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Bishop Joseph Aaron Heiser b. 22 Aug 1888 Morton, Tazewell Co., IL d. 1 Jan 1977 Fisher, Champaign Co., IL: The Schrock-Birkey Connection

Bishop Joseph Aaron Heiser

Male 1888 - 1977  (88 years)


Personal Information    |    Notes    |    Sources    |    Event Map    |    All

  • Name Joseph Aaron Heiser  [1, 2, 3
    Prefix Bishop 
    Born 22 Aug 1888  Morton, Tazewell Co., IL Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    CLER
    Education Third grade, then self taught 
    Occupation Minister/Farmer 
    Ordained 1917  Fisher, Champaign Co., IL Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • Minister, East Bend Mennonite Church
    Ordained 1921  Fisher, Champaign Co., IL Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • Bishop, East Bend Mennonite Church
    Religion Christian 
    Died 1 Jan 1977  Fisher, Champaign Co., IL Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried 3 Jan 1977  Fisher, Champaign Co., IL Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • East Bend Cemetery
    Person ID I445  Schrock-Birkey Connection
    Last Modified 12 Feb 2018 

    Father Joseph A. Heiser (Hieser),   b. 14 Nov 1859, Tazewell Co., IL Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 27 Mar 1889, Fisher, Champaign Co., IL Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 29 years) 
    Mother Barbara Bachman,   b. 15 Jun 1862, Tazewell Co., IL Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 24 Mar 1926, Fisher, Champaign Co., IL Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 63 years) 
    Married 11 Dec 1881  Elm Grove Twp., Tazewell Co., IL Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • MR #84
    Notes 
    • Joseph and Barbara were married in the Mennonite Church at Elm Grove, by Christian Nafziger. Joseph Litwiller and A. Ropp were witnesses.
    Family ID F172  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Fannie Ann Schrock,   b. 18 Jul 1889, Morton, Tazewell Co., IL Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 17 Dec 1950, Fisher, Champaign Co., IL Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 61 years) 
    Married 15 Dec 1909  Champaign Co., IL Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    • By Peter Zehr
    Notes 
    • Peter Zehr’s church records have written notation “in East Bend Church,” then, “at home of John Schrock.”
    Children 
     1. Leslie Wilbur Heiser,   b. 8 Jul 1912, Fisher, Champaign Co., IL Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 8 Feb 1990, Champaign, Champaign Co., IL Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 77 years)
     2. Alta Lillian Heiser,   b. 17 Mar 1914, Fisher, Champaign Co., IL Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 12 Jan 2010, Fisher, Champaign Co., IL Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 95 years)
     3. Mabel Aldene Heiser,   b. 22 Oct 1915, Fisher, Champaign Co., IL Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 19 Jun 2005, Gibson City, Ford Co., IL Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 89 years)
     4. Edna Lorine Heiser,   b. 5 Feb 1918, Fisher, Champaign Co., IL Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 6 Aug 1996, Fisher, Champaign Co., IL Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 78 years)
     5. John Willard Heiser,   b. 27 Apr 1919, Champaign Co., IL Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 10 Aug 1987, Champaign Co., IL Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 68 years)
    Last Modified 20 Jan 2001 
    Family ID F193  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 22 Aug 1888 - Morton, Tazewell Co., IL Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 15 Dec 1909 - Champaign Co., IL Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOrdained - 1917 - Fisher, Champaign Co., IL Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOrdained - 1921 - Fisher, Champaign Co., IL Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 1 Jan 1977 - Fisher, Champaign Co., IL Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - 3 Jan 1977 - Fisher, Champaign Co., IL Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Notes 
    • Obit:
      Heiser.- Joseph A., son of Joseph and Barbara (Bachman) Heiser, was born in Morton, Ill., Aug. 22, 1888; died at Fisher, Ill., Jan. 1, 1977; aged 88 y. On Dec. 15, 1909, he was married to Fannie Schrock, who preceded him in death on Dec. 17, 1950. Surviving are 2 sons (Leslie and Willard), 3 daughters (Mrs. Alta Detweiler, Mrs. Mabel Teuscher, and Edna-Mrs. Alva Cender), 17 grandchildren, and 20 great-grandchildren. He was a bishop in the Mennonite Church and a minister of the East Bend Mennonite Church for 35 years. Private funeral services were held at the Lamb Funeral Home, Gibson City, Ill., on Jan. 3, in charge of Merle Conklin; memorial services were held at the Gibson City Bible Church on Jan. 4, in charge of Merle Conklin, Clyde Ingold, Irvin Nussbaum, and Wendall Arms; interment in East Bend Mennonite Church Cemetery.


