Yoder, John K. (1824-1906)

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John K. Yoder (1824-1906), was one of the outstanding Amish bishops during the latter half of the 19th century when many mid-western congregations turned away from some of the traditional practices and gradually assumed the name Amish Mennonite. He was born in Mifflin County, PA, where in 1850 he was ordained preacher. In 1855, he with his wife, the former Lydia Zook, moved to Wayne County, OH, where, four years later, he was ordained bishop in the Wayne County Amish congregation then numbering 300 members and divided into a north and a south district. When the bishop in the north district and a small following withdrew over the issue of baptizing in a stream, Yoder became the sole bishop of the entire congregation, which in 1862 erected a meetinghouse and later became known as the Oak Grove Amish Mennonite Church. The same year the first Amish general conference (Allgemeine Dienerversammlung) was entertained by the congregation. In a few years Yoder's talents and administrative ability gave him a leading role in the conference deliberations. When he was elected moderator in 1864, he secured the adoption of rules of procedure for the conference. A firm advocate of congregational rule he agreed in 1889 to the appointment of a laymen's committee to set up a new discipline allowing departure from certain traditional Amish cultural practices—buttons instead of hooks and eyes on men's clothing, a "barber hair cut," and holding evening religious services in the meetinghouse. Although this decision cost him the fellowship of some of his more conservative friends in Pennsylvania, he lived to see the wisdom of his decision vindicated. He was one of the founders of the Ohio Amish Mennonite Conference in 1893 and of the Ohio and Pennsylvania Amish Mennonite Conference in 1897, which was later called the Ohio and Eastern Amish Mennonite Conference.


Umble, John. "The Oak Grove Amish Mennonite Church." Mennonite Quarterly Review XXXI (1957): 163-219.

Author(s) John S Umble
Date Published 1959

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MLA style

Umble, John S. "Yoder, John K. (1824-1906)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 9 Aug 2022. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Yoder,_John_K._(1824-1906)&oldid=143467.

APA style

Umble, John S. (1959). Yoder, John K. (1824-1906). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 9 August 2022, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Yoder,_John_K._(1824-1906)&oldid=143467.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, pp. 1006-1007. All rights reserved.

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