Boschman, Cornelius Cornelius (1896-1988)

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Cornelius Cornelius Boschmann: Ältester, farmer; born 30 December 1896 at Morden, Manitoba, the second child and first son to Cornelius and Anne (Heide) Boschman in a family of 14 children. His father's family came to Canada from Ukraine in 1879 and his mother's in 1892. In 1898 the family moved to a homestead in the Rosthern area of what was to become the province of Saskatchewan. Later the family moved to the area of Aberdeen, Saskatchewan. 

At the age of 21 with a strong desire to be a teacher but with only grade four education, Cornelius enrolled in the Deutsch-Englische Akademie, later known as the Rosthern Junior College, but returned to farming before completing his second year. 

As a teenager Cornelius' parents left the Old Colony Church and joined the General Conference Mennonite Church in Aberdeen. Here he experienced conversion and was baptized by Ältester (Bishop) David Toews. It was during his second year at the Deutsch-Englische Akademie that he was elected minister. He did not take up this call for he felt he lacked both Bible knowledge and had a poor command of High German. Ten years later he responded to the congregation and was ordained pastor in the Aberdeen Mennonite Church

Cornelius was married on 26 February 1922 to Agatha Dyck, daughter of Johann and Katharina (Peters) Dyck. Together they had six sons and four daughters. Two of their children, Paul and Martha, became missionaries.

In 1929 after several farm failures, Cornelius, his parents and three brothers took up homesteads in the bush land about 16 kilometres north of the town of Carrot River, Saskatchewan. As the only pastor in the area, Cornelius called interested people together for worship. They met on Sunday afternoons in the home of George Ens with Cornelius preaching in German. Ältester Benjamin Ewert of Winnipeg would visit occasionally to minister with communion and baptism. In 1937 a building was constructed of squared logs for the church. This was known as the Hoffnungsfeld Petaigan Mennonite Church and was affiliated with the Conference of Mennonites in Canada. In the early 1950s when traveling conditions were still quite primitive in the northern Saskatchewan bush it was recommended that the three congregations—Petaigan, Lost River and Hoffnungsfeld Carrot River—should have one of their own pastors serve as Ältester. Hoffnungsfeld Carrot River was satisfied with its commuting bishop and so with the guidance of Ältester J. J. Nickel, Cornelius was elected Ältester. Ältester G. G. Epp of Eigenheim ordained Cornelius as Ältester on 6 September 1953.

With his ordination as Ältester, Cornelius began to serve a wider Mennonite community than just Petaigan. A small group of Mennonites living in the Peesane area, about 70 km. south of Carrot River, invited Cornelius to pastor them for they were without any spiritual care. He established a preaching station there, meeting in the home of Cornelius Martens. For the years 1954-1960 he preached in Low German about once per month. At about this time, he also pastored in various homes to a small group of Mennonites living in the area of Love, Saskatchewan. Cornelius only preached in the German language. Although he had little formal education and was unsophisticated, he was a humble, kind and caring pastor. 

In 1960 with many members of the Petaigan community moving away, Cornelius encouraged the amalgamation of the Petaigan Mennonite Church and the Hoffnungfeld Carrot River Mennonite Church, located south of the town of Carrot River. This resulted in the construction of a building in the Town of Carrot River to form the new Carrot River Mennonite Church. In 1964 the Boschmans retired from farming and a year later they moved to Rosthern where they served four years as house parents at the Rosthern Youth Farm. In 1969 they retired, moved to Saskatoon, and joined the Mayfair Mennonite Church. Cornelius Boschman died in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on 28 July 1988.


Boschman, C. C. Through the years: The Memoirs of Rev. C. C. Boschman. Saskatoon, SK, 1982: 27.

Author(s) Victor Wiebe
Date Published 2006

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MLA style

Wiebe, Victor. "Boschman, Cornelius Cornelius (1896-1988)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 2006. Web. 21 Jul 2024.,_Cornelius_Cornelius_(1896-1988)&oldid=156653.

APA style

Wiebe, Victor. (2006). Boschman, Cornelius Cornelius (1896-1988). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 21 July 2024, from,_Cornelius_Cornelius_(1896-1988)&oldid=156653.

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