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Samuel D. Guengerich was born 25 August 1836, in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, the oldest son of Daniel P. and Susana Miller Guengerich, and died 12 January 1929 near Wellman, Iowa. He married Barbara Beachy, daughter of Joel and Elizabeth Gnagy Beachy. Among his children was William S. Guengerich, minister in the Seventh Street Mennonite Church, Upland, California. Although his elementary schooling was somewhat irregular, he decided to become a teacher, acquiring his certificate from Millersville (Pennsylvania) Normal School in 1864. He took his preparation for teaching seriously, as is evidenced by several essays on education which are now in the Mennonite Church Archives at Goshen, Indiana. After this he taught in the public schools of Iowa for a number of years. He helped organize the German School Association, which served the Amish churches of Iowa from 1890 to 1916, promoting the interests of parochial education through his writings, speeches, and local leadership of the movement. He paid a service fee of $300 in 1865 for exemption from military duty during the Civil War. He was instrumental in getting a law on the Iowa Statutes granting exemption from jury duty for religious convictions.

When an interdenominational Sunday school was organized in his township in 1870, Guengerich became one of its first teachers. The following year he was the superintendent of a strictly Amish Sunday school in the community. He remained an active promoter of Sunday schools the rest of his life. He was a member of the Upper Deer Creek Amish Mennonite Church, north of Wellman, Iowa.

In his later years he had a little shop where he did writing, bookbinding, and printing, and kept a small supply of books for sale. He was instrumental in bringing about the organization of the Amish Mennonite Publishing Association in 1912 and served as its manager to the time of his death. He wrote and published a number of leaflets and pamphlets among which was Deutsche Gemeinde Schulen, ihren Zweck, Nutzen und Nothwendigkeit zum Glaubens-Unterricht, deutlich dargestellt (Amish, Iowa, 1897). In 1878 he launched the monthly Christlicher Jugend-Freund in the interest of Sunday schools, serving as editor for a short time. He also was the editor and manager of the Amish Herold der Wahrheit at its beginning, and at his death at the age of 92 was editor of the German part. In 1892, with the help of his brother Jacob D. Guengerich, he edited and published a German hymnal, Unparteiische Liedersammlung zum Gebrauch beim Oeffentlichen Gottesdienst und zur Haeuslichen Erbauung, which was eventually widely used in Amish Mennonite church Services.

Guengerich had a great interest in Mennonite history and wrote a number of important manuscripts on Amish history, particularly on the Iowa settlements. His "Brief History of the Amish Settlement in Johnson County, Iowa" was published in the Mennonite Quarterly Review, October 1929. Other historical manuscripts from his pen are deposited in the Archives of the Mennonite Church.

Although he was never ordained, perhaps no other member of the Amish Mennonite Church was as widely known during the period 1875-1925 as was S. D. Guengerich. He traveled widely and reported his journeys in the Sugarcreek, Ohio, Budget and other publications. But he also championed many causes in his writings which appeared in this periodical and in the church papers. Through the Budget his appeals for the orphanage work in Armenia and other missionary enterprises reached the eyes and hearts of many Amish Mennonites in all sections of that church. Through many years he championed Sunday schools, religious education, philanthropy, mission activity, improved congregational singing, church literature, and a deeper spiritual life among the Amish. Although his own congregation left the Old Order Amish and joined the Conservative Amish Mennonite Conference after 1912, his influence continued  to reach both groups.


Author(s) A. Lloyd Swartzendruber
Date Published 1956


Cite This Article

MLA style

Swartzendruber, A. Lloyd. "Guengerich, Samuel D. (1836-1929)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 25 Apr 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Guengerich,_Samuel_D._(1836-1929)&oldid=95008.

APA style

Swartzendruber, A. Lloyd. (1956). Guengerich, Samuel D. (1836-1929). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 25 April 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Guengerich,_Samuel_D._(1836-1929)&oldid=95008.




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Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 608. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.


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