||2 May 1785
||Hammer Creek, Warwick Twp., Lancaster Co., Pennsylvania [2, 6, 7, 8, 9]
||Waterloo Township - German Company Tract Lot 002, Waterloo County, Ontario 
||Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario 
|Mennonite minister |
||Waterloo Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario 
||28 Jun 1853
||Waterloo Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario [2, 7, 8, 13, 14]
||22 Oct 1853
||Waterloo Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario 
|Hall of Fame - Waterloo Region
||, Waterloo Region, Ontario 
|Eby ID Number
||First Mennonite Cemetery, Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario 
||15 Mar 2017 |
||Christian Eby, b. 22 Feb 1734, Near Lititz, Lancaster Co., Pennsylvania , d. 14 Sep 1807 |
||Catharine Bricker, b. 1743, Of, Hammer Creek, Warwick Twp., Lancaster Co., Pennsylvania , d. Yes, date unknown |
||Mary Brubacher, b. 6 Aug 1789, Elizabeth Twp., Lancaster Co., Pennsylvania , d. 18 Aug 1834, Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario |
||7 Feb 1807 [2, 5, 7, 16]
| ||1. Isaac Eby, Sr., b. 30 Jul 1808, Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario , d. 20 May 1874|
| ||2. Elias Eby, b. 22 Feb 1810, Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario , d. 2 Jun 1878, Bridgeport (Kitchener), Waterloo Region, Ontario |
| ||3. Susannah Eby, b. 8 Feb 1812, Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario , d. 23 Sep 1819|
| ||4. Catharine Eby, b. 25 Jul 1814, Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario , d. 30 Mar 1867, Waterloo Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario |
| ||5. Maria Eby, b. 14 Mar 1816, Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario , d. 21 Jun 1861, , Waterloo Region, Ontario |
| ||6. Benjamin E. Eby, b. 10 Feb 1818, Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario , d. 9 Jul 1872, Near Centreville, Waterloo Region, Ontario |
| ||7. Heinrich "Henry" Eby, b. 25 Jan 1820, Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario , d. 11 Mar 1855, Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario |
| ||8. Rev. Christian Eby, b. 19 Jun 1821, Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario , d. 5 Nov 1859, Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario |
| ||9. Abraham Eby, b. 21 Nov 1823, Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario , d. 21 Aug 1885, Bridgeport (Kitchener), Waterloo Region, Ontario |
| ||10. Jacob B. Eby, b. 24 Mar 1826, Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario , d. 21 Dec 1882, Waterloo City, Waterloo Region, Ontario |
| ||11. Peter Eby, b. 28 Feb 1828, Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario , d. 15 Aug 1894, Buffalo, Erie, New York |
||Magdalena Erb, b. 3 Mar 1780, Warwick Twp., Lancaster Co., Pennsylvania , d. 25 Jul 1858 |
||Aft 6 Sep 1830 [4, 17, 18]
- 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"1a
1aThe Biographical History of Waterloo Township, by Ezra Eby
Eby, Benjamin (1785-1853)
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 Twp., Lancaster Co., PA, May 2, 1785. On Feb. 25, 1807 he married Mary Brubacher. That spring he and his wife immigrated to Waterloo Co., 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 contemporaries 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 Dänemark (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."2a
2aCressman, J. Boyd. "Eby, Benjamin." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 13 Nov 2005
Breslau (Cressman) Mennonite Church
Services were begun in Breslau in 1815. In 1834, Benjamin Eby's log meeting house, which had been built in Berlin in 1813, was moved to Breslau to the Cressman farm. Preaching services which were held every four weeks began in the reconstructed meeting house in 1837. A new brick church was built in 1856, at which time the old log meeting house was moved to Frederick Schaefer's brickyard. The old building may have been used for storage or an office until approximately 1880 when it was clad with white "Breslau Brick" from the brickyard, and used as a home by Frederick Schaefer and his family. The address of the house is reported to have been 18 Woolwich Street; it was still standing in 1985, according to Alder 1985, with the original log walls possibly preserved within the brick ones.
