Autographic Account of the Colony




The Nebraska Pennsvlvania Dutch Colonv as a Religious Legacy
An Autocritographic Account
This paper is an effort to understand how the spiritual life of the Nebraska Pennsylvania Dutch Colony, my mother’s family, w•as affected by’ the experience of the Great Plains. Also, it is about my own religious life in that I am a product of the ‘”Nebraska Colony.- It derives from a process of self-exploration enabled and made credible by the development of autobiographics as a theoretical perspective, Using phenomenological categories I will explore ways in which my own experiences derive from and help to elucidate the ongoing religious impact of this 2Toup or German Plains settlers The dominant motif is the way in which mvthofouies and social constructions of space have been modified by the Plains experience. But in the process of writing it has emerged that this is verv much a storv about the contrast of personalities between rnv Yd great-crandfather Gotlieb and rn_v great-grandmother Margaret and the in which thcsc personality types also stand as spatial metaphors. Gottlieb was stem and opposed to laughter: he represents a closed and restrictive construction of space. IVIargaret was accepting, playful and full of laugh_ter. she represents an open and explorin2 construction of spacc (Indeed, a slylc of spirituality more indicative of the Plains )
Margaret and Gottlieb S s story begins in Wurttemberu Germanv when t-vv’0 of their relatives, brothers John and Gottlieb Heim, spent 1 803 in prison For refusin2 on religious grounds, conscription into Napoleon’s amies. Accounts name them, their rclaEives and friends as “Reformed’* Lutherans and they appear in the records of German Lutheran ( Jivangelische) Churches.” We Inust take the notation “reforrncd” to indicate not the influence of Calvinism, but Anabaptists and the German popuiar movements loosely related to the Wesleyan revivals. Their pastor was Rev. Dr. Frederick Conrad Haller, a Pietist of Dunker persuasion. 2 It IS not said what ecclesiastical bodv ordained him, or if
he was connected with the family-s church in Moehringen_ But    do know that [aller was exiled for his Pietism. The two brothers were released in 1 804 on the understanding that they too w-ould leave Germany Their names appear, toeether with a few other
Moehringen families, on the ship’s register of the iVfargare1 arriving in Philadelphia September 191 1804. 4 Traveling overland bv foot the two bachelors, accompanied by nine families, made their way to Germantown, wintered there and reconnected with Dr Haller-‘ In the spnng the company made its way westward, then north along the
Susquehanna River, settling in what they named Blooming Grave (north and east of
Williamsport) in central Pennsylvania.’          1806 two more families joined the colon}
Emigration was curtailed after 1806. But in 1817 John returned to Germanv “bringinc out’ – twelve more families. Thev all settled in Blooming Grove.
              My ancestors. Gottlieb and Margaret (Staiger) Heim, were members of this           7
migration. Earlv settlement was both arduous and dangerous. Even so, the narratives indicate that these people adapted quite happily to the wilderness of the central
Pennsylvania mountains. In Blooming Grove they believed they had found their goal. -a place to form a community where they could have their own association and religion.
segregated from the outside world and worldliness.’
But in 1 874, driven by the growing scarcity of land in PA, Jacob G. , one of Maruaret and Gottlieb’s seven children, and his           Regina Heim (my great-great grandparents) sold their farm on Loyalsock Creek and left the Blooming Grove community in Pennsylvania to pioneer in Nebraska. They bought land in the southeast

corner of the new state, just north of what was then called Dawson’s &lill. From 1879 to i 886 some thirteen additional Families came from the Blooming Grove colony and from relatives in Bucyrus, Ohio All were related. To insiders the group is “[he Pennsylvania Colony of Nebraska or, colloquiallv, the Nebraska Pennsylvania Dutch Colonv. In
Dawson folklore they were knov€n as ‘ •the German Colanv
Articulating the religious leeacy’ of these devout people is no easy task. Their religious history encompasses two continents, t’vvo distinct migrations and over two centuries of change and development. It is a story that grows out of the  and political battles of the Retormauon merging into the .American mythic construct of huddled masses yearning for utopian religious freedom in America’s eastern piedmont and törests. It is a story illustrating the impact of the Great Plains pioneering experience on religious hfé_ It is also a storv which raises important questions about the relationship
of the health of Plains religious institutions to the subsequent flourishing and decline of the Midland’s Jeff&rsopuan experience of small town life and economics. And finally. it is a story’ which raises questions about an adequate definition of what constitutes a
religious legacy, or identilv, and just how a legacv can be measured
Colooy stories agree that carly generations exceptionally devout In dailv personal prayer, bible reading and regular worship attendance. These patterns were consistent at least throuuh the first Plains generation. However, data does not exist for the church affiliation and attendance, or the personal piety, of these people’s descendants.
Moreover, based on my personal knowledge. would suspect that the generation is, consonant with national trends, much less ngorous in such measures of spiritual practice than were their ancestors. Thus, if personal devotional practices were to be the measure we would have to judge this to be, yyith possible individual exceptions. a religious legacy that failed.
Neither can the continuance of a specific denominational affiliation or doctnne be used to measure these people’s lasting spiritual mark, “I”he Dunkard Church of Blooming
Grove had no officially organized structure or denominational affiliation, – sent no representatives to conferences and did not seek to reproduce itself elsewhere. The adoption of the Bethel Evangelical’ > Church in Dawson as the new – -mother church” was as much a marnage of convenience and happenstance as it was the affirmation of a the01011ically compatible organization. ‘I’hc Colony displays great fluidity in relation to theology (see below). ‘ •so as the old Dunker fathers gradually passed awav. and not havnng provided the means for keeping the young people the followers e now joined other conoregauons, mostlv the Baptists and Evangelicals. “l”his statement, if true ig 942. is even more so today. And the list of adopted denominations has erosvn to includc sozne that ysere anathema to our early ancestors since some have become
Catholics. Theological doctrine will not work as a measure of their religious legacv Most of the v,Titten accounts derive from the mid-2(YÄ centurv. [t is clear that bv this time an identity of pride had grown up around the nun-Iber of c/ergv produced both in Blooming Grove and Dawson. My grandfather’s account makes much of his great grandfather Gottlieb’s election, after the death ot- Dr. Haller, as \eader of the Dunkard congregation.- Other accounts chronicle the succeeding spiritual leaders, with special note being given to one Christian “Christlv” Heim_ A 1972 historical review for the Dawson Bethel Church lists seven ordained clergy and missionary couples as havine come from that congregation. Given the small si7C of this colony, these are impressive
numbers. Yet, because the Dunkard Church had (beyond Dr. Haller) no formally trained or ordained clev=ö’ there is a way in which this clergy legacy is almost a denial of their
Vision of a non-hierarchical spiritual life oriented for and led by common folk
Since many of the traditional means of talking about religious traditions do no€ work well in this instance, I will instead            together several postmodernist interpretive frames. The 20al is to try to find this hard to define religious legacv In the phenomenological categones of religious studies. Martha Minow has pointed out that identities, legacies, are never fixed artifacts, but, always works in progress. reinventine themselves as new circumstances demand new configurations of in our
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lives. The demarcation of legacies IS as much about our shifting politics and needs as it is about a fixed something those of the past intended to bequeath to us. Given this basic understanding of identity as a process rather than a given, both narrative theor-v• and autobiographics become useful Interpretive frames for this project. Beyond barebones historica2 data such as church records and genealogical tables, what these people have left us are stories (esp. reminiscences), in styles varvinæ From diaaes and letters. to oral legends (many fixed in print) and autobiographies. The important and Slmpie point that a people’s perceived reality, or sense of self-identity. is wrapped up in the rhetoric and constructs they use to tell their stones can be drawn from vartous narrative theories.
The rhetorical structure of a story bccomes the raw and plastic material from which succeeding oenerations draw to shape and mold various truths about their inherited legacy and identity. The very style of reminiscence comes close to forcing us to find the significance of these tales not in theirfåctua/ data,-L but in their assumed structures or meaningfulness. George Lindbeck calls this structure the • •grammar” of the story and it is

