above is extremely rare photo of my father at 6 years of age (on the left) with his only brother at our old homestead
pic above is of little ole me standing in almost exactly the same place on the old homestead as my father.
In Memory of my beautiful father on Fathers Day which for me is 365 days per year.
I deeply miss my dearly departed father more than ever. He passed away on Christmas Eve 2002. My dear father was also my best friend and in many ways even though it has been 15 years since he died, in many, many ways my dear father is still MY BEST FRIEND! Many say that it takes only a few years till the face of a deceased love one becomes vague in ones memory, however in my case my dear fathers face is still as vivid as if he was still living right here at the old homestead. Maybe it is because my fathers face did not seem to ever really age much, till Parkinson’s Disease took his life, maybe my memory of Dad is so vivid because he as a individual never changed much in all the years I knew him… because he was solid as a rock. My dear father was a very quiet but incredibly strong and strict moral man. He was so gentle and peaceful… which is why those “trips to the woodshed” were even more painful for both of us! As for my feelings, my rear end would feel like it was literally on fire…I will cover firewood in more detail later. Even when dad became an elder he would always sit in the background of a room and just listen to everyone else speak, while he would only speak when directly addressed. He always said “opening the mouth exposes the fool” Ironically right now I cannot recall my father ever using the actual words “I love you” , maybe it was because we spoke PA German at home… but don’t worry he showed me with his actions and deeds, regularly and constantly and consistently just how much he truly loved me and my siblings and Mom. I got to know Jesus was real because of my Dad and I believe this more than ever even though my earthly father passed away 15 years ago.
the above photo is the only color photo we have of this era and it was taken by a relative who was a modern Mennonite and could justify the cost. I well remember getting a lecture from my parents when as a youth I spent all my savings to buy Dad a fancy pocket watch for Christmas, Ironically when my father passed away and long before probate was complete both my dear brother and I were given one old plain pocket watch each which had been owned by my father…and low and behold In addition to receiving 1 plain pocket watch, I also got back the very same fancy pocket watch I gave to my father some 30 years previously. If you look carefully at the photo below you will see this pocket watch in my home.
The only thing that has a more prominent spot in my homestead is the Moses Martin Family German Bible which has been handed down through all these generations to me. What a privilege it is to hold this heavy Reformers Bible and comparing the most important German text to my modern English Bible. My father got permission from all of his siblings before this old 1860’s Bible displayed below was handed to me. To this very day I often ask myself was it because my father loved me or was it because I purchased the old homestead from him or was it both? I was also so privileged and blessed to be able to provide my dear parents lifetime Living Rights on the homestead which is something that all my Mennonite ancestors did for their parents going back as far as the early 1700 records, of which I have copies in my possession. In fact I possess copies of the last 250 years of every one of these patriarchal wills and deeds going directly back from my father to when the original Martin Family Patriarch came to Weaverland from Switzerland in 1727.
My dear father was a true servant leader type Christian. He loved those around him like Jesus loved those he ministered to. My fathers father (Grandpa Martin) died when Dad was only 24 so I guess that might explain why Dad would regularly read “Acts” and seemed to be especially fascinated by this part of the Bible his whole adult life. I distinctly remember one time when Dad stayed home from communion services and even though he was not feeling very good, he asked me to read Acts from the very beginning to him out loud. I did this and before noon came that day I had read the whole book of Acts to him. He became very happy afterwards and a look of joy came over his face even though his eyes were still moist with tears. My dearly departed father was a strict moral follower of Jesus and the early Christian Congregations as described in the Bible. My father literally followed Jesus and the first Christians in that he did not feel worthy to do anything but that. My Dad was also a very strict and loving father as well. I knew my whole adult life that Dad would have and did lay down his life for Mom and every one of his children. The way Dad lived his life I am convinced he would have willingly gave up his life for any of his friends and neighbor’s if he could have saved them from losing theirs. A True Christian man! As the famous county western song goes “they just don’t make men like this anymore”.
(Pic above) Dad always said the only thing we must absolutely ALWAYS be ready for EARLY; is to go to church and to die!
