1801 Joseph Rohrer was born near Mountville, West Hempfield, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania in October, 1801. Joseph Rohrer was the son of David Rohrer, son of emigrant John Rohrer (1700-1772). Joseph Rohrer was first cousin to Mennonite Bishop Abraham Rohrer (1788-1878) of Medina County, Ohio.  Family tradition (Metzler) indicated that Joseph's father, John Rohrer, had settled on a grant of land in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and that Joseph Rohrer was born there. 1828 Mary Forry and Joseph Rohrer were married in 1828.  1828 Two years before Joseph Rohrer and Mary moved to Canton, Ohio, the Ohio-Erie Canal opened linking Lake Erie with Massillon (about 10 miles east of Canton), which became known as the "Port of Massillon," with wheat being its principal export. Immense wagons of grain crowded the streets as farmers brought in their crops to be loaded on the canal barges or stored for later marketing. The opening of the canal was a boon to farmers and may have influenced the Rohrer family's decision to move to Canton, Ohio, although the opening was viewed by some as an economic and political blow to Canton. Map Ohio Erie canal. 1830 Joseph Rohrer lived in West Hempfield, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania in a household with Males: one age 0-5 (son Joseph), one age 15-19, one age 20-30 (Joseph), one age 70-80 (father David Rohrer) and Females: one age 5-10 and two age 20-30.  1830 Joseph Rohrer and family moved from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania to two miles east of Canton, Stark County, Ohio, where they lived for 20 years.  1830 The real estate and personal property tax lists for Canton and Plain Twp's in Stark County, Ohio listed Joseph Rohrer with 4 horses ($160) and 3 cows ($24) on 155 acres on the NW (all other tax records list the SW) part of section 36. Joseph's cousin Isaac Rohrer was also listed. 1830 Joseph Rohrer was ordained as the first preacher of the Rowland Mennonite Church just east of Canton, Ohio.  The church was on Tuscarawas Road in Canton Twp, Stark County, Ohio. One block north is Plain Twp, where tax records and census records indicate that Joseph lived. The first church members were Jacob Rowland and his wife, Mrs. David Schriver, Mrs. Henry Hull, and Christian Wengard and his wife. The original log church was torn down and replaced in 1875 by the present (still there in 2005) brick church.  Photo Rowland Church, Canton, Ohio, where Joseph Rohrer preached c 1830 (2005). Photo Rowland Cemetery, Canton, Ohio, behind the church where Joseph Rohrer preached c 1830 (2005). 1831 On 1 March, Joseph Rohrer [Rohrar] of St. Joseph County, Indiana, made 14 purchases of 80 acres each in sections 37 and 38 of St. Joseph County, Indiana (adjacent to Elkhart County), all deeded by President Andrew Jackson. Perhaps Joseph Rohrer went to Indiana in 1831 and bought land, and then went back to Ohio until moving to Indiana with the family permanently in 1850. I have seen no evidence that they ever lived on these lots. 1835 Joseph Rohrer was taxed for 5 horses and 9 cows and land in Plain Twp, Stark County, Ohio in the southwest part of section 36 of Twp 11 of Range 8 with 154.5 acres valued at $737. This section 36 appeared on a map of Stark County from about 1865 as owned by J Bowers and adjacent to land owned by Shirk, Hoffman, Beese, Becher, and Souder. The land appears to be just across the street (perhaps a bit east) from the Rowland church. Joseph also owned town lots 157-59 in Canton, Stark County, Ohio. Copy Tax record of Joseph Rohrer, Stark County, Ohio, 1835. 1837 On 15 March, Joseph Rohrer of St. Joseph County, Indiana purchased 80 acres in Twp 37 of St. Joseph County, Indiana and 80 acres in Twp 36 southwest of Goshen, Elkhart County, Indiana . The farm was 6 miles southwest of Goshen in Harrison Twp, Elkhart Indiana where they purchased a 155 acre farm known as the "Maurana" farm of Dr. M.L. Weldy for $1.33 per acre. Jos. Rohrer (age 47) was listed as a "first settler" in Elkhart, Indiana with date of immigration 1832 as were Mrs. Rohrer (age 63), John Rohrer (age 53), and Mrs. Rohrer (age 52), all of Ohio and all members of the Elkhart Pioneer Society.  Photocopy 1837 Joseph Rohrer deed for 80 acres southwest of Goshen, Indiana. 