Michael Mosiman is thought to have arrived at New York City in 1831. He spent time in Lancaster County before continuing to Butler County, Ohio, where he worked two years in a mill.
Michael Mosiman arrived in this area by horseback in early 1834. The cholera pandemic had swept the area the year before, and many families were anxious to sell their land. He eventually settled on the Wesley City area (now the Creve Coeur neighborhood).
He was an Amish Mennonite and met with the Schertz and Rusche (Rocher) families that settled here earlier. Amish Mennonites, fleeing conditions in France did not come to Illinois in mass in an attempt to establish colonies but rather trickled in slowly.
Michael patent 120 acres in section five of Groveland Township on Dec. 18, 1835, (part of this land would later be the site of Gerber Grade School). A year earlier he had married Marie Rusche, daughter of Christopher Rusche, who had arrived in August 1832 with her family in accompany of the David Schertz family.
After their arrival, Amish Mennonites continued to observe their religion and established congregations or meetings throughout the area. Partridge Creek meeting was located north of what is now Metamora, Mackinaw, meeting south of what is now Carlock,and Dillon Creek, meeting at Pleasant Grove near what is now Tremont.
In 1837 Michael Mosiman was ordained as a minister in the Dillon Creek meeting. Because of the distance of his Wesley City settlement from Pleasant Grove, a Wesley meeting gradually cleaved off of the Dillon Creek meeting. In 1840, Mosiman became the first Amish Mennonite elder or bishop ordained in the state of Illinois. His group, known as the Westley City meeting (Busche Gemeinde or rural congregation) was made up of farmers from East Peoria to Morton.
In 1858, Henry Egly, bishop of the Berne-Geneva Amish Church in Indiana withdrew from the Amish church. Approximately half of the congregation withdrew as well. In 1866, the first Egly-Amish church was created in Berne, Indiana becoming the Defenseless Mennonite Church. In the beginning the Egly Amish church was very strict in regard to discipline and dress, but later developed in the same direction as the Amish Mennonites, that is toward the Mennonite mainstream, away from the Amish heritage.
In 1878, elder/bishop Michael Mosiman and minister Nicholas Roth created the Defenseless Mennonite Church of Groveland, now the Evangelical Mennonite Church of Groveland, and most of his congregants followed him into alignment with the 'Egly Amish'.
Michael Mosiman and his wife had five children that reached adulthood, sons Christian, Joseph and David and daughters Mary and Annie. His two oldest sons, Christian and Joseph, purchased lot 3 in Coleville in 1860 and opened a retail grocery and sold whisky on the side. They sold the lot and business to Joseph Schertz and in January of 1876, Joseph Mosiman purchased a lot from Johnston Cole that is now bounded by Washington Street, Springfield Road, Floyd Street and Taylor Street. He opened a hardware store there and operated until his death in 1902.
Brother Christian purchased several pieces of ground in Fondulac and Groveland Townships including the tract of land that is the site of Veterans Park. This site also contained Schertz-Mosiman Cemetery.
Michael’s wife Maria died in 1852, and she is interred there with her father, Christopher, and brother, Joseph. Michael sold his farm to his oldest son Joseph in 1860 and purchased another farm close by. Michael sold the second farm to his son David in 1877 but continued to live on the property until 1884 when he moved to Morton with son David and his family. Michael Mosiman died at the age of 92 on April 9, 1898, and is buried in the Evangelical Mennonite Cemetery in Groveland.
Compiled October 2017 by Frank Borror
, The East Peoria Historical Society is located at 324-326 Pekin Avenue. It is dedicated to the collection and preservation of local history. If anyone has information or pictures regarding East Peoria they would share please contact Frank Borror at 696-9227 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.