“Good Line Fences Make Good Neighbors” was one of Dads sayings. My father would always encourage the neighbors to work with Dad and jointly build any new line-fence (not right on the line) but just slightly but very deliberately onto our property with the fencing installed on our neighbors’ side of the posts. My father was strictly against the sin of “coveting” and when we used to travel down the public roads he would instruct me to keep my eyes on the roadway and thus never to covet someone else’s property. I remember when my father bought me a pony that there was a path with gates at all the line-fences that separated my fathers farm from Three Bridges School and The Conestoga. I used to traverse this path through many many farms with my pony every weekend and this way I got to know very personally all the very old patriarchs of the neighborhood who were all old order Mennonites as well. Interestingly my father even hired me out part -time for $1.80 per hour to work alongside these dear old Christian patriarchs, some of them who were born between 1880 and 1900 era. I confess I used to be slightly offended that my father would charge these neighbor’s so little for my time… but then it was my father who sat me down on a haybale one time and told me what The Bible teaches about goodwill- the Christian way…and this was long before the modern world books touted their (fake and false version) of goodwill in all the self help and business books. Ironically when I “ran away from home” in 1976 to see what “the world” had to offer…these paths I referred to above between all the old farms in our neighborhood were closed and where the old gates used to hang these sections were filled in with regular line fencing just like the rest. It looked like the gates had never existed. Ironically now that in most cases it is the 3rd generation (I knew personally) who are farming these neighboring farms only one of these line fences has been reopened and a gate installed and that occurred between my next door neighbor and me and what is most ironic these neighbors went with the David Martin Church 3 generations ago which is the absolute strictest and most orthodox group in Ontario. One of the secrets that I must confess is that no matter how strict the regulation of the David Martin Church was/is I can testify that when I was very young my father and I would be welcomed to have meals and fellowship with our dear neighbor who was/is from this extremely orthodox David Martin Church…and I also recall during the haying season how much we would enjoy having these very same people share meals and fellowship at our dining room table. Dad was so right “Good Line Fences make good neighbours” and when one possesses “true Christian goodwill” unbiblical barriers between Christian churches can be removed because of Christian Love of ones neighbor. Like Dad always said though, good gates swing both ways and both me and my neighbor agree.
Another one of the most valuable lessons my father taught me happened over a long course of time…in 1888 as a Registered New Home Builder I spent a year building a very large custom home in the City Of Waterloo. My father came from Elmira one time to see what I was up to. He offered to help me work but I was proud and asked him to enjoy watching me work. Instead of doing exactly that, he ending up walking around all day long watching me but I noticed he was constantly stooping down to pickup bent spikes that were discarded during me and my crew doing the framing. When it became chore-time at the family farm Dad was long gone and I thought nothing more about that day. Ironically many many years later when I had taken over the day to day management of the Homestead Dairy Farm business I was frantically renovating all sorts of damage in the back of the barn and it was an urgent matter that we complete the job so that we could bring the cows in from the pasture and get them back into the barn to be milked. Unbelievably I ran out of spikes and worst yet the stores were closed and to top it all off Dad knew I was too proud to go to the neighbor’s and ask for spikes. Low and behold as I was about to scream in pure frustration my dear father came around the corner with a little old metal paint pail and he handed it to me and said “don’t worry son” Amazingly my father had gone home in 1988 with all the bent spikes he had picked up from the ground and I was shocked to be holding onto the very same spikes which my dad had lovingly and painstakingly bent straight… “just in time” !
In my family we never believed in saying goodbye, we would always say “Vita sayn” which translated means “we will seeyou again” . This traditional saying is very common among old order Mennonites. When Parkinson’s disease began to really disable my father in almost every way possible and for many months he did not seem to get better or worst (he had not been able to speak for months however he could hear and understand clearly as we used hand squeezing signals to communicate with him and to prove he could hear and understand) my dear mother who had struggled by Dads side for so long stated that “poor father did not want to give up his life because he was “still worried” for his children” and that that was the only thing he ever was seriously concerned about. How this broke my heart because I had been a Christian for 7 years at this point. The hardest thing I ever did was go to see my dear father that same evening and I distinctly remember telling him everything that I was thinking and what was in my heart and using our hand squeeze signals (like 3 times) to make sure he understood every word I had said…and then somehow by the Grace Of God I received the strength to actually say “goodbye” because… he “fell asleep” and died that very same night. He fell asleep peacefully and instantly did not breath in or out at all, not even a gasp or sigh. Oh Jehovah God how I give praise to you!