as important in revealing underlying meaning_ in narratives as the content– (one of my
uncles closes the introduction to his autobiography with these very postmodem words 11M] y disclaimer is to say that this autobiography contains occasions, things
and happenings as I remember them and choose to relate them. Any reader is free to disagree with anv of the dates,      happenings, etc. that are contained herein as they wish even though it won’t change my ideas.
opinions and beliefs.
The stories of this colony rarely contain any hint of a critical historical awareness about constructing plausibility for what may have really happened. Exceptions are so rare that when they do occur they leap out of the text.” together with Lindbeck 3 s narrative theory I also will use a free appropriation of various feminist theoretical insights, most notablv the feminist constn_lct of embodic’d

spiritualitv_– MV own theoretical frame of reference as a scholar of religion IS nothing if not eclectic. or poly’-theoretical. as the previous statements indicate. Autobiographies,’
autecntography is, at least in part, noted as a perspective w’hich seeks to build • ‘bridges” across theories by uniting them in one’s irrsonal academic story’. But more important! v
this theoretical perspective allows me as a                  to acknowledge that / am an
embodiment of the Iwacv of this colonv. Its story IS one of several that contribute various matcriais to my ever  understanding of self and my own pliant
relationship to the past embodied in these ancestors. A point of view for tny identity is
contained in my experience of these people through their stories. But current theorv
indicate.s that points of view do not stand still. Thus, I shift back and forth from stances within and without this colony’s legacy.” If the metaphor of-itinerancy*           used to understand my life, it can be viewed as a constant migration from one positional stance to another. From each of these metaphorically geographic “locations” thc -‘terrain’ provided by my family story        appear différently and provide vary•ine information for completing the “landscape” of my self-identity. My story and the rhetorical constructs bv which [ tell it, the sense I make of it, will reveal important ‘ ‘sightings”      of the leuacv mv ancestors have left behind. And this will be particularly true if I can demonstrate that my understanding and appropriation of the story is not atypical.
Space to Play
Gottlieb Heim (my 3rd great-grandfather) was a very stem man who left a strong mark on succeeding oenerations. He held enough respect in the Bioomin{2 Grove community to be chosen to succeed Dr. Haller as spiritual leader:’ And the stories akso portray him as very much aware of space. was the first to realize that familv growth required expansion beyond the immediate confines oi Blooming Grove. There was at one timc a Grandfäthcr ‘s Path leading to a headland above Lovalsock Creek from -ø•-hich he surveyed the world and communed with his Creator_ was also ‘ •a verv strict and very religious” person. find it curious that ‘-strict” and -religious” together in this account. In my experience the avo words rarely combined. Religion, “church.” vvas about play and fun. great-grandfather Gottl ieh saw things differentlv. He believed that jokes, laughter, and frivoiity were out of bounds for anv one senous about God His character in this regard is caught in this vignette. On a verv cold winter’s dav in Pennsykvania, a workman standing in the barn waiting to begin thc day’s tasks began to jump and run in p!ace, attempting to keep warm. Gottlieb, ‘-gruffly” said, “If you want to dance. go outside’ He approved of no “merriment,” even “mild torm[s] His religious view             world enclosed and restricted space. Mernmenl took place

‘outside.” Religion required “confinement,” rigidly maintained boundary markers.
Margaret was of a completely different disposition and could laugh until tears rolled down her cheeks. She had to go and visit her adult children (without Gottlieb in tow) in their homes to be free to laugh and joke. Laughter in Gottlieb and Margaret’s home when the children were growing up had to take place when Gottlieb was away. The story breathes an unheard sigh of relief that for some period of time he was often away preparinu the rev,’ farm on Loyalsock. She and the children could then lauæh and joke and plav. The ironv of the construction of space is interesting. Gottfieb is out, exploring, traversinu mountnins and trails; yet he is closed and restricted in inner space Margaret and the children are confined to the space of the house, yct within its ualls they explore vast vistas of joy and happiness.-
Oral histories, conveyed bv both my mother and uncle, indicate that the view of religion and life as smct seriousness vva.s a dominant reality in the colony at least through my grandfather’s generation. But in my story, and, I think _ that of my colony peers- the
Margarel view- of life has finally won out
One of the curious peces to the telling of any         stones are the stones that arc not told, at least not in print. I have uncovered several, but one is important in showing how playtülness has come to be seen as compatible with rehuious life, at least for some members of my family. The stories of my  Richard-s role as a minister are marked by a rhetoric of sanctity. Yet the story I remember heaßnu about him is that as a mischievous little brother, when suitors would come to call on his older sister Adah, he would somehow manage to arrange selections Qt’ her underwear on the

floor parlor for these young men to meditate on while waiting for her to come down. Decades later when I served a former EUB church in the Nebraska Panhandle, which he had served as district superintendent, members there still remembered him as a verv rascally clergyman who, among other things, had always carned a rifle in the window of his pick-up so as to be able to take advantage of any game that presented itself. While the hunting IS Gofilieb-like, the failure to observe the standards of appropriate decorum for clergy is NO”I” Gottlieb-like_ It has been the – •unofficial Uncle Richard who creates a legacy for rne and, believe, mv cousins.
For myself there was always a seamless flow from church to play that took place most Sundays, at church dinners and picnics (and sometimes during church services although that could brine out the Gottlieb in any parente ). There was no real disj unction In experience from the, yes, senousness of the worship service. to the fnvo]itv and deep fun of social interaction that took place In and around all things church

