield Area – Harry Stauffer             archives. We welcome your              we depend on membership fees and
    Calgary Area – Irene Klassen,             submissions and hope to begin          donations.
    Calgary                                   receiving more photos.                       At our October Board meeting
    Rosemary Area – Mary Burkholder                                                  MHSA moved to:
    Carstairs/Didsbury Area – Richard                                                1. Complete a Policies and
    Harder                                    Chairman Jake’s                             Procedure Manual for the
    Southern Alberta – Hilda
                                              Corner                                      operation of the
                                              by J D Harder                               archives/library for approval at

                                              I t has been a busy summer for              Annual meeting next April.
                                                some members of MHSA.                2. Hold the spring Annual General
Editorial                                       I reported in June that our               Meeting and Workshop on April
by D. P. Neufeld                              accommodation at the MCCA office            26, 2003, in Gem, Alberta

T   his edition is another collection
    of wide ranging materials
    provided by numerous
                                              was filled to capacity and that we
                                              had reached an agreement with
                                              MCCA and the Thrift Store to rent
                                                                                          complete with a fund raising
                                                                                     3. Plan a fall story telling meeting,
individuals.                                  part of the mezzanine floor. We now         hosted in LaCrete.
     We feature the experience of             have a secure room that should               I end with a sincere thank you
our Mennonite ‘siblings’ who fled the         serve our needs for at least ten       to all the people who worked so
threat to their beliefs, from back in         years. Thanks to volunteers a wall     diligently to bring the MHSA
Russia in 1874, much earlier than             was built to enclose our space,        Archives/Library to life.
many of our forebears. They                   doors fitted, and paint applied, to
responded again in the 1930’s, in             make a fine home for our historical
much the same way they had when               materials. This has become a           Mennonites from Mexico (cont’d)
they left Russia, when education              reality; a functional and attractive   fact that these Mennonites were
and isolation were impacted by
3                         Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta Newsletter                      October 2002

exempt from military training and           able to retain control over most of      Canadian government promised in
spoke an enemy’s language led to            their affairs, schools, and              the 1870’s.
changed policies. From this time on,        settlement arrangements on their               The early years were very
Mennonite men were required to              land reserves and remain separate        difficult in Mexico; the Mennonite
participate in military training.           from the rest of the population.         people struggled because they were
Fortunately, the church leaders             This separation was difficult to         not familiar with the type of crops
were soon able to negotiate a form of       maintain during World War I and          that could be grown when was the
alternative service such as forestry        politicians felt the pressure of other   time to seed, etc. The banks proved
service (Forstei) that was acceptable       citizens who did not have the            unstable and many lost most of their
to the Czar.                                privileges enjoyed by the                saving. Difficulties with the Mexican
     The Russification Policy caused        Mennonites. The Mennonites were          people who formerly lived on the
concern for many of the Mennonites,         thus forced to attend Public Schools     land that the Mennonites purchased
                                                                                     made their situation very unstable.
                                                                                     In 1935, the Mexican Government
                                                                                     had all the Mennonite Schools closed
                                                                                     and it appeared that they were losing
                                                                                     the privileges they had been
                                                                                     extended. Many people wanted to
                                                                                     return to Canada, but did not have
                                                                                     the means.
                                                                                           The progressive individuals in
                                                                                     the Colonies in Mexico wanted to
                                                                                     move ahead. They wanted to put
                                                                                     their tractors on rubber tires, drive
                                                                                     trucks and hook up to the electricity.
                                                                                     Those who dared to change were
                                                                                     excommunicated by their churches
                                                                                     and remained thus until about 1999.
                                                                                     In the colonies near Cuauhtemoc,
                                                                                     Chihuahua there are now more
                                                                                     progressive churches established,
                                                                                     and excommunication is rarely used
                                                                                     as a form of discipline. But in
                                                                                     Mexican colonies where there is only
                                                                                     the one church, it is still being used
                                                                                     to bring dissidents into line.
                                                                                           Over the years problems arose
                                                                                     because of rapid increase in
                                                                                     population, extended periods of
                                                                                     drought and a shortage of land. As
                                                                                     early as the 1950’s, Mennonites from
                                                                                     Mexico began returning because
                                                                                     they could not make a living in their
                                                                                     colony. Or, they would come to
                                                                                     Canada and work during the
fearing that this was the beginning         to learn the English language.           summer and then return to Mexico
of losing the privileges promised to        Families were fined heavily for not      for the winter. Others looked for
them by Czarina Catherine. They             sending their children to the Public     more land and started new colonies
sent out a land search party to find        School both in Manitoba and              in other parts of Mexico, Belize and
possible locations where they could         Saskatchewan and church leaders          Bolivia.
move to and have the privileges             were in court and some were                    It is believed that over the last
enjoyed thus far in Russia. The land        imprisoned because of their              30 to 40 years possibly as many as
search party returned with two              resistance to further integration.       40,000 Mennonites have returned to
possibilities: Manitoba in Canada or        This was not the only reason, but        Canada. We have an estimated
parts of the United States. Others          possibly the main reason, why            10,000 to 12,000 Mexican
felt that they had responsibilities in      history repeated itself and a land       Mennonites living in southern
the country. Once alternative               search party was sent to check out       Alberta. They have returned to
service arrangements had been               other possibilities.                     Canada and settled in Alberta in the
agreed upon, they were willing to                 The move to Mexico began in        last 20 to 25 years.
stay in Russia.                             1922 and continued throughout the              Many of the people retained
      The Kanadier Mennonites of            1920’s when they were promised           their Canadian citizenship while
the 1870’s settled in southern              the same privilegium that the            residing in Mexico. That is what
Manitoba and prospered. They were                                                    allows them to return to our
4                         Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta Newsletter                      October 2002

country. Others, who did not                the Colonies and their need to move      Organizations like MHSA are the
register the members of their               on.                                      pillars for the people.
families, may not return unless                                                            Before the ribbon was cut to
they can come as a landed                   MHSA Opens New                           officially open the Archives to all
immigrant. The Canadian                                                              searchers, Irene Klassen spoke a
Government is tightening the                Facilities                               prayer of dedication. Then she cut
borders and is following the letter of      by Irene Klassen                         the ribbon and handed the key to
the law. To retain Canadian
Citizenship, there now are minimum
required residency periods.
                                            M      ennonite Historical Society of
                                                   Alberta has made a major
                                                                                           Judith Rempel then introduced
                                                                                     the various interest centres - Peter
Significant numbers have lost their               From the granary on Henry          Penner was in charge of the Library,
citizenship because they did not            Goerzen’s farm, the archives have        Henry Goerzen and Judith the
have their marriage legalized in            been moved to the spacious setting       Archives, Dick Neufeld, identifying
Mexico by a Justice of the Peace.           on the mezzanine level of the MCC        old photos, and Harold Friesen,
Because many were married in the            Thrift Store in Calgary. Many            Genealogy. Guests were invited to
church only, their children are now         records have already been filed in       visit the centres of their choice.
not considered legitimate children          archival containers and are lined up     Zwieback and Pflaumenplatz were
of Canadian citizens, and therefore         on shelves. Judith Rempel has done       served with coffee.
may not qualify for Canadian                a lot of cataloguing, with some help           Already in the collection, are
citizenship.                                from volunteers. It is really just the   records of Alberta Women in
      Over the years large numbers          beginning of the process, and there      Mission, Alberta Mennonite Youth
of Mennonites have migrated to              is much room for expansion.              Organization, Conference of
                                                  On October 5, the Library and      Mennonites in Alberta and others..
Belize, Bolivia, Paraguay and
Argentina. One group has also               Archives was officially opened.          We also have on microfilm, the entire
settled in the Seminole, Texas area         About 50 guests attended the event.      collection of Canadian Mennonite
of the United States. Their reasons         Jake Harder, Chair of the MHSA,          Board of Colonization settlement
for moving are at times similar to          welcomed the guests.                     records. These are being
the initial ones, but mostly now for              Henry Goerzen gave a               photocopied and transcribed.
work and land to make a living.             historical sketch of the beginnings.           The library contains family and
Some are still migrating because            The Alberta Historical Society was       local histories, periodicals, as well as
they want to find a place where they        at first combined with                   books about Mennonite history from
can be separate from the world.             Saskatchewan’s Mennonite                 Crimea, Molotschna, Chortitza and
      Mennonite Central Committee           Historical Society, but it was           others.
Canada has assisted Mennonites in           decided to become independent in               MHSA welcomes donations of
the colonies in Mexico at various           1986. After a few years of relative      personal, congregational, or
times. During the drought years in          inactivity, it was reactivated in 1998   institutional records written by or
the early 1950’s, MCC provided              and it has become quite viable.          about Mennonites in Alberta. We are
relief assistance as well as some                Henry, who is the Archivist for     in the process of collecting
agricultural research support. They         the Mennonite Conference of              biographies of Mennonite leaders in
assisted in keeping colonies and            Alberta, has collected records,          Alberta to be published in a book.
families connected and reading              books and other materials over the             Are we there yet? No, but we
through Die Mennonitische Post. In          years, and was recognized for his        are definitely on the way.
recent years MCC has placed                 work, by presenting him and his
workers in Mexico to determine how          wife, Erna a certificate of lifetime
MCC could best help them to                 membership in the Society.               David Toews was Here:
remain with their families in Mexico.             Abe Janzen, Director of MCCA,      1870-1947. Helmut Harder.
Further, provincial MCC’s are               from which MHSA is renting the           Reviewed by Henry Epp
providing assistance to migrants
who come to work in Canada and do
not have the proper documents and
                                            space, spoke of the importance of
                                            this link with other Mennonite
                                            organizations. Preserving the
                                                                                     M     Y first impression after starting
                                                                                           to read was, this is going to be
                                                                                           a good historical book as well
who need assistance finding jobs,           history of the Mennonite people is a     as a good read. This impression was
living accommodations, etc.                 form of ministry. Mennonites are         strengthened as I proceeded through
      The Kanadier migration from           relatively few in number, but they       the pages.
Mexico to the various places                have established a good reputation            David Toews was Here falls into
throughout North and South                  wherever they have gone.                 the "third culture" genre - writing by
America is probably the largest                                                      an expert for the public and for
Mennonite migration in history.                 MHSA Library & Archives              professional scholars. The book is
Anyone interested in the story of                 2946 - 32 Street NE                very readable, is helpful in getting to
their return to Canada can contact                                                   know more about David Toews and
                                                  10:00-4:30 Saturday                has scholarly value.
MCC Alberta office and request the
                                              Mennonite Genealogy Group                   Lawrence Klippenstein, in the
video “Migration North” which
provides background to the life in                Meets at MHSA L & A                Foreword, writes ‘The David Toews
                                                       1:30-4:00                     story has been waiting a long time to
                                               rd                                    be told.”
                                              3 Sat of Month (except Dec)
5                          Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta Newsletter                       October 2002

