Raymer, Joseph (1833-1879)

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Joseph Raymer (Ramer): farmer and preacher of New Mennonite churches in York and Ontario counties in Ontario, Canada, the foundation of Evangelical Missionary Church of Canada congregations in Gormley, Stouffville, Markham and Mt. Albert, was born 6 April 1833 on one of the family farms near Box Grove, Markham Township, York County, Ontario, Canada. Joseph was the last born of John Raymer (1783-1864) and Esther Hoover Raymer (1796-1866), both originally from Pennsylvania. He lived on the family farm all his life. He married 16-year old Mary Wideman on 8 December 1858; her parents were Christopher K. Wideman (1818-1851) and Catherine Hoover (1819-1907). Mary was born on 2 March 1842, the mother with Joseph of five children, two boys and three girls. Joseph died on 29 July 1879 at the age of 46 from tuberculosis; Mary died 1 December 1911. She and Joseph are buried at Wideman Mennonite Cemetery, Markham.

The Raymers were members of Wideman Mennonite Church in Markham. Joseph Raymer experienced an evangelical crisis conversion when he was 24 years old, and according to Jasper A. Huffman, entered Christian ministry the following year (1858) with the emerging New Mennonite society in the Markham area.

For many years Joseph Raymer had mixed feelings about ministry. In the 1870 New Mennonite preaching plan, still an "assistant minister," he was to preach four times--his brother Abraham Raymer, 38 times. Markham New Mennonites approved Joseph’s ordination in October 1874, and he was identified as a minister after that, yet he was listed as a probationer in 1875 when he attended the merging conference of the Reforming Mennonites and the New Mennonites at Snyder’s Meeting House at Bloomingdale, Waterloo County. His doubts continued through 1877.

Certainty finally showed in his report to the fourth annual Canada Conference of the United Mennonite Church, 5-7 June 1878 at Nottawasaga in Simcoe County. The secretary recorded of Raymer: "Realized full consecration.—is now satisfied in regard to his call to the ministry. Is willing to go anywhere the Lord may direct him to labor." The United Mennonite Canada Conference ordained him in 1878.

Joseph Raymer frequently acted as secretary of the Markham New Mennonite conferences, as well as for the committee building the second New/United Mennonite meeting place in Ontario, at Mount Joy, north of Markham village in 1876-1877. Later, Mary Raymer wrote about revival and her work with children in the Mount Joy congregation with whom she and her children worshipped after Joseph’s death.

As with most of the New Mennonite farmer-preachers in the emerging United Mennonite/ Mennonite Brethren in Christ Church, Joseph Raymer found it hard to accept itinerant assignments. He remained on the North Markham circuit (Altona, Bethesda, Dickson’s Hill) with John Steckley and Abraham Raymer. For the conference year 1878-1879, he was the "minister-in-charge." Joseph’s one article in the Gospel Banner from Hebrews 13:1 urged believers to return to their first love and testified that after a three-hour struggle in prayer: "I have also obtained more of the power and baptism of the Spirit than I had received before, so that I seemed to have full victory...."


Huffman, Jasper A., ed. History of the Mennonite Brethren in Christ Church. New Carlisle, Ohio: The Bethel Pub. Co, 1920. Available in full electronic text at http://www.archive.org/details/historymennonit00huffgoog: 261.

“Joseph Raymer.” Find a Grave. Web. http://www.findagrave.com. (accessed May 2014).

McDowell, Clarence, Katherine McDowell and others. Built in This Place: Centennial 1877-1977, Markham Missionary Church. [Markham, Ontario]: Historical Committee, 1977: 6-10, 40.

“New Mennonite Society of the County of York and Ontario [1864-1881]”. Minutes. Dickson’s Hill, Box 1010, Missionary Church Historical Trust, Emmanuel Bible College.

Preaching Plan for the New Mennonite Church in Canada West. Berlin, Ontario: [New Mennonite Church in Canada West], 1870. in “New Mennonites” file in Mennonite Brethren in Christ fonds, Mennonite Archives of Ontario..

Raymer, Joseph. “Let Brotherly Love Continue,” Gospel Banner (1 November 1878): 3.

Raymer, Mary (Wideman). “Letter,” Gospel Banner (15 April 1882): 62.

“Raymer.” Web. http://www.Rootsweb.ancestry.com. (accessed May 2014).

Author(s) Clare Fuller
Date Published June 2014

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MLA style

Fuller, Clare. "Raymer, Joseph (1833-1879)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. June 2014. Web. 21 Jun 2021. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Raymer,_Joseph_(1833-1879)&oldid=126810.

APA style

Fuller, Clare. (June 2014). Raymer, Joseph (1833-1879). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 21 June 2021, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Raymer,_Joseph_(1833-1879)&oldid=126810.

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