A summer Sunday School was begun in June of 1872. It was held in the Breslau schoolhouse until 1877 when it was moved to the church. Sunday School continued on in the summers only until 1889 when Sunday School classes began to be held all year.
The 1856 white brick church was taken down in March 1908, and was replaced with a new white brick church. In 1968 the name of the church was changed from Cressman Mennonite Church to Breslau Mennonite Church. Major renovations were made to the church in the same year. It is of interest to know that land amounting to approximately three acres was deeded to the congregation by Christian C. Snyder in three parcels, in 1837, 1859, and 1870.
Joseph Hagey, the first minister at Cressman's, was ordained on February 10, 1839. He was ordained bishop in 1851. Ministers who followed him in serving the church at Breslau were Jacob Woolner Sr., Elias Weber, Isaac A. Wambold, Jacob S. Woolner, and Oscar Burkholder. Services were held every four weeks from 1837-1867, and bi-weekly from 1867-1894 when weekly services were begun..3a
3aWaterloo County Churches A Research Guide To Churches Established Before 1900 By Rosemary Ambrose
Wanner Mennonite Church
A small wooden meeting house was built in 1829 on a corner of the farm belonging to Samuel Bechtel which was located in the vicinity of the present-day regional headquarters of the Ministry of Natural Resources near the intersection of Highways 24 and 401. The site for this community meeting house, as well as a school and a burial ground, had been chosen on August 8, 1829. The land was donated by Samuel Bechtel and his wife Barbara (Baumann) on March 15, 1830. A new meeting house, of white brick, was built in 1837 on the east side of Henry Wanner's farm, somewhat north of the first meeting house. Meetings at first were held every eight weeks. The deed of land for the meeting house known as Wanner's was dated October 15, 1837. Early preachers were David Sherk, who had been ordained by Benjamin Eby in July 1837, Jacob Bretz, Jr., and Joseph Hagey.
Joseph Hagey was ordained bishop in 1851. During his time divisions occurred in the church by a surge of enthusiasm for a Methodist form of revivalism. Solomon Eby of Port Elgin, who announced his own conversion in December 1869, was leader of a group which believed that members could be converted through participation in revival meetings. John Baer of Wanner's became associated with Solomon Eby, and was compelled to leave the church in the spring of 1874, as were Eby and his other followers. The new church movement resulted in organization conferences which culminated in the conference on March 23, 1875 at Bloomingdale where New Mennonites and Reforming (or Reformed) Mennonites joined together as United Mennonites. The United Mennonites favored revival meetings, Sunday Schools and prayer meetings, and were opposed to the use of alcohol and tobacco.
The date of construction of the meeting house which replaced the one built in 1837 is somewhat in doubt. It is possible that a new building was erected in the early 1870s; it is also possible that the 1837 building only underwent extensive renovations at that time. There is no doubt, however, that a new brown brick church was built in 1938. An education wing was added in 1969.
The earliest Mennonite Sunday School in North America was begun in 1842 and was held jointly by the Wanner and Hagey Meeting Houses. It was discontinued after a short time because of a division of opinion within the congregations. An attempt was made later, in the mid-1860s, to begin another Sunday School, but this, too, did not last long. Many years later, on June 10, 1896, a meeting was held to organize a Sunday School. Anson Groh was appointed superintendent..4a
4aWaterloo County Churches A Research Guide To Churches Established Before 1900 By Rosemary Ambrose
First Mennonite Church
The first church built in Waterloo County was erected in Berlin in 1813, and was known as Benjamin Eby's Meeting House.
Benjamin Eby had come to Canada in 1807 and in 1809 was ordained preacher. Three years later, in 1812, he was ordained bishop. His "parish included sections of Waterloo, Wilmot and Woolwich" (Uttley 1937:27). In 1818 a frame addition, which was to be used as a winter school, was built on to the church. The log meeting house was replaced in 1834 by a larger frame church, and the old building was taken to Breslau to become the first meeting house in that community. (The Breslau church was known as Cressman Meeting House, a name which was changed in 1968 to Breslau Mennonite Church.) A Sunday School was opened in the church in 1841.
