Communion at Deep Run, 1877

Written by Forrest Moyer on April 29, 2020

Title image: Women cleaning benches before annual communion at Deep Run in the 1940s.

Until the mid-20th century, Deep Run East Mennonite congregation — like many Anabaptists — held communion only once a year. Some members viewed the Lord’s Supper as a Christian version of the Jewish feast of Passover, which occurs annually (Timothy Rice, Deep Run Mennonite Church East: A 250 Year Pilgrimage, 1746-1996, p. 43).

The following interesting account was published in the newspaper Bucks County Intelligencer (Doylestown), May

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An unusual historical observance

Written by Forrest Moyer on April 22, 2020

This brief article was written by John Ruth for the MHEP Newsletter, January 1994. It recounts a patriotic event that took place at the Towamencin Mennonite Meetinghouse in 1993.

The Towamencin congregation received a request from the Daughters of the American Revolution for permission to relocate a marker the organization had placed, in 1927, at the junction of the Sumneytown Pike and Old Forty Foot Road, just across the intersection from the Meetinghouse. A current (in 1993) widening of the Pike

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How we identify a fraktur artist

Written by Forrest Moyer on April 15, 2020

Schoolmasters who made fraktur for their students rarely signed their art. There are numerous artists who have yet to be identified or may never be known; but occasionally, evidence appears which allows historians and collectors to begin attributing artwork to a particular person.

This article, first published in the MHEP Newsletter January 1995 with the title “David Kulp, His Hand & Pen: The ‘Brown Leaf Artist’ Identified?”, describes a process of identification that may be considered typical. In this case, the

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New acquisition: Laadan and Anne Moyer family artifacts

Written by Joel Alderfer on April 8, 2020

Once in a great while in our collecting work at the Mennonite Heritage Center, we have the unusual opportunity to sort through and select from a multi-generational family collection in its native setting — the very homestead where the objects were either made or acquired, used, passed down and preserved. This is the scenario that developed after I received a phone call last May from the owner of a Moyer family homestead in Salford Township, Montgomery County, inviting me to

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Historic local newspapers

Written by Forrest Moyer on April 1, 2020

Newspapers are a great source of genealogical information, not only obituaries and death notices, but also estate and marriage notices, and — the best part — anecdotes and news about ancestors and relatives. As more papers are digitized and made available online, this wealth of information is more accessible than ever.

The list below of local newspapers was begun in 1992 by Joel Alderfer to assist researchers at the Mennonite Heritage Center, and is limited to Pennsylvania German areas of Bucks

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The Flu Epidemic of 1918: accounts from local diaries

Written by Joel Alderfer on March 25, 2020

As we experience and restructure our lives during the coronavirus pandemic of 2020, it may be helpful to understand how our community in central Montgomery County, PA was impacted by the global Influenza Epidemic of 1918. Several diaries of local persons in the Mennonite Heritage Center collection offer some glimpses back to that time.

A little background

Some researchers believe that the influenza of 1918 originated on farms in western Kansas in the spring of that year. Most scientists and scholars now

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Hanna Rittenhouse Clemens

Written by Forrest Moyer on March 18, 2020

This article was written by Joel Alderfer for the MHEP Newsletter in 1994, based on research done for the exhibit When This You See, Remember Me: The Experience of Mennonite Women.

Hanna Rittenhouse was born in Towamencin Township, Montgomery County, the youngest child of Jacob K. Rittenhouse (1838-1917), a township school director, and Elizabeth D. Clemmer Rittenhouse (1940-1922). She enjoyed her grade-school education and graduated from the eighth grade in 1895, for which she wrote the class history. About a year

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Moyer family inheritance letter, 1752

Written by Forrest Moyer on March 11, 2020

Originally published in the MHEP Newsletter, May 1993, this rare letter details a family conflict over inheritance and possibly religion.

Elizabeth Oblinger was a sister of Christian Meyer/Moyer, early Mennonite deacon at Franconia, and sister-in-law of Henry Funk, the bishop. Here her husband, Nicholas, writes from far away — “beyond the Blue Mountain” (Palmerton, PA area) — to complain that Elizabeth has not received the inheritance due from her father’s estate. Nicholas wonders if perhaps the old father (Christian Moyer

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New acquisition: Yoder-Shelly family Bible

Written by Forrest Moyer on February 11, 2020

Many of you know the story of the “Saucon Incident” during the American War for Independence — eleven men of the Saucon Mennonite congregation in Northampton County were imprisoned for refusing to pledge allegiance to Pennsylvania, and all their moveable property was sold on auction. If you don’t know the story, read it here. (The linked book, Sweet Land of Liberty by Francis S. Fox, is available in the MHC Library, along with John Ruth’s account of the incident in

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Selections from Mahlon Moyer’s “Parcemia”

Written by Forrest Moyer on January 10, 2020

Mahlon G. Moyer (1853-1939) was raised in a Mennonite family of New Britain Township, Bucks County. As a young man he moved to Philadelphia and became a telegraph operator; married and started a family. Later he settled in North Wales, where he lived the rest of his life.

Unwilling to join the conservative Mennonite Church of his parents, Mahlon was baptized in the Presbyterian Church at age 28. His great-grandson, Robert “Bob” Walters, returned to the Mennonites and served as

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