428 N Wolf Creek St.,  Suite No. H1, Brookville, OH 45309-1297  BRETHREN HERITAGE CENTER

              Phone:  937-833-5222  email:   Brethren Heritage Center                        Hours: 10:00 AM - 4::00 PM, Mon., Wed., Sat. except Holidays

         A research archive for church history and genealogy.

The Brethren Heritage Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving historical and current information concerning the various Brethren bodies which have a rich heritage dating to 1708 in Schwarzenau, Germany.  Southwestern Ohio  was chosen for the location of the center due to the large number of Brethren living in the Miami Valley Region. The Brethren bodies involved with the Brethren Heritage Center are: Church of the Brethren, Conservative Grace Brethren International, Dunkard Brethren, Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, German Baptist Brethren, Old Brethren, Old Brethren German Baptist, Old German Baptist Brethren, Old German Baptist Brethren-New Conference, Old Order German Baptist, The Brethren Church.




Research Books



New Bookstore

Used Bookstore




Contact Us





Title:  Peggy Reiff Miller book signing and program on her book, Seagoing Cowboys.

Location:  Brethren Heritage Center, 428 N. Wolf Creek Street, Suite H1, Brookville, Ohio 45309

Date and Time:  Saturday, April 13, 4:30-5:30pm

Admission is Free and Open to the Public


For further information call Mark Lancaster at the Heritage Center at 937 833 5222


Repairing a Broken World: Picture Book Highlights Men Who Delivered Livestock—and Hope—Overseas Beginning in 1945, while Europe struggled with the desolation left by years of war, over 7,000 men and boys ages 16 to 72 traveled by ship on missions of mercy. They were seagoing cowboys—farm hands and folks from all walks of life: teachers, students, bankers, preachers, plumbers—and they were recruited to care for the thousands of horses and heifers sent for reparations.


 Author Peggy Reiff Miller, the granddaughter of one such cowboy, tells their story for young readers in The Seagoing Cowboy, illustrated by Claire Ewart .The Seagoing Cowboy follows a young man and his friend as they board a ship bound for Poland. One cares for horses, the other for heifers on the weeks-long journey. What they see when they arrive is sobering: the war had left the country in ruins, and many people had nothing left. The horses and heifers would go a long way in helping them rebuild their lives. Archival photographs, a map, and an author’s note supplement the story.


After her grandfather died, Ms. Miller’s father gave her a stack of photos. That’s how she learned that her grandfather had participated in this program. “Like my grandfather, many seagoing cowboys never talked about their experience with their grandchildren,” she says. “With this book, I wanted to give families a tool to share the story with the younger generation—a story of how people helped to repair a broken world after a major war.” The seagoing cowboys program was made possible by the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA), an international relief agency supported by 44 nations. They ultimately sent over 200,000 horses, mules, and heifers to Europe and other countries devastated by war. 


The Church of the Brethren, a service-oriented Christian denomination, played an important role in helping to recruit volunteers and sending livestock; this program eventually became known as The Heifer Project. When UNRRA disbanded in 1947 and the Heifer Project lost its ready transportation, the stories from the seagoing cowboys about the tremendous need overseas helped provide momentum to keep the Heifer Project— today’s Heifer International—going ( 


Peggy Reiff Miller has been researching, writing, and speaking about the seagoing cowboys since 2002. Through interviews, questionnaires, diary accounts, photos, and movies of their trips, she has accumulated a wealth of information; much of it is documented on her website, She lives in Englewood, Ohio. This is her first children’s book. 







updated 3-17-2019 leh