Gerbrandt, Johann "John" (1854-1938)

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John Gerbrandt (1854-1938)
Source: Jubilaeum-Album der Konferenz der Mennoniten in Canada 1902-1952

Johann "John" Gerbrandt: minister and elder; born 23 December 1854 in Schwiniar, Poland, the fifth of six children born to Johann Gerbrandt (28 October 1808 – 17 January 1881) and Katharina (Schroeder) Gerbrandt (b. 11 November 1819). His ancestors came from Marienwerder, West Prussia. On 26 December 1880 John married Helena Klassen (5 February 1857, Michalin, Kiev, South Russia – 25 September 1954, Drake, Saskatchewan, Canada) of the Gnadenberg Mennonite Church east of Newton, Kansas. To this union seven children were born: Heinrich, Agnetha, Maria, Johann, Jacob, Wilhelmina and Valentine. John died 16 August 1938 in Drake, Saskatchewan.

John was baptized on 13 June 1870 and received into membership of the Deutsch Wymyschle Mennonite Church in Poland by Elder Gerhard Bartel. In the spring of 1875 he immigrated to the United States with his parents and two sisters, settling in Marion County, Kansas, a mile north of the present town of Hillsboro.  He was an active member of the Johannesthal Mennonite Church north of Hillsboro (General Conference Mennonite Church). In 1887 he was called to the ministry and on 22 December 1890 he was ordained elder of his church. He also took an active part in organizing the Friedenstal Mennonite Church north of Durham, Kansas.

In 1904 he joined a land inspection delegation to Saskatchewan where free homesteads of 160 acres were being offered by the Canadian government. He selected homesteads not only for himself and his two sons, but also for a number of relatives and church members in what is now the Drake, Saskatchewan district. He immigrated to Saskatchewan with his family in 1905 and was followed by a number of families from Kansas and Oklahoma. On 12 February 1906 he organized the North Star Mennonite Church at Drake with 20 charter members, and became its first elder. These charter members came from the Johannesthal, Bruderthal (Kansas, USA), and Alva, Oklahoma churches. By 1931, after 25 years, the membership had risen to 277.

Gerbrandt took a keen interest in the educational and conference activities of the Conference of Mennonites in Middle Canada (later Conference of Mennonites in Canada) churches in Western Canada.  He was chairman of the Canadian conference for four years and its vice-chairman for seven years. In addition he was an active member of its committee on home missions for many years, and he did much to assist the Canadian Mennonite Board of Colonization during the 1920's in raising funds and aiding refugees who were coming from Russia after World War I.


GRANDMA (The Genealogical Registry and Database of Mennonite Ancestry) Database, 4.23 ed. Fresno, CA: California Mennonite Historical Society, 2005: #85918.

Author(s) Jacob Gerbrandt
Richard D. Thiessen
Date Published December 2005

Cite This Article

MLA style

Gerbrandt, Jacob and Richard D. Thiessen. "Gerbrandt, Johann "John" (1854-1938)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. December 2005. Web. 2 Jun 2023.,_Johann_%22John%22_(1854-1938)&oldid=112703.

APA style

Gerbrandt, Jacob and Richard D. Thiessen. (December 2005). Gerbrandt, Johann "John" (1854-1938). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 2 June 2023, from,_Johann_%22John%22_(1854-1938)&oldid=112703.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, pp. 479-480. All rights reserved.

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