1837 On 20 March, Joseph Rohrer of St. Joseph County, Indiana purchased 7 more lots, each of 80 acres, in section 37 of Elkhart County. All were deeded by President Martin van Buren. Based on records below, the family still lived in Ohio at this time, so this may have been Joseph Rohrer's second trip to Indiana (after the 1831 trip) to purchase land.  1840 Joseph Rohrer (age 30-40) lived with 4 other males ages 0-5 (Henry), 5-10 (Samuel), 10-15 (son Joseph), and 20-30; two females age 0-5 (Mary and Susanna) and one female age 5-10 (Martha), and a female age 40-50 (wife Mary) in Plain Twp, Stark County, Ohio.  1844 Joseph Rohrer was taxed for 4 horses and 14 cows in Plain Twp, Stark County, Ohio. 1845 John Rohrer of Wayne County, Ohio; Isaac and his wife Mary Rohrer of Stark County Ohio; and Joseph Rohrer of Stark County, Ohio were represented by their attorney David Rohrer of Hancock County, Ohio as four children of Mary Rohrer, deceased, who was daughter of Jacob Sherrek senior, regarding the estate of Jacob Sherreck, the younger.  1845 Joseph Rohrer was taxed for 4 horses, 10 cows, a house on a 60 acre lot and a 152 acre lot in the SW part of section 36 in Plain Twp, Stark County, Ohio. 1847 On 2 Sep, Joseph Rohrer was mentioned as owning 100 acres in section 36, township 11, range 8 (Stark County, Ohio) in the Ohio Repository. 1848 The first Mennonite settlers of Elkhart County worshiped in the log meetinghouse on the farm of Bishop Martin Hoover, where Joseph Rohrer would move in about 1850.  1849 Joseph Rohrer was taxed for a house on a 60 acre lot (NW) and a 152 acre lot (SW) in section 36 in Plain Twp, Stark County, Ohio. 1850 Joseph Rohrer (age 49, born Pennsylvania), lived in Plain Twp, Stark County, Ohio . He was a farmer with estate valued at $8320. He lived with Mary Rohrer (age 50), Joseph Rohrer (age 20, farmer), Henry Rohrer (age 18), Martha Rohrer (age 17), Samuel Rohrer (age 15, farmer), Mary Rohrer (age 13), Susan Rohrer (age 11), Anna Rohrer (age 9), and John Rohrer (age 8), all children were listed as born in Ohio, likely an error for oldest son Joseph, who was likely born in Pennsylvania. 1850 The Rohrer family moved to Indiana in a covered wagon.  Joseph Rohrer moved to Harrison Township in 1850 settling on the farm later owned by Dr. Maurice L and Irene Anna Weldy.  1850 The first Mennonite settlers of Elkhart County, Indiana worshiped in a log meetinghouse on the Rohrer farm.  Joseph Rohrer preached with Bishop Jacob Wisler at the Yellow Creek Mennonite meetinghouse. Jacob Wisler was known as a very earnest preacher who stressed the "strait and narrow" way. Joseph Rohrer became exuberant in preaching, which displeased Bishop Wisler. After some disagreement with Wisler, Joseph Rohrer moved to the nearby Evangelical church (see note below). A photo of the church at Yellow Creek Mennonite Church has been published.  1857 Son Henry Rohrer died and left grandson David. Joseph Rohrer was listed as David's guardian.  1860 Joseph Rohrer [Rhorer](age 59), farmer, and wife Mary Rohrer (age 60) lived in Harrison Twp, Elkhart County, Indiana with Samuel Rohrer (age 25), John Rohrer (age 19), Anna Rohrer (age 17), Elizabeth Rohrer (age 25)(daughter-in-law, wife of deceased son Henry), and (grand-son) David (age 3). Son Joseph Rohrer (age 30) was on the previous page of the census.  1861 Joseph Rohrer and Mary had 8 children and gave each of them an 80 acre farm in Elkhart County, Indiana , or the money equal to a farm, when the children got married. The farm of Joseph Rohrer is shown in section 27 on an 1861 map of Elkhart County, Indiana . David Hoover, John S Detwiler, and John F Rohrer had farms in section 22; George Moyer in section 23; Henry Rohrer and Joseph Rohrer Jr in section 34. Samuel Rohrer and Peter Shamory took money instead of farms. Map 1861 map of Rohrer lots.  Note the land of William S Reed (section 5) and Benjamin Benneville Good (section 5-8) in Union Twp, was nearby. 1870 Joseph Rohrer (age 68) lived in Elkhart Indiana with wife Mary Rohrer (age 70) and Anna Rohrer (age 30, born Ohio) and Anna Myers (age 10, born Indiana).  1874 An atlas of Elkhart County, Indiana showed that Joseph Rohrer still owned the farm of 145 acres [J Rohrer in section 27], while son Joseph J Rohrer owned the nearby farm of 115 acres [JJ Rohrer, section 34], both near the Southwestern post office. J Rohrer also owned tracts in section 22 of Harrison Twp and section 1 of Union Twp. Map 1874 map of Harrison Twp, Elkhart County, Indiana.  