In 1903 the Amish Mennonite family of Abner F. Yoder moved from Lagrange County, Indiana, to a homestead in El Paso County, a small settlement in east central Colorado some 16 miles (26 km) east of Colorado Springs and 14 miles (22.5 km) south of Calhan. Although born into an Old Order Amish family near Middlebury, Indiana, on 10 February 1858, Abner married Susanna E. Eash in the Clinton Frame Amish Mennonite Church in nearby Goshen on 6 October 1881, and three years later was received into that church upon confession of faith by baptism. After farming in Lagrange County for nearly 20 years, the family, including the four youngest of its six children (the oldest of which was Ira M., aged 16), moved to El Paso County. Because Calhan was the nearest post office to the Yoder homestead, Abner petitioned for establishment of a post office in his home. His efforts succeeded, and a post office bearing the name of "Yoder" was established in the Yoder home in 1904. During 1908-10 Abner wrote several letters to The Sugarcreek Budget in Ohio. In the 23 January 1908, issue he observed:
To the oft repeated question, What church privileges have you? Will say that within seven miles of where we live there are four places where there is preaching and Sunday school, the same literature and Bible being used that the Amish Mennonites use. There are no idols worshipped and Preachers help with their hands to bring about that for which they pray.
There is absolutely not an Amish or Mennonite church within fifty miles of us but am satisfied that had two or three families made the start two or three years ago, then there would be at least fifty families of our faith living here now.Apparently, a Mennonite congregation was never established in the Yoder vicinity, and the Yoders never joined a church while living in Colorado.
In 1912 the Abner Yoder family moved to a farm near Hubbard, Oregon, where Susanna had relatives. Ira stayed in the Yoder, Colorado, area where he had taken out a homestead. When Abner left, the post office was moved to another residence, but the name "Yoder" has been retained to the present-day for the small unincorporated town.
On 16 April 1921, Abner and Susanna were received into the membership of the Mennonite Church of Pratum, Oregon. Although they moved to Salem, the state's capital, in 1923, Abner continued to work on his farm near Hubbard. After his death on 6 November 1926, Abner's funeral was held at the Zion Mennonite Church (at one time known as the Zion Amish Mennonite Church) in Aurora, Clackamas County, Oregon, and his body was interred in the church cemetery.
After the Yoders left Colorado in 1912, two rural postal routes were added to the Yoder post office's servicing area, which then covered more than 100 square miles of the sparsely settled area. Yoder's population peaked in 1937 when some 700 persons were receiving mail from the post office. Most of these people lived on the two rural routes, while the town itself consisted of three or four buildings, including a small school and a combination dwelling, grocery store, and post office. People began leaving the area during the Dust Bowl years of the 1930s, and by 1956 Yoder's population had dwindled to 40. In 2012 Yoder still had a post office with a Zip Code of 80864. According to the 2010 Census, the Zip Code 80864 area has a population of 1,506 with a density of six persons per square mile.
"Abner F. Yoder.” Gospel Herald 19 (16 December 1926): 815-816. Reproduced in MennObits. “Gospel Herald Obituary - December 1926." Web. 22 January 2012. http://www.mcusa-archives.org/mennobits/26/dec1926.html.
"Yoder Family Information, Cyberspace Edition, 2002." Compiled by the Yoder Newsletter. Web. 22 January 2012. http://www.yodernewsletter.org/amfams/YR23.pdf.
Luthy, David. "Yoder, Colorado." Yoder Newsletter No. 4 (October 1984): 3. Web. 22 January 2012. http://www.yodernewsletter.org/ynlpdf/YNL4.pdf.
Unrau, Harlan D. In Pursuit of Land, Health and Mission: A History of Mennonites in the Mountain States Region. Printed in Canada by Blitzprint Inc., 2007.
|Author(s)||Harlan D Unrau|
|Date Published||January 2012|
 Cite This Article
Unrau, Harlan D. "Yoder (Colorado, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. January 2012. Web. 14 Mar 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Yoder_(Colorado,_USA)&oldid=102839.
Unrau, Harlan D. (January 2012). Yoder (Colorado, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 14 March 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Yoder_(Colorado,_USA)&oldid=102839.
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