Canton (Ohio, USA)
Canton, Ohio, is the county seat of Stark County in northeast section of the state, with a 1948 population of 137,000 (80,806 in 2000). It is a city of diversified industry in a large agricultural area. The steel industry was prominent in 1950s because of the soft coal fields near by and the availability of iron ore, via Great Lakes transportation to Cleveland.
Mennonites first came to this area in 1806 from Washington County, Maryland, and later from Pennsylvania. There are many present non-Mennonites in Canton who are direct descendants of these early Mennonite immigrants. Approximately 1,500 Mennonites of all branches lived in the county in 1950, with only 65 members within the city itself. Many were employed in the city, daily commuting to their work from their homes in the country. The Mennonite branches represented there in 1950 were Mennonite Church, Conservative Amish Mennonite, and Old Order Amish. These settlements lay mostly northeast of the city with some in the extreme western part of the county.
The first Mennonite church in the county was built about 1823 of logs on land donated by Jacob Rowland, Sr. This church, known as the Rowland Mennonite congregation, was located approximately one mile (1.5 km) east of the town of Canton. These early Mennonites owned farms in the community surrounding the town, practically all of which were absorbed by the growing city. About 1874 the log church was replaced with a brick building. Gradually, as the city grew out beyond the church, the community changed, and the church became a city congregation. With the passing of the rural community and the absorption of the members in the city life, the congregation dwindled in membership. Many of the farm owners, upon selling their land, moved out of the community to other rural sections, while still others united with larger city churches. In November 1904 the congregation was re-established as a mission (see Canton First Mennonite Church) under the Ohio Mennonite and the Eastern Amish Mennonite conferences.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, pp. 509-510. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Hostetler, J. J. "Canton (Ohio, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 23 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/C399.html.
APA style: Hostetler, J. J. (1953). Canton (Ohio, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 23 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/C399.html.