Yoder Newsletter Online

Yoder Newsletter Online

Issue Number 13 - - - April, 1989
Back to INDEX Back to CONTENTS

ABNER YODER (1814--1883):

Amish Bishop and Fraktur Penman

by David Luthy

Abner Yoder was born March 28 1814 in the now extinct Amish settlement known as the

Glades near Berlin in Somerset County Pennsylvania. He was the eleventh of thirteen children

born to John and Barbara (Yoder) Yoder and the grandson of Somerset County's first resident

Amish bishop, "Schweitzer" Christian Yoder (1728-1816).1 Abner married Veronica Schrock in

1840. A family of twelve children (six sons and six daughters) was born to them. In 1843 he was

ordained a minister. Five years later in 1848 he became the settlement's third and final bishop

moving in 1866 to a farm near Sharon Center, Johnson County, Iowa in the heart of the Amish

settlement which had been founded twenty years earlier.


Very little is known about the church life of the "Glades" settlement from where Abner

Yoder moved in 1866 to Iowa. One reason, and quite likely the most important one, given for the

westward migration of some of its families and its bishop was "the low moral life of the young

people." 2 No records or old letters have so far been discovered which shed any light on

congregational tensions or Abner Yoder's tenure as the settlement's last bishop. A few written

records do indicate his activity elsewhere.


During his residency in Somerset County. Abner wrote a seven-page preface ("Vorwort' )

dated July 24, 1853 to a collection of admonitory writings of a deceased Amish minister. The 336

page volume entitled "Ermahnungen von George Jutzi in Stark County, Ohio an seine

Hinterbliebenen" was published in 1853 by Alexander Stutzman, a lawyer residing in Somerset,

the county seat of Somerset County.3 The preface, while indicating Abner's personal piety and

intimate knowledge of the Scriptures, gives no glimpse of him in his role as leader of the "Glades"

congregation. On the other hand, the minutes of several ministers' meetings do show his views and

indicate the direction of his leadership.


Beginning in 1862, ordained Amish brethren assembled (if they chose to) for sixteen annual,

nationwide ministers' meetings ("DienerVersammlungen") in an attempt to unify the faith and

discipline of the various congregations In the United States and Canada. Abner attended four of

the first Eve meetings--1862,1863,1865,1866-- but none of the later ones.


The first meeting was held June 8-12,1862 in Wayne County, Ohio with seventy-two

ordained Amishmen in attendance. On the second day a committee of seven bishops was

appointed to examine the office and duties of a full-deacon ("Volliger-Armendiener"). The

proceedings of the third day began with singing followed by an admonition and prayer by Abner

Yoder. Apparently he was the chairman of the specially appointed committee, for he gave its

opinion to the assembled brethren, stating:

We recognize the office of deacon as Scriptural and that it was considered necessary by the

Apostles. But we have no proof in the Scriptures that there are two such offices. However, the

Apostle says that such men are to have a reputation and be gifted with the Holy Spirit and with

wisdom. For this reason the requiring of a probationary period would be a proper rule to have,

during which time it might be learned with what wisdom and spirit the deacon is gifted it the gifts

of the Holy Spirit are found in him, we can not forbid him to preach, as well as to officiate at

communion and marriages, it he is ordained to this by the congregation 4


During the third day's session, the question arose concerning "Meidung"--whether an

excommunicated member should be shunned only at communion or in daily dealings. Abner

expressed himself in agreement with the centuries-old Amish teaching of shunning in daily affairs,

stating: "Among the Israelites whoever touched a dead person was unclean. Whoever does not

observe the shunning is made unclean by the one banned. " 5


Further concerning "Meidung," it was asked by one bishop "How is shunning to be practiced

between marriage partners?" Abner stated that what is natural must give way to what is spiritual.

But he soon clarified himself, saying "Marriage partners are not to abstain except by mutual

consent. Shunning between marriage partners can not be carried out to any advantage unless by

mutual consent. " The meeting's minutes then state: "After further discussion among Abner Yoder,

"Big" Mose Miller, and S. K. Beiler, the conference seemed pretty well united in the opinion that

shunning was to be observed without respect of persons, except in certain cases between marriage

partners where more harm than good would result. "


The assembly that day considered several

more cases concerning banning and shunning. When an Ohio bishop stated that an

excommunicated man had been taken into another Amish congregation in his state after making a

confession, Abner Yoder stated: "I would consider the man as yet under the ban, especially since it

is claimed that he misled those from Canton deceitfully in order to carry out his purposes. " The

assembled brethren affirmed by standing that the above mentioned person was still under the ban.

