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Old Order Mennonites

Classification scheme: 
VIII-1

Administrative history: "Old Order Mennonite" is a generic term for Swiss-Pennsylvania Mennonite groups who dress plainly and reject modern technologies that other North Americans take for granted. They put the disciplined church community, rather than individual religious experience, at the center of Christian faith. Ordnungen (orders) comprise the rules and regulations of the church community.

For further reference see Amos B. Hoover. "Old Order Mennonites, Pennsylvania." Mennonite Encyclopedia, V:654; and Sandra Cronk. "Ordnung (Order)." Mennonite Encyclopedia, V:662 at www.gameo.org.

Old Order (Wisler horse and buggy) Mennonites are found in five major settlements in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, and Ontario. They trace their origin to 1872, when bishop Jacob Wisler of Elkart, Indiana was expelled from the Old Mennonite Church because of his opposition to innovations (e.g. Sunday schools) and organized separate district conferences in Indiana and Ohio. This split was followed by the organization of affiliated district conferences in Ontario in 1889, in Pennsylvania in 1893, and in Virginia in 1901.

For a history of events leading to the division in Ontario see E. Reginald Good. Frontier Community to Urban Congregation: First Mennonite Church, Kitchener 1813-1988. Kitchener: First Mennonite Church, 1988; and Isaac R. Horst. Close Ups of the Great Awakening. Mount Forest: privately printed, 1985. For a description of Old Order Mennonite lifestyle see Isaac R. Horst. Separate and Peculiar. Mount Forest: privately printed, 1983; and J. Winfield Fretz, The Waterloo Mennonites: A Community in Paradox. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier Press for Conrad Grebel College, 1989.

File list:

Box 1

  1. Maps of Old Order Mennonite farmsteads: 
    Waterloo 1944, 1969, 1984, 1990, 1999, 2007, 2009
    Mount Forest 2006
    Chesley 2006
  2. Sociological Research Questionnaire, n.d.
  3. Newsclippings, 1967-70
  4. Newsclippings about Compensation Plan Exemption, 1969-70
  5. Letter to Minister of Education, 1964
  6. Map of "country shops" in Waterloo and Wellington counties and surrounding areas (mostly Old Order)
    - Alson S. Clemmer, 2004
    - Country shops and map directory: a map directory of local Waterloo/Wellington country shops and the surrounding area / Janice Marshall, 2013.
  7. Brochure on Old Order Mennonite published by Visitor Centre in St. Jacobs, 2007

Box 2

  1. Baptismal Records Compiled by Isaac Horst, 1842-1980
  2. Photocopy of Baptismal Register, 1865-1962
  3. Baptismal Records Compiled by Mrs. Elam Bauman, 1865-1938
  4. Membership List, ca. 1970
  5. Ordination Records, 1964-77
  6. Ordnungen, 1985 or 1986
  7. Levi P. Martin deacon's book (photocopy), 1873-1915

Box 3

  1. Death Register Compiled by Oziah M. Bearinger, c.1900-1974
  2. Death Register, 1935-1967
  3. Funeral Sermons for Edward G. Martin (22 November 1903-5 February 2006) (Transcript / summaries of funeral sermons) by Elmer Shantz, Alvin Gingrich & Maynard Martin
  4. Old Order Mennonite Parochial School Constitution, 2000
  5. Agreement with David Martin Old Order Mennonites re Three Bridges Public School
    Custodial history: Received from Angelica Allen in 2013.
    Scope and content: Also includes documents from the Waterloo Region District School Board's 2013 accommodation review.

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Making an appointment with the archivist in advance is strongly recommended

Contact

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

Phone: 519-885-0220 x24238

Email: marchive@uwaterloo.ca