Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Amos Peters

One of the stories of Brethren moving their families west tells of a special train planned entirely for taking emigrating families from northern Indiana to North Dakota in 1894. The movement had assumed large proportions and a colony of Brethren in North Dakota was definitely assured.

Amos Peters was born into a Brethren family in Franklin County, Virginia, where he grew into manhood. He was drafted into the Confederate army during the Civil War, but deserted and surrendered to Union authorities. After the war he settled near Walkerton, Indiana where he married Barbara Blocher in 1867. He joined the Pine Creek congregation and was elected a minister in 1875 and an elder in 1888. Through an acquaintance with Max Bass of the Great Northern Railroad, Peters was persuaded in 1894 to lead a group of Brethren to North Dakota to begin a settlement.

Peters traveled from community to community in the midwest, telling farmers of the wonderful opportunities that awaited them in the northwest. He visited the homes of those he thought he could interest, took a meal with them, or perhaps stayed overnight. And because he was a poor man in a new country, the people he approached placed confidence in him. In the smaller towns, public meetings were called for the purpose of informing large numbers of people about North Dakota.

By 1894 a new church and cemetary had been built in Zion, North Dakota, and stories of the church activities were circulating in great detail among Indiana farmers who were considering moving.

In addition, to leading 350 Brethren on a special train to North Dakota in 1894, Peters would later assist in establishing Brethren settlements in the Wenatchee Valley of Washington State.

Sources: Planting the Faith in a New Land
Preaching in a Tavern,
Brethren Encyclopedia "Peters, Amos"