New acquisition: 19th-Century Obituaries

Written by Forrest Moyer on August 22, 2019

In January 2018, the MHC received a surprise package in the mail from Lois Beun Callaghan of Santa Fe, NM, a descendant of John Meyer/Moyer (1799-1877) of Skippack Township. It contained several 19th century German newspapers with Meyer’s name on them — Der Morgenstern (Doylestown, PA), Der Neutralist (Skippack, PA), and Montgomery County Presse (Lansdale, PA) — and a separate file of hundreds of obituaries (and some marriage notices) clipped from these papers in the years 1844-1893. We’re thankful to

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Excerpts from “The Life History of Susie Freed Heebner”

Written by Forrest Moyer on July 23, 2019

Republished from the MHEP Newsletter, May 1986. Mrs. Heebner’s full memoir is available in the MHC library.

This history is a reflection of Susie Freed Heebner (March 7, 1892-December 6, 1984) as she thought about things that happened throughout her lifetime. Susie always enjoyed writing things down. Over the years she kept diaries. Her son, Steward, suggested that she write this life history. He bought her the spiral-ringed notebook into which she recorded her remembrances. For him we are thankful;

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Food heritage highlights

Written by Sarah Heffner on July 10, 2019

Mennonite Heritage Center staff have been exploring and developing a major exhibit on the topic of food, a daily and essential part of our lives. Food touches on creation, celebration and community. Food is also increasingly a concern, as we hear daily news about extreme weather cycles and global strife impacting the production of food and people’s access to adequate food.

Museum exhibits about food have ranged from reproducing nostalgic food themes as a reflection of culture to more participatory

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New acquisition: “Die Mutter Jesus” fraktur

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

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Will of Andrew Lederach, 1758

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:

https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/660-Harleysville-Pike-Harleysville-PA-19438/2084694733_zpid/

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

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Reflections from the journal of Alma K. Ruth

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

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New acquisition: Joshua Histand and Enos Gehman papers

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

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Influential Gross descendants

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

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Bishop Jacob Gross (1743-1810)

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

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New acquisition: Groundhog Lodge #2 records

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

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