Benjamin Eby died in 1853. He was followed by Abraham C. Weber who served the congregation until his death in 1874. In that same year, a division in the church brought about the departure of a group who organized a congregation of Reforming (or Reformed) Mennonites, to become United Mennonites in 1875 and then Mennonite Brethren in Christ in 1883. Their church is the present-day Bethany Missionary Church on Lancaster Street East. Christian Eby was the next minister of the Berlin Mennonite Church, until 1879. The church was known over the years as Benjamin Eby's Church, Christian Eby's Church (from 1854-1904), and the Berlin Church (from 1904 until 1917.) The name of the church became First Mennonite Church in 1917.
A new brick church was built in 1902. A Bible Study School was begun in 1907, and in 1928 a separate brick Bible Study School building was erected. Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church was formed by some members in 1924 as a result of a division in the church.
Of interest: when the new church was built in 1902, the 1834 frame church was bought by D.B. Betzner who moved it to Cedar Street where it became a woodenware business and then a furniture factory. It was destroyed by fire in 1937.5a
5aWaterloo County Churches A Research Guide To Churches Established Before 1900 By Rosemary Ambrose
EBY, BENJAMIN, farmer, Mennonite minister, bishop, educator, and author; b. 2 May 1785 at a homestead on Hammer Creek, Lancaster County, Pa, son of Christian Eby and Catharine Bricker; m. first 25 Feb. 1807 Mary Brubacher (d. 1834), and they had eight sons and three daughters; m. secondly Magdalena Erb, widow of Abraham Erb*; they had no children; d. 28 June 1853 in Berlin (Kitchener), Upper Canada.
Benjamin Eby, the sixth son and eleventh child of German-speaking Mennonites, "received a fair common school education" while working on the farm and in his father's cooperage. He was among the minority of Mennonites in Pennsylvania who were unhappy at the prospect of remaining under American rule in the aftermath of the revolutionary war, and in 1806 visited Upper Canada to inspect the land in Waterloo Township that fellow Mennonites Daniel Erb and Samuel Bricker had purchased from Richard Beasley* on behalf of the German Company. After claiming lot 2 of the Beasley Tract he went back to Pennsylvania to marry and then, in the company of other settlers, returned to Upper Canada, reaching his homestead on 21 June 1807. The role he played as a founder and leading citizen of the community was reflected in its being named Ebytown, or Ben Eby's, in his honour.
Although farming was always to be the chief source of Eby's livelihood, soon after his return to the province he became involved in the affairs of the pioneer settlement. After being ordained first as minister (27 Nov. 1809) and then as bishop (11 Oct. 1812) at ceremonies presided over by his brother Peter, a bishop from Pennsylvania, he was instrumental in erecting in 1813 the village's first meeting-house for religious worship, and two years later a frame annex to serve as a schoolhouse. Ben Eby's Church, as it was known during the bishop's lifetime, began with a membership of some 150. As the years went by he donated some of his own land to expand the church's holdings, including its first cemetery. As bishop he left his mark not only on the town but on the whole county, where all Mennonite congregations were under his supervision. He was a leader of the church conferences which emerged in the province during his lifetime. When the Niagara and Markham districts were without bishops he presided over the election of new ones and officiated at their ordinations. A family tradition that Benjamin's parents had decided he should become a teacher seems to have been fulfilled in the winter of 1818-19 when he began a teaching career that, with some interruptions, was to last until the early 1840s.
Eby made a major contribution to the Mennonite church and to the preservation of German-language education in the province through a number of published works. In 1836, in an effort to enrich the church's worship and congregational life in general while respecting the various traditions of its adherents, he compiled a hymn-book called Die Gemeinschaftliche Liedersammlung. Reprinted several times in both Canada and the United States, it was in use until the end of the century. His first original work was a primer, Neues Buchstabir- und Lesebuch, published in 1839. Other works of a religious and educational nature followed, including his most important book, Kurzgefasste Kirchen Geschichte (1841), a study of the Mennonite church's history and doctrine.
