Trail of the Conestoga, The

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Title page of 1st edition.

The Trail of the Conestoga (Toronto, 1924, 1942 and 1973, Kitchener, 1990), a novel written by B. (Bertha) Mabel Dunham (29 May 1881-21 June 1957), for many years librarian of the Kitchener (Ontario) Public Library and writer of historical fiction, who was of Mennonite descent through her mother, Magdalena Eby Dunham. The novel sketches the pioneer trek of Mennonites from Pennsylvania to make the settlement in Waterloo County, Ontario, and pictures the motives, the difficulties, and also the rewards of this Mennonite pioneering venture. The leading characters, Benjamin Eby, Joseph Sherk, and Sam Bricker, are well portrayed. A stage play based on the book was produced by the Mennonite Historical Society of Ontario in 1969. Norma Rudy wrote the script. A 90-minute film of the play was made in 1977.

Miss Dunham wrote a sequel to The Trail of the Conestoga in Toward Sodom, which follows the religious careers of the children of the Horst family in the early Waterloo settlement, as they, all but one, leave the faith of their fathers to join other churches or none at all. All of them, however, make outstanding contributions to church and society. In both novels Mennonite life is sympathetically portrayed.

Dunham also wrote a children's story with a Mennonite theme, Kristli's Trees (Toronto, 1948 and 1974).


Bender, Elizabeth H. "The Mennonite Theme in Contemporary American Fiction." Proceedings of the Fourth . . . Conference . . . on Cultural Problems. North Newton, 1945.

Cressman, J. Boyd. Review of The Trail of the Conestoga and Toward Sodom. Mennonite Quarterly Review III (1930).

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. III, 372.

Author(s) Elizabeth H. Bender
Samuel J. Steiner
Date Published April 2011

Cite This Article

MLA style

Bender, Elizabeth H. and Samuel J. Steiner. "Trail of the Conestoga, The." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. April 2011. Web. 24 Sep 2020.,_The&oldid=165880.

APA style

Bender, Elizabeth H. and Samuel J. Steiner. (April 2011). Trail of the Conestoga, The. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 24 September 2020, from,_The&oldid=165880.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 742. All rights reserved.

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