Later during the third day, Abner was again appointed to a committee of seven bishops (four being

the same as had served on the previous committee) to decide whether a bishop should be ordained

for Joseph Augsburger's congregation in Butler County, Ohio. The minutes show that Abner was

once more the committee's spokesman, stating its opinion the following day:

Because complaints about the use of musical instruments and other wordily amusements

were being made against the congregation; therefore if these charges are true, we can not at this

time consent to send someone to them to ordain a bishop But if a change for the good with fruits

of repentance takes place, we shall gladly grant it and shall rejoice as a shepherd rejoices over a

sheep that was lost and has been found again 6

The above statement was found much too harsh by the Butler County ministry. Joseph

Augsburger said that one should not seek to cast a dark light on their congregation. Christian Holly

said he would "do away with the piano if he is shown clear proof that it is wrong to have it." Abner

Yoder did not hesitate to further express himself. The meeting's minutes state:

Abner Yoder, as proof that musical instruments and other vain amusements are wrong,

referred to fiddling and piping before the Flood, saying that such was found among the children of

men but not with the children of God. There was playing before the golden calf the dancing of the

Jewish King Herod's daughter was the occasion for the beheading of John the Baptist; also in the

story about the dead maiden, the Saviour drove out the pipers. We are to do away with what is an

offense; we may not eat meat if someone else takes offense at it. 7

The four days of discussion were brought to a peaceful closing with plans to assemble again

the following year. In reading the minutes of the first nationwide "Diener-Versammiung," one

cannot help but notice that Abner Yoder was a prominent figure. And his role did not diminish the

next spring when forty-two ordained Amishmen gathered for the second annual meeting May

25-27, 1863 at Belleville, Pennsylvania. Abner was nominated and unanimously elected to serve as

chairman of the entire three-day assembly.


Although Abner Yoder was chairman, that did not mean his personal viewpoint always

carried. This is evidenced by the first subject discussed and voted on after he became chairman of

the 1863 meeting. He felt that attendance at the sessions should be limited to only members of the

Amish faith and almost had the majority persuaded. But elderly Bishop Jonathan Yoder (the

previous year's chairman) stated: "Since we want to do nothing of which we need be ashamed, I

therefore think that the proceedings should be conducted in the open. The Saviour says let your

light shine before people..."8 His opinion prevailed with the sessions held publicly.


As chairman of the conference, Abner preached a number of times to those who remained

present while a select committee of bishops privately discussed problems and serious questions.

Some problems, however, were openly discussed. For example, on the second day the situation

was presented that a western congregation had baptized young people at the ages of 10-12 who

later as adults were troubled in their consciences that they had been too young. The question was:

"If we cannot satisfy such people except by rebaptism, can this be done?"


Abner Yoder was the first to express himself, being hesitant about the idea of rebaptism.

Other ordained brethren indicated that rebaptism might be considered. Abner, however, was not

persuaded and gave as an example the case of a very sick person who is sometimes baptized and

when the person is recovered is then more fully instructed in the Faith. He obviously was implying

that those who had been baptized too young need only be thoroughly instructed. But once again

the majority present did not share his opinion, deciding that "such persons might be again baptized

if they could not be set at rest by previous serious examinations."9


During the meeting on the second day, Abner warned against members seeking or serving in

public offices. A lengthy discussion followed regarding the different types of public office from

township and county to military and political. It was unanimously decided that "all offices of

criminal and military and such where force is used are to be regarded as not permissible. "


On the third and final day of the conference, Abner asked, "Are photographs to be

permitted?" He then explained his opposition to such. Other bishops expressed their opposition as

well. When the assembly voted on the issue, the condemnation of photographs was "almost

unanimous." Christian Holly from Butler County, Ohio, however, stated that he had "nothing

against such pictures. " He was the same minister who the previous year said he would "do away

with the piano if he is shown clear proof that it is wrong to have it. "


Towards evening of the third day, Abner gave the final exhortation and said the final

prayer which brought the three-day conference to an end. Later that year when the conference

minutes were printed in booklet form (as was the practice each year), his name and that of

Jonathan Yoder appeared after the closing paragraphs which they apparently had written.

Although Abner had been chairman of the conference, he had not controlled it with his views. It

would be more nearly correct to say that Jonathan Yoder of McLean County, Illinois had been in

command. He and other progressive or 'change-minded' bishops had set the meeting's tone and

would continue to do so throughout future annual conferences.


Abner Yoder did not attend the third annual ministers' meeting which was held June

16-18,1864 at Goshen, Indiana. He did however, attend the fourth meeting held June 5-7,1865 in

Wayne County, Ohio with sixty-six ordained brethren present.. The minutes for the 1865

conference are not as detailed as those for previous years. The speakers' names were seldom given,

and the subjects discussed only briefly touched upon. Abner Yoder was one of the few mentioned

by name, for he and two other bishops (Samuel Yoder and Jacob Kanagy) were commissioned to

travel sometime after the conference to the Amish congregation in Fulton County, Ohio to

investigate the church problems there."10


The fourth and final time Abner attender the annual ministers ' meeting was the following

year when it was held May 20-23, 1866 at Danvers, McLean County, Illinois where Jonathan

Yoder was Senior bishop. By then Abner was living in Johnson County, Iowa where he had

migrated earlier that year. The conference attracted a record seventy-five ordained brethren. Abner

was yet a highly respected bishop as the conference minutes testify. While he was no longer

offered the "driver's seat" of the meetings, he was appointed to various committees and on the

third day asked to close that day's meeting with an exhortation and prayer.


