Hist. Mss. 1-658
Zehr (1903-1975) Collection
Papers, 1848-1893, 1950-1980
2 Boxes (1 Oversize, 1 Long Green)
The sermon book of
Bishop Jacob Zehr, plus the 1848 land
indenture and some additional historical
items, were deposited into the archives
by Dr. W. Jay Zehr, Milford, Indiana,
in 1980. The photocopies of correspondence,
1950-80, were deposited by Willard H.
Smith, Goshen, Indiana, in 1984, after
he had used them for his research for
his book Mennonites in Illinois (1983).
1848 Jacob Zehr moved
from Bavaria, Europe, to Woodford County,
1859 Jacob Zehr (1825-1898)
was ordained to the ministry, June 12,
1859, for the Mackinaw meetinghouse for
Amish Mennonites in Illinois. Zehr was
then ordained bishop of that meetinghouse
on May 20, 1863, where he served until
about 1893. Mackinaw meetinghouse was
later called Roanoke Mennonite Church
and Goodfield Mennonite Church, which
became part of the First Mennonite Church,
1931 Harold Zehr, Goodfield,
Illinois, was ordained to the ministry
in the Illinois Mennonite Conference,
and served the East Bend Mennonite Church,
and other churches in Illinois and Ohio.
He was born to Jacob E. and Emma (Miller)
Zehr on October 15, 1903, and married
Alma Unzicker in 1926.
Sources for information:
Willard H. Smith, Mennonites in Illinois,
pages 73-75 (1983); Paton Yoder and Steven
R. Estes, Proceedings of the Amish
Ministers’ Meetings, 1862-1878 (1999);
Obituary of "Pre. Jacob Zehr", Herald
of Truth, March 15, 1898
1/1 Land indenture,
July 29, 1848, "between Edwin
Alvord and Solymna, his wife, of the
County of Tazewell and State of Illinois, of
the first part, and Christian Ciers
[Oyer], Jacob Ciers [Oyer] and Andrew
Oir [Oyer] of the County of Woodford." Note
by Nelson Springer: "Apparently land
in two townships side by side east of
the Mackinaw [Illinois]. [In 1910] Daniel
Zehr owned land just south of this in
Tazewell County and Andrew Ulrich owned
half of this Tazewell County land described
in the deed to Christian, Jacob and Andrew
2 (Long Green)
2/1 Sermon Book of Bishop
Jacob Zehr (1825-1898), grandfather of
Harold Zehr. Book has no date, but probably
1859-1893, when Zehr served as a minister
(1859-1863) and bishop (1863-ca. 1893)
of the Mackinaw Amish Mennonite meetinghouse
in Illinois. Book includes a variety
of materials. Front cover of book is
torn off, first two leaves of book are
loose, Gothic script, German language,
pages not numbered
2/2 Five items and booklets,
found loose inside sermon book
2/3 Sermon Book, partial
transcriptions and translations. Transcription
of first leaf of book (pages 1-2), maybe
a kind of introduction. Transcription
and translation of second leaf of book
(pages 3-4). Photocopy of pages 5-11
(reduced), and photocopies of pages 219-222
(although pages are not numbered).
March 9, 1863, from Karl Hartfelder,
March 30, 1879, from Joseph Stuckey,
John Stahly, and Christian Imhoff, Danvers,
Illinois, regarding Solomon Yoder.
1950-80 (photocopies). Includes materials
on East Bend Mennonite Church, Fisher,
Illinois, including correspondence with
Bishop J. A. Heiser.
and Subject Tracing
East Bend Mennonite
Church, Fisher, Illinois
Heiser, J. A.
Zehr, Harold (1903-1975)
Zehr, Jacob (1825-1898)
January 30, 2004 / Posted
to web by Rebecca Allen
June 10, 2003 and December 11, 1995 / Dennis Stoesz
Mennonite Church USA Archives-Goshen, 1700 S. Main St., Goshen, Indiana 46526
Herald of Truth,
Vol. XXXV, No. 6, March 15, 1898 page
OBITUARY PRE. JACOB ZEHR
Montgomery Township, Woodford County, Ill., lost one of its oldest and most
respected citizens on Tuesday morning of Feb. 22nd, 1898 by the death of Pre.
Jacob Zehr, at his home in Mackinaw valley, near Zimmerman's Ford. Deceased
was born in Bavaria, Germany, Sept. 17, 1825 and emigrated to America in the
spring of 1848. On April 21st, 1850, he was married to Elizabeth Ehresman and
settled on the farm upon which he died. This farm he entered from the government
and by hard labor succeeded in making it a comfortable home, leaving his family
well provided for. His family consisted of four sons and five daughters of
whom one son and two daughters preceded him to the grave; his wife, six children
and eighteen grandchildren survive him. Bro. Zehr united with the Amish Mennonite
Church in early youth and remained a faithful member to the time of his death.
On the 12th of June 1859, he was chosen by the above named church as minister
of the Gospel, and on May 17th, 1863 ordained as bishop. It was ever his highest
aim to fill this charge according to God's ordinances as long as He gave him
power and health to do so. He was a sufferer from nervousness or sick-headache
more or less for nearly forty years, which wore on him so that for the last
four or five years his health has been so poor that he was unable to preach.
This seemed to be his greatest sorrow in his declining years; yet by his patience
in his sufferings and his trust in his Master he was ever setting a good example
to others who visited him, and to his family. About four months ago he was
partly paralyzed and from that time was confined to his bed and as helpless
as a child, patiently awaiting his Master's call to come up higher. His life
on earth was an exemplary, upright, humble one, highly respected by all who
knew him. While the sorrow of his death is general, yet it is mitigated by
the knowledge that after a long and useful life a good man has gone to the
home he so longed for.
What a blessed assurance
that "If we so live as to meet him, In
heaven his bright face we shall see."
The funeral services
were held in the village of Deer Creek.
Thursday at 1 o'clock P. M. Feb., 24th,
a very large congregation of friends
and relatives came to pay their last
tribute of respect to their beloved friend
whose kindness and generosity brightened
the lives of many. Elder John Schmitt
of Metamora spoke in German, and Val.
Strubhar of Washington, in English. The
remains were laid to rest in the Mt.
Zion cemetery, two miles north of Deer
"Yonder in the graveyard
Rests the form we loved so well;
But we look to heaven and glory
Where there will be no farewell.
Farewell father, till we meet thee,
In thy heavenly home above;
There to sing God's praises with thee,
In the land of joy and love."
Gospel Herald -
Volume 69, Number 2 - January 13, 1976 page
Zehr, Harold, son of
Jacob E. and Emma (Miller) Zehr, was
born at Goodfield, Ill., Oct. 15, 1903;
died of a heart attack on Dec. 15, 1975;
aged 72 y. In 1926, he was married to
Alma Unzicker, who preceded him in death
in 1966. In 1967, he was married to Ruth
Schertz, who survives. Also surviving
are 4 sons (Jay, John, Dean, and Allen
Zehr), 4 daughters (Edith, Rachel, Mrs.
Hazel Yoder, and Mrs. Lila King), one
sister (Mrs. Mildred Good), and 3 brothers
(Walter, Ellis, and Chester). He was
preceded in death by one sister (Mrs.
Mabel Schrock). He was ordained to the
ministry in 1931 and served as a pastor
in Illinois and Ohio. Funeral services
were held at the East Bend Mennonite
Church, Fisher, Ill., Dec. 17, in charge
of Carl Newswanger and Edwin Stalter.