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Reimer, Jacob C. (1860–1948) and Emilie Zeh Reimer (1881–1962)

Proper Title

Jacob C. Reimer and Emilie Zeh Reimer fonds

Dates of Creation


Physical Description

30 cm textual material and 1 photograph

Biographical Sketch

Jacob Reimer, son of Cornelius and Anna Reimer, was born in 1872 in Wohldemfuerst in the Kuban. His father died when Jacob was two years old, and subsequently his mother married Abram Matthies, the owner of an estate near Terek. Although Jacob wanted to study engineering, his parents wanted him to be a farmer. He made the best of the situation and became an outstanding model farmer, the owner of two “Vollwirtschaften,” and co-owner of an estate near Wohldemfuerst with much land and many horses and sheep. Jacob was converted and baptized when he was 45 years old as a result of his illness during the typhus epidemic.

Emilie Zeh, daughter of Michael and Martha Zeh, was born on May 6, 1881. The Zeh family was of Lutheran background. Emilie’s parents both died before Emilie married Jacob Reimer in 1900. She was baptized and joined the Mennonite Brethren Church in 1908.

In 1929, Jacob and Emilie’s home in Wohldemfuerst was torn down and their possessions were plundered. They went to Moscow to get emigration papers but were refused. Eventually, they lived with their son, Hans, in Omsk where Jacob died in 1948 and Emilie in 1962. Their daughters, Mia (Mrs. Abram A. DeFehr), Anna (Mrs. Wilhelm Dyck), and their son David managed to immigrate to Canada. Hulda (Mrs. Jacob Huebert), Tina, often called Kaethe (Mrs. Jacob Peters), and Hans remained in Russia. In 1968, Hulda (Mrs. Jacob Hiebert) was able to come to Canada to visit her sisters whom she had not seen for forty years. Hulda’s daughter Anni married Timofe Schuschpanow, a Russian engineer. After he died, she came to Canada and married Abram A. DeFehr of Winnipeg, Mia’s former husband.

Taken from Mia by Mary M. Enns and from Emilie’s obituary in Mennonitische Rundschau 14 March 1962.

Custodial History

The Jacob and Emilie Reimer fonds was donated to Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies by Bill Dyck of California, grandson, in January 1986.

Scope and Content

The Jacob and Emilie Reimer fonds consists of correspondence from Russia to Canada between 1931 and 1975. There is a gap between 1941 and 1947 as well as between 1947 and 1956, possibly because of World War II and the communist regime. The letters are in the German language, many in the Gothic script. Jacob Reimer wrote forty of these letters and sent them to his daughter Tina. After his death, these letters were sent to Tina’s siblings in Canada. Most of the letters in this fonds are written to the children of Jacob and Emilie Reimer, Mia, Anna, and David. Some are from their parents, Jacob and Emilie, but many are from their sisters Hulda and Kaethe, and their niece Anni. One file of letters is written in Canada between 1955 and 1985, probably from or to members of the extended Reimer family.


  • Volume 1047.
  • Title based on contents of fonds.

File List

Volume 1047

  1. Correspondence. – 1931–1933.
  2. Correspondence. – 1934–1937.
  3. Correspondence. – 1938–1941, 1947.
  4. Correspondence. – 1956–1958.
  5. Correspondence. – 1959–1960.
  6. Correspondence. – 1961–1962.
  7. Correspondence. – 1963–1964.
  8. Correspondence. – 1965–1966.
  9. Correspondence. – 1967–1969.
  10. Correspondence. – 1970–1971.
  11. Correspondence. One photograph. – 1972–1975.
  12. Correspondence. – 1975–1978.
  13. Envelopes and stamps from Russia.
  14. Letters from “Betty” to “Liebe Mama” and others. Written in Canada. – 1955–1985.
  15. Letters. – Undated.
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