After he retired from official duties in 1992 Martin Lehman  began to collect historical materials on the Amish and Mennonites of the Southeast.  He was told that he was likely the best equipped person to write this history, so he accepted the task. In 2010, the first in a series of two volumes, was published by Cascadia Publishing House, Telford, Pennsylvania and co-published by Herald Press, Scottdale, Pennsylvania. Here are pictures that relate to Volume 1, Roots,  Part I – 1892-1949

The pictures are numbered.  If a viewer can add names or other information to a picture, please make a comment in the space reserved for comments and identify the picture by number


John S. Coffman came on Evangelistic tour to Florida in 1895. He visited five Mennonite families scattered throughout Florida.

1. In 1892, six scattered Mennonite families were living in Florida.  These families were visited by Evangelist John S. Coffman.  Pages 29-35 of Volume I – Roots record Coffman’s tour.  Coffman traveled by train.   He preached where he had the opportunity in community churches.  Lewis Shenk, Bowling Green, Florida, was his principal sponsor and Coffman held a series of meetings in Bowling Green.



 2. In December 3, 1923 six Amish young men, known at the time as boys, began a six week tour of Florida. There story is recorded in Pages 37-39 of Volume 1 – Roots.  If you happen to have The History of Pinecraft – 1925-1960 by Noah Gingerich you should treasure it.  It is a Historical Album with many black and white photos.  It is out of print and it looks to me like it may become a collectors item.

2A  This is another picture taken on that first tour.  It was given to me by the daughter of Will overholt.


3. The Tampa mission was begun the winter of 1925-26. The founders of the mission did not believe in having pictures taken, so there are few pictures of them or their work. Mission-minded conservative Mennonites assisted in the Tampa mission. This is a Tampa picture. The man with the beard is possiby evangelist John B. Senger who was authorized for a time to act as a bishop for the mission. Story begun in Page 52, Volume 1, – Roots


Anna Kauffman

4. Anna Kauffman was the first single sister worker who accompanied the Byers family from Knoxville, Tennessee to Arcadia and then to Tampa. Her story begins on page 42.  The author had access to letters she wrote to her brother to enrich the early mission account. Since she did not want her picture taken.  this picture was taken without her knowledge.





5.  The author speculates about the picture.  It appears to be the first picture taken of the Tampa, Ybor City Mission.  He speculates that Anna Kauffman may be the woman on the right who thought the camera had not caught her.

 6. Dora Taylor was the sister worker  who succeeded  Anna Kauffman,  1936-1944.  Learn about her from the pictures that follow.







7. Dora Taylor gave picture album and diaries of her years in Tampa to Martin and Rhoda Lehman. They visited her when she was in her nineties at the Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community. These gifts were invaluable to the Tampa historical record.  Album and diaries are lodged with the Anabaptist Historical Association in Sarasota, Florida

8.  Dora influenced many during her term of service.




9. Frank and Dominga Moctezuma and family lived accross the street from the Ybor City Mission home.  A part of their story can be read on P. 61 and pp. 197-198 of Volume 1 – Roots.

10. Dora Taylor holding Mercedes Moctezuma. Mercedes and her husband George Trujillo became faithful members of the church until the date of this writing in 2012.






Charlotte and Mercedes Moctezuma

11. The Moctezuma sisters Charlotte and Mercedes.








Tourists walking the Beach

12.  Conservative tourists visited the mission in Tampa and enjoyed walking on the Clearwater beach.



Tourists and Mission staff picnic on Clearwater Beach

13.  Tourists and Mission workers picnic on the Clearwater Beach.





14. Pastor J. Paul Sauder and family arrived in Tampa in 1935.  The telling of their story begins on page 58 in Volume 1 – Roots.






15. An early picture of the Sauder family and the mission workers standing on the front steps of the Ida St. Church, Tampa


A Sunday Morning Service in Ybor City

16 & 17.  The Ybor City branch of the Tampa Mission met in 3 rented apartments.  The Sunday School crowded these apartments which were also the homes of the sister workers of the mission.   This picture and the one that follows are of Sunday Morning groups in Ybor City. 

Ybor City Sunday School, January 1940

A Sewing School at the Ybor Mission

18 & 19.  The mission provided a variety of learning activites for the young people who were attracted to them.  These two pictures are of sewing  classes taught by Dora Taylor.


Taylor and sewing class

20 & 21.   These two pictures are of volunteer teachers sent by Eastern Board to augment the local teaching staff for Summer Bible School.







Ida St. SS Class

22.  The Tampa mission had Sunday School on Sunday Morning at the Ybor City location and in the afternoon at the Ida St. Mission.  This picture is of a class at Ida St.