I have attached in next line below a English Transcription of my dear fathers funeral sermon in the Elmira Mennonite Meetinghouse which you can read if you wish. My father and grandfather and great grandfather and great great- grandfather are all now all buried in Gods Acre here. Other than when I was baptized, this funeral was the only time I have ever wept in public. I did NOT care at the time if it was NOT the old ORDER way…I wept sitting in the front row right in front of the pulpit because this is exactly what I was feeling at the time… and the preacher preached.
When I was younger and before I became a Christian when my father would talk to me about his death someday I would cry inside and deny that he would ever die and tell Dad I could not and would not discuss it with him…Many many years later my dad pleaded with me before he died that, 1. I would NOT advocate for a big fancy tombstone. First he gave me the speech about what a true Christian and Mennonite would do and when this not get the enthusiastic reception he hoped for, he shrewdly convinced me by reasoning with me stating” ok son look at it this way, when the vandals come into the old cemetery which gravestones do you think they will vandalize, the big fancy ones or the plain simple ones?” Needless to say my parents have a very plain (but high quality) gravestone and the only “fancy” thing about it, which I am sure potential vandals will not notice, is that we added their date of marriage to their gravestone. and 2. he pleaded with me to promise that I would NOT advocate that his remains would be buried right next to all his predeceased forefathers right next to the meetinghouse, (because “he did NOT feel worthy” and he had met with the caretaker and he had chose a burial spot far back from the meetinghouse and off to the side and also directly in behind the old cemetery workshop/shed. Oh I could never count the number of times I have hopped out of my big ole black SUV parked in the chain linked horse tie-up gravel parking lot and ever so efficiently walking straight only 3 steps and stepped sideways thru a 2 foot split in the fence and taken only 2 steps forward and turned left 1 step and there is my dear parents plain gravestone which my dear brother and I personally helped the cemetery caretaker level and cement in place after my father’s remains had been buried. May father and mothers remains rest in peace until satan and death are destroyed forever! Amen
I am blessed to vividly remember 36 years of my Father living day by day with literally everything he did having a deeply Biblical meaning for him and him inculcated us using Biblical references as to why absolutely everything was to be done a certain way according to scripture, whether it was work or church or family related or how we should relate with all people and circumstances around us. Dad was so much more than just a good Mennonite, he was a True Christian. As I became an adult and Dad counseled me to join the Church I remember telling Dad, I could never ever be “perfect like him” Dad replied that he was a sinner. I even asked him, what sin (s) did/do you commit? I can still remember how he would become suddenly very uncomfortable and tell me that he too “was a sinner” and I also remember how uncomfortable I became because I had no idea what possible sin(s) he was actually talking about. To this very day some 35 years later I still do not know what sin(s) my father was referring to. (mind you, one time he did say a slightly bad word when he hit his thumb with the hammer, however even this word was NOT a swear word) As for me, I did not end up joining the old order Mennonite Church, I joined a more modern Mennonite church when I became a Christian as a 35 year old. My dear father was there when I was fully submerged in the name of The Father and The Son and The Holy Ghost” and ironically even though it was not at the old order church, and afterwards right in front of almost a thousand people my father barely knew, my father gave me the biggest and most long lasting hug and he wept profusely with pure happiness. This was the only time my father got so emotional that he hugged me as an adult and only 1 of 2 times I ever seen my dad actually weep sobbing. The other time my dad wept was one time when he came outside with me after he had been nominated for Deacon in the church. My father had been in the lot 2 other times, once for deacon and once for minister. Irregardless of his other experiences this time when he came outside the meetinghouse and it was just him and I and we were away from his peers, he suddenly broke down and began weeping…I was absolutely shocked to see my father crying and I asked him what is wrong dad??? He just kept repeating “I am so unworthy, I am so unworthy”
Believe it or not I was not convinced the Bible/God was real until I was 35 years of age. (some 20 years ago) Ironically I realize when I became a Christian that it was my father who actually proved to me that Jesus was real. To this day I have not been fortunate enough to meet many men like my father. My father took care of me from 1961 to this very date. Whether it is your earthly father or your Heavenly Father it is easy and quite normal to Love them when you owe them everything! The good news is that I became a Christian in 1995 and am extremely blessed to have spent/invested all the years from 1982 to Christmas Eve 2002 very closely associated with my best friend, my father. I am still associated with my father through my Heavenly Father!
