Classification scheme: 
Hist. Mss. 1.7

Title: Noah S. Hunsberger fonds

Dates of creation: 1872-1956

Physical description: 25 cm of textual records

Biographical sketch: Noah Sherk Hunsberger (14 December 1877-14 March 1958) was the ninth (of 12) child of Abraham Hunsberger and Elizabeth Sherk. On 1 March 1905 he married Mary Ann Steiner Shantz (17 October 1881-6 February 1925). Noah and Mary Ann had three children. After Mary Ann's death, on 8 September 1926 he married Minnie A. Cober Witmer (20 June 1887-25 December 1987). Noah and Minnie had two children.

Noah Hunsberger was ordained 15 May 1900 as a minister for the David Eby (Erb. St.) congregation in Waterloo. In later years he said he had been ordained to preach in the English language. He served as a minister at the Waterloo congregation from 1900-1920 and again from 1923-1929. From 1920-1923 he served at the Sherkston congregation, and continued to serve the Rural Mission Board in a variety of locations after 1930, e.g. in Zurich, Bothwell and Baden (in the late 1930s). Thus he was actively engaged in pastoral work for forty years. Hunsberger also had in interest in the early work of the House of Friendship during the 1940s. By vocation he had a woodworking shop for some years and also was a beekeeper. During most of his ministry he lived in Waterloo, in later years he lived near Baden and in St. Jacobs.

Hunsberger did not have much theological training; he took some correspondence courses from the Elkhart Institute (later Goshen College). He was described as an "earnest and genuine" preacher -- often moved to tears when speaking. In his last years he carried on a ministry of hospital visitation.

Custodial history: Donated to the Mennonite Archives of Ontario by Minnie Hunsberger on April 21, 1964.

Scope and content:  The fonds consists of five series:

  1. Legal documents
  2. Diaries
  3. Sermon notes
  4. Memorabilia
  5. Books

Note: For further information see: Karl Kessler, Path of a people: Erb Street Mennonite Church 1851-2001.

Series 1: Legal Documents

  1. Marriage Certificates, 1905, 1926
  2. Registration to perform marriages, 1921
  3. Registration of marriage performed: 
    Edward Kinzie & Alice Bechtel (11 January 1928)
    Melvin Hunsberger & Verna Good (25 January 1928)

Series 2: Diaries

  1. Diary of wedding trip, primarily concerning travel costs and money received from churches spoken at, 1905
  2. Diary, 1911-1919?, primarily of sermon scripture texts preached on, includes several trips and lists of converts
  3. Diary, 1919-1923, trip expenses and scripture texts used for preaching

Series 3: Sermon notes

  1. Undated, loose sermon notes
  2. Binder of sermon notes organized by book of the Bible

Series 4: Memorabilia

  1. Award cards, greeting cards, summary of Hunsberger's pastorate copied from his notes by Minnie Hunsberger
  2. Correspondence from D.W. Lehman (1938) and E.S. Hallman (1950), Sunday school conference constitution (1917), "Statement of Christian Doctrine" (n.d.), "Conference Constitution Revision" (n.d.), Scriptural adminitions by Isaac A. Wambold (1947)
  3. Programs from events attended by Hunsberger, 1902-1956
  4. News clippings, including clipping on Hunsberger's "retirement" from Erb Street in 1928, and his 50th anniversary as a pastor

Series 5: Books

Note: The following book was withdrawn; a copy can be found in the Milton Good Library: Menno Simons' life and writings : a quadricentennial tribute 1536-1936 / Biography by Harold S. Bender. --Scottdale, Pa. : Mennonite Publishing House, 1936.

  1. Family Bible, 1895 with family dates between Old & New Testaments
  2. German-English New Testament, 1891
  3. The kind bear and other stories for the young (Edinburgh : W.P. Nimmo, Hay & Mitchell, 1888). Sunday school prize book at Hagey church presented to Minnie A. Witmer on 13 November 1892.
  4. Sacred melodies edited by C.H. Bateman and Robert Inglis, 1872 (collection of Levi Witmer, Minnie's father)
  5. A B C-und Buchstabir-Bűchlein (title page missing; used at Hagey Sunday school in 1890s)
  6. Confession of faith and minister's manual. 3rd ed. (Elkhart, IN : Mennonite Pub. Co., 1903)(notes on baptism and healing laid in)
  7. Hymns and tunes for public and private worship (Elkhart, IN: Mennonite Pub. Co., 1890)
  8. Die Gemeinschaftliche Lieder-Sammlung (Berlin, ON: Boedecker u. Stuebing, 1883). ("John D. Shantz" on flyleaf; Shantz was father of Mary Ann Shantz)


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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