Enns, Margaretha Klippenstein (1888-1977)

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Margaretha Klippenstein Enns (1888-1977).
Medical equipment used by Margaretha Klippenstein Enns.

Margaretha Klippenstein Enns: housekeeper: deacon and midwife; born 19 April 1888 in Alexanderwohl, Molotschna Mennonite Settlement, South Russia to Johann P. Klippenstein (1 May 1945 - 11 December 1913) and Helena (Wall) Klippenstein (28 December 1855, Lichtfelde, Molotschna, South Russia - 17 December 1932, Tashkent, Uzbekistan). Margaretha was the seventh child in a family of nine. She married Heinrich A. Enns (6 January 1883, Saribasch, Crimea, South Russia - 18 March 1976, Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada), son of Abraham and Anna (Derksen) Enns, on 14 February 1908 in the village of Donskoye, Neu-Samara Mennonite Settlement, Russia. The couple had eleven children: Helena (died in infancy); Margaret, Helena, Sarah, Henry, Johann, Peter, Ann, Jacob (died in infancy), Jacob, and George. Margaretha died 5 February 1977 in Abbotsford, British Columbia (BC), having outlived her husband by eleven months. She was buried alongside her husband in Yarrow, BC.

Margaretha Klippenstein’s family moved from Alexanderwohl to Logovsk, Neu-Samara, in 1891. There Margaretha was educated and baptized into the Mennonite Brethren Church. It was in the Logovsk church that she met Heinrich Enns. Shortly after their marriage, the couple moved to the burgeoning Mennonite settlement of Slavgorod, where they homesteaded in the village of Petrovka/Lichtfelde. Margaretha bore eight children here, one of whom died young. During the First World War, Heinrich served in forestry camps as an alternative to military service. Margaretha, a strong and confident young woman, managed the farm in his absence.

In 1923 Margaretha and her family moved to Blumenort, Slavgorod Mennonite Settlement, where she began studying midwifery. She had for some time felt a strong passion for serving as a midwife, and Heinrich somewhat reluctantly approved. After her studies concluded in Riga, Latvia, Margaretha worked as a midwife for two years, some of that time being spent under the direction of the well-known Dr. Erich Tavonius in the Muntau Hospital in Molotschna. The state of political affairs in Russia was worsening, however, and the Enns family immigrated to Canada in 1926, settling in Zeneta, Saskatchewan. In this isolated village, Margaretha worked as midwife and medical care provider, and gave birth to another son.

Life in the warmer climate of British Columbia was calling the Ennses and in 1929 the family moved to Yarrow, where they immediately purchased a farm. Margaretha gained a reputation as a trusted midwife in Yarrow, even acting as a medical assistant, giving injections, and providing medication to patients in the absence of their medical practitioners. Her career as a midwife was somewhat disruptive to family routine; when Margaretha was called to assist at a birth, children were quickly lodged with the Enns’ neighbours. Both Heinrich and Margaretha were long-time deacons in the Yarrow Mennonite Brethren Church.

In that career which was such a major component of her life, Margaretha Klippenstein Enns was rather exceptional among Mennonite women of her era. Her husband, Heinrich, was supportive of her choices, but it was her own self-assurance that was critical to her working career.


Epp, Irma, Lillian Harms and Lora Sawatsky. "Midwifery: A Ministry." In Village of Unsettled Yearnings, Leonard N. Neufeldt, ed. Victoria, BC: TouchWood Editions, 2002: 13-27.

Harder, Esther Epp, Edwin Lenzmann, and Elmer Wiens, ed. "Enns, Margaretha (Margreth)." Yarrow’s Pioneers and Settlers. 1977. Web. 7 May 2016. http://www.yarrowbc.ca/biographies/ennsmargaretha.html.

Archival Records

Family documents are stored in the archives of Mennonite Historical Society of BC, Abbotsford.

Author(s) Robert Martens
Date Published May 2016

Cite This Article

MLA style

Martens, Robert. "Enns, Margaretha Klippenstein (1888-1977)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. May 2016. Web. 13 Apr 2024. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Enns,_Margaretha_Klippenstein_(1888-1977)&oldid=138831.

APA style

Martens, Robert. (May 2016). Enns, Margaretha Klippenstein (1888-1977). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 13 April 2024, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Enns,_Margaretha_Klippenstein_(1888-1977)&oldid=138831.

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