I would suggest that the enabling of such a flowering of joyous fun is a reflection of the nurtured community lite present in the small Plains towns of the later 19 th and earlv 20 1 ” centuries. Play develops naturally in the context of creativity and curiosity. I am struck by the inventiveness and resourcefulness [Dawson displayed in terms of providing a full range of entertainment and cultural activities. If a mass media culture has a tendency to make us less creative and cunous-” then one of the values embodied in small Plains culture has been the ability to teach ourseives to play. This is not sav that play did not take place in Pennsylvania. It is to sav that the open geography of Plains life was conducivc to something natural In all humans, exploration of vast spaces in play. Although I rarely wandered far from home in play, I was always aware of the
vastness geography surrounding me. I looked up to an endless Plains sky and the sensations of far distant horizons, The geography of the plains provided vast metaphorical geographies for the exuberant release and exploration of play as an essential part of living 9 All of this is ditftrent from my expencnces of the geography of the Pennsylvania mountains where those geographic features provide a sense of being
enclosed, rather than unbounded
I believe that am most strongly marked by the legacv of Margaret. I first expenenced this legacv in the plavful ness and mischievousness of my unc les. tvly teaching of rchgion is marked by playfulness of word and concept. the belief that God laughs and enjoys laughing even during the most serious of discussions, sense of God is most ardently imprinted on me in a storv about mv grandfather, Melvin Heim_ At eight or nine years old, almost every day that the weather allowed made the trek, sorne
two cr three hundrcd yards, from my house to my grandparents’ where rnv grandmother always had homemade cookies. (A skill my mother, at that point in life- had
mystenously failed to acquire.) On this particular day I was ensconced at the kitchen table, glass of milk and cookie in hand. My grandfather, fresh from some fouling task in the barnyard. came in the back door, went into the basement and took off all of his clothes, except for his socks. He then proceeded to scamper from the back porch through
the kitchen and up the stairs. My grandmother, horrified at the impact of his nudity on such an innocent young child. first cried out, “Melvin! We have company’ ‘ MV grandfather, obviously skilled at moral equivocation,  “But it’s onlv Tommy.
Determined to score her point my grandmother continued, • •But what if it had been Mary
‘LizbetW (A neighbor.) With vivid detail [ can recall my grandfather’s white cheeks disappearing up the stairs, his voice crackling with laughter, his eyes sparkling with glee, as he looked back over his shoulder and cal]cd out “Why I’d take off my socks for Marv ‘Lizbeth.i ” At that point my grandmother, who had clearly lost the exchange, attempted to make such ribald humor disappear by pretending it hadn’t happened
What has this to do with GocP This is a man who, as far as I know, never missed church a day in his lifi± except for illness, who taught Sunday school most of his adult years and who carried on the traditions of daily bible reading and personal prayer. This is a man who writes in his autobiography of being guided by God”s voice and of prayers for the saving of his children’s lives after an accidental overdose of morphine. In my late teens and ear}y twenties, after ] had become serious about my faith, Grandpa and I would spend long evenings talking theologv and faith. 4 1 But even at eight, I knew that God mattered as much as anything to this man and to see from him such exuberant joy in dancing naked across the kitchcn has come to be a liberating experience in rnv own relationship with God. It has enabled me to open vast spaces of play in thinking about God and life PlayL among other things, keeps us off balance, keeps us from takine ourselves, and our ideas too seriously. It is vitally important to a healthy theoloey- a heaithy relationship with God and healthy relationships with one another It is a part of the Colony legacy I hope grows and develops.
Constructinu Religious Space on the Plains
The purposes and values we attach to our geography, from lav„ns,• – groves and fields to nations and continents, are socially constructed The land itself is not a neutral but a vehicle of our hopes, dreams and problems and our eftöKts to control these

Our understanding of, and meaningful movement within, the spaces of our physical lives are, in part, built from and for our identities and legacies.
One of the Inost notable aspects of my grandfather’s famiFy history is its mythol(kv of space. This social/ideological construction of geography is first evident in the title: Wes•iward Bound. This ideology provides the overall valorization of structure for the account he writes together with his sister, It is so dominant that even when the family’s movement is not actually westward it is made to fit this overarchine mvthology Back in Pennsylvania, Gottlieb and Jacob G. ‘s forav from Booming Grove to begin a new farm a few miles away on Loyalsock Creek is technicallv east and north, but mv grandfather carefully places this movement within the construct of an ever westward expansion. And this geographic ideology is not only applied to our family, but my grandfather also applies it 10 the entire hunan race reaching back to God’s instructions to Abraham to 20 west and St. Paul to take the Gospel to Europe It is important to note how he has so seamlessly merued the 19 century’ Ptains ideology of westward expansion and AmeHcan Manifest Destiny with both family and bible . 40 Gottlieb and Margaret’s generation did, physically. move west. But that does not seem to have been important In their selfiunderstanding The accounts of the 1 804-17 migrations seem to draw their rhctonc from an }’.’xodus motif. Their utopia “vvas a spiritual homeland where they wished to live simple godly lives free from the interference of the state orthodoxies of Europe. This spiritual grammar is then encoded in acres and farms in Pcnnsylvania that are only incidentally west of Europe.
The experience, and even the anticipation. of the Great Plains changes the underlving grammar of the stories. Thc Pennsvlvania stones are fundamentally marked,

in the earliest phases at least, by a grammar of simplicity and separatism. The arduous povertv of thc 1 804-17 sctt)cment is seen, not as an unfortunate interim, but as of spiritual value in itself. The prosperity of later generations was viewed by the oaginai colonists as breeding a, ‘ worldliness that grieved the older people so much that they often gathered and read the lamentations of Scripture and wept over the dangers that threatened them. If successive generations in Pennsylvania were already slowly changing these original values, the “Nebraska fever quickened it. The plains produced an anticipation of newness, and an expansiveness of experience and expectations that must be understood not only economically, but as a rewriting of the erarnmar of the story. Hats for women: verboten in Pennsylvania, were purchased train trips west and buttons began to be used? 9 The Union Sunday School, the first organized Protestant body in Dawson, was, similar to Pennsylvania, a community affair, but its scope, reflecting the broader expanse of Plains landscapes, encompassed multiple faiihs and non-family members. The formation of the Bethel Evangelical Church is also an expansion beyond the Blooming Grove Dunker traditions.

