Peter Heese: an outstanding Mennonite in Russia; born 2 June 1852, in Ekaterinoslav, Ukraine, the fourth of 10 children of Heinrich Heese (16 February 1828, Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine - 18 June 1883, Ekaterinoslav, South Russia) and Maria (Thiessen) Heese (17 September 1823, Ekaterinoslav, South Russia - 2 September 1896, Ekaterinoslav, South Russia). His father Heinrich was the son of Mennonite educator Heinrich Heese (1787-1868). Peter married Helena Schroeder (17 February 1854 - 9 June 1886, Tashchenak, Taurida, South Russia), daughter of David D. Schroeder (1808-1877) and Helena (Martens) Schroeder. Peter and Helena had no children. Peter died 1 February 1911 in Tashchenak, Taurida, South Russia. Originally buried in Ekaterinoslav, he was reburied in Tashchenak along with his wife in October 1911.
Peter was educated in the Chortitza Zentralschule, the Gymnasium in Ekaterinoslav, and the University of Moscow. In the school year 1877-1878 he taught in Gnadenfeld, Molotschna, and the next school year at the Ohrloff Vereinsschule (mathematics). In 1880 he was made co-president of the Ohrloff Vereinsschule with Johann Klatt, and was soon afterward chosen a member of the Molotschna Mennonite school board, and served as its president alternately with Klatt from 1889 to 1896.
Peter Heese was a man of extraordinary gifts and a commanding as well as winsome personality. In him the cause of education had an excellent promoter and counselor, on the character of the school as well as on the principles of education, but also an expert in the science and methods. Therefore the Heese-Klatt period is called the Golden Age of education among the Molotschna Mennonites. The most important achievement was the reform of the elementary village schools. New methods in the teaching of Russian, a German reader, outlines for Bible history, church history, and German grammar, and the use of Russian in arithmetic characterize this period.
Peter Heese's independence, his private financial means, and his generous liberality toward benevolent and educational institution causes gave him a name second (probably) only to that of Johann Cornies. He took an important part in the establishment of the school for the deaf in Tiege, called the Marientaubstummenschule.
Because he was unable to carry out all of his educational ideas, he left the school board in 1896 and in bitterness withdrew from Mennonite fellowship. In 1906 he published a Russian newspaper in Ekaterinoslav. Until his death he devoted his strength and fortune to sacrificial, unceasing service to his fellow men.
GRANDMA (The Genealogical Registry and Database of Mennonite Ancestry) Database, 6.02 ed. Fresno, CA:, 2010: #197243.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. II, 270.
Mennonitisches Jahrbuch (1910): 102.
Cite This Article
Braun, Abraham. "Heese, Peter (1852-1911)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 7 Feb 2016. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Heese,_Peter_(1852-1911)&oldid=81835.
Braun, Abraham. (1956). Heese, Peter (1852-1911). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 7 February 2016, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Heese,_Peter_(1852-1911)&oldid=81835.
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