Detweiler Meetinghouse, Inc.

Classification scheme: 

Title: Detweiler Meetinghouse, Inc. fonds

Date(s) of creation: 1959-1984

Physical description: 30 cm of textual material

Administrative history: Detweiler's Meetinghouse, located at 3445 Roseville Road, Roseville, Ontario,  is the only surviving stone meetinghouse built by Mennonites in Ontario. It was built in 1855 and closely resembles Frick's meetinghouse in Pennsylvania. The meetinghouse replaced an earlier log school & meetinghouse built about 1830 for the congregation then led by Preacher Jacob F. Detweiler and Deacon Jacob H. Detweiler.

The meetinghouse was used until 1966 when it closed (see Detweiler Mennonite Church), and ownership was transferred to the Mennonite Conference of Ontario. It was rented by other Mennonite groups on various occasions. Finally an offer to buy the building led interested Mennonite and non-Mennonite persons to appeal to the conference to preserve the building as an historic site. In 1990 a non-profit corporation, Detweiler Meetinghouse, Inc., was established (incorporation was completed in 1991) and in 1992 the property and adjoining cemetery were transferred to the new board.

The board is made up three persons appointed by the Conference (now Mennonite Church Eastern Canada), three persons appointed by the Mennonite Historical Society of Ontario and additional local community members. The original board members in 1990 who applied for incorporation were Lorna Bergey, Allan Dettweiler, Rae Hilborn, Gerald Musselman, Richard Schiedel and Norman Shantz. Added to the board by 1991 were Tom Hallman, Will Stoltz, Clayton Cressman and Reynold Kipfer.

This board oversaw the restoration of the building which was completed in 1999. Since that time the board has arranged programming (mostly musical because of the stunning acoustics of the space) and sought to rent the facility for weddings, family gatherings, etc.

Scope and content: The fonds consists of two series 1) Minutes and 2) Miscellaneous documents related to the work of the board.

Custodial History: The fonds was donated to the Mennonite Archives of Ontario by Lorna Bergey and Sam Steiner. Accruals were donated by Roy Scheerer in 2014 and 2020. Accruals came from board members in 2023.

Notes: Description prepared by Sam Steiner, December 2008 and updated by Laureen Harder-Gissing in 2022.

Series 1: Minutes

  1. Board and annual, 1991- Nov 2023
  2. Historical Committee (re: book), 1996-1999
  3. Early meetings and incorporation group, 1987-1990

Series 2 : Miscellaneous

  1. Prior to 1987 documents, including Mennonite Conference of Ontario & Quebec Executive Board minute (1985), petition to retain the meetinghouse (1987), special meeting of Mennonite Historical Society of Ontario (1979), etc.
  2. Roseville Mennonite Cemetery records, 1842-
    Note: See also Detweiler Mennonite Church, III-42.7.1/6.
    1. Legal documents and correspondence
        Includes deed (1842), Rules and Regulations (1979, 1993, 1996, 2004) and some additional correspondence
    2. Minutes and financial records (bound books)
        Minutes, 1911-1927, 1959-1960
        Financial records, 1958-Jan 2007 (some years missing)
    3. Minutes and financial statements
        Minutes, 1996, 2006
        Financial statements, 1987-2017
    4. Cemetery lists and historical background
        Listing of internments prepared by Ontario Genealogical Society (1990)
        Two additional pages of notes on the John and Anna (Wenz) Kaster family
        Plot map (90 x 70 cm), [after 2011]
        Brief histories, 1989, 1996, 1998
  3. Historical narratives
  4. Dedication day services, 26 September 1999
  5. Promotional material
  6. Detweiler: Detweiler's Meetinghouse : a History of Mennonites near Roseville, Ontario by Reg Good, 1999 
  7. Detweiler Meeting House restoration and addition plans, including: site plan, floor plans, exterior elevations, washroom elevations and section thru' access ladder, Oct 1998 (unsigned), Seating layout and details, wood pew details, Nov 1998 (unsigned), drop leaf table sketch (no date), window and door restoration, 1997
  8. Biltmore beaver felt black hat, donated to the Meetinghouse by Mary Elizabeth Hope, a descendant of Enoch R. Detweiler (1818-1874), preacher at the Roseville Mennonite Church. The donor attributed original ownership to Enoch Detweiler, but the Biltmore hat company was not in existence until after his lifetime. The hat is in keeping with Mennonite men's dress of the era.
    Custodial history: Donated by the Meetinghouse by Mary Elizabeth Hope. Transferred to the Archives in 2014.
  9. Correspondence re heritage designation, 2001, 2013
  10. A celebration of faithfulness: cemetery walk and service of remembrance, 2005
  11. Newspaper clippings
  12. Books and ephemera:
    Biblia, das ist Die ganze heilige Schrift, 1819. Bible belonged to Jacob Dettweiler (1789-1875) and includes genealogy data about his wives and children. This Bible was received by the Archives from the Meetinghouse in 2022.
    Note: A copy of Sechs geistreiche Bucher vom wahren Christenthum, 1759 was also received from the Meetinghouse in 2022 and has been transferred to the Milton Good Library for cataloguing. 
    "Ein abschied's Lied, 1837." - A "departure song" in fraktur script with musical notation for Abraham Clemmer from Jacob Rosenberger.


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

Phone: 519-885-0220 x24238