      {“When Barbara's third son, Aaron, was born on August 22, 1888, Grandfather Bachman looked at the infant and said, 'Du armes Kind! Dass du auch musst zu dieser verkruppelten Welt geboren sein' ('You poor child! That you also must be born into this crippled world')." (Mennonite Women: A Story of God's Faithfulness) After his father died, his mother called him Joseph rather than Aaron.

      Joseph (J.A.) was baptized 11Jun1905 by Peter Zehr; ordained as minister at East Bend Mennonite Church on 5 Aug 1917 by the voice of the church; ordained bishop on 1 May 1921 by the same church. Active in Bible conference work and evangelistic work in many states an Canada, and served as moderator of Illinois Conference and a member of the General Mission Board of the Mennonite Church. He later left the Mennonite Church and pastored the Gibson City Bible Church.
      Regarding his ordination (by lot) ––"Dad was surprised that his name was included, but he had no fear at all because Levi Birky was a real Bible student and Uncle Albert was a very genuine student of the Bible. He just shrugged his shoulders about this lot; he knew that it would either be Levi Birky or Uncle Albert. I was sitting with my mother in church on the day they cast the lot. I remember seeing my mother break down and cry, and I could not imagine what happened. It did not look to me like anything serious had happened, but she was crying. After we got home from church, they both cried. It cast quite a pall over the family. I was only three years old then, but I thought something terrible had happened. "

      About 1930 J.A.’s mortgage was called on Josephine’s land which he had bought. $300 was due immediately to save it from foreclosure, but there was no money available. This matter was a topic of discussion and prayer at numerous family meals, times which included grandparents John and Mary. Growing anxious about the outcome John, evidently without the family’s knowledge, took the very unusual action of going to a neighbor and asking if he could borrow $300 for a short time. The loan was granted.

      Shortly thereafter J.A. drove to Fisher and parked in front of Heiser and Ingold’s grocery store and sat in the car praying about how he was going to get the money for the payment. About that time Chris Good (father of Peter?) walked across the street and stopped to say hello. Then he asked J.A. (who at the time was pastor of the East Bent Mennonite Church), “Do you know anyone who could use $300? I have some extra cash and figured there are lots of people in bad straights because of the economic situation right now and would like to help.” Of course, J.A. told his story and received a loan for the amount he needed to stop the foreclosure. The family saw this as a direct answer to their prayers, and John returned his “backup” funds, with interest!

      “Besides the gardens and orchards full of growing things, my father loved animals.  He raised purebred livestock--Jersey cattle that made records of note in butterfat and as show animals.  He raised several kinds of hogs when I was quite young.  Buff Rock chickens were a favorite for several years; and when I was a teenager he got an incubator, and we had a small hatchery.  I was more involved in the chicken business than any of the other animal projects.  I felt quite responsible for the trap nesting and enjoyed following the yearly records of some of the best hens.  Number 421 was the top producer; I wrote the number on her eggs so often, it still remains in my memory.  With the hatchery, my father got the salesmanship for a feed business also.  He vaccinated and gave medicine to all his animals, had the dealership for Onarga nursery stock, pruned and sprayed our trees, and did all our wallpapering.  He and Mama would do wallpapering for friends and neighbors also.  He seemed like an ordinary man to me when I was a child, but now I wonder how he did all this, besides pastoring a large church.” (From the memoirs of Edna Heiser Cender held by Kathy Cender Martin)



      June 2012 - At an afternoon in Paxton with Heiser cousins, the story was told about the Murphy brothers who are buried in Beekman cemetery. They were a rough bunch and always getting into fights (drunk?). When the police were not able to handle them and settle them down they would call J. A. and he would always be able to get the job done! [5]

  • Sources 
    1. [S1] Personal knowledge and family records, Donna Schrock Birkey .

    2. [S1018] {“Union in a Common Faith” published in Mennonite Life, March 1993, by V. Gordon Oyer}, {Harold Zehr} .

    3. [S501] Barbara Heiser Eyer Guardianship of sons.

    4. [S225] East Bend Mennonite Church Records, Peter Zehr.

    5. [S85] “The Lot” Through Children’s Eyes, Interview with Alta Heiser Detweiler and Edna Heiser Cender by Verle and Margaret Oyer.


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