Written by Joel Alderfer on August 17, 2021
Over the last two years, grandchildren of William A. Derstine (1888-1961), of near Sellersville, PA, and a member of the Rockhill Mennonite congregation, have donated a small but interesting collection of his correspondence and photographs.
Derstine was an entrepreneur who owned several automotive garages, as well as a farm; became a lay leader in the Rockhill congregation, the Franconia Mennonite Conference, and in wider Mennonite Church concerns; and was active in civic organizations in the Sellersville-Telford area. Perhaps his most important
Written by Forrest Moyer on July 27, 2021
This essay by Paul Lederach was published in the MHEP Quarterly in 2001. He recalls an event that had far-reaching effects on the practice of local Mennonites in regard to evangelism, salvation, confession/forgiveness, and corporate/individual faith.
When I travel west from Souderton to Harleysville on Pennsylvania Route 113 and stop at the traffic light at Godshall Road – a CVS on the northwest corner and many houses on the northeast corner – I can scarcely remember when the northeast corner was
Written by Forrest Moyer on June 24, 2021
Recently Mary Jane and Hiram Hershey donated several old deeds, including one for the farm where her grandfather Abraham Mensch grew up, in Skippack Township. The address today is 4030 Mensch Rd, Schwenksville, just outside Skippack village.
The deed is from 1803, many years before the Mensch family owned the property. Abraham Markley (1723-1800) purchased this farm of 100 acres in 1751. After he died with no will in 1800, his heirs sold the farm to brother-in-law Mathias Tyson. Each sibling
Written by Forrest Moyer on May 19, 2021
This article was written by Jill Davidson, edited by Joel Alderfer, and originally published in the MHEP Quarterly (Spring 1999). Thanks to Jill, a longtime member and supporter of MHEP, for allowing us to republish. Images are courtesy of Archives of the Bible Fellowship Church.
When John H. Oberholtzer and other progressive Mennonites left the Franconia Conference in 1847 and formed the East Pennsylvania Mennonite Conference, or “New Mennonites,” not all were satisfied.
In 1858, Preacher William Gehman of the Upper
Written by Forrest Moyer on April 19, 2021
Recently, Univest Bank and Trust Co. donated an old wooden box of papers labeled “S. G. Schwenk, Schwenksville, Pa.” Presumably, it was found in the Schwenksville bank building when Union National Bank took ownership in 1962.
Inside the box were papers of the Schwenk family (for whom the borough was named) — Jacob Schwenk (1789-1852) who operated the store and post office there, his father Abraham Schwenk (1759-1843) of Skippack & Perkiomen Township, and Jacob’s sons, Abraham G. Schwenk (1826-1899)
Written by Joel Alderfer on March 26, 2021
This article was published in the MHEP Newsletter in November 1995, and has been updated to include church records added to the collection since that time.
Researchers at the MHC Historical Library often ask, “Where are the early Mennonite church records?” or “What church records do you have?”
This is not a simple question. First of all, what does the researcher mean by church records? There are membership, baptismal, ministerial, burial records, alms records, property and land records.
I explain that generally,
Written by Joel Alderfer on February 18, 2021
Last year, a descendant donated several artifacts and digital images of Henry and Maggie Mininger. As I documented these items, and began to research their lives, I became intrigued with their story. Maggie’s nearly hidden talent, expressed in adversity, is fascinating to consider.
Henry H. Mininger (1878-1957) was born and raised in Hatfield Township, Montgomery County, the son of Jonas J. and Annie Hackman Mininger, of the Plains Mennonite congregation. In 1899, he married Maggie Moyer (1879-1949), a daughter of David
Written by Forrest Moyer on January 21, 2021
Paul M. Lederach (1925-2014) was born in Norristown, PA, the oldest son of Mennonite mission workers. After high school, he studied at Goshen College, Eastern Baptist College and Southwestern Baptist Seminary. Paul was ordained a minister in the Franconia Mennonite Conference in 1944 and a bishop in 1949. From 1952 to 1978, he was associated with Mennonite Publishing House, Scottdale, PA, in several roles, and from 1978 to 1985 had an insurance business in Scottdale. Paul returned to the Franconia
Written by Forrest Moyer on December 10, 2020
Each of the four seasons has an Ember Day (image source: Wikipedia).
Several years ago, while transcribing a Bucks County Mennonite family register, I came across an unfamiliar phrase noting that Henry Angeny was born December 20, 1843 “auf den quatember [on the Quatember]”.
The Quatuor Tempora “Four Seasons” (called in German “Quatember”) were four groups of “Ember Days” or “Embertides” in the church year that were set aside seasonally for fasting and prayer. Early in Roman church practice they were instituted
Written by Forrest Moyer on November 18, 2020
The following story about an important gift in 1995 to the Mennonite Historians of Eastern Pennsylvania was written by John L. Ruth and published in the MHEP Newsletter (July 1995).
Twenty-five years later, we continue to benefit from the generosity of Ernest and Lois Clemens, and many others who have supported MHEP over the decades. Will you consider a gift today toward the work of remembering Mennonite heritage and Anabaptist faith in this community? https://mhep.org/give-join/
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