© Mennonite Heritage Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba (Last updated October 31, 2007)

Toews, Peter A., 1877-1961

Retrieval numbers: Vol. 2121-8; 5023-6, 5267-54.

Title: Peter A. Toews fonds
Dates: 1930
Extent: 3 cm.

Historical note

Peter A. Toews, farmer, business man, educator, civil politician, and spiritual leader, was born July 23, 1877 in Chortitza Colony, South Russia. He was a twin and the oldest of three children born to his parents Abraham and Margaretha (nee Braun) Toews. He was a child from his father's second marriage and had ten half siblings from his father's first marriage. Toews received his early education in Russia and then moved with his family to Canada at the age of 15. They settled in Kleinstadt, on the Manitoba West Reserve. Toews was baptized on May 22, 1899 and married Maria Klassen that same year on July 9th. Their marriage produced nine children. In addition to farming Toews was involved in cattle-buying, farm machinery sales, municipal government, and chaired the board of the Mennonite Educational Institute. In 1925 he encouraged a provincial bill to establish a separate Mennonite school division. Although the bill was not passed, Toews became a very active leader in the Sommerfeld Mennonite Church. He was ordained to the ministry in 1930 by Aeltester Henry J. Friesen and then elected as Aeltester and ordained in 1931 by Aeltester David Dyck. Toews served as Aeltester for 20 years during which time he conducted 794 worship services, dealt with the church division which led to the formation of the Rudnerweider Mennonite Church, served as chairman on the committee which negotiated alternatives to military service and helped raise funds for the Red Cross and assistance to widows and orphans. He retired from the ministry in 1950-51 and became part of the conservative group that left the Sommerfeld Church to form the Reinland Mennonite Church in 1958. Peter A. Toews died in Altona on March 6, 1961.

Scope and content note

This fonds consists of a ledger book where Peter A. Toews recorded meetings and other events in the life of the Sommerfeld Mennonite Church from 1929-1961. A travel diary to Peace River, Alberta with transcription and there are three sermons written by Peter A. Toews 1930-1931.  He addresses the articles of faith used to answer questions put to baptismal candidates.

Index terms


Toews, Peter A., 1877-1961

Adjunct descriptive data

Finding aids

Parts of the ledger book have been translated as well as the trvael diary.


Custodial history

Peter A. Toews (1877-1961) The ledger book was handed to Lawrence Klippenstein by the estate administrators after the death of the last remaining member of the Toews family, Agnes Toews in the year 2002. One sermon was collected by David and Trudy Schellenberg for the Mennonite Heritage Library. The Toews travel diary and two sermons came with the Jake Peters Sommerfeld Mennonite Church research files in 2007.


Hand-written Gothic German and some typed Latin script German.


Described by Sharon H. H. Brown December, 2002, updated by Conrad Stoesz August 29, 2007.

Restrictions on access


Other notes

Acc. no. 97-150; 2002-072, 2007-061