New acquisition: Indian Creek Brethren convertible bench

Written by Forrest Moyer on August 24, 2017

The Mennonite Heritage Center works to tell not only the Mennonite story, but the local Brethren story as well. Recently the MHC received a donation of one of the benches that was used in the Indian Creek Church of the Brethren from 1906 to 1953.

The church benches during this time had an interesting convertible design in order to accommodate love feast, the ritual “agape meal” that was representative of the Last Supper and was observed by the Brethren in combination

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Our Immigrant Heritage: Alderfer

Written by Joel Alderfer on August 17, 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 Alderfer name is one of those unique to the Mennonite communities of Montgomery and Bucks Counties. The name was not found in other Mennonite settlements, except through later migration and intermarriage. However,

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Our Immigrant Heritage: Moyer

Written by Forrest Moyer on July 19, 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 Moyer/Meyers/Myers family is one of the most widespread in the Mennonite community of eastern Pennsylvania. Virtually everyone with roots in the community is descended from a Moyer immigrant, and often more than

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Cynthia Yoder’s “Crazy Quilt”

Written by Forrest Moyer on July 6, 2017

A beautifully-written local memoir is now available on Kindle. If you’re interested in 20th-century Mennonite culture, this is a great read. You can purchase the book here.

Cynthia Yoder was a graduate student in New York City when she began to suffer from depression. Crazy Quilt follows her quest for meaning — a return to Berks County, PA, and visits with her grandparents, Henry and Elizabeth “Betts” Kulp Yoder. Enjoy the excerpts below.

…One night on the phone with my mother, I

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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

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Our Immigrant Heritage: Detweiler

Written by Forrest Moyer on May 24, 2017
Mennonite Heritage Center, Harleysville

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.

An old world devotional

John [Johannes] Detweiler (1721-1806) was born when his immigrant parents, Hans and Susanna, were in the first years of trying to carve out a life in the Skippack woods. They

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Our Immigrant Heritage: Cassel

Written by Forrest Moyer on May 10, 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.

Viewing comets in Kriegsheim

Hupert Cassel, an immigrant bachelor who came to Pennsylvania in 1717, and his brothers Yellis and John, who came ten years later, were from a pious Mennonite family of Kriegsheim,

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New acquisition: Scratch-decorated egg

Written by Forrest Moyer on April 12, 2017
Mennonite Heritage Center, Harleysville

Taking a break from immigrant family stories, this week we’re featuring a new acquisition related to the Easter holiday.

You may be familiar with the elaborate scratch-decorated eggs of the Lithuanian tradition; but did you know Pennsylvania Germans had a similar practice of scratch decoration? You can see many examples in a chapter on this topic in Alfred Shoemaker’s book Eastertide in Pennsylvania (1960). Often decorated eggs were made as presentation pieces or gifts from one friend to another at Easter.

This

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Our Immigrant Heritage: Kolb/Kulp

Written by Forrest Moyer on March 22, 2017

This is the first in a series of posts highlighting families descended from 18th-century Mennonite immigrants to eastern Pennsylvania, in connection with a new exhibit opening April 1, 2017 at the Mennonite Heritage Center, entitled Opportunity & Conscience: Mennonite Immigration to Pennsylvania.

The exhibit will commemorate the 300th anniversary of the arrival in 1717 of the first large group of Mennonite settlers to Pennsylvania, and will include recent immigrant stories as well. Look for photos of the exhibit installation next week

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J. C. Wenger’s memories of writing Franconia Mennonite history

Written by Forrest Moyer on March 8, 2017

In 1976, MHEP Newsletter editor Joyce Munro interviewed John C. Wenger about his memories of writing the book History of the Mennonites of the Franconia Conference in 1936. It’s fascinating to read about the process of creating this substantial book that is still in 2017 the best source for information on some aspects of Franconia Mennonite history, including ministers who have served in the conference. The book is available for purchase at the Mennonite Heritage Center.

We’re forty years too late

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