Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society
History Quarterly Digital Archives

Source: April 1941 Volume 4 Number 2, Pages 22–23

The Mennonist meetinghouse on the Yellow Springs Road, Diamond Rock, Tredyffrin Township

Franklin L. Burns

Page 22

The date of the organization of this meeting is unknown, but a similar organization was effected in Schuylkill Township in 1772, in which the Beidlers, Beitlers, Buckwalters, Haldemans, Pennypackers and Shewalters were said to have preached.

The Beidlers, Baughs, Detwilers, Fricks, Hagamans, Haldermans, Rickabaughs, Ruths, Shewalters, some of the Fismers, and probably many others of the Swiss and German settlers of the pre-Revolutionary period of whom we have no certain record except their refusal to report to the military captains of Tredyffrin, were Mennonites.

This branch of the Evangelical Church was in some respects similar to the Society of Friends but with a greater tendency to asceticism. It derived its name from Menno Simons who resided in Holland, 1493-1559. In addition to the doctrine common to Christianity, he believed in the observance of the rite of feet washing; that the state of matrimony is honorable only between those spiritually kindred; that the use of carnal force in resisting evil and the use of an oath is forbidden.

Old Mennonist Church

The "Mennonist Meeting House Built September, 1835," according to the inscription set in the wall, may have replaced an older structure. This building was severely plain, a plastered stone building about 30 by 40 feet, with separate entrances for men and women. A low platform between the two doors and a wooden column in the center of the room, were the only departures noticeable from the plain, ceiled and whitewashed room. This structure, falling into decay, has been demolished. On the north or opposite side of the road were the still older ruins of the stone walls of a wagon shed.

The more ancient graveyard of this meeting house extends upon either side and in the rear of the site of the building, and is enclosed by a substantial cement-capped stone wall, recently repaired, and with an upping block in front. There are numerous evidences of old, unmarked graves; the earliest marked grave bears the date of 1812 and the most recent, 1902.

Page 23

In all probability, Barbara Hagaman is the only original member whose grave is marked by an inscribed stone; all others so marked being of the second or third generations. The period of dissolution of the meeting was probably just prior to the Civil War when the old and faithful members had long since been gathered to their fathers and the later generations had married out of meeting and become affiliated with other religious denominations of the neighborhood.

Although the names of Beidler and Beitler do not appear in the early tax lists of Tredyffrin, members of these families resided in Charlestown Township and furnished leading members to this meeting. Abraham end Jesse were preachers; later Rev. Israel and Hannah Beidler resided upon farms on the Yellow Springs Road west of Diamond Rock, and Abraham of the same family became landlord at the Howellville Tavern. The following are the tombstone inscriptions:

Wharton, son of H. and E. Bartlett, died January, 1864; aged 3 years, 20 days.
Hannah Beidler, daughter of Jacob, died July 30, 1902; aged 82 years, 4 months, 5 days.
Jacob Beidler, died December 24, 1864; aged 86 years, 27 days.
Abraham Beitler (Mennonite preacher), died June 23, 1866; aged 81 years, 3 months, 17 days.
Catherine Beitler, wife of Jesse, died September 22, 1819; aged 41 years, 11 months, 5 days.
Elizabeth Beitler, wife of Jesse and daughter of Jacob and Eliza Detwiler, died February 2, 1857; aged 52 years, 8 months, 17 days.
John Beitler, son of Abraham and Mary, born September 6, 1834; died July 12, 1851.
Jesse Beitler (Mennonite preacher), died April 13, 1863; aged 58 years, 2 months, 8 days.
Charles Bloomhart, died March 4, 1899; aged 61 years, 2 months.
Elizabeth Detwiler, born September 22, 1767; died May 10, 1862; aged 94 years, 7 months, 18 days.
Jacob Detwiler, died November 6, 1847; aged 84 years, 7 months, 14 days.
Barbara Hagaman, died April 5, 1812; aged 85 years, 4 months, 11 days.
John Hagaman, died May 18, 1845; aged 18 years.
Ann M, Haldeman, wife of John D., died January 10, 1845.
Emanuel Haldeman, died July, 1846; aged 2 years, 4 months, 7 days.
Jacob Haldeman, son of John D. and Ann M., died January 15, 1845.
John D. Haldeman, died January 10, 1846.
John Haldeman, died January, 1857; aged 6 years, 1 month, 13 days.
Edward McCluskey, died May 8, 1850, in his 42nd year.
Henry McCluskey, son of Edward, died October 20, 1858, in his 16th year.
Susan McCluskey, wife of Edward, born July 11, 1811; died April 14, 1892.
William McCluskey, son of Edward.
David Rickabaugh, Sr., died November 18, 1848, in his 76th year.
Elizabeth Rickabaugh, wife of David, died March 5, 1859, in her 82nd year.
George Rickabaugh, born January 14, 1814; died March 22, 1856; aged 42 years, 2 months, 8 days.
Jacob Rickabaugh, died January 3, 1843, in his 81st year.
David Ruth, died January 22, 1842; aged 81 years, 7 months, 28 days.
Ann Shewalter, died July 21, 1833.
Barbara Shewalter, died July, 1850; aged 81 years.
Mary, wife of Jacob Wismer, born October 20, 1793; died June 9, 1866.


Page last updated: 2012-03-30 at 14:24 EST
Copyright © 2006-2012 Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society. All rights reserved.
Permission is given to make copies for personal use only.
All other uses require written permission of the Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society.