This is not a Mennonite cemetery. But it is located nearby and it is kind of secret. I wouldn’t have known it’s here, if it weren’t for the Historical Atlas of the East Reserve.
There are two things I have to say about this place.
First of all, it’s called St. Paul Lutheran Cemetery. Do you know how many cemeteries there are by this name? Well, lots. If you google it, you’ll get a lot of hits, but none of them will be of this cemetery. And yet, there’s the name, as plain as day.
Next, the place-name. You see, this is in Friedensfeld. Sounds Mennonite, right? But everyone around here knows that Friedensfeld is actually German-Lutheran. So how’d it get such a Menno name?
For an answer to this question, I’ve consulted East Reserve Reflections, which contains a series of fascinating interviews conducted by Karen Peters in 1999. Thus I’ve learned that Friedensfeld was indeed settled by Kleine Gemeinde Mennonites in 1875. However, by the 1890’s, the Mennonites bailed. I’ve read this is because this land is exceptionally difficult to farm. I guess these must’ve been some of the folks who moved to the West Reserve. Anyway, with this land now freed up, German Lutherans moved in. These folks had come from Ukraine as well. Interesting how three distinct groups — the Mennonites, the Ukrainians, and the German Lutherans — all came from Ukraine to settle in Hanover, completely independent from each other.
And so, there is this lovely cemetery in the middle of a field near Friedensfeld. Andrew and I visited it about two years ago… and I’m posting about it now.
We went after work, as the sun was getting low in the sky.
It’s stark and peaceful. These field cemeteries are some of my favourite.