Smith, John (1843-1906)
John Smith, a Mennonite (Mennonite Church) leader and bishop, was born near Metamora, Woodford County, Illinois, 27 November 1843. His parents, Christian and Catrina Smith, both born in Alsace, came first to Pennsylvania and then in 1833 came to the pioneer settlement in the Black Partridge Creek area the year the Partridge Amish congregation was organized. In 1865 he married Magdalena Schertz. Ten children were born, seven of whom grew to adulthood. His son Joseph D. Smith was for many years superintendent of the Home for the Aged at Eureka, and another son, C. Henry Smith, was a pioneer historian of the Mennonites in America.
John Smith was ordained to the ministry in 1887 at the Roanoke Mennonite Church (MC) by Christian Ropp, and a few years later was ordained bishop. He served the Western Conference six times as secretary and three times as moderator.
He was a person of more than ordinary ability and was recognized as a leader in secular as well as in spiritual affairs. He was considered broad-minded but was one of the first to speak from the pulpit against the evils of tobacco and alcohol. He was conservative but willing to accept changes which would promote the welfare of the church. He actively supported the infant mission and educational interests of the church. His last years were given over almost entirely to the work of the church. He was one of the first in his area to use the English language in preaching. He died of a heart attack at his home on 6 July 1906.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 553. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
©1996-2013 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.
MLA style: Smith, Tilman R. "Smith, John (1843-1906)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 20 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/smith_john_1843_1906.
APA style: Smith, Tilman R. (1959). Smith, John (1843-1906). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/smith_john_1843_1906.