Hoover, Anson (1920-2008)

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Sarah and Anson Hoover, 1989. Photo courtesy Peter Hoover

Anson Hoover, minister, church planter, farmer, was born 11 June 1920 in Hawkesville, Ontario, Canada, to Menno Hoover (8 July 1889-16 August 1982) and Leah (Martin) Hoover (30 April 1895-2 September 1974). He was the third child in a family of six sons and six daughters. On 29 February 1944, while Anson served on a farm deferment during World War II, he married Sarah Martin (14 December 1923-12 November 2015), granddaughter of Bishop David W. Martin. Anson and Sarah had three sons and three daughters. Anson died on 13 October 2008 in Stratford, Ontario and was buried at the Bethel Conservative Mennonite Cemetery in Millbank, Ontario.

As members of the David Martin Mennonite group, Anson and Sarah became actively involved in establishing a branch congregation in Rockingham County, Virginia, in the late 1940s (the Paul Shank Group). In the early 1950s they welcomed the first Old Colony Mennonite families arriving in Ontario as migrant workers during extreme drought in Chihuahua and Durango, Mexico.

In 1952 Anson Hoover and Elam S. Martin, a minister of the David Martin Group, traveled to Chihuahua, Mexico. They helped Mennonite immigrants to find homes and jobs in the Aylmer, Port Rowan and Leamington areas of southern Ontario, and later to establish an Old Colony Mennonite community at Matheson, along the Trans-Canada Highway in north-eastern Ontario.

In the late 1950s Anson Hoover also served as interpreter and contact person between a British landowner in far southern British Honduras (Belize) and a group of Old Colony Mennonites from Durango, Mexico. Led by Peter F. Wiens this group settled at Dolores, next to the Guatemalan border in 1958. But because of the extreme isolation and the eventual misunderstandings with the landowner, the settlement failed.

In January 1954 Anson and Sarah, along with other David Martin Mennonite families, desiring a more interactive leadership structure, left that fellowship and began to meet in homes in Waterloo Region. With no ordained leadership, Anson Hoover provided informal direction until Elam S. Martin, Peter O. Nolt and later, Samuel Horst (deacon), joined the group. The group was named the Orthodox Mennonite Church. On 12 October 1965 Anson was ordained to the ministry.

In the mid-1960s Anson Hoover served as the Orthodox Mennonite delegate to the Ontario government to establish the first Old Order parochial schools in Ontario. He worked closely with Old Order Mennonite and Old Order Amish leaders in co-operation with the Mennonite Central Committee Ontario. Several years later he also worked to achieve Mennonite exemption from the Canada Pension Plan, Social Insurance and forced quotas (including licenses) on farm products.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s Anson became a key figure in a difficult merger with the small Noah Brubacher Group in Ontario and a disintegrating fellowship at Muddy Pond, Tennessee. In 1974 the Orthodox Mennonite Church divided, leaving Anson Hoover as the sole minister of the larger faction. This faction, in the beginning, followed more accurately the traditions developed by the Mennonites of southern Ontario, while the opposing faction adopted numerous practices and beliefs developed in Snyder County, Pennsylvania and Muddy Pond, Tennessee (see the Amish Christian Church). Elam S. Martin, Noah Brubacher and others, now led the Orthodox Mennonite Church that eventually relocated to Huron County, Ontario.

Anson Hoover reorganised the Anson Hoover Mennonites and ordained Tilman Hoover and Amos Sherk as assistants. This group divided again in 1976 when the majority of the members chose to return to the teachings and traditions of David Martin (eventually joining the David Martin Mennonites). In 1978, after the Anson Hoover group had disbanded and all members had found fellowship in other congregations, Anson and Sarah joined the Conservative Mennonite Church of Ontario (CMCO) at Hesson.

Anson was accepted into the ministry of the CMCO at Blake, Huron County, Ontario, in 1979. In 1992 Anson and Sarah Hoover sided with the new Kurtzville Mennonite Church, in Perth County, Ontario, when this congregation and three others separated from the CMCO. These congregations, desiring unity with the United States based Mennonite Fellowship Churches (Nationwide Fellowship) found bishop help from Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New York. Anson served in the Kurtzville, Mount Vernon and Corinth congregations until he retired and moved to Shakespeare, Ontario.

Anson Hoover's son-in-law, Menno Brubacher, was ordained minister and later bishop of the Orthodox Mennonite congregation in Huron County, Ontario, and his son Peter Hoover served as a minister in Latin America and later among the Schmiedeleut (Elmendorf) Hutterites in Australia.


Martin, Donald. Old Order Mennonites of Ontario: Gelassenheit, Discipleship, Brotherhood. Kitchener, Ontario: Pandora Press, 2003.

“Minister Anson Hoover.” Ezra Eby Revived! Web. http://www.ezraeeby.com/getperson.php?personID=I46846&tree=mennonite (accessed 20 December 2013).

Sherk, Amos M. "General Records of the Orthodox Mennonite Church." Unpublished manuscript, 2007.

Author(s) Peter Hoover
Date Published February 2014

Cite This Article

MLA style

Hoover, Peter. "Hoover, Anson (1920-2008)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. February 2014. Web. 16 Apr 2021. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Hoover,_Anson_(1920-2008)&oldid=166846.

APA style

Hoover, Peter. (February 2014). Hoover, Anson (1920-2008). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 16 April 2021, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Hoover,_Anson_(1920-2008)&oldid=166846.

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