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"You are the salt of the earth..." Matt. 5:13

Swiss (Volhynian) Mennonite Cultural and Historical Association Newsletter, Fall 2003, Vol.1-3

It’s A Miracle

- Harley J. Stucky

It’s a miracle and I’m thrilled by it.

It was a miracle that most of the Swiss Mennonites in Volhynia chose to come to America in 1874. It’s a miracle that they found good land and were able to settle in the center of the Kansas Mennonite settlement between Hoffnungsau (Buhler-Inman) and Alexanderwohl (Goessel). It’s a miracle that the community survived the drought, grasshoppers, prairie fires, blizzards and depression.

It’s a miracle that a Monument was built to share part of the Swiss Mennonite story with us and our children, and to serve as a point of inspiration for Christians from all walks of life.

The travels of the Swiss Mennonites from Montbeliard (Moempelgard) and the Palatinate to Austria, Poland and Russia during the French Revolution was a miracle. The survival of the Mennonites from the intense persecution of those days is a miracle.

Now you see why I’m filled with joy for the many personal and family miracles as well as those of the Swiss Mennonites.

The centennial celebration in 1974 was a miracle. The publication of Martin Schrag’s “The European History of the Swiss Mennonites from Volhynia” was a miracle. Even the creation of this organization, The Swiss Cultural and Historical Association was a miracle.

You see, I’m thrilled by the time, money and effort the officials and membership have put into this effort. I am thrilled that this organization has taken over the cemetery where many of the pioneers are buried. I’m excited by all those who have contributed to our Mennonite Story verbally or in writing.

I am thrilled with the work that James Krehbiel has done including his work of putting his material on a computer disc. I hope that somebody will write the story of the Swiss Mennonites in America. Perhaps the organization can begin an endowment fund for publications.

Our Swiss Mennonites are scattered over the globe and need help in tracing their roots back to 1874-1880 migrations.

In two or three generations those who have lost all connections are no longer aware of their Mennonite heritage- of the good genes, values, and faith they inherited. Maybe this organization can develop a program of connections.

Again I’m pleased that the Swiss Cultural and Historical Association is active and sustained by its members and able to meet the challenges it faces. Again the world, including our heritage, is full of miracles that bless and enrich our lives.

Thank you one and all for your personal and organizational concern, prayers and contributions. The future is in your hands and so is the road of miracles which thrills all of us and fills our hearts with joy.

Love you,
Harley Aug, 2003

Ed. note: Harley J. Stucky is known for his many significant contributions to education, the church and the community. As a scholar of history, an activist and a visionary, Harley is stalwart in promoting the faith and values of the Schweitzer Mennonite heritage


No longer “the silent in the land,” Schweitzers address the issues of our day.

Question: How would the world be different if the leaders of major countries were Schweitzers?

  1. The universal motto would be “God Bless the Human Race.”
  2. After much controversy, United States and all countries would be free to elect a Schweitzer woman president or leader.
  3. Budgets would emphasize benevolent causes. A totally unique tax system would provide for carefully monitored health care and social services to senior citizens and all needy individuals.
  4. Military resolutions to conflicts would not be an option.

Judging from our history, the world would not be Utopia, but leaders would be striving to improve it and not make decisions that would primarily benefit themselves.

 -Delia Graber
When have you heard of a Mennonite senator? Very seldom.

Even Swiss politicians remain relatively obscure. Unlike the Quakers of the Enlightenment, the Kingdom is not on earth, but drueben.

Like the Swiss, Schweitzer Mennonites lead by example: Once in the South, I was told in a thick Southern drawl by a community leader, about a group from the North which arrived weekly to clean up after a tornado. “They are religious, but bring hammers rather than Bibles. I think they are called Mennonites. Why Mr. Kaufman, I do believe I see a tear in your eye.” -Kenneth C. Kaufman


The Hopefield Vision

For the thousands of scattered descendants of the Swiss Volhynian Mennonite Immigrants to the United States in 1874, a specific place to visit and re-connect with this heritage will become increasingly meaningful as the years go by. The Hopefield church building, the cemetery, and the centennial monument with its seven informative plaques, all on the very soil ceded to the immigrants by the Santa Fe Railroad, are the best possible ingredients for developing and preserving such a spiritually venerated site.

The long term vision should include placement on the National Register of Historic Places, although the recent addition to the church building precludes this for the immediate future. Yet, further developments should proceed. A specific acreage should be plotted out and designated for eventual inclusion. We should continue to encourage restoration of the graves and the cemetery generally, and a comprehensive landscape plan for the entire area should be provided. Eventually, a caretaker’s residence ought to be added.