It is interesting to note that the Johnson County, Iowa congregation where Abner Yoder had

only recently located was experiencing a problem and requested that the annual conference select

three bishops to investigate the matter. Bishops Andrew Rupp, Christian Rupp, and Jonathan

Yoder---all from Central Illinois--were chosen. The minutes do not indicate what the situation was,

but another source shows that the problem revolved around a layman, Mose Kauffman, who was

accused of taking "too large a share of an estate. .."11


The Johnson County ministry was headed by Jacob Schwartzendruber (1800- 1868) who

had been ordained a minister in Waldeck, Germany prior to his immigration to America in 1833.

He settled in the "Glades" congregation in Somerset County, Pennsylvania until 1840 (the year

Abner Yoder married) when he moved to Allegany County, Maryland. In 1851 with hopes of

improving the courtship practices of the young people, Jacob located in Johnson County, Iowa

where a year later he was ordained a bishop.l2 His son, Frederick Schwartzendruber, was ordained

a deacon there in 1851 and advanced to a full-deacon in 1865, just three years before his father's



The Schwartzendrubers were not liberal or "change-minded". Jacob, who is said to have

been a "man of high ideals but very strict and firm, " wrote a letter to the first

"Diener-Versammlung" in 1862, stating that he intended to remain faithful to the Eighteen

Articles of Faith' and was opposed to all "innovations. "13 He attended only the 1864 meeting.

Frederick was present at the 1864, 1865, 1866 meetings but none of the ten held after that date.

Abner Yoder, who obviously agreed with his new co-ministers in Iowa, also attended no meetings

after 1866. Thus, the Johnson County ministry withdrew from the "DienerVersammlungen" which

were firmly under the control of the "change-minded" bishops who were building meetinghouses

and eventually formed three regional Amish-Mennonite conferences which later united with the

(Old) Mennonite Church .


Lovely Fraktur Penmanship


Abner Yoder, besides being a well-thought-of bishop, was also a gifted penman. Samples of

his beautiful Fraktur penmanship have been found in various states. The term "Fraktur" is derived

from the Latin word "fractura" which means "a breaking. " When a bone is "fractured." it results

in a pointed or jagged edge. Since the alphabet used in old German and English typeface has sharp

peaks, it is called "Fraktur," as is the penmanship done in imitation of it.


The oldest so-far-discovered piece of Fraktur which Abner did bears the date "1866" which

happens to be the year he and his family migrated from Pennsylvania to Iowa. Using merely a lead

pencil he printed his daughter's name, "Susanna Joder, " (using the German spelling of the

surname) in large Fraktur letters inside the front of her prayerbook, Die Ernsthafte

Christenpflicht." He also did a similar, but undated one, for his daughter, "Barbara Joder, " inside

the cover of her prayerbook. (Susanna was born in 1843 and Barbara in 1845. )


The nicest examples of his Fraktur penmanship are the alphabet sheets which he made for

acquaintances. Using several colors of ink, he both printed and wrote the capital and lower case

letters of the German alphabet. One which he made on January 23, 1879 is in the Mennonite

Archives at Kalona, Iowa; while another dated February 10, 1883 was found inl McPherson

County, Kansas. A third (shown elsewhere with this article) was found stored inside a German

Bible at Arthur, Illinois. On the reverse of that sheet of paper he drew the outline of a rectangle

using red ink and double lines. Inside the rectangle he wrote with lovely English handwriting:


Praise ye the Lord

From all who dwell below the skies

Let the creators praise arise

Let the Redeemers name be sung

Through every land by every tongue

Eternal are thy mercies Lord

Eternal truth attends thy word

Thy praise shall sound from shore to shore

'Till suns shall rise and set no more


Also stored inside the Bible was a sheet of paper measuring only 3 l/4 x 4 inches. On one

side is a rectangle drawn with double lines in red ink and the saying: "My face you here may never

see/ If you're a Christian pray for me/ In grace and knowledge let us grow/ In piety our likeness

show/Abner Yoder. " On the other side also within red, double lines is his name, address, date

(Aug. 21, 1882) and the words "The grass is green/ the rose is red/ My name is here when I am

dead." And so, indeed, it is. Abner Yoder died less than a year and a half later on December 12,

1883. The following death notice appeared in both the German and English editions of Herald of

Truth in the February 1, 1884 issue:


YODER--On Dec 12th, near Sharon Canter, Johnson Co, Iowa, of cancer, Bishop Abner Yoder,

aged 69 years, 8 months, and 14 days He was sorely afflicted , yet he endured his suffering with

Christian resignation. Buried on the 13th when a large concourse of sympathizing neighbors and

friends were present. Funeral services were conducted by C Miller end F Swartzendruber




1 Peachy, Alvin J. "The Amish Settlement in Somerset county Pennsylvania" Mennonite Quarterly

Review, Oct.1954, p266.

