Johann Wall (1850-1909) was born in Neuendorf, Chortitza Colony, South Russia to Jacob Wall (1807-1860) and Helena (Neufeld) Wall (1817-1903 ). His first wife was Judith Dueck (1807-1842). Johann received his education in the village school in Neuendorf 1856-1864. Around the year 1870 he entered into an apprenticeship at the Niebuhr mill.
Around the year 1876, Johann's sister, Mrs. Katharina Peters wrote Johann from Manitoba encouraging him to Manitoba to establish a mill in the Mennonite West Reserve. In May of 1877 Johann left Russia with his brother-in-law's family. Upon reaching Manitoba, hr began looking for the materials and money needed to build the steam-powered mill. The local church fully supported him in this venture. He also took a trip to Berlin, Ontario (later known as Kitchener) and met with Jacob Y. Schantz who also gave him support. By September Johann Wall and his brother-in-law Peter Peters were operating the mill.
On 1879 Johann Wall married Aganetha Froese who was born February 12, 1854. In 1879 a sawmill was acquired. It was designed to run off the power generated by the mill. In 1879 the partnership between Wall and Peters was dissolved. The saw and grist mills were very successful. By 1895 Wall had acquired 400 acres of land, a portion of which he farmed near Blumenort. He sold the land at Blumenort in 1895 and bought land west of Gnadenthal. In 1898 he moved the mill to his new residence a and converted it to a wind mill used primarily for grinding feed. He continued to buy land-first in the Hague-Osler area and then 960 acres in Swift Current area of Saskatchewan. Johann Wall died a wealthy man in 1909 at the age of 59. His wife died in 1927.
SCOPE AND CONTENT
This collection contains five series: 1) Penmanship and school work 2) Business and financial records 3) Material copied by Johann Wall 4) Jacob Wall diary 5) Helena Wall financial records. The records document Mennonite life in Russia through a diary, school note books and copied reports and speeches of early Mennonite and Hutterite leaders such as Heinrich Donner and Johann Wiebe. The material also adds to our knowledge of early Mennonite life on the West Reserve in Manitoba through financial records, school material and legal documents such as land, mortgage and income tax documents. Of special interest are portions of a blue print for the mill that Johann Wall built and operated in Blumenort, Manitoba.
The documents in this collection have passed through various hands before they were deposited here at the Mennonite Heritage Centre Archives. The oldest two documents were created by Johann Wall's father Jacob. We assume that after he died Johann inherited them and brought them to Canada. When Johann died in 1909 his son Johann J. Wall became the executor of the estate. He died suddenly in 1932. The family then pushed to begin the liquidation of the estate. Given the extend of the properties and the economic conditions of the 1930s, this was not an easy job. The family persuaded local politician, Wallace Conrad Miller to become the new executor. Miller died in 1959 when the estate was almost all settled. Then a relative and deacon in the church, Jacob Rempel was selected to finish the work. Rempel discovered and rescued the Johann Wall collection and transferred it in the archives in three separate deposits. The first item pertained to the Hutterites and was received in March or April of 1975. The second donation was school-related material and was received in March of 1976. Most of the materials were deposited on February 1, 1978 which included financial ledgers, the Jacob Wall diary from Russia, machinery brochures, a diary of trip to Canada, milling records and one photograph. Some further legal documents were donated in 1996 by John R. Peters of Winnipeg. In 2001 Edward Enns, Heritage Centre volunteer completed a translation of the Jacob Wall diary.
Arranged and described by Conrad Stoesz August 18, 1999, updated March 31, 2000, June 6, 2005, January 15, 2007.
Most of the material in Gothic German script
Accession nos. 75-3, 76-1, 78-16, 86-268, 96-060, 01-028, 05-034.
Finding aid consists of a series description and a file list.
Location: Volume 642, 1086, 1706
Penmanship and school work. - 1859, 1861-1864, 1880-1884, 1891-1896, 1900, 1902, 1903, 1905, 1907. -- 7 cm of textual records.
This series contains material produced by Johann Wall, Aganetha Wall (Johann's sister?), and their children Helena and Johann Wall Jr. The material includes penmanship exercises, Christmas and New Years wishes for the parents, math calculations and hymns.
The material is all in German, mostly in gothic script.
Location: Volume 642:1-4,6,7-8.
Business and financial records. -- 1877-1910, 1911-1913, 1915, 1917-1920, 1923. - 9 cm of textual records.
This series contains material primarily relating to Johann Wall's milling business and legal documents tracing land transactions, mortgages and income taxes . Included are parts of the blue prints of the mill, records of what was milled for whom and when. There are pamphlets on agricultural products pamphlets. There is a garden plan as well as Wall's Naturalization certificate. Inside some of the ledgers are small pieces of correspondence that relate to the ledger itself and therefore have remained in the ledger.
Location: Volume 1086:2,3; 1706:3-35.
Material copied/written by Johann Wall. - [186-], [1874?], 1877, 1882, 1883. -- 3 cm of textual records and 1 picture.
This series contains material Wall copied or collected from various sources, and a travel diary he wrote during his trip from Russia to Canada. Some of the material he collected or copied are a report by Heinrich Donner regarding Hutterites, farewell sermon by Aeltester Johann Wiebe and an address by Aeltester Johann Epp. Also included in this series is a picture of Johann Wall.
Location: Volume 1706:8-10,37.
Correspondence. - 1885, 1909, 1917, 1932, 1972. - 1 folder of textual records.
This series contains a small amount of scattered correspondence to Johann Wall and his daughter Helena. This series also includes a funeral notice written in 1909 announcing Johann Wall's death.
Jacob Wall diary. - 1824-1866. - 2 cm of textual records.
This item is a diary begun by Johann Wall's father Jacob Wall of the Chortitza Colony in South Russia. It is a very unique item as very few diaries from this time period in Russia are available today. The diary begins with one entry a year and then slowly increases to over ten pages per year. Johann inherited the diary and brought it to Canada. Edward Enns of Winnipeg translated the manuscript and Glenn Penner published in Mennonite Family History April 1997 a listing of Chortitza Colony marriages found in the diary.
Location: 1086:5, 5a, 7; 1706:11
Finding aid: Name index created by Glenn Plenner in MHC Vertical File.
Helena Wall financial records. - 1903-1915, 1917, 1918, 1920, 1923, 1924, 1927, 1928, 1930, 1932-1934, 1936, 1947. - 1 cm of textual records.
This series consists of financial papers, a birth certificate and a pocket book collected by Helena Wall (b. 1884), daughter of Johann Wall.
Location: 642:5; 1706:1-2.
INVENTORY FILE LIST: