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Peters, Cornelius C. (1889–1973)

Proper Title

Cornelius C. Peters fonds

Dates of Creation


Physical Description

13 cm textual material and 1 tape

Biographical Sketch

Cornelius C. Peters was born in 1889 in Sergejewka, Ukraine, to Cornelius and Anna Lemke Peters. At the age of three his father died, so his early childhood was spent in the home of Cornelius Epp. During elementary school years he accepted Christ as his personal Saviour. At the age of 20 he was baptized and received into the Mennonite Church.

He attended high school and teacher training at Chortiza and became a teacher in the Mennonite Elementary schools. In 1909 he married Katarina Hildebrand. She died in 1920 leaving five children to his care. His second wife was Anna Reimer, daughter of Nikolai Reimer and Maria Pankratz Reimer.

Cornelius was ordained to the gospel ministry in the Mennonite Church and served for many years as an evangelist and itinerant preacher. As a teacher, the classroom was the sphere of his greatest interest, and hundreds of students have benefited from his devoted ministry.

The Peters family came to Canada in 1925, living first in Davidson, then in Herbert, and then in British Columbia. In Canada, Peters joined the Mennonite Brethren Church and was again ordained to the ministry. He was active in conference work, serving for a time as secretary for the Northern District Conference. In 1948, after years of Bible School teaching, he was called to minister in the Mennonite Colonies of South America where he and his wife served in educational work under the Mennonite Central Committee. They also spent five years in Brazil and Uruguay under the Board of General Welfare.

After more than 50 years of preaching and teaching, the Peters settled in Tabor Manor, St. Catharines, Ontario. Peters’ wife died in 1971 and he died June 11, 1973 at the age of 84 years.

Custodial History

This fonds was probably acquired during the 1970s by Herbert Giesbrecht.

Scope and Content

The Cornelius C. Peters fonds consists of his autobiography, in the German language and also as an English translation. This fonds holds Peters’ correspondence with Canadian Mennonite Brethren Conference leaders while he was in South America, growing out of his activities there. Most of these letters are photocopies. The tape is an interview by Harold Jantz (then editor of the Mennonite Brethren Herald) of Peters’ personal recollections. It is in the German language and was made during the last years of his life, while he was in Tabor Manor.


  • Volume 1023.
  • Title based on contents of fonds.
  • Finding aid for tape: NA-15–022.
  • No restrictions on access
  • Related materials: Volume 1024 file 6.
  • Desacription updated by Conrad Stoesz May 25, 2011.

File List

Volume 1023

  1. Obituary from Mennonitische Rundschau, 4 July 1973. Installments of “Es War Einmal Ein Mensch” from Mennonitische Rundschau 9 May 1973 to 5 September 1973, original and photocopy.
  2. Church and conference related correspondence. This file holds original correspondence. – 1945–1950.
  3. Church and conference related correspondence, from and to Peters. – 1955–1956.
  4. Church and conference related correspondence, from and to Peters. – 1956 (cont’d).
  5. Church and conference related correspondence, from and to Peters. – 1957.
  6. Church and conference related correspondence, from and to Peters. – 1958.
  7. Church and conference related correspondence, from and to Peters. – 1959–1965.
  8. “Once there was a man.” Peters’ autobiography translated into English by his daughter, Anne Bergen.
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