Hagey, Joseph B. (1810-1876)

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Joseph B. Hagey: bishop and farmer; born 11 June 1810 in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania to Daniel and Elizabeth (Bergey) Hagey. He and his twin brother, Daniel, had an older brother, and a younger brother and sister. In 1832 he married Sophia Bricker (20 December 1810-4 November 1895). She was the daughter of Sam Bricker, famous for his role in raising funds in Pennsylvania to buy the German Company Tract (much of Waterloo Township) from Richard Beasley. Joseph and Sophia Hagey had six sons and five daughters. Joseph died 31 December 1876 and was buried in the Breslau Mennonite cemetery. It was said that three hundred carriages were part of the funeral procession, with one thousand persons in attendance at the service.

In 1822 Joseph Hagey came with his family from Pennsylvania after his father went bankrupt in business there. They lived on a farm just north of Cambridge (Preston). After their marriage, Joseph and Sophia lived on the farm owned by her father; they became the owners in 1837.

On 10 February 1839 Joseph Hagey was ordained as a minister, probably by Benjamin Eby, and on 31 May 1851 he was ordained as a bishop to assist the aging Eby. He served in the Hagey congregation as a pastor, but as a bishop carried responsibility for all the congregations in Waterloo Township. His years of service followed those of a very charismatic bishop, and Hagey never received the acclaim of his predecessor. In his later years he was faced with division within the Ontario Mennonite Conference. The division was sparked by a revival in Solomon Eby's congregation in Port Elgin, Ontario in 1870, and a similar revival within Waterloo County. These Methodist-style prayer/revival meetings were often held in homes, and were not yet generally accepted within the Mennonite community.  Initially Hagey responded positively and baptized converts from the Port Elgin revival. However he then declined to baptize the Waterloo converts because of objections that arose within the conference leadership. Although another bishop finally baptized this group in 1871, the controversy festered and finally resulted in the division that created the Reforming Mennonites (later part of the Mennonite Brethren in Christ).

Although Hagey was not successful in maintaining peace in the Ontario Mennonite community, he was a peacemaker in spirit. He assisted several attempts to help settle a church conflict in Indiana as a participant and served as the nominal leader (as bishop) of an Ontario delegation that attempted to mediate the conflict. Joseph B. Hagey was a longtime leader in the largest Mennonite settlement in Ontario during troubled times; his failure to preserve unity does not diminish the magnitude of his service to the church.


Burkholder, L. J. A Brief History of the Mennonites in Ontario. Kitchener, ON: Mennonite Conference of Ontario, 1935: 68, 82, 291.

Hagey, Henry Louis. "Daniel Hagey" and "Joseph B. Hagey" in "The Descendants of Hans Jacob Hagey" website. Accessed 22 January 2002. <http://www.bfree.on.ca/ppages/hlhagey/d0/i0000050.htm#i50> and <http://www.bfree.on.ca/ppages/hlhagey/d0/i0000058.htm#i58>. [broken links 4 January 2006]

Huffman, Jasper Abraham. History of the Mennonite Brethren in Christ Church. New Carlisle, Ohio: Bethel Publishing Co., 1920: 42ff.

Wenger, John C. "Jacob Wisler and the Old Order Mennonite Schism of 1872 in Elkhart County, Indiana." Mennonite Quarterly Review 33 (April 1959): 108-131, esp. 117-123.

Author(s) Samuel J Steiner
Date Published January 2002

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Steiner, Samuel J. "Hagey, Joseph B. (1810-1876)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. January 2002. Web. 1 Aug 2021. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Hagey,_Joseph_B._(1810-1876)&oldid=164946.

APA style

Steiner, Samuel J. (January 2002). Hagey, Joseph B. (1810-1876). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 1 August 2021, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Hagey,_Joseph_B._(1810-1876)&oldid=164946.

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