Gaeddert, Dietrich (1837-1900)

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Dietrich Gaeddert, a Mennonite (General Conference Mennonite) minister, was born 2 March 1837, at Alexanderwohl, Russia, the oldest son of Jacob Gaeddert and Elisabeth Ratzlaff, both of Alexanderwohl. His teacher was Heinrich Buller. Gaeddert taught school for eleven years in Paulsheim, Rückenau, and Fürstenwerder, Russia. On 4 June 1856 he was baptized in the Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church and on 14 December 1867 he was elected minister of the church. He married Maria Martens in 1859. Of their thirteen children six died in infancy and the others came with them to America. After the death of his wife in 1874 he married Helena Richert (1858-1953) in 1879. To this union thirteen children were born, of whom two died in infancy.

Gaeddert was chosen delegate to investigate the prairie states and provinces in America for settlement, but was unable to go. In 1874 he became leader of a group of Alexanderwohl immigrants to America who crossed the Atlantic on the Teutonia and settled in Harvey, McPherson, and Reno counties, Kansas. He organized the Hoffnungsau Mennonite Church, became elder in 1876, and served the group till his death. The detailed diary of Dietrich Gaeddert, which he kept in Russia and America, is a valuable record pertaining to the coming of the Mennonites to America and the early experiences in this country.

Gaeddert assisted in the founding of Bethel College, North Newton, Kansas, and was on its board of directors from its founding until his death. He served the Home Mission Committee of the Western District Conference and assisted in organizing a number of congregations of this committee, often serving with baptism and Lord's Supper. He died 31 December 1900, and was buried in the Hoffnungsau cemetery, where the church has erected a memorial.


Alexanderwohl Church Record (microfilm, Mennonite Library and Archives, Bethel College (North Newton, KS)).

Gaeddert, Dietrich. Diary.

"Obituary." Christlicher Bundesbote (24 January 1901): 6-7.

Author(s) A. J. Dyck
Gustav R. Gaeddert
Date Published 1956

Cite This Article

MLA style

Dyck, A. J. and Gustav R. Gaeddert. "Gaeddert, Dietrich (1837-1900)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 6 Jul 2022.,_Dietrich_(1837-1900)&oldid=87639.

APA style

Dyck, A. J. and Gustav R. Gaeddert. (1956). Gaeddert, Dietrich (1837-1900). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 6 July 2022, from,_Dietrich_(1837-1900)&oldid=87639.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 430. All rights reserved.

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