Nunemaker, John M. (1848-1942)

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John M. Nunemaker: pioneer and minister, was born 1 May 1848 near Goshen, Indiana, the oldest child (of four boys) of Thomas Nunemaker (7 May 1827-10 March 1901) and Catherine Means Nunemaker (30 January 1816-4 August 1878). He lived near Goshen with his parents until he was nineteen years of age, and then moved to Sterling, Illinois in July 1867. He married Hannah Nice (11 August 1848-11 August 1908), the daughter of Bishop Henry and Lovina Nice, on 25 December 1870 at Morrison, Illinois. They had eleven children. Fifteen years after Hannah's death he married Anna Kornhaus Miller (1850-22 December 1923) on 22 January 1923. John died 29 August 1942 in La Junta, Colorado. He outlived all but four of his children.

John had a conversion experience in 1875 and was baptized in September 1875 by his father-in-law. In March 1878, John and Hannah, with their four children, moved to Roseland, Nebraska, where they resided for 25, during which time there were born seven more children, and two boys (John and George) died. John was ordained to the ministry by Bishop Albrecht Shiffler on 25 February 1894, and served as one of the ministers in the Roseland Mennonite church until he left for La Junta, Colorado.

In 1902 John Nunemaker and William Snyder of Neutral, Kansas, made a trip to Colorado in hopes of finding a suitable location for a Mennonite settlement. They traveled by train, where they stopped at La Junta. They looked over the Arkansas Valley, especially the Holbrook area 11 miles (18 km.) north of La Junta. They also explored the San Luis Valley, a farming valley approximately 200 miles (320 km.) southwest of La Junta, which they explored on rented bicycles. They concluded the Holbrook Valley would be the best site for a Mennonite settlement. A second trip to Colorado confirmed this choice. On 17 February 1903 John and Hannah Nunemaker and their large family arrived in La Junta, Colorado, and settled approximately 13 miles (21 km.) northeast of La Junta on a farm southeast of the small town of Cheraw, Colorado.

When the La Junta Mennonite Church organized in 1903, John and Hannah were among the 20 charter members. Later, when the congregation divided and the East Holbrook Mennonite Church organized, John made his church home there and faithfully filled his place, both as a member and as one of the ministers. On his 90th birthday he, as well as the congregation, received considerable satisfaction from his preaching three times.

Soon after his arrival in La Junta, John Nunemaker was an active leader in the movement to build the Mennonite Sanitarium and served as chairman of the Board for a number of years (1906-1920). He was an important pioneer in the settlement of the La Junta area by the Mennonite community.


Erb, Allen H. "Nunemaker, John M.” Gospel Herald 35 (17 September 1942). Reproduced in MennObits. “Gospel Herald Obituaries September, 1942." Web. 24 September 2010.

"John H. Nunemaker." SAGA (Swiss Anabaptist Genealogical Association) Genealogical Website. Web. 24 September 2010. (requires membership).

Author(s) Adalbert Goertz
Date Published February 2007

Cite This Article

MLA style

Goertz, Adalbert. "Nunemaker, John M. (1848-1942)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. February 2007. Web. 23 Sep 2020.,_John_M._(1848-1942)&oldid=104443.

APA style

Goertz, Adalbert. (February 2007). Nunemaker, John M. (1848-1942). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 23 September 2020, from,_John_M._(1848-1942)&oldid=104443.

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