Wipf, an old Hutterite family, probably of Swiss origin. We do not know when the Wipfs joined the brotherhood and how they happened to settle in Alwinz, Transylvania. Perhaps they went there with the first settlers in 1621. In any case in 1694 one Michael Wipf was made Vorsteher (bishop) in Alwinz, though he was not particularly successful. The Wipfs of today are probably not descended from this man but from another Wipf, whose widow Annele together with her five children belonged to the few surviving "old Hutterites" in Transylvania prior to the coming of the Carinthians in 1756. She is expressly named by Johannes Waldner, the author of the Klein-Geschichtsbuch. She and the children then went to Russia with the rest of the group. A Jakob Wipf was "the teacher" ca. 1853. At that time a group of Hutterites led by Peter Hofer (see Hofer) and Jakob Wipf separated from the Hutterthal colony to start a new settlement, Johannesruh, named after Johann Cornies. Jakob Wipf must have been a very alert and intelligent leader; he had attended the Mennonite Zentralschule at Halbstadt, Molotschna, and received a teacher's license. In 1864, when this group experimented for a few years with the re-establishment of communal living, it became known as the "Lehrerleut", since Wipf was a teacher and was generally known as Jakob Lehrer. In 1874 the great exodus from Russia began, but at first only the Dariusleut and the Schmiedeleut went o America, settling in South Dakota. In 1875-76 two Brethren from the Bon Homme colony, South Dakota, went back to Russia to encourage the Lehrerleut, led by Jakob Wipf and Peter Hofer, to come to America and to re-establish there their former community of goods. This they did. In 1877 Wipf, Hofer, and 13 their families migrated and established a colony at Old Elmspring, near Alexandria, South Dakota, (later near Parkston), thus establishing the third Hutterite Bruderhof in America. Jakob Wipf was its Vorsteher until his death in 1896. A number of Wipfs, however, broke away from this communal living and settled in and around Freeman, South Dakota, becoming known as the "Prairie Leut." They joined other Mennonite groups.
Zieglschmid, A. J. F. Das Klein-Geschichtsbuch der Hutterischen Brüder. Philadelphia, PA: Carl Schurz Memorial Foundation, 1947: 228, 257.
Cite This Article
Friedmann, Robert. "Wipf family." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 19 Jun 2018. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Wipf_family&oldid=140855.
Friedmann, Robert. (1959). Wipf family. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 June 2018, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Wipf_family&oldid=140855.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 964. All rights reserved.
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