Isaac Eby: Birth: 1808. Death: 1874
Elias Eby: Birth: 1810. Death: 1878
Susannah Eby: Birth: 1812.
Catherine Eby: Birth: 1814. Death: 1867
Benjamin Eby: Birth: 1818. Death: 1872
Christian Eby: Birth: 1821.
Abraham Eby: Birth: 1823. Death: 1885
Peter Eby: Birth: 1828. Death: 1891
Note: Benjamin Eby (2 May 1785-28 June 1853) was a pioneer Mennonite bishop of the Mennonite Church (MC) serving in Ontario. The eleventh child of Christian Eby and his wife Catharine Bricker, Benjamin was born in the old homestead on Hammer Creek, Warwick Township, Lancaster County, PA, May 2, 1785. On Feb. 25, 1807 he married Mary Brubacher. That spring he and his wife immigrated to Waterloo County, ON, arriving at what was later Berlin (now Kitchener) on June 21. He was ordained as minister (MC) on 27 November 1809 and as bishop on 11 October 1812. In 1813 his dream of having a meetinghouse was realized with the erection of a log structure of modest dimensions, the first building erected solely for religious worship in Waterloo County. The congregation had not fewer than 150 members. Possibly as early as 1815 Benjamin Eby built a frame annex to the log church, with a movable partition between it and the main building. This annex served as a schoolhouse of which he was for many years the teacher. At the same time he carried on his farming. His farm was lot 2 of the Beasley Tract, comprising a large part of the East Ward of the modern city of Kitchener. To Benjamin and Mary Eby were born eleven children. In August 1834, Mary died of cholera. Some time after her death Benjamin married the widow of Abraham Erb, the founder of Waterloo. On 28 June 1853, Eby died. To sketch the life of Benjamin Eby is to consider the man, his work, his interests, and his influence. As a farmer he seems to have been successful. He was at least generous with his money, as the few remaining records of his financial transactions indicate. In 1816, when the church purchased an acre of land to add to its holdings, he donated an additional three quarters of an acre. All this is now part of the property of First Mennonite Church of Kitchener. Between 1825 and 1830 two men, John Hoffman and Samuel Bowers, wanted to establish a furniture factory. Appealing in vain to various sources for land, they came finally to Bishop Eby, who readily made land available to them. This too was a gift. The third transaction was in connection with the founding, in 1835, of the first newspaper in inner Canada, the Canada Museum, by Henry W. Peterson. Benjamin Eby not only encouraged this enterprise by word but purchased two shares of stock at $40.00 each, a larger risk than anyone else, apart from Mr. Peterson, was willing or able to take. Again, in 1836, he donated $16.00 toward the building of a cemetery wall, the next highest gift being $4.00. Relatively small as those sums are today they were important in those pioneer days. Judged in relation to his times and his contemporaReis all these transactions establish Benjamin Eby as a substantial farmer in his community. Of his occupation as a preacher only a few recorded comments survive. H.W. Peterson, publisher and Lutheran lay preacher, says in his diary: "Stayed all night at Benjamin Eby's, went with him and his family to the meeting or church. He prayed and preached well. He is a good man." An anonymous writer in the Berlin Daily Telegraph for May 19, 1906, says: "His sermons were full of good sense, very intelligible, lying parallel with the understanding of attentive hearers." A tradition has it that there were invariably tears in his eyes when he entered the pulpit on a Sabbath morning. For many years, from 1818-19 to the early 1840's, he was also the community schoolmaster. In this period he wrote two spelling or reading books, Neues Buchstabir- und Lesebuch (1839) and Fibel (1843). He also wrote a work on Mennonite faith and history entitled Kurzgefasste Kirchen-geschichte und Glaubenslehre der Taufgesinnten Christen oder Mennoniten (1841). He was most likely the compiler of the Gemeinschaftliche Liedersammlung (Berlin, 1836), which was long used in Ontario. Thus he was farmer, teacher, preacher, and author. As might be expected, his interests went beyond his own community. He corresponded with European Mennonites and published some of the letters received in Briefe an die Mennonisten Gemeine in Ober Canada (1840) and Zweyter Brief aus D�nemark (1841). The physical man must be noted briefly. There was a tradition that he was frail. Aus 'em Bennie gebts ka Bauer, er muss Schulmester werre. (Bennie will never make a farmer, he must become a schoolteacher.) Yet he made two journeys to Canada on horseback through the wilderness, hewed for himself a home, prospered substantially, and was unusually active in church and community affairs. One of his coats, seen by the present writer, would indicate that he was about five feet, six inches tall, weighing possibly 150 lbs. Up to 1833 the Waterloo County settlement was known as "Ben Eby's" or "Ebytown," thus establishing Eby as the leading citizen of his community. With the arrival of increasing numbers of German non-Mennonites, the name of the settlement was changed in 1833 to Berlin. The record of his influence and activities bears eloquent testimony that he had both a keen sense of civic and denominational responsibility. In his account of Benjamin Eby's funeral, written for the July 7, 1855 issue of the Guelph Advertiser, H.S. Peterson calls him "an Israelite in whom there was no guile, and that he was sincerely pious, humble, exemplary, practical, and non-sectarian, and eminently successful in his day and generation." The anonymous friend in the Daily Telegraph (Berlin, ON, 19 May 1906) says: "He was a person of unblemished character. Naturally of a sweet and gentle disposition, friendly and obliging, always ready to serve his friends in any way that he could by his interest and authority. This he did freely and generously, not proud or haughty, but serious in giving good counsel, and greatly esteemed for his integrity by all ranks and denominations. All very much desired his company and wholesome conversations." [Cressman, J. Boyd. "Eby, Benjamin." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 22 April 2007] *** Benjamin Eby, the sixth son and eleventh member of the family of Christian Eby and his wife, Catharine Bricker, was born on the old homestead on Hammer Creek, Warwick Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, May 2nd, 1785. Benjamin spent his boyhood days on the farm and in his father's cooper-shop making barrels for the mills. He received a fair common school education, and during the winter evenings he continued his studies. He had free access to his father's books, as well as to his brother John's library. He was not very strong and it used to be the common saying among the neighbors: "Aus'em Bennie gebts ka Bauer, er muss Schulmaster werre!" -- "Bennie will never make a farmer, he must become a school-teacher." On May 21st, 1804, he was baptized in the Conestogo Mennonite Meeting House by Bishop Christian Burkholder, and on the same day he was admitted as a member of that body. In 1806 he came to Canada for the first time. On May 24th of the same year he came to what is now Berlin. Here he remained with his cousin, George Eby, who then resided on the place now known as the Jacob Y. Shantz farm. He purchased his land (the farm now possessed by Mr. Moses Betzner), had a small clearing of about two acres made during August, then made preparations for the erection of a log-house which was put up and completed during the following winter. On November 4th he, in company with others, set out for home. The mode of travelling in those days was on horse-back. On February 25th, 1807, he was married to Mary, daughter of Jacob and Susannah (Erb) Brubacher. She was born August 6th, 1789, and died of cholera August 18th, 1834. On June 21st, 1807, the following party arrived at George Eby's, Berlin, viz: Benjamin Eby and wife, Joseph Schneider and wife, David Eby, Daniel Eby, John Eckert, Frederick Vogt, Peter Erb and wife, Daniel Erb, Samuel Eby and a few others. On the 30th day of the same month he took possession of his farm. On November 27th, 1809, he was ordained as a minister in the Mennonite Church, and on October 11th, 1812, he was ordained bishop in that body. No sooner was Benjamin Eby ordained as minister than he advocated strongly the building of meeting-houses. His idea was to have houses of worship built in which to hold regular services. Private houses, he said, answered the purpose very well as long as the membership was small, but since we have had such a large increase in membership it has become necessary for us to have churches. He found strong opposition at first, but the Erbs, Schneiders, Brubachers, Ebys, and a few others, agreed with him on this point, and the result was that a log church was erected in 1813. (See cut.) In this church Bishop Eby taught school during the winter months. The first regularly organized school in this section was held in a little log house situated near "Indian" Sam Eby's residence, now known as "Jacob Fry's old place", on the south side of the road leading from the "Two Bridges" to Mill Creek, near the former residence of Jacob Y. Shantz. This building, containing but one room, was erected for a private house, but the party ordering its erection failed to make his appearance, hence it was turned into a school house and utilized as such until the church was built in 1813. The school was first opened some time in October, 1809, by Mr. John Beatty, a native of Ireland, who came to the Eby settlement, as Berlin was then called, some time during the summer of the same year. After being convinced that Mr. Beatty had a fair English education, the following parties, viz: Benjamin Eby, Joseph Schneider, George Eby, Samuel Eby ("Indian Sam"), Jacob Erb and others, engaged him as their teacher for the winter months. School was generally closed the week before Easter. Among the first pupils who attended this, the first school opened in Ebytown, we find David Erb, George Eby, Catharine E. Schneider, Jacob E. Schneider, Elizabeth E. Schneider, Nancy Eby, John Eby, Peter Eby and others. Mr Beatty was re-engaged as their teacher in the fall of 1810, and according to the statements given me by some of the old pupils, he must have taught there three or four years in succession. After the erection of the Mennonite church in 1813 the school was moved to that place, where Bishop Eby taught for many winters in succession. In 1833 it was thought advisable to erect a new church, owing to the fact that the log church was too small to accommodate the large congregations that assembled here to worship. In 1834 the large church still standing was erected. (See cut.) This church is still known as Eby's Meeting House, or "'s Eby's versammlungshaus". After the decease of Bishop Benjamin Eby's first wife he was married to Magdalena Erb, widow of old Abraham Erb, the founder of Waterloo. Bishop Eby died June 28th, 1853. To him and his first wife was born a family of eleven children. [Eby Book 1895]
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