Kornelius K. Neufeld, printer; born January 22, 1898 in Nikolajevka (Kronstadt) No. 5, Ignatjevo, Russia, to Kornelius and Susana (Unrau) Neufeld. Kornelius married Anna Neufeld, (b.1901) on June 13, 1920, in Nikolajevka; the couple had 5 children, two of whom died as infants. Anna passed away suddenly in 1942, and in 1943 Kornelius married Kathryn Regehr (1908-1996) in Winnipeg; they had three children. In 1945 they moved to Yarrow, B.C., where he established Columbia Press, which proved to be a successful business for 30 years, until his retirement at age 75.
Kornelius attended elementary and secondary school in Nikolajevka, and subsequently completed a four-year program in Commerce School (Kommerzschule) at Barvenkovo. In 1919, he was conscripted into the White Russian army, where he served as a medic on the battlefield. He was shot in the thigh (the bullet was never removed), and spent several weeks in a Crimean hospital before returning to Nikolajevka. On June 13, 1920, Kornelius was married to Anna Neufeld* by Rev. Herman Neufeld, the bride's father. That same year he became a teacher at Nikolajevka High School, the school he had previously attended as a pupil. The next year he taught at the local elementary school.
Although the rest of Anna's family emigrated to Canada in 1923, Kornelius and Anna, his parents, his sister, and their two children (Susie and Kornelius), did not follow them until 1929, when the political situation made it almost too late. In 1923, Kornelius and Anna took over her parents' house and farm, with the intention of purchasing it over time. They farmed on the property until 1929, when they abandoned it. Shortly before they were allowed to leave, Kornelius was detained for a number of days in a Moscow prison, then released. In the spring of 1930, they arrived in Winkler, Manitoba, where Anna's parents now lived, and in July Anna gave birth to another child, Herman. Kornelius quickly found work as a farmhand in the area, then joined his brother-in-law at the Rundschau Publishing House in Winnipeg as a printer and linotype operator, and purchased a house in North Kildonen. Twelve years later, on October 2, 1942, Anna passed away suddenly of a heart condition.
One of Neufeld's co-workers at the Rundschau was Jacob Regehr, whose younger sister, Kathryn,** was teaching in a one-room school in Kansas at the time. When visiting Jacob's house, Neufeld noticed a picture of Kathryn on the dresser, and determined that she was the one he wanted to marry. After one meeting, followed by many letters back and forth, the couple felt they had gotten to know each other very well, and on October 2, 1943 they were married, in Winnipeg. The M.C. was the always-entertaining K.H. Neufeld*. At the time, neither Kornelius nor Kathryn were baptized, and they now decided together to take this step. They were baptized in the lake at Bird's Hill Park, early one Sunday morning in August, 1944.
In 1945, Kornelius' father died, and he, Kathryn, and their baby son Ernest traveled to Yarrow for the funeral. Yarrow appealed to them, so they bought a lot on Central Road, and decided to move. Neufeld resigned from the Rundschau, sold their house in N. Kildonan, and with their combined assets, built a small printing shop and purchased some second-hand machinery. There was no money left to build a house, so the family lived for the first five years in a small "cabin-shack" on the lot. During these years, two more children, Benjamin and Victor, were born. A two-acre raspberry farm was purchased with no money down (payments made from profits) to provide income while the fledgling printing business grew. This raspberry farm provided work for the three sons every spring and summer. Neufeld took great pride in the quality of his plants.
Although Yarrow was really too small to support a printing shop, most of Neufeld's business came from outside - from individuals (e.g. wedding announcements), schools, churches, and businesses. In the 1940s he published "Der Friedens-Bote", a community paper of which one issue appears on this website: Der Friedens-Bote: February, 1948. Neufeld printed books for customers as far away as Ontario. He also periodically printed a portion of the B.C. Voters List. At times, when there were urgent deadlines, the whole family was involved. Since Kornelius was meticulous in his writing, he was often chosen to church committees and asked to record the minutes.
Kornelius retired at the age of 75. He and Kathryn moved to Clearbrook in 1973 and joined the Clearbrook M.B. Church. They felt very much at home in this church, as many members had already moved there from Yarrow; also, a number of the members were acquaintances from Russia, including even some of Kornelius' former students from Nikolajevka. Kornelius passed away April 17, 1988; Kathryn December 10, 1996.
*Anna Neufeld was the sister of the well-known K.H. Neufeld, choral musician, 1892-1957, and daughter of itinerant preacher, Elder Herman A. Neufeld.
**Her father, Rev. Gerhard Regehr, was the widely-known itinerant preacher, 1866-1960.
A Partial Bibliography
Neufeld, Abram H., Herman and Katharina, Their Story. Winnipeg: The Christian Press; Center for Mennonite Brethren Studies in Canada, 1984, 230 pp.
Willms, H.J. Vor den Toren Moskaus; oder Gottes gnaedige Durchhilfe in einer schweren Zeit. Abbotsford, BC: Komitee der Fluehtlinge; Yarrow, B.C.: Columbia Press, 1960, 148 pp.
Willms, H.J. At the Gates of Moscow. Yarrow, B.C.: Columbia Press, Committee of Mennonite Refugees from the Soviet Union, 1964, 220 pp.
Neufeld, J.J., Coming Events in the Light of the Scripture. Yarrow, B.C.: Columbia Press, 1953, 27 pp.
Klassen, Peter. Heimat Einmal (Once a Homeland), 2 vols. Yarrow, BC; Columbia Press.
Toews, C.P., A History of the Terek Settlement: Its Origin, Growth and Abandonment. Yarrow, B.C.: Columbia Press, 72 pp.
Klassen, Johann P., Der Zwillingsbruder von "Meine Garbe". Yarrow, B.C.: Columbia Press.
Biography Courtesy of Ben Neufeld.