Salemskirche (Ashland, Ohio, USA)

Jump to navigation Jump to search

Salemskirche (Salem Mennonite Church), a brick building erected in 1847 six miles south of Ashland, Ohio, by John Risser, a Mennonite preacher, and his fellow immigrants from the Bavarian Palatinate, following Risser's unsuccessful attempt to work harmoniously with the local American Mennonites at Pleasant Ridge. It replaced another log church-school building erected nearby in 1835, three years after Risser and his family arrived. Risser lost interest in preaching soon after the church was built and permitted the German Reformed and Lutheran groups, served by their own pastors, to hold services in the building. The Mennonite congregation worshiped with them. After the middle of the century an attempt to hold English services was thwarted by the discovery that the deed to the property prohibited holding any but German services in the building. Assistance from the Wadsworth Mennonite School revived interest, but conditions were not conducive to healthy congregational growth. Risser's coreligionists from the Palatinate, some destined to rise high in later Mennonite circles, stopped briefly in Ashland County and then continued west to Summerfield, Illinois, or Donnellson, Iowa. The last pastors of the congregation were Carl H. Anton van der Smissen, later of Newton, Kansas, 1874-79, and his illustrious father, Carl Justus van der Smissen, who had come from Hamburg-Altona in Germany to teach the German theological courses at the Wadsworth Mennonite school. But even before the latter's death in 1890 some of the younger members preferred English services. Most of the remaining members at Salem, a few from the old Mennonite congregation at Pleasant Ridge, and practically all of their German Reformed and Lutheran neighbors united to build the "Stone" Lutheran church a half mile north of the Salem church. The Salem church has been removed to enlarge the cemetery. The Stone Lutheran congregation is a flourishing organization.


Umble, John S. "Extinct Ohio Mennonite Churches." Mennonite Quarterly Review 20 (1946): 5-52.

Author(s) John S Umble
Date Published 1959

Cite This Article

MLA style

Umble, John S. "Salemskirche (Ashland, Ohio, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 28 Sep 2023.,_Ohio,_USA)&oldid=143729.

APA style

Umble, John S. (1959). Salemskirche (Ashland, Ohio, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 28 September 2023, from,_Ohio,_USA)&oldid=143729.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 407. All rights reserved.

©1996-2023 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.