Black Creek, in Willoughby Township, south of Niagara Falls, Ontario, was a Mennonite settlement of over 200 according to the assessment records of Ontario in 1837. The meetinghouse of the congregation (Mennonite Church) was known as the Riverside Church. It was located a few miles north of Black Creek on the River Road. The only evidence of its existence until the assessment records were found was a letter by Bishop Jacob Moyer of Vineland in 1831 to the ministers Christian Hershi and George Zavitz at Black Creek. George Zavitz was minister in Bertie Township, South. He and his brother John (1798-1872) served this church for the greater part of its active existence. Jacob Miller (1772-1841), whose wife was Barbara Hershey and who came from Maryland, located in this area in 1801. This probably gave rise to the name Miller Church, which was the earlier name of the Riverside Church. Miller is reputed by his descendants to have been a Mennonite minister active as far as Waterloo County. Jacob Miller, Jr. (1805-1865), was a son of Jacob, Sr., reported as a Mennonite minister but inactive. Martin Weaver (1814-1887) was ordained for this place late in life but did not preach. Joseph Wellick (1818-1872), who after turning from the Catholic faith, married Esther Boyer, lived on the Sodom road in this township and became deacon. He with David Habecker, a Mennonite minister from east of Niagara Falls, conducted services also in a schoolhouse near the Wellick farm. The Willoughby Church (Riverside) was erected by public subscription in the community in 1827. It served both as a church and a school for many years. The Mennonites being in the majority used it most. The original log church gave place to a frame church about 1850, which stood unused for a quarter century before being removed at the time of the recent improving of the Niagara Boulevard along the west bank of the river. As the Mennonites lost out, preaching services were provided alternately by other active groups in the community. For many years before the Mennonites discontinued services, their services were held at eight-week intervals. Sunday school was conducted as early as 1827.
Burkholder, L. J. A brief history of the Mennonites in Ontario: giving a description of conditions in early Ontario, the coming of the Mennonites into Canada, settlements, congregations, conferences, other activities, and nearly 400 ordinations. [Ontario: Mennonite Conference of Ontario], 1935.
|Author(s)||J. C Fretz|
Cite This Article
Fretz, J. C. "Riverside Mennonite Meetinghouse (Stevensville, Ontario, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 28 Dec 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Riverside_Mennonite_Meetinghouse_(Stevensville,_Ontario,_Canada)&oldid=77266.
Fretz, J. C. (1953). Riverside Mennonite Meetinghouse (Stevensville, Ontario, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 28 December 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Riverside_Mennonite_Meetinghouse_(Stevensville,_Ontario,_Canada)&oldid=77266.
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