Eidse / Eidsen Family

Eidse / Eidsen Family

The Eidse story has always seemed remarkable to me because the Eidses are storytellers by nature. Long on oral tradition. Rumors abound about a connection to the monarchy in the smallest country in the world: Lichtenstein. We have heard of the royal baron who fell in love with a simple peasant woman who was a Mennonite and how he left his riches for her. Another story implies that someone in the Eidse ancestry married a Gypsy and that is why so many of the Eidse family have dark eyes, naturally olive skin and black hair. We'll never know for sure but hot-tempers and passion abound. What follows is not fiction but fact...the passage of time will cloak the mysteries of the rest...

Worldconnect Eidse/Eidsen Genealogy

Rev. Abraham Enns Eidse (1857-1930)


G. Grandfathers:Abram Eds -(Neiteicherwald, Prussia) Flemish laborer, employee, poor Gerhard Spenst

Grandfather: Cornelius Eidse (1770) m. 1799 Helena Spenst (1776) by 1804 in Fischau

Father: Abraham S. Eidse (1811-1893) m. 1836


G. Grandfather: Cornelius Ens (1743)and Catrina Friesen (1761) (Lakendorf.Prussia) Flemish laborer, employee, poor, 1804.

Grandfather: Cornelius F. Enns (1782-1834) Maria Wiebe (1784-1845) m. 1805

Mother: Anna W. Enns (1817-1864)

Siblings: Cornelius Eidse (1840-1914) m. Cath.Klassen,Helena Loewen,Susann Koehn Kansas

Anna Eidse (1843-1922) m. A.F.Reimer Janzen, Nebraska

Helena Eidse (1846-1918) m. Peter Friesen, Peter Wohlgemuth -later Gnadenau Kansas

Maria Eidse (1848-1934) m. Johan P. Friesen, Blumenort, MB

Justina Eidse (1851-?) m. Gerhard Warkentin Rosenhoff, Neb, Rosenhoff

Heinrich (1853.), Abraham (1854.) Abraham (1855)all 3 died within days of birth.

Heinrich Eidse (1859-?) m. Susan Niessen, Helena Niessen Rosenhoff and Texas ?

Youth and Family

On April 10, 1857 in the Mennonite village of Fischau, Molotchna Colony of South Russia, Abraham and Anna Eidse were blessed with the arrival of a healthy little baby boy whom they named Abraham. He was the 10th of 11 children. Three brother's named Heinrich, Abraham and Abraham respectively died in infancy. His family consisted of one older brother, five older sisters and one younger brother. His mother died on Dec. 24, 1864 when he was only six years old. Abraham's family continued to live in Fischau until 1874 when he (17) along with his father (63), brother Heinrich (15) and sister Justine (23) emigrated to Manitoba on the S.S. Austrian No. 65 on August 31, 1874.


The Eidses settled in Rosenhoff on the Scratching River Reserve joining son and brother Cornelius Eidse. Heinrich Enns, Abraham E. Eidse's uncle, also settled there with his family in 1875. Within a few years Abraham became ill with typhoid fever but due to the assistance of other families recuperated. Brother Heinrich and father Abraham moved to Abilene, Texas later in life where his father passed away.

Abraham E. Eidse was a dark-haired, blue-eyed young man, who attended the Rosenhoff Church. He was baptized on Dec. 18, 1875 - part of the first official baptism of the Rosenhoff-Rosenort congregation. He helped with the family farm and was employed by the government to build up a railroad bed through Riverside for several summers. The pay for this job was $2.25 a day. To his great disappointment the railroad was established through Morris instead. Eidse honeymoon cabin.1880.

Abraham was married to Helena B. Klassen, daughter of delegate David Klassen, on April 6, 1879. She had been serving the community as a midwife since 1875, at age 13. They established their own home and began farming on the NW 1/4 16-5-1E in Rosenhoff. They lived in a small cabin with a lean-to attached. Abraham was a successful farmer and supplemented his income with a blacksmith shop. Later he also owned and operated one of the first steam threshing machines. Community members said of Abraham that whatever he touched turned to gold. The saying went that where he walked the wheat grew higher and the yields were better. It seemed the land he farmed grew bountiful crops.


On March 22, 1882, in part due to the Holdeman split, Abraham was elected to serve as a deacon in the Rosenhoff KG church. At the same time his nephew Johann K. Friesen was ordained as a minister. In 1902 the church chose him to be a minister. Johan R. Dueck was elected to serve as a deacon in his stead. Both Abraham and Helena were kept busy preaching, farming, raising their children and caring for the sick. Rev. Eidse often preached his sermons from memory rather than in the traditional reading style. Because he suffered from hardening of the arteries and anemia he sometimes delivered his messages sititing in a chair. Thirty perfectly preserved sermons handwritten, dated and preached by Abraham are extant and in care of Nettie Bartel of Riverside. Abraham ministered in his home church, on the East Reserve, and also travelled to Nebraska to participate in several conferences there. He signed an important Kleine Gemeinde document in 1901.

Partly due to the fact that his wife was an experienced midwife, Abraham lead discussions on sexuality at a few brotherhood meetings. He emphasized maturity, graciousness, patience and restraint on the part of men toward their wives. He attempted personal family counselling where abuses were noted. He mentioned Mosaic laws regarding menstrual cycles, cleanliness and abstinence shortly after childbirth. He and his wife did their best to alleviate ignorance in the community.

One of his best friends through the years was Rev. Johan K. Friesen. They were companions in baptism, ministry, shared children in marriage, and travel. Abraham shared the devotional at the Friesen's 50th anniversary July 20, 1926.

