Brethren in Christ Cemetery

My Trip +

Ontario Historical Plaque at Bretheren in Christ Cemetery, Pelham (photo: Alan L. Brown, August 2004) Photo used with permission from the website




General Information

The Brethren in Christ were a sect who drew their membership from Old Older Mennonites, Church of the Brethren, and Lutherans of Pennsylvania Dutch stock. They arrived in the Short Hills in the late 1700s, probably from Lancaster County in Pennsylvania, in search of arable land to establish their farms and communities, and many settled here in Niagara and in the Kitchener-Waterloo region of Ontario. A plaque on the site reads,

"A distinctive religious denomination similar in doctrine and practice to Mennonite assemblies, the Brethren in Christ Church emerged in Pennsylvania during the 1770s. It was established in Upper Canada in 1788 when Johannes Wenger (John Winger), who later became a bishop and Jacob Sider formed a congregation here in the Short Hills. The denomination advocated adult conversion and baptism, and rejected secular pleasures, fashionable dress and political and military involvement. A small, tightly knit religious group because of these strongly-held views, the Brethren in Christ Church grew slowly, drawing its members, popularly known as Tunkers, primarily from German-speaking rural communities. By the end of the 19th century, however, it was firmly established in Welland, York, Waterloo and Simcoe Counties."

Further Information

Epp, Frank H. 1971. Interview with Bishop Swaim of the Brethern in Christ. Mennonite Reporter, November 1, 1971, pages 7, 8 and 12 (reprinted in Ontario Mennonite History: The Newsletter of the Mennonite Historical Society of Ontario 23(2): 6-8 (November 2005). Available online at URL

Ontario Historical Plaques website.


209 Metler Road
Pelham, Ontario

GPS Co-ordinates

Latitude: 43.062213548939404
Longitude: -79.30468082427978