Balzer, Jacob J. (1860-1946)

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Jacob J. Balzer: General Conference Mennonite minister and elder; born 14 October 1860 in Gnadenfeld, in Molotschna, southern Russia. He was the son of Jacob Balzer (23 February 1835, Culm, Prussia - 9 April 1911, Mountain Lake, Minnesota, USA) and Susanna (Ediger) Balzer (21 September 1835, Gnadenfeld, Molotschna, South Russia - 23 September 1929, Mountain Lake, Minnesota). He was the second of eight children. Jacob married Susanna Franz (b. 24 February 1861), daughter of Johann Franz (1831-1886) and Susanna (Dueckmann) Franz (1833-1929), on 4 May 1884. To this union was born one son, Jacob S. Balzer. Jacob died in his own home in Mountain Lake, Minnesota on 5 February 1946 at the age of 85, and was buried in the Mountain Lake Cemetery.

Jacob grew up in Zentralschule in Gnadenfeld, where he attended the village school. He came to North America with his parents in July 1877, and spent one year at Iowa Wesleyan Union College, Mount Pleasant, Iowa.

Balzer was a lifelong member of the Bethel Mennonite Church (General Conference Mennonite Church), Mountain Lake, Minnesota, a Sunday-school superintendent for 20 years, a minister for 24 years and active in the Northern District of the church from 1889-1927, and then elder as well from 1927-1933. He was also a member of the Home Mission Board and active in conference work. He was the founder of Mountain Lake Bible School, traveled extensively, and preached in many Mennonite churches. He was a lifelong resident of Mountain Lake, Minnesota, with the exception of four years, when he taught school in Altona, Manitoba (1909-1914). Among his other activities he promoted mission work and music in the church. He was an inspiring Bible teacher, and preaching and teaching were his chief occupations, while travelling and gardening were his avocations.

An obituary published in the Mountain Lake Observer on 7 February 1946 referred to him as the "grand old citizen."


GRANDMA (The Genealogical Registry and Database of Mennonite Ancestry) Database, 7.02 ed. Fresno, CA: California Mennonite Historical Society, 2013: #31402.

Author(s) Mary Bargen
Date Published September 2013

Cite This Article

MLA style

Bargen, Mary. "Balzer, Jacob J. (1860-1946)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. September 2013. Web. 1 Dec 2023.,_Jacob_J._(1860-1946)&oldid=101567.

APA style

Bargen, Mary. (September 2013). Balzer, Jacob J. (1860-1946). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 1 December 2023, from,_Jacob_J._(1860-1946)&oldid=101567.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 218. All rights reserved.

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