An interesting fact of Abraham's life was that he supported mission outreach at a time when preservation rather than the propagation of the gospel was stressed in the Kleine Gemeinde churches. As early as 1910 Abraham and Helena were financially supporting a missionary couple (Penners) in India. In the 1920's Abraham actively encouraged the beginnings of the Mennonite Central Committee. He developed lifelong friendships with his German-Lutheran laborers and is credited by the Brunkild congregation as the minister who helped organize the original Brunkild Lutheran congregation. He is noted as having lead their first brotherhood meeting. He was well known as a financial advisor and also acted as a banker for a number of new immigrants.

An Immigrant's Testimony

According to Abram J. Berg, a Russlaender Mennonite immigrant, his experiences with Rev. Eidse were very positive. Excerpts from his book are as follows, "There was a kind old gentleman on the train with white hair, a long white beard and friendly eyes...He said he had looked at the families with the most children and he like us. He had an empty house and barn on one of his farms where we could live by ourselves and Peter and I would always have work on the farms of one of his three sons...We didn't realize how luck we were at that moment but we soon found out. When we arrived at the railway station in Morris all the families were lined up on the platform of the railway station and examined as to their potential usefulness to our hosts, much like the negro slaves in their time. And you heard remarks like: "They have too many kids, we have enough of our own," or "I don't like that woman" etc. We, the Peter Berg family, had already been selected and were spared all those humiliating remarks. How fortunate!

" The house was fully furnished, a stove, a rough table, some beds, cooking utensils, plates, cups, etc. right to a box of matches, not a thing was missing. And there was a cow in the barn. There was also some food, bread, potatoes, coffee and milk. Who expected that?.. Mary had, by that time, organized her household under the supervision of old Mrs Eidse, who was a very friendly and efficient old lady. She was also the doctor and midwife of the district....Old Mr. and Mrs. Eidse were definitely one of the more intelligent families of the Mennonite settlement at Morris and they stood out from many others. They had four children, Abram, David, Cornelius and a daughter, Mrs. Bartel. The family was well off, and if I'm correct, old Mr. Eidse owned two sections of land. I would hesitate to call the Eidses rebellious, but they definitely had a a mind of their own and managed to get away with it in the generally narrow-minded congregational structure and its rules.

As I have said, old Mrs. Eidse was a minister of their Kleinegemeinde Church. He had a beard which was against the regulations of their church. "A beard is the pride of man, and the Bible condemns pride", was one of their rules. He was the first to by a steam engine and threshing machine. When he did that the congregation tried to excommunicate him. He invited them to the field and gave them a demonstration, showing them how well it all worked and persuaded them to delete that regulation from the list of sins."

Rev. Eidse managed to keep Abram and his brother employed well after the regular work season was over so that they'd be able to pay of their travelling debt. He went the extra mile arranging a work trip out to cousins in Saskatchewan and then later pulling some "strings" with Baptist friends of his from Morris.

Travels Abroad

In 1910, Abraham, Helena and daughter Lena travelled to Kansas and Nebraska together. They presumably visited family in both states. Abraham travelled to Nebraska a number of times to minister in the KG church there and told many hilarious stories of his adventures in America. Once he was left standing at the church doors with no place to go for dinner. Everyone had assumed he had somewhere else to go. So he simply walked to the nearest neighbour and was welcomed in for dinner with them.

At another dinner adventure, he ate a number of pieces of chicken and was encouraged by his hostess to eat more. Soon his plate was full of bones. The tablecloth was beautiful and he didn't know where to leave them. Just then the lady of the home spilled gravy all over the table. To allay her embarrassment, he grabbed the empty gravy dish and threw in his chicken bones saying that now at least he had a place to put them. Laughter ensued and dinner continued.

Flu Epidemic

During the winter of 1918-1919 Spanish influenza hit virtually every family in the Rosenort-Rosenhoff area. Dr. Ross gave out a serum to protect people from it but it didn't seem to take proper effect. Abraham and P.U. Brandt seemed to have high immunity and worked alongside Helena changing bed sheets and bathing foreheads to battle the bug. Abraham and Mr. Brandt also made rounds at all the farms and tended to the daily chores such as milking and feeding the livestock when the other men were all sick in their beds. It was a tragic time since many lives were lost and made especially difficult because bodies of loved ones were put out in sheds to freeze until the rest of the family was well enough to hold a funeral.

Personal Life

Abraham Eidse is remembered for his striking blue-eyes set off by his white hair, high, large cheekbones, mustache and white full beard. He stood about 5'10''. During the 1900's he wore dark three piece woolen suits brightened with a golden pocketwatch and chain and when outside covered his hair with a grey cap. He enjoyed story-telling and practiced and honed this art on Sunday afternoons when he and his wife received company. He loved little children and spent time with his grandchildren teasing them and swinging with them. Abraham enjoyed his devotional life. He read the Bible before breakfast, sang some songs with Helena and then would pray aloud in German, though silent prayer was the norm. Table grace was also verbalized. This left a deep impression on their children and grandchildren.

Retirement and Death

In 1929 Helena and Abraham celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary together with many friends and family at the Rosenhoff South School. It was a rare occasion since very few couples spent that many years together at that time. The grandchildren recited poems nervously and then the large gathering of people shared faspa together.

Abraham suffered from a blood disorder (anemia or leukemia) for many years and in spring of 1930 was beginning to become very ill. Even on a very warm day he would be all bundled up in a wool cap with ear flaps, a heavy coat and overshoes because he felt so cold. His sons Dave and Cornie took him by car to seek treatment for his illness at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota but his illness was too advanced and he returned home with his sons. He died later that summer on July 16, 1930 in his home reaching the age of 73 years.

Page Still Under Construction: JUSTINA BARTEL EIDSE ... life story still to follow

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Last Updated February 18, 2000 by Lorilee Scharfenberg