    Music from Siberia
    by Ben Geddert
         I recently came across several song books, dated 1924 to 1926, that belonged to my parents, (my father being a
    choir director) when they lived in two adjacent villages, Gruenfeld and Orlovo, in the Barnaul colony of Siberia. The
    books consist of nearly two hundred song titles, many of which we have all sung in the last fifty years and still use
    today. We find them in our own Hymnals (English and German), Hymns of Praise, the Lutheran Hymnal and Service
    Book, and popular choir books. The songs are written primarily in German, in the all-but-obsolete Gothic script. This,
    of course, gives a sense of urgency to the task of translating them.

         In addition, there are twelve songs in Russian, one in English and another one with English words written in
    Gothic German script. To make matters more difficult, all the music is written with cyphers instead of the notation we
    use now. For example, these are the beginning bars of a well-known hymn, “There Shall Be Showers of Blessing”.

         B dur. A=7                                                                 _
              _    _    _    _    _    _                   _    _    _    _    _    2     _
          ||--5----5----5----5----6----7--|--1.---5--0--|--7----7----7----7----1---- --|--1.----1--0--|
          || _     _    _    _    _    _ |              | _     _    _    _    _    _ |            _ |
          || _     _    _    _    _    _ |           _ | _      _    _    _    _    _ |               |
          || _     _    _    _    _    _ |           _ |                               |              |
                                                           5    5    5    5    5    5

         There is no credit or acknowledgement given to any publisher for any of the manually copied songs, nor to any
    local person who might have composed one of the numbers. However, I did find in one of my father’s books a note
    saying that he had written that song around midnight of a particular day. Several of the songs in my mother’s books
    are embellished with names, but there is no indication of a connection between the song and the name of the person.

         The Russian hymns in these books appear to have been written in a German style, by people whose first language
    is not Russian. A couple of questions occur to me. Were these songs composed by and for Mennonites, or were they
    meant for the benefit of those members of the local Russian community who were in the Mennonite households as
    servants or hired hands? The degree of concern the employers had for the servants’ spiritual welfare varied from
    virtually ignoring the issue to demanding compulsory attendance at church and daily family devotions, with physical
    punishment for failure to comply.

    I expect to spend a good deal of time trying to track down the sources of the songs, translating them and finding some
    ways they can be used for constructive purposes, and am trying to find a way to copy the books without damaging
    them further.

      The first chapter immediately          Personal and business letters, other      especially since this book itself will
shows that this is more than the             papers, and newspaper articles            become a major source of historical
"story" of a prominent person. This          have been used as sources by              information about early Canadian
is a real historically-based                 Harder, as well as some interviews        Mennonite history.
biography. So does the book meet             with descendants. Detailed                     The book evaluates the
the goals I have inferred? Yes               description of the author's methods       accomplishments, not only in his
indeed, it does so very well.                and sources would have been               respective times, but also from a
       As a biography the book               welcome. Nonetheless, information         current perspective. Moreover, the
begins with his birth and ends with          is meticulously documented with           book also evaluates character and
his death, with some posthumous              references detailed in the "Notes"        motives in relation to the recorded
comments by kin. As it is                    section at the end of the book. A         actions. This adds greatly to its long-
impossible to provide details on all         critical analysis of these references     term value as more than an
of anyone's life, let alone a person         by the author would have helped           interesting read, it is propelled into
with as long an active and                   the reader who is interested in the       the realm of a truly valuable
prominent life as David Toews,               historical importance of Toews life,      analysis.
Helmut Harder has concentrated on                                                           Factually, the book seems as
the events important to history and                                                    accurate as selected records can be.
to David Toews as a individual and           comments by my parents and other          One error is caught by the author
as an historical figure. These events        folk of their generation, I am not        and an errata slip shows David
are of the author's choosing.1               able to provide a detailed critical       Toews' mother was Maria, not Anna,
                                             analysis of how representative the             Harder has succeeded in
                                             samples or sources are. The choices       acquainting us with Toews’ personal
 Not knowing a great deal more               seem sound, and meet the intent of        and family life. The reader develops
about Toews, except for anecdotal            the book.                                 a feeling for what life in those times
6                          Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta Newsletter                      October 2002

must have been like. He avoids               rampant diseases. Toews                  condemning either Toews or his
pedantic posturing and                       understood the situation better          critics. He attempts rather, to tell
anachronistic moralizing, which are          than most Canadians.                     the full story of an influential person
almost a given in current                          The Canadian Parliament            who was essentially a human with
biographies. The author was                  supported Mennonite immigration          his own set of foibles, some of which
successful in differentiating between        at the time, although not always.        did not sit well with a few of his
his subject’s personal influences            Significantly, without the staunch       peers.
and when circumstances were                  assistance and support of Colonel        The organization and layout make
beyond his control. I would argue            John Denis, and the Canadian             the book not only easy to read, but
that, with the exception of the              Pacific Railway (CPR) his employer,      also to revisit selections that may
informational value of the book,             most of the immigration might not        have struck the reader as especially
herein lies its greatest strength.           have occurred. The CPR fronted the       salient. This is useful in the absence
Clearly, then, the book is a scholarly       travel costs. An irony not lost to       of an index. Typographical errors
success as well as an aesthetic one.         Harder is the fact that Denis, the       are rare. The typeface is easy to
      Thinking of the book as                most important non-Mennonite             read, although a bit small.
something to read for enjoyment, it          friend the 1920s immigrants had in             So, should you rush right out
has much going for it. David Toews           Canada, was a former military man!       and buy this book for twenty-four
almost lives again. One feels his                  Toews' life, as described in the   dollars? The answer is yes,
anguish over world events, over              book, is a graphic example of how        emphatically.
decisions he makes like not being            Mennonite ministers and bishops
home with his family, his duties as a        were used in the past. They were         (CMBC Publications, Winnipeg,
bishop or elder, unjust criticism by         expected to preach, preside at           Manitoba. 2002. xii, +388 pages.
trusted church leaders, the                  installations, travel frequently and     Appendix 1, Appendix 2, Notes,
interminable dragging out of                 to do so often under poor travel         Photographs, Errata Insert. ISBN: 0-
immigration travel payments. One             conditions, yet earn their own           920718-74-4. $24.00.)
feels the loss of his little daughter in     livelihood and tend to their families
a fire, the loss of his wife Margarete,      while doing this - all the while
the difficulty of never-ending work          listening to self-proclaimed critics
and, finally his own terminal illness.       who knew how to do everything
                                                                                       Aaron and Elizabeth
Creating such an effect is no small          better. Such treatment of leaders        (Miller) King
achievement on the part of the               seems almost incomprehensible            by Harry Stauffer
      The author impresses the
readers about David Toews’ heavy
                                             today, so the book is a good
                                             reminder of just how difficult
                                             church-related work was in the
                                                                                      A    aron King was the third child
                                                                                           (first son) born to Jacob Y and
                                                                                           Catharine (Kung) King, April 23,
workload during his lifetime; as             past. It helps establish Toews even      1863 at Motville, Michigan.
chair of various high profile boards,        more firmly as one of the greatest             His parents, who had two older
including the Canadian Mennonite             Mennonite leaders of the 20th            daughters, had moved from
Board of Colonization and the                century. The author does an              Lawrence County Pennsylvania in
Conference of Mennonites in                  exemplary job of driving this point      1862 to Motville, Michigan. In 1866
Canada. He was significantly                 home, again without lapsing into         the family then moved to Garden
involved in establishing and                 anachronism.                             City, Missouri where two more
ensuring the survival of Rosthern                  Harder ensures that the family     children were born. Both died in
Junior College against great                 support Toews had in his public life     early childhood.
financial stress. He was a strong            is not ignored in the book. Toews'             As a seventeen-year-old,
leader who had difficulty delegating.        wife, Margarete, receives the            Aaron’s responsibility was to provide
Yet Harder is not excessively                acclaim she deserves for                 for his parents, when his father
judgmental. Harder allows that only          successfully minding the family of       Jacob had to have one gangrenous
Toews himself had a sound grasp of           eight daughters and one son, often       leg amputated. Then, a year later
whether the work really would and            under very difficult financial           Jacob died. Now Aaron had to
could have been done had he not              conditions. Some would argue that        provide for his widowed mother.
done it himself. We will never know          Toews was too free with donating         Some of his skills were learned from
the answer, and speculation is               personal funds to causes, creating       his father who was a carpenter
pointless.                                   grief for his family, and some would     making furniture and caskets. (A
      For me, the highlight of the           argue that he was not careful            writing desk built by Jacob is
book was the part dealing with               enough about keeping track of            apparently, still in the possession of
Toews' influence over the large              money. Others criticize him for          relatives living in Garden City.)
Mennonite immigration into Canada            making too many unilateral                     Aaron took seriously the wishes
from Russia in the 1920s. I could            decisions. Again, Harder does not        of the church and parents regarding
not help but feel emotional about            gloss over these characteristics. He     courtship, a practice quite different
the situation when reading about it,         goes into some detail about              from today. The custom was for the
remembering my parents' horror               resulting enmities, which Toews          groom to ask the Bishop if he might
stories of relentless and unjust             engendered during his lifetime. Nor      go ask the girl and her parents if she
persecution, added to famine and             does Harder fall into the trap of        would be willing to marry him. The
                                                                                      end result of that process was that
7                        Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta Newsletter                     October 2002

