Toews, Cornelius P. (1836-1908)

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Cornelius P. Toews (11 June 1836-21 February 1908) was the delegate chosen in 1873 by the Blumenhof Kleine Gemeinde (KG) of Russia to inspect immigration possibilities in America. He joined eleven other Mennonite delegates, including David Klassen of the Heubodner KG, and travelled extensively through the western USA and Manitoba to look for a suitable place to relocate. The Bergthaler and Kleine Gemeinde delegates favored Manitoba as the site which they would recommend to their churches in Russia.

Cornelius, the oldest child of Johann Toews (1793-1873) and his third wife, Maria (nee) Plett (1811-1895), was born in the Molotschna village of Fischau, where he also received his education. In 1857 he married Elizabeth Friesen and moved to Hierschau. Two sons, Johan and Cornelius, were born here. In 1864, a few months after the death of his first wife, Elizabeth, he married the widow of Peter Friesen (nee, Anna Bartel). Nine more children were born to this union. Shortly after his second maniage the family moved to the new KG settlement of Markusland and then to the village of Gruenfeld near the Borozenko colony.

In 1874, Cornelius Toews, together with fellow delegate David Klassen, led the first group of Kleine Gemeinde to Manitoba. Cornelius, with his family, settled in the East Reserve village which was given the name Gruenfeld. He continued to show his leadership abilities when he served the village as mayor, fire chief, and teacher. In 1876 he erected the first windmill in the East Reserve. That same year a fire completely destroyed his house, barn and all contents. Since Cornelius kept the local fire insurance book for the village, the records for the early years are lost. The KG fire insurance records of the whole East Reserve show that Corneius received $668.35 insurance money for his loss.

Cornelius and his wife, Anna, were rebaptized on 20 December 1881, by Johann Holdeman and left the Kleine Gemeinde church to join the Church of God in Christ, Mennonites.

In 1885 Cornelius sold his Gruenfeld property and established a farm near Steinbach. He sold this farm in 1898 for $1600 and retired to the Greenland area, where he died. Comelius was the last surviving member of the 1873 delegates.


"Cornelius P. Toews (1836-1906)." Preservings, Part II (December 1996): 48.

Author(s) Henry Fast
Date Published January 2004

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MLA style

Fast, Henry. "Toews, Cornelius P. (1836-1908)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. January 2004. Web. 19 May 2021.,_Cornelius_P._(1836-1908)&oldid=126469.

APA style

Fast, Henry. (January 2004). Toews, Cornelius P. (1836-1908). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 May 2021, from,_Cornelius_P._(1836-1908)&oldid=126469.

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