|1814 -- Ephraim Hunsberger, founder, was born Nov. 18 near Bally, Pa. His parents were Abraham and Elizabeth (Moyer) Hunsberger. He was taught English, German, and the carriage-making trade by his father. The family were members of Hereford Mennonite Church, Daily, Pa. On Dec. 25, 1838, Ephraim married Esther Bechtel.|
|1847 -- Controversy over doctrines and practices caused a schism in the church. The Hunsbergers, along with the liberal-minded pastor and leader, John H. Oberholtzer, and followers, were excommunicated from the Franconia Conference.|
|1849 -- October 18, at age of 35, Ephraim Hunsberger was chosen by lot, as assistant to Rev. Christian Clemmer of his home church.|
|1851 -- Because of economic depression in Eastern Pa., many Mennonite families migrated to the Northwest Territory, including Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and Illinois. Four families (part of the rebel branch rejected by the church) moved to Ohio to settle in the Holmes Brook Valley west of Wadsworth Center; Jonah C. and Esther Nice, Henry and Levina Nice, John and Katherine Alder- fer and Jacob and Lydia Oberholzer. During the summer of '51, Ephraim and his father visited the latter's aunt, Mrs. John Kindig of Montville Township and their Wadsworth friends. They held services for them in the homes and at the school house which was located at intersection of Rt. 97 and Wadsworth Road. These meetings encouraged the brethren to extend a call to Ephraim.|
|1852 -- October 10, Ephraim Hunsberger was ordained as Bishop in the Upper Milford Church, Pa., by Rev. John H. Oberholtzer, in preparation for organizing a church in Wadsworth. In the fall1 Ephraim and his family of seven children moved to a farm home west of Wadsworth Center on our present College Street. Worship services were begun immediately in the Holmes Brook School.|
|1853 -- October 9, Wadsworth Mennonite Church founded, located a mile and a quarter from town, on Diagonal Road (now Wadsworth Road).|
|1861 -- Ephraim's wife passed away in March leaving him with 10 children. A year later he married Elizabeth Overholt of Wadsworth. To this union three more children were born. (Willard Hunsberger's father, Frank, a son of this marriage, lived to be nearly 104).|
To summarize Rev. Hunsberger's 40 year ministry:
He was a faithful man of God, for he gave himself, his time
and his talents to the work to which God had called him;
in living, unselfish service, devoted to the highest
interest of the congregation, its outreach and the comm-
unity in general. The church came to hold a conspicuous
place in the Mennonite history of North America. Rev.
Hunsberger is credited with establishing the first
Mennonite Sunday school in Ohio. Through his influence
six sess ons of the Triennial General Conference of
Mennonites (1861-1878) were held here. He was the
central figure in the planning and establishing the first
Mennonite leadership training school in America, the
Wadsworth Institute, dedicated in 1867, located on College
St. (site of Isham School), which flourished ten years.
During this period the church membership rose to 194.
1892 -- At age 78, Hunsberger found it difficult to please the membership with German sermons; older folks who found it difficult to commune at the old country church moved into town, and others moved away. Membership dwindled to 77, the Sunday School discontinued With the assistance of a young student from Oberlin College, Noah C. Hirschy (who later became his son-in-law) new life came to the church with the move into the center of town where English services and vital changes in church functions were held in the College Street Church.
|1904 -- Rev. Hunsberger died February 21, at age of 89. He was laid to rest in the Diagonal Rd. cemetery (Wadsworth Road).|
|(Material scanned from data summarized by Alice F. Rohr)|