I grew• up believing that my family had Iono held a deep rejection of all things Cathohc I came to believe that although Catholics vyere good people they were somehow “other The constructed spaces of Dawson seemed to me to emphasize that Catholics lived in a different geography. The Cathoiic school was neatly separated from the pubiic school (read “mostly Protestant”) by a street_ The Catholic Church, St
Mao’s, was on the south side of the Bethel Church – was on the north side of town Peop)e i knew to be Catholic never shared vvith me the familiar spaces of family picnics and church dinners. I not meant to consider a miuratlon to this other religious geography. My mother would like to deny saying it, but when I went off to college ghe told me I could never date a Catholic. So, in reading my Grandfather’s accounts i was surprised to see how the Plains experience had for2ed new horizons on this front as well It was a Catholic neighbor who came to help my great-grandmother Regina before little Mary’s death in 1874?-‘ Another Cathokic neighbor comforted her in the following rnonths. 11 was Catholic neighbors who provided he}p for the first wheat harvest. The local banker’s family, Catholics, were involved in a trans-zenerational friendship with nay familv_ 34 Even my own experience of these, at somc levels, neatly circumscribed geographies, was blur-red in daily experience as Catholic kids used the same school buses as Protestant kids and any differences evaporated in that yellow Inscribed space.
Reliæiously defined space, a boundary of separatism between “us” and “Catholics:- was shifted on family “maps” by both the pioneering experience, and subsequent generations failing to find Plains farms and acres with Impervious borders. My generation has
experienced intermarnage and “conversions” to Catholicism, and hopefully an end to prejudices against such border crossings and changes of citizenship. The Pennsylvania mountains provided a landscape conducive to separatism and a ‘world’ limited to one’s
The expansiveness of the Plains, lacking natural barriers folk could settle into to help service religious boundaries3 has allowed a rethinking and re-experiencinu of those
boundaries in new wavs.
A story that scrvcs as a metaphor for the direct connection of the geozraphic expansiveness of the Great Plains with an experiential expansiveness is that of Marv
O’Donnell From 1875-77 (?) there was a large expanse of open range north of Dawson.
A common cattle herd was kept there with various farmers providing cowhands. My great grandfather, Sam, was one of these. Another herder was an Annie Oakley-type cowgirl named Mary (Y Donnell, who, “could shout and swear, ride and shoot better than anyone else on the prairie. ” Young men would ride out to tease her with obscene remarks and she would drive them otf with her bullwhip, or in one instance with a bullet hole in a
 No doubt such experiences, unfolding across expanses of prairie, enlaraed the spiritual  of good Pennsylvania boys such as Sam forcing a revision, conscious or unconscious, of the inherited script calling for seureeation in protection of a family definition of holiness.
Part of the grammar of space in my grandfather’s story is also evident in the wav in which the land itself comes to carry more expectations. The means of God’s ‘ •fulfillment:- the achievement of this generation’s utopia, has become farms for all tämilv members [his is perhaps most clearly seen as a subtext to the story of my grandfather’s brother, Richard, and his decision to enter the ministry. Their father, Sam, only reluctantly ag_reed to Richard’s entering ministry after demonstrating great disappointment that he would not fulfill his envisioned destiny to take over the western land holdings. God: s blessing is seen in the achievement of the status OF zentlcman fanner and It is a blessing untten in the ample availability of acres and sections of the newly plowed prairies, The spiritual subtext is evident in the pervasive manner in which Church and God frame all farming activities and even the call to ministry is valued less than God’ s provision of farms.
There are numerous means of understanding this. Sociologically immigrant groups characteristically seek a more mainstream economic and social status in successive generations. This clearly happens in my family’s stow _ Alternatively, the geography of the Plains IS simply not easily made 10 serve segregation benveen groups. One must work very hard not to notice what the neighbors are up to and this inevitably leads to “the other” influencing how one thinks about oneseff as well as “the other.” In contrast, in Pennsyl vania the Colony had experienced itself cutoff from “the English”‘ by ridges of mountains. For me, thouuh, cultural anthropology provides the most satisfiincl
perspectives. These people’s symbolic universe is constructed around an ideoi0EY of simple family-fam life God’s best intent for humanity, a life embedded in the soil. In their experience the open eastern Nebraska prairies and the deep black soil beneath the grasses became the te.ü carrying the spiritual values of this dream. The spaces of the Great Plains provided ample Lebensraum for hopes and dreams all of which were uitimately supported by the spiritual geography of God’s role as Creator of such space
Geography as physical space has not continued to work for the generation ] have arbitrarily called the “Diaspora.” As a part of this generation I have been forced to reconfigure the meaning of acres and sections. The geography of the Great Plains has become for me a metaphor because, even if at some points in my            I have toyed with the idea, the traditional small family farm is no longer a viable alternative. What            a physical reality for my grandfather, has become a nostalgic idyll for me. My expenence of Plains geography is best seen in a contrast with my grandfather. For him ‘”west almost always physical, a literal direction into which one can move bodilv. The Heims moved west from Germany to America, from Pennsylvania to Nebraska. His sister and husband “ent to farm in western Nebraska He moved west to retire in Colorado. one of his sons went west to live in Califorma and he even encompasscs one son’s tour of duty with the Army in Korea as part of this westward bound ideology
For me “west” is a figure most vividly portrayed in sunsets. My spiritual construction of geographic space begins with experiences as a boy sitting atop a fence post on the top of our hill watching sunsets. The colors enthralled me, pure joy filled me and I often would sit there singing to God at the top of my lungs. My desire was to “go’ to the ‘ ‘west.” Travel to the colors, or fly through the clouds on the horizon. It was this westward horizon that constantly called me to ‘-come.” 117is may bc somewhat like m v grandfather-s construct of-west.”” But I knew it was not possiWe literally to travel there.
instead those sunsets became a • ‘western” doorway into the creative life ot- the mind and to intellectual and spiritual expioration. This has involved travel, but not always in a westerly direction. For example, I can construct my graduate study in England, although on a map • •east,’- as really being -west.” MV life has become an exploration, a ploneenng, of the “western’ 2 intellectual tradition. That my experience IS not atypical of the Diaspora is shown in the frequent statements that what remains important about the Plains pionccrs are various sets of values that are embodied in the stories of westward movement and seen to continue in present descendants. These embodied values varvfrom work ethic h * to the importance of church. 6J But that is not important. What is important is that the geography understood by thc 1 874 generation as physical Iv embodying their values is now seen by many of their descendants as a metaphor for those values which havc bccn transposed to other physical scttings. Indeed. my grandfather, even w6th the dominant value of geography I have attributed to him, already anticipates this development. In his account of the Bethel Church, he interprets the geography of the
Plains as a geography’ of opportunity and that the Heims have always gone where
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opportunity provided livelihoods for their families. He then applies this construct to the life of the Church. Writing in 1965, he stales:
Let not the Dawson Church be discouraged today. The econormc conditions of the Dawson town . . are such that the young people leave the home church when they get out of high school. They go to other places where they can make a bener living and get better advancement in their line of work. _ There are people in every state in the union, Canada, and some tbrcign countries that have been convened in the Dawson EUB Church So the influence of the Dawson Church has gone forth and is still going tort-h over this great country of ours.61
Here he analogicallv adapts a Plains pioneenng ideology from westward expansiveness to a spiritual legacy.
Religion as Community Space
I nearly a teen before I knew a “Pennsylvania Colony”‘ organization and annual picnic existed To me it was just the “family” picnic. In fact my earliest memories narnc it the “watermelon” picnic from the large horse tank filled with watermelons and ice-cold water. When we had watermelon at home, the German frugality of my mother required eating down to the rind Here, glory of glories, I could get by all day eating only the healt of each piece with no adults cognizant ofmv Sins. Later it became the “pop” picnic when Dr. Harlan Heim provided a similar tank filled with ice and vast quantities and varieties of soda. l, and a seemingly endless sea of
