Classification scheme: 

Title: George E. Reesor fonds

Dates of creation1859-2009, 2021

Physical description: 34 cm of textual records

Biographical sketch: George Edward Reesor (1933-2021 ) was born to Amos Reesor and Anna (Barkey) Reesor in Scarborough Township, York County, Ontario. In 1957 he married Anna Kathryn Weaver of Columbiana, Ohio; they had three children—Mary Louise, Ernest, and Dale Edwin. George Reesor was the grandson of Old Order Mennonite minister, Thomas Reesor, and great-grandson of Old Order Mennonite bishop, Christian Reesor.

George grew up in the Markham-Waterloo Mennonite conference as a member of the Reesor Mennonite Church, but became a charter member of the Steele’s Avenue Mennonite Church in 1964. A farmer by vocation, George was always deeply interested in Mennonite history, partly because of the significant role his grandfather had in the Mennonite community. Many of Reesor family papers came into the possession of George in the course of time.

George is a long-time member of the Mennonite Historical Society of Ontario, and served on its board for many years. He also is a member of the Pennsylvania German Folklore Society of Ontario.

George Reesor authored four books:

  • Conversations with my parents (2006), a memoir of his parents based on conversations after they moved to a retirement home;
  • Thomas Reesor and the Reesor settlement in Northern Ontario (2008), including a presentation made by George to the Pennsylvania German Folklore Society of Ontario, and reproductions of letters to Thomas Reesor from settlers in Reesor, Ontario;
  • Over mountains and valleys: letters received by Bishop Christian Reesor of Markham from members of the Mennonite communities in Indiana, Manitoba, Michigan, Ohio, Ontario and Pennsylvania during the period 1859 to 1915 as organized and translated by his great grandson George Reesor (2009), reflecting issues within the Mennonite community in those years and especially including the formation of the Old Order Mennonite communities in North America, and
  • Conversations with my children (2012), a memoir by George Reesor of his life.

The first, second and fourth titles were printed in limited editions by Reesor; Over mountains and valleys was published by the Pennsylvania German Folklore Society of Ontario. Copies of all are in the Milton Good Library.

Custodial history: Donated to the Archives by George Reesor ca. 2010

Scope and content: The George Reesor fonds consists primarily of the original letters published in Over mountains and valleys, along with the draft translations of those letters. There is also one folder on the Reesor settlement in Northern Ontario.

The records are divided into three series: 1) Original correspondence (mostly in German holographic script) reproduced in translation in Over mountains and valleys (1859-1915); 2) Draft translations from German to English of the letters (2003-2007); 3) Reesor Settlement (1926-1927, 2000).

Notes: For photographs related to George Reesor search the Mennonite Archival Image Database.

For additional information on the Reesor family, see also the Christian Reesor and Thomas Reesor collections. See also monographs donated by George Reesor in the Milton Good Library.

Original archival description created 2017 by Sam Steiner and updated 2022 by Laureen Harder-Gissing

File list:

Series 1: Original Correspondence from Over Mountains and Valleys

  1. Assiniboia, Manitoba, 1877-1894, 1913, 1943, 1949)
  2. Daniel Burkholder (Hahnstown, Pennsylvania), 1884-1894
  3. Amos Cressman (New Hamburg, Ontario), 1878-1881
  4. Henry and Lizzie Eby (Salunga, Pennsylvania), 1886-1904
  5. Misc. from Franklin County, Pennsylvania, 1880-1888
  6. Christian Gayman and Jacob Gayman (Cayuga, Ontario), 1869-1896
  7. Benjamin Horning (Knauers, Pennsylvania), 1881-1886
  8. Jacob L. Huver (Salunga, Pennsylvania), 1887-1896
  9. Letters from Indiana-Michigan, 1877-1909
  10. Abraham and Elizabeth Lehman (Durbins Corners, Ohio), 1866-1888
  11. Milton Lehman (Milton Grove, Pennsylvania), 1880-1886
  12. Jacob Lehman and Christian Lehman (East Lewistown and Columbiana, Ohio), 1867-1895
  13. Jacob Lehman to Christian Burkholder, 1869
  14. Samuel Lesher and others (Chambersburg, Pennsylvania), 1859-1914
  15. Henry E. Longnecker (Mt. Joy, Pennsylvania), 1884-1892
  16. Abraham and Elizabeth Martin (Waterloo, Ontario), 1870-1901
  17. David Martin (Woolwich, Ontario), 1875-1892
  18. Ezra Martin (St. Jacobs, Ontario), 1914-1915
  19. Levi and Barbara Martin (St. Jacobs, Ontario), 1892-1904
  20. Paul Martin (St. Jacobs, Ontario), 1890-1914
  21. Moses and Tobias Martin (Heidelberg, Ontario), 1882-1905
  22. Jacob Mensch (Skippack, Pennsylvania), 1881-1906
  23. Tilman Moyer (Jordan, Ontario), 1866-1872
  24. Samuel D. Moyer (Clinton, Ontario), 1875
  25. New York (Clarence, Erie), 1874, 1880
  26. Peter and Maria Nissley (Mt. Joy, Pennsylvania), 1881-1886
  27. Ohio, Miscellaneous, 1875-1910
  28. Pennsylvania, Miscellaneous, 1883-1909
  29. Christian Risser (Brunnerville, Pennsylvania), 1885-1904
  30. Freeman, Isaac, Abraham Rittenhouse, Joseph Wismer (Niagara Peninsula, Ontario), 1874-1907
  31. Elias and Hannah Schneider (Waterloo, Ontario), 1876-1887
  32. Menno and Lehe Shantz (Waterloo, Ontario), 1899-1904
  33. Daniel Steckle, Samuel D. Moyer (Hay Township, Ontario), 1867-1893
  34. Moses and Lydia Weber (Waterloo, Ontario), 1891-1915
  35. Waterloo, Miscellaneous, 1869-1905
  36. Jacob Weaver, David Weaver (Mahoning County, Ohio), 1877-1895
  37. Misc. and special letters, 1853-1879
  38. Appendix A & B
    "Church Ordnungen (rules) compiled and written by Bishop Jakob Hochstetter near Manheim, Lancaster Co.", 1849
    "Discipline of the Lancaster Conference and how to apply it", ca. 1881, 1892

Series 2: Draft Translations of correspondence in Over Mountains and Valleys

  1. Translations for files 1-6 (above)
  2. Translations for files 7-14 (above)
  3. Translations for files 15-19 (above)
  4. Translations for files 20-26 (above)
  5. Translations for files 27-31 (above)
  6. Translations for files 32-37, and appendices (above)

Series 3: Reesor Settlement

Folder includes 1980 presentation by George Reesor on the Reesor settlement, stories told at a 2000 reunion at the Reesor settlement, and photocopies of several letters to and from Thomas Reesor from 1926-1929

Series 4: Biography

  1. Obituary of George Reesor, 2021


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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