1880 Joseph Rohrer (age 79) lived in Harrison, Elkhart, Indiana. His wife Mary (age 80) was keeping house. Their single daughter Anna Rohrer (age 40, born in Ohio) lived with them. Living with them was Mary Bowers, a single, female, (age 18) servant.  1884 On 5 June, Joseph Rohrer died at age 82y 7m 7d and was buried at Harrison Chapel Cemetery, Goshen, Elkhart County, Indiana . 1885 On 22 November, Mary Rohrer died at age 86y 10d and was buried at Harrison Chapel Cemetery, Goshen, Elkhart County, Indiana . Photo Joseph and Mary Rohrer grave marker.  c 1887 Joseph Rohrer or his son lived a short distance north of South West on the farm that Bishop Martin Hoover had settled in 1845.  1915-20 Platt maps of Harrison Twp, Elkhart County, Indiana shows the farm in section 27, that Joseph Rohrer had owned [see 1874 atlas], was owned by Emanuel and M Rohrer (perhaps grandson Emanuel and wife Mary Roose Rohrer). Map 1915 platt map of Harrison Twp, Elkhart County, Indiana.  Map c1920 platt map of Harrison Twp, Elkhart County, Indiana.  Joseph's preaching style and the politics and history of his church in Indiana are described at a website  which is excerpted here: "Old Order Mennonites, a name applied to certain conservative groups which separated from the Mennonite Church (MC) in the United States and Canada 1872-1901, maintaining the "Old Order" of customs of worship and church life. ... These four groups originated through a reluctance to accept cultural change, and the determination not to adopt the newer agencies for Christian education and evangelism such as the Sunday school, series of evangelistic meetings, and similar new activities and institutions. Jacob Wisler (1808-89), ordained preacher in Columbiana County, Ohio, in 1833, moved to Elkhart County in 1848, and the year after the death of the aged Martin Hoover (c1761-1850) he was ordained bishop by Abraham Rohrer of Medina County, Ohio, the bishop who had ordained Hoover in 1845 just before he migrated to Elkhart County. Wisler, of a conservative turn of mind, was opposed to any change in the life of the church. Joseph Rohrer (1801-84), a preacher of Stark County, Ohio, came to Elkhart County in 1850, and served for some time in the ministry with Wisler. But Wisler did not like the exuberance manifested by Rohrer as he preached, and accused him of having too much of a "Methodist" spirit. Rohrer finally left the church and united with the Evangelical Church, whose house of worship stood one-half mile north of the Yellow Creek Mennonite meetinghouse, eight miles west of Goshen. In 1864 Daniel Brenneman, also a preacher, moved from Ohio to Elkhart County, a man similar in spirit to Joseph Rohrer, and was soon, like Rohrer, more popular than the bishop. Brenneman was happy to preach in English and he did not hesitate to sing a strong bass in the Yellow Creek services, although he knew that Wisler favored the old unison singing. A deacon of the Holdeman congregation, Joseph Holdeman, was also critical of Wisler as well is of a number of other leaders through the years. There was considerable dissatisfaction in the church by 1867, the year when John F. Funk located in Elkhart County. In October 1867 a committee of 16 leaders from Ontario, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Virginia attempted to adjust the difficulties. The first signer of the Committee of Sixteen was Joseph Hagey of Ontario. The next year, 1868, Dman Moyer of Ontario made another effort to iron out the difficulties, and he signed his statement "In the presence of Joseph Hagey." In 1869 Dman Moyer was back again, accompanied by two Ontario and two Ohio Mennonite leaders, and another effort was made to establish permanent peace. In 1870 Bishop John M. Brenneman of Ohio, the strongest leader in the state, came to Elkhart County with the express approval of Bishop Rohrer, who had ordained Wisler and who had served on the Committee of Sixteen in 1867, and Brenneman succeeded in once more effecting peace. But Wisler's dissatisfaction with the Indiana Conference's approval of Sunday schools in 1870 led to fresh trouble in 1871, and in October 1871 a committee of six bishops headed by John M. Brenneman suspended Wisler's