Written by Forrest Moyer on June 6, 2019
Mennonites, like other Protestants, do not typically venerate special or powerful “saints” canonized by the Roman church, but occasionally, Mennonites and other Pennsylvania Germans would appeal to saints in medieval prayers associated with folk healing. Saint Mary, the mother of Jesus, was especially present in these prayers.
In 1830, a local Mennonite created a beautiful piece of fraktur titled “Die Mutter Jesus [The Mother of Jesus].” The Mennonite Heritage Center has exhibited this piece in the past, and happily we were
Written by Forrest Moyer on May 23, 2019
Andrew Lederach descendants, be advised — the immigrant’s house in Lower Salford Township is on the market! Here’s your chance to live in the home of an immigrant ancestor:
MHEP published the will of Andrew Lederach in 1983. The notes below were written by Joel Alderfer at that time.
Andrew Lederach immigrated, with his brother, John, to Pennsylvania in 1717. The Lederach family was originally from Worb, Switzerland, but had lived in the Palatinate in Germany before coming to this country. Andrew
Written by Forrest Moyer on April 24, 2019
Alma Ruth (1900-1975) was the daughter of bishop Joseph and Mary Kratz Ruth of Line Lexington. She was a long-time worker at the Diamond Street Mennonite Mission in Philadelphia. These memories were transcribed by John L. Ruth from a manuscript purchased at the auction of the property of Clarence Ruth, Alma’s nephew. The manuscript is now archived at the Mennonite Heritage Center, along with Alma’s scrapbooked memories of Philadelphia mission work (Hist. Mss. 518).
Alma Ruth (front left) with a group
Written by Joel Alderfer on April 9, 2019
Last fall, Sarah Godshall Hunsberger, one of our members in Harrisonburg, Virginia, called to say that she had some old family papers and artifacts to give to us, but wanted to send them with someone from the Souderton area who might be traveling to the Harrisonburg area and back. Eventually, through the Mennonite “network”, an old wooden box labeled “Keystone Watch Case Company” showed up at the front desk here at the Mennonite Heritage Center. It was half filled with
Written by Forrest Moyer on March 22, 2019
My last blog post introduced Jacob Gross, an early Mennonite bishop of Deep Run. He had many descendants, including myself, who lived in eastern Pennsylvania; but some of the most interesting characters lived elsewhere.
An affluent and influential branch of the family were descendants of Jacob Gross Jr. (1780-1865) of Canada. Like his father, Jacob was a Mennonite bishop who was progressive and evangelical. Unlike his father, the younger Jacob was eventually silenced and left the Mennonite Church to join
Written by Forrest Moyer on March 6, 2019
It’s been 15 years since I dove down the rabbit hole of genealogy. My interest continues to be piqued by my own ancestors, but has expanded to the stories of many others through my work at the Heritage Center and everyday conversations with folks from diverse backgrounds. The interesting characters among our ancestors are endless!
As a child, I knew that my grandmother Ruth was descended from an early American Mennonite bishop, Jacob Gross of Deep Run, Bucks County; but my
Written by Joel Alderfer on February 22, 2019
The records, photos and some artifacts of Groundhog Lodge #2 “on the Skippack” were donated to the Mennonite Heritage Center last fall, after the group disbanded earlier in 2018. This Grundsow Lodsch, based in the Souderton-Harleysville area, started in 1937, held its first public Fersommling (gathering and banquet) in February 1938, held its 81st annual banquet in February 2018, and then decided to disband. It was the second of the lodges (or clubs) organized in the wider Groundhog Lodge movement
Written by Forrest Moyer on February 6, 2019
David Gehman (1894-1969) grew up near Bally, Pennsylvania. His father was Enos Gehman, whose teenage journal of a trip to Philadelphia was published on this blog.
David’s memoir of his experiences as a conscientious objector during World War I is found in the J.C. Clemens Papers at the MHC (Hist. Mss. 3). It was first published in the MHEP Newsletter in 1983. Gehman’s accompanying note was not included, but an excerpt reveals how he came to record his memories and
Written by Forrest Moyer on January 24, 2019
Two weeks ago I posted a story about hospitality as it was experienced in the 1820s in the wilderness of Ohio. Today I’m sharing another article from our Newsletter that touches on the theme of hospitality and the old culture of Franconia Mennonites.
In April 1985, John Ruth transcribed and commented on several notes from a journal of Henry R. Bergey (1843-1925). The article is rich in the color of life as it used to be among local Mennonites, and we’re
Written by Forrest Moyer on January 9, 2019
The following is a translation of a Pennsylvania Dutch story submitted to the Souderton Independent newspaper by local historian Henry Hagey and printed December 22, 1933. It appears to be a true story, collected by Hagey from deacon Jake Freed (1851-1929) of the Franconia Mennonite congregation. The story was told to him by one Martin Bechtel, presumably Martin G. Bechtel (1797-1890), buried at Blooming Glen.
While only the barest details flesh the story, it does give some idea of what traveling