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MENNOVILLE

Mennoville Mennonite Church (South Side)

Mennoville was a settlement established north of present El Reno in Canadian County by German Mennonite farmers following the opening of the Unassigned Lands of central Oklahoma in 1889. The General Conference Mennonite Church had begun mission work among the Arapaho at nearby Darlington in 1880. Either during the Land Run of 1889, or shortly thereafter, several mission workers and a number of their Kansas coreligionists acquired farms in the rich North Canadian River Valley. In 1891 twenty-seven charter members organized the Mennoville Mennonite Church. The community was named Mennoville, after Menno Simons, a sixteenth-century leader of the Anabaptist/Mennonite movement. Mennoville's church building, constructed in 1893, was located eight miles north of El Reno. The church and community experienced little growth; the highest church membership was thirty-one. Services were discontinued in 1952, but the historic plain white church and cemetery were preserved. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979 (NR 79001989), in 1997 the church was moved to the Canadian County Historical Museum in El Reno.

SEE ALSO: IMMIGRATION, MENNONITES, RELIGION, SETTLEMENT PATTERNS.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: David Haury, Prairie People: A History of the Western District Conference (Newton, Kans.: Faith and Life Press, 1981). Marvin E. Kroeker, "'Die Stillen im Lande': Mennonites in the Oklahoma Land Rushes," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 67 (Spring 1989).

Marvin E. Kroeker

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