bishop function, with the approval of the Yellow Creek congregation. Wisler rejected the decision of the Committee of Six, and on 6 January 1872, the Elkhart County ministers announced to the Yellow Creek congregation that Wisler and his followers, including preachers John Weaver and Christian Bare, were no longer members of the church." "Joseph [Rohrer] was a better than average preacher and consequently was asked to preach most of the funerals. The Bishop of the church became jealous of him and one day after Joseph had given a fine sermon, the Bishop reprimanded him before the Board of Elders by saying that he got too happy while preaching. This disgusted Joseph, so he left the Mennonite Church and joined the Evangelical Church, where he could preach undisturbed and get as happy as he wished. He and his family stayed with the Evangelical Church and that is why he is buried in the Evangelical Cemetery (the cemetery has also been called the "Chapel Cemetery" or the "Evangelical Chapel Cemetery" or the "Harrison Chapel Cemetery"). His wife, five children and several grandchildren are buried there too. (The church building was moved to Elkhart and reportedly still stands there in 1994 and is used for a church.)"  Research notes: Mary Forey's name has also been reported as Maria Furney and Maria Forry. Footnotes [Link] opens the Link in a new tab of your browser.  John Christian Wenger, The Mennonites in Indiana and Michigan, (1961), 321  John Christian Wenger, The Mennonites in Indiana and Michigan, (1961), 321  US census, 1830 (Reel.Page): 0153.639, line 7, [Link]  John Christian Wenger, The Mennonites in Indiana and Michigan, (1961), 321  Thomas A Sherk and James W Sherrick. "Joseph Scherch, Immigrant of 1727, and His Descendants", pp 17-29. Pennsylvania Mennonite Heritage (July, 1990):25  John Christian Wenger, The Mennonites in Indiana and Michigan, (1961), 62,321  William Henry Perrin (ed). History of Stark County, with an Outline Sketch of Ohio. (Baskin & Battey: 1881), 372  Bureau Land management accession 1620-240 to Joseph Rohrer [Rorer], section 30, document 1245  Charles C Chapman. History of Elkhart County Indiana. (1881), 363  I have found no evidence that they lived on these lots  FamilySearch.org, citing US census, 1840, Ohio, Stark, Plain, p 88A, [Link]  Lancaster County Pennsylvania Deed A7-306  Daniel K Cassel. History of the Mennonites. (1888), 159  US census, 1850 (Reel.Page): 0731.103, family 314, [Link]  FamilySearch.org, citing US census, 1850, [Link]  daughter Susan's obituary  William Henry Perrin (ed). History of Stark County, with an Outline Sketch of Ohio. (Baskin & Battey: 1881), 372  John Christian Wenger, The Mennonites in Indiana and Michigan, (1961), 62  John Christian Wenger, The Mennonites in Indiana and Michigan, (1961), 321  John Christian Wenger, The Mennonites in Indiana and Michigan, (1961), 256  www.rootsweb.com/~inelkhar/CRIMP/elkhpror.txt cites film 32, Henry Rohrer, 59 B-18, David - MH. - Joseph Rohrer Guardian  US census, 1860 (Reel.Page): 256.286, family 808, [Link]  See 1831 land purchase and deed  Joseph Nash. Map of Elkhart County, Indiana. (Philadelphia, Samuel Geil, 1861)  Joseph Nash. Map of Elkhart County, Indiana. (Philadelphia, Samuel Geil, 1861), photo 2010, Library of Congress, Robert Wolfe  US census, 1870 (Reel.Page): 0311.403, family 228, [Link]  FamilySearch.org, citing US census, 1870, [Link]  Higgins, Belden & Co. An Ilustrated Historical Atlas of Elkhart County, Indiana. (Chicago: 1874), 67  US census, 1880 (Reel.Page): 0275.411, family 188, [Link]  findagrave.com Memorial 69716193, [Link]  findagrave.com Memorial 69716225, [Link]  Robert Wolfe. (2009)  perhaps as shown in the 1874 atlas  George Ogle & Co. Standard Atlas of Elkhart County, Indiana. (1915), 63  Website, Indiana County Platt Books, Vol 2 d - g, (Sidwell Studio: c 1920), [Link]  Website, Wenger, John C. "Old Order Mennonites." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online (2002), [Link]  Donald M. Rohrer. "Research". The Elkhart Truth (October 1989), 11-12
Janet and Robert Wolfe Genealogy 2013/05/19
Go To Genealogy Page for Joseph Rohrer
Go To Genealogy Page for Mary Forrey
Go To Rohrer Name List
Go To Forrey Name List
Go To Home Page for Janet and Robert Wolfe Genealogy
Click here to send us an email with comments or corrections about this page.