Plans are underway for a reunion of the Reuben Yoder Family in Shipshewana July 4-7. Activities will be based out of the Amish Country Inn and Splash Water Park, and culminate in a banquet and historical program on July 7 catered by the Blue Gate Restaurant at the Shipshewana Event Center.
The historical program will trace the Yoder family from its origin in Steffisburg, Switzerland, its Amish roots, and the movement of the family to Pennsylvania and on to Indiana.
Reuben Yoder (1831-1912) was the son and grandson of prominent Amish bishops in Somerset County, Penn., both named Christian Yoder. Soon after their marriage, Reuben and his bride Harriet Riehl left Somerset County, Penn., with their belongings in an ox cart and arrived in LaGrange County on May 8, 1851. They established their 180-acre homestead about 3½ miles south of Shipshewana and raised a large family.
In 1913, the year after Reuben’s death, a family reunion was held and photographed on the shore of Lake Shipshewana. Other reunions have been held over the years, including one in 1983 to mark the 70th anniversary of the event. The reunion this summer is will mark the centennial of the 1913 Reunion.
Activities will include an ice cream social and welcoming reception, a tour of Reuben’s homestead, which was sold in 1908 and is now owned by Glen Mast, a cemetery memorial at Forks Cemetery followed by a visit to the nearby Moses Yoder Farm where the folks were living at the time of their deaths, a visit to the cement barn build by Reuben’s son Menno west of Shipshewana, and a family church service at the United Methodist Church in Shipshewana followed by a pancake breakfast at the Amish County Inn.
The banquet program will be presented by Chris Yoder, who wrote the 1983 family history, The Reuben Yoder Family and its Ancestry. He has spent over 40 years studying the history of the Yoder family and has published the national Yoder Newsletter since 1983 (www.yoder newsletter.org). The Reuben Yoder book is being expanded and updated and will be available at the reunion.
Reuben and Harriet Yoder have had over 1,300 descendants. Families already registered for the reunion include members from Indiana, Oregon, California, Texas, Colorado, Iowa, Tennessee, Georgia, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Ohio, Michigan, and Canada.
Reuben’s father, Bishop Christian Yoder Jr., had a large family and many of the other children also moved to Northern Indiana. Any descendants of Reuben’s brothers and sisters who might be interested in the banquet program would be welcome cousins.
For more information, contact Chris Yoder at (269) 857-4327 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.