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Smid Family | Mennonite Archival Commons

Name: Smid Family

Historical Note:

The Mennonite congregation at Balk, Friesland, was an independent congregation until 1844, when they joined the Allgemeene Doopsgezinde Societeit.  The Giethoorn and Aalsmeer Mennonite congregations were on friendly terms with this congregation, with ministers preaching at Balk from time to time.  In 1853 part of the congregation went to America, to escape military service in Friesland.  Several families, totalling fifty-two persons, emigrated to United States between May 9, 1853 and April 26, 1854.  This included nineteen (19) members of the Balk Mennonite Church.  Two ministers came with the group, Ruurd Johannes (R. J.) Smid and R. J. Symensma.  Haitje Hanjes Visser stayed in Holland as the only preacher of the Balk Mennonite Church, which consisted of 14 memebers.

R. J. Smid (Smith), born in 1813, pastored a small Mennonite church at Woudsend, Friesland. He married Grietje Jacobs Symensma, also known as Margaret J. Smid, in 1840, and the emigrated together in 1853 or 1854.  R. J. Smid pastored the Dutch settlement in Indiana until his death in 1893.

R. J. Smid had three siblings:  Obe Johannes Smid (1802-1850), a blacksmith and preacher to the Balk Mennonite congregation from 1828 forward; Akke Johannes Smid (1807-1833), and Jakobjen Johannes Smid (1810-1843).

In 1889 the Salem Mennonite Church was built.  Half of its membership consisted of Dutch persons originating from the Netherlands, and the other half consisted of the German-speaking persons originating from the Christophel meeting place.  The bishop of the Yellow Creek district of the Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference had oversight over this congregation.

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