Fonds PP - David Stoesz family fonds

Identity area

Reference code



David Stoesz family fonds


  • 1857-1955 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

69 cm of textual records

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

This Stoesz family in Canada traces back to three brothers that immigrated from Russia in 1874, settling in Manitoba. (There also were female siblings that moved to Manitoba, and a fourth brother that settled in Mountian Lake, Minnesota. A brother Peter remained in Russia.) Their parents were Jacob Stoesz (1779-1859) and Barbara Wiens (1803-1878).

Jacob Stoesz (1834-1892) was the Brandaeltester (fire chief). Cornelius Stoesz (1836-1900) was elected a minister in 1864. David Stoesz (1842-1903), was elected a minister in 1869. The Stoesz family came from the Mennonite Bergthal Colony in Russia and settled in a village in Manitoba that was called Bergthal. Because their church leader lived in the village of Chortitz, their church in Manitoba was called the Choritizer Mennonite Church of Manitoba.

David Stoesz (1842-1903), the youngest brother, was elected to serve as assistant bishop of the Chortitzer Mennonite Church in 1879. In 1882 he succeeded Gerhard Wiebe as bishop. Bishop David Stoesz served the church with communion, baptisms and ordinations in various communities including Fargo, North Dakota and Saskatchewan. He died in 1903 and was buried in the Bergthal village cemetery (Manitioba East Reserve).

David M. Stoesz (1870-1934), son of Bishop David Stoesz (1842-1903), married Agatha Kehler (1870-1952) in 1890. In 1891 David and Agatha moved to the Mennonite West Reserve where land was better suited for farming, and bought eighty acres at the village of Gnadenfeld. David M. Stoesz was elected as a minister in 1912. The church he served was called the Sommerfeld Mennonite Church. In 1922 he emigrated to Mexico with portions of this church and founded the Santa Clara Colony. Dissatisfied with life in Mexico, he and his family returned to Canada within a year and settled in the village of Kronsthal, Manitoba. Here he died in 1934. His wife, Agatha (Kehler) Stoesz, who wrote her memoirs in 1948, and died in 1952.

Minister Cornelius Stoesz (1836-1900) had a son Cornelius W. Stoesz (1869-1925) and a grandson Cornelius G. Stoesz (1892-1976) who also were ministers. Donald Stoesz (1954- ), a career prison chaplain in Alberta, another descendant of minister Cornelius Stoesz published a study of some of the Stoesz sermons.

Archival history

The records have come to the Mennonite Heritage Centre archives in seven deposits. The first donation was the David M. Stoesz funeral sermon, brought by William and Trudy Harms of Altona, Manitoba in 1985 (Trudy was the granddaughter of David M. Stoesz. Her father, David A. Stoesz (1896-1969) had received these items after his father died in 1934.) The second donation was by W.J. Kehler, which included a cemetery index and a "General School Decree" (translated from the German "Allgemeine Schulverordnung". The third and largest, donation was made by William and Trudy Harms in 1988 and included Bishop David Stoesz' diary, sermons and other material. When son David M. Stoesz received the material from his father he continued to use the sermons and may have at times added to them. The fourth deposit came via Dennis Stoesz, archivist in Goshen, in August 1998. It consisted of an 1835 edition of the writings of Menno Simons which David Stoesz purchased in 1861. Dennis Stoesz had received this item from George Unger, a Stoesz descendant. The fifth deposit was added through the acquisition of a file in the Christian Heritage Library collected by David and Trudy Schellenberg of Winkler. The sixth deposit is a translation of 9 sermons (eight from the Stoesz family) compiled by Donald Stoesz. In 2004 Jake Wiens created a detailed listing of some of the contents in volume 1561-1563. In 2004, historian Delbert Plett deposited Stoesz family correspondence and in 2014 David Harms, son of William Harms deposited a song book that was owned by David Stoesz.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

This fonds consists of four series. They include:
-1) David Stoesz materials
-2) David M. Stoesz materials
-3) Agatha Stoesz materials
-4) Jacob W. Stoesz materials.
The content consists of sermons and diaries. Other materials include correspondence and church items. Some of the material has been microfilmed. See Microfilm # 91. The material gives insight to the understanding of Mennonite church and community life during the early years in Manitoba.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


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Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

  • German

Script of material

  • Gothic

Language and script notes

The majority of the materials are original documents in Gothic German handwriting.

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Inventory file list

Uploaded finding aid

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Mennonite Heritage Archives:
-A.D. Stoesz fonds
-C.G. Stoesz fonds
-Microfilm #91
-George Unger fonds
-Jake Peters collection,
-a selection, a selection of sermons have been translated and can be found in volume 5292:4.

Related descriptions

Notes area


Accession nos. 85-39; 85-42; 88-050; 99-021; 97-150, 04-039, 05-087, 05-043, 07-061, 14-016, 14-034.

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Dates of creation revision deletion

Described by Jake Peters in "Resources for Canadian Mennonite studies: an inventory guide to archival holdings at the Mennonite Heritage Centre" (1988: 86-90). Re-described by Conrad Stoesz July 1999. Updated by Sharon H.H. Brown, December, 2002 and partial file list added by Conrad Stoesz February 24, 2003, updated November 28, 2005, November 3, 2006, August 27, 2007, September 17, 2007. Rodger Toews April 2014, and Conrad Stoesz May 26, 2014, October 1, 2014, July 12, 2017.




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