Apart from his roles as family man and farmer, and as preacher and teacher, Eby was a promoter of the general good. He was frequently called on to offer his counsel and he occasionally adjudicated community disputes. Business involvements included the donation of some of his own land to two men in need of a property on which to establish a furniture factory, generous support of the printer Heinrich Wilhelm Peterson, and the sale of land in 1833 to Friedrich Gaukel for an inn. That sale was among the first on record to refer to the town as Berlin, a change of name traditionally attributed to the bishop.
Eby also found time to look beyond his community by corresponding with church leaders in Europe, as well as in America, and thereby establishing and cultivating international connections. His biggest contribution, however, was in his own community where he raised a large family (his son Christian succeeded him as minister), promoted a diversified economy, established a broadly based religious worship, introduced elementary school education, and inaugurated a literary tradition which served many generations.
Frank H. Epp
[Benjamin Eby's work as educator and clergyman is reflected in his publications. He wrote Neues Buchstabir- und Lesebuch . . . (1st ed., Berlin [Kitchener, Ont.], 1839); a speller entitled Fibel zu den ersten Lese-Uebungen (Berlin, [1839?]), a second edition of which was published there in 1843; Kurzgefasste Kirchen Geschichte und Glaubenslehre der Taufgesinnten-Christen oder Mennonisten (Berlin, 1841); and a second primer, ABC- Buchstabir- und Lesebuch, zum Gebrauch fuer Deutsche Schulen in Canada (2nd ed., Berlin, 1842). In addition to compiling Die Gemeinschaftliche Liedersammlung . . . (1st ed., Berlin, 1836), he published an edition of a popular German Mennonite catechism, [Gerhard Roosen], Christliches Gemüths Gespräch . . . (Berlin, 1839). He subsequently arranged for the first English edition of this work, which was published under the title Christian spiritual conversation on saving faith . . . (Lancaster, Pa., 1857), and may even have been the translator. His correspondence with churchmen abroad resulted in the publication of some of their letters to him in Briefe an die Mennonisten Gemeine, in Ober Canada, mit einer Zugabe (Berlin, 1840) and Zweyter Brief aus Dänemark an die Mennonisten Gemeine in Canada (Berlin, 1841). f.h.e.]
AO, RG 22, ser.211, Benjamin Eby. Guelph Advertiser (Guelph, [Ont.]), 7 July 1853. E. E. Eby and J. B. Snyder, A biographical history of early settlers and their descendants in Waterloo Township, with Supplement, ed. E. D. Weber (Kitchener, 1971). The Mennonite encyclopedia: a comprehensive reference work on the Anabaptist-Mennonite movement (4v., Hillsboro, Kans., 1955-59). F. H. Epp, Mennonites in Canada, 1786-1920: the history of a separate people (Toronto, 1974). J. B. Cressman, "Bishop Benjamin Eby," Waterloo Hist. Soc., Annual report, 1941: 152-58; "History of the First Mennonite Church of Kitchener, Ontario," Mennonite Quarterly Rev. (Goshen, Ind.), 13 (1939): 159-86. Daily Telegraph (Berlin), 19 May 1906: 1-2. M. [L]. Gingerich, "Mennonite leaders of North America: Benjamin Eby (1785-1853)," Gospel Herald (Scottsdale, Pa.), 58 (1965): 178. I. D. Landis, "Bishop Peter Eby of Pequea, 1765-1843," Mennonite Quarterly Rev., 14 (1940): 41-51.6a
6aDictionary of Canadian Biography Online 2000 University of Toronto/Université Laval
As has been seen, Benjamin Eby bought Cot 2, G.C.T., and came to Upper Canada in 1807. Before leaving Pennsylvania, he and Marie Brubacher were united in marriage. A good word is due the wives of the pioneers. Stanch as maples, they left comfortable homes in Pennsylvania, faced the difficile trail. and in a wooded wilderness bore the hardships of life without a murmur.
