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

Continue Reading


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

Continue Reading


A window on Franconia Mennonite character

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

Continue Reading


Recipes from Henry and Mary Ruth

Written by Forrest Moyer on August 24, 2018

In April 1978, the MHEP Newsletter published recipes from Henry & Mary Landes Ruth of Lower Salford Township. Henry was deacon in the Salford Mennonite congregation. The information for the article was provided by daughter Ella Ruth, and edited by Joyce Munro. The article is republished here with photos added from Ella’s papers in the MHC Collection (Hist. Mss. 440).

On a farm halfway between Mainland and Harleysville they lived, on the farm now [1978] owned by Schnabel Associates on Ruth

Continue Reading


New acquisition: Elizabeth Ruth show towel

Written by Forrest Moyer on June 1, 2018

A beautiful show towel was donated to the MHC last year, bearing the name Elizabeth Ruth and date 1836. Towels like this were made for display, not use, by young women in preparation for decorating their homes after marriage. At the bottom of this towel is a fine drawn-work panel featuring peacocks (or geese), hearts and a pot of flowers.

Gift of Beulah Hendricks Rittenhouse (2017.44.1)

The maker of the towel, Elizabeth Ruth (1819-1888), had an unusual story. She

Continue Reading


Our Immigrant Heritage: Landis/Landes

Written by Forrest Moyer on March 5, 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.

E-I-E-I-?

Old Abe Landis had a farm, E-I-E-I-O. How should he spell his name, with an “e” or an “i”?

The most common spelling of the name today is Landis, but not so in years

Continue Reading


Our Immigrant Heritage: Gehman

Written by Forrest Moyer on January 19, 2018
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.

Bernese roots

Gehman is a name common among Mennonites of eastern Pennsylvania and Lancaster and the Bible Fellowship Church (formerly Mennonite Brethren in Christ). It is not, however, common among Swiss and German Mennonites

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: Ruth

Written by Forrest Moyer on June 29, 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 and Magdalena

The immigrant ancestor of the Bucks-Mont Ruth family, whose name was Henry, came to Pennsylvania probably in the fall of 1717 and purchased 200 acres of land at Salford in February

Continue Reading


New acquisition: Deep Run and Salford gravestone photos

Written by Forrest Moyer on June 14, 2017

In 2016, the MHC received not one, but two collections of digital photos from local Mennonite cemeteries.

The first contains photos of all gravestones in the Deep Run Mennonite East Cemetery in Bedminster Township, Bucks County. The donor, Daryl W. Rice, shot the photos in 2015. He did an excellent job, selecting a time of day when the sun created the best light for reading inscriptions, and getting down to the level of the stones for a good angle.

Most 18th-century Mennonite

Continue Reading