← Back to Personal Papers

Voth, Heinrich H. (1851–1918)

Proper Title

Heinrich H. Voth fonds

Dates of Creation


Physical Description

30 cm textual material and artifacts

Biographical Sketch

Heinrich H. Voth, son of Heinrich and Helena Fast Voth, was born in the village of Gnadenheim in the Molotschna, South Russia (19 February 1851). He married Sarah Kornelsen in 1873, and the couple had nine children, the eldest of which was Heinrich S. Voth (1878–1953). Voth taught school at Klippenfeld for two years where he had a deep religious experience and a remarkable revival took place in the school.

In 1876, Voth and his wife emigrated to America, establishing a farm near Bingham Lake, Minnesota. Voth joined the MB Church in 1877 where he led Sunday school, was elected to the ministry and was ordained elder in 1885.

Together with David Dyck, Heinrich Voth made several trips to southern Manitoba, beginning in 1884. They had been commissioned by the delegates at the 1883 Mennonite Brethren Conference, held in Hamilton County, Nebraska, "to investigate the feasibility of beginning a missionary work there," as the delegates expressed concern about the "spiritual condition" of their fellow Mennonites in Canada (see William Neufeld, From Faith to Faith [Kindred, 1989], 23–28). Heinrich Voth continued to visit southern Manitoba once or twice annually for the next five years. The evangelistic preaching was met with some opposition in the Manitoba Mennonite community. However, in May 1886, the first baptismal services were held; six Mennonites were re-baptized to give witness to their spiritual renewal. They were received into membership of the Mennonite Brethren Church, which formally organized in 1888—the first MB Church in Canada.

Heinrich Voth served as minister and pastor of the Mountain Lake MB Church for 40 years. During this time the congregation grew into one of the largest and most influential of the MB churches in North America. The Mountain Lake MB Church was actually an outgrowth of the Carson MB Church, organized in 1877; Voth pastored both churches.

Elder Voth was active in the Mennonite Brethren Conference in many ways, attending every general conference from its beginning until his death. He traveled as an evangelist and as an itinerant preacher, holding meetings in all of the MB churches. He served the MB General Conference on various committees; he was chairman of the Board of Foreign Missions from 1909 to 1918. He served as moderator of the General Conference for 14 years and as moderator of the Central District Conference for 15 years.

In March 1918, the Voths moved to Vanderhoof, B.C., where he died November 26, 1918. Interment was at Winkler, Manitoba.

Custodial History

This fonds came to CMBS at various times. In 1978, Bernard and Sara Klippenstein donated eleven personal letters between Voth and Johann Warkentin, early church leader at Winkler, Manitoba. In 1979, Esther Enns donated Voth’s sermon notes and Ella Voth Guderian donated Voth’s letters to David Dyck, his notebooks and ledgers, and his artifacts, some of which are in the CMBS display cabinet.

Scope and Content

The Heinrich H. Voth fonds consists of original and photocopied letters and documents relating to the itinerant ministry and the origins of the MB churches at Winkler, Manitoba and Mountain Lake, Minnesota, and the General Conference. Since Voth was on the Board of Foreign Missions, the fonds contains letters from early missionaries. The fonds also contains sermons and genealogical material. Most of the documents are in the German Gothic script.


  • Volumes 1100–1101.
  • Title based on contents of the fonds.
  • Accession numbers are June 6, 1978 (no number for this accession), 1979–2, and 1979–13.

File List

Volumes 1100–1101

1. Notes from the files of Rev. John Warkentin, leader of the Winkler MB Church, describing Voth’s first visit as itinerant minister in Manitoba.

Personal letters to D. Dick, typed in the German language. – 1885–1888.
Photocopies of the original letters in Gothic script. – 1885–1888.

2. Sermons on the Old Testament, in Gothic script. – Undated.
3. Sermons on the Gospels. – Undated.
4. Sermons on Acts to Revelation. – 1902, 1903,, undated.
5. Two German booklets. – 1887, undated.

Notes on the itinerant ministry, genealogy, and church programs. – 1904, undated.

6. Letters of reference for F.A. Janzens before they were sent to India. – 1910, 1911.
7. Copies of documents of incorporation of the Mennonite Brethren Church in Minnesota. – 1879, 1893.

Articles to regulate hurricane, storm and fire insurance among the brotherhood. – Undated.
Report of the Publications Committee at Hillsboro, Kansas. – 1903.
Letter of transfer from Mountain Lake. – 1918.

8. Letters from J.J. Wall to Voth. – 1903.
9. Personal letters from Heinrich and Sarah Voth to Johann Warkentins. – 1885–1888.
10. Correspondence. – 1884, 1898, 1906, 1910, 1912, 1918, 1920.

11. Biography of Heinrich Voth by H.D.R.

Letters from missionaries. – 1897, 1908, 1909, 1913, 1916.
H.H. Voth’s Bible.
H.H. Voth’s hat.

12. Four booklets: Small accounting, address, journal, genealogy notebook. – 1907–1910.

  • Finance notebook. – 1893–1903.
  • Notebook of names of the brethren who participated in the Bible School in Oklahoma. – 1905.
  • Notebook: Church register of Mountain Lake, Minnesota. – [187-]-1897.

13. Church register, Mountain Lake Church. – 1879–1895.

Small notebook diary. – 1895–1900.

14. Copies of genealogical papers. – 1824-[192-].

Genealogy notebook. – 1911.

15. Notebook about conditions and work in and outside the MB church. – [18-]-1883.
16. Handwriting exercise books. – 1888.
17. Collection of various sermons. – Undated.
18. Three notebooks of sermons. – Undated.

Various artifacts in a tin box: glasses, tie, collar etc.

← Back to Personal Papers