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Abraham Penner and Rempel Block Connection

The Abraham Penner Story

and connection with Gerhard Rempel

     This is the story of ancestor ABRAHAM PENNER, possibly born in Prussia  who died 14 July 1840 in Russia AND the connection with SARAH ADRIAN (b Feb 10 1816) and Sarah's second husband GERHARD REMPEL (born Dec 14 1816).

Our only information on the early life of Abraham A Penner we had previously been aware of came from two pages in a Family Bible shown to the right and these words from Abraham's  obituary written by his wife Minnie Funk Penner.
"Abraham A. Penner, our father and husband, was born January 21, 1841, in the
village of Rudnerweide, South Russia. His father died before he was born and he
lost his mother in the seventh year of his life. He was raised then by Preacher Jacob
Janzen in Schardau in a Christian way and he was baptized when he was 20 and
joined the Mennonite Church. When he was 24 he was married to Elizabeth
Kessler, Berdjansk, and this marriage lasted for  six and one half years. They had
no children. Later in 1871 he extended the hand of marriage to me, the now grieving widow, Minnie Funk Penner"
Elfreda Fast and Daniel S Penner thought they remembered that their grandfather Abraham A had a brother but it appeared he died young. It was assumed Abraham was an only child from these words. 

Then on January 27, 2007 I realized a family record book called the
Gerhard J Classen family record book had been uncovered-- this book  includes entries that were made by Abraham A Penner's father--Abraham Penner d. 14 July 1840 and his wife Sarah Adrian  (b. 10 Feb 1816 ), and her second husband Gerhard Rempel. (b. 14 Dec 1816) [And so the booklet passed into the Rempel family.]
This gives us a lot of new information on Abraham A Penner's family including the name of his mother.!!  I have included the scans of the booklet as it was sent to me by
Alma Regier and also a translation of the booklet to the right. The original booklet is in the possession of Gerhard's grandson Elmer B. Friesen. This was also very exciting as I recognized Gerhard Rempel as an ancestor of my husband's family.

Abraham Penner died before his son Abraham A Penner was born so Abe A did not have much information on his parents.  Abraham A was 7 or 8 years old when his mother died on 28 May 1849.  His stepfather Gerhard Rempel was left with 3 or 4 children from Sarah and also Abraham. Gerhard remarried  less then 2 months later on 17 Jul 1849.  It may have been at this time that Abraham went to live with Preacher Jacob Janzen of Schardau as mentioned in his obituary.

    Perhaps we see Abraham listed in Schardau [with his foster parent Jacob Janzen] as a student in the summer of 1854 in the Molotschna School Registers of 1853-55. The next information we have of Abraham A Penner is that he was married in about 1865 when he was 24 to an Elizabeth Kessler of  Berdjansk. This marriage lasted for  six and one half years but they were childless.  Later in 1871 Abraham A Penner married Wilhelmina Funk on 13 Jun 1871 in Friedensruh, Molotschna, South Russia, according to the family Bible, but most likely they lived in Schardau after they were married as that is the listed  birthplace of  their first living child Maria A Penner who later married George Reiss. 

An interesting sidelight is that Sarah Adrian Penner Rempel's second husband Gerhardt lost four wives to death and was married a total of 5 times. His fifth wife outlived him and married again. Gerhard had a total of 15 children. Sarah and her second husband Gerhard Rempel had a son Gerhard Rempel among their 5 children.  This son Gerhard was to become an ancestor of Delbert Sperling who married Kathleen Penner who is a descendant of Sarah Adrian and Abraham Penner! And so the whole Penner Sperling connection has come together. 

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Family Bible Pages

Clic for translation of Penner pages
clic for 2nd full translation

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Classen Family Book started by Abraham and Sarah Adrian Penner Rempel
Spanning over 100 years!


             Intro and 1st page of the Classen Book

scan 4

2nd page

Scan 5- pages 2 and 3


This starts the first page of the original handmade book started by Abraham Penner in 1836.   Note on the top it says Seite (or Page) 1 and 2

Page 3-4 Gerhard Rempel starts writing.

scan 7

Page 5-6

Page 7-8

Scan 9

End of book

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