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John N. Durr Papers


Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Congregational and Conference Records


Miscellaneous Materials

Sermons and Collected Tracts

Financial and Legal Records

Contact us about this collection

John N. Durr Papers, 1855-1934 | Mennonite Church USA Archives

By Colleen McFarland and Tillie Yoder

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Collection Overview

Title: John N. Durr Papers, 1855-1934Add to your cart.

ID: HM1/203

Primary Creator: Durr, John N. (1853-1934)

Extent: 2.0 Linear Feet. More info below.

Arrangement: By series

Date Acquired: 05/28/1959

Subjects: Durr, John N., 1853-1934, Mennonite Church - Clergy, Mennonites - Pennsylvania

Forms of Material: Correspondence, Sermons

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

Personal and pastoral papers of a pastor and bishop of the (old) Mennonite Church who served primarily in Martinsburg, Pennsylvania.  Durr also served as the first moderator of the Southwest Pennsylvania Mennonite Conference. He also served as moderator of the General Conference Committee and the preliminary General Conference in 1897.

Durr's papers are divided into

(1) Congregational and Conference Records, 1867-1919

(2) Correspondence, 1858-1940

(3) Miscellaneous Materials, 1878-1937

(4) Sermons and Collected Tracts, circa 1872-1934

(5) Financial and Legal Records, 1879-1938

Biographical Note

John N. Durr, the son of Jacob J. and Annie Johnson Durr, was born near Masontown, Fayette County, Pennsylvania on 3 September 1853, the fourth child in a family of six children. In the spring of 1855 the family moved across the Monongahela River into Greene County, Pennsylvania. On 17 February 1876, he married Malissa Jane Steele of Masontown, who transferred her church membership from the Methodist Church to the Mennonite Church, in which church she remained active until her death, 18 March 1889. To this marriage were born six daughters: Annie Frances, Sara Elizabeth, Mary Magdalene, Hannah Malissa, Katie Mae, Laura Jane. These six daughters were married to two bishops, three ministers, and a deacon. The family moved back to Fayette County about 1880. In August 1898 he moved from Masontown to Martinsburg, Pennsylvania. On 22 September 1898, he married Mary Susan Caufman of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. One son, who died in infancy, was born to this marriage. His second wife died 1 January 1929. On 30 December 1931, he married Sarah B. Gsell Leidig at Lake Charles, Louisiana, where they lived until her death in 1932. From 1932 until his death he lived with his daughter Hannah (Mrs. N. E. Miller) of Springs, Pennsylvania.

Durr was baptized 18 November 1871, and became a member of the Masontown Mennonite Church. His conversion took place at a series of revival meetings held at the Huston Schoolhouse by the Methodists during the fall of 1870. Following a three-week series of meetings in January 1872 he was ordained to the ministry in the Mennonite Church on 5 February 1872 by John F. Funk and Daniel Brenneman. On 26 November 1873 he was ordained by lot to the office of bishop by Jacob N. Brubacher. He is the youngest ever ordained to these two offices (aged 19 and 20) in the Mennonite Church (MC) as far as records show.

John N. Durr served as bishop in the Mennonite Church from the time of his ordination until his death, a period of 61 years. During this time he served for various lengths of time as bishop of the following churches: Masontown, Rockton, Scottdale, Schellsburg, Altoona, Martinsburg (Morrison's Cove). His longest term was at Martinsburg, 1899-1931. He assisted in the organization of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Mennonite Conference and was elected as its first moderator, serving 1876-1898. In the district conference he served on the following committees: Bible conference, missions, and Sunday school conference. He served as vice-president of the district conference mission board and was its representative on the local board of the Altoona Mennonite Mission 1918-1934.

He served as representative from the Southwestern Pennsylvania District Conference on the General Conference Committee and was elected as moderator of this committee from its first meeting in 1896 and served also as moderator of the preliminary General Conference held in 1897.

Subject/Index Terms

Durr, John N., 1853-1934
Mennonite Church - Clergy
Mennonites - Pennsylvania

Administrative Information

Repository: Mennonite Church USA Archives

Alternate Extent Statement: 4 archives boxes

Access Restrictions: These materials are open for public research.

Use Restrictions: Researchers are responsible for using in accordance with 17 U.S.C. Copyright not owned by the Mennonite Church USA Archives.

Acquisition Source: Ellrose D. and Uriel S. Zook, Acc. 958

Appraisal Information: 0.5 linear feet of receipts and checks were discarded in January 2013.

Preferred Citation: John N. Durr Papers, 1855-1934.  HM1-203.  Mennonite Church USA Archives. Elkhart, Indiana.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Congregational and Conference Records, 1867-1919],
[Series 2: Correspondence, 1858-1940],
[Series 3: Miscellaneous Materials, 1878-1937],
[Series 4: Sermons and Collected Tracts, circa 1872-1934],
[Series 5: Financial and Legal Records, 1879-1938],

Series 1: Congregational and Conference Records, 1867-1919Add to your cart.
Series contains materials from Durr's time working in Southwest Pennsylvania congregations, as well as material related to the founding of the Southwest Pennsylvania Mennonite Conference and his time as a representative and moderator of that conference. Materials include correspondence, a cemetery list, and several subject files on events and difficulties within the conference.
Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Elkhart Congregation Letter, 1900Add to your cart.
Folder 2: General Conference Formation Papers, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: General Conference Delegates List, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: Peace Petition Letter, 1919Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Southwest Pennsylvannia Mennonite Conference - Correspondence and Papers, 1875-1933, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 6: Southwest Pennsylvannia Mennonite Conference - Ministerial Record, 1898, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 7: Southwest Pennsylvannia Mennonite Conference - Altoona Mennonite Mission, 1914-1934Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Southwest Pennsylvannia Mennonite Conference - Boyerstown Court Case, 1867-1873Add to your cart.
Folder 9: Martinsburg - Roaring Springs, 1912-1915Add to your cart.
Box 4Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Richfield Church Difficulty, 1884Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Reprint of 1775 Petition to Pennsylvannian Government, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: Church Building List, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: Greendale Cemetery, 1894-1895Add to your cart.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Congregational and Conference Records, 1867-1919],
[Series 2: Correspondence, 1858-1940],
[Series 3: Miscellaneous Materials, 1878-1937],
[Series 4: Sermons and Collected Tracts, circa 1872-1934],
[Series 5: Financial and Legal Records, 1879-1938],

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