Lizzie Miller accepted the “approved”      sufferers. Aaron’s reply, “They are     when the guards drank excessively,
proposal and a wedding day was set.        doing just fine. We just cleaned off    about 500 to 600 adults plus their
Bishop J. C. Kenagy solemnized the         the dry scabs, burned them and I        families crossed the Amur River into
wedding.                                   will blow some of the soot over to      China coming to the city of Haerhpin
     Aaron’s mother Catharine had          your house.” Whereupon he heard a       [Harbin]. The Eckerts were one of
been remarried on January 13,              click as the phone went dead.           these families. They settled in and
1886 to Jonathon K. Zook. They             Grandpa got many a chuckle from         lived here for three and one half
shared married bliss until July 29,        responses to that story.                years.
1913 when Jonathon died. By this                                                         Harbin had American, British,
time Catherine was blind, living                                                   Canadian, Japanese as well as some
under the care of her family for 2 ½       Henry J. Eckert                         South American country consulates.
years until her death December 15,         by George Paetkau                       By making application through these
     Thirty-three years of Aaron and
Lizzie’s married life was spent
                                           J    acob Eckert of Rosemary, told
                                                me about his dad, Henry J.
                                                Eckert, who along with about
                                                                                   consulates, some of the Mennonite
                                                                                   families were able to migrate to
                                                                                   Brazil and Paraguay.
raising their family in the Garden         500 other adults, went from                   The Eckert family remained in
City area. In 1909 they spent a year       Orenburg to Moscow to apply for         their new setting. Jake and his
as a family out at the West Coast          emigration papers. His application      brother Henry, (now living in Brooks,
renting a place near Hubbard,              was rejected. In the meantime he        AB) as well as their sisters, attended
Oregon. They had many different            heard the rumour that military          a Russian school, which had been
experiences in that year (as told to       officials were looking for him.         established in this Chinese area.
Harry and other grand children).           Instead of returning home, he           Henry, their father, decided that
One especially interesting one was a       boarded a train heading east            since they expected to live in China,
week spent at the ocean and                intending to travel to the end of the   the children ought to continue their
another was Aaron’s hike up to the         line. He had heard that Mennonite       education. They were too far from
top of Mount Hood. It took four            settlements existed there and he        the Chinese school, so this was their
days with a guide traversing               expected to escape into their midst.    most convenient option. The Eckert
Oregon’s muddy roads.                      Upon arriving at Blagoveshchensk        family lived near Harbin for
     Sorrow was very real to Aaron         on the Amur River just north of the     approximately 20 years. Their
and Lizzie when they lost three            China border, he was informed of        neighbours were Chinese as well as
daughters in a weeks time to               about a dozen Mennonite villages        Japanese, who had migrated into the
diphtheria, May, Amelia and Emma,          consisting of more than 500 people.     area, and of course other German
who are all buried in the Sycamore               Henry sent word back to his       (Russian) speaking Mennonites - a
Grove Mennonite Church cemetery,           wife, informing her of his safe         miniature Babel with four languages
Garden City, Missouri.                     arrival and inviting her to join him.   being used and taught.
     Aaron and Elizabeth moved to          She managed, with the help of                 Following the defeat of the
Tofield, AB in August 1918. It was         friends and neighbours, to pack all     Japanese and the Germans (WWII)
in Tofield that Nora (who had one          her goods and belongings into a rail    American and Japanese people were
older surviving sibling, Joseph and        car and eventually she arrived          repatriated, but the Russian people
two younger ones, Jake and                 safely in Blagoveshchensk to join       stayed. This created a dilemma for
Christina) married Benjamin                Henry. They settled in this area        the Mennonites, who had fled the
Franklin Stauffer. Ben and Nora are        and lived at peace and without          Communist system. Russian
parents to Harry Stauffer, the             threat for about three years.           officials renewed the purge of
author of this tale.                             Eventually the Czar's [White]     German speaking Mennonites even
                                           army, retreating from the advancing     venturing into China and there they
      Harry, who is a dedicated            Communist [Red] army, also arrived      took Henry Eckert captive. Despite
member of the MHSA, remembers his          in the vicinity. The Czar's army        their promise to keep him for a
Grandpa as having quite a sense of         managed to hold their position for      maximum of three days, the family
humour. One of his favourite stories       about 3 to 4 weeks, but eventually      never saw him again.
is: “My mother Nora, was a victim of       were over whelmed and fled across             Mrs. Eckert and her four
small pox as a child. One night,           the Amur River into China. The          children assisted by Henry's brother,
when her fever broke and Nora              "Red" army then stationed border        Cornelius who lived in Rosemary,
began her recovery, Grandma Lizzie         patrols along the Amur River to         AB, successfully arranged to migrate
was cleaning the dried small pox           prevent others from following the       to Canada, arriving in Rosemary in
scabs from Nora’s body and burning         escaped "Whites". “My parents and       1951.
them in the stove.                         others were questioned and beaten
      The resulting snap, crackle and      and some men began to disappear,”
                                                                                         The April 1, 1936 edition of
pop were quite amusing. Just then          said Jacob.
                                                                                   Mennonite Rundschau contains a
their phone rang; Grandpa Aaron                  Gradually the local Mennonites
                                                                                   letter written by Henry Eckert,
answered to hear an enquiry from a         became acquainted with and
                                                                                   translated as follows:
relative, who was paranoid about           befriended some of the border
                                                                                         On February 7, I received a
contracting the disease, asking about      guards. (They may well have used
                                                                                   letter from the German Embassy in
the condition of the small pox             money as incentive for protection).
                                                                                   Harbin, with an enclosed list
                                           One week before Christmas of 1930
8                          Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta Newsletter                       October 2002

