Loewen, Isaac (1865-1918)

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Isaac Loewen: businessman and community leader; was the fourth child born to Isaak (1827-1898) and Susanna (nee Krahn) (1833-1885) in Neuenburg, South Russia on 31 May 1865. He arrived in Canada as a twelve-year-old boy with his parents on the Sarmatian in June 1877. They settled in the village of Osterwick, Manitoba. Isaac began working for Peter Abrams (1852-1889) in the Abrams & Esau store in Gretna. When Peter Abrams died, he left behind a widow, Susanna (nee Rempel) (1854-1939) with 7 children. Isaac Loewen married Susanna on 29 June 1890. Although 6 children were born to this union, five died in infancy leaving only one daughter, Susana. They also suffered the loss of another two of Susanna's children from her previous marriage. In addition to daughter, Susana Loewen (1892-1974), the household then consisted of Wilhelm Abrams (1874-1942), Sarah Abrams (1875-1952), Peter Abrams (1878-1955), Katharina Abrams (1883-1945), and Gerhard Abrams (1885-1973).

In 1890 Isaac Loewen became Wilhelm Esau's business partner but three years later the partnership dissolved, and Isaac opened his own store. He was actively involved as a leader in the community, being elected to the Gretna Town Council annually from 1897 to 1899. He was named as one of the auditors for the Mennonite Aid Plan, District 95 in 1901. In his promotion of education he served as a member of the Bethel College Corporation in 1893.

In April 1902 Isaac Loewen moved to Osler, Saskatchewan with his family, and transferred his membership to the Rosenort Mennonite Church. In Osler, Isaac bought three town lots for $36.00 from the original surveyors of the town site, and built a house and a store. He was the first merchant to set up a general store in Osler. In addition to running the store, he played a part in the marketing of grain and in providing loans to farmers who were purchasing land in the Osler area.

Apart from his economic pursuits, Isaac Loewen participated in other areas of the life of growing community of Osler, as well as in the larger Mennonite community north of Saskatoon. In 1903 he worked with a committee to have the landing for the ferry crossing the South Saskatchewan River placed near Osler; and in 1904 he served as the town overseer. He was appointed Chairman on 2 February 1905 of the first school meeting in connection with the organization of a proposed Osler School District. He was also elected to the board of trustees on which he served as secretary-treasurer, and was active in correspondence with the provincial Department of Education. He continued to serve as a trustee until his early death in 1918.

Isaac Loewen's extended family also served the community in various ways as merchants and school trustees. In Warman, a few miles south of Osler, Isaac Loewen had established his stepson George to run a store. When the Phoenix started as a newspaper in neighboring city of Saskatoon in competition to the Saskatoon Star in 1902, both Isaac Loewen and Wilhelm Abrams were recruited as correspondents from Osler and Rosthern respectively; and news items they contributed appeared in the second and third issues.

Another venture in which Isaac Loewen participated was the establishment of the educational institution which eventually became Rosthern Junior College. He was one of the initial nine men elected on 10 June 1903 to the Board of Directors for the planned German-English teacher training institute in Rosthern. When, in 1909, an Act of the Saskatchewan Legislature officially incorporated the German-English Academy of Rosthern he was one of the eight original "incorporators." His stepson Wilhelm Abrams, who had taken up residence in Rosthern, was also vitally involved in initiating this educational venture. Isaac Loewen operated the store in Osler until his death. The report of his death in the Mennonitische Rundschau stated that he had died of a stroke (von Schlag getroffen). After his third seizure (Schlaganfall), he remained immobile for 40 hours before passing away on 7 December 1918 at the age of 53 years. His death occurred during the influenza epidemic of 1918. He is buried in the Rosthern Town cemetery. Susanna passed away in 1939, and is buried in the Osler Community Cemetery.


Abrams, William. "Schule und Erziehung: Die deutsch-englische Fortbildungschule zu Rosthern, Sask. Der Mitarbeiter 1, no. 9 (June 1907): 68-70, reprinted as "Aus der mennonitischen Geschichte: Die deutsch-englishe Fortbildungs-schule zu Rosthern." Der Bote (12 January 1938): 6-7.

Banman, Hella. Bits & Pieces of Osler & District, 1890-1908. Osler, SK: n. p., 1980.

Epp, Frank H. Education with a Plus: The Story of Rosthern Junior College. Waterloo, ON: Conrad Press, 1975.

Guenter, J. G., ed. Osler...The Early Years and the one room School #1238 (1905-1947). Saskatoon, SK, 1999: 65-89.

Hague-Osler Mennonite Reserve, 1895-1995. Saskatoon, SK: Hague-Osler Reserve Book Committee, 1995.

Obituary of Susanna Loewen, Der Bote (22 March 1939): 5.

Isaac Loewen's extensive personal papers are held in the Mennonite Historical Society of Saskatchewan Archives.

(For Peter and Susanna (nee Rempel) Abrams with 7 children: see West Reserve Bergthaler Mennonite Church Register: 38).

Author(s) Alan M Guenther
Date Published June 2005

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MLA style

Guenther, Alan M. "Loewen, Isaac (1865-1918)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. June 2005. Web. 8 Jun 2023. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Loewen,_Isaac_(1865-1918)&oldid=143051.

APA style

Guenther, Alan M. (June 2005). Loewen, Isaac (1865-1918). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 8 June 2023, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Loewen,_Isaac_(1865-1918)&oldid=143051.

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