Bowman, Moses S. (1819-1898)

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Moses Bowman, born 9 November 1819, died 4 January 1898) was an outstanding leader of the Mennonite church in Ontario in the second half of the 19th century. He was born two miles east of Berlin (Kitchener), Waterloo County, Ontario, 9 Nov. 1819. He was the eldest of eight children of Benjamin Baumann (1787-1874) and Susannah Bechtel (1797-1870), who in 1818 came to Canada from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Benjamin's great-grandfather was pioneer Wendel Baumann, who was born in Switzerland about 1671 and who at 17 years of age moved with his parents to Holland, then sailed for North America after 1700.

On 8 October 1844 Moses S. Bowman was married to Anna, daughter of Joseph and Barbara (Biehn) Cressman. She was born near Freeport on 7 August 1828; she died 22 December 1902. Moses and Anna had six sons and six daughters. Two of their sons, Moses C. and Ezra, were ministers of the Mennonite Church; two of his daughters, Louisa Bergey and Leah Baer, were the wives of deacons of the Mennonite Church. One grandchild, Moses S., was the minister of Roseville Mennonite Church. Another grandchild, Dr. Isaiah Bowman, was president of Johns Hopkins University and one of North America's outstanding geographers.

Moses S. Bowman was educated in the elementary schools of Waterloo Township and did much reading and study of the Bible to continue his education. One year after his marriage he moved to a farm near Mannheim, Waterloo County, where he resided for the remainder of his life. On 1 May 1853 he was ordained to the office of deacon of the Mennonite church in his home community. He was the first deacon of the Latschar church. In January 1859 he was ordained minister of the same church where he continued to serve until his death in 1898. When the Mennonite churches of Ontario organized their annual conference in 1873, he served as first moderator. In this capacity he served for many years. He was an enthusiastic Sunday-school promoter and became the first superintendent in his home church in 1874. He was one of the first to open the door to the evangelism of John S. Coffman in Ontario. He was also asked to preach at many non-Mennonite funerals.

Bowman's preaching was usually in German, largely extemporaneous and deliberate, and his messages gripping and convicting. His subject material was textual and expository. Favorite themes were heaven, the love of God, and assurance of salvation. He preached strongly against the use of tobacco and intoxicants. He sought the acquaintance of strangers and welcomed them, and especially sought the friendship and good will of children and young people with his kindly good humor. He is buried in the Latschar Mennonite cemetery near Mannheim, five miles west of Kitchener, Ontario.


"Bowman." Herald of Truth 40 (1 January 1903): 7. Reproduced in MennObits. “Herald of Truth Obituaries - January 1903." (accessed 30 September 2009).

Eby, Ezra. Biographical History of Waterloo Township. Berlin, Ont. : E. Eby, 1895-96, reprinted by Eldon D. Weber, 1971 .

"Pre. Moses S. Bowman." Herald of Truth 35 (1 February 1898): 44. Reproduced in MennObits. “Herald of Truth Obituaries - February 1898." (accessed 30 September 2009).

Author(s) Joseph C Fretz
Date Published 1953

Cite This Article

MLA style

Fretz, Joseph C. "Bowman, Moses S. (1819-1898)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 18 May 2024.,_Moses_S._(1819-1898)&oldid=91204.

APA style

Fretz, Joseph C. (1953). Bowman, Moses S. (1819-1898). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 18 May 2024, from,_Moses_S._(1819-1898)&oldid=91204.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, pp. 398-399. All rights reserved.

©1996-2024 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.