In the summer of 1878 the family immigrated to North America, locating at Mountain Lake, Minnesota where they lived two years. In 1880 Harms went to Elkhart, Indiana, where he assisted John F. Funk in his printing establishment. At this time the Mennonitische Rundschau began to be published, and Harms became its editor for six years. For two years he attended an Evangelical college at Naperville, Illinois.
In 1884 Harms moved to Canada, Kansas, joined the Mennonite Brethren Church west of Marion, and began to publish the Zionsbote, which soon became the official organ of the Mennonite Brethren Church. He also conducted a Bible school in his own home for some time. Shortly after this he established his own printing house at Hillsboro, Kansas, where he continued his publication work.
Having already preached extensively, Harms was ordained to the ministry in 1896. During the winter of 1897 to 1898 Harms made a trip to Europe with his wife and visited many congregations in Russia and Poland. Upon their return they settled at Medford, OK, where Harms continued the publication of the Zionsbote until 1906, when it was given over to the MB Conference.
Harms was one of the most noted Mennonite Brethren Conference workers for many years, serving as its general secretary as well as a member of its Foreign Mission Committee. He was one of the strongest advocates of education in the conference.
Because of his wife's ill health the Harms family moved to Canada in 1906, and after living in Edmonton, Alberta for two years, they settled in the vicinity of Herbert, Saskatchewan. Here Harms earned his living by farming and taught Bible classes during the winter months. He was one of the founders of the Herbert Bible School and one of its first teachers. In 1918 the family lived in Seattle, Washington. After that they made their home in Reedley, California until the spring of 1921, when they returned to Hillsboro, where his wife died a few weeks after their arrival. On 27 November of the same year he married Mrs. Adelgunda Jost Prieb. She died in 1935.
At Hillsboro Harms again entered publication work, assuming the position of assistant editor of the Zionsbote. He also contributed many articles to the Hillsboro Vortwärts. His most valuable writing is the Geschichte der Mennoniten Brüdergemeinde, 1860-1924, a work of 342 pages. In 1943 he published Eine Lebensreise, an autobiographical discourse on his early life. After World War I he took a very prominent part in gathering support for the relief work for the suffering Mennonites in Russia. He died in Hillsboro on 7 January 1945 and was buried at the local Mennonite Brethren cemetery.
Harms, John F. Eine Lebensreise von Anfang bis zum baldigen Ende : Rückblicke von hoher Warte auf steile Berge und liebliche Täler in Verbindung mit Schilderungen verschiedenster Verhältnisse. Hillsboro, KS: J.F. Harms, 1943.
Harms, Orlando. Pioneer Publisher, the Life and Times of J.F. Harms. Winnipeg, MB: Kindred Press, 1984.
Hillsboro Journal (11 January 1945).
Mennonitisches Lexikon. "Harms, Johann Friedrich."
|Author(s)||John H Lohrenz|
 Cite This Article
Lohrenz, John H. "Harms, John F. (1855-1945)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 20 Aug 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Harms,_John_F._(1855-1945)&oldid=91985.
Lohrenz, John H. (1956). Harms, John F. (1855-1945). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 August 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Harms,_John_F._(1855-1945)&oldid=91985.
Herald Press website.
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