Autobiographical notes: J. C. Clemens

Written by Forrest Moyer on April 5, 2018

Jacob Cassel Clemens (1874-1965) was pastor of Plains Mennonite Church and a well-known evangelist in Mennonite circles. In 1979, the MHEP Newsletter published his autobiographical notes written in 1954. The manuscript is in his papers archived at the MHC (Hist. Mss. 3).

Clemens’ reflections on the first half of the 20th century, as he experienced it, are illuminating. They remind us how much has changed in the last century, but also that many of our ancestors’ experiences are similar to ours—love

Continue Reading


Our Immigrant Heritage: Musselman

Written by Forrest Moyer on February 19, 2018

This series of posts highlights families descended from 18th-century Mennonite immigrants to eastern Pennsylvania, in connection with the MHC’s exhibit Opportunity & Conscience: Mennonite Immigration to Pennsylvania, on display through March 31, 2018. The stories reflect the enrichment brought to communities over centuries by the descendants of immigrants.

Immigrant brothers Jacob and Samuel

Most people with the surname Musselman in eastern Pennsylvania are descended from Jacob Musselman, an immigrant who settled in Milford Township, Bucks County circa 1730. His brother Samuel also

Continue Reading


Rare Bible and early family registers professionally conserved

Written by Joel Alderfer on December 19, 2017
Mennonite Heritage Center, Harleysville

From late 2016 through summer of 2017, a rare 1536 Froschauer Bible and two early fraktur-lettered and decorated family registers from the Mennonite Heritage Center Collection were conserved by professional staff at the Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts (CCAHA), Philadelphia.  The months-long project was funded by a significant grant (MA-31-16-0539-16) from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal agency.  Through this project, our oldest Bible and two of our earliest and rarest family registers have finally

Continue Reading


Our Immigrant Heritage: Rosenberger

Written by Forrest Moyer on September 15, 2017

This series of posts highlights families descended from 18th-century Mennonite immigrants to eastern Pennsylvania, in connection with the MHC’s exhibit Opportunity & Conscience: Mennonite Immigration to Pennsylvania, on display through March 31, 2018. The stories reflect the enrichment brought to communities over centuries by the descendants of immigrants.

Henry the immigrant

The Mennonite Rosenberger family is descended from Henry Rosenberger who came to Pennsylvania with wife (name unknown) and sons Daniel and Benjamin in 1717. He settled, probably the following year, on

Continue Reading


Our Immigrant Heritage: Hunsberger

Written by Forrest Moyer on August 30, 2017

This series of posts highlights families descended from 18th-century Mennonite immigrants to eastern Pennsylvania, in connection with the MHC’s exhibit Opportunity & Conscience: Mennonite Immigration to Pennsylvania, on display through March 31, 2018. The stories reflect the enrichment brought to communities over centuries by the descendants of immigrants.

Hunsberger roots of Franconia and Souderton

Brothers Ulrich, Jacob, and John (Hans) Hunsberger were some of the first settlers in the area that became Franconia Township. They each at one time owned parts of

Continue Reading


Our Immigrant Heritage: Funk

Written by Forrest Moyer on August 11, 2017

This series of posts highlights families descended from 18th-century Mennonite immigrants to eastern Pennsylvania, in connection with the MHC’s exhibit Opportunity & Conscience: Mennonite Immigration to Pennsylvania, on display through March 31, 2018. The stories reflect the enrichment brought to communities over centuries by the descendants of immigrants.

Henry Funk, miller and author

The Funk story is one of strong influence, within and beyond the Mennonite community, from immigrant Henry — the first American Mennonite author — to descendants Annie and John

Continue Reading


Our Immigrant Heritage: Allebach

Written by Forrest Moyer on June 21, 2017

This series of posts highlights families descended from 18th-century Mennonite immigrants to eastern Pennsylvania, in connection with the MHC’s exhibit Opportunity & Conscience: Mennonite Immigration to Pennsylvania, on display through March 31, 2018. The stories reflect the enrichment brought to communities over centuries by the descendants of immigrants.

A large pioneer family

Christian Allebach, a weaver, had three stepchildren when he and wife Margaret immigrated to Pennsylvania in 1719. The family came from Dühren, Germany, near Sinsheim in the Kraichgau, and likely

Continue Reading


Our Immigrant Heritage: Clemens

Written by Forrest Moyer on June 8, 2017

This series of posts highlights families descended from 18th-century Mennonite immigrants to eastern Pennsylvania, in connection with the MHC’s exhibit Opportunity & Conscience: Mennonite Immigration to Pennsylvania, on display through March 31, 2018. The stories reflect the enrichment brought to communities over centuries by the descendants of immigrants.

The old Clemens family of Lower Salford

Immigrant Gerhart (or Garret) Clemens (b. 1680) was among the first settlers of Lower Salford Township. A vinedresser and weaver from Nieder Flörsheim, Germany (just up the

Continue Reading


Quilts and stories from the “Riot of Color” exhibit

Written by Joel Alderfer on January 25, 2017
Mary Loux quilt, Mennonite Heritage Center

Several quilts in our current “Riot of Color” exhibit have interesting family stories or anecdotes that add a human dimension to the artifacts.  We’ll feature a number of these stories in this post.  The exhibit includes thirty quilts, mainly from the Mennonite Heritage Center collection, selected for their color, condition and design content.

Wedding or Dowry Quilts

These are quilts that were made, according to the family stories, either as wedding gifts for a young couple or were

Continue Reading


Glimpses of “Skippack” Mennonite Life, 1745-1760

Written by Forrest Moyer on January 11, 2017

Christopher Sower’s printing house, Germantown, Pa.

As announced, one feature of this blog will be the republishing of articles from past issues of the MHEP Newsletter and Quarterly. One of the first significant articles published in the Newsletter, when it began in 1975, was a translation by John Ruth of Mennonite-related material published in Christopher Sower’s German newspaper, 1745-1760. We present it here again for your enjoyment and education. Editor’s notes are original to the Ruth article.

Christopher Sower‘s newspaper, Pensylvanische Berichte

Continue Reading