Epp, Margaret (1913-2008)

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Margaret Epp (1913-2008).
Source: Ruth Epp

Margaret Epp: born near Waldheim, Saskatchewan on 1 August 1913, the fourth of nine children of  Heinrich M. Epp (15 February 1885, Alexanderthal, Fürstenland Mennonite Settlement, South Russia - 22 September 1942, Rosthern, Saskatchewan, Canada) and Agnetha "Agnes" (Goossen) Epp (14 January 1890, Marion, South Dakota, USA - 17 November 1964, Waldheim, Saskatchewan). Her siblings included Jacob H. Epp and Henry H. Epp. Margaret Epp spent her declining years in the Mennonite Memorial Home in Rosthern, Saskatchewan, passing away on 7 September 2008, at the age of 95. She remained single all of her life. 

In 1916 the Epps went to China under the China Mennonite Mission Society (CMMS), also known as the Bartel mission, and it was here, Margaret says, that she already sensed a call to become a writer. In 1922 the Epp family returned to their family farm northwest of Waldheim, where Margaret attended the one-room Springfield School and Salem Krimmer Mennonite Brethren Church. She was baptized and joined the Salem church in 1924, remaining a member of that congregation until her death, in her earlier years teaching Sunday school and singing in the choir.

In her young adult life Epp attended Bethany Bible School (now Bethany College) for four years and did one additional year at Prairie Bible Institute, returning to Bethany to teach English for four years. Determined to pursue her dream to become a Christian writer, she completed two correspondence courses from the Christian Writers Institute and then plunged into full-time writing, with no other means of support, at first on the family farm and then, after her mother’s death, in a modest home she bought in the town of Waldheim.

For some 20 years Epp produced an enormous volume of literature, mostly romantic and adventure fiction for teens and preteens, much of it given a prairie setting, and much of it published in both serial and book form, one of her publishers being Moody Press. She even published one book, Mystery at Pony Ranch, using her mother’s name, Agnes Goossen, as her nom-de-plume. Over a dozen of her books were translated into German and a variety of other languages. In these stories she sought to transmit Christian values to her young readers. In later life she also authored numerous titles of nonfiction, quite a few of them Mennonite-related, including But God Hath Chosen: The Story of John and Mary Dyck, Mennonite Brethren Board of Missions, 1963; Walk in My Woods, Moody Press, 1967, 1990 (Epp's autobiography); This Mountain is Mine, Moody Press, 1969 (the story of the Henry Bartel mission in China); Into All the World, Prairie Press, Three Hills, AB, 1973 (the 50th anniversary story of Prairie Bible Institute); The Earth is Round, Christian Press, Winnipeg, MB, 1974 (fictionalized account of the Bergthaler Church migration from Russia to Manitoba); Proclaim Jubilee, 1977 (the 50th anniversary story of Bethany College, Hepburn, Saskatchewan); 8 Tulpengasse: A Church Blossoms in Vienna, Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches, 1978; Chariots in the Smoke, Kindred Press, 1990 (Epp’s story of the Mennonites); and Spreading God’s Glory for 40 Years: History of the Waldheim Missions Conference, Waldheim, SK, 1992.

Epp was recognized by several awards. In 1955 she received the Christian Writers Institute Fiction Award. In 1996 the Mennonite Historical Society of  Saskatchewan recognized her for "her contribution to the preservation of Mennonite history, heritage, and faith." In 2002 the Fellowship of Evangelical Bible Churches presented her the Anna Rieger Award for her many years of Sunday School teaching. In 2003 she received the Leslie K. Tarr Award for her Christian writing and publishing in Canada.

Epp's books and papers have been deposited with the Mennonite Historical Society of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, though many of her nonfiction books mentioned above may also be found in places such as the Mennonite Heritage Center at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg and the Mennonite Historical Library in Goshen, Indiana.


Archival Records

Mennonite Historical Society of Saskatchewan Archives, Saskatoon, SK: Personal Papers of Margaret Epp Collection.

Author(s) Marlin Jeschke
Date Published July 2012

Cite This Article

MLA style

Jeschke, Marlin. "Epp, Margaret (1913-2008)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. July 2012. Web. 11 Dec 2023. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Epp,_Margaret_(1913-2008)&oldid=127459.

APA style

Jeschke, Marlin. (July 2012). Epp, Margaret (1913-2008). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 11 December 2023, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Epp,_Margaret_(1913-2008)&oldid=127459.

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