Dad and I and Jenni in the photo above I remember vividly when Jenni got run over by a car and all her ribs were smashed in. I stayed out in the haymow till late at night and lay with Jenni as she was dying and I still remember how much I cried. When my dad found us he quickly gathered me up in his arms and took me to the house and he promised me he would go right back out in the barn and “help” poor Jenni go to sleep” Jenni had “disappeared” by morning light when I went out to see her. Dad assured me that Jenni went asleep but I did not understand completely so I secretly searched for her for days. A few days after Jenni “fell asleep and disappeared” Dad showed up in the barn (with a brand new puppy of course). Since the old homestead is right on the main corner of 2 main roads right next to the town of Elmira I can remember we lost many dogs in a similar fashion.
Above is a recent view from the back porch of the homestead where I still reside. My fathers death was so difficult for me to handle I just simply could not handle doing all the grieving at the same time and move forward, so as I have told all my friends I grieve a little at a time so I can handle it better. Some people who may not be the “Spiritual” type may not believe it, but after my father passed away in 2002 I have been blessed with the most vivid and realistic dreams where my father councils me just like he used to do and in these dreams we are having detailed and complete conversations no different that the “good talks” we always had. There is nothing weird or spooky ever happened during these dreams. What is compelling is that there is no doubt in my heart or mind that the inspiration (Spiritual Guidance) I have been blessed with, in these dreams comes from Love from Father, but which Father? Because most all of these dreams involve real-time and current practical problems (in great detail) and outcomes as well as Spiritual up-building. I have to testify that I feel both my earthly father’s love and that Love from my Heavenly Father is VERY VERY REAL!
No seatbelts here! as Dad and I are going out to the bush to make firewood. Dad always said making firewood was a huge blessing because it made you warm twice, once as you were splitting the firewood and the second time as it was being burnt in the old “octopus” furnace in the basement of the old homestead. This old octopus cast iron furnace heated or somewhat warmed most all the 11 bedroom homestead. Dad told us children were blessed that insulation had been added to our bedrooms because when he was a child the bedroom was so cold that he used to take heated bricks to tuck in under the covers. Ironically after I purchased the home farm through my father’s committee the old double insulated chimney was found unsafe and at the time was cost-prohibitive to replace and so since at the time propane and propane furnaces were less money I replaced the whole heating system. I do not use the propane furnace too much nowadays or my fancy and now old Diesel Pickup Truck. Dad always knew that we are better off to take care of ourselves the simple and natures way and trust Gods creations and NOT rely on modern world inventions. Dad was right!
My Dad absolutely loved horses and even some 15 years after we became “black car Mennonites” he still kept one of the heavy team of workhorses and a light team. Dad showed a loyalty and love to his old horses that never showed for any man made machinery, no matter how shiny or expensive it was. Dad always said “it is better to work for nothing than to have nothing for work” Our family farm had been handed down from father to son since 1830 and had always been cared for with Christian stewardship but I remember picking stones with dad and I would complain and ask “why are we stooping down to pick up much smaller stones than our neighbors would bother picking” and he would turn to me and say “I do not know for sure, but what if we do not pick them up and they started growing? I chuckle a little nowadays about this statement however when I look over the land that I have been blessed with I am so thankful now for every single stone that was picked. I also cannot help but notice that the flat grade of the back fields of the two oldest farms (including ours) drops down around 2 feet right at the property lines to the farms behind us and to me it is obvious that a whole lot of manure has gone into the soil over the years.