2 Shetler, Sanford G. "Two Centuries of Struggle and Growth",1763-1963,p324

3 Hostetler, Harvey, Descendants of Barbara Hochstetler and Christian Stutzman, 1938, No

10884, p 716

4. Schlabach, John Y., Bebehelten in der Amische Gemeinde von 1850 biss 1898,p 9.

5. Ibid, p l0

6. Ibid, p 13

7. Ibid, p 14

8. Ibid, p 27

9. Ibid, p 30

10. Verhandlungen der vierten jahrlichen Diener-Versammlung, 1865, p.6

11. Gingerich, Mervin, The Mennonites in Iowa, 1939, p 130

12. Ibid, p 121.

13. Ibid, p 127.



(fracture writing picture here)



Pictured above is a "Schonschritt" ("pretty writing") measuring 6 x 7 1/2 inches which

Abner Yoder made and signed on January 24, 1882 Done In red, violet, and black Ink, It is the

German alphabet showing both the printed and written capital and lower-case letters. With time It

has somewhat faded. Also the handwriting on the back of the sheet somewhat shows through to

the front side. It apparently was a gift presented to Samuel J Beachy (1825-1921) who lived at the

time it was made In the "Casselman River" settlement which stretches from southern Somerset

County, Pennsylvania across Into Garrett County, Maryland. He stored this lovely piece In his

large German Bible and took It with him when he migrated In 1894 to Midland,Virginia and in 1900

to Arthur,ll. where it was purchased from a great-granddaughter in 1988 for Heritage Historical Library,

Aylmer, Ontario.


A cowboy as a president? Yes and a real homesteader too. S. c. Yoder was aIso a teacher

preacher and writer.

He was born, with his twin brother Samuel, December 5, 1879 to Christian S. and Anna

Swartzendruber Yoder on a farm southwest of Iowa City, IA. This was amid the richest and

productive farming area of the region, His grandparents, Stephen D. Yoder and Magdalena Yoder

were third cousins descending from the immigrant of 1742, Christian Yoder.


He and his twin, Sam, led a busy and adventurous life. Their grandfather, Frederich

Swartzendruber was an enterprising Amishman alert to the new farm machinery and steam engine

opportunities which proved a vital role in the boys' early life experiences. At an early age the boys

became operators of their father's steam engine and spent many hard days working at threshing the

wheat fields. During 1897 Sam developed pneumonia which led to his death on the 18th of

March, 1898.


During his high school days Sanford met Emma Stutzman, daughter of E. C. Stutzman of

Sharon Center IA. They were married September 23, 1903 and she shared his adventures and

sustained with him their early pioneer life. They were blessed with a son and two daughters,

Myron S. Yoder and Anna Marguerite Yoder and Etta LaVerne Yoder.


After graduating from high school he taught three years in Johnson County IA. During this

period he was elected as Democratic delegate to county district, and state political conventions.

Later, after moving to Washington state, he was offered to return to Iowa with a promise of a state

political office, but he refused since his move to the West proved a greater challenge.


They homesteaded in the Columbus Flat region, a desert area, which today flourishes through irri

gation made possible by the Grand Coulee Dam. He wrote, "The years were filled with hard work

in the harsh desert, but was also kind and soothing and restful as far as the pressures of modern

community life was concerned." Here church life was impossible and since there was no school for

their son, it seemed wise to return to Iowa.


During the years of 1911-1924 he was ordained as minister and served as pastor at Chappell NE

where he was ordained as bishop in 1913. He then served as pastor at East Union at Kalona IA.

During 1917 he was appointed to the Mission Board and spent time in Argentina. Many new

mission fields were ripened over the world and in the States and he was delegated to travel to

many worldwide fields.


He assisted in founding the Mennonite Relief Committee during World War I. In 1920 the

Mennonite Central Committee, a relief organization, was founded and he was a long-time

member. He spent the same years serving the growth of Goshen College through the lean, hungry

times during the Depression and earlier developing years. After it was closed for one year he was

chosen to be president of Goshen College in 1923 and where he also served as pastor during the

years through 1940 for the College Mennonite Church. During these years the college grew both

in numbers and property improvements. In spite of the tough years of the Depression the college

did show student body growth and attained proper accredation standards. The faculty was

strengthened and the college was on its way to the highly regarded academic achievements that it

enjoys today.


As a teacher, after his departure as president,S.C. Yoder was well prepared to teach his various

Bible classes. He was highly respected and was blessed with a rich sense of humor and wisdom.He

was a common man who was a gentleman and everyone felt at ease under his rich guidance and

teaching and prospered under his love and intellectualism.


Goshen College established the Sanford Calvin Yoder professorship in the Christian Life during



During June, 1944, Goshen College gave an honorary tribute to him in a booklet released during

the dinner in his honor "An Evening with Sanford Calvin Yoder".


Degrees earned by S. C. Yoder were: A. B. from University of Iowa; LL. B., Hamilton College of

Law; M. A. from Winona Lake School of Theology; B. D. and D. D., Northern Baptist Theology

Seminary; S. T.D. Gordon Divinity School.


Books written by him are: Brief Outines in Bible Study; For Conscience Sake; Down South

American Way ; Poetry of the Old Testament; Eastward to the Sun; Horse Trails Along the

Desert; Things That Remain; The Days of My Years; If I Were Young Again; He Gave Some

Prophets which was released on his 85th birth anniversary.


