"St. Jacobs, mennonite country" Saint Jacobs by nighthawk

Saint Jacobs Travel Guide: 26 reviews and 71 photos


The following information and photos are from "The Early History of Jakobstettel", by Virgil Emerson Martin, Published in 1979. (Copies of his book are available at the Stone Crock Restaurant in St. Jacobs.)
14,000 years ago, the area of St. Jacobs was covered by a glacier. The Hawkesville Hill, three miles west of St. Jacobs, is the result of the retreat of the Lake Huron and Lake Ontario ice lobes. Newly exposed land looked like the tundra of Northern Canada today. This area was the first in Southern Ontario to see the ice recede.
The first non-native settler in this area was a loyalist from Vermont - Captain Thomas Smith, his wife and three sons. A daughter, Priscilla, was born in January 1808 and is believed to be the first white child born in the township.
In the early days of the settlement, fences were built to keep livestock out of fields. Cattle and pigs were left to fend for themselves in the uncleared bush for most of the year.
Bank barns were introduced here by the Pennsylvanians and were first constructed in Woolwich Township in the 1840's. This area became noted for the size of its barns, the largest in Canada at the time.
St. Jacobs was first known as "Jakobstettel" which means "Jacob's Village". St. Jacobs was officially named in 1852, the "St." being added "for the sake of euphony" and the pluralization was in honour of the combined efforts of Jacobs C. Snider and his son by the same name - founders of the Village.
The first creamery in Ontario (the third in Canada) was begun in St. Jacobs in 1874. During its 98 years of operation, St. Jacobs Creamery won prizes and wide acclaim for the superb quality of its butter.
Local businessman Elias Weber Bingeman Snider was chairman of two committees (1902-1906) which were the beginning of Ontario Hydro and his contribution is recognized on the monument north of the Village of St. Jacobs.

It was not just us watching for these buggies and photographing them, the Mennonites themselves were very aware of us.
If you look closely at this photograph you will see a boy in the back of the buggy looking at me.


The Mennonites trekked from Pennsylvania in Conestoga Wagons and settled in and around St. Jacobs in the late 1700s and early 1800s, making St. Jacobs one of the original Mennonite settlements in Ontario. Today, the rural areas around St. Jacobs Country are populated with many Old Order Mennonite farmers who retain the religion, customs and lifestyle of their 19th century forefathers. Interest in this unique group of people has increased dramatically over the past 20 years and visitors from all over the world want to learn about the culture of the Old Order Mennonites.

I loved the silo s with the coloured hoods and the horse pulled carriages. So I am very pleased this photograph shows both.

  • Intro Updated Mar 30, 2003
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Reviews (12)

Comments (4)

  • keeweechic's Profile Photo
    Jul 10, 2006 at 6:51 AM

    This reminds me of my trip to Lancaster. An amazing existance (to us). Doesn't look like you can hungry there... interesting.. the saint 'jacobs' relevance...LOL

  • truus_s's Profile Photo
    May 12, 2003 at 10:37 AM

    Leuke page!! Mooie fotos.Ik vond de Mennonites erg mooi om te zien .met hun mooie wagens..en klederdrachten!!

  • mikkie50's Profile Photo
    Apr 21, 2003 at 4:31 PM

    wonderfull page lalkens very informative. whare do you find the time:-)))))

  • sim1's Profile Photo
    Apr 3, 2003 at 3:34 PM

    Yeehaaa! Saint Jacobs is on the map :-)))) Mmmm, those apple thingies were delcious!


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