Troyer, Christian (1797-1883)

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Christian "Christie" Troyer, Junior: farmer, preacher, and a founder of New Mennonite Church congregations in York County, Ontario, Canada, was born 21 March 1797 in Ontario, possibly at Long Point, Walsingham Township, Norfolk County before his family moved to Vaughan Township, York County, or perhaps in Vaughan. He was born to Christian Troyer (1755/56-1839) and Elizabeth Becker Troyer (1761-18??) on 21 March 1797. Christian, Senior’s first wife was Barbara Yoder (1756-1789). Christian, Jr. was the last born of his father’s six children, his third son, and Elizabeth’s third child.

Christian, Jr. never had the opportunity to attend a school, signing his will with a mark. He married Magdalena Cober on 25 June 1822 in Markham, York County. Magdalena was born 8 February 1802 to Nicholas Cober (1763-1842) and Eva Fisher Cober (1777-1859), both of York County. Magdalena and Christian Troyer raised a family of 10 children in Vaughan Township, attending the Schmitt (Edgeley) Mennonite meetinghouse, the building which is preserved at Black Creek Pioneer Village in Toronto. Christian died on 24 February 1883 in Vaughan. Magdalena survived him by more than five years, dying on 1 August 1888. Both were buried at Edgeley Mennonite Cemetery.

Around 1830, Christian Troyer, Jr. was ordained a preacher for the Schmitt Meeting House. Curiously, L. J. Burkholder says he was not an ordained man. Troyer attended a conference of the Mennonite Church of Canada in Waterloo County in 1836, presumably as a minister. By 1850, however, Christian was siding with preacher Daniel Hoch of The Twenty in the debate over home prayer meetings and revivalistic experiences of conversion, and was mentioned in letters between Markham Bishop Jacob Grove and Waterloo’s Benjamin Eby in 1850 and 1851. Grove declared preacher Troyer had "gone out" by his actions. Troyer continued preaching for like-minded Mennonites in York County in association with Abraham and Joseph Raymer in homes, and even in the Edgeley Meeting House. The transition from the old church was gradual. In 1855 Troyer and Abraham Raymer attended a Mennonite conference in The Twenty, but afterward Troyer went on to a meeting at Bauman’s schoolhouse with Daniel Hoch. After the New Mennonite service, Hoch said Troyer told him that "in his whole life he had never seen such a blessed time as this," where the whole church, Hoch said, was fused like wax in worship with tears, yet with no disorder, no jumping and no hand-clapping, though with shouting. Some time before 1859, these York County Mennonites joined with congregations of Waterloo and Lincoln Counties in the New Mennonite Church of Canada West. After the building of the first New Mennonite meetinghouse at Dickson’s Hill, Markham (1863), the minute book listed "Christopher [sic] Troyer & wife" as members, third after Abraham Raymer, John Steckley and their wives in 1864.

By 1870, Christian was no longer included in the preaching plan for the New Mennonite congregations. The Canada census of 1871 listed him as "retired" and living on his son David’s farm. He joined the 1876 second annual Canada Conference at Dickson’s Hill of the United Mennonite Church, which was formed in 1875 from the New Mennonites and the Reforming Mennonites associated with Solomon Eby. He also attended at least the 1878 and 1879 Canada Conferences at Nottawasaga Township and Berlin (Kitchener), respectively. At Nottawasaga, Troyer, identified as a Canada Conference evangelist, reviewed his Christian experience "at considerable length. Feels a desire to be faithful his few remaining days." Steckley wrote Troyer’s obituary for the Gospel Banner in 1883 with sympathy for Magdalena and respectful affection for Christian, who was "engaged in the ministry as near as we know, about fifty years."


Burkholder, Lewis J. A Brief History of the Mennonites in Ontario. Kitchener, Ontario: Mennonite Conference of Ontario, 1935: 39.

Grant, Marlene J. “Christian Troyer [Senior] of Vaughan.” Mennogespräch. 4, no. 1 (March 1986): 10-12.

Huffman, Jasper A., ed. History of the Mennonite Brethren in Christ Church. New Carlisle, Ohio: The Bethel Pub. Co, 1920. Available in full electronic text at 39-40.

Lewis J. Burkholder Papers. Mennonite Archives of Ontario.

Mattson, Marlene J. "Family Group Record—40." Troyer Family Archives, Brechin, Ontario, 2014.

New Mennonite fonds. Mennonite Archives of Ontario.

Steckley, John Hoover. “Died.” Gospel Banner (1 April 1883): 53. [Obituary]

Author(s) Clare Fuller
Date Published June 2014

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Fuller, Clare. "Troyer, Christian (1797-1883)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. June 2014. Web. 22 May 2024.,_Christian_(1797-1883)&oldid=133323.

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Fuller, Clare. (June 2014). Troyer, Christian (1797-1883). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 22 May 2024, from,_Christian_(1797-1883)&oldid=133323.

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