S.C. Yoder had membership in the International Mark Twain Society of Authors, the American

Bible Society, Pi Gamma Mu, Phi Alpha Chi, and was an Honorary Member of the Mennonite

Nurses Association.


At the age of 96 he passed on on February 23, 1975.


The last paragraph of his book "The Days of My Years" is worth repeating for our

consideration and thought:


"Therefore as we look out from our situation of ease and comfort, may we not disdain the

things that our fathers esteemed and endured, not look with condescension upon their simple faith

and humble life. For it was what they believed about God that gives direction to their purposes and

made possible their zeal, determination, and unconquerable will; that gave us our heritage and our

homeland with its freedoms, opportunities, and substance. We can do them no greater honor, and

render our posterity no greater service, than to emulate the faith, the loyalty, the sacrifice, and the

ideals that made them the people they were. We pray, our heavenly Father, let this be so. Amen."



The War Between the States was the most painful period of American History. It was a time when

brother met brother on the battle fields to decide the fate of the Union. Our family was not spared

this tragedy. From the records of the National Archives, we have prepared an index of all

Yoders/Yothers who served in the Army of the Confederacy. As with their northern counterparts,

many of these individuals did not survive the conflict.


Some of these soldiers are identifiable as being descendants of Conrad Yoder of North

Carolina.These are flagged with a code which links to their identity on the descendant list at the

end of this article. Others, of the Yother spelling, are from the family we highlighted in YNL #1l

as speculative descendants of Conrads' youngest son Adam. For each of these individuals, there is

some extent of military record on file with the federal archives. We have not as of this time

reviewed the documentation for each veteran, but certainly this materiel will help us confirm their


































































The following outline presents the ancestry of those suspected or known Conrad Yoder

descendants whose names appeared in the listing above. Any readers who can add to the

information portrayed are most cordially invited to do so. Using the family chart information

which appeared in the YNL #11 article on the Yother family, you may be able to speculate on the

identity of the other Confederate soldiers listed. A plus sign "+" identifies individuals in this outline

whose names may be on the listing of soldiers. Each numeric digit represents another generation

from Conrad, and the number represents the order of birth within that family group ("a" represents



Con- Conrad Yoder b. ca 1730 d. Apr/May 1790 NC

Conl- John (1764-1835) m. Mary Reep

Conll- John (1795-1870) m. Sarah Whitener

+Conlll- John Abel (1818-d. Battle of Bristow Springs VA) m. Lizzie Jarrett

+Conlll2- Marcus (cal841-d. Civ War)

+Conlll3- Robert (cal845-d. Civ War) m2 Emaline Reep

+Conl32- Moses E (1830-1917) m. Sarah Ward

+Conl33- Marcus (1833-1880) m. Martha Seitz

+Conl36- Amzi (1844-1924) m. Aldine Miller

Conl4- Michael (1799-1874) m. Polly Dietz

+Conl41- George M. (1826-1920) ml Rebecca Herman m2. Eliza Yoder

+Conl42- Cyrus (1828-1865) m. Eliz.Leonard d. a POW at Camp Douglas, Chicago,IL

Conl5- Peter (1805-1870) ml Rachel Hahn m2. Martha Covington

+Conl53- John Sidney (1837-?) + Conl56- Newton (1843- ?)

+Conl57- Franklin (1846- ? )

Con3-David (1770-1864) m. Eliz. Reep

Con37- Solomon (1805-1854) m. Sarah Seigle

+Con371- Alfred M. (1833-1862) died Battle of Corinth, Miss.

+Con373- Daniel A. (1834-1927) ml Ellen Fulbright m2. Mary McCaslin

+Con377- John E. (1842-1927) m. Heffner

+Con378- David (1844-1911) ml Mary Hoke, m2 Cath. Saine

+Con379- Adolphus (1846-1926)

Con39- Eli (1810-1891) ml Sarah Detter m2 Eliz. Vaughn

+Con391- William P. ("Pinkney")(1835- Civ War) m Polly Gaby , Killed by bushwacker

+Con392- Calvin A. (c1837- ?) m. Sarah Fulbright

+Con393- Henry M. (Martin) (c1839- ? ) m. Eliz.

+Con394- Marcus (Mathew V.)- (c1841- ?) m.Miss Sneed

+Con397- Franklin Andrew (c1847- ? ) m Mary Browning

Con3a-Andrew (1812-1900) m. Anna Kistler

+Con3al- Sidney (c1837- ? )m. Eliza Reep

+Con3a2- Jacob (1838-1874) m.twice, no issue

+Con3a4- Henry (c1842-1896) single


Ben F. Yoder, Goshen IN., Managing Editor

Chris Yoder, Saudi Arabia, Historical Editor

Rachel Kreider, Goshen IN Contributing Edltor

Chris and family will be in Saudi Arabia until the end of this year. All correspondence regarding

historical and genealogical data should be sent to him: CHRIS YODER, US REP

JECOR(CENPRO), BOX 33, APO NY 09038-7001


It is hard to have mail come back stamped "Return to Sender-Address unknown". Someone has

copies coming to them that we cannot deliver. If any of you can report the following names, with

addresses, please so inform us if you are aware of these "lost ones".


