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Jansen Mennonite Churches Nebraska

Information on Jefferson County

Jansen, Nebraska and Fairbury, Nebraska

Home of many Harms and Thiessen Ancestors

Early Jansen Mennonite Churches and Cemeteries

This church information still needs more organization and it a little confusing . Please let me know if you have more information on these churches.

The community was predominantly Mennonite until shortly after the turn of the century when mass migrations away from Jansen began, which resulted in a sharp decline in Mennonite population and the eventual closing down of all but one of the Mennonite churches which is the Jansen Bible Church. The Jansen community at one time had six different Mennonite churches operating:

Kleine Gemeinde ( 1874-1908);

Krimmer Mennonite Brethren (1880-1916 or 1930);

General Conference Mennonite (popularly called Peter Jansen's Church, comprised largely of the personnel on P. Jansen's ranch -about 6 to 8 families. 1890-1909);

Mennonite Brethren (1901-1947);

Reformed Mennonites (four or five families who held services in homes and were never formally organized.

Evangelical Mennonite Brethren (1879 to present time)


The Jansen Kleine Gemeinde Mennonite Church was the first major Mennonite settlement in the Jansen Community. It was established after the arrival of 36 families of Kleine Gemeinde Mennonites coming from Russia in 1874 under the leadership of Abraham Friesen. They settled in Cub Creek Precinct in seven small villages of Rosenort, Rosenhof, Rosenfeld, Rosental, Neuanlage, Heuboden, and Blumenort. This included our Harms ancestors.

The families met in homes for a while and then constructed a church two miles west and three miles north of the present site of Jansen. In 1877 Johan S Harms was elected as a minister of the Kleine Gemeinde church. He accompanied Leader Abraham L. Friesen to Manitoba in February of 1882 to help reorganize the KG there. Ancestor Johan S Harms had already died by the time some members left the Kleine Mennonite Church and joined with other Mennonite Churches andthen in 1906-1908 the entire church group migrated to Meade, Kansas to secure cheaper land and more isolation. The first two Mennonite families were those of Peter F. Rempel (uncle of Peter R Harms) and Jacob B. Friesen, both from Jansen, who settled on homesteaded land approximately ten miles south of Meade in 1906.  Also moving was Anna Thiessen about 7 years old and her parents Peter B and Anna Isaac Thiessen.Later many of these people joined/formed the Emmanuel Mennonite [EMB] Church that is still there at Meade, Kansas. Meade Churches Article.

The Jansen Krimmer Mennonite Brethren (KMB) congregation organized here in 1880 was composed of Krimmer Mennonite Brethren families that came from Russia in 1877. Originally this group associated with the Evangelical Mennonite Brethren. But in 1880 they withdrew and under the leadership of J. A. Wiebe founded the Jansen KMB Church. In 1905 a brick church was built one mile east of Jansen. [This must be the church that was at one time across the road from where the Thiessen cemetery is located.]  In further reading I find out the Church must have also been known as the Salem Krimmer Mennonite Brethren Church.

from Gameo -Salem Krimmer Mennonite Brethren Church, now extinct, located near Jansen, Nebraska, was organized 1 January 1881, at which time two ministers, Peter Thiessen and Peter Fast, were elected from the group under the direction of Elder Jacob A. Wiebe. By this time 34 persons had been converted and baptized as a result of a revival. Homes and a school-house served as meeting places until 1885, when a frame meetinghouse was built. It was replaced in 1905 by a brick building, which was moved to Hillsboro, Kansas in 1947 as an addition to the Old People's Home. In 1912 there was a membership of 68. The congregation was dissolved in 1930.
Plett, C. F. "Salem Krimmer Mennonite Brethren Church (Jansen, Nebraska, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 16 February 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/S24283.html.

The Jansen Mennonite Brethren Church, now extinct, was organized in 1890 by Elder J. J. Regier. At that time Isaac Wall was chosen minister and leader. An old saloon was purchased and remodeled into a meeting place and later a church was built. Through revivals the congregation grew and for some time numbered more than 100 members but later most of these members moved to newer settlements, and the congregation eventually closed.

