Weaver, George W. (1818-1883)

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George W. Weaver: farmer and longtime bishop in the Lancaster Mennonite Conference, was born 22 February 1818 in East Earl Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, USA to Isaac W. Weber (11 September 1792-10 June 1866) and Catherine Z. Weaver (27 January 1795-10 March 1862). He was the second child and oldest son in a family of five daughters and four sons. On 10 December 1839 he married Maria M. Wenger (16 September 1819-29 September 1882). George and Maria had two daughters and four sons; four children reached adulthood. George W. Weaver died 23 January 1883; he is buried at the Groffdale Mennonite Brick Church Cemetery.

A farmer throughout his life, George Weber was ordained 28 August 1846, probably to replace Jacob Weber who was part of the division that resulted in the Stauffer Mennonite Church. He was a tall man, who spoke clearly and deliberately. He was not emotional in his presentation and his even temperament helped to maintain good relationships with those with whom he disagreed.

In 1854 he was ordained as bishop in the Weaverland-Groffdale district of the Lancaster Mennonite Conference to assist aging bishop Jacob Zimmerman. This was a difficult era leading into the Civil War, with several controversies that led to division in the district.

As a prominent leader in the Lancaster Conference, Weaver was one of many Mennonite Church leaders asked to assist in finding a solution for the brewing difficulties at the Yellow Creek congregation in Elkhart County, Indiana and its controversial bishop, Jacob Wisler. Weaver initially supported disciplining Wisler, but soon changed his mind, as he personally supported maintaining traditional practice.

In 1878 Weaver helped shape, and probably wrote, the Lancaster Conference’s first Rules and Discipline which regulated the conduct of conference members’ lives. Weaver opposed the innovation of Sunday schools, and refused to marry unbaptized couples (in that era many young people waited until after marriage to become baptized). He said, “We want to keep what we have and stand on the old ground of the Mennonite Church.”

On 31 May 1881 Jonas H. Martin was ordained as bishop to assist George Weaver. Martin, who had a perspective similar to Weaver’s, led the division in 1893 that saw the formation of the Weaverland Conference that became known as the Old Order Mennonites.

George W. Weaver was a faithful leader who strongly influenced the Lancaster Mennonite Conference in the second half of the 18th century.


“George W. Weaver, Bishop C2652." SAGA (Swiss Anabaptist Genealogical Association) Genealogical Website. Web. 4 December 2018.

Martin, Harold F. “George Weaver (1818-1883).” The Historical Journal 21, no. 1 (April 2015): 4.

Ruth, John L. The Earth is the Lord's: a narrative history of the Lancaster Mennonite Conference. Scottdale, Pa.: Herald Press, 2001: see index.

Author(s) Samuel J Steiner
Date Published December 2018

Cite This Article

MLA style

Steiner, Samuel J. "Weaver, George W. (1818-1883)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. December 2018. Web. 26 Jan 2021. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Weaver,_George_W._(1818-1883)&oldid=165457.

APA style

Steiner, Samuel J. (December 2018). Weaver, George W. (1818-1883). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 26 January 2021, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Weaver,_George_W._(1818-1883)&oldid=165457.

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