Allen Yoder-1121 Columbia Rd., NW, Washington DC 20009

Lauren E. Yoder, RR#4, Box 487#A, Hendersonville NC 28739

Carl H. Yoder, 5400 Lexington Ave. N. Shoreview MN 55126

W. A. Yoder, 714-16 No. Cleveland St., Richmond VA 23221

Roger J. Yoder, 2134 Flying Hills Lane, El Cajon CA 92020

Mrs. John Yoder, 180 South Dearborn Circle, Aurora CO80012

Mrs. Tim Parker, P. O. Box 304, Brownsville TX 75756

Mrs. Grace Miller, 5/33 Olivia, Lakewood CA 90712-1613

An odd coincidence appeared while going over data preparing an article. Sanford Calvin Yoder's

birth date and my mother's death date were the same, December 5; likewise my mother's birth date

and S. C. Yoder's death date were the same. They oddly were born within two months of each

other during 1879 and 1880. They were both descendants of the Immigrant Christian ((17001775). Also

my mother was a descendant of Anna Yoder, daughter of the Widow Barbara.


Another oddity is that my mother, paternal grandmother and great-grandmother all passed on on

December 5. Such conincidences make life more---??--. Ben

A most interesting and informative book was published in 1986. THE AMISH IN AMERICA:

Settlements That Failed, 1840-1960, written and compiled by David Luthy. David is in charge of

the Amish library and literary museum located near Aylmer, Ont.


The book is hardcover, 555 pp., which include a complete index and describes by each state where

various Amish colonies failed. It gives the reader many hours of instructive and adventourous

reading. The price is $17.00 ppd. and can be ordered from The Pathway Bookstore, RR#4,

LaGrange IN 46761.

"Every thought which genius and piety throw into the world, alters the world."



Here is a short announcement that just missed the printing of the YNL #12.

The 57th C. J. Yoder family reunion was held at the Oak Grove Mennonite Church fellowship hall

near Smithville, Ohio on July 10, 1988. A skit entitled "The Bee Christ Get Together, 1888"was

the main part of the program. Also presented at the reunion wss PURE HONEY, THE


compiled by Dr. Richard J. Yoder. It is available from him at 259 Lake Drive, Dalton OH 44618.

(for a brief description of the C J YODER family, see Helen Wade's article in the Yoder

Newsletter, Issue #5, April 1985, pp. 1-2.)

---Thank you. Richard J. Yoder


Wanted names of parents of EMANUEL YODER, b. 7-28-1904, Spring Hill, Union City,OH.

Lived in Washington Twp., OH in 1900. Married Sarah Crist 3-16-1871 and she died

12-17-1910.Ans. to: Barbara Yoder, 4495 Arba Pike Road, Richmond IN 47374.

I would appreciate any information pertaining to John (Jonathon Jr) YODER, circa 1845-1904, of

Hooversville, Somerset Co., PA. His wife (also her maiden name), their children George,

Willie (William or Willum) (?) ), Ed (Edward or Edwin (?) ), Frank E. and daughter Alda. Also

possible information about Jonathon Sr. and their G. A. R. service. Reply to Frank T. Yoder Jr.,

25351 Briardale Ave., Euclid OH 44132

Ancestry/location wanted on ALICE YODER WARD HURST, born about 1904/6 in Toledo OH

(or Detroit MI). Married l Charles Ward, Widowed, M2 Harvey Burton Hurst. At one time lived

in New York City. Reply to granddaughter: Jo Ann Mattingly, 85 Sunset Drive, Watsonville CA


Confirmation wanted-ANNA JODER, b. May 7, 1864, m. Rudolf Bohren (b. Apr. 8, 1864). Son

Freiderick b. at GrindelWald Switzerland Oct. 7, 1893. Anna's father reportedly b. 1839 and d.

Jan. 19, 1912, name not know in family. Was this the ANN, daughter of Freiderick Joder? and

Anna Spring as recorded in Steffisburg records?? Also-have been told one of our relations was a

famous mountain guide. Was this a Joder? Please reply to: Ms. Nicky Cunningham, 164 New St.,

Horsham, West Sussex, England RH 13 5EG.


Many of our readers have connections as descendants of Bishop Jacob Hochstetler. The

recently organized Jacob Hochstetler Family Asso. offers newsletters and membership giving

interesting history and other information.

To receive a newsletter and be a member send $5.00. This entitles you to three issues for

1989. $5.00 will also buy all 1987-1988 back issues l to 5. Mail to:

Wilbur Hostetler, 1325 Greencroft Dr. #343, Goshen IN 46526

This newsletter is interesting and highly recommended to all having H/H/H connections.


Line one should read: Casper Yoder was a grandson of Hans Yoder.

Line 2 should read Upper Saucon Twp.,Bucks

Line 5 should read "(Schell) Sell." ("It is the confusion between two distinctive and separate

families, which has plagued genealogists for 47 years." It had appeared wrongly in a family book

and perpetuated by several others. Michael Schell who died in 1770 is not to be confused as

Michael Sell who also died in 1770. The original error appeared in "The Nold Family History and

Genealogical Background" by May Mathis Green-Watson in 1941. This error was propagated in

"The Ziegler Family and Related Families in Pennsylvania" by Gertrude Mohlin Ziegler in 1978.

