Isaac, Margaret Loewen (1855-1930)
Margaret Loewen Isaac: pioneer, minister's wife and mother; born on 4 March 1855 in South Russia to Peter (1825-1887) and Susanna (Enns) Loewen (1824-1857). She was the fifth of six children in the family. Margaret was baptized on 21 October 1873 in Russia and married Abraham P. Isaac (1852-1938) on 26 December 1873. The couple had nine children, one of whom died young. Margaret and her husband immigrated to Canada on 17 July 1874. They settled in Schönau, a village 1 ½ miles northwest of Kleefeld, Manitoba.
Margaret (or Margaretha) Loewen grew up in the Molotschna Colony of Russia. Her family believed that an ancestor had once been a baron and held itself somewhat aloof from the rest of the community. Some evidence would show that Abraham P. Isaac was rather audacious in seeking to marry Margaretha Loewen, who was socially from a higher class. Shortly after their marriage, they joined the migration to North Ameica in 1874.
Life in Canada was difficult for the settlers in the first years. Margaret Isaac and her husband built a reed house to live in for the first winter, using boards to provide support for the structure and paper to cover the cracks. The couple’s first son was born there on 20 November 1874. The winter was hard, and the following summer was even worse as an infestation of grasshoppers invaded Manitoba and destroyed the crops. Financial aid from the Canadian government and assistance from other Mennonites helped the immigrants get through that first year, and by 1876, they were able to harvest their crops. Margaret’s love of gardening helped the growing family in difficult times. She planted maple trees, currants, gooseberries, and herbs, supplementing the family’s diet with what grew in her large garden. Margaret’s interest in nature and her wide knowledge of animals and plants helped her enjoy the many hours she put into her outdoor pursuits.
Margaret Isaac’s husband was a minister in the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite, and Margaret also had a strong faith in God. She enjoyed telling Bible stories to her children and grandchildren, and she especially relished the singing in church. Sometimes her position as minister’s wife required that she deal with problems in the congregation, but she always tried to treat other people with kindness and understanding.
Retirement brought new challenges for Margaret and Peter Isaac. The couple built a home at the back of the original farmhouse, and Margaret soon began to plant a garden in the new location. Elm trees on the property were the result of her work, and the garden gave Margaret something to do in her senior years. She died of a brain hemorrhage on 28 September 1930 in Kleefeld, Manitoba, eight years before her husband’s death.
Margaret Loewen Isaac’s life was a combination of hard times, finding joy in daily life, and dedication to her family and her community.
GRANDMA (The Genealogical Registry and Database of Mennonite Ancestry) Database, 5.03 ed. Fresno, CA: California Mennonite Historical Society, 2007: #6172.
Penner, Daisy Isaac. “Margaret Loewen Isaac (1855-1930).” Preservings No. 12 (June 1998): 73.
Penner, Roger and Dawn. “Abraham P. Isaac (1852-1938).” Preservings No. 12 (June 1998): 69-73.
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MLA style: Huebert, Susan. "Isaac, Margaret Loewen (1855-1930)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 2007. Web. 21 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/isaac_margaret_loewen_1855_1930.
APA style: Huebert, Susan. (2007). Isaac, Margaret Loewen (1855-1930). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 21 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/isaac_margaret_loewen_1855_1930.