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Dariusleut is the name of the smallest of the three Hutterite kinship groups that make up the total Hutterite brotherhood in North America. The other two are the Schmiedeleut and the Lehrerleut. On 31 December 1950, the Dariusleut had 29 colonies or Bruderhofs with a total population of 2,522—25 Bruderhofs in Alberta, and four in Montana. A complete list with census is given at the end of this article. The bishop (Vorsteher) in 1954 was John Würz of Wilson Siding Colony, Lethbridge, Alberta.

Until 1857 the entire Hutterite brotherhood had only one bishop or president and had been living in noncommunal form for 32 years since 1842 in a separate village, Hutterthal, in the Molotschna settlement about 12 miles (20 km) from Melitopol, Russia, near the Tashchenak estate of Johann Cornies. Elder George Waldner, ordained in 1846, desired to restore the communal form, but his endeavors led only to a division that frustrated his attempt. He made an actual attempt in 1857 at Hutterdorf near Orechov in Ekaterinoslav; it failed and he died shortly thereafter. Meanwhile three new Hutterite villages had been established: (1) Johannisruh (in 1853-1857), two and a half miles from Hutterthal, (2) Neu-Hutterthal (in 1857), 80 miles (125 km) northwest of Huttertal, (3) Dobritcha (location not clear). In Hutterdorf after Waldner's death three preachers were chosen. One of these, Michael Waldner, successfully established a communal Bruderhof in 1859 in one end of Hutterdorf village. A second preacher, Darius Walter, founded another Bruderhof in the other end of Hutterdorf in 1860. The third preacher finally joined the Walter group.

The two above Bruderhofs became in America in 1874-1875 the mother Bruderhofs of two groups, Schmiedeleut and Dariusleut. Tendencies toward establishing a communal Bruderhof in Johannisruh after 1864 failed to materialize. But in 1877 a few of the Johannisruh families, led by Jacob Wipf, one of the preachers there, left for South Dakota and established a third communal Bruderhof there. The remaining Hutterites from all the villages also immigrated to South Dakota, but did not establish Bruderhofs; they formed regular Mennonite congregations which ultimately all joined the General Conference Mennonite Church (the last in 1940).

The Michael Waldner group came to the United States in 1874 and settled Bon-Homme Colony near Yankton, South Dakota. With its descendants it has since been called the Schmiedeleut, since Waldner was a blacksmith (Schmied), Darius Walter's group also arrived in 1874, and in 1875 established the Wolf Creek Bruderhof, and have since been called the Dariusleut. In the 1880 census 137 souls were registered for this group. The third group, led by Preacher Jacob Wipf, left Johannisruh in 1877 and established the Old Elmspring Bruderhof near Parkston, SD. They were called Lehrerleut, because Jacob Wipf was a teacher in Russia and also in South Dakota.

The differences between the three groups are very minor, such as the wearing of buttons by the men of the Lehrerleut in contrast to the hooks and eyes of the other two groups. There are no differences in faith or practice and no breach of fellowship, but most marriages are among members of the same kinship group, as are likewise business contacts and visiting. Recently a general conference of all three groups was held in Manitoba. The Schmiedeleut Bruderhofs are all in South Dakota (one in North Dakota) and Manitoba, the Dariusleut mostly in Alberta with four in Montana, the Lehrerleut mostly in Alberta with seven in Montana. Each group is completely separate in ecclesiastical organization (having its own Vorsteher or bishop, and preachers) as well as in economic matters. The Lehrerleut left the Old Elmspring Bruderhof in 1932.

In the last few decades, a few Hutterites left Dariusleut colonies to form dissident colonies. The split usually was based on personality differences between some of the adults, but as the years went by, the dissidents have shown a tendency for rapid assimilation. One such group near Lethbridge formally severed its ties with the Hutterite group, which excommunicated them, and joined the Mennonite Church, forming the Stirling (MC) congregation in the Alberta-Saskatchewan Conference with 23 baptized members (1954) and John Hofer as preacher. Another group of a few families at Feiger Colony, near Lethbridge, also was not in good standing with the Hutterite Church, but no formal break had occurred by 1954.

Census of Dariusleut Bruderhofs (1950)

Name of Colony Address Founded Population (1950) Head Preacher
Bruderhofs in Alberta
Camrose Camrose 1949 83 Paul Hofer
Cayley Cayley 1937 80 Paul A. Walter
East Cardston Cardston 1918 81 Jacob Hofer
Ewelme (Murphy) Macleod 1928 69 Joseph Hofer
Ferrybank Ponoka 1949 75 Michael Wipf
Granum Granum 1930 75 Martin R. Walters
Holt Jarrow 1949 57 Peter S. Tschetter
Howl Ranch (Tschetter) Irricana 1948 76 Jacob Tschetter
Husher (Rosebud) Crossfield 1944 78 Christian Tschetter
Lakeside Cranford 1935 91 Josepyh K. Wipf
New Rosebud (Rosebud) Beiseker 1926 65 Paul S. Stahl
New York Stirling 1924 110 Jacob Hofer
Pincher Creek Pincher Creek 1926 85 Paul Gross
Pine Hill Penhold 1948 86 Peter Hofer
Riverside Glenwood 1933 86 Lorenz R. Tschetter
Rosebud Redland 1918 187 George Hofer
Sandhill Beiseker 1936 114 Jacob K. Wurz
Springvale Rockyford 1918 77 Michael M. Wurz
Stahlville Rockyford 1919 98 David R. Waldner
Stand-Off Macleod 1918 76 Jacob Walter
Thompson Glenwood 1918 76 Paul J. Tschetter
West Raley Cardston 1918 117 Christian C. Waldner
Willow Creek (Red Willow) Stettler 1949 89 Jacob S. Stahl
Wilson Siding Lethbridge 1918 140 John M. Wurz
Wolf Creek Stirling 1924 76 Joshua E. Hofer
Bruderhofs in Montana
Ayers Ranch Grass Range 1945 54 John A. Stahl
Deerfield (Bank Ranch) Danvers 1947 65 Paul Stahl
King Ranch Lewistown 1935 61 Joseph Stahl
Spring Creek Lewistown 1945 26 Paul Walter


Zieglschmid, A. J. F.  Das Klein-Geschichtsbuch der Hutterischen Brüder. Philadelphia, PA: Carl Schurz Memorial Foundation, 1947.

Author(s) Harold S Bender
Date Published 1956

Cite This Article

MLA style

Bender, Harold S. "Dariusleut." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 13 Jul 2024. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Dariusleut&oldid=162203.

APA style

Bender, Harold S. (1956). Dariusleut. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 13 July 2024, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Dariusleut&oldid=162203.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, pp. 14-15. All rights reserved.

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