Littlefield Church of God in Christ, Mennonite (Littlefield, Texas, USA)
In 1914 a growing interest developed in several congregations in Canada, North Dakota, and Kansas for families who sought farming opportunities in the warmer and less developed southern states. Real estate salespeople from one of these areas, namely, Littlefield, Texas, attracted buyers to this area. The open plains were in grass for ranchland or cattle but hopefully suitable for farming.
Since all of the new arrivals had been wheat farmers, they hoped to raise wheat in this new area, also. Experience, however, soon proved that row crops such as cotton, kaffir, milo, and sudangrass were much more adaptable and profitable.
Those buying and moving to this new area in 1914 were the families of Peter B. Loewen, John K. Esau, John D. Regehr, and Tom Eason from Hillsboro, Kansas. A larger group who purchased land and moved in 1915 included the families of C. W. Toews, Peter T. Fast, Peter Penner Sr., and Jacob T. Fast from Langdon, North Dakota. Those who came from Manitoba were the families of Jacob D. Goossen, Isaac Reimer, Frank K. Goossen, Peter D. Goossen, and John W. Reimer.
At the height of the movement, there were about 60 members of the church who made Littlefield home. Land companies and real estate agents donated land and funds to build an adequate church building in the community.
Tremendous adjustment awaited the new pioneers in this vast, open prairie with its opposite and strange climate. Irregular and scarce rainfall brought discouraging times. World War I began, requiring all eligible young men to register and serve in the armed forces. This caused much concern and caused the Canadian settlers to return to their homeland. Two young men, Abe W. Penner and Henry G. Esau were drafted, tried, and sentenced to a prison term. They served until the end of the war.
The Canadian families' departure reduced the congregation to a small group that continued to carry on with the Sunday school and worship as much as possible. Ministers visited from time to time, but more families moved to places like Winton, California.
The church building became unsuitable and was sold and moved to the town of Littlefield to serve another denomination for worship services. This sale's proceeds were presented to the mission board. A little cemetery remained on this lot, including four graves.
In 1926/27, a group of three families from Chickasha, Oklahoma made their home at Morton, Texas, about 30 miles west of the Littlefield group. This encouraged the Littlefield congregation, with alternating worship services, Sunday school, and fellowship.
In about 1937, Minister Ben T. Koehn and family, from Cimarron, Kansas, came to serve as leader and pastor. A small but adequate church building was built in the immediate vicinity and served well for a short time. However, interest in other areas soon developed, and within several years numerous families left for larger congregations. Once again, the little church stood empty and was moved to a more suitable location for another denomination.
Histories of the congregations. 3rd. ed. Moundridge, Kansas: Gospel Publishers, 1999: 507-509.
Original Mennonite Encyclopedia Article
By A. R. Toews. Copied by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 377. All rights reserved.
The Littlefield Church of God in Christ, Mennonite, Littlefield, Texas, now extinct, was organized in the summer of 1917 with 60 members under the leadership of J. K. Esau and C. W. Toews. The first members came from Kansas, North Dakota, and Manitoba in 1915. A meetinghouse was built in 1917. Pioneer hardships and pressure of World War I drove many of these to their former localities. The remaining six or seven families continued worship and Sunday school in their homes after the church building was sold and moved. Visiting ministers from various places in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas came occasionally to give pastoral care. Ben T. Koehn moved here in 1938 to assume the pastorate for several years. The congregation was dissolved on 3 February 1942, its members having moved to various congregations in Kansas and California.
|Author(s)||Samuel J Steiner|
|Date Published||March 2021|
Cite This Article
Steiner, Samuel J. "Littlefield Church of God in Christ, Mennonite (Littlefield, Texas, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. March 2021. Web. 24 Jun 2021. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Littlefield_Church_of_God_in_Christ,_Mennonite_(Littlefield,_Texas,_USA)&oldid=170742.
Steiner, Samuel J. (March 2021). Littlefield Church of God in Christ, Mennonite (Littlefield, Texas, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 24 June 2021, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Littlefield_Church_of_God_in_Christ,_Mennonite_(Littlefield,_Texas,_USA)&oldid=170742.
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