•cousins,” reveled in bacchanalian debauchery trying to out do one another in bouts of drinking prowess. O – cousin Joe Heim, I bekieve, still holds the record: some nineteen
bottles in one afternoon (without throwing up — one of the rules). These were events peopled by wen-known faces, govemed by deeply ingrained, very normal, daily experienced relationships. -rhe community of this time period (1 950 -s — early 60’s) was organic and natural; it did not require the conscious effort to build com.munitv nccessarv at more recent colony events where those of us in the Diaspora generation mav recognize few faces and must pass through the awkwardness of trying to build new relationships, or revisiting long dormant ones, as opposed to simply deepening vibrantly existing ones. And it was a community predicated on what I terrn the .Jefirsonian economics and organization of Great Plains small towns, true of this colony-s experience through the first half of the 20 1h century. This experience of communitv was rooted not only In the easy proximity of small family farms and their attendant impact on the size of the rural population, but ir, a vibrant small town business and social life.
My early assumptions were that church was also a communal expression of the e,xlended familv. I beheved anyone new to church must be a long lost relative who had found her or his way home. The annual fämily picn\c was peopled bv the same persons who peopled the frequent potluck dinners, the Sunday School picnic, the ice cream social.
and the soup suppers. Life, I thought, was to be one endless stream of large numbers of people gathering to eat and play. Bible School was ajovous affair of games, snacks, pack lunches, play and cool projects – but made so because the social relationships were all pre-existing and comfortable. Oh, yes, there were long hours stuck in a pew during worship services, with largely arcane and unintelii2ible stuff going om while I nibbled Cheerios, read the Sunday School papers, or sometimes tried to escape. But bits and pieces of church soaked in. After listening to adults repeat the I,ord’s Prayer so many 20
times, you simply remember it yourself. Phrases seeped into my symbolic universe such as “Father, Son and Holv Ghost,” or “Holy. Holy, Holy, Lord God Ah-nighty
Eventually, peer pressure led me to want to be a candle lighter and later an usher. M v mother said that I would only be asked to light candles when Bernice Georgi, the woman in charge, could see that sat quietly through the whole service. (God should reward me for my efforts, often failed, to impress her wfth my sitting skills’) God resided over all of my experiences of the formal spiritual community. For me he was perceived as physically part of the community as well. given that I saw his fäce looking over us from the northwcst comer of the church ceiling each Sunday. Only years later did I come to leam this was a water spot.
I believe that my early childhood experiences of th_is close knit, vibrant and essentially prosperous small town community are similar to those embodied in the stories of the 1804-17 and 1874-86 generations. That this was a type of community that received its ultimate validation from God goes without saying (at least In the stories themselves). How arc we to understand and evaluate it as a “legacv*”? First, such of com_rnurnry are, in our current culture wars, often lif1Cd up as unproblematic ideals to which we should return. Indeed, my autocr-itographic account has played this note. But, while afi3rming the philosophic tradition championmg communitananism, would also acknowledge that community is not automatically unproblematic. “l ‘he Dawson my childhood was mono-racial, mono-cultural and in other ways both consciously and unconsciously bigoted. Such communi ties can be repressive and I would not *’Tito these qualities into an ideal community. Yet, given this caveat, there is an essence to this colony’s legacy of community which I fee! we need to examine and assess.
As a theologian I am struck by the absence of theological discourse in the records while church activities receive broad exposure. My grandfather has a single chapter
devoted to the church. It is dominated bv the story of the 192] fire. It has no explications of any beliefs or doctrines.67 I have t7nund an expiicit theology reiated to only
two issues. First, the community held a theological pacifism from 1803 through the Civil
War. But bv WW I, although my grandfather’s account shows relief that he was classified as a necessan,’ farm laborer. the underlying script has changed. There is, between the lines ofthc account, just a tinge of regret tor not joining others (some colony members) in this great struggle And many coionv members were in the armed services in WW Il, Korea and Vietnam.’ ‘ Theological pacifism has not been a lasting legacv_ Second, the theological debates of the 1804 group were about accepting the practice of celibacy when practicable. 71 Thank God, that didn •t out’ Other stories demonstrate the importance of theology, but fail to explicate it. Two unnamed Pennsylvanians came to fisticutfs in the heat of theoloszical debate, but the issue remains unstated The theology of the saintly “Christly” Heim is largely reported as exhortation to lived holiness, particulars left vague. Even the histoncal reviews of the Bethel Church ( t 950 & 72) have no theology. In contrast, denominational histories for the Plains period are theologically explicit. How are we to understand this silence about theoloev?
Feminist theory has helped us 10 see that important aspects of spiritual identity are
not always expressed verbaliy. Sometimes such “spiritual” things are fijunci in the physical textures of life. Often for svomen, and others sidelined by powerful males’ dominance of official speech, theology has been embodied. I am here applying this idea to the networks, the physical texturesh of relationships embodied in lived communities of peopie_ A feminist look at my family history allows us to see not only the strong women who provided leadership against the harsh realities of Plains poneenng, but the guts of a religious legacy, a legacy of embodied community.
Embodiment, in feminist thought, is an alternative epistemology It is a knowledge conveyed, experienced and learned in the practices and activities of a person or group of persons. A piece of the religious legacy of this colony has for two centunes been conveyed. learned and lived by succeeding generations in this manner. Its content is specific to these people. 76 And it is in danger of being lost. MV children have no experiences of community to match those of my early childhood. They and are part of the Dtasporu. We live in Harvey Cox’s secular cutes.’ i We live in a popular culture that has moved from expectations of rootedness to acceptance of a Bedouin-like wandering Lackinu expectations of commuruty with our neighbors, we seek to be held together in the disembodiment of cyber-space This is, in the Colony’s evolving e,xperlence, directly’ related to the economic and population decline, collapse, of the Jeffersonian life of small rural communities beginning after WWII and accelerating ever since. It is a malaise that has not only had an impact on this Colony, but the communal life of rural religious communities across the Plains. “I”he Pennsylvania Colony’s lived experience of embodied community is a knowledge of human livingn last sccn in the vibrancy of Plains small town life at mid century, of which we may come to rue the loss. It is an embodied knowledge that cannot be learned in other mediums. Telling the stories, knowledge bv means of print, will not lead to a knowing of the experience. Non-Conformity: Thinking Outside the Geography
I have been a member of the Evangelical United Brethren Church, the United
Methodist Church, the Church of England, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in
America. was ordained in the UMC and for six years served in adult education in an
ELCA church. I have taught in an ELCA college. In my twenties, I                       to u-reater
and lesser degrees, but with regularity, denominations as diverse as: Assemblies of God.
Southern Baptist, Episcopalian, and several non-denominational bodies. I am denominational-identity challenged. I have spent much of my adult life operating with the assumption that my family had demonstrated a consistent and deeply held commitment to a particular denomination. So I thought, what was wrong ‘Bith me? As a
theologian, I find it ludicrous that a lone denominational tradition could accurately convey all of theology or not be in need of-corrections. My experience as a pastor and
chuch staff member was one of frustration ‘vv-ith the turf protection church bodies fall
into. I wanted to be a Christian of the world, of al] bodies, learning from all theologies I
wanted to cross outside the boundaries marked on the maps of church identities. I desperately wanted to color outside the lines.
It has been refreshing in this exploration of the Pennsylvania Colony to find that
I’m not so weird after all Non-conformity runs deep in these people, even if] need to jump back a couple of generations to find it consciously enacted. N’ly ancestors in
Germany were clearly non-conformist, taking counter-cultural stances on senous social
Issues             a basis of personal belief,” The religious experience of these German Pietists, according to 1Mc.V1inn, contextualized by Anabaptism and Bruder movements_
Historically, that is, these groups embody the quintessential definition of non-conformitv.
But in Pennsylvania, non-conformity is even ratcheted up a notch! The Dunkard Church

