The Groening-Wiebe Family; 1768-1974


A geneaology with mostly photos of family members, some maps and buildings.

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By Joel A. Wiebe, Vernon R. Wiebe, Raymond F. Wiebe
New. Soft cover Book

Back in stock, but quantity is extremely limited!

The year 1974 is the Centennial Year of Gnadenau Village which was founded in August, 1874, two and a half miles southwest of present-day Hillsboro, Kansas.

The village was established by a prominent Groening/Wiebe family member, Jacob A. Wiebe, founder and first elder of the Krimmer Mennonite Brethren Church. Elder Wiebe led a group of 34 families to America from Annenfeld, Crimea, Russia. At Elkhart, Indiana, they became the guests of Mennonite people who were ready to quarter them until land could be selected and purchased for settlement.

Elder Wiebe and Frank R. Janzen were sent ahead to survey and purchase land. C. B. Schmidt, Santa Fe land agent, sold the men twelve sections of land northwest of Peabody, Kansas. While Janzen went back to lead the group to Kansas, Elder Wiebe, with the advice of a few others, chose a spot which would be favorable for a village. When the group arrived the site was unanimously approved.

Gnadenau Village was laid out on a road running east and west in the middle of section 11. As well as can be determined, 24 families originally located in the village. The huts, sod and adobe shanties, were placed at regular intervals on the north side of the road in the middle of the village. Each of the adjoining half-sections was divided into 20 strips a half mile long so that each family could have land near their homestead as well as farther away.

Gnadenau Village played a significant role in the Groening/Wiebe family. Not only was it founded by one of its family members, it was also the base of settlement for the eight other families: Franz Groenings, Cornelius P. Wedels, Peter A. Wiebes, Heinrich Wiebes, Peter P. Loewens, Abraham Klassens, Johann Regehrs, and Dietrich Wiebes, who emigrated to Kansas during the next two years.

All the living children and grandchildren of Anna Wiens Groening Wiebe Peters Braun migrated to Kansas via Gnadenau Village. Anna, feeling that she was too old to begin again in a new land, saw her last children off to Kansas in July, 1876. Two months later, in September, 1876, she died and was buried in Margenau, Molotschna, Russia.

It soon became clear that it was not advisable to settle in closed villages in America. Plots were exchanged and adjusted so that all families could live on the land they were farming. Most of the settlers left the village. The Gnadenau Village road remains a legal public road. The road and the first village cemetery, in the middle of the village, are the only remaining landmarks of the village settled one hundred years ago.

Scarce and out of print.

Additional information

Weight 2 lbs
Dimensions 8.5 × 11 in


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