The development of an attractive, historically symbolic and informative site would be greatly treasured as a sacred place and visited often by descendants of the Hopefield pioneers and many others as well.
-Jacob D. Goering


  1. Van ich yung var ich var am Pa sei schmartschte sohn. Er hut mear a dollar kep und ich han eem ap kedausched for zwie quarters veil zwei is mae ve eins.
  2. Dunno han ich die quarters kenum und mit dem brudder kedausched fur drei dimes. Ich denk er vase net as drei is mae ve zwei.
  3. Dunno kumpt der alter nachbar forbei sei auga sin net tso goot er hut maer vier nickels kep fur my drei dimes. Denk ich, vier ist mae ve drei.
  4. pater han ich die nickels kenumb tsum Regier beim footer schtore un dar dummer hut maer finf pennies kep. Und finf ist mae ve fier.
  5. Dunno han ich am pa ketzeieked. Er hut sei auga zu kemacht und sei backa sin kanz roat und er hut sei kup kaschiddled---er var so proud from maer er hut nix kenna sa.

(Are you befuddled? Read on...)

  1. When I was young I was my dad’s smartest son. He gave me a dollar and I traded it for two quarters cause two is more than one.
  2. I took those two quarters and traded them to my brother for three dimes. I don’t think he knows that three is more than two.
  3. Then comes my old neighbor by, his eyes aren’t too good and he gave me four nickels for my three dimes and four is more than three.
  4. Then I took my nickels to Regier at the feed store in town and that dummy gave me five pennies for my four nickels and five is more than four.
  5. Then I went home and showed my Pa what I had done. He pinched his eyes shut and his cheeks got red and he just shook his head...He was so proud of me that he couldn’t speak.

--The Schweitzer Bauer, Maynard Krehbiel


Over sixty Swiss-German speaking people gathered in the Memorial Home Activity Center in Moundridge, Kansas, May 23, 2003 for the first “Schweitzer Only Spoken Here” program. They listened to several people tell stories of the past as they spoke in their dialect language. Soon others joined in telling their stories. Afterwards they enjoyed cookies and drinks.

The second session was held on August 8 with eighty people in attendance to hear Dr. John O. Schrag tell of his growing up years in Pioneer School and of the various nicknames that people were called.

The group decided to have quarterly meetings planned by a committee of four. Two members of the committee will be replaced at each meeting. The next meeting will be held on Friday, November 7, 2003, at 2:00 PM at the Memorial Home Activity Center. - Ozzie Goering

“cum mohl zu uns”


(Remember the time when the relationship between the Schweitzers and the Low Germans was like that of the Israelites and the Philistines? ed.)

What did it take to build a bridge across Turkey Creek in Kansas between Low Germans and Schweitzers? Or, how could one overcome the same kind of chasm which existed between the two groups in South Dakota?

Adeline (Boese) Kaufman, now 100 years old, residing in Marion, South Dakota, can tell you what made a difference in her life seventy-eight years ago when she married outside her ethnic enclave in Avon, South Dakota. Her Low German ancestors and those of her Swiss husband, Harry Kaufman of Freeman, had had some positive experiences with each other in Polish Volhynia, Russia. There the two groups lived within wagon-riding distance from each other in villages like Karlswalde and Antonovka for the Dutch, and Waldheim and Kotosufka for the Swiss. In those days in Russia the church elders from one group would assist in the churches of the other group when there was a need. That kind of relationship continued even after the two groups settled near each other in Dakota after the migration. Only a few months after their arrival Elder Tobias Unruh, a Low German leader, died at Marion, and Johann Schrag from the Swiss at Freeman, was in charge of the funeral. Such experiences would have built positive relationships, but intermarriage was another thing.

When Harry and Adeline decided to marry, he was asked, “Warum ‘ne Englishe?” (Why an English woman?) Of course, she was no more English than he, but as a Low German coming into the Swiss community she was given the designation of an outsider.

When asked recently about this time of transition in her life, Adeline mentioned first the kindness of Harry’s maternal grandmother, Mrs. Jacob P. Kauffman (Katherina Schrag).

When Harry would be cultivating the corn, working with the hay, or picking corn on the home place where Grandma lived, Grandma would ask Harry to bring Adeline for the day. “I could learn the language,” Adeline said, “as I visited with Grandma, and helped her with her work in the garden. The Schweitzer dialect is very much like the German language we all talk.

Check the SMCHA website:

So for me it wasn’t hard, but I had to say it right, as the people in the community talk. I am sure I made many mistakes in talking Swiss at first, and that gave Harry’s teenage brothers something to tease me about, and they loved to tease!”

Could Grandma Kauffman have had a second motive beyond teaching the dialect when she invited Adeline to come and spend the days with her? She herself had made the migration from Russia to Dakota in 1874 at age 11, and may therefore have sensed the loneliness which Adeline was experiencing as a transplant from one cultural group to another.

Gradually, as English began to replace the dialect somewhat, Adeline didn’t face the language difference as much, but the transition from Low German to Swiss ways also meant learning to make mock kucken, kutji (another poppy seed dessert), nalles nicki, and beet borscht. But many kind Schweitzers, and especially Grandma Kauffman made the difficult change easier.

Adeline’s love of birds also helped to soften her loneliness, and the mourning dove was a favorite of hers. She describes its song as peaceful, not sad.

