History of the Mennonites of Butler County, Ohio

Long ago, the wise man said "of the making of many books there is no end." Of the making of history the same may be said. Every day and deed is a part of future history, and from her pages speak events, experiences and deeds. One of the chief difficulties which Mennonite historians have found in their efforts to write the story of their people is the fact that material for such a task is very meagre, since the church has in the past, in many localities, neglected to keep records of their church activities.

If each church or settlement had kept a record of its activities, the writing of a complete Mennonite history would be an easy matter. The author has endeavored to record the facts of the Butler county settlement while it was still possible to secure at least sufficient information to write a connected story. It has been indeed no easy task to go back ninety-six years and gather facts and dates of the life and work of those who have long since passed away.


Table of Contents

The Settlement 11-12
Congregation organized 12-13
Division 13-14
Collinsville congregation 14-15
Augspurger congregation 15-16
Gessian congregation 16-22
Biographies 23-32
Cemeteries 33
Reminiscences 34-40
Family Records 40-45


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The Butler county settlement was the third of the Amish branch of the Mennonite Church in Ohio. The first was located on the Sugar Creek, in Tuscarawas county, in 1808, when a preacher, John Miller, came from Somerset county, Pennsylvania. The second being in Wayne county as early as 1817, when a Jacob Yoder moved there from Mifflin county, Pennsylvania.

The pioneer of the Butler county settlement was Christian Augspurger. He had been the manager of a farm near Strassburg, then a province of France, owned by Charles Schulmeister, a spy under Napoleon the First. He came to America in 1817 and settled in Pennsylvania, and a little later, in company with others, went farther west as far as the Miami Valley. Here he decided to make his future home, but being a friend of society and in a strange country without friends, he became discouraged, and in 1818, with his family, re- turned to France.