Preston Mennonite Church (Cambridge, ON)

Classification scheme: 

Title: Preston Mennonite Church fonds

Dates of Creation: 1858-2002

Physical description: 70 cm. of textual records

Administrative history: At its earliest location, the Preston congregation was known as the Bechtel congregation. And Benjamin Eby made reference to a Bechtel meetinghouse built in 1824. The congregation then became known as Hagey's until it moved to Preston.

This congregation was in the oldest Mennonite settlement in Waterloo County. The first settlers, Joseph Schoerg and Samuel Betzner, arrived in 1800 from Pennsylvania and settled on the Grand River three miles west of the Hagey Church.

For the first number of years worship services were held in homes. A union meeting house was built as early as 1814. The first church at the Hagey location was built in 1842. It was remodeled in 1896 and again in 1927-1928 when a basement was added. The building was severely damaged by fire in January 1950. Another fire in February 1954 led to the decision to relocate to land in Preston donated by decided Eugene Langs.

Early leaders included Jacob Bechtel (1769-1838, ordained in Pa.); Joseph Bechtel (1761-1838, ordained 1804); Martin Baer (1774-1845, ordained 1808); Benjamin Eby (1785-1853), ordained 1809 and 1812); Joseph Bauman (1766-1849, ordained 1802 in Pa.); John Baer (1804-1894, ordained, 1838); Johannes Cressman (1775-1818, ordained ca. 1815); David Sherk (1801-1882, ordained 1838), Joseph Hagey (1810-1876, ordained before 1842, 1851); Jacob B. Gingrich (1840-1920, ordained 1878), Abraham Oberholtzer (1834-1907, ordained 1889); David Wismer (1861-1949, ordained 1902); Benjamin B. Shantz (1880-1964, ordained 1908, 1939); Howard L. Good (1924-1996, ordained 1948); Rufus Jutzi (1915- , ordained 1951); Willis Breckbill (1926- , ordained 1955), Brian Bauman (1954- , ordained 1987) and Amzie Brubacher (1938- , ordained 1972).

Custodial history: Accessions from the Preston congregation have been received at various undocumented times.

Scope and Content: There are four series: Formal records, Informal records, bulletins and newsletters.

For photographs related to this congregation search the Mennonite Archival Image Database.

For sound recordings related to this congregation see, see Hist.Mss.9.25.

An encyclopedia entry for this congregation may be found in GAMEO

Original archival description created by Sam Steiner

See some joint Hagey-Wanner church archives in the Wanner Mennonite Church collection. See the Worship Service collection for recordings related to Preston Mennonite Church.

For further information see L. J. Burkholder, A brief history of the Mennonites in Ontario (1935), and Leslie D. Witmer, Pioneers of Christendom in Waterloo County 1800-1967: history of Hagey-Preston Mennonite Church(Preston : The Church, 1967).

Series 1: Formal records

  1.    Joseph Hagey and Manassah Hallman marriage register, 1858-1913
  2.    Deacon book, 1858-1945 (with references to earlier transactions as early as 1815)
  3.    Photocopy of above, plus English translation
  4.    Congregational account book, 1909-1927; annual meeting minutes, 1914-1927
  5.    Congregational account book, 1927-1955; annual meeting minutes, 1926-1956
  6.    Sunday school financial accounts and attendance records, 1915-1919
  7.    Sunday school financial and attendance records, 1919-1949
  8.    Building fund account book, 1953-1965; Building Committee minutes, 1953; Special congregational meeting minutes, 1953 (This is after fire of Feb. 1953)
  9.    Constitution and bylaws, 1959
  10.    Constitution and discipline of The Hagey-Wanner Young People's Bible Meeting Association, n.d.
  11.    Memorial of bargain and sale from Samuel Erb and Jesse Hilborn to John Erb, Joseph Erb and Jacob Hagen, Nov. 21, 1835; Indenture of bargain and sale from John Hilborn to David Snyder, Henry Bechtel and Samuel B. Bowman (trustees), Feb. 28, 1842; Declaration on use of brick meetinghouse, July 13, 1850; Memorial of 1842 bargain and sale; Indenture of conveyance between Charles Withington and Ervin Shantz, Harold Gimble and Chester Buschert, Dec. 19, 1944; letter from Preston Town Solicitor to Chester Buschert, Jan. 24, 1945; Indenture between Sophia Witmer and Preston Mennonite Church, Mar. 17, 1954; Mortgage of $10,000 between Lyall Steckly, Edwin Kinzie, Thomas Langs and Mennonite Mission Board of Ontario, Oct. 15, 1954
  12.    Sunday school records, 1913-1915
  13.    Summer Bible School records, 1938-1955
  14.    Minutes and correspondence re: Mennonite Conference of Ontario Executive Committee work with congregation on pastoral leadership issues, 1959-1961
  15.    Questionnaires used on matter of pastoral leadership within congregation, 1959.
  16.    Annual reports & minutes, financial reports, handwritten pastor's report, 1951-1960, 1981
  17. Church Council minutes, 1961-1967
    Note: Transferred from the files of J.B. Martin.

Series 2: Informal records

  1.     News clippings, including coverage of 1953 fire, dedication service after 1950 fire, 1954 dedication service in Preston, and numerous other historical clippings.
  2.     Misc. programs, 1923-1960
  3.     Leslie D. Witmer, "History of meeting houses of Preston Mennonite congregation," 1966
  4.   See Benjamin B. Shantz collection
  5.     Orpha Kinzie, "The unique history of the Preston Mennonite Church," 1986
  6.     Life songs (Scottdale, Pa. : Mennonite Pub. House, 1916) from Hagey's church
  7.     Richard Newton, Bible warnings (London : James Nisbet & Co., 18??). Bookplate states: "Mennonite Sunday school at Hagey : this reward is presented to student Jacob Gingrich, Nov. 13, 1892, teacher David Rudy... [signed] Abr. Oberholtzer, Anson Groh, Noah Bechtel"
  8.     Printer's plate of 1828 meetinghouse
  9.     Program for 175th anniversary, programs and newsletter for 200th anniversary
  10. Carol Steinman, Refined by fire: the story of Hagey/Preston Mennonite Church 1800-2000
  11. Booklet damaged in 1950 Hagey fire (articles damaged during the 1950 fire were divided and/or sold among the church members. Simeon Cressman chose this book which bears evidence of the its close encounter. (donated by Reta Groff, Semeon's sister-in-law))
  12. Leslie D. Witmer, Pioneers of Christendom in Waterloo County 1800-1967: history of Hagey-Preston Mennonite Church (Preston : The Church, 1967).
  13. Hagey Mennonite Church by F. Grove. - acrylic? ; 29x24 cm (sight in frame). - This is a painting of Hagey Mennonite Church as it looked before the 1928 renovation. The church was built in 1842. - Donated to the Archives in 2017 by Sherwood Hagey. - See Conrad Grebel University College art inventory for location.

Series 3: Bulletins

  1.     Bulletins, 1948 (Oct.), 1950-1973, 1989-1993

Series 4: Newsletter

June 2002


Generally 8:30-4:30 Monday to Friday. An appointment in advance is recommended.


Mennonite Archives of Ontario
Conrad Grebel University College
140 Westmount Road North
Waterloo, ON N2L 3G6

Phone: 519-885-0220 x24238