detailing where each of the named            those Siberian sources. How to get        He himself was not born in Siberia,
German refugees might be settled.            it done most efficiently and within       but in 1910 his family joined the
Therefore those families who had             reason financially was the big            large number of Mennonites moving
interest in farming left the city of         question. What seemed necessary           to the Altai, Siberia. Peter has many
Harbin.                                      was to find a Russian who knows           happy memories of life there, but in
      The area, where we settled is          the archival deposits, has learned to     1927, at age 22, he decided to leave
about 5 kilometers from the town of          know and work with the Siberian           for Canada, alone without family,
Nunkiang and equally far from the            archivists, and who could achieve         while he still could. Family and
beautiful Ronje River, which is full of      our ends at a reasonable cost.            relatives who remained behind went
fish. The river is also used to                    What turned into an                 through some terrible experiences
transport lumber, which can be               opportunity to achieve this end,          because of the repressive measures
purchased at a considerable price.           started when I had the occasion to        and the purges of the next ten years,
      The land is rich, black soil and       meet Andrej Savin, a young                1928-1938.
good for farming. The area has               historian in the University City of            In July 2002 Savin began to
abundant wild life including ducks,          Akademgodorok (near Novosibirsk).         search the archives in Tomsk,
geese, pheasants, grouse, antelope           This was during the last part of my       Novosibirsk, Barnaul, and Omsk, as
and others. The market for grain is          two-month stay in the Altai,              well as some in Moscow for materials
good. Quality wheat costs up to              Western Siberia, in October and           of primary interest to Mennonites.
1.20, oats and barley .50 - .60 per          November 2000.                            He will list these, first in Russian,
russ. Horses, oxen and sheep are                   Andrej Savin works out of the       and ready them for their eventual
similarly expensive. (No equivalent          history department of this                translation into English. Part of his
values known at this time)                   University. He is already familiar to     initial assignment is also to make
      The Government is stable and           some of us from his numerous              hard copy of the documents
particularly the Chinese farmer’s            articles in Forschungen in der            considered primary to our interest.
benefit thereby. The latter are              Geschichte u. Kultur der                  The translation and publication of
friendly towards us.                         Russlanddeutschen, and from his           documents will likely constitute a
      The conditions under which we          recent book, with Professor Detlef        second and separate project for
are to acquire the land have still not       Brandes, Die Sibirien=Deutschen im        which funding will be necessary.
been clarified, but are to be decided        Sowjetstaat, 1919-1938,                         The informal executive of the
later this month. We have received           Duesseldorf: Klartext Verlag, 2001.       "Siberian Mennonite Research
precise instructions from the                It was fortunate that James Urry          Initiative" is made up of Paul Toews,
consulate as to what we are                  had forwarded some relevant               Fresno Pacific University; James
expected to do upon acquiring a land         articles by Savin, Belkovec, and          Urry, Reader in Anthropology,
agreement.                                   others to me before I left for Siberia.   University of Wellington, NZ; Harry
      God willing, I expect to seed 20-            Savin's apparent qualifications,    Loewen, Kelowna, former holder of
22 'schan', having acquired both the         based on experience in those              the Chair in Mennonite Studies; and
land and the seed grain. We also             archives, and achievements in             Peter Penner, researching and
have enough wheat to grind for               publishing, as well as his                writing in Calgary, Alberta.
bread to last us until October. We           sympathetic interest in the story of      Supportive of this executive are the
have four horses, one cow, a wagon           the Russlanddeutsche, encouraged          following: most of whom were
and a nice ride-on plow that has a           a number of western Canadian              present in Winnipeg in early
great value here.                            historians to join with archivists        December 2001: the archivists: Abe
      We are thankful to the Lord            seated in Winnipeg and Fresno to          Dueck, CMBS-Winnipeg; Alfred
Jesus Christ for all we have, praising       form this "Siberian Mennonite             Redekopp, MHC, Winnipeg;
and thanking Him daily for the               Research Initiative". We met for the      Lawrence Klippenstein, retired
privileges we have been granted.             first time in conjunction with the        archivist, Winnipeg. Historians in
                                             History Conference staged by the          Winnipeg included: Hans P. Werner
                                             Chair in Mennonite Studies,               and Royden Loewen, University of
                                             University of Winnipeg, late in           Winnipeg; John Friesen, Canadian
Dick Family Sponsors                         2001.                                     Mennonite University; in Alberta:
Siberian Mennonite                                It was left to Paul Toews,           Colin Neufeldt, Edmonton, and Ted
Research Initiative                          Director of the Center for Mennonite      Regehr, Calgary; in BC: David
by Peter Penner                              Brethren Studies, Fresno Pacific          Giesbrecht; and in Ontario: Walter

F   or some years now Mennonites             University, to find funding for this      Unger, well known for his annual
    have benefited enormously from           project and to negotiate with Savin       Mennonite Heritage Tours down the
    archival resources that were             the details of his assignment. We         Dnieper.
discovered in Ukraine and Russian            are pleased to announce that the
archives. This material has been a           Peter G. Dick family has agreed to
great boon for Mennonite Studies.            fund the first installment of the         Yarrow Research
What is needed now and what we               research - essentially for a period of    Committee News Release
have within our reach is the                 eighteen months.
                                                                                           he publication of local histories
recovery of documents of primary                  Peter Dick, who is doing well at
                                                                                           with new information is always
interest to Mennonites from all              age 96, lives in Vineland, Ontario.
                                                                                           cause for celebration. The
9                         Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta Newsletter                    October 2002

Yarrow Research Committee is                     Persons interested in placing      things are in good order and ready
pleased to announce the forth               orders should contact either David      for visitors and researchers.
coming publication of two volumes           Giesbrecht at (604) 853-0382                  This space is supplemented by
under the shared subtitle Yarrow,           ( or Lora               space shared with the Thrift Store
British Columbia: Mennonite Promise         Sawatsky at (604) 795-5197              that we use for desks, processing of
that explores a historic Fraser Valley      (                    records, library shelving and
community in a way not done                                                         research/reading/meeting space.
      Early in 1928, a fragmented           MHSA Launches Library                   Our Library
group of war-ravaged European                                                             We now have about 800 books
immigrants began arriving in                & Archives                              on our shelves.
Yarrow, BC to build a new home for          by Judith Rempel                              For genealogists we have the
themselves and their families. Now,
almost seventy-five years later, a
number of former Yarrow residents
                                            W      ell, we’re done! The MHSA
                                                   Library & Archives has moved
                                                   its new quarters on the
                                                                                    paper copies of the Canadian
                                                                                    Mennonite Board of Colonization
                                                                                    records, a copy of the Bergthal
and associates have written two             Mezzanine Level of the MCC Thrift       Gemeinde Buch, B.H. Unruh’s book
books that explore both the pre-            Store in Calgary (2946–32 Street        published in 1955 in Germany, a
Mennonite history of Yarrow and,            NE). Not only have we moved from        copy of Mennonitischen
after 1928, the fascinating and at          the basement of the MCC building,       Namen/Mennonite Names
times painful story of the founding         but also we’ve managed to move the      (bilingual), 20+ biographies, 20+
and development of this immigrant           collection that had been housed at      published family history books, the
settlement. The initiative for              the interim location on the farm of     Mennonite Historical Atlas, pedigree
starting this study came from               Henry Goerzen in Didsbury.              charts from the Mennonite
anthropologist Dr. J. A. Loewen,                  What a wonderful space we         Genealogy group and more.
who in 1998-99 invited a number of          have. Our Archival Vault is secured           For sentimental folks, we have
scholars to join in a project of            with a fire-retardant wall and steel    copies of Arnold Dyck’s Low German
research and writing. Perhaps like          door2 has a floor space of about 370    works, some fine volumes of Goethe,
Pacific salmon that spend years             square feet – plenty of room for our    and 40+ Mennonite College
living in an open ocean, eventually         current archival holdings and ones      yearbooks (Swift Current Bible
feel compelled to return to their           that we’ll acquire over the next five   Institute, Menno Bible Institute,
spawning channels, these former             years. By July 2, it was ready to be    Rosthern Junior College, Mennonite
Yarrow residents found such an              filled. A number of second-hand         Educational Institute etc.).
invitation irresistible.                    items have been purchased from the            For those serious about
      After several years of work, the      Thrift Store3 and supplemented          Mennonite history we have copies
Yarrow Research Committee (YRC)             with gifted items from others. (Hint:   of: P.M. Friesen’s book on the
can report that a distinguished             we still need a clock and a good        Mennonite Brotherhood (English);
publisher, Heritage House of                personal computer (Pentium II or        A.H. Unruh’s important book (Die
Victoria, BC has agreed to publish          better, including a CD writer).         Geschichte der Mennoniten-
our study of Yarrow, covering the                 And in the first two weeks of     Brüdergemeinde); Walter Quiring’s
years 1928-1958. The projected              July it was filled.4 Then the task      pictorial account of Mennonites in
release date is early December 2002.        began of putting the materials in       Canada; Mennonites in Canada (I &
We expect to offer this set of 6” x 9”      order. We still have a backlog of       II by Frank H. Epp and III by Ted D.
volumes, titled Before We Were the          archival records to be inventoried      Regehr); the History of the Mennonite
Land’s and Village of Unsettled             and books to be catalogued, but         Conference of Alberta by C. L. Dick,
Yearnings respectively, in a slipcase.                                              the Profile 1974 by Delbert Plett,
Some 129 pictures and a number of           2                                       which is about the immigration of
maps will complement the text.                Credits: Harold Friesen, Henry        Kleine Gemeinde to Canada in 1874,
This will be the first such study of a      Goerzen, Dick Neufeld, Ellen            The Mennonite Encyclopaedia (Vol. I-
Mennonite community ever released           Kinghorn and Erna Goerzen for           IV).
by a publishing house in B.C.               planning, putting up the studs,               In addition, we have thousands
      While carefully researched and        putting the drywall in place,           of periodical issues: Long runs of
documented, these two volumes are           mudding & painting & vacuuming.         Der Bote, Mennonite Brethren Herald,
written for the general reader.               Credits: two desks hand-made by       The Mennonite, The Canadian
Volume I provides a historical              Gerhard Bartel, used lamp and coat      Mennonite, Mennonite Historian, and
survey of pre-Mennonite and early           rack fixed by John Klassen, and a       Mennonite Life, and selected
Mennonite settlement and in its last        beautiful table donated by Margaret     volumes/issues of Journal of
two parts, features excerpts from           Kent.                                   American Historical Society of
personal memoirs and journals of              Credits: Harold & Sandra              Germans from Russia, Volkswarte,
30 Mennonite settlers, ten of them          Friesen, the College & Career youth     Festival Quarterly, Mennonite Mirror,
women. Volume II offers numerous            of Abbeydale EMC Church, Peter          Mennonite Weekly Review and
essays designed to serve collectively       Penner, Henry Goerzen and Dick          Mennonitische Rundschau.
as a cultural mural of Yarrow from          Neufeld for moving the MANY boxes
1928 to the end of the 1950’s.              and shelving units to the new
10                        Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta Newsletter                     October 2002

