Jacob J. Froese (13 November 1885-15 January 1968) was born in the village of Reinland, Manitoba. Froese's education consisted of approximately seven years of study in a private Mennonite elementary school. Around 1903 he moved to the village of Reinfeld with his mother and stepfather. Shortly after this he served as the village teacher for several years. He began farming after his marriage in 1906. In the early 1920s he served as the Dorfsschulz (village "mayor") for Reinfeld, until perhaps 1926. Most of the members of the Reinländer Mennoniten Gemeinde (Old Colony Mennonite Church) migrated to Mexico in these years. Froese, however, decided to remain in Manitoba even though the church disbanded there in the mid-1920s. When the Old Colony Mennonites emigrated they left their Waisenamt debt records with a law firm in Morden (for the purpose of collecting from non-emigrating debtors). It quickly became clear that people were unwilling to settle their accounts with outsiders. The law firm approached the debtors and asked them to elect someone to oversee the liquidation of outstanding debts. Jacob J. Froese was the person chosen.
By the 1930s many community leaders, including Froese, began to feel that a mistake had been made in disbanding the church. On 25 June 1936, a meeting was held at which the church was reorganized and Jacob J. Froese was elected as a minister. In 1937 the revived Old Colony Mennonite Church in Manitoba elected him as bishop (elder).
In the 1940s he was active in the Manitoba Ältestenkommitee (elders' committee), which was concerned with matters related to military and alternative service. He accompanied the executive committee of the Ältestenkommitee (bishops Peter A. Toews, David Schulz, and J.F. Barkman, and minister David P. Reimer) on a trip to Ottawa to negotiate with governmental officials. Under his leadership the church was also strongly involved in the Canadian Mennonite Relief Committee (until 1963) and after 1963, in Mennonite Central Committee Canada.
He served the church as bishop for more than 30 years (1937-68) and was a very successful farmer as well. During these years he delivered 1,700 sermons, presided at 200 funerals, conducted 94 marriages, and ordained 20 ministers, six deacons and two bishops, namely his successor in Manitoba and a Hutterite bishop at Pincher Creek, AB.
Brown, Frank. A History of Winkler 1892-1973. Altona, MB: D.W Friesen, 1973.
Ens, Gerhard. The Rural Municipality of Rhineland, 1884-1984. Altona, MB: Rural Municipality of Rhineland, 1984.
Francis, E.K. In Search of Utopia. Altona, MB: D. W. Friesen, 1955.
Petkau, Peter and Irene Friesen-Petkau. Blumenfeld: Where Land and People Meet. Winkler, MB: Blumenfeld Historical Committee, 1981.
Redekop, Calvin Wall The Old Colony Mennonites: The Dilemma of Ethnic Minority Life. Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins U. Press, 1969.
Reimer, David P., ed. Experiences of the Mennonites of Canada during the Second World War. Altona, MB: D.W. Friesen, n.d.
Zacharias, Peter D. Reinland: An Experience in Community. Reinland, MB: Reinland Centennial Committee, 1976.
 Cite This Article
Peters, Jake. "Froese, Jacob J. (1885-1968)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1990. Web. 27 Jul 2016. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Froese,_Jacob_J._(1885-1968)&oldid=87613.
Peters, Jake. (1990). Froese, Jacob J. (1885-1968). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 27 July 2016, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Froese,_Jacob_J._(1885-1968)&oldid=87613.
©1996-2016 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.