Another time after many years of Dads 2nd farm (50 acre woodlot and farmland) having been gifted to my mom and me thinking it would not remain in the family long-term found the guts to tell my dad that I did not want to help clean it up each and every fall and winter like we always did. Because I was an adult at this time Dad sternly told me that I can do what I want, but I might someday really regret it. I did not think about it long, I told him no. From that day forward I worked on only the main farm and I no longer went out to the woodlot/bush to work at all. I pretended I was not connected to this land at all. Low and behold that was in 1982 and long after dad died in 2002 my dear mother died of cancer in 2009 my mothers estate decided to sell moms 50 acres by Real Estate Broker to the general public. Yup you guessed it, in 2010 I bought the 50 acre woodlot/ bush and oh boy oh boy what a mess I had to clean up. Yes much like the home farm I had to pay market value on it. It was like a jungle with all the weaker trees and ice and storm damaged full grown maple trees crashed down and over top of each other and intertwined with the undergrowth and weeds up to 9 feet tall (due to the virgin black soil). It took a labor of love over the last 7 years (and wrecking 2 clutches in 2 tractors) just to get caught up and as always Dad was proven right. I even repaired the shell of the old sap shanty even though the sap boiling equipment had long ago been removed. After I got finally caught up, in honor of my Heavenly father and my earthly father and my dear mother I decided to carry on and convert the bush I had cleaned up into a park like setting, knowing all along that no normal real estate investor would want to reimburse me for any of the uncountable hours gone into raking and mowing the frontage of the bush property and picking up the small fallen branches. After all it is just a woodlot and the value is in the land whether or not it is raked and mowed or not. Ah but for me it is ALL ABOUT THE FATHERS LOVE! Amen
Dad (on the left) loved his horses and the hired men all got on Dads good side by doting on the horses.
I too got on my Dads good side by loving the pony we named “Fancy” that Dad bought for me right after all our big horses were gone. I fondly know now that he had very reluctantly gave up the heavy team when they got old and he had also sold the light team to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police at about the same time…so I am pretty sure when Dad “splurged” on the pony and the pony’s sleigh that this whole scenario served a dual purpose. Oh did I cry when my poor pony “Fancy” became old because by then I knew what Dad meant when he would say that “it is time” for our pony “Fancy” to go to sleep. Even Dad had a tear in his eye when he told me that unlike humans, It is Gods Will that we must let her go BEFORE she suffers.
Above photo is a very rare photo I have of Dads first car which he purchased before marriage. Dad never expressed any admiration for automobiles or tractors. I believe he simply used them so he could have more time to be devoted to the purebred Holstein Herd.
Above if you look carefully at Dads facial expression you can clearly see that Dad would have rather been driving his horses…Tractors never impressed him.
The old late 1800’s harness shed had to be removed to make way for the new millhouse when Dads purebred Holstein cows became so productive that a milk cooler had to be installed. Just prior to this, milk had to be take to the cooler at local dairy and prior to that milk was kept in salt/ice storage. Dad was one of the first farmers in Waterloo County to start breeding and milking exclusively Purebred Holsteins and testing for milk production with DHI. Dad was a big believer in striving for purity in everything he was involved with. Unlike the other buyers at the auctions dad never tried to buy the best and most highly desirable cows, what he would do is purchase the cows almost nobody else wanted to buy but yet had very good pedigrees. Dad turned 3 of these pitiful old cows that nobody wanted into “Star Brood” cows due to the fact that their Progeny almost all turned out to be Very Good Cows with awesome milk production to boot. (Frankly I have often compared myself directly to this exact same scenario) I well remember when modern big production methods using “grade” (non-purebred) Holsteins became popular, just to increase the bottom line profits. Dad stuck steadfastly for the rest of his life with Purebred Holstein cows and always said “if you take care of your purebred Holstein herd – they will take care of you. My father was a very wise man.
