1785 - 1853 (68 years)
||Bishop Benjamin Eby |
||02 May 1785
||Warwick, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
||28 Jun 1853
||Kitchener (Berlin) (Ebytown), Waterloo, Ontario
||Ben Eby's First Mennonite Cemetery Kitchener, Waterloo, Ontario
||Eby/Aebi and Bernethy Family
||1 Apr 2012 |
||Christian Eby, Jr, b. 22 Feb 1734, Warwick, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania , d. 14 Sept 1807, Elizabethtown, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (Age 73 years) |
||Catherine Rebecca Bricker, b. 1743, Warwick, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania , d. 16 Mar 1810, Elizabethtown, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (Age 67 years) |
||13 Mar 1760
||Maria Brubacher, b. 06 Aug 1789, Lancaster, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania , d. 18 Aug 1834, Kitchener (Berlin) (Ebytown), Waterloo, Ontario (Age 45 years) |
||25 Feb 1807
||Lancaster, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
| ||1. Isaac Bricker Eby, b. 30 Jun 1808, Kitchener (Berlin) (Ebytown), Waterloo, Ontario , d. 20 May 1874, Kitchener (Berlin) (Ebytown), Waterloo, Ontario (Age 65 years)|
| ||2. Elias Eby, b. 22 Feb 1810, Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario , d. 02 Jun 1878, Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario (Age 68 years)|
| ||3. Susannah Eby, b. 08 Feb 1812, Ontario, Canada , d. 23 Sep 1819, Waterloo County, Ontario (Age 7 years)|
| ||4. Catherine E Eby, b. 25 Jul 1814, Ontario, Canada , d. 30 Mar 1867, Kitchener (Berlin) (Ebytown), Waterloo, Ontario (Age 52 years)|
| ||5. Maria Eby, b. 14 Mar 1816, Ontario, Canada , d. 21 Jun 1861 (Age 45 years)|
| ||6. Benjamin Eby, b. 10 Feb 1818, Kitchener (Berlin) (Ebytown), Waterloo, Ontario , d. 09 Jul 1872, Waterloo County, Ontario (Age 54 years)|
| ||7. Henry or Heinrich Eby, b. 25 Jan 1820, Kitchener (Berlin) (Ebytown), Waterloo, Ontario , d. 11 Mar 1855, Ontario, Canada (Age 35 years)|
| ||8. Christian Eby, b. 19 Jun 1821, Ontario, Canada , d. 05 Nov 1859, Waterloo County, Ontario (Age 38 years)|
| ||9. Abraham Eby, b. 21 Nov 1823, Kitchener (Berlin) (Ebytown), Waterloo, Ontario , d. 24 Aug 1885, Bridgeport, Waterloo, Ontario (Age 61 years)|
| ||10. Jacob B Eby, b. 24 Mar 1826, Kitchener (Berlin) (Ebytown), Waterloo, Ontario , d. 21 Dec 1882, Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario (Age 56 years)|
| ||11. Peter B Eby, b. 28 Feb 1828, Kitchener (Berlin) (Ebytown), Waterloo, Ontario , d. 15 Aug 1894, Buffalo, Erie County, New York (Age 66 years)|
||Magdalena Erb, b. 03 Mar 1780, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania , d. 25 Jul 1858, Waterloo County, Ontario (Age 78 years) |
||Benjamin Eby |
Bishop Benjamin Eby's memorial stone in Kitchener First Mennonite Cemetery.,
||Benjamin Eby |
The Eby Family Report January 2004 Issue 19
- Dieter Eby Newman (263) most of above information.
- Below is from Wampumkeeper.com. Ontarios Mennonite Heritage
It is difficult not to despise Richard Beasley. An early specimen of Upper Canada's notorious 'family compact', Beasley grew rich mixing business and politics. Well-educated, well-connected, Beasley was elected at an early age to the province's first parliament, where he was meant to represent settlers in what is now the Hamilton-Wentworth area. Instead, through his shady land dealings, Beasley cheated both the Six Nation Iroquois and the German-speaking Pennsylvania Mennonites who bought land from him in 1800.
