Mast Gathering will unite descendants worldwide

Mast Gathering will unite descendants worldwide

The homestead back in the 1800s wasn't what it is today. One of the hopes from the Mast Gathering will be to have family members bring in more of these types of memorabilia for the family to explore.


Around Holmes and Wayne counties, the surname Mast is a common one. It seems like one can’t drive 20 yards without seeing the name on a mailbox along the many county highways and byways.

However, coming in early August, the Mast clan will have a chance to unite in force for the 2019 Mast Gathering in Morgantown, Pennsylvania.

The enormous reunion is an open invitation for all Mast descendants to come together and celebrate the heritage of the Mast clan, which includes descendants from the 1737 immigrant Jacob Mast, 1750 immigrant Johannes Mast, immigrant Jacob Mast, immigrant John Mast, immigrant Anna Mast and immigrant Magdalena Mast Troyer. The two Mast women descendants then married into the Troyer and Yoder families, further extending the Mast generations.

The gathering will take place at the Conestoga Mennonite Church, a new facility that can accommodate a lot of people.

That is important because the committee has no idea how many Masts will descend on Morgantown for the reunion.

Lois and Lemar Mast from Morgantown began the process of putting this massive Mast reunion together. Eventually they had a number of other Mast descendants join them in their endeavor to bring everything together. That includes James and Bernadine Mast of Holmes County.

“If you’re a Mast, you’re invited to come and enjoy the gathering,” James Mast said. “We are all tied together through one of the early Mast lines who came over from Switzerland.”

All of the Amish and Mennonite Masts arrived here from Guggisberg, Switzerland, and the gathering will include Masts not just from here in Amish Country, but also from Pennsylvania, Indiana and wherever the Mast name settled, including Masts from Canada and Europe.

The three-day event will begin with a Friday, Aug. 2 field trip around Morgantown that will culminate with an Amish wedding feast supper on a Lancaster County Amish Zook Farm.

The chartered bus tour will make stops at four different Mast settlement sites, plus stops at the Hochstetler Massacre site, the Nicholas Stoltzfus House and the immigrant homes of Stephen and Hans Kurtz.

The tour is $85 per person and is optional, so Masts may choose to attend any or all of the events taking place over the three-day weekend.

Saturday, Aug. 3 will feature a chance for all of the Mast (Maust) clan to gather for seminars, a time to fellowship together and enjoy a hymn sing, and an old-fashioned auction with plenty of activities for the children.

Beginning at 9 a.m., gatherers can browse a display of the Mast/Maust heritage, play volleyball, knit a comforter, participate in a Mast family photograph session and have lunch.

The seminar speakers will provide plenty of insight into the Mast heritage. Gerald Mast will present “From Europe to America and Beyond,” Dot Mast Moss will focus on “The Mast Immigrant Brothers of 1750” and Darvin Martin will present a look at the heritage line with “Learning About Mast Ancestry Through DNA.”

“The hope is that through this DNA seminar we will be able to connect the dots of the Mast ancestry,” James Mast said. “The Masts were a very small group from a small community, and both ancestors came from the same place. The hope is that this draws us all together.”

While no single person has all of the answers as to the history and generational ties between the Masts, the hope of the committee is that this gathering provides opportunity for the Masts to make connections and to further explore how descendants from each tribe of Masts are intertwined and related.

At 1 p.m. there will be an auction led by international auctioneer Joseph Mast with supper available beginning at 4 p.m. from Zook Amish food vendors. At 5:30 p.m. there will be a thunderous hymn sing.

One highlight of the auction will be a “Colors of the Wind” Quilt that was donated by James and Bernadine Mast and Cynthia Denlinger.

On the morning of Sunday, Aug. 4, there will be an outdoor worship service in a large tent overlooking the scenic Conestoga Valley, followed by a lunch of traditional bean soup, homemade bread and jam, and whoopie pies.

In addition Lemar Mast has worked to assemble a historical booklet that features a great deal of information on the Mast clan that also can help connect one of the Mast groups to another from generations ago.

If anyone has items they would like to donate to the Mast auction, they may do so by simply bringing them to the gathering. The auction will include the quilt, some authentic European cuckoo clocks and Swiss knives, Guggisberg Cheese wheels, Mast Brothers chocolate bars, books authored by Masts, Swiss Alphorn and yodeling CDs, wall hangings, wood crafts, and a host of other items.

Registration is required, and any descendants of the Mast family, which includes the Troyer and Yoder name through marriage, may simply fill out the accompanying registration form and send it in to attend this opportunity to unite as the descendants of the Mast clan.

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