Wideman Mennonite Church (Markham, ON)

Classification scheme: 

Title: Wideman Mennonite Church fonds

Dates of creation: 1816-2002

Physical description: 60 cm of textual records

Administrative history: Located on the west side of Highway 48, south of 18th Avenue in Markham, Ontario, the congregation has been affiliated with the Mennonite Conference of Ontario since 1820, the Mennonite Church since 1898, the Mennonite Conference of Eastern Canada since 1988, and Mennonite Church Canada since 1995. The congregation also participated in the Markham Mennonite Council.

The language of worship is English; the transition from German occurred in the 1880s. The first building was occupied in 1817 with subsequent building programs in 1857 and 1928. Henry Wideman is considered the founding leader of the group. The congregation originated through immigration from Pennsylvania.

Sunday school began about 1876, closed in the 1880s, and reopened in 1892. Wideman's was the largest of the early Mennonite churches in the Markham area. A substantial portion of the congregation followed its bishop, Christian Reesor, into the Old Order Mennonite movement. The Mennonite Brethren in Christ also attracted a number of members.

Custodial history: The Wideman congregation has made periodic donations to the Mennonite Archives of Ontario. Items traced to John D. Grove, a former deacon, were donated by his son, Joseph H. Grove in 2004; copies of some books were donated by Len Friesen in 2008.

Notes: Original archival description created March 2001 by Sam Steiner.
For photographs related to this congregation search the Mennonite Archival Image Database.
For sound recordings related to this congregation, see Hist.Mss.9.25
Further materials related to this congregation may be found by searching the Archives.
An encyclopedia entry for this congregation may be found in GAMEO.

File list:

Series 1: Formal records

  1. Annual reports,  1961-1965, 2002
  2. Young People's Meeting minutes & finances, 1931-1959
  3. Young People's Meeting Committee, 1936-1959
  4. Sunday School attendance & offering book, 1892-1914
  5. Sunday School attendance & record book, 1914-1938
  6. Documents related to construction of  the 1817 building (photocopies)
        From Daniel Hoover Bible
  7. Building Committee minutes, 1926-1928
  8. Financial records (offering-related), 1952-1971 (the second volume, maintained by Deacon John Grove, also included Young People's Bible Meeting Topics 1910s; transcriptions from Semi-annual meeting of York County Ministerial, 1894-1928; historical notes; Baptisms in York County Churches copied from Benjamin B. Reesor's diaries; list of ordained persons in York County, 1808-1929; baptisms, 1892-1913; Samuel Wideman's membership list, and subsequent lists, 1862-1987; lists of Bible conferences at Wideman and Almira, 1935-1977; Evangelistic meetings, 1936-1986 and other special meetings and speakers.
  9. Church council minutes, 1959-1965
  10. Membership records (one stapled booklet appears to be a running list of members that records additions and removals with reasons for the changes. The loose leaves are not in proper sequence; also included are lists from ca. 1920 and 1958.)
  11. Finance Committee minutes, 1961-1966
  12. Church Directories
  13. Congregational meeting minute book
    1845-1910, 1916-1940 (original and copy) 
    1941-1950 (original and copy)
    1911-12, 1930-1933 (original and copy)
  14. Sunday School reorganization records
    1910, 1937-1964, 1914-1936, 1911 (original and copy)
  15. Account Book
    1893-1944 (copy)
  16. Deacon's Book
    1906-1951 (copy); includes description of ordination tensions in 1912
  17. Offering Accounts
    1933-1959 (also includes records re: Vacation Bible School, 1913)(copy)
  18. Membership record book of the Altona, Almira, Cedar Grove and Wideman congregations, 1892-1968

Series 2: Informal records

  1. Programs, 1905-
  2. Sample of weaving done by Samuel Reesor, orphan in India of 1897 supported by Wideman's
  3. Misc. financial records (receipts, invoices), 1907-1917
        Includes references to minister's travelling fund
  4. "General Appeal for Relief Funds," 1919
  5. Building construction invoices, etc., 1928
  6. News clippings
  7. "Wideman Mennonite Church, 1816-1976"
        Also 1986 supplement
  8. Resolution and subscription list of persons helping to pay costs of improvements to Bishop Samuel Wideman's barn, 1902.
  9. Informal record of Sunday school and Bible Conference meetings, 1908-1914
  10. Lehman vs. Kester lawsuit from 1909. Judgements of 20 January 1909, 6 May 1909. (This involves a lawsuit in which Bishop Samuel Wideman was a factor in counselling the plaintiff, Lehman, a member of the church, that he would be disciplined for bringing a lawsuit against a man for seduction of the plaintiff's daughter)
  11. The sewing circle / by Elsie Hoover, [19--]
    Note: Includes photograph, ca. 1950.
  12. Congregational profile

Series 3: Church Bulletins

1957-1964 (incomplete), 1966-1977 (incomplete), 1979-1993, 1995-2019


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