Above is my father on our once a year all day long “Trip” He enjoyed “going out” ONLY because us children did, he was always happier at home and now I am exactly the same way he used to be. Dad always said “son please do not go to town any more or any longer than you absolutely have to…”no matter which way you go when you get to the end of the long farm laneway, there is nothing but trouble out there, it does not matter if you go right or left, there is NOTHING but trouble out there” As I became a young adult and sometimes I would give Dad my “opinion” in the most rebellious Pennsylvania German, Dad always laid down Biblical Law as his final decision, however he would ALWAYS add, “in my house the door automatically swings both ways and the next decision is up to you”. Hey folks nobody know better than a genuine prodigal son and I am extremely blessed among those. Dad believed whole heartedly in every single word he understood from The Bible and I believe my father loved me MORE than the father of the prodigal son in the Bible.
Above is an extremely rare photograph of my Grandpa and Grandma and I am sad that I never even met Grandpa because he died before my father was even married and before I was born. Grandma and Grandpa were Charter Members of the Markham-Waterloo Mennonite Conference. After Mom and Dad were married, both my dads mother and my moms mother lived in the old homestead.
My homestead was where (My great-great-great grandpa Moses W. Martin 1832-1887) the deacon of the Elmira old order Mennonite meetinghouse pioneered and began clearing the land here at my homestead in 1855 as per Historian Isaac G, Martin. Moses’s father Johannes (John) had purchased this property for him in 1830. (for the real diehard Mennonite Church history buffs old Johannes Z. Martin an immigrant from Weaverland Pennsylvania was the father of Bishop Abraham W. Martin and old Johannes Martin was buried the very first spot right next to the doors of Martin’s Mennonite Meetinghouse in Waterloo and yes as our old books state it was old Johannes (John) who hosted the fateful meeting at his farm where he counseled the ministry and deacons and his son the Bishop that “Parents are responsible to teach their children” and not a Sunday School Teacher! After this pivotal conference meeting tensions rose in the whole Ontario Conference of Mennonites and The great Schism of the Mennonite Church Of Ontario happened as a result in 1888. Due to Johannes (John’s) experiences, no wonder Johannes was buried in the first spot outside the front door of the men’s entrance of Martin’s Mennonite meetinghouse in Waterloo. Nothing like this happens by accident. After Moses W. Martin was ordained deacon of the Elmira congregation in 1867 AND he also became one of the trustees for the founding of the North Woolwich old order congregation and the building of their first meetinghouse in 1872. Deacon Moses W. Martin was first married to Mary. S. Brubacher the daughter of Deacon John W. Brubacher of the Berlin/Kitchener old order Mennonite congregation and when she died very young, Moses W, Martin married Mary Cressman the sister of David Cressman who was the deacon of both Geiger old order Mennonite and the Biehns old order Mennonite Congregation. Moses W. Martins wife Mary Cressman also had a brother who was Preacher Menno S. Cressman of the Biehn old order Mennonite congregation. To add to the mix Moses W. Martin was not only the brother of the Mennonite Bishop of Waterloo Twp. his sister also Mary was married to the son of Bishop Henry Shantz who was the Bishop of the Mennonite Congregations of Wilmot Twp. Even more interestingly Moses’s other sister Anna Martin was married to Deacon Amos Cressman of Wilmot Twp. who became Bishop of Wilmot Twp. Mennonite congregations when Bishop Henry Shantz became elderly. Now many non-Mennonites would say that all this connections are because the Mennonite congregations were very small back in 1888 but in reality in 1888 all the congregation meetinghouses mentioned above were mostly always filled to near capacity with most all original Mennonite families being fairly represented much as they are to this day. None of these ancestors above married their first cousins. After my ancestor deacon Moses W. Martin died his elderly widow married the old deacon of the South Peel old order meetinghouse congregation John Nahrgang and when old John Nahrgang died as a very old man in 1915 his body was taken by a horse and carriage and a very long procession of horse and buggies some 45km (by highway today) to burial at Geiger old order Mennonite Meetinghouse which is now called Wilmot Mennonite Church in New Hamburg On, which is actually where Old John Nahrgang had originally been ordained as their deacon in 1877 and had served there until 1888/1889 when the group now known as old order Mennonites separated from what was/is the big Mennonite Conference. Interestingly John Nahrgang was also serving as deacon at the south Peel old order meetinghouse in the period of the major schism by the David Martin group which actually began at South Peel and not Woolwich as modern historians state. Even more interesting is that when my moms paternal ancestor Noah Bearinger died his widow who was also a sister to Deacon Moses W. Martin married the second time to Franklin Housser who left the old order Mennonite church and actually became deacon of the David Martin Conference of Congregations. Only the most serious local Mennonite Church historian would understand that my grandma Lucinda Martin was from the Waterloo “Deacon David Z. Martin family and community of Waterloo” whereas her husband (my grandpa Clayton Martin) was of the Woolwich Twp Martins who came after Deacon Moses W. Martin)
Since 1855 when my direct paternal ancestor Deacon Moses W. Martin arrived in Woolwich Twp. from Waterloo Twp. my old homestead was in the center of so many interesting Mennonite stories and I have records/old diary notes that shows that even Bishop Jonas H. Martin of the Weaverland Mennonites visited at our old homestead while in Ontario Canada for Conference.
