Title: Test of Faith: The Jacob Hochstetler Story
Author: Vera Overholt
Major Themes: Amish, French and Indian War, Nonresistance, Pennsylvania
Synopsis: When Indians attack their home, will Jacob Hochstetler and his family defend themselves?
Do you know the story of the Jacob Hochstetler family? No? Well, you should. I had not thought about the fact that this is a little-known story from Colonial America until we bought Test of Faith and I discovered that my children didn’t know the story. I had read several versions of it as a girl; we had a lot of books and magazines published by Amish and Mennonites which our own children do not have. Jacob Hochstetler was an Amishman and the ancestor of thousands of today’s Amish and Mennonites.
During the French and Indian War, the French hired the Indians to attack settlers along the English frontier in Pennsylvania. The settlers lived in constant fear for their lives. One night in 1757, Jacob Hochstetler and his family were awakened to find Indians around their house. His sons wanted to defend themselves, but Jacob reminded them of Jesus’s directions to love their enemies. What would happen if they did not retaliate? This beautifully illustrated, hardcover picture book tells the story of a brave man who stood up for his belief in Jesus. It is a wonderful way to introduce not only the teachings of Jesus to young children, but also the American frontier and the events of the French and Indian War. Included after the story are a map, information about the Amish, Indians and William Penn, and pictures of the place where Jacob’s house stood.
WARNING: The deaths of a few people at the hands of the Indians are mentioned, with no details.
Read Aloud—Ages 3 – 4, 5 – 8, 8 – 12
Reading Independently—Ages 7 – 9, 8 – 12