Heinrich Richert: an outstanding Mennonite (General Conference Mennonite) teacher, minister, and leader; born 23 May 1831 at Deutsch-Kunopath, West Prussia, the oldest son of David Richert (27 October 1806, Deutsch Konopat, Schwetz, Prussia - 24 May 1878) and Sara Dirks Richert (25 June 1812 - 21 July 1864). Heinrich married Anna Schmidt (8 November 1827, Alexanderwohl, Molotschna Mennonite Settlement, South Russia - 8 April 1869, Gnadenheim, Molotschna, South Russia), daughter of Heinrich Schmidt (1795-1853) and Trincke (Harpart) Schmidt (1789-1843), on 16 June 1853. Heinrich and Anna had eight children: Anna, Heinrich, Sara, Helena, Maria, Susanna, Katharina, and Jacob (a ninth child died in infancy). After Anna's death, Heinrich married Helena Unruh (4 November 1846, Alexanderwohl, Molotschna, South Russia - 7 December 1936, Goessel, Kansas, USA), daughter of Peter Unruh (1822-1900) and Sara (Schroeder) Unruh (1827-1914), on 31 August 1869. Heinrich and Helena had seven children: Aganetha, Peter, David, Margaretha, Martha, Johannes, and Elisabeth (an eighth child died in infancy). Heinrich died 16 October 1895 in McPherson County, Kansas.
Heinrich grew up in Deutsch-Kunopath, where he became a member of the Przechovka Mennonite Church. Before he was a year old his parents moved to Russia and settled in the village Alexanderwohl of the Molotschna settlement. He attended the school at Lichtfelde and passed the teacher's examination in 1851, after which he taught in Nikolaidorf. In 1849 he was baptized by Elder Peter Wedel. In 1859 he was elected minister. Soon his influence in the congregation became noticeable. He favored active participation in mission work and some changes in traditions. The first Mennonite missionary, Heinrich Dirks, came from this church. In 1860 Richert accepted the call to teach in the neighboring school of Gnadenheim where he had from seventy to eighty pupils. In 1869 his wife Anna died, leaving him with eight children. His second wife was Helena Unruh.
In August 1874 Richert joined a group of Alexanderwohl Mennonites who immigrated to Kansas and established the Alexanderwohl or Goessel Mennonite community. Here he continued his work as minister and was particularly active in promoting the educational and missionary efforts of the General Conference Mennonite Church. After attending the General Conference sessions in South Dakota in 1890 he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage which paralyzed him. He died in 1895.
Friesen, Peter M. Die Alt-Evangelische Mennonitische Brüderschaft in Russland (1789-1910) im Rahmen der mennonitischen Gesamtgeschichte. Halbstadt: Verlagsgesellschaft "Raduga", 1911: 495 and 1195.
GRANDMA (The Genealogical Registry and Database of Mennonite Ancestry) Database, 7.03 ed. Fresno, CA: " California Mennonite Historical Society, 2013: #48308.
Krahn, Cornelius, ed. From the Steppes to the Prairies. Newton, 1949: 22 ff.
Krehbiel, H. P. The History of the General Conference of the Mennonites of North America I. Newton, 1898: 442.
Wedel, C. H. "Heinrich Richert." Bundesbote-Kalender (1897): 28.
Cite This Article
Krahn, Cornelius. "Richert, Heinrich (1831-1895)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 10 Feb 2016. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Richert,_Heinrich_(1831-1895)&oldid=101895.
Krahn, Cornelius. (1959). Richert, Heinrich (1831-1895). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 10 February 2016, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Richert,_Heinrich_(1831-1895)&oldid=101895.
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