Detweiler (Dettweiler, Dittwyler, Dettwiler) family

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Detweiler is a Swiss Mennonite family name found widely in South Germany and in North America. The family is famous in South Germany for its agricultural achievements. The Dettweilers, who had followed Hans Reist in the division of 1693, settled first in Alsace. Elias Detweiler (b. 1735) was elder and preacher of the Schafbusch congregation. One branch of the family settled in Bavaria in 1818 and as of 1956, was still living there. Elias, Jr., was the first elder and preacher of the Eichstock congregation near Munich. The family of Johannes Dettweiler (b. 1738), the brother of Elias, Sr., settled in Rhenish Hesse. J.N. Schwerz attributes the introduction of gypsum as fertilizer (Düngergips) in Palatine agriculture to Dettweiler.

Johannes Dettweiler's son Christian (1765-1838) was a particularly successful farmer and agricultural pioneer. He did much of his exceptionally fine work on the Wintersheim estate, Oppenheim district, in Rheinhessen. Christian Detweiler's brother Jakob (b. 1769) was a farmer in Kindenheim, the birthplace of Christian. Christian's three sons, Johann, Peter, and Samuel, were also well-known. Samuel became mayor of Wintersheim, and the office was still in the family in 1921. Peter's son Christian (1831-93), the oldest of the five children, made a contribution to scientific dairying in Hesse. Christian also introduced goats to Hesse, securing the best stock from Switzerland and founding the first Goat Association. Jean, the brother of Christian Dettweiler (1831-93), was a mayor, president of agricultural associations, and was especially active in the milk industry.

August Dettweiler (1839-1912) and his brother Heinrich (1840-1912) together managed a large estate, which had passed into the possession of the Dettweiler family in 1868. These Dettweiler brothers set an example of scientific farming, especially in the transition from extensive to intensive agriculture. Peter's third son, also named Peter (d. 1904), was a physician and a leader in German medical research. Dr. Dettweiler was a pioneer in the successful treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis, demonstrating that it was possible to treat the disease in various climates and locations, rather than in just a few. He is called the "father of the therapeutic institutional movement (Heilstättenbewegung)." He was also an army doctor in the wars of 1864, 1866, and 1870.

Another Peter Detweiler (1856-1907) was a classical philologian and professor at the university of Giessen, later a prominent councilor in the Hessian government, and finally manager of the Freytag publishing house in Leipzig.

In North America many Detweilers have been found in the Franconia Conference in easternmost Pennsylvania north of Philadelphia, as well as in other areas, such as Ontario and Ohio, to which the Pennsylvania Mennonites immigrated. Among those who served in the ministry are Jacob Detweiler (1778-1858) of Ontario, Bishop Samuel D. Detweiler (1841-1917) of the Franconia Conference, Bishop Samuel H. Detweiler (1855-1923) of Kansas, and I.R. Detweiler (1873-1946), a pioneer Mennonite missionary to India as well as an educator in North America, and for a time Acting President of Goshen College. William G. Detweiler (1903-1956) of Orrville, Ohio, was the Mennonite Church (MC) radio preacher of "The Calvary Hour."


On the European Dettweilers see the article by Ernst Correll, together with the literary sources in his footnotes, in Christian Hege and Christian Neff, eds., Mennonitisches Lexikon I. Frankfurt and Weierhof, 1913: 416-19.

For the American Detweilers, see Daniel Kauffman, Mennonite Cyclopedic Dictionary. Scottdale, Pa.: Mennonite Publishing House, 1937L 79f.

Author(s) Ernst H. Correll
John C. Wenger
Date Published 1956

Cite This Article

MLA style

Correll, Ernst H. and John C. Wenger. "Detweiler (Dettweiler, Dittwyler, Dettwiler) family." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 21 Apr 2024.,_Dittwyler,_Dettwiler)_family&oldid=119530.

APA style

Correll, Ernst H. and John C. Wenger. (1956). Detweiler (Dettweiler, Dittwyler, Dettwiler) family. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 21 April 2024, from,_Dittwyler,_Dettwiler)_family&oldid=119530.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 40. All rights reserved.

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