Barkman, Jakob M. (1824-1875)

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Jakob M. Barkman, Mennonite minister of the Kleine Gemeinde, was born on 30 January 1824 in Rückenau, Molotschna Mennonite settlement, South Russia. He was one of nine children born to Martin J. Barkman (1796-1872) and Katharina (Regier) Barkman (1800-1866). On 2 May 1842 Jakob was baptized and became a member of the Kleine Gemeinde. In 1894 he married Elizabeth Giesbrecht (1830-1858). Together they had five children, one of which died in infancy. In 1849 Jakob and Elizabeth purchased a half Wirtschaft in the village of Waldheim. Sadly, Elizabeth died in child birth in March 1858 and, as was the custom, Jakob quickly remarried. His second wife was Katharina Thiessen (1829-1888), the widow of Peter Warkentin (ca. 1817-1857). She had one daughter from her first marriage and together they had five children. In 1867 Jakob moved his family to Friedensfeld near the Borosenko settlement where other Kleine Gemeinde families had also purchased land.

Before 1870 Jakob was elected Waisenvorsteher and placed in charge of the Waisenamt; a position of significant responsibility which he held until being elected minister of the Blumenhof Kleine Gemeinde. In 1874 Jakob participated in the larger Mennonite migration to Canada. He and his family settled in Steinbach, Manitoba. During the journey and resettlement, Jakob provided important spiritual leadership in the community and also maintained a valuable correspondence with leaders still in Russia. Their first winter in Canada was harsh and two of his young daughters died within a month of each other. Then in the spring of 1875 Jakob was elected to go to Winnipeg for much needed supplies along with two other men, Jakob K. Friesen (1822-1875) and Peter K. Barkman (1826-1917). The group left for Winnipeg on 2 June 1875 but only Peter K. Barkman returned. On the journey home Jakob M. Barkman and Jakob K. Friesen had attempted to cross the Red River in spite of the "high wind and also high water." Both men were unable to swim and when they lost their footing they sank and drowned. It was the unhappy task of Jakob's 18 year-old son Jakob G. Barkman to take his father's body home to Steinbach and break the news to his family. It was a sad end to a life which had held such promise.

Jakob K. Barkman was remembered by his community as "very sincere and honest" and Klaas J. B. Reimer wrote "Truly he (Jakob M. Barkman) was a courageous leader of his people." Of his surviving children, Aganetha T. Barkman (1865-1938) became well known for her abilities as a midwife.


Plett, Delbert. "Jakob M. Barkman 1824-75: Father of Steinbach." Preservings No. 9 Part II (December 1996): 1-10.

Author(s) Sharon H. H Brown
Date Published May 2006

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MLA style

Brown, Sharon H. H. "Barkman, Jakob M. (1824-1875)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. May 2006. Web. 9 Aug 2022.,_Jakob_M._(1824-1875)&oldid=100229.

APA style

Brown, Sharon H. H. (May 2006). Barkman, Jakob M. (1824-1875). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 9 August 2022, from,_Jakob_M._(1824-1875)&oldid=100229.

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