Toews, Maria Wiebe (1889-1984)

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Maria Wiebe Toews, Mennonite pioneer, was born on 27 February 1889 in Neuanlage, Manitoba. She was the second of 12 surviving children born to Henry Wiebe (1853-1945) and Maria Abrams (1862-1935) who had immigrated to Canada from Russia in 1875. Maria was baptized into the Sommerfelder Mennonite Church in Schönthal, Manitoba on 8 June 1908. That same year she married Heinrich B. Toews (1888-1953). They had 12 children together, all of whom survived to adulthood.

Maria was an unusual women in the Sommerfelder community not only because of the many difficulties she experienced and overcame but because she left a written record of them. Her story is a valuable source of information about the everyday life of the communities in which she lived. Based on memory, Maria wrote about growing up on her parents' homestead in Southern Manitoba. She then went on to record how she and her husband moved to Paraguay after unsuccessfully trying to farm or start a business in three different Mennonite settlements in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Maria’s story in Paraguay includes her observations of the land and its people. It describes her battle with cancer as well as the struggles faced by the Menno Colony. It tells of her husband’s death and her subsequent decision to to return to Canada with some of her married children in 1956. Her story ends in Steinbach, Manitoba, where she lived out her retirement years and died on 18 November 1984.


Friesen, John J. "Maria Wiebe Toews (1889-1984): Mennonite Pioneer." Preservings No. 10 Part I (June 1997): 64-65.

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

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MLA style

Brown, Sharon H. H. "Toews, Maria Wiebe (1889-1984)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. June 2006. Web. 28 May 2022.,_Maria_Wiebe_(1889-1984)&oldid=126602.

APA style

Brown, Sharon H. H. (June 2006). Toews, Maria Wiebe (1889-1984). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 28 May 2022, from,_Maria_Wiebe_(1889-1984)&oldid=126602.

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