Bekker, Benjamin (1833-1920)

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Benjamin Bekker: one of the first traveling ministers (Reiseprediger) of the Mennonite Brethren in Russia; born 30 November 1833 in Volhynia. He was the son of Peter Becker (ca. 1764 - 1 March 1842, Pastwa, Molotschna Mennonite Settlement, South Russia) and Helena Schmidt (15 April 1805 - 5 December 1872, Kuban Mennonite Settlement, South Russia). Benjamin married Anna Neufeld (6 January 1846, Einlage, Chortitza Mennonite Settlement, South Russia - 28 December 1924, Isabella, Oklahoma, USA), daughter of Heinrich Neufeld (1818-1890) and Maria (Isaak) Neufeld (1811-1861), on 7 June 1864. Benjamin and Anna had 12 children: Heinrich, Anna, Helena, Maria, Benjamin (died young), Katharina, Agatha, Jakob (died young), Sarah, Abraham, and Aganetha. Benjamin died on 20 June 1920 in Homestead, Oklahoma.

Benjamin was an infant when he and his family migrated from Volhynia to South Russia in 1834. Benjamin took an active part in the founding of the Mennonite Brethren Church. He was one of the signatories of the declaration to the Orlov and Halbstadt church leaders on 19 March 1860, and the petition of 30 December to the government. Ordained as traveling evangelist by Elder Heinrich Hübert, he was very successful in this service in 1861 and 1862. At Easter of 1862 he performed in Einlage the first wedding in the Mennonite Brethren Church. He soon joined the extreme Fröhliche Richtung (over-joyful) wing, and as their apostle (as he called himself) he exercised a dictatorial authority and banned his fellow preachers who did not share his views, such as J. Reimer and Gerhard Wieler. His influence soon waned.

Benjamin and his family moved to the Kuban Mennonite Settlement in the 1860s and immigrated to the United States in August 1877.


Friesen, Peter M. Die Alt-Evangelische Mennonitische Brüderschaft in Russland (1789-1910) im Rahmen der mennonitischen Gesamtgeschichte. Halbstadt: Verlagsgesellschaft "Raduga", 1911: 199 et passim.

GRANDMA (The Genealogical Registry and Database of Mennonite Ancestry) Database, 7.03 ed. Fresno, CA: California Mennonite Historical Society, 2013: #2504.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. I, 161.

Author(s) Christian Neff
Richard D. Thiessen
Date Published September 2013

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MLA style

Neff, Christian and Richard D. Thiessen. "Bekker, Benjamin (1833-1920)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. September 2013. Web. 22 Jun 2021.,_Benjamin_(1833-1920)&oldid=123789.

APA style

Neff, Christian and Richard D. Thiessen. (September 2013). Bekker, Benjamin (1833-1920). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 22 June 2021, from,_Benjamin_(1833-1920)&oldid=123789.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 268. All rights reserved.

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