Thursday, November 20, 2008

Henry Neff, Sr.

While the "Neff" name is very common in Elkhart and Kosciusko Counties of Indiana, Henry Neff, Sr. was the father of one family of Neffs noted for its number of preachers given to the church.

Henry was born in Botetourt County, Virginia in April 1798. He was married there to Anna Frantz and moved to southern Indiana about 1833. In 1840 he moved to Elkhart County where he raised a family of six sons and three daughters. Henry had been elected to the ministry in Virginia but took a great interest in the work of the church in Indiana.

Henry worked with Elder John Leatherman in the oversight of the Turkey Creek church where he did much to build up the church. When the Union Center congregation was organized in 1859 from the Turkey Creek church, Elder Henry Neff, Sr. had charge working with John Anglemyer and John Burkholder as ministers.

A large brick church building was built at Union Center in 1867. It was here that Henry died suddenly on November 20, 1868 just a few minutes after preaching a sermon.

Two of Henry's sons became ministers in the Church of the Brethren as well as his three son-in-laws and a number of grandsons.

Source: History of the Church of the Brethren in Indiana, 1952