I must confess that even some family researchers and fellow church historians think I am a bit eccentric in my passion/pilgrimage, but one must understand that my farm deed went from father to son from 1830 to myself, which is extremely humbling AND the fact that I regularly get to actually walk on ALL the farmland which my ancestors farmed here in Canada AND Weaverland PA AND attend services at all 3 meetinghouse and the adjoining burial grounds which all of my forefathers were/are so connected to for the past (2 of these old Mennonite Meetinghouses are located really close to My Fathers Farm homestead in Canada) However most important of all, the more I research and document the Spiritual Pilgrimage of these forefather and ancestors, the more I am humbled and impressed all at the same time, because I have become acutely aware that I am surely “the least” among these! Please read Ecclesiastes 2:18 for TRUTH.
Above are my parents on the day that they announced their marriage plans. This rare photo makes me chuckle a bit because I cannot imagine my Dad ever wearing a tie. After marriage my dad’s ties actually “disappeared” and he would always wear a plain black suit with a full closed collar and after marriage my moms prayer covering strings were changed from white to black. One of the main reasons I never joined their old order Mennonite church was that I just did not want to be as “plain” as my parents. Now when someone asks me what my Mennonite parents looked like. I proudly say “my parents were absolutely beautiful parents” !
So from a paternal genealogical perspective my direct line to American Pioneer Christian Martin 1669-1749 who was imprisoned in Switzerland for 17 years because he would not recant his faith and David Martin 1691-1784 and Bishop Henry Martin 1741-1825 and Canadian Pioneer Peter Martin 1769-1831 and John Martin 1806-1879 and Deacon Moses W. Martin 1832-1887 and Moses C. Martin 1861-1934 and Clayton Martin 1897-1952 and my dearly departed father Ornan M. Martin 1927-2002.
If you look carefully at the photo above you will see (tucked in discretely BEHIND the modern gravestone) the original very small granite grave marker of my paternal ancestor who came from Switzerland to Weaverland PA in the early 1700’s.
Out of all of these above 10 generations and myself included we all have in common and are separated by only 4 actual home farms (4 separate home addresses) and only 3 burial grounds in 249 years. This is why I wholeheartedly embrace the Biblical term of “Goodly Heritage” Dad and Mom always chuckled when I used to say, well then my plan is to trace my ancestry all the way back to Adam and Eve. Please read my blogs on The Reformation (where my Paternal great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather came from) and especially my blogs about the Disciples because dad was right. (about everything)
Thank You Dear Heavenly Father for giving us Your Holy Spirit which unites all of us so; Please God let EVERY SINGLE DAY be Happy Father’s Day for all of us because even if our earthly fathers were/are not perfect due to Adam and Eve’s fall from grace, YOU oh Jehovah-God are our Perfect Heavenly Father and through YOUR SON Jesus, Eternal Hope and Eternal Love is Real and True, Forever and Ever; AMEN