Engel, Jacob (1753-1833)

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Jacob Engel, the first River Brethren (Brethren in Christ) leader and overseer (bishop), was born in Switzerland in November 1753. His family, along with other Mennonites fleeing persecution, arrived in Philadelphia in October 1754. The Mennonite group settled along the Susquehanna River (thus River Brethren) in Lancaster County, PA. Township tax records indicate Jacob was a farmer, owner of a cloth processing mill, and a minister of average financial means. When a religious awakening swept through the German settlements, Jacob, assisted by his brother John, became the leader of the emerging River Brethren (ca. 1780). This new group brought together the crisis conversion experience of the Awakening with the Pennsylvania version of the Anabaptist view of the church. Little is known regarding the ministry of Jacob Engel. There is evidence that he was an evangelist. He was the shepherd of the newly formed River Brethren fellowships. Such leadership included a pastoral visit to the River Brethren in Canada. He may have written, but if so, such works are not extant.


Donegal Twp. Tax Lists, Lancaster Co. Historical Society Library, Lancaster, PA, 1756-

Wittlinger, Carlton O. Quest for Piety and Obedience: The Story of the Brethren in Christ. Nappanee, IN: Evangel Press, 1978 :15-36 passim, 129, 551-54;

Schrag, Martin H. Brethren In Christ Attitude toward the "World." (PhD diss., Temple University, 1967): 14, 17-19, 22.

Author(s) Martin H Schrag
Date Published 1990

Cite This Article

MLA style

Schrag, Martin H. "Engel, Jacob (1753-1833)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1990. Web. 19 Jun 2024. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Engel,_Jacob_(1753-1833)&oldid=133809.

APA style

Schrag, Martin H. (1990). Engel, Jacob (1753-1833). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 June 2024, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Engel,_Jacob_(1753-1833)&oldid=133809.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, p. 269. All rights reserved.

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