Darlington Mennonite (General Conference Mennonite) Mission was a station among the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Indians. Darlington is a village near El Reno in central Oklahoma, once the center of the government agency for these tribes. The government built its first Indian schools here, and here several religious bodies began their mission work with these tribes. In 1880 S. S. Haury became the first teacher in the mission school opened at Darlington by the General Conference Mennonite Church. The government granted the station many material favors, such as the wood from the nearby forest, the use of the governmental sawmill, and 40 acres of good land. The mission home was opened in August 1881 and a school for 25 pupils in the same autumn. Instruction in the school was conducted in English, whereas work with the adults was done in the native languages of the Indians, at first through interpreters. Food, clothing and other necessities were furnished by the government.
This encouraging beginning justified bright hopes for the future. But on 19 February 1882 the beautiful new building burned down with practically all its contents. The only son of the Haurys and three Indian children suffocated in the smoke before they could be reached. In spite of the shock of the tragedy, a new brick building was put up before the close of the year, twice as large as the original building.
Since the station at Cantonment had been planned in the meantime and the Haurys were stationed there, the work at Darlington was assigned to the Schultzes, and six months later to the H. R. Voths, together with a staff of workers to care for the 50 pupils in the boarding school. Evangelization was carried on among the adult Indians in their camps. In 1889 Mrs. Voth died, and three years later the J. S. Krehbiels were put in charge of the station.
About this time the Indians began to move away to other places, and the school was taken over by the government. The church withdrew from the station, Voth transferring to the work with the Indians in Arizona. No congregation was ever organized at Darlington. In 1889 the first baptism took place on one of the older girls in the school; another who was to have been baptized died the week before. Others were baptized at Halstead, where they had gone for further education. Many of the children and adults of this station died of tuberculosis, some of them in faith in the Lord Jesus, but too suddenly to be received into the church. Some of the Indians later joined other churches.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: I, 395 f.
|Author(s)||H. R Voth|
Cite This Article
Voth, H. R. "Darlington Mennonite Mission (Darlington, Oklahoma, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 30 Jul 2016. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Darlington_Mennonite_Mission_(Darlington,_Oklahoma,_USA)&oldid=120103.
Voth, H. R. (1956). Darlington Mennonite Mission (Darlington, Oklahoma, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 30 July 2016, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Darlington_Mennonite_Mission_(Darlington,_Oklahoma,_USA)&oldid=120103.
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