Johann F. Reimer: immigrant farmer, carpenter and blacksmith; born on 18 May 1860 in Tiege, Molotschna Colony, Russia, to Klaas F. and Katharina (Friesen) Reimer. He was the twelfth of 13 children. Johann’s father died in Russia, but the rest of the family emigrated from Russia in 1875, landing in New York on 14 June 1875 before moving on to Jansen, Nebraska. Johann was baptized in 1880 in Jansen. He married Elisabeth R. Reimer (1867-1936) on 21 March 1886 in Blumenort, Manitoba. The couple had 13 children, three of whom died young. Johann died on 3 August 1941 in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Johann F. Reimer was a grandson of Klaas Reimer, founder of the Kleine Gemeinde church, and son of a wealthy farmer. The family moved to Heuboden, Borozenko Colony, in 1871. Johann’s father died three years later, leaving his widow, Maria, alone with her children and stepchildren at a time when many Mennonites were leaving Russia for North America. Maria’s mother and sisters had already left for Canada by the time the Reimer family boarded the boat for North America. Instead of joining her relatives, Maria moved the family to Jansen, Nebraska. Although the Reimers were still relatively wealthy, Johann and his brothers had to earn extra money by working for local farmers. Johann herded sheep and helped out in other ways on farms, while also honing his considerable artistic talents by drawing the animals he saw.
By 1883, Johann was ready to marry and start his own family. On a visit to Manitoba to attend his sister’s funeral, he met Elisabeth Reimer, his cousin’s daughter. She was also an emigrant from Russia and had grown up in Manitoba, where her father worked as a farmer and blacksmith. Johann and Elisabeth married on 21 March 1886 and set up their home in Blumenort, Manitoba. Johann worked there as a carpenter and furniture maker. With his skills in carpentry and his own blacksmith shop, Johann was able to support his family and to provide land to secure the children’s future.
Johann and Elisabeth Reimer helped others. They provided a home for a widow for several years and they helped the Mennonite immigrants arriving in Canada in the 1920s. The departure of two of Johann’s siblings and a nephew to Mexico in 1924 brought the possibility of emigration to Johann and Elisabeth’s minds, but they remained in Canada, helping those who had stayed behind. Elisabeth suffered a stroke on 8 December 1933 while she was visiting in Steinbach, but she recovered sufficiently to resume some of her work. She died on 22 May 1936. Johann died five years later, on 3 August 1941, in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
GRANDMA (The Genealogical Registry and Database of Mennonite Ancestry) Database, 5.03 ed. Fresno, CA: California Mennonite Historical Society, 2007: #3738.
Plett, Delbert F. “Johann F. Reimer (1860-1941): Boyhood Sketches.” Preservings No. 13 (December 1998): 104-108.
Cite This Article
Huebert, Susan. "Reimer, Johann F. (1860-1941)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 2007. Web. 13 Mar 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Reimer,_Johann_F._(1860-1941)&oldid=96190.
Huebert, Susan. (2007). Reimer, Johann F. (1860-1941). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 13 March 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Reimer,_Johann_F._(1860-1941)&oldid=96190.
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