Comforting, soothing, the dove’s song
Filled the long days with peace
While she awaited his return
From fields of toil.
Waited with the certainty of sunrise and sunset.
The mourning dove, still her companion;
But its cadence, like the sun’s circuit
Now marks only the certainty
Of toil completed, memories treasured,
And hope of joyful reunion.
-Alice (Kaufman) Suderman, Adeline’s daughter

Hopefield Cemetery Directory Dedication

A SMCHA goal was reached with the dedication of the Hopefield Mennonite Cemetery Directory Building and markers on June 3, 2003. The Directory includes the names of ancestors likely to be, as well as those known to be buried in the Hopefield Cemetery.

Program participants Ed R. Stucky, Gary Stucky, LaVera Schrag, Mervin Schrag, Galen Waltner and Harry Crabb led in remembering our heritage and the faith of those who continue to shape our lives. Soaring over the wheat fields, plaintive notes of the trumpet closed the service.

Following the dedication, SMCHA held its annual dinner at the Memorial Home Wellness Center in Moundridge. Jerry Stahly spoke on “Mennonite and Amish Identities Among the Swiss Volhynians in Europe.”


The SMCHA scholarships have been awarded for this school year.

  • Ruth Harder received a full scholarship of $500 for her continued studies in the MDiv/MA of Social Work Program.
  • Jim Ostlund utilized a $250 scholarship toward his seminary work through AMBS-Great Plains Extension Program.
  • The current SMCHA scholarship committee consists of Alice Suderman, Chair, Art Goering, and Delbert Goering.

Thank You!

Contributors to and Distributors of“Schweitzer Salt.”

Did you get a “Schweitzer Salt” in your church box?

These are the folks to thank:

  • Freeman North Church - Arlan and Ellen Ortman
  • Freeman South Church- Esther Waltner, Vivian Gering
  • Burns Church- Howard Goering
  • Salina Church- Ted Zerger
  • Hutchinson Ist Church- Lola Beth Ediger
  • Hopefield Church- Scott Waltner, Delbert Goering
  • Wichita Hope Church- Jim and Ruth Goering
  • Moundridge Ist Christian Church- Glenn Stucky
  • N. Newton Bethel College Church- Alice Suderman
  • Pretty Prairie and Kingman Churches- John J.Krehbiel
  • McPherson Church-Ben J. Stucky
  • Wichita Lorraine Ave. Church- Vernon Goering
  • Moundridge West Zion Church- Zettie Wedel, Ruth Galle
  • Eden Church- Vernell Kaufman, Vic and Elizabeth Goering
  • Ritzville Menno of Washington Church- Warren Gering
  • Newton Faith Church- Rosie and Art Goering
  • Newton Shalom Church- Brad Kaufman
  • Newton New Creation- Bill Stucky
  • Newton 1st Mennonite- Ted Krehbiel
  • Goessel Tabor Church- Leann Toews
  • Hesston Inter Mennonite Fellowship- Verna M. Stucky

Ganz Gut!


Where are your ancestors buried? SMCHA has arranged for restoration of the graves in the Hopefield Cemetery. Many are in need of repair. Descendants and others interested in having graves restored should contact SMCHA. Approximate cost may be obtained from Harold Schrag 620 345-8576 or Arnold M. Wedel 316 283-5595, e mail:

SCHWEITZER ALERT! The SMCHA Board encourages all persons interested in supporting SMCHA projects to join the SMCHA Membership for 2003. Yearly membership is $15; Ten-year membership is $100.00. Donations and membership dues may be paid to treasurer Jay Goering, 2002 Arrowhead Rd., Moundridge, KS 67107. Make checks payable to: SMCHA.

In Memory-

Walter W. “Sprig” Graber, Pretty Prairie, KS, “a man for all seasons,” died July 3, 2003 at the age of 96. Please see for an inclusive article on his life.


  • Pres. Arnold M. Wedel
  • VP. Roger Juhnke
  • Sec. Waneta Goering
  • Treas. Jay R. Goering
    2002 Arrowheard Rd.
    Moundridge, KS 67107


  • Ben J Stucky
  • Gary Stucky
  • Oswald Goering
  • Maynard Krehbiel
  • LaVera Schrag
  • Wayne Stucky
Newsletter Editors:

-Donna Kaufman Neufeld
Box 142, N. Newton, KS 67117


-Neva Belle Kaufman Stucky
405 NE 24, N. Newton, KS 67117

-Consultant: Arnold M. Wedel

Das Ist Alles

This web page is a “work in progress” subject to continuing change as new material and events come along. Please check it out and send comments or possible items for the Home Page to a Committee member: Jim Goering (, Victor R. Goering ( and Dale E. Schrag ( To facilitate fast and low-cost handling, these items should be sent electronically, i.e., as an e-mail message or file attached to an e-mail. We value you suggestions. Webmaster is Dennis Quiring. -Jim Goering

Newsletter Editors: Donna Kaufman Neufeld    Box 142    N. Newton, KS 67117   ph: 316-283-3373    e mail-

Neva Belle Adamson Stucky   405 NE 24   N. Newton, KS 67117

Consultant- Arnold Wedel      Logo- Kristi Neufeld
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