The oldest Amish Mennonite meetinghouse in America was erected near Malvern in Chester County in 1795, and was called Goshen or Chester Valley. The bishop oversight was in charge of Jacob Mast (1738-1808), who had become a bishop in 1788. The congregation became extinct some time after his death, and the building was accidentally burned in 1895; the walls, however, were still standing in 1950. The Amish had settled in Chester County in 1760, led by Jacob Mast, coming to Chester from Bern Township, Berks County. Although the Goshen group died out, the Amish flourished in both the Conestoga and Pequea valleys; most of their members now resided in Lancaster County, however. From 1869 until 1877 there was some dissension among the Amish of the area which resulted in the formation of two separate groups: the Amish Mennonites who built the Conestoga Amish Mennonite Church in Berks County in 1882, and the Old Order Amish who clung more tenaciously to the discipline and piety of their elders. The Maple Grove Amish Mennonite Church in Chester County near Atglen was built in 1909, and was originally an outpost of the Millwood A.M. congregation of Lancaster County. The Conestoga and Maple Grove congregations belonged to the Ohio and Eastern A.M. Conference, whereas Millwood, which formerly belonged to the same conference joined the Lancaster Conference. A considerable number of the members of all three congregations lived in Chester County.
There were two Christian day schools in the county in 1950: West Fallowfield Mennonite School, and Parkesburg Mennonite School, with a total enrollment (1948-49) of 73 pupils.
Wenger, J. C. History of the Mennonites of the Franconia Conference. Scottdale, Pa.: Mennonite Pub. House, 1938. Reprinted Lititz, PA?: Publication Board of the Eastern Pennsylvania Mennonite Church], 1985.
Mast, C. Z. Annals of the Conestoga Valley in Lancaster, Berks and Chester Counties. Scottdale, PA, 1942.
|Author(s)||George B. Stoltzfus|
|John C. Wenger|
Cite This Article
Stoltzfus, George B. and John C. Wenger. "Chester County (Pennsylvania, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 27 Jan 2015. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Chester_County_(Pennsylvania,_USA)&oldid=86665.
Stoltzfus, George B. and John C. Wenger. (1953). Chester County (Pennsylvania, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 27 January 2015, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Chester_County_(Pennsylvania,_USA)&oldid=86665.
Herald Press website.
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