Reverend Jesse Myers Engle

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Reverend Jesse Myers Engle

Birthdate: (61)
Birthplace: Bainbridge, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, United States
Death: April 03, 1900 (61)
Matabeleland South, Zimbabwe
Place of Burial: Gwanda, Gwanda, Matabeleland South, Zimbabwe
Immediate Family:

Son of Henry Engle and Hannah Engle
Husband of Elizabeth B. Engle
Father of Henry N. Engle; Jacob N. Engle; Enos N Engle; Mary Niesley Heise; Aaron Nissley Engle and 4 others
Brother of Mary Longenecker; John B. Engle; Henry M. Engle; Jacob "Yakob" Engle; Daniel Myers Engle and 3 others

Occupation: "The Everywhere Missionary"
Managed by: Jim Wile
Last Updated:

About Reverend Jesse Myers Engle


Youngest son of Elder Henry Engle, Jesse was only 2 yrs when his mother died. After moving to Monroe Twp, Cumberland Co he was elected to the ministry and then chosen as youngest bishop. At 40 he migrated with a group of River Brethren to Kansas in 1879. Appointed mission board secretary in 1897, he led the team at age 59 to Africa. This death, less than two years later is noted below.

The last week in March (1900), our bishop and overseer, Elder Engle, became sick. He had been very busy with the work, and in his frequent trips to Bulawayo, sometimes in the rain, he may have exposed himself. His condition did not seem serious, and he was not obliged to keep his bed continually.

On April 2, [we] found Brother Engle having a heavy chill and speaking the Zulu language rapidly, seemingly unconscious of our presence. We endeavored in every way to help him, but soon found that he was rapidly becoming paralyzed. Sister Heise and Brother Lehman were called and a consultation held. It was decided to send a messenger to the fort, ten miles away, and from there telephone to Bulawayo for a doctor.

All night we watched by the Elder's bedside, but there was nothing that could be done. Brother Cress arrived near noon the next day, but the doctor did not arrive in time. That was a dark time as he lay paralyzed and unconscious in the little mud hut he called home, far from his children, far from the comforts of civilization, with none of his family or relatives, save his devoted wife, by his side. As it became evident that the end was near, that heroic mother, who had been such a worthy companion in all his labors, stooped over and imprinted on his face a kiss for each of their seven sons in far-away America. At 5 P. M., April 3, he breathed his last. Thus, in less than two months from the date of Sister Cress' death, Elder Engle also was called home. The loss of our sister was great, but this seemed to be a still greater blow on the mission.

He was so absorbed in the work, and no sacrifice was too great, no labor too hard, for him to endure. Perhaps, if he had spared himself a little more, he might have been able to continue longer in the work. Who knows? The language was difficult for one at his age, yet he was making heroic efforts to acquire it, and could make himself pretty well understood. We have seen him, after reading the Word, stand before the people, with the tears running down his face in his great love for them and in his desire to help them to Christ. And the natives knew that he loved them and they in turn loved him and greatly lamented his departure.

It seemed that his life work was finished. He had had the desire of his heart, in that he had been permitted to reach Africa and see a work started in the wilds. He had been privileged to see something of the travail of soul by beholding some step into the Kingdom. Now he had gone to hear the welcome message, "Well done, good and faithful servant ... enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."



Jesse Engle's Memorial in Abilene Cemetery, Dickinson, KS

"At the age of 1 1/2 years my mother died and at the age of fourteen my father died. Oh how I oft longed to see my dear parents once more, but could not. But I had kind friends, brothers, and sisters who took great interest in me, especially in my salvation, for which I today feel glad. But it was not long after Father's until it afforded me great pleasure in this that it brought me to give my heart to Jesus, which was followed with so much joy and with so many blessings that I have no reason to regret the early loss of my dear parents." Quote from his 2/24/1900 letter from Bulawayo, S. Africa to his youngest son Ezra (still in KS).

Jesse was Bishop in the Donegal District, Lancaster Co., PA before migrating to KS in 1879. In KS, he resumed his duties as Bishop. In 1892 he experienced bankruptcy which led to the temporary relief of his ministry for two years.

Jesse had a fairly good grasp on the English language, as well as the German language. This grasp is apparent in some of his original letters as he writes fluidly from English, into German, and back into English with a change in script.

On October 15, 1897, Jesse and wife, Elizabeth, boarded a train in Abilene, KS and arrived in Brown Co., KS to stay with Anthony Heise and wife (their only daughter). From there they went to Chicago, then Yale, Michigan, then Stayner, Ontario, Canada. Then onto Niagara Falls, into Clarence Center, NY, onto Harrisburg, PA and other locations in PA, then to NYC and their dock for departure to South Africa. Their first ship was the Majestic.

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Reverend Jesse Myers Engle's Timeline

July 19, 1838
Bainbridge, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, United States
December 9, 1858
Age 20
Bainbridge, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, United States
March 26, 1860
Age 21
February 28, 1865
Age 26
September 9, 1866
Age 28
Pennsylvania, United States
December 15, 1867
Age 29
Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, United States
June 19, 1871
Age 32
Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, United States
December 13, 1876
Age 38
December 13, 1876
Age 38