Harder, Cornelius D. (1866-1946)

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C. D. Harder: From "Jubilaeum-Album der Konferenz der Mennoniten in Canada 1902-1952"

Cornelius D. Harder: minister and elder;  born 1 December 1866 in Blumstein, Molotschna Mennonite Settlement, South Russia. He was the son of David Harder (10 December 1836 – 28 September 1911) and Helena (Defehr) Harder (15 May 1830 – 27 March 1878). Cornelius’ father married for the second time to Margaretha (Warkentin) Rempel (b. 18 December 1844), a widow with several children; several more children were born as a result of this union. On 22 February 1890 Cornelius married Katharina Janzen (26 July 1870, Zagradovka Mennonite Settlement, South Russia – 12 January 1927, Rosthern, Saskatchewan, Canada) in Zagradovka, South Russia. Fourteen children were born to them. After Katharina’s death, Cornelius married Sara (Goertzen) Paetkau, a widow with 9 children.  Cornelius died 3 October 1946 in Rosemary, Alberta.

When Cornelius was five years old his parents moved from the Molotschna Mennonite Settlement to Neu Schönsee, Zagradovka. Cornelius grew up in this settlement, and attended and later taught school there. In 1896 the family moved to the Suvorovka Mennonite Settlement in the Caucasus, where he was elected minister 6 July 1897 and ordained one month later. On 17 February 1912, they moved to Siberia to the village of Schönsee in the Slavgorod Mennonite Settlement. On 7 October 1912, Harder was ordained elder of the Orloff Mennonite Church in the Slavgorod settlement by Jakob Gerbrandt.

In 1926 Harder’s wife Katharina and two children immigrated to Canada. The following year Cornelius joined his family. Upon his arrival in Canada, Cornelius stopped briefly in Rosthern, where his wife had died several months earlier. He then continued on to Didsbury, Alberta, where a Neufeld family had taken in his children. 

Harder was appointed by the Conference of Mennonites conference as a Reiseprediger (traveling minister), and in this position Cornelius traveled to every scattered group through Alberta and even in to Saskatchewan, preaching, evangelizing, and performing other pastoral responsibilities. Six congregations were organized by Harder: Hussar, Macleod, Coaldale, Gem, Rosedale, and Rosemary. Harder helped to organize the Conference of Mennonites in Alberta in 1929, serving as the first chairman.

Cornelius Harder became elder of the Bergthal Mennonite Church in Didsbury, Alberta in 1927, although his employment was terminated in 1929 due to the fact that he could not speak English and the congregation could not pay his monthly salary. In 1937 he went to Rosemary, Alberta, where he organized the Westheimer Mennonite Church (later Rosemary Mennonite Church).


Dick, C. L.  The Mennonite Conference of Alberta: A History of its Churches and Institutions.  Edmonton, AB: The Mennonite Conference of Alberta, 1981.

Rempel, J. G. Fünfzig Jahre Konferenzbestrebungen 1902-1952. Steinbach, Manitoba: Derksen Printers, 1954: 244-246.

Author(s) Cornelius Krahn
Richard D. Thiessen
Date Published August 2008

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MLA style

Krahn, Cornelius and Richard D. Thiessen. "Harder, Cornelius D. (1866-1946)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. August 2008. Web. 21 May 2024. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Harder,_Cornelius_D._(1866-1946)&oldid=178048.

APA style

Krahn, Cornelius and Richard D. Thiessen. (August 2008). Harder, Cornelius D. (1866-1946). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 21 May 2024, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Harder,_Cornelius_D._(1866-1946)&oldid=178048.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 659. All rights reserved.

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