 23. The workers at Ybor City began a kindergarten.  This was a precurser to the Sharon School kindergarten.  When Irene Stauffer joined the staff, the kindergarten apparently became known as Irene’s babies.


24, 25, 26.  The Ybor City mission seems primarily to have been a Sunday School. Here are three pictures of Ybor City SS Classes.  Notice the names on picture No. 26.












26. A quartet to witness at the Tuberculosis Sanitorium





Alice Clymer and Ida St. SS Class, Alice was a self supporing sister worker in Tampa.  Helped mostly at Ida St.

27 & 28.  Alice Clymer was a self-supporting mission worker in Tampa.  She related mostly to the Ida St. Mission.  These two pictures are of her classes.

Alice Clymer and Ida St. SS Class

On the day of their baptism

30.  Annie Maniscalco and her friend Mary were baptized at Ida St. on December 6, 1941. When Bishop Noah Mack note that so few of those baptized remained faithful for a year, Annie is said to have stamped her foot saying, “not me!”  She continues to this day as member of a Mennonite Church in Oregon.  Read Annie’s story on pp. 62,63, Volume 1 – Roots.



A year after her baptism.

31.  A picture of Annie Maniscalco a year after her baptism.







31.   This picture is of Annie when she graduaated from Jr. High School in 1942







The pictures now are of the development of the Amish and Mennonite presence 60 miles South of Tampa in Sarasota.

Amish and conservative Mennonites settled in the village of Pinecraft. Chapter 6, pp.80-81

32. Here is an unpaved street in the village of Pinecraft, the heart of the Amish Mennonite community. 




Irvin Eicher and helper irrigating celery

The first thee celery-farming pictures below are courtesy of David Eicher, son of Irvin Eicher, Fruitville, FloridaEicher celery field

Mule Train on way to Harvest

Harvesting Celery

muckmobile Palmer Farms








Another pioneer woman in Sarasota





Amanda Kurtz Yoder

Amanda Kurtz, daughter of Dan and Amanda Kurtz. She was with her parents in Tampa and Venice.   She visited the celery fields with her mother when she was nine years old. p. 50.  When 20 years old she and Ernest Yoder went to Tampa to be married by j. Paul Sauder.  p. 81-82






Pioneer Roman Miller with celery








Mose Kurtz was one of Amish boys who toured Florida in 1924.  Mose and Family were among the Amish employed as carpenters in Tampa in 1926 when their son Alvin was born.





Will Overholt initiated the tour of Florida in 1924, and in 1968 foundes of the Sunnyside Nursing Home in Sarasota, Florida.






Samuel and Pauline Strong and family

Samuel Strong Family came to Tampa as pastor of the Ybor City Mission in 1946







Meeting after the service in the bakery in Pinecraft before it was remodeled for the Tourist Union Church, 1946   p. 90




Timothy Brenneman first pastor of the Bay Shore Mennonite Church, Sarasota







Myron Augsburger, first year round pastor of the Tuttle Avenue Mennonite Church, Sarasota, Florida, Virginia Conference.







Michael and Peggy Shenk and family

Michael Shenk family






The Ida Street Mennonite Church was the first meeting house built by Mennonites in the South. This is an early picture.  Read the story  in Chapter 5.

Ida St. Church

Mrs. Ares was denied membership in the Mennonite Church in Tampa because it was discovered that she was a devorcee. Chapter 5.  Later, when her former husband died, she was received as a member.







Still, later she lost her membership.

Mrs. Ares and sons






Raymond Charles was already a leader in the Lancaster Conference and Eastern Board when he came to Tampa as an Itinerant Evangelist. More in Chapter 5 and in other chapters:

Anna Ruth and Raymond Charles, Margaret Horst, Lois Garber

Irene Stauffer was a sister worker in the Tampa Missions and was the founder of Sharon School.

Irene Stauffer









Irene Stauffer and Dora Taylor







The Tampa team as the forties come to an end

Elizabeth Denlinger, Irene Stauffer, Anna and George F. Brunk









Irene’s work with “babies” in kindergarten prepared the way for Sharon School.

The building on Nineth Avenue was purchased to house Sharon School and the mission.






The growing Sauder family







Sam and Pauline Strong and family






Walter Ebersol and Family; first English only







Jim and Judy Ranck and family


Kindergarten Class at Sharon School; Isaac Frederick, principal, Rhoda Lehman, teacher









Allen Sheats and Dave Kniss in Aucilla

Allen Sheatz and Dave Kniss in Aucilla, Florida. Pp. 155,156