Johnson Mennonites

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The original Skippack Mennonite congregation and meeting house were located in what was then Bebber's (now Skippack) Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. The Mennonite settlement was begun there in 1702. The first meeting house, erected about 1725, was replaced by a new meeting house in 1844. Three years later came the Oberholtzer schism in the Franconia Conference, and a portion of the congregation seceded with him. The other portion of the congregation, which remained in the Franconia Conference, rather than to resort to litigation withdrew and erected the Upper Skippack meeting house in 1848. The old Skippack meeting house and congregation then came to be called Lower Skippack. The Lower Skippack congregation passed through some trials after the division of 1847, one of which was the lack of harmony between its preacher, Henry G. Johnson, and the new Oberholtzer Conference. For instance, Johnson wished to promote the observance of feetwashing, whereas the conference wished to allow congregational freedom on the matter. As a result the Lower Skippack group ceased attending the sessions of the conference. The conference then passed a resolution on 15 May 1859, declaring the ministers and delegates of the group to be out of order, since they had ceased to attend the conference. Most of Johnson's congregation stood by him and withdrew from the conference, the group retaining the ownership of the meeting house. A small part of the congregation, however, maintained connections with the conference and conducted separate services in the meeting house until they were denied the use of the building in 1865. By resolution on 4 May 1886, the conference officially declared that the congregation had ceased to exist. Among the ministers ordained by the Johnson group were Johnson's son, Henry H. Johnson, in 1878, and his grandson, Henry M. Johnson, in 1915. The group was therefore commonly known as the "Johnson Mennonites." The congregation had a membership in 1954 of 300, with Henry M. Johnson serving as bishop, Frank Crall as minister, and Warren B. Anders as deacon.

See also Lower Skippack Mennonite Church


Wenger, John C. History of the Mennonites of the Franconia Conference. Telford, PA, 1937: 96-99, 359, 360.

Author(s) John C Wenger
Date Published 1957

Cite This Article

MLA style

Wenger, John C. "Johnson Mennonites." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 22 Sep 2018.

APA style

Wenger, John C. (1957). Johnson Mennonites. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 22 September 2018, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, pp. 117-118. All rights reserved.

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