Haute-Marne, a departement in eastern France, formed from parts of the earlier provinces of Champagne and Bourgogne. Several rivers, the Aube, Marne, and Meuse, have their source here and form fertile valleys with rich pasture land, well adapted to cattle raising. But grain cultivation' is also a prominent occupation.
The Mennonites of this region in the mid-20th century lived for the most part on large farms, far apart, surrounded by Catholics. Here and there they had contacts with individual Protestant families, usually Swiss, who worked in the numerous cheese factories. The first Mennonite families came in the middle of the 19th century from the departements of Meuse and Vosges, and soon formed a congregation. Their first elders were Goldschmidt and Rediger. Since that time there has been a persistent urge from eastern France to move westward, which brings in new families with a definite tendency to settle in the interior of France.
The church known as "Assemblée de la Haute-Marne" numbered (1925) about 40 families with 160 souls, who lived scattered throughout the departement and beyond. Meetings were held every two weeks in the homes of the members. Services were formerly followed by a common meal, since most had to come from a distance. Often members came on Saturday and returned home on Monday. The use of automobiles facilitated attendance. Frequently the round trip covered 140 miles or more.
Originally the services were conducted in German, and the Ausbund was the hymnal used, but this congregation was the first to use French; religious instruction was given in French about 1850. Like all the congregations in France, this congregation was originally Amish. In 1953 the membership was about 100 souls, with four elders, all Kennels, and four preachers, all Kennels but one, viz., Pelsy.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: II, 268.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 681. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Sommer, Pierre. "Haute-Marne (France)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 20 June 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/haute_marne_france.
APA style: Sommer, Pierre. (1956). Haute-Marne (France). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 June 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/haute_marne_france.