After he retired from official duties in 1992 Martin Lehman began to collect historical materials on the Amish and Mennonites of the Southeast. He was told that he was likely the best equipped person to write this history, so he accepted the task. In 2010, the first in a series of two volumes, was published by Cascadia Publishing House, Telford, Pennsylvania and co-published by Herald Press, Scottdale, Pennsylvania. Here are pictures that relate to Volume 1, Roots, Part I – 1892-1949
The pictures are numbered. If a viewer can add names or other information to a picture, please make a comment in the space reserved for comments and identify the picture by number
1. In 1892, six scattered Mennonite families were living in Florida. These families were visited by Evangelist John S. Coffman. Pages 29-35 of Volume I – Roots record Coffman’s tour. Coffman traveled by train. He preached where he had the opportunity in community churches. Lewis Shenk, Bowling Green, Florida, was his principal sponsor and Coffman held a series of meetings in Bowling Green.
2. In December 3, 1923 six Amish young men, known at the time as boys, began a six week tour of Florida. There story is recorded in Pages 37-39 of Volume 1 – Roots. If you happen to have The History of Pinecraft – 1925-1960 by Noah Gingerich you should treasure it. It is a Historical Album with many black and white photos. It is out of print and it looks to me like it may become a collectors item.
3. The Tampa mission was begun the winter of 1925-26. The founders of the mission did not believe in having pictures taken, so there are few pictures of them or their work. Mission-minded conservative Mennonites assisted in the Tampa mission. This is a Tampa picture. The man with the beard is possiby evangelist John B. Senger who was authorized for a time to act as a bishop for the mission. Story begun in Page 52, Volume 1, – Roots
4. Anna Kauffman was the first single sister worker who accompanied the Byers family from Knoxville, Tennessee to Arcadia and then to Tampa. Her story begins on page 42. The author had access to letters she wrote to her brother to enrich the early mission account. Since she did not want her picture taken. this picture was taken without her knowledge.
5. The author speculates about the picture. It appears to be the first picture taken of the Tampa, Ybor City Mission. He speculates that Anna Kauffman may be the woman on the right who thought the camera had not caught her.
7. Dora Taylor gave picture album and diaries of her years in Tampa to Martin and Rhoda Lehman. They visited her when she was in her nineties at the Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community. These gifts were invaluable to the Tampa historical record. Album and diaries are lodged with the Anabaptist Historical Association in Sarasota, Florida
8. Dora influenced many during her term of service.
10. Dora Taylor holding Mercedes Moctezuma. Mercedes and her husband George Trujillo became faithful members of the church until the date of this writing in 2012.
11. The Moctezuma sisters Charlotte and Mercedes.
12. Conservative tourists visited the mission in Tampa and enjoyed walking on the Clearwater beach.
13. Tourists and Mission workers picnic on the Clearwater Beach.
16 & 17. The Ybor City branch of the Tampa Mission met in 3 rented apartments. The Sunday School crowded these apartments which were also the homes of the sister workers of the mission. This picture and the one that follows are of Sunday Morning groups in Ybor City.
18 & 19. The mission provided a variety of learning activites for the young people who were attracted to them. These two pictures are of sewing classes taught by Dora Taylor.
20 & 21. These two pictures are of volunteer teachers sent by Eastern Board to augment the local teaching staff for Summer Bible School.
22. The Tampa mission had Sunday School on Sunday Morning at the Ybor City location and in the afternoon at the Ida St. Mission. This picture is of a class at Ida St.
23. The workers at Ybor City began a kindergarten. This was a precurser to the Sharon School kindergarten. When Irene Stauffer joined the staff, the kindergarten apparently became known as Irene’s babies.
24, 25, 26. The Ybor City mission seems primarily to have been a Sunday School. Here are three pictures of Ybor City SS Classes. Notice the names on picture No. 26.
26. A quartet to witness at the Tuberculosis Sanitorium
27 & 28. Alice Clymer was a self-supporting mission worker in Tampa. She related mostly to the Ida St. Mission. These two pictures are of her classes.
30. Annie Maniscalco and her friend Mary were baptized at Ida St. on December 6, 1941. When Bishop Noah Mack note that so few of those baptized remained faithful for a year, Annie is said to have stamped her foot saying, “not me!” She continues to this day as member of a Mennonite Church in Oregon. Read Annie’s story on pp. 62,63, Volume 1 – Roots.
31. A picture of Annie Maniscalco a year after her baptism.
31. This picture is of Annie when she graduaated from Jr. High School in 1942
The pictures now are of the development of the Amish and Mennonite presence 60 miles South of Tampa in Sarasota.
32. Here is an unpaved street in the village of Pinecraft, the heart of the Amish Mennonite community.
Amanda Kurtz, daughter of Dan and Amanda Kurtz. She was with her parents in Tampa and Venice. She visited the celery fields with her mother when she was nine years old. p. 50. When 20 years old she and Ernest Yoder went to Tampa to be married by j. Paul Sauder. p. 81-82
Pioneer Roman Miller with celery
Mose Kurtz was one of Amish boys who toured Florida in 1924. Mose and Family were among the Amish employed as carpenters in Tampa in 1926 when their son Alvin was born.
Will Overholt initiated the tour of Florida in 1924, and in 1968 foundes of the Sunnyside Nursing Home in Sarasota, Florida.
Samuel Strong Family came to Tampa as pastor of the Ybor City Mission in 1946
Meeting after the service in the bakery in Pinecraft before it was remodeled for the Tourist Union Church, 1946 p. 90
Michael Shenk family
The Ida Street Mennonite Church was the first meeting house built by Mennonites in the South. This is an early picture. Read the story in Chapter 5.
Mrs. Ares was denied membership in the Mennonite Church in Tampa because it was discovered that she was a devorcee. Chapter 5. Later, when her former husband died, she was received as a member.
Still, later she lost her membership.
Raymond Charles was already a leader in the Lancaster Conference and Eastern Board when he came to Tampa as an Itinerant Evangelist. More in Chapter 5 and in other chapters:
Irene Stauffer was a sister worker in the Tampa Missions and was the founder of Sharon School.
Irene Stauffer and Dora Taylor
The Tampa team as the forties come to an end
Irene’s work with “babies” in kindergarten prepared the way for Sharon School.
The building on Nineth Avenue was purchased to house Sharon School and the mission.
The growing Sauder family
Allen Sheatz and Dave Kniss in Aucilla, Florida. Pp. 155,156