Toews, Anna Warkentin (1843-1925)

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Anna Warkentin Toews, Mennonite pioneer and Bishop’s wife, was born on 31 January 1843 in the village of Blumstein, Molotschna Mennonite Settlement, South Russia. She was the second child of seven born to Johann J. Warkentin (1817-1886) and Anna Loewen (1819-1874). Anna was baptized into the membership of the Kleine Gemeinde in 1862. On 12 November 1863 she married Peter P. Toews (1841-1922) who later became an important church leader and a central figure in the formation of the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite, commonly referred to as the Holdeman Church. Together Anna and Peter had 12 children but only five of these survived to adulthood. Anna died on 12 March 1925 in Swalwell, Alberta, Canada.

Anna and Peter P. Toews initially settled in Andreasfeld, Markuslandt but two and a half years later moved to Blumenhof which was part of the Borozenko Colony. In 1875 as part of the larger Mennonite migration they immigrated with their family to Canada where they settled in Grünfeld, Manitoba. After Peter retired in 1911, together with their daughter Maria, Peter and Anna Toews moved to Swalwell, Alberta to be near their four sons who had settled there. During the years that followed Anna’s vision began to fail which eventually led to complete blindness after an unsuccessful cataract operation.

Although Anna left no diaries or letters, from what we know of her life it is possible to piece together a portrait of her character. As the wife of an important and very busy church leader, Anna showed herself to be strong, constant and selfless. As a new immigrant who left her parents in Russia, a young mother who suffered the loss of seven children, and a grandmother who lost her sight, she revealed herself to be long-suffering, resilient and ever hopeful. Anna certainly was a great woman behind a great man.


Toews, Margaret Penner. "Anna: The Bishop’s Wife." Preservings No. 10 Part II (June 1997): 23-25.

Author(s) Sharon H. H Brown
Date Published June 2006

Cite This Article

MLA style

Brown, Sharon H. H. "Toews, Anna Warkentin (1843-1925)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. June 2006. Web. 18 Sep 2021.,_Anna_Warkentin_(1843-1925)&oldid=126462.

APA style

Brown, Sharon H. H. (June 2006). Toews, Anna Warkentin (1843-1925). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 18 September 2021, from,_Anna_Warkentin_(1843-1925)&oldid=126462.

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