Sam Bricker was the first Mennonite to hear of Beasley's swindle. In 1803, the red-haired hot-tempered Sam walked from York (Toronto) to the head of Lake Ontario and confronted the Colonel. Beasley confessed: his lands in Block 2 of the Indian Tract were heavily mortgaged and he was only part owner. The twenty deeds he had issued to the Mennonites were worthless. But Beasley was prepared to offer a bargain to Sam Bricker. If the settlers could raise 20,000 pounds Beasley would pay off the mortgage and give the Mennonites clear title to an additional 60,000 acres.
Sam Bricker raised 20,000 pounds. The Pennsylvania Mennonites were skeptical at first. Migration fever had certainly seized them, but most brethren were looking to Virginia and Maryland, not to the northern forests of Upper Canada. Sam's cousin, John Eby of the Hammer Creek congregation in Lancaster Country, turned the tables in his favor. Old Christian Eby contributed 2500 pounds and The German Company was formed with 26 stockholders. Mennonite women sewed up 200 canvas bags and placed a hundred silver coins in each. The next spring, Sam Bricker and John and Jacob Erb conveyed the treasure up to Canada. On June 29, 1805, Col. Richard Beasley signed his name to a legal deed.
The names of the Kitchener-Waterloo pioneers are well known today: Eby and Erb, Bean and Bechtel, Betzner and Sherk. There are many others. Old Christian's son, Benjamin Eby, owned most of what is now the east ward of Kitchener. He was business agent for the Company and Bishop of the Mennonites from 1812 until his death in 1853. Unlike Richard Beasley, Ben Eby never betrayed the trust placed in him.
As a pioneer and unpaid Mennonite leader, Ben Eby was busy enough, but his main job was that of school teacher. For 25 years, winter months only, Ben taught reading, writing, spelling and arithmetic - mostly in German - in a meeting house built on his land. The First Mennonite Church of K-W stands on this site today. Ben sold some of his land to incoming tradespeople, the rest he divided among his family (11 children and 71 grandchildren).
Bishop Ben Eby was also a writer of Mennonite history, and he disclaimed notions current in his day about the 'peculiar' Plain People. According to Bishop Eby, the Anabaptist heresy - i.e. the baptizing of voluntary adult believers only, the objection to military service, the refusal to swear judicial oaths - all dated from long before the Protestant Reformation. Like-minded heresies, said Ben, had been present throughout the whole history of the Roman Church, and had been especially persistent in southern France.
The Ebys and most Mennonite families were of Celtic origin, claimed Bishop Eby. Their pagan ancestors had lived on the fertile plains of northern Italy; they had been led to the Anabaptist heresy by Christians from southern France, the Waldensians. They had been hounded out of their homes by the Roman Church in the 1400s, into the highlands of Switzerland. As followers of Menno Simons in the 16th and 17th centuries they had been persecuted up and down the Rhineland by Lutherans and Catholics alike. Then had come William Penn's invitation to settle in the New World.
The Waterloo pioneer colony was a theocracy: God was King and His laws were in the New Testament. If disputes arose, the brethren turned to Bishop Ben Eby and to the elders of the congregations. Self-disciplined, hardworking, committed to friendly and helpful relations towards non-Mennonite newcomers, such people made ideal settlers, despite their awkward pacifism.
- The following is from http://www.whitepinepictures.com/seeds/
Benjamin Eby's legacy is his lasting contributions to the Mennonite community. He was not the first settler but he was first in many other things. Eby was the first Mennonite bishop in inland Upper Canada. He built what became the first Mennonite Meeting house, and the first school house where he taught. He brought in a printing press and, in 1814, started a Mennonite newspaper. Eby also wrote many letters home to Europe, inviting families and merchants to join him in a thriving new community, soon to be known as Eby Town.
