Ewert, Jacob G. (1874-1923)
Jacob G. Ewert was born 24 November 1874 in Markoviziane, Poland. His father, Gerhard J. Ewert, emigrated to Kansas with his family in 1882, and was one of the 39 charter members of the First Mennonite Church in Hillsboro when this was organized in 1885. He lived there the rest of his life.
Due to financial difficulties Jacob Ewert was unable to get a well-rounded formal education, but being apparently of more than average talent and certainly a man of will power he got his teacher’s certificate and taught in the Kansas public schools, intermittently studying at Bethel College. It was here in 1897 that rheumatism struck him, paralyzing him to such an extent that only an arm and a shoulder remained free to move. He even had to be fed through a tube. He thus spent over 26 years in bed, cared for by his brother David (1878-1924), himself also an invalid. However, Jacob Ewert continued his studies in bed, gaining a fair reading knowledge of several modern European languages as well as Hebrew, Latin, and Greek, which he taught to students of Tabor College who came to him for instruction. He also made a contribution to Wenig’s Wörterbuch, a dictionary published in Germany.
He was also active in journalism, coediting for several years the German monthly Vorwärts, published in Hillsboro, writing the column “Gegenwärtige Aussichten.” He was much in sympathy with the socialistic views of the times and wrote among other pamphlets one entitled Christentum und Sozialismus.
Being an ardent pacifist, it became his work to advise many young men drafted into the country’s services during World War I. In the interests of pacifism he also translated the correspondence between Count Leo Tolstoy and the American pacifist Adin Ballou, published by Lewis G. Wilson in Arena.
Due to the active interest he took in prohibition, he was elected secretary of the Prohibition Movement in Kansas, which position he held for several years. In the interests of this movement he wrote Die Bibel und die Enthaltsamkeitslehre, published by the Christliche Mässigkeitsverein (Berne, Indiana).
Possibly his greatest efforts went into the relief work in Europe, especially Russia, after World War I. He wrote untiringly in the various Mennonite papers in its interests, and considerable sums of money were entrusted to him to help feed the hungry abroad. The records show some $89,000 passing through his books. He died 16 March 1923.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: v. I, 617.
Vorwärts-Kalender (1925) Hillsboro, Kansas.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, pp. 275-276. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Neff, Christian and J. W. Nickel. "Ewert, Jacob G. (1874-1923)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 25 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/ewert_jacob_g._1874_1923.
APA style: Neff, Christian and J. W. Nickel. (1956). Ewert, Jacob G. (1874-1923). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 25 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/ewert_jacob_g._1874_1923.