Brenneman, John M. (1816-1895)

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John M. Brenneman (b. 28 May 1816, d. 3 October 1895), married Sophia Good in June 1837. Soon after their marriage they united with the Mennonite Church (MC) in Fairfield County, Ohio. In April 1844 he was called to the ministry and served the Fairfield County congregation near Bremen until the fall of 1848, when he moved to Franklin County, Ohio, where he was ordained bishop in 1849. In the spring of 1855 he moved to Allen County, Ohio, where he lived for the remainder of his life. He was an earnest, zealous worker in the church and was so much absorbed in carrying out his task as overseer in the church that he gave little consideration to his temporal affairs. He made long, arduous trips to the West visiting brethren who had moved into isolated communities. On one occasion he took the train to Iowa to the end of the railroad, then drove 80 miles (130 km) south in a two-horse wagon, and returned east on another railroad. He was away from home almost constantly preaching, holding baptism and communion services, and seeking to bring people of both Mennonite and non-Mennonite background into the church.

Although he was deeply concerned with the spiritual advancement of the church and with the Scriptural doctrines and teachings taught by the Mennonite Church he always was ready to adopt new methods. He was a pioneer in the organization of Sunday-school work in his own and other congregations even at the expense of losing friends or offending certain members of his congregation. He was inclined to look on the darker side of life. A section in one of his books is entitled "Why a Christian Should Not Laugh." He himself was said never to have laughed aloud. During his later years shaking palsy made him inactive in the ministry.

Brenneman had little formal education but attended elementary school with his own children after some of them were ten or twelve years old. He was a prolific writer for the Herald of Truth, but J. F. Funk once said that all of Brenneman's material needed complete editing. Even with this handicap he was a vigorous thinker and powerful preacher and evangelist. His first pamphlet, Christianity and War, edited and printed in 1863 by John F. Funk, probably the first American Mennonite publication on war, ran through several editions. He was the author of the following pamphlets, which appeared in both German and English editions: Pride and Humility (1867), Plain Teaching (1876); also Aufmunterung der bussfertigen Sünder (1877), and Hope, Sanctification and a Noble Determination (1893).

Author(s) John S Umble
Date Published 1953

Cite This Article

MLA style

Umble, John S. "Brenneman, John M. (1816-1895)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 9 Aug 2022.,_John_M._(1816-1895)&oldid=113239.

APA style

Umble, John S. (1953). Brenneman, John M. (1816-1895). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 9 August 2022, from,_John_M._(1816-1895)&oldid=113239.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 418. All rights reserved.

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