Donner, Heinrich (1735-1805)

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Heinrich Donner: Elder of the Mennonite congregation at Orlofferfelde in the district of Marienburg, West Prussia, 1772-1804; born 14 September 1735 in Danzig, Poland, the son of Johann Donner (16 July 1696-11 July 1740) and Adelgunde (Hekker) Donner (29 October 1702-30 December 1767). Heinrich was married for the first time on 15 November 1757 to Elisabeth (Grunau) Allert (ca. 1737 - 23 November 1766, Schoensee, Gross Werder); they had one daughter, Adelgunde. After his first wife's death, Heinrich married Elisabeth Stobbe (ca. 1745-18 November 1805, Orlofferfelde, Gross Werder, Prussia) on 20 November 1770 in Schoensee, Gross Werder. They had six children: Johann, Heinrich, Elisabeth, Peter, Catharina, and Anna. Heinrich died on 2 January 1805 in Orlofferfelde, Gross Werder, Prussia.

With his parents Heinrich moved to Tiegenhof and became a farmer. He was descended from an old Frisian family. His great-grandparents were Daniel Donner and Elisabeth Roosen of Hamburg; his grandfather was Johann Donner, preacher of the Frisian congregation of Danzig. Heinrich Donner was one of the leading elders in West Prussia in the closing decades of the 18th century. He lived first at Schönsee, then at Orlofferfelde. In this latter congregation discord arose between Donner and his co-elder Hans Siebert (or Siewertsz) of Thiensdorf, which resulted in a schism and the building of a new meetinghouse in Markushof. He read extensively and wrote much, rendering valuable service by keeping notes and collecting documents on the history of his church in Prussia. In 1778, with Gerhard Wiebe he published a catechism which was later known as the Elbing-Waldeck Catechism. In 1783 he published a brief report on the Hutterian Brethren, titled Kurzer Bericht von den Taufgesinnten Christen, welche die Huttersche Brüder genannt werden, based on an account given him by Joseph Müller, a Hutterite preacher of Moravia, who was visiting the Mennonites in West Prussia. This report was reprinted in Mennonitische Gemeindeblatt (VII, 1876, No. 6, 44 f.; No. 7, 53f.). Other publications from his pen include Unterricht von der heiligen Wasser-Taufe (n.p., 1792, reprinted Tiegenhof, 1906), and Abendmahlsandachten, Gebete, und Lieder (Marienwerder, n.d.).


GRANDMA (The Genealogical Registry anDatabase of Mennonite Ancestry) Database, 7.0 ed. Fresno, CA: California Mennonite Historical Society, 2012: #694636.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. I, 463.

Hoop Scheffer, Jacob Gijsbert de. Inventaris der Archiefstukken berustende bij de Vereenigde Doopsgezinde Gemeente to Amsterdam, 2 vols. Amsterdam: Uitgegeven en ten geschenke aangeboden door den Kerkeraad dier Gemeente, 1883-1884: v. II, Nos. 856f.

Author(s) H. G. Mannhardt
Richard D. Thiessen
Date Published October 2012

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MLA style

Mannhardt, H. G. and Richard D. Thiessen. "Donner, Heinrich (1735-1805)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. October 2012. Web. 24 Sep 2023.,_Heinrich_(1735-1805)&oldid=120174.

APA style

Mannhardt, H. G. and Richard D. Thiessen. (October 2012). Donner, Heinrich (1735-1805). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 24 September 2023, from,_Heinrich_(1735-1805)&oldid=120174.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 84. All rights reserved.

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