Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday -- Cemetery Marker for Bergthal Mennonite Church 1875-2013

This isn't really a tombstone but at first glance in the cemetery, it looks like one. It is a memorial marker to commemorate the Bergthal Mennonite Church that will soon be torn down as I wrote in a previous post. After it is torn down, they will use the cornerstone and some of the bricks to build a base for this marker.

This is what it says:


In 1874, Mennonite immigrants from Karlswalde, Russia, seeking religious freedom and military exemption from service, settled on land in the Dundee area which was obtained through the Homestead Act and from the Sante Fe Railroad. The only shelters available to the immigrants that first winter were railroad box cars. The first buildings, including a church, were erected in 1875. This first church, a limestone building, was used as a school. Education was afforded a high value throughout the lifetime of the congregation. A larger wooden church was built in 1897. The final building, a brick church dedicated in 1915, was situated one mile north of this cemetery. Like thousands of rural churches across the country, the membership declined rapidly in its later years. Bergthal Mennonite was known for its emphasis on peace and service and was an active member of the Western District Conference until it officially disbanded in 2013.

*Hill and Valley

Bergthal Mennonite Church, Pawnee Rock, Barton County, Kansas

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