Benjamin Eby was of the leader type. Although just of age. he took thought of the settlers spiritual welfare. The pioneers at first worshipped God in their home. He had them gather together at a particular clearing, one Sunday here and the next there, until all had been visited. He was appointed preacher in 1809. Besides promoting the building of a church, he interested himself in prim-ary education.(1)
His log house stood west of the Mennonite Church. In 1814 he sold Samuel Eschelman 56 acres adjoining the church lands. So far as known he was the first settler to sell incoming townsmen plots of land. He sold his son-in-law, David Weber, 219 acres at the upper part of his big lot. His son Elias became the owner of the remaining part on the north side of King Street. The son sold his holding to John Brubacher and Menno Erb who in turn sold his land to William Moyer and Moses Betzner. As the history un-folds other activities of Ben Eby will come to light.
In 1834 a circus employee carried the Asiatic cholera to Galt. Nearly one-fifth of the inhabitants died of the scourge. Many persons from Waterloo Township attended the performance and numerous individuals, catching the disease from one another, died also, including Mrs. Ben Eby.
The Rev. Eby carried on his spiritual labors until his own death in 1853. He had then been the servant of the Mennonite Society for forty-four years.7a
7aA History of Kitchener, W. V. (Ben) Uttley, Kitchener, Ontario 1937
Kinagaghig Creek (1806) [Canagagigue]
How the creek in Woolwich Township got its name...
This creek was so named by George and Benjamin Eby after Conococheague creek, a little creek which drains Franklin county, Pennsylvania, and flows through Washington county, Maryland, to the Potomac [the area where from many Pennsylvania-Germans travelled by foot and Conestoga wagons.] One historian says the name Conococheague is from the Delaware Indian language and signifies "long indeed, very long indeed," while another says the original word also refers to the winding course of the stream. Eby spelled the name as Kinacachic; another as Canagaguige and others as Kanakijige, Cinacaghic. On an early map of Woolwich Township in Belden's Atlas, it appears as Kinacaghig. There are many more early spellings, as one can imagine!8a
8aThe Fifteenth Annual Report of the Waterloo Historical Society 1927 ,pg 375.
A-1-17 Benjamin Eby: The Last Will and Testament of Benjamin Eby, of the Township of Waterloo, Minister
…I Benjamin Eby, of the Township of Waterloo, Minister, do make and constitute these presents, dated the second day of April 1853, my Last Will and Testament….
(1) I hereby desire and empower my hereinafter name Executors, to collect, ask, demand, draw and receive all and singular my outstanding debts, dues, accounts, notes, bonds, obligations and charges whatever of right belonging to me, in due time or times, and this also to pay and discharge my own debts and charges, lawfully brought against me and my estate, and I specially desire, order and direct them to pay and discharge to my beloved widow Magdalena, a born Erb, and afterward widow of the late Abraham Erb, deceased, that sum, of money which I do owe her, in accordance with my Bond to her, dated the thirtieth of March 1855, viz: two hundred pounds
(2) This my said beloved widow Magdalena is further to have for and in place and stead of her widow third and dowry, as long as she shall and may live, all and singular the articles, goods, chattels, rights, privileges and benefits, which are mentioned and She also is to have all and singular the articles, goods, chattels, rights, privileges and benefits, which are mentioned and secured to her, in and by a certain articles of agreements between myself and my son Christian Eby, who holds our place, bearing date the third day of February A.D. 1848 and I hereby desire and enjoin my Executors, and each and either of them, to see and care that such articles be duly fulfilled. As her own property for ever, and left to her own final disposal, she is to have and use all and singuler the goods and chattels mentioned and put on the last page of my common housebook or account book. She is further to have for her own proper use and benefit during her her[?] life time all the notes, bonds and obligations, drawn in favor and name of herself, but after her demise, all that is left of such notes, bonds and obligations, in principal and interest is to fall back upon my own Estate, to be dealt with by my Executors as my own property left by myself in accordance hereinafter [rocided.[?]