You might think that a man like Benjamin Eby, with his many contributions and leadership skills, would be the mayor of Eby Town. But for Benjamin, and most Mennonites of the old order, government and state politics went against their religion(9). Participation in the political world, with its inclination toward the use of force and violence to maintain the order of the state, was discouraged by Mennonites(10).
Over the years, however, more modern groups of Mennonites have become involved in government and do vote. A number serve in elected office and many more are active as civil servants and in occupations such as public school teachers(11).
Mennonites of today, however, confront the constant challenge of preserving their beliefs in the face of wordly progress. Most of Ontario's 20,000 Mennonites do not cling to the horse and buggy era. Some drive cars, some only black cars. Others leave their farms to train and work as mechanics and engineers. There are nearly 50 different groups of Mennonites today, divided by their levels of acceptance of modern life. Some believe that strict lives of discipleship, totally separated from the world around them, is the essence of their existence. Others insist that their adaptation and involvement in the world is crucial to their being able to carry out their Christian mandate.
The descendants of Benjamin Eby demonstrate this division within one family. Phares Eby still drives the horse and buggy and lives almost exactly as his great-great-great grandfather Benjamin did, generations ago. Phares Eby is part of the old order group of Mennonites, preserving the tradition of living a simple life off the land. The old order Mennonites also live by strict social rules in order to ensure that the time-honoured traditions survive with each new generation. Women defer to men. They take care of the hearth and home and are not permitted to have a bank account in their name. Such a liberty is considered unnecessary since divorce is also strictly forbidden. Children attend a parochial school only until grade 8 and then begin work on the family farm. If anyone chooses to leave the Mennonite fold they lose everything: their family, their farm, their community.
But not all of Benjamin Eby's descendants followed the same path. Phares' cousin, Dwight Eby, considers himself a modern Mennonite, of the new order. He and his family attend the First Mennonite Church in downtown Kitchener. They believe that their ancestors would have welcomed modern technology. "We drive automobiles today, we have our computers at home, we're hooked up to the Internet," says Dwight Eby. "There's no doubt in my mind that if Benjamin were alive today he would be using these things to communicate."
The first Mennonites came to Canada from the United States as a small group of pioneers in the late eighteenth and early-nineteenth century. Among them was a family named Eby. Benjamin Eby was one of a few Mennonite scouts who left their home in Pennsylvania during the American War of Independence, a war which the Mennonites felt threatened their pacifist beliefs. From Pennsylvania they ventured north to Upper Canada, feeling safer in territory still loyal to the British Crown. They crossed the Niagara River on rafts and followed the Grand and Conestoga rivers, reaching Canadian soil by horseback in the summer of 1806.
This first Mennonite migration into Canada brought about 2,000 Swiss Mennonites. They acquired land from private owners in the Niagara Peninsula and in York and Waterloo counties(1). Nearby, Benjamin Eby and his wife Maria were among a handful of families who pooled their resources and collected over 10,000 American dollars to purchase 40,000 acres of land. They had sewn their savings into quilts and buried them at the bottom of flour barrels, hidden away from any thieves the Mennonites might encounter on their migration.
From 1825 to the mid-1870's about 750 Mennonites settled on land in the Waterloo region. In the 1870's the Russification policies of the Russian government pushed 18,000 Dutch Mennonites to leave for North America. The promises of land, cultural and educational freedom, and guaranteed exemption form military service attracted about 7,000 of them to southern Manitoba. The opening up of homestead lands in the North-West Territories attracted Mennonites from Prussia, Russia and the USA between 1890 and WWI(2).
American conscription in 1917 brought another wave of Mennonites to the Canadian Prairies. The largest migration occurred in the 1920's, when 20,000 Mennonites fled the Bolshevik Revolution. WWII brought over 12,000 Mennonites from the USSR and Germany. Most of them settled in urban areas. The most rapidly growing urban Mennonite community was Winnipeg.
