Classification scheme: 

Title: South Cayuga Mennonite Church fonds

Dates of creation: 1839-1982

Physical description: 10 cm. of textual records

Administrative history: The church was located seven miles west of Dunnville on the Rainham Rd. at Fry's Corners.

The Mennonite community at South Cayuga could be considered an extension of the Mennonite community at Vineland. Early settlers here included sons of Jacob Fry, as well as Rittenhouse, Culp, Albright and Moyer families. The congregation was organized in the late 1830s. Jacob Culp was the first minister. The congregation was originally known as Fry's Corners Mennonite.

The community lost members both to the Evangelical Association in the mid-19th century and to the Old Order division at the end of the 19th century. In 1965 they amalgamated and met at the Rainham meetinghouse. The South Cayuga building was sold and moved; the land was also sold. (This land was immediately east of the cemetery.) The cemetery is still in use.

The congregation has been affiliated with the Mennonite Conference of Ontario (1830s-1965) and the Mennonite Church (1898-1965) The language of worship is English. In 1925 there were 9 members; in 1950, 15; in 1965, 29.

Ministers with particular leadership roles at Rainham include (years of service indicated): Jacob Fry, Jacob Culp (1835-1875), Joseph Nash (1840s-1850? (became an Evangelical Association minister)), Christian Gayman (1860s-1880s), Moses Hoover (1893-1931), A. Lewis Fretz (1931-1963)

Custodial history: The Rainham congregation has made occasional South Cayuga-related donations to the Mennonite Archives of Ontario. The young peoples meeting book was received from the estate of Robert Shantz in 2019.

Scope and Content: There are four series: Formal records, Informal records and Books

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

An encyclopedia entry for this congregation may be found in GAMEO

​For further information see: Unveiling of historical marker, South Cayuga Mennonite Cemetery (Rainham, Ont. : The Church, 1982); Mennonite Encyclopedia, "South Cayuga Mennonite Church"; L.J. Burkholder, A Brief History of the Mennonites in Ontario (1935)

Original archival description created May 2000 by Sam Steiner

File list:

Series 1: Formal records

  1. Deed, 1839 (Photocopy) and related legal documents
  2. Sunday school record book, 1945-1954
  3. Sunday school attendance books, 1870s (four books)
  4. South Cayuga Sewing Circle record book, 1957-1965
  5. Cemetery Committee, 1950-1971
  6. Mennonite Aid Union valuation of South Cayuga Meetinghouse, 1964
  7. South Cayuga Young Peoples Meetings, 1956-1957

Series 2: Informal records

  1. Misc. Programs, 1928-1982
  2. Guest book from 1950 anniversary

Series 3: Books used by congregation

    Library books from South Cayuga Sunday School Library of 1870s

    Kinder-Lieder / Ernst Gottlieb Woltersdorf (New York : Amerikanischen Traktat-Gesellschaft, n.d.)
    Biblische Naturgeschichte für Kinder / Mrs. M.N. Cook (New York : Amerikanischen Traktat-Gesellschaft, n.d.)
    De Altväter : eine Erzählung aus der Geschichte der mährischen Brüder / Chr. G. Barth (New York : Amerikanischen Traktat-Gesellschaft, n.d.)
    Leben der Mary Lothrop ... (New York : Amerikanischen Traktat-Gesellschaft, n.d.)
    Erstes Lesebuch für Kinder (New York : Amerikanischen Traktat-Gesellschaft, n.d.)

Other books associated with South Cayuga Mennonite Church

    Hymns and tunes for public and private worship, and Sunday schools (Elkhart, Ind. : Mennonite Pub. Co., 1890)
    Gospel hymns, no. 5 and 6 combined: words only (Toronto : Copp, Clark Co., 1888)
    Letters to the Mennonite community in Upper Canada (Markham, Ont. : Thomas Reesor, 1939)
    Das Neue Testament unsers Herrn und Heilandes Jesu Christi.... Lancaster: Johann Bär, 1845. "Dieses Testament ist bestimmt zum Lob Gottes im Cayuga Versammlungshaus" -- Label inside front cover

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Mennonite Archives of Ontario
Conrad Grebel University College
140 Westmount Road North
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Phone: 519-885-0220 x24238