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Esch is a family name represented among European and North American Mennonites. John Horsch lists Oesch among the names of Swiss Mennonite refugees in the Palatinate after 1664, who later came to Pennsylvania. Christian Neff's Mennonitisches Adressbuch of 1936 lists an Oesch family in the Augsburg Mennonite Church and three Esch families in the Ernstweiler Mennonite Church. Franz Crous' list of Mennonites (1940) in South Germany has four families bearing the name Esch and ten the name Oesch. The family has been prominent in the Luxembourg congregation; Joseph Oesch, who was serving as bishop in 1953, died on July 15, 1954.

C.Z. Mast reports in 1942 that there were one hundred families bearing the name Esch, most of whom were farmers in Lancaster County, Pa. The immigrant ancestor of this family, Jacob Esch, landed in Philadelphia in 1751. Among his sons was Jacob Eash, Amish bishop who died in 1850. The family history of Jacob Eash (1934) names 2,946 of his descendants, many of whom were Amish, living principally in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Iowa.

Near the time that Jacob Esch, Sr. came to North America, James Esch also emigrated from Europe to Eastern Pennsylvania. Among his descendants were Christian D. Esch, Mennonite bishop and missionary doctor to India, and Menno Esch, Mennonite bishop at Mio, Michigan.

Daniel Kauffman reports that John Oesch (1792-1850) was a native of Bavaria, who settled in Waterloo County, Ontario, where he was ordained as preacher in 1829 and as bishop five years later. In 1953 ten ordained men in various Mennonite conferences bore the name Esch or one of its variants.


Eash, L.T. Descendants of Bishop Jacob Eash. Middlebury, IN, 1934.

Mast, C.Z. Annals of the Conestoga Valley. Elverson, PA, 1942.

Horsch, John. Mennonites in Europe. Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1942: 385-387.

Neff, Christian. Mennonitisches Adressbuch. Karlsruhe: Heinrich Schneider, 1936.

Crous, Franz. "Mennonitenfamilien in Zahlen." Mennonitische Geschichtesblätter 5 (1940): 26-45.

Kauffman, Daniel, ed., Mennonite Cyclopedic Dictionary. Scottdale, PA: Mennonite Publishing House, 1937: 87-88.

See also H.S. Bender, ed., "Palatinate Mennonite Census Lists." Mennonite Quarterly Review 14 (1940): 5-40, 67-89, 170-186; 15 (1941): 46-63.

Author(s) Melvin Gingerich
Date Published 1956

Cite This Article

MLA style

Gingerich, Melvin. "Esch (Eash, Esh, Oesch, Ash) family." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 26 May 2016.,_Esh,_Oesch,_Ash)_family&oldid=87410.

APA style

Gingerich, Melvin. (1956). Esch (Eash, Esh, Oesch, Ash) family. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 26 May 2016, from,_Esh,_Oesch,_Ash)_family&oldid=87410.

Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 246-247. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.

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