In recent decades Mennonite immigration to Canada has mainly been from USA, Mexico and Paraguay(3). In 1992 the Mennonite community in Canada numbered 200,000(4). There are many Canadian Mennonites of French, Chinese, Indian and Anglo-Saxon extraction, and increasing percentages of Mennonite marriages are mixed(5).
Die Möglichkeit, ihre kulturellen Werte zu erhalten und frei auszuleben, hat viele Einwanderer nach Kanada gelockt. Die Filmemacherin Ann Kennard erforscht die private Welt der Mennoniten und der kühnen Gründer dieser faszinierenden Gemeinschaft im Südwesten Ontarios.
The freedom to worship and practice distinct cultural values have lured many immigrants to Canada. Filmmaker Ann Kennard explores the private world of the Mennonites and the intrepid founders of their community in southern Ontario. Benjamin Eby crossed the Canadian border in 1807 in a horse cart, carrying a quilt stitched with ten thousand pockets. Each pocket contained an American silver dollar to buy off the mortgages on the 60,000 acres of land the Mennonites purchased in Waterloo county.
Eby would go on to found the Mennonite community in St Jacob's, Ontario and be ordained as the first Mennonite bishop in Canada. He built the first Mennonite church, opened and taught at the first Mennonite one-room schoolhouse, bought the first printing press and distributed the first Mennonite newsletter.
- The following is from Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online at
Benjamin Eby (2 May 1785-28 June 1853) was a pioneer Mennonite bishop of the Mennonite Church (MC) serving in Ontario. The eleventh child of Christian Eby and his wife Catharine Bricker, Benjamin was born in the old homestead on Hammer Creek, Warwick Township, Lancaster County, PA, May 2, 1785. On Feb. 25, 1807 he married Mary Brubacher. That spring he and his wife immigrated to Waterloo County, ON, arriving at what was later Berlin (now Kitchener) on June 21. He was ordained as minister (MC) on 27 November 1809 and as bishop on 11 October 1812. In 1813 his dream of having a meetinghouse was realized with the erection of a log structure of modest dimensions, the first building erected solely for religious worship in Waterloo County. The congregation had not fewer than 150 members. Possibly as early as 1815 Benjamin Eby built a frame annex to the log church, with a movable partition between it and the main building. This annex served as a schoolhouse of which he was for many years the teacher. At the same time he carried on his farming. His farm was lot 2 of the Beasley Tract, comprising a large part of the East Ward of the modern city of Kitchener. To Benjamin and Mary Eby were born eleven children. In August 1834, Mary died of cholera. Some time after her death Benjamin married the widow of Abraham Erb, the founder of Waterloo. On 28 June 1853, Eby died.
To sketch the life of Benjamin Eby is to consider the man, his work, his interests, and his influence. As a farmer he seems to have been successful. He was at least generous with his money, as the few remaining records of his financial transactions indicate. In 1816, when the church purchased an acre of land to add to its holdings, he donated an additional three quarters of an acre. All this is now part of the property of First Mennonite Church of Kitchener. Between 1825 and 1830 two men, John Hoffman and Samuel Bowers, wanted to establish a furniture factory. Appealing in vain to various sources for land, they came finally to Bishop Eby, who readily made land available to them. This too was a gift. The third transaction was in connection with the founding, in 1835, of the first newspaper in inner Canada, the Canada Museum, by Henry W. Peterson. Benjamin Eby not only encouraged this enterprise by word but purchased two shares of stock at $40.00 each, a larger risk than anyone else, apart from Mr. Peterson, was willing or able to take. Again, in 1836, he donated $16.00 toward the building of a cemetery wall, the next highest gift being $4.00. Relatively small as those sums are today they were important in those pioneer days. Judged in relation to his times and his contemporaries all these transactions establish Benjamin Eby as a substantial farmer in his community. Of his occupation as a preacher only a few recorded comments survive. H.W. Peterson, publisher