Greystone Oral Histories

Conscientious Objectors


Mennonites in their 90’s describe doing their alternative service at Greystone, as part of the WWII Conscientious Objector program. Their humane approach to patient care and documentation of improper treatment served as a transformative force in national mental health care. Members of the Mennonite community who were Conscientious Objectors during the Korean War and Vietnam War eras also did their alternative service at Greystone. They discuss their non-violence beliefs and community perception of Conscientious Objectors.

Conscientious Objectors

Clayton Bowman, age 97, WWII Mennonite Conscientious Objector
Clayton recounts his interactions with mostly helpful and occasionally violent patients in his role as orderly.

Paul Clemens, Willard Grass, Abram Landis
Korean War Era Mennonite Conscientious Objectors Three friends discuss how their experiences as I-W Conscientious Objectors at Greystone matured them and broadened their world view.

Elvin Horst, Mennonite Conscientious Objector,1967-1969.
Elvin discusses his wide range of positions at Greystone and shares his thoughts about changing public attitudes towards C.O.’s during that time.

Samuel Horst, WWII Mennonite Conscientious Objector
Samuel, age 98, talks about his commitment to the Mennonite ideal of pacifism and his employee orientation at Greystone while doing WWII alternative service.

Paul Lefever, WWII Mennonite Conscientious Objector
At age 98, Paul describes his duties as an orderly while serving his civilian public service at the hospital. Paul also shares information about the post-war Mennonite mental health hospital started by his brother.

Harold Lehman, WWII Mennonite Conscientious Objector
At the age of 97, Harold recalls his training at Greystone as a WWII Mennonite C.O. Harold’s experiences contributed to the Mennonite Church’s commitment to mental health reform.

Ivan Martin, Mennonite Conscientious Objector, 1971-72.
Ivan reflects on his numerous responsibilities as the Asst. Groundskeeper, including supervising patients mowing Greystone’s lawns.

Earl Martin (1966-68) , Gary Stevens (1965-67) Conscientious Objectors
These friends reminisce on the camaraderie of C.O.’s while living in Greystone’s Fire House and ongoing reunions with other C.O.’s

WWII Conscientious Objectors at Other Psychiatric Hospitals
The interviews below are of WWII Conscientious Objector who served in psychiatric hospitals other than Greystone, who also made a significant contribution to post WWII mental health care.

Laban Peachey, Mennonite War II Conscientious Objector
Laban, age 91, discusses how his positive civil public service at R.I. State Psychiatric Hospital influenced his career path as the former President of Hesston College and Dean of Eastern Mennonite University.

Warren Sawyer, Quaker War II Conscientious Objector
Warren, age 98, relates his reknown outspoken advocacy efforts to reform the infamous Byberry Psychiatric State Hospital, [PA]