Manatant, an 18th-century geographical designation for a territory which covers a portion of the eastern section of Berks County, Pennsylvania. The term is evidently a variant form of Manatawny, the name of a huge tract of land of more than 20,000 acres, sold by William Penn to John Henry Sprogel. By 1715 Sprogel had set aside about three acres within the limits of the present borough of Pottstown for burial purposes, and in this Sprogel cemetery many Mennonites were buried in the 18th century, including Bishop Martin Bechtel (1710-1786). The term Manatawny is still used in Berks County as one of the four groups of townships which comprise the county: there are fifteen townships in the Manatawny district. Part of the area, at least, is drained by the Manatawny stream, a part of the Schuylkill River system. But Bally, the village where the Hereford Mennonite Church is located, is also in the Manatawny district, although located in the Perkiomen Valley, another branch of the Schuylkill. Mennonites settled in what were later the townships of Colebrookdale (created 1741) and Hereford (created 1753) as early as 1720; the present Washington Township of Berks County, in which the Hereford congregation is located, was not created until 1839. When the Mennonite ministers of eastern Pennsylvania met to adopt the Dordrecht Confession in 1725 two of them signed as representing the "Manatant." One of these was Daniel Langenecker of near Royersford, who served the Coventry congregation across the line in Chester County, and the other was Hans Jacob Bechtel, who lived near Pottstown, but who preached, at least in part, at Hereford. The term Manatant was therefore loosely employed by the Mennonites to designate the area from the present town of Bally (established 1860) to Pottstown, and even down the Schuylkill Valley to the Coventry area.
Fox, Cyrus T. Reading and Berks County, Pennsylvania. New York, 1925: I, 273-294.
Wenger, John C. History of the Mennonites of the Franconia Conference. Telford, PA: Franconia Mennonite Historical Society, 1937. Reprinted Ephrata, PA: Publication Board of the Eastern Pennsylvania Mennonite Church, 1985: 15, 19, 45, 93, 113, 206, 251, 280, 403.
|Author(s)||John C Wenger|
Cite This Article
Wenger, John C. "Manatant (Berks County, Pennsylvania, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 30 Aug 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Manatant_(Berks_County,_Pennsylvania,_USA)&oldid=58179.
Wenger, John C. (1957). Manatant (Berks County, Pennsylvania, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 30 August 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Manatant_(Berks_County,_Pennsylvania,_USA)&oldid=58179.
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