and Lutheran lay preacher, says in his diary: "Stayed all night at Benjamin Eby's, went with him and his family to the meeting or church. He prayed and preached well. He is a good man." An anonymous writer in the Berlin Daily Telegraph for May 19, 1906, says: "His sermons were full of good sense, very intelligible, lying parallel with the understanding of attentive hearers." A tradition has it that there were invariably tears in his eyes when he entered the pulpit on a Sabbath morning. For many years, from 1818-19 to the early 1840's, he was also the community schoolmaster. In this period he wrote two spelling or reading books, Neues Buchstabir- und Lesebuch (1839) and Fibel (1843). He also wrote a work on Mennonite faith and history entitled Kurzgefasste Kirchen-geschichte und Glaubenslehre der Taufgesinnten Christen oder Mennoniten (1841). He was most likely the compiler of the Gemeinschaftliche Liedersammlung (Berlin, 1836), which was long used in Ontario. Thus he was farmer, teacher, preacher, and author. As might be expected, his interests went beyond his own community. He corresponded with European Mennonites and published some of the letters received in Briefe an die Mennonisten Gemeine in Ober Canada (1840) and Zweyter Brief aus Dänemark (1841).
The physical man must be noted briefly. There was a tradition that he was frail. Aus 'em Bennie gebts ka Bauer, er muss Schulmester werre. (Bennie will never make a farmer, he must become a schoolteacher.) Yet he made two journeys to Canada on horseback through the wilderness, hewed for himself a home, prospered substantially, and was unusually active in church and community affairs. One of his coats, seen by the present writer, would indicate that he was about five feet, six inches tall, weighing possibly 150 lbs.
Up to 1833 the Waterloo County settlement was known as "Ben Eby's" or "Ebytown," thus establishing Eby as the leading citizen of his community. With the arrival of increasing numbers of German non-Mennonites, the name of the settlement was changed in 1833 to Berlin. The record of his influence and activities bears eloquent testimony that he had both a keen sense of civic and denominational responsibility. In his account of Benjamin Eby's funeral, written for the July 7, 1855 issue of the Guelph Advertiser, H.S. Peterson calls him "an Israelite in whom there was no guile, and that he was sincerely pious, humble, exemplary, practical, and non-sectarian, and eminently successful in his day and generation." The anonymous friend in the Daily Telegraph (Berlin, ON, 19 May 1906) says: "He was a person of unblemished character. Naturally of a sweet and gentle disposition, friendly and obliging, always ready to serve his friends in any way that he could by his interest and authority. This he did freely and generously, not proud or haughty, but serious in giving good counsel, and greatly esteemed for his integrity by all ranks and denominations. All very much desired his company and wholesome conversations."
- Neues Buchstabir- und Lesebuch
1839 A B C book
Neues Buchstabir- und Lesebuch, Besonders bearbeitet und eingerichtet zum Gebrauch DeutscherSchulen. Enthaltend das ABC, und vielerley Buchstabir- und Leseuebungen, compiled by Benjamin Eby, was published by Heinrich Wilhelm Peterson at Berlin (now Kitchener), Ont., in 1839. A second edition, entitled A B C-Buchstabir- und Lesebuch, was printed by Heinrich Eby at Berlin in 1842, "for the use of German schools in Canada." This small booklet of 144 pages became very popular. It was reprinted again in 1847 at Berlin, and by J. F. Funk at Elkhart, Ind., 1869, 1871, 1882, 1896, 1909. It was used in German schools in the churches in Canada, and in Sunday schools for the teaching of German. It contains the alphabet, 81 exercises in orthography, the words graded from one to six syllables, a dictionary, rules of syntax, a list of the Old Testament books including the Apocrypha, some Bible history, a short history of printing, the Ten Commandments, the Apostles' Creed, the Lord's Prayer, some sample letters, wise sayings, the multiplication tables, and two addresses to children.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Scottdale, Pennsylvania, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 848. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.