(3) My son, Christian Eby is to have the farm, on which both of us do now live and dwell, it being lot number two of the German Company Tract of Waterloo Township, at the price and charge of seven hundred and fifty pounds… he is to pay to my executors - fifty pounds to be paid to the Executors one year after the day of demise of the last surviving part of myself and my wife, and thence the remainder in annual installments of fifty pounds each, until the whole be paid…
(4) All my own personal property and estates, except that belonging to my widow as herein before, provided, shall be sold by my Executors, amongst my children to the highest bidders, and the proceeds thereof be added to the general stock, consisting of the proceeds of my outstanding debts, notes, obligations and other dues. When debts, notes, obligations and other dues and such stock of proceeds of notes and other dues shall, as they shall and will be and become available from year to year, and be collected, and thus from year to year be divided and portioned and paid over by my Executors in equal shares and portions to my sons Isaac Eby, Elias Eby, Benjamin E. Eby, Henry Eby, Christian Eby, Abraham Eby, Jacob Eby and Peter Eby and my son-in-law David Weber, and their respective representatives. My son-in-law and my daughter William and Maria Bamberger shall share in the same dividends, but they, or the surviving part of them shall in the whole receive not more than fifty pounds.
(5) Concerning my son Abraham Eby, I do however direct and ordain and give it entirely over into the power and decision of my hereinafter mentioned Executors, as they shall and may deem it proper and will for him, either to pay over to him any, or either, or all such dividends, or put them, or any, or either of them, out in good and sure use for said Abraham Eby's children, to be paid to them as hereinafter mentioned. Concerning the landed property now in his possession, (but the right and title being in my own hands) the same consisting of four acres of a party of lot number fifty nine if the German Company Tract in the Township of Waterloo, aforesaid, situated in Lancaster, and as more particularly described in the Deed of Conveyance thereof from Elias Eby and wife to myself, he, my said son, Abraham and his wife and family are to have, retain and enjoy full and free possession, use and benefit there of during the whole lifetimes of both himself and his wife, but after the demise of both of them, and as soon thereafter as it conveniently can and may be, the same shall be sold, by my Executors, and the proceeds thereof, and also the aforesaid dividends, coming to Abraham Eby, or his children, be divided in equal shares amongst them - when the sons reach twenty-one year and the daughters, eighteen years. Should Abraham Eby die before his wife, and she marries again, then she is to draw her regular widow third, computed according to circumstances, and the property be sold and divided amongst his children.
(6) Concerning my daughter Maria Eby, now married to William Bamberger, I do ordain, that they shall continue to have and enjoy free, full and undisturbed possession, use and benefit of the property they now occupy, during the whole lifetime of both and either of them, but after the demise of both of them, and as soon thereafter as it conveniently can and may be, it shall be sold by my Executors, and the proceeds to be divided in equal shares between all my other children or their representatives, my son Abraham's share, however, as just before directed, such property consisting of a part of lot number nine of the German Company Tract of Waterloo, on the Waterloo and Arthur Road, and containing twenty four acres, two rods and eight perches. In case my said daughter Maria doth outlive her said husband, I hereby direct and enjoin my Executors, and also empower them to rent away such property for her benefit and use, and otherwise take proper interest and care in her well being; In case she then intermarry again, and have still no children, then after her demise the said property is still to revert upon my estate again and be divided as above directed….But if she then, or yet from her present husband, shall have issue out of her own body, then such her child or children shall have, drawn and receive the proceeds of said property, to be equally divided amongst them.
(7) I hereby nominate and appoint my beloved son Christian Eby and my trusty friend Joseph E. Schneider, both of the Township of Waterloo, Yeomen, my Executors.