                                              What we need                          Friesen, Margaret Riediger, Henry
The Archives                                  From Congregations: Sunday            Goerzen and others).
      This has been a real adventure.         bulletins, annual reports,                  Descriptions and Finding Aids
Starting from ground-zero in terms            yearbooks, membership albums,         for those records will be available at
of knowing how archives are                   wedding invitations, funeral          the Archives and on our website in
managed, we have drafted a 40 page            bulletins, membership registers,      November.
policy manual to be reviewed and              pastoral records, financial                 Do consider preserving your
approved by both the Archives                 records, photos, discarded            congregation, family, or personal
Advisory Committee5 and Board,                library books, congregational or      records by making arrangements for
visited three Canadian archival               conference histories, burial          them to be deposited to our
institutions in the past six months,          records                               Archives.
consulted with and had a three site
visits by the Michael Gourlie                 From Families: family papers -        Plan to drop in and research!
(Archives Advisor of the Alberta              source items that can be used               The MHSA Library & Archives
Society of Archivists - ASA, made             for family histories, biographies,    will be open every Saturday (10:00-
substantial progress in the                   or research into the origins of       4:30), staffed by rotating volunteers8.
processing of our archives                    the Mennonites in Alberta (MC,        Bring your research questions,
collection6 and have been capturing           GC, MB, EMC, etc.). Photos!,          pencils (no pens please), and we’ll
temperature & humidity measures.              published family histories,           help you dig into the materials that
      We’re doing well enough, that           GEDCOM files                          will advance your research interests.
it’s conceivable that we’ll be                                                      The materials are all non-circulating
recognized as a full member of the            From Individuals: manuscripts         (you can’t take them off premises),
ASA very soon. That puts us in                of books, translations of early       but we do have a photocopier at
better position to receive advice from        Mennonite works, transcriptions       hand if you need copies of some
the ASA and to be eligible for grants         of genealogical data                  items.
(such as those, which would pay for
temperature/humidity controls in              From Communities: local               Thank you to all!
our vault).                                   histories, burial records, land            Thanks to the many folks who
      At this time, we have received          records, tax records                  came to the MHSA Library &
about 25 accessions (discrete gifts of                                              Archives Launch on October 5. You
records) – with the largest coming            Photos of:                            made us feel that this is something
from the Conference of Mennonites             Everyday life                         to celebrate and that you’ll support
in Alberta (CMA, now Mennonite                Gathered families                     us with your donations (records,
Church Alberta). In total the                 Church buildings                      time & financial) and visit us when
materials cover about 30 metres of            Congregational gatherings             you have research interests.
shelving. Apart from the CMA, we              Significant events                         Significant thanks go to our
also have fonds7 from Alberta                 Mennonite leaders (in church          friends in Mennonite Central
                                              life, music, education, missions,     Committee and in the MCC Thrift
  The AAC is comprised of Ted                 family life, sport, government,       Store – they’ve made the move a
Regehr, Henry Goerzen, and Peter              business, etc.)                       delight with their many forms of
Penner; Judith Rempel has taken                                                     support.9
the role of archivist.                        Equipment: wall clock,
  The key tasks in processing                 telephone line, Internet access,
                                              PII or better computer with CD
archival records are: clearing the
                                                                                    History of the
files of damaging items such as
paper clips and post-it notes;                                                      Chinese Mennonite
                                              Stories: Long and short - about
ensuring that no items are
                                              times in Russia or Germany or         Church
folded/askew; transferring the                                                      By Daniel Kong

                                              early Alberta, about the journey
records to acid-free folders and                                                         et us look back to our church’s
                                              to North America, about family
boxes; capturing the folder titles                                                       history. We started our
                                              life, about church life, about
(and dates) into a database; and                                                         church through the Mennonite
describing the records. Archival              school life, etc.
                                                                                         Central Committee. They
description is a significant task in
itself – since the several-page             Women in Mission, Alberta
document needs to provide the               Mennonite Youth Organization,           8
                                                                                      Credit: Irene Klassen, Dick
researcher with a substantive               David Braun, several congregations      Neufeld, Peter Penner, Henry
appreciation as to whether or not           (which have discontinued operating)     Goerzen, and Judith Rempel.
the fonds might answer the research         and individuals (Helen Pauls            9
                                                                                      Credit: Abe Janzen, Martha Ras,
questions s/he has and point                                                        Sheila & Hank Froese, Joyce Rochel,
him/her to the appropriate boxes            set of documents created and/or         Marion Koop, Victor Pries & John
and folders.                                accumulated and used by one             Wiebe; but also the many volunteers
  A fonds (pronounced “fo” where the        person, family or organization in the   whose faces are growing familiar but
“o” has a nasal sound) is the entire        course of their activities.             which change daily.
11                         Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta Newsletter                         October 2002

began the sponsorship of refugees            for their support to us in pulpit             • Giesbrecht, Abram B. (1995).
from Vietnam in 1978. The                    ministry.                                       Der ersten mennonitischen
Conference of Mennonites in Alberta                Tomorrow is exciting and full of          Einwanderer in Paraguay.
also supported this project.                 promise for everyone. It is not an            • Lemieux, Victoria & David
     The CMA employed pastor                 exception for our church. We wish               Leonard. (1992). Tracing your
Ezekiel Wong from Vancouver to               to have a lot of challenges. Church             Ancestors in Alberta.
come to Calgary for church planting          needs to have not only a mature               • Schapansky, Henry. (2001). The
and promoting the evangelical                leader but also a loyal congregation.           Old Colony (Chortitza) of Russia:
ministry for refugees.                       We should work together and                     Early History and First Settlers in
     We began our congregational             prepare God’s people to participate             the Context of Mennonite
worship in 1981. The Foothills               in various ministries so that the               Migrations.
Mennonite Church provided the                body of Christ could be built up.             • Smith, C. Henry (1957). Smith's
place of worship, not only for us but        We have four primary aims:                      Story of the Mennonites.
also for our twin, the Vietnamese            •     form a church of prayer; “It is         • Warkentin, John H. (2000). The
Mennonite church. We started our                  the way to receive strength and            Mennonite Settlements of
churches together.                                guidance from God”.                        Southern Manitoba.
     There were just three people in         •    To form an evangelical church;
the beginning of our church life.                 to train and to equip the church         • Zionsbote - all issues
After five years, the church                      members to become leaders in             • Mennonitisches Rundshau - most
membership had increased to fifty.                evangelism.                                issues
We purchased the present chapel in           •    To form a mission-church and             • Der Bote - issues from before
1987. The mortgage funds were                     participate in missionary work.            1990
borrowed through our Conference                   •    To form a mature church.            • The Canadian Mennonite - many
from Mennonite Foundation of                       Every year we plan at least one           issues
Canada. From that time our                   camp retreat and three devotional             • Journal of Mennonite Studies –
services, our choir, fellowship,             meetings. To strengthen our                     most issues
Sunday School and children’s                 deacons and workers, we plan
worship continuously grew.                                                                 • The Mennonite - many issues
                                             different training courses for them,            Mennonite Life - many issues
     Pastor Ezekiel Wong                     such as evangelical and caring
concentrated his services in our                                                           • The Mennonite Brethren
Church since our brother/sister                                                              Conference Yearbooks (Alberta) -
                                                   May God be glorified.
church, the Vietnamese Mennonite                                                             1993 to 2002.
Church, employed their own pastor.                                                         • Mennonite Weekly Review – most
We dedicated our church during the                                                           issues
opening ceremonies in 1987. At               The Mennonite                                 • Mennonite Quarterly Review –
                                                                                             most issues
that time, the church membership
                                             Historian’s Bookshelf
had increased to eighty-five. Our
                                                  his month we have decided to
pastor, Ezekial Wong attended the
                                                  tell you what’s missing from our
Associated Mennonite Biblical
Seminary for further study in 1989
                                                  library bookshelves. If you’d       MHSA Members’
and Pastor Raymond Wong carried
                                             like to consider a Christmas gift to
                                             the MHSA in the form of unused
                                                                                      Ancestry Corner
on his pastoral ministry.
     Raymond Wong resigned in
1990. Our church again employed
                                             items in your personal library, we’re
                                             looking for these books and
                                                                                      T    his Ancestry corner will be
                                                                                           dedicated to one or two direct
                                                                                           ancestor lines of those MHSA
Ezekiel Wong. During that time, the                                                   members who have supplied
church membership decreased to                  • Heimatbuch - most years
                                                                                      pedigree charts. It follows a format
thirty people but later it increased to         • Doell, Leonard, compiler.
                                                                                      initiated by the Journal of Mennonite
seventy-five. CMA helped us to                    (1999). Mennonite
                                                                                      Family History. Sub-missions may
establish the Faith Mennonite                     Homesteaders on the Hague-
                                                                                      be sent to the Editor.
Church in 1990, but it closed in                  Osler Reserve.
1997.                                           • Dyck, John & William Harms.         1.     Judith (Judii) Dianne Rempel m.
     We employed pastor Daniel                    (1994). Reinlaender Gemeinde               Eduardo (Kip) Deang Pabustan,
Kong for the Chinese ministry and                 Buch: 1880-1903.                           Jr..
pastor David Ma for the English                 • Dyck, John & William Harms.         2.     Bernhard (Ben) Johan Rempel b.
ministry in 1998. Thank God! He is                (1998). 1880 Village Census of             13-Feb-1926, Novo Omsk,
guiding us as our Church leader.                  the Mennonite West Reserve.                Siberia, USSR, occupation
What we should do is to worship our             • Friesen, John. (1994). Against             Miner/Businessman, m., Irene
Lord because our help is coming                   the Wind: The Story of Four                Edith Luetta Peters, Bernhard
from the Creator.                                 Mennonite Villages.                        died 11-Jul-1987, Atlin, British
     Looking back on our brief                  • Friesen, Rudy P. (1996). Into the          Columbia.
history we should thank God. He                   Past.                               3.     Irene Edith Luetta Peters.
continuously cares and guides us.                                                     4.     Johan Wilhelm Rempel b. 20-
Also thank CMA and a lot of pastors                                                          Oct-1875, Hochfeld (Yazekovo),
12                       Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta Newsletter                    October 2002