is non-conforming to non-conformity in its independent stance a vis the organized German Baptist Conferences. And the move to the Plains displays a willingness to abandon conformity to the Pennsylvania traditions in order to join a formal church structurc in Dawson. Yet the locally embodied knowledge of spiritual life in the Bethel
Church displays a curious non-conformity with denominational issucs. rl”his church hosted nine Annual Conferences from 1887 to 1940, 7 indicating it was a major player in denominational work. Yet, as we have seen, denominational issues and the010Lrv are nearly left out of family accounts of the church. This is true even though denominational
mergers rcceive mention and one family member, Rev_ Richard Heim, had risen to the rank of District Superintendent ofthe EUB and was an important fraurc in working toward merger with the Methodists.
An explanation lies ready to hand in the feminist interpretation I have suggested
for the Colony’s embodied life and norms. And to the extent that feminist thouuht is a type of non-conförm sty itself, playing aoainst established hierarchical and dorninant
modes of saying what is or is not important, what should or should not be 2ivcn space in writing, it works in explaining why we find such a distancing from the issues found in denominational theologies and histories and Conference politics. Conversations with my father, Rev, Wm. E. Martin, I believe, display the way in which this Iypc of nooconfÖrrnit-y has played out in at least the last twenty-five years. 8 1 He entered Methodist ministry later in lite as a second career. Rather than play into the standard career track for clergy, he chose to serve churches within driving distance of the family farm, This was a choice to serve churches that could not pay singly, or in tandem, clergy salaries mandated by the Conference for full-time ministry. Serving nearly full-time, he “worked” only
part-time. We often talked of the way in which Conference politics and theology. the district superintendents and the bishops were bypassing the spiritual life of small rural congregations. The denomination seemed intent on high visibility issues and high visibility church growth with its afiendant increases in funding and membership. Such issues play out in urban areas. They are Issues of institutional power. My father chose a different path. He chose to help small, un-empowered churches quietly go about the business of embodying their mvn life and their own issues, sometimes drawing on the resources and Issues of the denomination, but often enough simply ignoring those larger power struggles. It seems to me possible to suggest that the Colony has practiced this sort of non-conformitv for some time.
Non-conformity, when thought of in geographic terms, is an unwillingness to abide by socially inscribed boundanes. The Colony stories make much of ear Iv eHbrts to “Tite boundanes on the opcn prunes of Nebraska by using hedges and later formalizing roads. Yet there is a wav in which on the Plains such boundaries are selt:evmdentlv arbitrarv_ Thev beg to be crossed, ignored and looked bevond. Vision and thought range freely beyond property lines and open the mind to see that mental boundaries arc most likelv similarly arbitrary. The Plains seem to nurture non-conformity by their verv• expansiveness.
Such quiet non-conformity, such care for locally embodied knowledge and the wav in which it fosters a rich and vaned cultural life is important. Moms Berman’s rcccnt critique of American culture argues that we are in danger of succumbing to a ‘corporate Mass Mind culture.” He suggests that individuals will need to choose to repudiate a consumer life-style dictated by corporate grovfth needs. What I believe the
legacy of the Pennsylvania Colony bequeaths to us is the realization that such resistance can also take place in SIT,all. embodied communities. Such non-conformity is a portion of” their legacy I see in myself and I hopc to see in others.
Even though the next generation will find ways of constructing its own understanding of the legacy of the Pennsyl vania Dutch Colony, it is in the nature of existing generations to hope that we might have some influence on those processes. It is also in our nature to hope that what we find valuable from our experience might also prove valuable to the lived experience ofothers_ In this light I sincerely hope that not only those Nebraska Pennsylvania Colony members who follow me. but anv interested others outside the Colony. will be able to laugh themselves silly like Margaret Heim-. that as the Great Plains are increasinely covered over with a built environment all will struggle with the valorization of the open spaces rnv ancestors encountered; that as small towns continue to flounder all will recognize the importance of the different experience of small     life my ancestors eüibit, and that as wc arc all pushed by consumerist market forces toward conformity writhin corporate established parameters no one wifi törget the importance of non-conformist concerT) with thc local seen In my’ ancestors.
Joseph H McMinn, Blooming Grove. Hi.storv of the ( longtegaüor.’ of ( ;ermun [>vnkers• who settled
/„ycoming Couruy•. Pennsylvania, 1805. Togelher with the origin ()ffhe German Bap,rist Church in
    America,                   (Williamsport, PA. Scholl Bros 190 1) [reprinted 1997 by the Blooming (Grove I-listoricat
Society], 1 2
Keith -M E-leirn. letter to Elma Heim Gritlith. 10/1 5/65. in. Bob and Phyllis Williamson. eds. &
     cornpilers, The Sweet Spring Still             (Dawson, NE: 1992), 134-5
*Erva Wuster Stalder, compiler, Hem.

