Classification scheme: 

Title: Reesor United Mennonite Church fonds

Dates of creation: 1925-1948

Physical description: 7 cm of textual records

Administrative history: The Reesor United Mennonite congregation began services about 1926, and formally organized in May 1927. It was incorporated as the Reesor United Mennonite Church in 1932. The congregation originated through immigration from the Soviet Union, having originally arrived in Waterloo, Ontario in 1925. The settlement disintegrated as families moved away.

The settlement was situated along the Trans-Canada highway west of Cochrane, Ontario, at approximately Mile 103. It was organized in a traditional Russian Mennonite manner with Jacob C. Toews as district man, Wilhelm Rempel as Schulze, Cornelius Penner and Herman Lepp as preachers and David Heidebrecht as schoolteacher. The settlement initially prospered, reaching a membership of 75 in 1932, but declined rapidly during the Depression. The congregation dissolved on January 5, 1948.

The community and congregation were named after Old Order Mennonite minister, Thomas Reesor (see Hist.Mss.1.225), who aided in establishing the community. A memorial monument to the community was erected in 1978 and dedicated in 1980.

Custodial history: Herman Lepp donated the collection to the Mennonite Archives of Ontario in February 2004. Betty Penner donated addtional materials in 2009. A copy of the Acta Nostra newsletter came from Niagara United Mennonite Church in 2020.

Scope and content: The fonds contains the formal records of the church, such as minute books, correspondence, and organizational documents. Interspersed in the files are informal records, such as descriptions of the Reesor community, and a clothing distribution list.

Note: Original description created April 2004 by Sam Steiner

File list:

  1. Minute books.
    1. Beschluss der Bruderschaft, 1926-1928
    2. Tagebuch, 1926-1928
    3. Protokoll, 1928-1929
    4. Protokoll-Buch, 1935-1948; Protokoll for 1931 laid in.
  2. Correspondence, 1930-1939
  3. Foundational documents.
    1. Organisation der im Jahre 1930 entstandenen Vereinigten Mennoniten gemeinde in Reesor, Ontario
    2. Memorandum of Agreement, 1932
    3. By-Laws and Regulations of the Reesor United Mennonite Church, September 25, 1932
    4. Jungundverein constitution
  4. Correspondence, receipts, Ontario Gazette notice of dissolution of the Church, 1947-1948.
  5. Two handwritten descriptions of the Reesor community from the early to mid 1930s ; one by H.P. Lepp, the other unsigned.
  6. Constitutions and By-Laws of the The Conference of the United Mennoite Churches in Ontario, n.d.
  7. Kleiderverteilung am 12/XII 26 = Clothing distribution list, 12 December 1926
  8. Familien Register, Johann Epp (1892-) and Anna Friesen Epp (1899-).
  9. Statistics, 1931, 1932
  10. Cornelius Penner (1879-1939) correspondence, 1926-1938
    Custodial history: The file was donated by Betty Penner in 2009
  11. Cornelius Penner (1879-1939) correspondence, 1927-1935
    Custodial history: The file was donated by Betty Penner in 2009
    Note: This file was received in an envelope marked "Personal letters re Cong[regation] in Reesor 1930"
  12. Cornelius Penner (1879-1939) testimony : "Gemeinde Erschutterung in Herbst 1930 in Reesor, Ont." 
    Custodial history: The file was donated by Betty Penner in 2009
  13. News articles:
    The new settlement : northern Ontario / translation of a letter written by J.J. Hidebrand in the Mennonitische Rundschau. --14 Sept 1927
    Final reunion marks the 75th anniversary : saying goodbye to Reesor / Mark Gentili. --The Northern Times, 16 Aug 2000
  14. Familienveerzeichnisse [Family membership register] der Glieder der Mennonitengemeinde zu Reesor Ontario Canada, 3 volumes, [192-]-[194-]
    Note: Volume 3 was transferred by the Archives from the Herman Lepp fonds (Hist.Mss.1.31) in 2022.
  15. Acta Nostra newsletter, May 1939


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