Friesen, Abraham L. (1831-1917)

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Abraham L. Friesen, Kleine Gemeinde elder; born 13 September 1831 in Ohrloff, Molotschna Mennonite Settlement, South Russia, the son of Jacob W. Friesen (4 October 1808, Ohrloff, Molotschna, South Russia - 17 June 1889, Jefferson County, Nebraska, USA), a deacon in the Kleine Gemeinde, and Anganetha (Loepp) Friesen (27 January 1808, Blumstein, Molotschna, South Russia - 7 June 1881, Jefferson County, Nebraska). He was the grandson of Elder Abraham Friesen (1782-1849). Abraham married Anna Dueck (13 November 1833 - 15 January 1904) in 1853. Abraham and Anna had two daughters that both died young, and they cared for a number of foster children. On 29 June 1904 Abraham married Mrs. Helena (Friesen) Friesen (7 October 1835, Neukirch, Molotschna, South Russia - 25 February 1911, Meade, Kansas). Abraham died on 14 March 1917 in Meade, Kansas, and was buried in the South Kleine Gemeinde cemetery near Meade.

Abraham most likely grew up in Blumstein until his marriage in 1853 to Anna Dueck, when they moved to Tiege, Molotschna. They remained here until the 1860s when they joined the majority of Kleine Gemeinde families in their move to Markusland and Borozenko, where they settled in the village of Heuboden, Borozenko. Abraham was elected as a Kleine Gemeinde minister in 1861.

Elder Johann F. Friesen of the Kleine Gemeinde excommunicated Abraham in 1868 because of differences of opinion. On 7 May 1868 his followers elected him as their elder. He was ordained by Johann Harder, the elder of the Blumstein Mennonite Church. In the immigration to America in 1874, the Abraham Friesen group settled in Jansen, Nebraska, while the other group under the leadership of Elder Peter Toews, elected to the ministry in 1869, went to Manitoba.

When the Manitoba Kleine Gemeinde group was weakened in 1882 due to the exodus of a number of ministers, including Elder Peter Toews, to the Holdeman group, Friesen traveled to Manitoba a number of times to encourage those who remained and conducted the election of a new elder. In 1907 Friesen moved along with the Jansen Kleine Gemeinde group to Meade, Kansas. Friesen's activities decreased after this move due to age and poor eye sight. In 1914, Jacob F. Isaac was elected as elder.

Friesen was an excellent expositor of scripture and had a warm pastoral care for the church.


Fast, Henry N. "A Biography of Aeltester Abraham L. Friesen (1831-1917) of Heuboden, Borosenko Colony, South Russia, and later of Jansen, Nebraska." In Leaders of the Mennonite Kleine Gemeinde in Russia, 1812 to 1874, edited by Delbert F. Plett. The Mennonite Kleine Gemeinde Historical Series 6. Steinbach, MB: Crossway Publications, 1993: 673-676.

GRANDMA (The Genealogical Registry and Database of Mennonite Ancestry) Database, 6.06 ed. Fresno, CA: California Mennonite Historical Society, 2011: #3638.

Mennonite Life 6 (July 1951): 18.

Author(s) Cornelius Krahn
Richard D. Thiessen
Date Published May 2011

Cite This Article

MLA style

Krahn, Cornelius and Richard D. Thiessen. "Friesen, Abraham L. (1831-1917)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. May 2011. Web. 26 Sep 2021.,_Abraham_L._(1831-1917)&oldid=81045.

APA style

Krahn, Cornelius and Richard D. Thiessen. (May 2011). Friesen, Abraham L. (1831-1917). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 26 September 2021, from,_Abraham_L._(1831-1917)&oldid=81045.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, pp. 403-404. All rights reserved.

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