Witnessed: Thomas Sparrow and Christian Schantz
Will dated: 2 April 1853
Received and insinuated 22 Oct 1853
Died 28 June 18539a
9aWills of Waterloo County Register A 1853-1871, transcribed by Frances Hoffman
- [S3] Book - Vol I A Biographical History of Waterloo Township and other townships of the county : being a history of the early settlers and their descendants, mostly all of Pennsylvania Dutch origin..., 548.
- [S3] Book - Vol I A Biographical History of Waterloo Township and other townships of the county : being a history of the early settlers and their descendants, mostly all of Pennsylvania Dutch origin..., 344.
- [S10] Book - Vol II A Biographical History of Waterloo Township and other townships of the county : being a history of the early settlers and their descendants, mostly all of Pennsylvania Dutch origin..., 594.
- [S3] Book - Vol I A Biographical History of Waterloo Township and other townships of the county : being a history of the early settlers and their descendants, mostly all of Pennsylvania Dutch origin..., 630.
- [S3] Book - Vol I A Biographical History of Waterloo Township and other townships of the county : being a history of the early settlers and their descendants, mostly all of Pennsylvania Dutch origin..., 616.
- [S3] Book - Vol I A Biographical History of Waterloo Township and other townships of the county : being a history of the early settlers and their descendants, mostly all of Pennsylvania Dutch origin..., 549.
- [S16] Bible - Genealogical Information in the Bibles of the Waterloo Historical Society, Eby Bible owned originally by Menno Eby Jr. Berlin, 15 Mar 1885.
- [S47] Cemetery - ON, Waterloo, Kitchener - First Mennonite CC#4507 Internet link First Mennonite Cemetery online.
(eroded) In memory of / Benjamin Eby / born May 2, 1785 / Warwick Township, Lancaster County, Pa. / died 28 June 1853 / aged 68 years / 1 month & 26 days / zum Andenken an / Benjamin Eby / geboren 2 may 1785 / Warwick / Township, Lancaster County Pa. / starb den 28 den Juny (sic) 1853 im alter / von 68 Jahre 1 Monat und 26 Tage
- [S131] Census - ON, Waterloo, Waterloo Twp. - 1851, Div 4 Pg 19.
Benjamin EBY Minster Birthplace: USA Age 67 Mennonite
Magdalena EBY Birthplace: USA Age 72 Mennonite
Maria BENNER Birthplace: Canada Age 21 Mennonite
- [S1322] Land - Founding Families of Waterloo Township 1800-1830, 22..
- [S2070] Directory - Ontario Directory for 1851.
- [S131] Census - ON, Waterloo, Waterloo Twp. - 1851, Div 4 Pg 19.
- [S3] Book - Vol I A Biographical History of Waterloo Township and other townships of the county : being a history of the early settlers and their descendants, mostly all of Pennsylvania Dutch origin..., 554.
- [S1737] Probate - Wills of Waterloo Register A 1853-1871, Will of Benjamin Eby - A-1-17: 22 Oct 1853.
- [S220] Waterloo Region Hall of Fame Waterloo Region Hall of Fame.
- [S3] Book - Vol I A Biographical History of Waterloo Township and other townships of the county : being a history of the early settlers and their descendants, mostly all of Pennsylvania Dutch origin..., 550.
- [S3] Book - Vol I A Biographical History of Waterloo Township and other townships of the county : being a history of the early settlers and their descendants, mostly all of Pennsylvania Dutch origin..., 629-630.
- [S3] Book - Vol I A Biographical History of Waterloo Township and other townships of the county : being a history of the early settlers and their descendants, mostly all of Pennsylvania Dutch origin..., 553.
|Land - Bef 1831 - Waterloo Township - German Company Tract Lot 002, Waterloo County, Ontario
|Occupation - Mennonite minister - 1851 - Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario
|Occupation - minister - 1852 - Waterloo Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario
|Died - 28 Jun 1853 - Waterloo Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario
|Probate - 22 Oct 1853 - Waterloo Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario
|Hall of Fame - Waterloo Region - Bef 2012 - , Waterloo Region, Ontario
|Buried - - First Mennonite Cemetery, Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario