Archiver > BRETHREN > 1997-05 > 0864017382

From: Leila Simonsen <>
Subject: Re: COB and slavery
Date: Sun, 18 May 1997 22:49:42 -0600
References: <>

Eric Zurcher wrote:
> At 10:55 AM 5/17/97 -0400, Sonya Galliani wrote:
> > I would like to know if a member of the Church of the Brethren would own a
> > slave?
> There almost certainly were some cases. I was quite surprised to find that
> the 1790 PA census indicated that one of my ancestors, Peter Summers, had a
> slave in his household. Peter Summers was Amish, as far as I can tell.
> Does anyone know whether the Amish Summers (also spelled as Summer, Somers,
> or Sommers), are closely connected with the Dunkard family with the same
> surname? My "Amish" line actually has a number of surnames with Brethren
> affinities (Summers, Zug, Blank, Ritter, and Bollinger); I'd link to hear
> from anyone who has information on Amish-COB links, especially involving
> those families.
> Cheers,
> Eric Zurcher
> CSIRO Division of Entomology
> Canberra, Australia
> E-mail:

Eric, I am a descendent of Barbara Zug, 2nd wife of Johann Michael

At one time I was involved in a discussion with Alice Beard about this
question; I am including the information she sent, in hopes you will
find it helpful:
>What is the connection between The Amish/Mennonite groups and the
>Brethren/Dunkard groups? Were they at one time one sect? Or is it that
>they just lived in close proximity? I have read up on the Brethren in
>an Encyclopedia of American Churches, but that is about all that is
>available at our local (small) library.
>Needing education, Leila

"Brethren" and "Dunkard" are two names for the same group of folks:
Church of Brethren. The Amish and the Mennonite are distinctly separate
groups. In other words, your question asked about three religious
groups: Mennonites, Brethren (Dunkards), and Amish.

All are pacifist; all are Protestant; all are Anabaptist groups. In
words, they do not practice infant baptism; they practice baptism of
believers. The Mennonites emerged in Switzerland in the 1520s. The
Brethren emerged in
Germany in 1708; they did not grow out of the Mennonite
movement, but they had close contact with the Mennonites. The Amish
emerged in the late 1600s or early 1700s; they began as an "off shoot"
of the Mennonites.

Lord, please help me with these next words. I am not Mennonite,
or Amish, but have cherished ancestors who were Brethren and Mennonite,
and I would not be surprised to find an Amish ancestor some day:

The Amish are the group known for practicing "shunning." To my
Brethren and Mennonites do not practice "shunning" or ostracism. The
Amish are also known for preventing education of their children beyond
8th grade. The Brethren and the Mennonite not only encourage education
beyond 8th grade, they also have colleges and universities. So far as
trying to determine whether a woman was Amish, Brethren, or Mennonite by
her dress, it would be difficult. Among the Amish, some are a bit more
progressive than others; among the Brethren, there are the Old Order
whose women dress very conservatively. Among all three groups, you would
expect to find "white caps" on the women, at least at Sunday services.

Now, from a genealogy perspective: You'll find intermarriage among
Brethren and Mennonite easily. On one family group sheet, you might have
some children buried in a Brethren cemetery, and others in a Mennonite
cemeter. So far as finding intermarriage among Amish and Mennonite, or
among Amish and Brethren, you will find it, but less often. And I've
only seen it go one way then: If an Amish marries a Brethren or a
Mennonite, they don't go back to Amish.

If you have internet access, you can check out a wonderfully put
site which will give better info on the Brethren than I have given:
Leila Simonsen
Payette, ID


This thread: