©Mennonite Heritage Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba. (Last updated January 31, 2003)

Benjamin Ewert fonds. -- 1892-1957, predominantly 1916-1957. -- 58 cm of textual records.


Benjamin Ewert (1870-1958) was born in the area of Thorn, Prussia to Wilhelm Ewert (1829-1887) and Anna Janz. Wilhelm Ewert served as one of the Prussian Mennonite delegates who explored settlement opportunities in North America. The family immigrated to Hillsboro, Kansas in 1874 and took up farming. He graduated from Halstead Seminary in 1890. In 1892 he moved to Gretna, Manitoba where his older brother Heinrich H. Ewert was principal of the new Mennonite Collegiate Institute (MCI). In 1895 he received his teaching certificate, married Emilie A. Ruth ( -1948) of Halstead, Kansas, and was ordained into the ministry by Bishop Johann Funk of the Bergthaler Mennonite Church of Manitoba.

He served the Bergthaler church at Edenburg and taught in the village school for ten years. In 1902 he gave up his teaching position at Edenburg and moved to Gretna where he bought a bookstore and a print shop where he later printed Der Mitarbeiter for the Conference of Mennonites in Canada (CMC) which his brother Heinrich H. Ewert edited. He also taught some classes at the MCI.

In 1902 he represented the Bergthaler Church of Manitoba in negotiations with the Rosenorter Mennonite Church of Saskatchewan when they met in Rosthern, Saskatchewan to discuss the creation of CMC. The following year (1903) he was elected secretary of the first annual sessions of the CMC. He served as secretary for the years 1912 to1916 and chairman from 1941 to1943.

From 1913 to 1917 Ewert served as a member of the Mennonitische Schulkommission (school commission originally organized by the Sommerfeld Mennonite church which later became an inter-Mennonite organization). In 1917 he one of the Mennonite delegates that traveled to Ottawa to discuss conscription and military exemption with the government.

In 1919 Ewert sold the bookstore and printery and became the superintendent of the Gretna seniors home, a position he held until 1921 when he moved to Winnipeg and began serving the Canadian Conference as a itinerant minister (Reiseprediger), travelling across the western and central portions of Canada until 1938. He was also the conference statistician from 1921 to 1951.

When he retired from his extensive travelling he worked in Winnipeg at gathering together the people that formed Bethel Mennonite church. He served this congregation until 1943. During the same period he also served as a member of the executive of the Winnipeg branch of the British and Foreign Bible Society. In 1942 he was appointed as the conference archivist, a post he held until 1956.

Benjamin and Emilie Ewert had four children -- Emma, Amanda, Harold, and Wesley.



Some of the material in this collection was deposited by Benjamin Ewert in the fall of 1956 and the spring of 1957. Other documents were collected by David and Trudy Schellenberg of Winkler for the Christian Heritage Library.



This fonds consists of six categories of material. 1) World War One and World War Two Materials 2) Conference of Mennonites in Canada (CMC) Material 3) Mennonite History 4) Church Related Material 5) Mennonitische Schulkommission 6) Foreign Bible Society Records. The physical arrangement does not allow however does not follow these categories sequentially.

The World War materials record Ewert's efforts to ensure the government would grant military exemption. The materials include petitions, records of financial gifts, articles and correspondence with such leaders as Abraham Doerksen, David Toews, Jacob Hoeppner and B.B. Janz. Ewert also kept a list of Mennonite men from Conference churches who were in the military during the wars. There is also a some correspondence of Julius Toews with Prime Minster Neville Camberlain of England.

The CMC materials newspaper clippings, notes, articles by Ewert and others, and correspondence. There are files on topics such as marriage licensing; articles on the German hymnal, conference statistics, program bulletins for teachers and ministers, the Canadian Mennonite, Canadian Mennonite Bible College (CMBC) conferences, new Mennonite immigrants to Canada and notes on annual conference session notes.

The Mennonite History materials include numerous newspaper clippings from Die Steinbach Post, Die Mennonitische Rundschau, The Winnipeg Free Press, Carillon News, and Der Nordwester regarding Mennonites in Canada, Paraguay, Mexico, and Brazil. There are also files dealing with the publication of Wohin? Woher? Mennoniten, and articles written by Ewert and others dealing with Mennonite history.

The church related material consists of things that Ewert collected through his work in specific congregations, namely the congregations at Edenburg and Bethel Mennonite Church in Winnipeg. Items such as a minister's manual, German New Testament, sermons, and newspaper clippings can be found in this section.

The Mennonitische Schulkommission materials consist of the records of an organizaiton that met with politian Valentine Winkler about the governments interference in the operation of Mennonite schools. There is also a 1892 attendance record for the Edenburg school where Ewert taught.

The Foreign Bible Society records include materials which Ewert collected while involved with this organization from 1952 to 1955.

The documents from the Christian Heritage Library contain some hand-written notes and a small booklet, "Geburtstags-Wunsche", printed in 1912.


Mostly in German with half in gothic script. Roughly a quarter is in English.

Described by Conrad Stoesz August 12, 1999. Updated by Sharon H.H. Brown, December, 2002.

Finding Aid: Inventory file list

Accession nos. pre-1974; 97-150

Location: Volumes 542-545; 1018; 2849; 2106-3

Related Material:

Bergthaler Mennonite Church of Manitoba fonds.

Mennonite Collegiate Institute (MCI) fonds.

Heinrich H. Ewert fonds, Volume 969, File 7, letters from H.H. to brother.

Ewert was a person who was involved in many areas of life and wrote many letters, therefore, throughout many collections there is correspondence with Ewert.