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Mennonite Memories of Pelee Island, Ontario, 1925-1950
Essex-Kent Mennonite Heritage Centre
Leamington , Ontario


   The first Pelee Mennonite
families arrived via
Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario,
where they were hosted by the
Old Order and Amish
Mennonites after arriving in
Canada in 1924. Here they
were cared for over the fall
and winter months. In spring,

George Cruikshank, an
American businessman from
Ohio, came to the Kitchener-
Waterloo area. He had heard
that people with a farming
background had arrived there
from Ukraine. In response to
his invitation, six families
seized the opportunity to
sharecrop Cruikshank's Pelee

Island farms.
   These first families were
soon joined by other
Mennonites from Ukraine and
Western Canada. By 1928,
their immigrant community
reached 114 members, forming
over 10 percent of the
Island's population at the
time. In the 1940s, the

desire for their children to
have Mennonite friends and
spouses, among other reasons,
prompted many families to
relocate to Leamington and
other communities on the
Ontario mainland.
   The first Island worship
service took place in the
Anna Wiebe home on Henderson

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