Mennonite Side

Aboriginal Frisians

From Wikipedia the Frisians are part of the Nordwestblock which is a historic region linked by language and culture.

Roman times

The Frisii, began settling in Frisia in the 6th century BC. According to Pliny the Elder, in Roman times, the Frisians lived on terps, man-made hills. Frisia at this time comprised the present provinces of Friesland and parts of North Holland and Utrecht.

Middle Ages

By the 8th century the Frisian kingdom spread to the coastal areas North of the Eider River which was under Danish rule. The Frisian languages were spoken all along the southern North Sea coast. Today, the whole region is sometimes referred to as Greater Frisia or Frisia Magna.

The Byzantine Procopius described three peoples living in Great Britain: Angles, Frisians and Britons. During the 7th and 8th centuries, Frankish chronologies mention the northern Low Countries as the kingdom of the Frisians.

The Frisan Freedom or Karelsprivilege

In the late 700s, the Frankish king Charlemagne put an end to Frisian independence and imposed the Lex Frisonium on them, stratifying Frisian society into the feudal structure of nobility, freemen, serfs and slaves. After Pope Leo III‘s expulsion from Rome by the city’s nobility, Charlemagne mustered his forces to retake the city.

An army including 700 Frisians, led by Magnus Forteman, reconquered Rome and the Vatican. Charlemagne, now crowned Holy Roman Emperor, offered Magnus Forteman a position of nobility – which he rejected, instead requesting freedom for all Frisians – which Charlemagne affirmed in the Karelsprivilege. The story was inscribed on the walls of churches in Almenum, Ferwâld and Aldeboarn. In 1319 the Karelprivilege was entered in the register of William III of Holland.

Move to Prussia 1550 to 1700

From Freesia the Mennonites traveled to Prussia and became the Vistula delta Mennonites established in the mid-16th century in the Vistula river delta in Poland. The Mennonite community played an important role in the drainage and cultivation of the Vistula delta and the trade relations with the Netherlands. With the end of World War II and the flight and expulsion of Germans the Mennonite settlements in the Vistula delta ceased to exist.

Plautdietsch language

The language of my grandparents in Manitoba was Plautdietsch language, a mixture of Dutch and the local Low German dialect, originates from the Vistula delta and is still used by Mennonite communities worldwide.

Chortiza Yugoslavia 1700 to 1890

In the late 18th century a significant number of Mennonites emigrated from the Vistule delta in Poland / Prussia and formed the nucleus of the Mennonite settlements in Russia, while many remained in the region after the annexation of the region by Prussia in the Partitions of Poland.

The Russian Mennonites of my family left Russian before the Revolution and escaped the persecution of Stalin in the Holodomor. The Mennonite service committee was formed as aid to the victims of the Holodomor. I remember my Aunt Elma and Grandmother telling me stories about their knowledge of the starvation and them sending bags of flour to cousins in the Ukraine. Years later receiving letters confirming the flour was received and that they had survived.

The Six Turbulent Times

Mennonites perished in great numbers in Russia from 1917 until the 1980s. A summary of the six turbulent times;

  1. The Civil War of 1917 – 1920 and the famine of 1921 – 1922
  2. The liquidation of kulaks and collectivization, 1928 – 1933
  3. The purges and exiles of 1936 – 1940: 62,000 Mennonites forcibly moved north and east throughout the USSR, almost all the German settlements dissolved, over half perished, survivors mistreated.
  4. Evacuation eastward at the beginning of World War II, 1941
  5. Evacuation westward by the German Army, 1943
  6. Repatriation by the Red Army in 1945

Once-prosperous communities disintegrated. Never since the days of the martyrs have the Mennonites suffered so much as during the twentieth century in Russia.

The Holodomor

Text Herethe holodomor.

Kroeger clocks

You can find a history of the clocks my grandfather made at the The Virtual Museum of Mennonite clocks. Numerous Kroeger clocks are on display at the Mennonite Heritage Museum in Winnipeg. My grandmothers great grand father made this clock in 1780

Arthur Kroeger

This clock resided in Morris Manitoba for many years and was cared for by the last Canadian Mennonite clock maker Arthur Kroeger. I met him in the late 80’s at my grandparents house and went to his home to discuss clocks. This history came with the clock. It was written by Arthur Kroeger in the late 70’s.

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Manitoba 1890 to 1950

In Canada they settled in the East Reserve.

My Grandmother the “white sheep” of the family, with her mother seated center and assorted Jacobs, Cornelius, Peters, sisters and brothers in law

Grandfathers tractor

The “Twin City” built by Minneapolis Steel & Machinery Company shown above. The company began producing stationary steam engines and researching gasoline engine designs. MS&M had a large boost when it received contracts to build Case and Bull tractors, in addition to its own Twin City brand.

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“Grader Toews” worked on the roads from Steinbach Manitoba thru Morris to Emerson Manitoba in the 1920’s to 1930’s.

Frisian to Mennonite history PDF

Frisian-to-Mennonite-1 is a draft compilation of my families history, I have a page long list of typo errors to fix and then need to repost.