A few families also joined the Reformed Mennonites (Herrites), although no congregation was ever organized here.

Jansen Evangelical Mennonite Brethren Church EMB was formed in 1879 with the first services in the homes of the members. Isaak Peters from the Henderson, Nebraska area was instrumental in the beginnings of this church. The first pastor was John Fast another was B. O. Kroeker. A church was built in 1891 on the northwest corner of Jansen. It was destroyed by a tornado in 1929 and was replaced by a new building on the north edge of Jansen where is presently. It is now called the Jansen Bible Church and it belongs to the Fellowship of Evangelical Bible Churches (formerly Evangelical Mennonite Brethren Conference of North America).

 Isaac Peters who had moved to Henderson, Nebraska area in January 1874 was an elder there at the Bethesda Mennonite Church but wanted more emphasis on a separated life as evidence of regeneration, so he withdrew from Bethesda with a group of the congregation in 1880. This became the origin of the Ebenezer Mennonite Church in Henderson which was organized in 1882.  Eventually a new branch of the Mennonites was formed, known at first as the Conference of the United Mennonite Brethren of North America, and then Evangelical Mennonite Brethren (EMB) and presently the Fellowship of Evangelical Bible Churches. Isaak Peters was a leader in this move and he was elder at Ebenezer until 1892. Johann and Elizabeth Harms Rempel were later members of this Ebenezer EMB church. Pete Harms helped to build a white church building [now gone] of the EMB church on the north side of Jansen. 

[Most information taken From Gameo ] .

1 Miller, D. Paul. "Jansen (Nebraska, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 22 July 2010

2 Epp, H. F. "Peters, Isaak (1826-1911)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web.

2 Bender, Harold S. "Kleine Gemeinde." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 09 February 2013

Notes about which churches our Harms, Thiessen and Rempel ancestors attended:

From Florence Harms Entz we learn the Harms were part of a group of German speaking Mennonites who immigrated from Russia in 1878 and settled northwest of the little hamlet of Jansen. Their little clapboard meetinghouse was located on the west edge of Jansen with the cemetery located across the road and just a little to the west. She adds the relatives all attended the same church but those in John (Johann) L Harms neighborhood had a Fairbury address instead of Jansen.  [This location would fit with the first church of the EMB which was destroyed by a tornado and the Jansen Cemetery where Johann L Harms is buried would fit this location description]

In Elizabeth Harms Rempel's obituary it states she joined the Mennonite Church and was baptized by A (Abraham ) L Friesen [so this must be the Jansen Kleine Gemeinde Mennonite Church of which he was a leader] and later in 1905, they joined the Ebenezer Church. [which must be the Henderson EMB Ebenezer Church]

From Helena Born Thiessen's obituary we learn that three persons spoke at her funeral service. Funeral meditations by Brother P I Fast were taken from Psalm 103: 6-17; H Ratzlaff spoke on Isaiah 40: 6-8, and the Elder Isaak Peters talked from Psalm 90: 1-12.  [This must be the Isaak Peters who helped found the Evangelical Mennonite Brethren Church [above] and was also connected with the Ebenezer Mennonite Church at Henderson].

David D Thiessen and Helen Born Thiessen were both buried in the Mennonite Cemetery outside of Jansen, Nebraska.  Later the graves were moved to make way for a road it is said and they reburied at Jansen Cemetery, Jefferson County, Nebraska. According to Marjorie Harms Leeb.

[I am still trying to find more information about this - It must be the " Thiessen " KMB church cemetery as the location of their church is: that it was built one mile east of Jansen in about 1906 which would be across the road from where the Thiessen cemetery is located.] see the LR square of section 27 in Club Creek


A history of Jansen, Nebraska

Cemeteries:

Cemeteries of Jefferson County Nebraska

Jansen Cemetery - Jansen Nebraska

Jansen Cemetery - Find a Grave results

Photo arrangement by Lee Cornelson

Thiessen Cemetery, near Jansen NE - East Mennonite Church  by Jansen, Nebraska -Clean up article May 23, 1992

There is some difficulty determining which church the Thiessen Cemetery was associated with: It is called the East Mennonite in the "clean-up" article above but I have concluded it must have been the Jansen Krimmer Mennonite Brethren Church; perhaps it was nick-named the East church because of the East location.