From this secondary source the error was used in the "Descendants of Jacob Yothers: Bucks

County, Pennsykvania" by Richard Yothers in 1984. The primary source that verifies this fact is

the Bible of Michael Schell who died in 1770 (not to be confused with Mich Sell who also died in

1770.) This Bible was given as a legacy to Mary Schell (only daughter of Michael Schell) and wife

of Henry Sell. Their youngest child, Susanna, married Jacob Noldt a stepson of Barbara Yoder

(who in turn was the sister of Casper Yoder of Upper Saucon.) Jacob and Susanna (Sell) Noldt

took this Bible along from Upper Saucon Twp., Northampton Co., PA to Columbiana Co., OH. It

belonged to Mrs Hannah Schlotter, Caldwell, Noble Co., OH in 1941 and in the possession of Mr.

John F. Beilhart, Leetonia, Columbiana Co., OH in 1981, where at latest knowledge it remains


"I realize this is a lengthy criticism on what appears to be a minor error, but this Schell/ Sell

confusion will continue to waste the valuable time and effort of future researchers. A clear

correction has never been published, as far as I know. It may be of interest to subscribers of the

Yoder Newsletter."


by James D. Yoder, illustrations by Darla Zook

The Yoder family has come a long way over the generations. Geographically Ted Yoder's family

traveled from Europe to Pennsylvania toOhio to Iowa to Missouri to Arkansas and back to

Missouri. Spritiully the Yoders have also journeyed far. After generations of being

Amish the Yoders became Mennonite, the Methodist, then again Mennonite.


DanielYoder, Ted's grandfather had been a preacher in the Mennonite church. A disagreement

over a musical instrument caused Daniel to leave his beloved Mennonite church taking

his family with him. Daniel became a Methodist preacher.


1n adolescence Ted Yoder began to feel the pangs of spiritual longing. Among the Mennonites

Ted found not only his spiritual home, but his spiritual roots as well.


The Yoder Outsiders is the story of Ted Yoder's family.It is a rich story of personal and family

pilgrimage set in the early twentieth century rural midwest.


James D. Yoder is a psychologist living in Kansas City, Missouri. The Yoder Outsiders

is his first novel.


The author, James D. Yoder was born Sept. 9, 1929 in Kansas City MO, but grew up on a

farm near Harrisonville.

As a youth he taught for five years at Clearfork School in the Mennonite community.

He holds degrees from Goshen College, Goshen Bibical Seminary and graduate degrees

from Central Missouri State U. and a Ph. D. from the U. of Missouri.

He served as pastor of the Sycamore Grove Mennonite Church from 1955-1959.

He taught Junior College of Kansas City CMSU and UMKC where he served as counseling

psychologist and graduate professor. His lectures have taken him to the University of Regenburg,

Germany and the University of Toronto.

Dr. Yoder lectures to groups on spiritual aspects of growth and the search for meaning. The

Yoder Outsiders is his first novel. He has written a professional book Counseling for Life and

Meaning which is yet unpublished.


Everyone should enjoy reading this book and will find it worthwhile.


ISBN 0-87303-133-4 paper 208 pages $9.95 US

Faith and Life Press,718Main Street Box 347, Newton KS 67114-0347

(please add $1.50 for shipping and handling. Multiple orders| add 10%.

Kansas customers add 5% sales tax.)


C. Z. mast's 1911 MAST FAMILY HISTORY is being reprinted. It is 825 pp., hard cover,

67 illustrations, index, 6" x 9" in size. This starts from the Mast immigrants. Many Yoders have

the Masts in their lineage and ! this is a good book to have as reference.


A prepublication price is $30.00 plus $3.00 shipping ($33.00). After April 15, 1989 the

price will be $5.00 higher ($35.00).


Order from: Mennonite Family History

P.O. Box 171

Elverson PA 19520-0171

Family Crest - A copy of Hans Joder of Steffisburg, Switzerland, as registered in the Statearchives in Bern. 1774


On Sunday, Oct. 23, 1988, Nancy M. Smucker, daughter of David B. and Sarah E. Yoder

(both Yoders), was honored by celebrating her 100th birthd)y. She was honored on Saturday

October 22, with the company of close relatives, sisters Golda Plank, 98, Edna Neer, 94, Fannie

Hooley, 91 and Clara Hostetler, 88, along with first cousins, children, grandchildren and

great-grandchildren. Her children Caroline, Golda, Ruby and Shirley were also present. Her son,

Wilbert Smucker died January 4, 1985.


Her picture appeqred on the NBC Today Show on her birthday. She is pictured below.