   Russia, occupation Factory                    South Russia, d. 20-Apr-1931.          25-Nov-1916, Prob. Reinland,
   Operator/Farmer, m. (1) 19-                   Peter died 17 Dec 1885,                MB. Johann died 13-May-
   Feb-1902, in Franzfeld,                       Hochfeld (Yazekovo), Russia.           1909, Altona, Manitoba.
   Yazykovo, South Russia,                 11.   Agatha Isaak b. 27-May-1847,     25.   Agatha Neufeld b. 2-Aug-1840,
   Katharina P Epp, b. 19-Oct-                   Einlage, Chortitza, South              Kronsthal, Chortitza, South
   1881, Franzfeld, Yazykovo,                    Russia, d. 20-Apr-1931.                Russia, m. (1) 28 Sep 1859,
   South Russia, d. 5-Jul-1923,            12.   Herman (Harm) J Peters b. 7            Johann (John) Peters, b. 28-
   Presume Novo Omsk, Siberia,                   Sep 1862, Kronsthal,                   Dec-1839, Kronsthal,
   m. (2) 10-Aug-1924, Anna                      Chortitza, South Russia,               Chortitza, South Russia,
   Petrovna Ketler, b. 16-Oct-1884,              occupation Farmer, m. 20 Nov           occupation farmer, d. 13-May-
   Neuhochfeld (Chortiza), Russia,               1884, Helena H Friesen, b. 14-         1909, Altona, Manitoba, m. (2)
   occupation Housewife, d. 21-                  May-1867, Prob. Mariupol,              30 Dec 1909, Isaac Wiens, b.
   Sep-1966, Clearbrook, British                 Ekat., Russia, d. 3-Jun-1912,          30 Aug 1836, d. 8 Oct 1922.
   Columbia. Johan died 16-Apr-                  Rosthern, Saskatchewan.                Agatha died 25-Nov-1916,
   1953, Clearbrook, British                     Herman died 2-Jul-1914,                Prob. Reinland, MB.
   Columbia.                                     Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.         26.   Heinrich Friesen b. 18-Jan-
5. Anna Petrovna Ketler b. 16-Oct-         13.   Helena H Friesen b. 14-May-            1843, Prob. Mariupol, Ekat.,
   1884, Neuhochfeld (Chortiza),                 1867, Prob. Mariupol, Ekat.,           Russia, occupation labourer,
   Russia, occupation Housewife,                 Russia, d. 3-Jun-1912,                 m. 11 Sep 1864, Katharina
   d. 21-Sep-1966, Clearbrook,                   Rosthern, Saskatchewan.                Bueckert, b. 17-May-1844,
   British Columbia.                       14.   Heinrich (Henry) Stobbe b. 3-          Prob. Mariupol, Ekat., Russia,
6. Herman H. Peters b. 25-Nov-                   Jan-1868, Grunau near                  d. 30 Oct 1938, Reinland,
   1896, Reinland, Manitoba,                     Mariupol, Russia, occupation           Manitoba. Heinrich died 6 May
   occupation Grain Elevator                     Blacksmith, m. 13-Oct-1891,            1920, Reinland, Manitoba.
   Agent, m. 26-Dec-1915,                        in Josefstal, South Russia,      27.   Katharina Bueckert b. 17-May-
   Susanna (Susie) Stobbe, b. 7-                 Maria (Mary) Fischer, b. 12            1844, Prob. Mariupol, Ekat.,
   Jun-1896, Rosthern,                           Oct 1872, Neuendorf,                   Russia, d. 30 Oct 1938,
   Saskatchewan, occupation                      Chortitza, South Russia, d.            Reinland, Manitoba.
   Housewife, d. 9-Jul-1968,                     27-Aug-1915, Rosthern,           28.   Peter Stobbe b. bef 1848,
   Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.                      Saskatchewan. Heinrich died            occupation Fisherman &
   Herman died 25-Dec-1968,                      17-Sep-1917, Rosthern,                 Shoemaker, m. Elizabeth
   Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.                      Saskatchewan.                          (Elisabeth) Mohriz.
7. Susanna (Susie) Stobbe b. 7-            15.   Maria (Mary) Fischer b. 12 Oct   29.   Elizabeth (Elisabeth) Mohriz
   Jun-1896, Rosthern,                           1872, Neuendorf, Chortitza,      30.   Carl (Karl) Fischer b. 14 Jun
   Saskatchewan, occupation                      South Russia, d. 27-Aug-               1850, Neuendorf, Chortitza,
   Housewife, d. 9-Jul-1968,                     1915, Rosthern,                        South Russia, occupation
   Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.                      Saskatchewan.                          Blacksmith & farmer, m. 04-
8. Wilhelm Wilhelm Rempel b. 26-           16.   Wilhelm Peter Rempel b. 18-            Jan-1870, in Josephstal Ev
   Aug-1832, Osterwick, Chortitza,               Feb-1808, Russia, m. (1) abt           Lutheran, Lotschinof, Rus.,
   South Russia, m. (1) Aganetha                 1831, Maria B Penner, b. 10-           Adelgunde Werner, b. 27-Dec-
   Thiessen, b. 11-Aug-1838,                     Dec-1812, Ukraine, Russia, d.          1850, Schoenhorst, Chortitza,
   Osterwick, Chortitza, South                   29-Aug-1853, Ukraine,                  South Russia, d. 11-May-1933,
   Russia, d. 21-Oct-1868, ? on                  Russia, m. (2) Margareta               Rosthern, Saskatchewan. Carl
   the day her son Abraham was                   Penner, d. Russia. Wilhelm             died 19-Feb-1932, Rosthern,
   born., m. (2) aft Oct 1869, Maria             died 29-Jun-1866, Ukraine,             Saskatchewan.
   Dueck, b. 2-Mar-1840,                         Russia.                          31.   Adelgunde Werner b. 27-Dec-
   Chortitza, Chortitza, South             17.   Maria B Penner b. 10-Dec-              1850, Schoenhorst, Chortitza,
   Russia, occupation Housewife,                 1812, Ukraine, Russia, d. 29-          South Russia, d. 11-May-1933,
   d. 13-Aug-1886, Hochfeld                      Aug-1853, Ukraine, Russia.             Rosthern, Saskatchewan.
   (Yazekovo), Russia. Wilhelm             20.   Jacob (Jakob) A Ketler(Kesler)   32.   Peter Peter Rempel b. 29-Dec-
   died 29-Aug-1905, Hochfeld                    b. ?? ___ 1813, m.                     1759,
   (Yazekovo), Russia.                     21.   _____ _____                            Tiegenhagen/Petershagen,
9. Maria Dueck b. 2-Mar-1840,              22.   Abraham Isaak m. Anna Dyck,            Prussia, m. (1) Widow Loewen,
   Chortitza, Chortitza, South                   d. ? at 60 years of age.               d. bef 1795, m. (2) Cornelia
   Russia, occupation Housewife,           23.   Anna Dyck d. ? at 60 years of          (Kornelia, Neli, Nelka) ?, b. ??
   d. 13-Aug-1886, Hochfeld                      age.                                   ___ 1772, m. (3) Margareta
   (Yazekovo), Russia.                     24.   Johann (John) Peters b. 28-            Teichroewen, b. 10-Aug-1773,
10. Peter Jakob Ketler b. 8-Apr-                 Dec-1839, Kronsthal,                   Krebsfeld, Prussia, d. Russia.
     1837, Kronsweide, Chortiza,                 Chortitza, South Russia,               Peter died 24-Apr-1820,
     South Russia, occupation                    occupation farmer, m. 28 Sep           Russia.
     Windmill Operator, m. Nov                   1859, Agatha Neufeld, b. 2-      33.   Margareta Teichroewen b. 10-
     1868, Agatha Isaak, b. 27-                  Aug-1840, Kronsthal,                   Aug-1773, Krebsfeld, Prussia,
     May-1847, Einlage, Chortitza,               Chortitza, South Russia, d.            d. Russia.
13                        Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta Newsletter                      October 2002

