You probably already knew this, but it was news to me. I was minding my own business, reading the Historical Atlas of the East Reserve, as I do, when I found myself staring at a map that depicted Vollwerk in the place that I knew Mitchell to be.
You know, I’d always kind of wondered why Mitchell had such a polite, dignified English-sounding name, when all the other places around here have earthier, more guttural names like Steinbach, Blumenort, and Grunthal. (There’s no way a bunch of Mennos from South Russia came up with the name of “Mitchell” all on their own.)
So yes! I have learned that Mitchell was in fact once named Vollwerk. And within Mitchell you can find the Vollwerk cemetery…which I’ve walked and driven by countless times, somehow without ever realizing it’s there.
But there it is — a very well-cared-for cemetery, considering how old it is. The cemetery honors delegate and Oberschulze Jacob Peters, who had established Vollwerk in 1876. The barn built by Jacob Peter’s son, Peter Peters, is now at the Mennonite Heritage Village.
The cairn below lists the names of the people buried in unmarked graves in this cemetery. Time must have worn away many of the grave markers. You can see by the age that the majority are infants and children…
From within the cemetery, looking out toward Reichenbach Road. (Which is named for Reichenbach Village, which was also absorbed into Mitchell.)
It’s kind of ridiculous how long I had been mystified about the location of this cemetery. It’s right off Highway 52, turning south on Riechenbach Road. It’ll be on your right. I’m so glad it’s well cared for.