(literal translation by Dr. Maria S. Friesen,

Bluffton, Ohio)

"A friendly greeting to you JACOB JODTER and all your own and the Grace of God be with you

and we are letting you know that we are all still well so long as God wllls and we wish you would

be mindful of us in your prayers we are also well as much as God gives strength and we wish that

this letter will also find you that way we hope that maybe we will not see you in this would again

but we know that we can meet in the next world where life is without death and light without

darkness that we wish from the bottom of our heart God comfort you every hour farther I don't

know much to write be heartily greeted again and also the Swiss Brethren and sisters who were

with us we wish you the best for soul and body and we wish that you would at your first

opportunity also write a letter

So much from us Johannes and Christian Ummel and my daughter's husband JOHANNES


Written on the 26th April 1819"


Who were the parties in this letter? A key clue is the statement "my daughter's husband

Johannes Jodter" and another is the date. After careful analysis we are able to identify the

following probable parties (using the personal identification codes from Amish and Amish

Mennonite Genealogies by Gingerich and Kreider).

Christian Umble (Ummel) (UM) (b.1749-d. 1821 Lancaster Co.,PA). Christian Umble is

reported as an orphan who came to America with the Hans ("Dr. Hans") Blank (PKB+) family.

Hans Blank's daughter Barbara was originally married to Joseph Gerber (GB2+?) and by him had

daughters Mary (1769-1863) and Barbara Gerber. Joseph died sometime after 1769 and in 1781

Barbara had the first of three children by her second husband Christian Umble

Mary Gerber (Christian Umble's stepdaughter) married John Yoder (YR143), a son of

"Strong Jacob" Yoder. At the time of this letter, Christian Umble would have been about 69 years

old. He and his oldest son John Umble (Uk1) and his son-in-law John Yoder all lived in Lancaster


Now, as far as the addressee Jacob Yoder is concerned, John Yoder (YR143) did have a

brother Jacob (YR142) who also had a relationship with the Blank family, as he married Barbara's

youngest sister Christina Blank (PKB6). Unfortunately for our theorizing, he also lived in

Lancaster County.

It would appear that from the wording of the letter, Christlan Umble was the actual writer of

the letter. It would also seem that he was addressing someone who had moved some distance, and

who is likely to have been close to his own generation ... someone who he "can meet in the next

world", and yet someone with whom he shared a common past "and also the Swiss Brethren and

sisters who were with us".

Hans Blank and his family lived originally in Berks County, Pa and moved to Lancaster

County in 1769. Reasonably mature Jacob Yoders as of 1819 include a couple in Mifflin County

(not really that distant a journey from Lancaster), and a couple in Somerset County (a longer trip

over the mountains).


Mifflin- YR253 b.l763 m.Catherine Blank (gdau.of Hans Blank)

YR162 b.1762 m. Barbara Hooley


Somerset- YR234 b.1760 ml Eliz.Yoder m2 Barbara Wenger

YR121 b.c1745 m. Veronica Hochstetler


Both of the Somerset Yoders lived in Berks County at the same time it would seem the

Blanks and Christian Umble did. YR253, although born in Berks, did live in Lancaster for a time

before settling in Mifflin County by 1797. Unlike the senders of this letter (who seem rather

clearly identifiable), the addressee possibilities are merely speculations. Possibly one of our readers

will be able to tell us something of the source of this early Yoder-related letter and pinpoint a

proven recipient?

The Goshen News Monday, December 12, 1988 Page B-3

Shipshe Centennial Logo


Shipshewana, Ind.--Rob Yoder, l6, Topeka, a Westview High School art student, drew this logo

that has been selected for tbe Shipshewana Centennial Jubilee celebration. Yoder's logo the winner

In a centennial committee contest. The logo will be used on various printed materials and

souveniers throughout l989 to celebrate Shipshewanna's 100th anniversary.


Just before Christmas I received a letter from a young man, Jean Joder, of St. Dizier, France.

I sent him a letter asking that he might consider being a correspondent to the YNL. His second

letter informed me that he was getting ready to move to Tours and I've since not heard directly

from him.

Shortly after a letter came from a young lady, Anne Joder, who was a cousin to Jean. She is

in her last year of high school and will be preparing to enter higher education. She wishes to visit

the United States in order to be more conversant in English. I informed her that she could stay

with us, but that it might be more valuable for her if she could spend her time here with a Yoder

family who had a young lady to be her companion during her month's stay in the United States.

We are willing for her to be our guest-but if there is anyone out there who would want to share her

presence--write at once to me. She will probably plan to arrive in Chicago as she stated.


The young man Jean mentioned that he was the son of Rene Joder, who was born in

Rohrback les Birche. Rene was the son of Lucien, b. 1896 in the same town. Lucien had three

sons (Rene', Marcel and Maurice) who all live in Noncourt, France. Jean mentioned that there are

quite a number of Joders in his line, most of whom live in Lorraine. He further mentioned that a

great-uncle Paul Joder was interested in genealogy and that much information could be gotten

from him.


In a recent letter from Anne, she informed me after I had requested Jean's new address that

he was not settled as yet. I have received no word from Jean as of this writing.


Let us hope that there will be some interesting news from France by our next October's newsletter.


Dr. Don Yoder has informed me that he will have an interesting article for all of us in our next YNL #14. p He is filled with early Yoder lore and we should all look forward to this with slavering anticipation !

Back to INDEX Back to CONTENTS

Yoder Newsletter - © Christopher K. Yoder, 1992, 1994