BRETHREN-L ArchivesArchiver > BRETHREN > 1998-12 > 0914804130
From: Merle Rummel <>
Subject: Re: Dunkers communities
Date: Sun, 27 Dec 1998 19:15:30 -0500
>Dear Rev. Rummel,
>What information can you share about the Dunkers in Johnson County Missouri?
>Thanks for any information that you may have on the Johnson Co. community of
I only really know the Mohlers of the Leeton area, the Mineral Creek
Church. I was fairly young when my father pastored there (1940-1946). My
dad still has his church records from there -and we went through some of
them -back a couple years ago. Everyone there had us young boys call them
"Uncle" and "Aunt" -so I do have trouble distinguishing who was who.
We lived on the Martin Mohler farm -purchased by the church as a parsonage/
farm. A grandson, James Mohler, was Elder of our church, and pastored the
Warrensburg Church. He lived a couple miles west of us, I like to go to
his house. One of his grandsons was Jimmy Bailes -who I understand lives
in Warrensburg. The parsonage sat on a "hill"- now, we imagined a flat
country with a hill, and a big house sitting on it -but when we got there
-we turned off the highway, and drove down across another bridge over
Mineral Creek. From up on the road, we look north back a long lane down
into Mineral Creek valley, where a small creek ran beside the lane -to
where a ridge separated the creeks, the house was on that ridge. The small
creek circled around the end of the ridge into Mineral Creek --I could tell
LOTS of stories about living there! The back of the farm along Mineral
Creek (the "Big Creek") touched a woods that went back some 15 miles.
There were wolves in the woods, and rumor said there was an old cabin back
there, where the James Brothers had hid one time (I was too small to go see
-although I did enough other things). Our farm had 3 springs back in the
pasture, and a DEEP well at the house. They said, that except for the
Watering Tower at the Train Station, we had the only permanent water in our
half the county. I know there was a wire "gap" in the fence on the back of
our pasture, so farmers could bring "water wagons" in to the springs and
haul water home for their animals.
There had been a John Mohler there, another brother, but he moved on -to
Kansas I've since found out. I really can't tell where his farm was
(?maybe it was Bro Garvey's farm?).
The Samuel Mohler farm was just south of the Mineral Creek Cemetery (now
called Mohler Cemetery -I understand), which was the original site of the
church, before they moved the building into town. "Uncle" Harry lived
there. He was blind, but he could get around the whole barnyard. He would
walk the mile into town, along a Paved Highway (MO 2) -tapping the edge
with his cane. In those days we only had party line telephones -and our
telephone was two longs and two shorts --so when we would see Uncle Harry
-when driving the car, Dad would honk the 2 + 2, and then we would stop,
and pick Uncle Harry up -and take him to his destination (this was during
WWII -and gas rationing -we had gas/a ministers "A" ration card). One time
dad was too close, and when he honked, he scared Uncle Harry, who knocked
the lid off his cream pail, and it rolled clear down the hill to Mineral
Creek (half way to his house -or down to where we turned off the highway to
go to our house). Aunt Anna, Uncle Harry's sister, lived there with him.
She had been married, but her husband had died, I don't think she had any
children. They had only Kerosene lights, and a cistern for water.
Just above the bridge over Mineral Creek, the farm across the road from our
farm, was Brother Garvey's farm. His mother was a Mohler. He taught the
"Old Men's Class" at church. At an Easter Revival he joined church. He
said: "I've gone here for 70 years, lived a good life, am even the SS
teacher --and its all been for nothing -since it wasn't for Jesus. Now its
for Jesus!" His face was pitted all over. A tornado had come through
-torn down his place, and taken all the buildings at our place, except the
house. He didn't have a storm cellar, so he had dragged his wife over
across the road, and they laid down in the side-ditch. As the tornado went
across, he look up into the inside of the funnel. He said it was lightning
just dancing around. They spent days and more, pulling the splinters out
of his face. He had a daughter named Helen, she must have been just out of
high school, but on occasion she took care of (baby sat) us 2 small boys.
He had two Missouri Mules to help farm (lack of gas during the war). He
kept them in an old barn across from our lane. One night those crazy mules
kicked the side out of the barn, and the whole thing fell down on them
--the next morning there they stood, up to their bellys in broken barn
-scared to move an inch -since broken boards were all around them.
Another Mohler girl had married a Mr Thomas. They lived down beyond Bro
James Mohler's -they had a son named John, who is now a District Executive
Secretary out in Kansas. He was about my age. They had a baby girl born
while we were there. There were two doctors in our town, a husband and
wife (their daughter was My girlfriend, in the lower grades). Their office
was an old converted filling station. They called my dad in one day -the
little baby had been born premature, and her lungs were not developed, she
couldn't breathe right. The doctor held her -just a little thing, in the
doctor's double hands, and she was turning blue -Dad anointed her, and
right there in the Doctor's hands, she turned pink. Talk about prayer, and
miracles. When I stopped in '65, I was told she was a mother with 2 girls.
A Wyatt family owned the next farm beyond us --he ran a butcher shop. Dogs
from town would cross our farm, going to find bones at his butcher shop.
One of them tore up our fox terrier, but it lived.
The only classmate we had in Sunday School was a Virginia Holdereed. Her
father was from Oklahoma. She went into BVS and married an Irvison Doll,
and lives at Dover PA, I think. We frequently went over to their farm.
One time our folks were talking too much, and her dad suddenly remembered
they hadn't gotten the sheep in, and it was after dark. He took us kids
out to the field in his old pickup, and had us drive the sheep up. When I
got back, I asked my dad what all those shiny lights were -out at the other
end of the field. Dad said they were the eyes of wolves, reflecting in the
truck lights!! Then I got scared. I think her Grandfather's name was Bro
Shultz, he lived beside the church, he lived alone.
Another young man in our church (8th grader) was Harlan Saxton. I stopped
in to visit one time (1965) and his mother asked me, if I remembered the
time I painted their door knobs!! (well, no I don't really, but I do
remember one time Dad stopped there, and Harlan wasn't home, and I do
remember there were some open paint cans on their back porch!!) They lived
in town, near the church.
When Dad preached there -attendence was over 100, now I understand the
older folks have all died, and the younger families have all moved away,
and its barely surviving. I remember seeing ICBM missle silos back of our
schoolhouse in 1965. They say that only the control barracks still stands,
as an apartment building.
That was near the Knob Noster Air Force Base -during WWII --the DC-3's flew
over our place in formations, as many as 33, in 3s and 3s of 3s -each
pulling 2 gliders, training for D-Day. They flew LOW -even blew bricks out
of our chimney. One of my classmates got killed by one, and a neighboring
farmer another time. I've heard its the base for the Stealth Bombers now
(Whitman AFB). I've heard that there is a German Baptist Church near Know
Noster, and there used to be another Brethren Church somewhere there -Dad
had things to do with them --he was the "Mission Board Representative" for
Missouri --which is now the full-time job of "District Fieldman" and
"District Executive Secretary" -but then, it was just something else to do,
with preaching and farming and doing some electrical wiring; so we traveled
to a number of the Missouri Churches. (I preached one summer -'65 -at the
Peace Valley Church, in Southern Missouri -when I was just teaching school
during the winter, Adams Co OH -thats when I came back through Leeton.)
Oh, I've got lots of stories --my granddaughter gets me to tell them to her
at times. I've started to write them down.
I shouldn't put all this on the List -but I will!
Merle C Rummel
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