34.   Berend Penner b. ?? ___ 1798,                Prussia. Peter died 12-Jan-              Feb 1806, Neuendorf,
      m. Maria ?, b. ?? ___ 1783.                  1788.                                    Chortitza, South Russia.
35.   Maria ? b. ?? ___ 1783.               65.    Cristina von Dycken b. 30-        221.   Susanna Klassen b. ?? ___
40.   Abraham (Abram)                              May-1731, Prussia, d. 12-Jan-            1770, m. (1) Jacob Derksen,
      Ketler(Kesler) b. ?? ___ 1763,               1786, Petershagen, Prussia.              b. 21 Dec 1767, d. 2 Feb
      m. (1) Helena Schuetz, b. ??          66.    Johann (Teichgroef) Teichkrew            1806, Neuendorf, Chortitza,
      ___ 1788, Plauschwarren, East                b. ?? ___ 1745, Prussia, m. (1)          South Russia, m. (2) Johan
      Prussia, m. (2) Maria ?, b. ??               abt 1771, Margaretha ?, b. abt           Abram Neudorf, b. ?? ___
      ___ 1743, d. 27 Aug 1799.                    1745, d. bef 1780, Prussia, m.           1783, Petershagen, Prussia,
41.   Helena Schuetz b. ?? ___ 1788,               (2) Katharina ?, b. ?? ___               d. 15 Apr 1860, Osterwick,
      Plauschwarren, East Prussia.                 1762, Prussia. Johann died               Chortitza, South Russia.
48.   Jacob (Jakob) Peters b. bef                  bef 1802, Schoenhorst,            222.   Jacob Klassen m. ___
      1814, m. (1) Katharina Janzen,               Chortitza, South Russia.          223.   _____ ___
      d. bef 1879, m. (2) Judith ?, b.      67.    Margaretha ? b. abt 1745, d.      248.   ? Werner m. ? ?, b. 1747, d.
      abt 1810. Jacob died bef                     bef 1780, Prussia.                       13-Jul-1807, Schoenhorst,
      1879.                                 80.    David Ketler(Kaedtler) m.                Chortitza, South Russia.
49.   Katharina Janzen d. bef 1879.         81.    _____                             249.   ? ? b. 1747, d. 13-Jul-1807,
52.   Jacob I Friesen b. ?? ___ 1794,       82.    David D Schuetz b. abt 1760,             Schoenhorst, Chortitza,
      m. Margaretha Epp, b. 28 Feb                 m. 26 Nov 1782, in                       South Russia.
      1802. Jacob died 29 Jun                      Plauschwarren, East Prussia,      440.   David Derksen b. ?? ___ 1733,
      1867.                                        _____ _____, b. ?? ___ 1756, d.          Tiegenhagen, Prussia, m.
53.   Margaretha Epp b. 28 Feb                     bef 1795.                                Maria ?, b. ?? ___ 1736.
      1802.                                 83.    _____ _____ b. ?? ___ 1756, d.           David died bef 1802.
54.   Jacob Bueckert b. 25 Dec                     bef 1795.                         441.   Maria ? b. ?? ___ 1736.
      1811, Russia, m. (1) 13 Nov           104.     Isbrand (Isebrand) I Friesen
      1834, Helena Doerksen, b. 21                   b. ?? ___ 1767, m. Katharina
      Jun 1816, Russia, d. 27 Dec                    ?, b. ?? ___ 1766.
      1878, m. (2) 20 Jul 1880,             105.     Katharina ? b. ?? ___ 1766.
      Justina Loewen, b. 15 Nov             108.     Herman Bueckert m. Maria        Alberta Profile:
      1822. Jacob died 14 Nov                        Elias.                          William Gerhard Martens
      1884.                                 109.     Maria Elias                     by Irene Klassen
55.   Helena Doerksen b. 21 Jun             110.     Franz Derksen b. ?? ___

      1816, Russia, d. 27 Dec 1878.
      Johann Fischer b. ?? ___ 1803,
                                                     1792, m. Helena Klassen, b.
                                                     15 Aug 1796, d. ?? Feb 1878.
                                                                                     W      ilhelm Martens was born in
                                                                                            August 1892, in Landskrone,
                                                                                            Russia the youngest of seven
      Riedselz, Weissenburg,                         Franz died ?? ___ 1877.         children – 4 boys and 3 girls. He
      Prussia, occupation servant,          111.     Helena Klassen b. 15 Aug        received his elementary schooling in
      m. (1) 15 Apr 1841, in Russia,                 1796, d. ?? Feb 1878.           Landskrone and his high school in
      Anita Beilan, m. (2) Amanda           124.     Heinrich Werner m.              Gnadenfeld. Then he took two years
      Beillan, m. (3) Louise ?, b. abt               Elizabeth (Elisabeth) ?.        of teacher training in Melitopol and
      18-May-1815, d. 17-Dec-1875,                   Heinrich died aft 1807.         taught school for 3 years. He was
      Friedensfeld, South Russia.           125.     Elizabeth (Elisabeth) ?         drafted for military service and
      Johann died ?? ___ 1866.              164.     David Schuetz b. bef 1740,      served in Kursk for 2½ years as a
61.   Anita Beilan                                   occupation teacher, m. (1)      Sanitaeter, before he became
62.   Peter Werner b. abt 1825,                      _____ _____, m. (2) 18 Nov      Kanzelei Schreiber (Secretary). After
      Prussia, occupation Labourer,                  1781, in Plauschwarren,         military service he took over a school
      m. Adelgunde Gabriel, b. 1827,                 East Prussia, Helena ?, b. ??   in Blumenhof, Caucasus, 1,000
      Prussia, d. 13-Jul-1887,                       ___ 1762. David died bef        miles from Landskrone. At that
      Schoenhorst, Chortitza, South                  1795.                           distance it took two years for him to
      Russia. Peter died bef1870.           165.     _____ _____                     become aware of his parents’ deaths.
63.   Adelgunde Gabriel b. 1827,            208.     Isbrand (Isebrand) Friesen b.         In Blumenhof he met and
      Prussia, m. (1) Peter Werner,                  ?? ___ 1740, m. (1) _____       became intimately acquainted with
      b. abt 1825, Prussia,                          _____, m. (2) Agatha Dueck,     Sarah, the daughter of Prediger
      occupation Labourer, d.                        b. ?? ___ 1745.                 Heinrich Dirks. They were married
      bef1870, m. (2) Klaus Hydack.         209.     Agatha Dueck b. ?? ___ 1745,    April 14, 1919, on a Sunday
      Adelgunde died 13-Jul-1887,                    m. (1) 19 Apr 1772, Wilhelm     morning. That afternoon a Bruder-
      Schoenhorst, Chortitza, South                  Bolle, b. 3 Feb 1746, d. 31     schaft was called and he was
      Russia.                                        May 1789, m. (2) Isbrand        unanimously elected as preacher.
64.   Peter Rempel b. 6-Jul-1735,                    (Isebrand) Friesen, b. ?? ___   He started his preaching career in
      Prussia, m. abt1758, in                        1740.                           August 1919. In those famine-
      Prussia, Cristina von Dycken,         220.     Jacob Derksen b. 21 Dec         plagued years, in addition to
      b. 30-May-1731, Prussia, d.                    1767, m. Susanna Klassen,       teaching, he often shared his own
      12-Jan-1786, Petershagen,                      b. ?? ___ 1770. Jacob died 2    meager bread with his students.
14                         Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta Newsletter                        October 2002

     In September 1924, Wilhelm              at Chinook, as well as other families      enrichment, new local congregations
and Sarah Martens with two                   at Sedalia, New Brigden and Naco.12        were organized.”
children left Russia. With the help          To make ends meet he farmed a ½                  The formal Alberta Conference
of the Canadian Pacific Railway,             section of rented land.                    of Mennonites came into existence in
they boarded the ship Minnedosa,                                                        fall of 1929 with Harder elected as
eventually landing in Halifax, Nova               Most worship services were            the first chairman. However the first
Scotia. There they received a Bible,         held in homes, but some times the          official minutes (available at this
bologna and bread - and then                 local school was used. For large           date) were of the meeting held on
traveled by train to Tofield, Alberta        gatherings, the town hall was              July 20 and 21, 1936 in Rosemary.
where the J. Brennemans met them             rented. In Chinook the United              Martens was the presiding
and then hosted them that first              Church was used for several years.         chairman. He served in that
                                                          He traveled many miles        capacity from 1931 to 1938 followed
                                                          in the widespread             by another three years as secretary.
                                                          Chinook/Sedalia area,
                                                          and preached many
                                                                   He always had
                                                              something to say to the
                                                              children13. He ate in
                                                              many homes and at
                                                              one particular time
                                                              was heard to say, “Oh
                                                              good, chicken! One
                                                              gets a bit tired of
                                                              potato salad every
   Baptism of John Neufeld, ?, Tina Wiebe, ? Schmidt &
                                                              day.”                       David & Katherine Epp with
   Liese Schmidt in Chinook with Aeltesters Jac. Wiens             On February 28-        children, Gerhard and Irene, and
   and Wm. Martens, ca. 1929                                  March 1, 1929,              Rev. Wm. Martens at Baptism,
                                                              Aeltester C.D. Harder       June 25 1944
                                                              invited eight preachers
                                                and one deacon to the Neufeld                Upon Martens return to
       In March 1925 they moved to
                                                residence near the Bergthal             Chinook, following the Allgemeine
Namaka, where 24 other families
                                                Mennonite church (where he              Konferenz, he was chosen as leading
were renting a 13,000-acre farm10.
                                                resided tentatively) to convene an      minister by the Chinook church.
That fall, after harvest, he took his
                                                Allgemeine Prediger Konferenz.          Eight other candidates from this
wife and children to Gretna,
                                                These preachers, one of whom was        community were chosen as
Manitoba, where he studied English
                                                Wm. Martens, represented scattered      ministerial candidates. Five of these
language and took high school
                                                groups of Mennonite families. The       accepted the nominations: Heinrich
courses to prepare for a Canadian
                                                purpose was to plan for nurture and     Dueck, David Boese, Abram Epp,
Teaching Certificate. In April 1926,
                                                spiritual guidance for the widely       Peter Regehr, and Jacob Neufeld.
it was back to Namaka.
                                                scattered immigrant families in         The Chinook congregation also
       Forty-two Mennonite immigrant
                                                Alberta.                                elected two deacons: Tobias
families had settled in this central
                                                      These ministers who had come      Schmidt, Gerhard Baergen. Elected
eastern area in Alberta, north of
                                                together from all directions (allen     to Church Council (Kirchenrat) were
Oyen. In 1927 Martens was asked
                                                Winden, referring to their origins in   Peter Martens and Gerhard Bergen.
to come to Chinook to serve these
                                                Russia) were inspired (in the words     The churches now appeared to be
families and organize them into
                                                of Martens) “in response to Elder       equipped with faithful and
                                                Harder’s encouragement to organize      courageous leaders.
       The families were scattered              congregations wherever we had                While in Chinook, in 1931 he
over a large area, from Chinook in              settled, we returned with new           was ordained as Aeltester by
the south, Naco in the north, and               determination to our families and       Aeltester David Toews. In November
New Brigden in the east - close to              congregations. Wherever our new         of that year, Heinrich Janzen
the Saskatchewan border. He                     immigrants had settled in groups        became his assistant.
served those families who gathered              and were meeting for spiritual               It was a sad loss to the
                                                                                        scattered congregations, when in
                                                                                        April 1934 the Martens family moved
10                                           12
   The farm was owned by George                 The church register for this            to Coaldale, where Martens also
Lane, who had encountered                    combined congregation is available         served the church. The Martens lived
financial difficulties resulting in a        in the MHSA archives.                      in Coaldale until March 1938, when
takeover by the Dominion Bank.                  One lesson I personally remember        they moved again, this time back to
   According to the records the first        was about honouring our parents            Vauxhall where he served the
meeting was held on March 14,                and never to speak of them in a            Vauxhall/Grantham Mennonite
1928.                                        derogatory way.
15                              Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta Newsletter                    October 2002

