Jacob’s Choice

Ervin Stutzman and his book

Ervin Stutzman and his book

I have read “Jacob’s Choice, Return to Northkill, Book I,” by Ervin Stutzman. He dedicated it to Rachel Weaver Kreider, 104 year old resident of Greencroft.  He described her as “the centenarian whose unflagging energy, irenic spirit, scrupulous Amish genealogical scholarship, and interest in the Jacob Hochstetler family story inspire me to follow in her footsteps, although I hardly dare hope to live as long as she has.”

IMG_0832Jacob Hochstedler and his family were real people who lived on the American frontier during the French and Indian war.  Their story has been told and retold by generations of descendants.

The book is published in three formats: paperback, hardback, and an expanded version that reports the research that went into its writing.  I have the paperback format.  I hope to someday have access to the research in the expanded version.  My Joy and I joined the people that crowded the room set aside in the Greencroft community center for the signing.


Stutzman signing My Joy’s book

Stutzman attached Matthew 5:44 to his signature which reads:  “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”  This teaching of Jesus was at the heart of Jacob’s faith.

Stutzman’s novel is full of forests, hills and streams.  The streams reminded me of the Conococheague Creek  that flows  southward about a half mile East of my childhood home.  Factories and towns polluted the creek, but then it was decided to clean the creek so that when I last visited it with Rachel and family the water was clear.


Rachel and Khalid wade the Conococheague

The Conococheague Creek is a tributary of the Potomac River. The creeks in Jacob’s Choice were tributaries of the Susquehanna River.

The story is not new, but the style with which it is told is novel. There is romance, intrigue and spiritual struggles. With his training in rhetoric and  appreciation  for Amish faith, Stutzman is well equipped to write this book. Authentic historicity sets the book apart from popular Amish romance novels.

About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
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