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 Joel Alderfer on June 4, 2020
Traditionally, many communities have unusual personalities, or characters, who are remembered and immortalized by stories that are passed down long after their passing. They are people whose colorful lives may not be well documented in written history, but are often remembered in the oral tradition.
I wrote these bios for the MHEP Newsletter in 1995, based on stories collected from older folks, local historians, and my own research. We’re sharing them here in two parts (this week and next), adding a
Written by Forrest Moyer on October 16, 2019
On Sunday, October 27, 2019 at 7:00 p.m., the MHC is hosting a special Community Harvest Home program in the Nyce Barn on our campus. All are welcome! Please bring a nonperishable food item to share with the food bank at Keystone Opportunity Center. Click here for more information.
Director Sarah Heffner wrote the following background on Harvest Home for the MHEP Quarterly in 2004.
Harvest time was highly significant for southeastern Pennsylvanians in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and Harvest
Written by Forrest Moyer on December 8, 2017
In November, the MHC acquired a beautiful fraktur family register that tells the story of a unique and interesting family who bridged the Mennonite-Funkite-Brethren divide of the early 19th century.
The register (2017.65.1) is for the family of John and Elizabeth Hall Horning of Skippack Township, Montgomery County. It was made about 1785 and appears to be the work of schoolmaster Henry Brachtheiser, who made other pieces in the 1780s at Skippack and Salford.
The pages were originally longer, but were
Written by Forrest Moyer on October 23, 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 Derstine family of eastern Pennsylvania (one branch uses the spelling Derstein) is descended from Michael Dierstein (1712-1777), an immigrant who came to Philadelphia with a group of Mennonites on the ship
Written by Steve Diehl on September 5, 2017
For three years, Beny Krisbianto faced the fierce opposition of close-knit, deeply entrenched neighbors, difficulties with four contractors, and the intransigence of City Hall. One contractor told him to stop trying to build his church for recently arrived Indonesians in South Philly. Now people ask him in amazement, “How is it that you have a relationship with the mayor?” Mayor Kenney recently visited, and the city council held a meeting in the new church. Neighbors who once opposed him invited
Written by Forrest Moyer on February 1, 2017
This month we’re featuring a photograph collection recently donated to the MHC: photos of the former Herald/Provident Bookstore in Souderton, mid 1950s-1990s. The oldest photos date back to the original Herald Bookstore on Main Street and its move in 1957 to the new Souderton Shopping Center at Bethlehem Pike and Route 113.
The store was later renamed Provident Bookstore and eventually sold out of Mennonite hands, becoming Berean Christian Stores and finally Lifeway Stores, before closing permanently in February 2016. Long-term