Delaware (USA)

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Delaware, a state on the Atlantic seaboard of the United States of America, named after Virginia's first colonial governor, Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr. Originally inhabited by the Lenape toward the north and Nanticoke toward the south, it was first colonized by the Dutch in 1631. It became a part of the grant made to William Penn in 1682 and remained under the governor of Pennsylvania until 1776. It was one of the original 13 colonies to sign the Declaration of Independence and the first state to ratify the United States Constitution.

Delaware has an area of 2,490 square miles (6,452 km²) and in 2008 had as estimated population of 873,092. In 2005, 76.01% of the population was Caucasian and 21.51% was African American. In 2001 the religious affiliation of the state's population was as follows: Methodist – 20%; Baptist – 19%; No Religion – 17%; Roman Catholic – 9%; Lutheran – 4%; Presbyterian – 3%; Pentecostal – 3%; Episcopalian/Anglican - 2%; Seventh-day Adventist - 2%; Churches of Christ - 1%; Other Christian – 3%; Muslim - 2%; Jewish - 1%; Other – 5%; Refused to Answer- 9%.

1956 Article

Pieter Cornelis Plockhoy, a Dutch Mennonite, in 1663 planted a colony in Delaware, but it was destroyed by the English in 1664. The first permanent settlement of Mennonites was established in January 1914 near Greenwood. The Greenwood Conservative Mennonite Church had a membership of 240 in 1955 and supported a mission station in Wilmington. It established the Greenwood Mennonite School in 1928. Old Order Amish Mennonites moved into the state in 1915, locating west of Dover, in Kent County. By 1952 they had five church districts with 282 members. In 1925 they established the Apple Grove Amish Mennonite School at Dover and in 1938 the Green Hill Amish Mennonite School at Cheswold. The Wesley Chapel Mennonite Mission (MC), established at Newark in 1950 under the Ohio and Eastern Conference, had 47 members in 1955. -- Melvin Gingerich

1990 Update

The Conservative Amish Mennonite settlement near Greenwood in Sussex County consisted of four congregations with a total membership of 467 in 1986 (Greenwood Laws, Canon Central). The Greenwood congregation established the Greenwood Mennonite School in 1928, when Mennonite students were expelled from the public schools for not saluting the flag. In 1986 this school had 151 students in 12 grades and kindergarten. Central Christian School, founded by the Central congregation in 1975, had grades 1-12 with 69 students. The Country Rest Home, Greenwood, founded in 1954 by Mr. and Mrs. L. L. Swartzentruber is a 32-bed facility for senior citizens owned and operated by Mr. and Mrs. Mark B. Yoder, pastor of the Laws congregation.

In 1987 the Old Order Amish community near Dover had eight church districts serving 261 families with a total population of 1,432. It maintained 11 elementary schools.

Tressler Mennonite Church, Greenwood, organized in 1935, is a member of Allegheny Mennonite Conference. In 1986 it had 113 members. Two congregations affiliated with Eastern Pennsylvania Mennonite Church were Highland, near Bear, in New Castle County, (26 members) and Kenton, in Kent County, (41 members). The Kenton Mennonite School had 14 students in 1986.

The Pine Shore Conservative Mennonite Fellowship near Delmar, in southern Sussex County, withdrew from a congregation just south of the Maryland line and numbered 14 members.

The Wilmington Mission was founded by the Greenwood Conservative Mennonite Church in the 1940s. Later it served Spanish-speaking worshipers, under sponsorship of the Lancaster Mennonite Conference (MC). It was closed and the property sold in 1987. -- Ivan J. Miller

2013 Update

Anabaptist / Mennonite Groups in Delaware

Denomination Congregations
in 2000
Adherents *
in 2000
in 2010
Adherents *
in 2010
Brethren in Christ Church - - 1 -
Church of the Brethren 3 320 2 269
Conservative Mennonite Conference 5 883 3 510
Eastern Pennsylvania Mennonite Church 2 172 - -
Mennonite Church USA 2 187 6 292
Mennonite; Other Groups 1 30 - -
Old Order Amish Church / Amish Groups 8 608 9 1,424
Totals 21 2,200 21 2,495
  • Congregational adherents include all full members, their children, and others who regularly attend services.


ARDA: The Association of Religion Data Archives. "State Membership Report: Delaware, Denominational Groups, 2000." Web. 21 March 2009.

ARDA: The Association of Religion Data Archives. "State Membership Report: Delaware, Religious Traditions, 2010." Web. 24 December 2013.

Mennonite Yearbook and Directory (1988/89): 20.

Smith, C. Henry. "Plockhoy and the Mennonite Colony on the Delaware." In The Mennonites in America. Goshen, IN: C. Henry Smith, 1909: 81-93.

Wikipedia. "Delaware." Web. 21 March 2009.

Author(s) Melvin Gingerich
Ivan J. Miller
Date Published December 2013

Cite This Article

MLA style

Gingerich, Melvin and Ivan J. Miller. "Delaware (USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. December 2013. Web. 18 Oct 2021.

APA style

Gingerich, Melvin and Ivan J. Miller. (December 2013). Delaware (USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 18 October 2021, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 29; vol. 5, p. 222. All rights reserved.

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