It may be iilustrative of a latent anti-clericalism at this time (see below) that outside of the McMinn account I have never found him referred to as Rev., but always Dr.
A characteristic Pennsylvania Dutch mix Of English and German, Blumengrofe, see McMinn. 29-30
Elma Heim Larimore, compiler & ed., Helm Family History and Record of Descent 1736-1940. (Dawson.
NE- Dawson Herald, 1942), I
Melvin Heim and Mary Heirn Bilsing, Westward Bound (1965), I, l, emphasis added
Useful summaries are provided in: Elma Heim Larimore. Folklore of a Pennsylvania (Iolony in
(Dawson. NE _ Ross Printing, 1955) — “Further History of the Colony”, Heim & Bilsinæ, Ill. 1820 and Sophia Heim Clmer, The Colony Blue Book (194 i
10 See Elma Griffith, ‘s History’ for the Bicenlennial 1976, (Dawson, NE: The Dawson Cornrnurlltv Bicentennial/NCLP Organization, 1976), to distinguish them from the Irish Catholic • ‘Connecticut Colony’ that settled in the Dawson area in the 1830’s and 60’s.
1 1 And a third, if the dispersion of Colony members around the country since the 1950’s is considered

 McMinn. 22 62-65, connects the church to the German Baptist Church in America noting Baptist preachers who spoke in the Blooming Grove church. The name ‘”Dunkard” attached to the church would lead in this directiary However, the connection appears to have been entirely informal the Blooming Grove Dunkard Church remaining in its polity independent of {his Baptist conference.

Colony members were well represented in the list of charter members, seven of ten, Keith M _ Heiln_ ‘L A. Look Back”, l”he Colony Penn 1 3, (2002), 3 See Heim & Biising, 11_1, 55; for their high visibiiity in church offices across the years. Thus, on the Plains they were initially, “Evanuelical”‘, then through successive mergers of denominational bodies. United Evangelical, Evangelical Gnited Brethren, dild since 1968,
Cnited Methodist.
See ‘i Church Life Sustained’ in Larimore, \ 955 i .arimore, 1942
   Heim &             i, i

Ephraim Shafer, “Christly Heim” (Christl$s grandson). in Larimore, 195 S. This account terxns him the

•last” minister of the church. McMinn, 20-21 , lists several more who attempted to continue tninistry.
I S There have been rnore since

Martha Minow, NOE Only For Myself, (New Press, 1997).
See Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth andiVferhod, (New York: Seabury.  on Georze Hebert
Frei. l’he Eclipse ofBiblical Narrafive, (Princeton: Yale Pressr 1974): George Lindbeck. The
Nature of Doctrine.’ Religion and Theology in a Postliberal Age, (Philadelphiæ Westminster, 1984). ‘l _My uncle suuaests that many stories may have been significantly •c ernbeflished”, thinking that if he similarly created such stories his grandchildren might remember thetn too Kenneth Earl Heim.
Autobiograp@ of Kennezh Earl Heim, (2000), 62-63
Lindbeckr go.
Kenneth Heim, 7
One example is the story OF my great-grandfather Sam as a teen coming home late one flight shooting a hole in the wall with his revolver, Arthur W _ Heim. “Miscellaneous Stories”, in Larimore, Even though the recounting of two versions leads the reader to the appraisal that one rings more true than the other (one sounding like the kind of excuses a teen might dream up to mitigate repercussions) the final stance of the author toward divergent accounts is, “You can take your choice as to how it happened. The general works of Rosemarv Radford Ruether a_nd Elizabeth Schuss!er Fiorenza are instructive See H. Aram Vesser, ed., (jeefessions Qf!he Critics. (New York: Routledge, f 996). xi.x.
Cf. Thomas A Tweed. “On Movinu Across •rranslocative Reli2ion and the Interpreter’s Positi0d’ .
.JGurnai Oflhe Amepjcan Academy of                   70/2 256-7
Tweed, 262, an apt metaphor given this colony “s connections to Methodist movements
     Tweed, 257-, somewhat like elusive and               glimpses of Bio Foot.
_I a_m not so postmodern as to eschew objectivity altogether-
Heim &
This sketch cf Gottlieb is drawn from, Elma Heim Larirnore, “Gottlieb Heim, Grandfather at the
Loyaisock”, in Larimore, 19.53
Larimore. “Grandfather on the I.ayalsock”, l_.arimore,
Bushnell UNIC- 1986-89
      See Kenneth Heim. 65,          the repercussions of acting up in church – even from my jolly Grandfatherl
A community band, an opera house for regular lectures and programs, an agenda of picnics and community clubs, and, of course, games of checkers. See esp. Ethel Barlow Heim. ‘”Amusements and Social Activities” in Larimore, 1955; further, Heim & Bilsing and Elma Griffith, passim.
37 See             Mander, In the Absence ofthe Sacred, (San Francisco: Sierra Club, i 99 1), 75-160: and hour
Arguments for {he Elimination of Television, (New York’ QuilL ]977)_

The accounts of play un Loyalsock Creek. On “the island” and its mysterious cave, sound Fun indeed» see
Melvin J _ Heim, “Stories o? Pioneer Days” in Larimore, 1955
My uncle’s account of his childhood is an excellent example Kenneth Heim

I cannot reveal their names for fear that the scatue of limitations may not have run out on their federal crimes, but see Kenneth Heim„ 54-55. for the pranks they played on the rural mail carrier  find it curious that I cannot remember the content of those conversations, only the buildinz of relationship with my Grandfather. My Grandmother was always listening in, usually quietly But do remember one ni2ht she broke into the conversation to say. ‘”Melvin. I just don’t know how you can believe ali that!
42 See Robert Feagan and Michael Riprneester. “Reading Private Green Space: Competing Geographic
Identities at the Level of the Lawn.” Philosophy and (-;eography 1/4 (2001). 79-96

Jonathan Z _ Smith, iVfcrp {s No’ Ferrir.r»y_ (Leiden: E J Brill. k 978) (and in other worksj has developed Slircea Eliade’s insi ght that religion can be understood as a tnapping of metaphorical territories For the similar mapping of ideological power and it relationship to symbolic representations in real space see Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, “Geophilosophie” in Qu ‘esr-ce que la philosophle? (Paris. Les F.dåions de
Minuil, 1991), 82-108: for an application in religious studies see Marianne Sawicki, (_’rossing Galilee:
Archneclures of Contact in the Occupied Land of Jesus. (Harrisburg. Trinity Press„ 2000). 1-12
Heim and Biising Introduction.