From the Mennonite Encyclopedia Online: The Jansen Krimmer Mennonite Brethren Church built a brick church in 1905 or 1906  one mile east of Jansen. The membership never exceeded 75. and by 1950 only three families who had attended the Church were left in the community. [This is the church of which Johann F Thiessen 1840-1917, who is buried there, was a member and deacon.]

1890 Map of "Russian lane" in 1890 listing early Jansen residents and 3 church location.

Johann L Harms obituary

Google view of Jansen Cemetery

Directions: From Fairbury, go east on Hwy 136 to east of Jansen past the railroad tracks. The cemetery is just east of the intersection of Hwy 136 & 574th Ave, on the south side of the road.

"Thiessen" Cemetery  David Thiessen and Helena Born Thiessen and two of their children are buried here among others.  [I am unsure if this is correct.  There is some controversy over where they are buried. see below -ks]

Thiessen Cemetery Find A Grave results

Hildebrandt Cemetery 

Jefferson County of 1895


Notes:  Edna and Maybel Harms were the daughters of Henry and Maggie Harms. The family replaced their tombstones some years ago. That is why they look so new. From the information that you have on Anna Harms would seem to indicate that she is probably buried in the Jansen Cemetery too. I believe that the cemetery is called the Enns Cemetery. When we were there several years ago, people acted like they didn't know about the cemetery. We did find it and were able to find a number of graves for LeRoy's Thiessen and Friesen relatives.
There are a lot of markers missing from the cemetery. They were made of cement and have deteriorated over the years.  LeRoy's great grandparents, David and Helena Born Thiessen markers are missing too. There doesn't seem to be any map of the cemetery as to where the different graves are. I have been told that it has been lost. I hope somebody has a record somewhere so that the graves can be plotted out again.

David Thiessen, farmed in the east half of Cub Creek Precinct.

I find on the 1880 Property Listing for Cub Cub Creek Precinct -a John Harms listed as an owner. I assume that this is probably Johann L since he is shown on the map of the west half of Cub Creek.

 Information from:

Lorene Thiessen
Buhler, KS 67522-8125


In researching Jansen (I found out) the court house and the Fairbury Journal  have news papers  from the 1800's.     Vaughn and Rosella Cline were the first to clean up the [Thiessen] cemetery [the one connected with East Mennonite Church] , then from 1990 till 2005 Mildred helped financially to mow and keep the cemetery clean;  then Vaughn Cline passed away and Rosella moved into a retirement center in Fairbury.    When the highway was cut through the edge of the cemetery, some graves were moved to the Jansen Cemetery.      The Mrs Doerksen grave was not moved so George and Dave Doerksen acquired the title to the plot,  which still stands.  The cemetery is not called The Thiessen cemetery because of our family but because the original property once belonged to H. Thiessen.
Information from: Mildred Edigar

Marjorie Harms Leeb indicates that David D Thiessen and Helen Born Thiessen were both buried in the Mennonite Cemetery outside of Jansen, Nebraska.  The one known as Thiessen Cemetery.  Later some of the graves were moved to make way for a highway and they were reburied at another cemetery.  [Not sure which one but most likely the Jansen Cemetery -ks]

[Above information on burial comes from Marjorie Harms Leeb -  Heinrich B Friesen ]

Emmanuel Cemetery near Meade, Kansas

Evangelical  Mennonite Brethren Cemetery  EMB near Meade, Kansas  - Peter B Thiessen and Anna F Isaac Thiessen are buried here. As is Elizabeth F Rempel Harms who moved to Meade, Kansas after her husband Johann L Harms died. He is buried at Jansen Cemetery.  So they are not buried together.

History of EMB

South Kleine Gemeinde Cemetery near Meade, Kansas

Bible Verse of the Day


If you have and corrections, additions, or suggestions for the genealogy, web pages, or other information OR are a long lost relative  I'd love to hear from you!  Kathy Penner Sperling
This page belongs to Harms Thiessen Families. Updated  Feb.14.2013,  c. 2012, 2013