Yoder Heritage Tour

This a a trip report from the "Yoder Heritage Tour Of Missouri and Illinois -May 17-23, 2000, written by Jim Yoder of British Columbia, one of the travellers.

Fifteen west coast Yoders, all descendants of Elias Yoder (YR12a33) and his father, Amish bishop Jonathan Yoder (YR12a3), made an eight-day tour of family and American history sites in Missouri and Illinois. Joel Daniels of Canby, OR, planned the tour. Travel and accommodation arrangements were made by his brother, Richard Daniels, a travel agent in Portland, OR. The group flew from Portland to Kansas City, and flew from Chicago to Portland on the return trip, travelling by rental cars through the two states.

The group included one person each from Alaska, British Columbia, and California, with all the rest coming from Oregon. They visited the Truman Library in Independence, MO, the ?Gateway to the West Arch? at the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis, the Cahokia Indian Mounds near Collinsville, IL, the Abraham Lincoln Home and the Lincoln Tomb in Springfield, and Lincoln?s New Salem state historical site near Petersburg.

The Yoder history site in Missouri centered on Golden City, MO in Dade County, northwest of Springfield, where Elias Yoder?s sons and daughter, Jonathan Samuel Yoder (YR12a331), Levi David Yoder (YR12a333) and Mary Schwartz (YR12a336) as well as Elias?s younger brother Asa Yoder (YR12a39), had moved from Illinois to farm in the early 1870?s. They had all moved west to Clackamas County, OR, between 1887 and 1889. The tour visited the Kistler Greenwood Cemetery near Golden City where four children from the families of Jonathan S., Levi and Asa Yoder were buried. Three of the children died within a 23- day period in the summer of 1875. Eleven of the visitors were descendants of Jonathan S. Yoder and the other four were descendants of Levi David Yoder.

During three days in Bloomington, McLean County, IL, the group attended morning worship May 21st at the nearby North Danvers Mennonite Church which grew out of the Rock Creek Amish congregation founded by bishop Jonathan Yoder in 1851. Steve Estes, archivist for the Illinois Mennonite museum at Metamora, IL, was guest preacher speaking on ?Jesus and Jonathan.? After church the tour met a new cousin descended from Leah Yoder Sharp (YR12a31), and also met retire Frey Schwartzentruber was a sister to the wives of Jonathan S., Levi, and Asa Yoder, making him a cousin to all the visitors.

The group visited the Lantz cemetery in Dry Grove Township, and the North Danvers and Stouts Grove cemeteries in Danvers Township, where numbers of ancestors and relatives were buried. May 22nd, the tour visited the Illinois Mennonite historical and genealogical center at Metamora, and gathered new information about the family history, along with seeing the excellent museum of nineteenth century Illinois farm life. Lucia Schuebel and her daughter Diana Kindall of Oregon presented the archives with a framed handicrafted motto made by Mahala Yoder (YR12a334) whose 1870-76 diary as a young adult invalid in Illinois has become a valuable historical resource.

A visit to the McLean County Museum of History in Bloomington was made before travelling to Midway airport in Chicago for the flight west.

(Report submitted by Jim Yoder, the token Canadian on the tour)



This site was last updated 09/23/09