Johnson County (Iowa, USA)
Johnson County, Iowa, in the eastern part of the state, lies approximately 50-70 miles (85-115 km) west of Davenport. It is an agricultural county with only one large city, Iowa City, within its borders. Located within the county in 1957 were six Mennonite churches; East Union, Lower Deer Creek, Iowa Valley, and Iowa City were members of the Iowa-Nebraska (Mennonite Church) Conference, while Fairview was Conservative Amish Mennonite and Sharon-Bethel was Beachy Amish. All but Iowa City and Iowa Valley were located in the southwest corner of the county. In the same general area were six Old Order Amish districts with 464 members, most of whom lived in Johnson County. The Johnson-Iowa-Washington county settlement contained 2,821 Amish and Mennonite church members in 16 congregations of whom approximately 1,800 lived in Johnson County. Of the 2,821 members, 1,835 belonged to the Mennonite Church (MC), 470 to the Conservative Amish Mennonite Conference, 52 to the Beachy Amish, and 464 to the Old Order Amish.
The first Amish to move into the county came from Ohio and Pennsylvania in 1846. The settlement was one of the most successful established by the Amish in the central states and has grown steadily during the past century. As the home of three generations of Swartzendruber bishops—Jacob, Frederick, and Jacob F.—as well as of Samuel D. Guengerich and his publishing enterprise, the community has been unusually influential in Amish Mennonite circles. In 1945 the Iowa Mennonite School was established in the heart of the Johnson County Mennonite community. Unusual also is the fact that from this Amish community have come at least nine Mennonites who have earned the doctor of philosophy degree. At least 12 Elkhart Institute and Goshen College faculty members were born in this settlement.
Gingerich, Melvin. The Mennonites in Iowa : marking the one hundredth anniversary of the coming of the Mennonites to Iowa. Iowa City, IA : The State Historical Society of Iowa, 1939.
Swartzendruber, E. G. Amish and Mennonite Church Centennial near Wellman and Kalona, Iowa. Wellman, IA, 1953.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 117; vol. 4, p. 1146. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Gingerich, Melvin. "Johnson County (Iowa, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 21 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/J653.html.
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