Mast, Jacob (1738-1808)

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Jacob Mast was born in Switzerland. He migrated to America an orphan boy in company with his four sisters and younger brother John. All were in the care of their uncle Johannes Mast and landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 3 November 1750. Their first abode in the new world was in the vicinity of Hamburg, Berks County, PA, where the Amish had founded their first organized congregation in America by 1749. In that year Bishop Jacob Hertzler arrived from Switzerland and became their first leader. During 1754-1764, "the years of bloodshed" in Berks County, when the Indians returned to reclaim the land, the Masts were driven from their home in 1760, and found refuge at the headwaters of the Conestoga, where Jacob Mast in 1764 took out a warrant for land comprising 170 acres for 325 pounds, situated in Caernarvon Township, Berks County, PA.

Jacob Mast was married at the age of 25 to Magdalene Holly, who had accompanied him on his voyage to America. To this union were born 12 children, all of whom married and had offspring. In 1786 he succeeded Jacob Hertzler as bishop, the second Amish bishop in America and the first ordained here. He was one of the charter members of the present Conestoga Mennonite (MC) Church near Morgantown, which became the first permanent Amish Mennonite church in America. His manuscripts indicate a fair education for the times. The record of his public sale of personal property shows that he owned a goodly number of books.

As bishop, Mast presided over the following congregations in Berks County: Northkill, Maiden Creek, Tulpehocken, and Conestoga; in Chester County, one congregation Goshen, where a meetinghouse had been built near Malvern; the earliest in Lancaster County was in the vicinity of Compassville, and White Horse; these were also under his oversight. He died in 1808 and was buried on his farm.


Mast, C. Z. A Brief History of Bishop Jacob Mast and Other Mast Pioneers, and a Complete Genealogical Family Register. Elverson, PA, 1911.

Author(s) C. Z Mast
Date Published 1957

Cite This Article

MLA style

Mast, C. Z. "Mast, Jacob (1738-1808)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 7 Aug 2022.,_Jacob_(1738-1808)&oldid=89474.

APA style

Mast, C. Z. (1957). Mast, Jacob (1738-1808). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 7 August 2022, from,_Jacob_(1738-1808)&oldid=89474.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 536. All rights reserved.

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