1874 - 1974
This monument is an expression of deep gratitude
— to the City of Peabody for receiving the Mennonite immigrants, extending hospitality to them, and now granting a plot for this memorial,
— to the Santa Fe Railroad for directing the Mennonite immigrants to a productive land and making it available under favorable terms,
— to our government for respecting conscience, rewarding industry, and granting freedom for Christian outreach,
— to our God for His leading and continued blessing.
During the 1870's and the early 1880's about eight thousand Mennonites migrated from the Steppes of south Russia to America, and arrived near this spot in Peabody, Kansas. Because of their dedication to God and their faith in Jesus Christ, they sought a land where their desire for religious freedom would be honored.
America became that land. The terms of the Santa Fe Railroad and those of the government for land purchases were attractive, and the vast, fertile plains and favorable climate made Kansas their choice. The record of the past one hundred years reveals that the Mennonites made a wise decision.
Peabody and the neighboring communities became the port of entry for the Russian Mennonites to the Kansas rolling prairies. The Turkey Hard Red Winter Wheat became the origin of the hard winter wheat grown
in America and has made Kansas the largest wheat producing state in the nation.
Though an agricultural people, these immigrants also recognized the importance of providing for the spiritual, cultural, and physical needs of themselves and others. They plowed the sod but also established churches, schools, and hospitals.
Distinctive to the Mennonite heritage are the principles of peace and compassion. The Mennonites believed that a disciple of Jesus Christ should heal the wounds of individuals and nations rather than inflict them. Churches and colleges have been instrumental in providing programs of outreach in missions and voluntary service. Through the years they have had many opportunities to extend a helping hand to suffering mankind around the world. They felt compelled by the love of God to help alleviate suffering, especially when natural disasters struck.
Erected this 27th day of July, 1974, by the Mennonite Inter-Church Centennial Committee, Hillsboro, Kansas.
Monument designed by Solomon L. Loewen