Ukraine, pt 3: Gerhard & Katharina Rempel Willems

 Dear Relatives,           Our great-grandfather, Gerhard Willems, was born in Holland (or Prussia) on Oct. 3, 1820.  He was married to Katharina Rempel in 1841.  They spent some years farming in Russia.  Great-grandmother died in Russia in 1875 at the age of 52. [1]  Gerhard Willems (1820-1900) and Katharina Rempel Willems (1823-1875) are my paternal great-great-grandparents.  … Continue reading Ukraine, pt 3: Gerhard & Katharina Rempel Willems


Ukraine is not just a place on the map to me; it is a land that carries deep, personal meaning. My Grandmother Willems was born in southern Ukraine, in a small Mennonite village on the east bank of the Dnieper River about 200 miles from where that river’s waters empty into the Black Sea. Her … Continue reading Ukraine

Chapter 12: Reedley

Promised Land Oregon seems to have attracted the first M.B. families moving westward, but California soon became the “promised land” for most Mennonite Brethren.  The first church to be organized was the Reedley congregation in 1905. This church, beginning with fourteen charter members, has grown to be not only the largest Mennonite congregation in California, … Continue reading Chapter 12: Reedley

Chapter 10 (con’t): The Zimmermann Clock

Grandma’s Clock              The clock in the photo above hung on the wall in the dining room of my grandparents' house on Academy Way in Dinuba, California. Each morning Grandpa Willems would lovingly wind it, pulling each of the brass weights up to the top so they could begin their daily descent, the time weights … Continue reading Chapter 10 (con’t): The Zimmermann Clock