Tucked away in the office of the Menno Simons Historical library is a flat file that has eleven drawers filled with various and sundry historical treasures. I thought it might be interesting to dive in and sample a few of the items housed therein.
The first item I wanted to highlight is a bill for two shillings and six-pence or half-a-crown printed in colonial Pennsylvania in 1772.
Next is an announcement issued in March 1862 by Lt. Col. J.R. Jones at the behest of General Stonewall Jackson to muster the militia for the Confederate Army in Rockingham County. This announcement contains a provisio for conscientious objectors that states, “I am authorised to say to the Tunkers and Menonites [sic], that Gen. Jackson believes them to be sincere in their opposition to engaging in war, and will detail them as teamsters, etc. They can serve their state as well in such a capacity as if bearing arms.”
Here is a full transcript of the announcement:
Special Order Head quarters, V.P.
Non. 1853 March 31 1862
Lieut. Col. J.R. Johnes 33 D Regiment Va. Vols.
is ordered to proceed to Rockingham County for the purpose of bringing out the Militia.
By order of Maj. Gen. Jackson, A.S. Pendleton, A.A.G
A company of cavalry has been ordered to report to me here, for the purpose of executing the above order; and any additional force necessary will be sent. I sincerely hope, therefore, that All Militia Men Will promptly report themselves, and avoid the mortification of an arrest. I am authorised to say to the Tunkers and Menonites [sic], that Gen. Jackson believes them to be sincere in their opposition to engaging in war, and will detail them as teamsters, etc. They can serve their state as well in such a capacity as if bearing arms
Come Forward, Then, Promptly.
You brethren from Rockbridge, Augusta, Shenandoah and Page are in the field, and our brave little army is hard pressed by the enemy.
You will rendezvous at the courthouse
On Thursday morning at 9 o’clock. Prepare to leave for the army.
J.R. Jones Ct. Col. 33d Regt vol
We have a poster depicting scenes from the 1936 Mennonite World Conference held in Amsterdam.
And finally, we have a number of lovely etchings depicting Mennonite groups in the Netherlands.
I hope you enjoyed this peek into the treasure chest that is our flat files. If you would like to see more, you can visit this website that contains a number of scans of other items in our collection.