It must be noted that this understanding of Abraham’s journeys (and St Paul’s) is technically correct itone shnply charis their movements on a map, but is rorcigr\ to the values and understanding of space and movement in the biblical texts.

         Cf more recent scholarly attempt to do something similar, but             a postcolonial valuing of Manifk:st
Destiny _ Jeffrey L Staley, Reading wilh a Passion: Rhetoric, Autohwgraphy. and Ihg  West in

the Gospel of./ohn, (New York: Continuum, i 995)_
     Further,          they lived in simplicity and separated from {he world            McMinn. 37

8 William F. Stoltz “The Stoltz Story” in Larimore, 1955
Jessie Heim Deweese, “Tales of Childhood” in Larimore, 1 955. The dress of the early Pennsylvania settlers was similar to present day Amish and given similar spiritual valorization,
50 It is significant that the first tUnera1, Iacob and Regina 3 s ten year old, Solomon, in 1874 a Dunkard preacher was found. Edna Ulmer 7 “Pennsylvania Colony in Nebraska” in Larimore. k 955. But by the time of the rounation of the Sunday School and later the Church this fie seems to have all but dissolved.  Denominaticnai histones would lead one to expect such Protestant Germans to be strongly anti-Papist
 In Simone de Beauvoir•s sense, not that of Emmanuel Levinas.
53 Edna Ulmer, “Pennsylvania Colony in Nebraska” in Larimore3 1955
 All from Heim & Biising. Ill, 9, 13. These L‘b0Ltnda1Y crossings” remain significant even if, as my Cncle

Keith Heim indicates. rhey were in some sense purely utilitarian (there being German Protestant families to turn to) and rhe second plains eeneration returned to more staunch anti-Papal sentiments

 All from -Melvin J Heim, “Herding on the Prairie”, in Larimore. 1955
56 Heim & Bilsing, e g_        29-3 1
 I find it sizniticant that God is most commonly referred to as “Creator” in the family accounts course, drawing on Clifford Geertz’ theory here.
 The literary parallel is Totkien’s elves passing into the West,
E_o_ Kenneth Heim, 5-7 _
E. o _ Elma Heim Larimore, ‘”Clhurch Life Sustained” in Larimore, 1 955
Heim and Bilsirrg, ]JÆ, 23
A constitutional freedom into which I was initiated by my older and more libertarian cousins.
Cf. Robert Heim. ‘Of Bumblybees and Soda Pop” in Williamson, 9 i
64 Numerous accounts catalo” the range of businesses and organizations supported by this small town and its ruraE population, see multiple entries in both Larimore, 1955 and Griffith These stories are recounted to draw attention to uhat “hzd been”‘ of the vibrancy of this community, specifically to provide a memory of

lost community. See esp. Kenneth Heirn, 50-1. He neatly describes both the original vibrancy and subsequent decline of my Jeffersonian Dawson ending by      “Even most of the old business buildings are gone. Sad though it is, I guess it is progress,” wonder _
It has, unf0itunately. heen repaired The acceptance of a “water-stain” theology was only after an intervening pericd of growing theo}ogical sophistication during which i hypothesized it might have been an angel rather than God Himself
 See Marilyn Friedman, ‘-Feminism and Modern Friendship: Dislocating the Community”, Ethics 99
(1989), Univ. of Chicago Press.
Heim & Bilsing, ILL 22-23

[ts theological roots are in an “imitation” of Jesus’ pacifism. Beyond the accounts OF John and Gottlieb is the PA community’s response to the Civil War which was. when drafted, to pay others to go in their stead. Heirn & Bilsing, 111, 5, Mc-Minn_, 22-23, tells the story of a nameless community member who went mad as a result of the moral dilemma of rejecting- both answering the draft summons and the subterfuge of paying some one to go kill tor him. But eve” among the oriuina! colonists this does not seem to have been a universal belief One family, Gross. is noted For skill with guns (For hunting) because their men had been members of the Kaiser’s Guard, Susan Heim Little, “Joseph Gross, My Pioneer Ancestor” in Larimore

1955 i suspect that the boyish wonder that comes through his account of S. C _ Barlow, a Civil War veteran who entertained the community with Civil War stories had had an impact, Heim & Bilsing. Ill. 48  My own son, a captain in the 101 < Airborne recently returned from combat duty in Afghanistan.
McMinn, 13-14
–               19
73 Ephraim Shafer, “Christly Heim” in Larimore, 1955
See Don W. Holter, Flames on the Plains: A Hi.sloty ofthe (_/nüed &fethodism in Nebraska. (Nashville.
Parthenon, 1983)
*     E g Jacob G. was ready to give up and return to PA after the deaths of their children, Solomon and Marv.
Regina faced the issues squarely and held the Family to its course, Heim & Bilsing, Ill, p. 1 0_

Geertzian “local knowledge”. Cf. Kenneth Heim, 5 for the organic passing on of such knowledge.

although the church doctrine did not include pacifism, it was entirely possible for a member DfEhe church to hold thc belief privately — ‘a marter of the heart’ P’, Keith M. Heim. letter of E 5 October 1960, in
Williamson, 1 35
*     The Platte River Comi&ence, Church Messenger, (Marceline. MO Wais-worth Bros., 1950), 9-13 go Holter, 357-9  acknowledge the force of my Uncle Keith Heim’s objection that my father, LEHeim” only by marriage, may not be fuliy reflective of Colony norms. Yet on this point think That he had been sufficiently enculturated and can serve as a model My evidence. first, wouid be the theological conversations of my late adolescence with my Grandpa Heim- Those were always about what C. S. Lewis termed ” mere Christianity”, never about denominational interests. Second, Coionv stories are nor about the denomination, but about the life of the local church.
Heim & Bilsing. 111. 15
Melvin J _ Heim • ‘Early Day Stories” in Larimore. [955
Morris Berman, The Twilight ofAmerican Culture, (New York: Norton. 2000)_