Church, later known as the                        church until 1974. Then he retired        •   Canadian Mennonite Board of
Vauxhall Mennonite Church14.                      and moved back to Winnipeg.                   Colonization fonds. -- 1923-
     During all these years, Martens                    The unexpected death of his             1966. -- 36 microfilm reels, 35
was still considered the Aeltester at             first wife in 1953, had been a big            mm
Chinook/Sedalia, so he continued to               setback for him, but he carried on,           - two-sided records of
travel there for baptisms and special             adapting to new situations and                immigrants from 1923-30 to
occasions. In 1943 he performed the               relationships. He was always                  Canada, including full names
last marriage in that church, Peter               willing to serve and was never lost           and birthdates/locations of
Derksen and Margarete Dueck, and                  for words. He enjoyed serving the             family members, dates of the
in 1944 performed the last baptism:               Lord. He enjoyed life and meeting             points in the journey from
Gerhard Epp, now of Didsbury and                  people, whether in church, on the             Russia to Canada, and details
Irene Epp (Klassen) of Calgary.15                 street, bus, train, wherever. He              about settlement location and
     Then in February 1946 he was                 could strike up a conversation very           kin in North America
called to serve the church in Sardis,             quickly with almost anyone. His
B.C., which he served until 1950.                 family enjoyed him very much and
Here he also served part-time in the              missed him a great deal after his
                                                                                            •   Bergthal Mennonite Church
Chilliwack church.                                passing on January 11, 1976.
                                                                                                fonds. -- 1927-2001). -- 60 cm
     His next move was back to the
                                                                                                textual records
Vauxhall Church in 1951.
                                                                                                - includes constitutions,
Following the sudden death of
Sarah, his wife in 1954, he returned              Fonds in MHSA                                 minutes, annual reports,
                                                                                                bulletins, activities of
to Rosemary, staying with his                     Archives                                      committees, and newsletters
daughters, Elsie Janzen and/or                    By Judith Rempel
Agnes Janzen. From 1955–1956 he                                                             •   Blumenthaler Mennonite
                                                        The MHSA has 12                         Church fonds. – 1931-1992. --
preached in the churches at                       organizational or congregational
Rosemary, Gem and Vauxhall on a                                                                 8 cm textual records
                                                  fonds in its collection that are              - includes minutes and
part-time basis.                                  processed and accessible for
     He married the widow Helen                                                                 bulletins
                                                  researchers’ use. Another 13 fonds        •   Coaldale Mennonite Church
Reimer of Calgary in 1956 and                     are being processed and include
served for about a year in the First                                                            fonds. -- 1968-1989. -- 10 cm
                                                  records donated by other                      textual material
Mennonite Church in Calgary, as lay               organizations (e.g., Alberta
minister.16 From Calgary, they                                                                  - includes constitution, annual
                                                  Mennonite Youth Organization),                reports and bulletins
moved to Chilliwack, BC; but not for              Congregations (e.g., Taber
long. His wife became ill and passed                                                        •   Mennonite Church of Lacombe
                                                  Mennonite Church) and individuals             fonds. – 1968-1989. -- 3 cm
away in 1959.                                     (e.g., Helen (Pauls) Friesen,
     In 1963, he married Mrs.                                                                   textual records
                                                  Margaret Riediger, David Braun,               - includes constitution, annual
Katherine Kasdorf of Winnipeg and                 etc.) and will be available very soon.
moved there, serving as Associate                                                               reports, and bulletins
Pastor in First Mennonite Church                                                            •   Namaka Mennonite Church
for several years. While in Winnipeg
                                                  Organizations                                 fonds. – 1937-1971. -- 5 cm
he was asked by a Mr. Redekopp to                   •   Alberta Women in Mission                textual records
go to Chihuahua, Mexico to teach a                      fonds. -- 1971-1997 -- 60 cm            - includes minutes and church
few classes in German. So, from                         textual records. -- 401                 register of events
May 1965 to May 1966, at the age of                     photographs                         •   Neukirchener Mennonite
73, he and his wife made the move.                      - includes constitutions,               Church fonds. -- 1928-1945. -
It was quite a challenge no doubt,                      minutes, annual activity                - 1 cm textual records
but both of them enjoyed the                            reports and correspondence          •   West Zion Mennonite Church
experience.                                         •   Coaldale Cheese Factory                 fonds. -- 2001. -- 4 cm. textual
     Then it was back to Winnipeg                       fonds. -- 1966-1973. -- 2 cm            records
from 1966-1969. Another move in                         textual records                         - includes history of church
1969 took him to Niverville,                            - bound minute book                     and essays presented at
Manitoba, where he served the                       •   Conference of Mennonites in             centennial
                                                        Alberta fonds. – 1928-2000. --      •   Westheimer Mennonite
                                                        3.6 m textual records                   Church fonds. -- 1936-1990. -
                                                        - includes constitutions,               - 4 cm textual records
  Anne Harder has written the                           correspondence and minutes              - includes minutes, church
history of the Vauxhall Mennonite                       pertaining to the Executive             register of events, and history
Church and it has been published                        and General Council,                    of church
by the MHSA.                                            Missions and Service,
     The author of this article – (ed)                  Education, Home for the
16                                                      Aged, Camp Valaqua,
  I remember his searching through
the phone book for Mennonite                            Finance, Ministers and
names and trying to locate and                          Deacons and other activities
encourage ‘lost’ ones.
16                        Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta Newsletter                October 2002

The Church in Chortitza
It was the Mother church of quite a
few of the surrounding villages,
including Einlage, Burwalde and
Rosengart. It served many
parishioners. It was built after 1830
and was called The New Church.
The structure was of clay brick and
it had no ornamentation inside or
outside. It was two stories with a
main sanctuary and a large balcony
on three sides.
      Helen Friesen donated these
two pictures of the Chortitza
Mennonite Church. Her attached
note reads as follows.
      Rev. John Kroeker of First
Mennonite in Calgary told me that
the last service in this “our” church
was held on Christmas eve, 1936.
The church was then closed and
converted to a
That last service
included singing “Dies                                                         Mennonite
ist die Freundlichkeit”,
sung to the melody “O                                                          Publications
dasz ich tausend                                                               Dec 2002
Zungen haette”.                                                                 • GRANDMA V CD, to contain
      Helen recalls                                                               about 800,000 linked family
sitting in the school                                                             records in Brothers Keeper and
adjacent to the church                                                            GEDCOM database formats.
with windows open,                                                              • Chortitza Family Registers
eavesdropping on the                                                              Compact Disk – PDF files of
service. When the                                                                 scanned Chortitza Colony,
teacher came into the                                                             Russia church records
classroom, she was                                                                (especially Chortitza and
upset and closed the                                                              Rosenthal villages) for 1870s-
windows.                                                                          1930s.
                                                                                • Sommerfelder Gemeinde Buch,
                                                                                  Vol I & II (West Lynn, Manitoba)
                                                                                  being produced by the West
                                            Lymburn Mennonite                     Lynn Historical Society

                                            Church                             Order from JR Solutions
MHSA Publications                           This church served numerous        (, 2416 Bowness
  • Alternative Service for Peace in        families who moved into the        Road NW, Calgary, AB T2N 3L7
    Canada during World War II,             Peace River
    1941-46 (A.J. Klassen) - $25            when they first
  • Namaka (Henry Goerzen) - $8             came to Canada
  • Knowing and Interpreting our            from Russia. J.
    Past: Alberta’s Mennonite               D. Nickel served
    History (Judith Rempel, ed.) -          as pastor and
    $12                                     later moved to
  • Vauxhall Mennonite Church               Rosemary.
    History (Anne Harder) - $8

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