Barkman, Peter T. (1861-1936)

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Peter T. Barkman, Mennonite entrepreneur, was born on 10 February 1861 in the village of Margenau, Molotschna Colony, South Russia. He was the oldest of five children born to Peter K. Barkman (1826-1917) and Anna Toews (1827-1881). When still a young child Peter moved with his family to the village of Rosenfeld, which was part of the Borosenko settlement, where many other Kleine Gemeinde families had purchased land during the 1860s. From there they immigrated to Canada in 1874 and settled in Steinbach, Manitoba. Peter married Katharina Reimer (1866-1940) on 1 July 1883 after being baptized the same day. Together they had eight children, five sons and three daughters. In addition, they adopted two children in 1922, Julianna Schmidtke (born 1909) and her brother Edmund Schmidtke (born 1912).

Peter T. Barkman got his first job at the age of 15 when he was hired to cut and haul lumber for two days at a location 13 miles (22 km) from Steinbach. He was tall and slim, agile and energetic. In 1880 he went to work in the new steam driven flour mill his father had built. Here he trained and worked as a miller with his father until fire destroyed the mill in 1892. When a new mill was built the following year, Peter owned a quarter share and took an active roll in the operation of the mill until he developed rheumatism and was forced to retire in 1896. Though he could no longer work as a miller, Peter remained part owner in spite of another devastating fire in 1920. He also owned shares in the "Doctor's Residence" which made it possible for the community to have its own doctor. After 1896, Peter opened a successful Massey Harris implements business which he owned and operated until 1915. That year he sold the business to his sons and moved to a property outside of Steinbach which he called "Prairie Rose Farm." Here he built a large two story house where he and Katharina lived until 1929 when they moved back to Steinbach.

Peter T. Barkman was a successful businessman known to keep careful records of all his transactions and to be a strong believer in insurance. He was always interested in learning something new and felt it was important to learn English at which he became proficient. Peter T. Barkman died on 17 March 1936 at the age of 75 but his legacy of hard work, generosity and perseverance lives on in his children and grandchildren.


Barkman, Cathy Friesen. "Peter T. Barkman (1861-1936)." Preservings No. 9, Part II (December 1996): 32-36.

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

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MLA style

Brown, Sharon H. H. "Barkman, Peter T. (1861-1936)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. May 2006. Web. 7 Dec 2023.,_Peter_T._(1861-1936)&oldid=115039.

APA style

Brown, Sharon H. H. (May 2006). Barkman, Peter T. (1861-1936). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 7 December 2023, from,_Peter_T._(1861-1936)&oldid=115039.

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