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 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 June 10, 2020
Recently, a post about scrapple on the Pennsylvania Dutch At-Home Companion blog generated a lot of interest. This post contributes another primary source on scrapple, from Henry R. Bergey of Franconia Township, writing circa 1925.
Henry Ruth Bergey (1843-1925) was a farmer in ”Bergey Valley” along the Indian Creek in Franconia. This is the last entry in a manuscript notebook begun in 1924 when he was 80 years old. You can read more about Henry and his notebook in this post
Written by Joel Alderfer on May 6, 2020
Back in late March, we published on this blog, Flu Epidemic of 1918: accounts from local diaries, which included excerpts from the diary of Henry D. Hagey, painter-paperhanger, artist and historian of Elroy, Franconia Township, PA. In this post, I’ll expand on his story and feature a selection of photos and artifacts from his camera and hand, donated to the Mennonite Heritage Center by his relatives over the last three decades.
The MHC has a few hard-bound copies of this
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
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
Written by Forrest Moyer on November 6, 2019
John S. Coffman (1848-1899) of Elkhart, IN was one of the first evangelists to hold a series of meetings in Franconia Mennonite Conference, in November 1896. His tour lasted three weeks, during which he preached in all but one congregation in the conference. In his diary, he recorded impressions of the places and people he met, giving us a rare view of local Mennonite culture. The diary is archived at the Mennonite Church USA Archives in Elkhart and was published
Written by Forrest Moyer on July 23, 2019
Republished from the MHEP Newsletter, May 1986. Mrs. Heebner’s full memoir is available in the MHC library.
This history is a reflection of Susie Freed Heebner (March 7, 1892-December 6, 1984) as she thought about things that happened throughout her lifetime. Susie always enjoyed writing things down. Over the years she kept diaries. Her son, Steward, suggested that she write this life history. He bought her the spiral-ringed notebook into which she recorded her remembrances. For him we are thankful;
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
Written by Forrest Moyer on January 9, 2019
The following is a translation of a Pennsylvania Dutch story submitted to the Souderton Independent newspaper by local historian Henry Hagey and printed December 22, 1933. It appears to be a true story, collected by Hagey from deacon Jake Freed (1851-1929) of the Franconia Mennonite congregation. The story was told to him by one Martin Bechtel, presumably Martin G. Bechtel (1797-1890), buried at Blooming Glen.
While only the barest details flesh the story, it does give some idea of what traveling