Fast, Cornelius W. (1840-1927)
Cornelius W. Fast, a village school teacher, was born on 12 June 1840 in the Mennonite village of Friedensdorf, Molotschna Colony, South Russia. He was the oldest child of Cornelius Fast (1813-1855) and Helena Warkentin. Cornelius was baptized on Pentecost in 1860 and the following year married Helena Born. Sadly Helena died of smallpox on 2 May 1873. Later that same year Cornelius married Helena Fehr (1850-1893). In 1874 Cornelius and his family joined the Mennonite migration to Canada where they settled in Steinbach, Manitoba. Not long after this move his second wife died and Cornelius then married Anna Baerg, the widow of Johann I. Wiebe. From his three marriages, Cornelius had 24 children, 18 of which lived to adulthood.
Cornelius W. Fast was 15 when his father died leaving him responsible for his mother and siblings. He worked for a while for Peter Warkentins in Kleefeld and then for "Dr." Dietrich Wiebe of Lichtfelde. Cornelius spent two years working as a carpenter in Blumenort and apprenticed as a wheelwright for another two years. By the early 1870s Cornelius had become the village teacher in Steinbach, Borosenko Colony, South Russia and had learned to speak English which was to prove helpful in the years to come. Cornelius' early years in Canada were disappointing though. He was not hired to teach which may or may not have contributed to him also becoming separated from the Kleine Gemeinde church. In 1876 Cornelius decided to move to the West Reserve in Manitoba but was unable to settle the sale of his farm on the East Reserve until 1878. For the next 15 years Cornelius worked as a teacher and did carpentry work on the side. In 1892 he returned to the East Reserve and was reintegrated into the Kleine Gemeinde community. Back on the East Reserve Cornelius taught in Heuboden and in various other villages until he retired to Steinbach, Manitoba in 1916. His final years he spent doing carpentry work and caring for a mentally ill woman and then an elderly couple at the church's expense. Cornelius W. Fast died in 1927. He truly was a man of many talents
Plett, Delbert F. "Cornelius Fast 1840-1927." Preservings No. 8, Part II (June 1996): 22-23.
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MLA style: Brown, Sharon H. H. "Fast, Cornelius W. (1840-1927)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. April 2006. Web. 24 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/F37803.html.
APA style: Brown, Sharon H. H. (April 2006). Fast, Cornelius W. (1840-1927). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 24 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/F37803.html.