Geil, John (1778-1866)

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John Geil, Mennonite (Mennonite Church) leader and preacher, b. 9 April 1778, in New Britain Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, d. 16 January 1866, affiliated witli the Franconia Mennonite Conference. His father, Jacob Geil, had emigrated with his parents from Alsace or the Palatinate at the age of eight. John married Elizabeth Fretz (1781-1849) on 22 April 1802; she was the daughter of Mark Fretz (1750-1840), deacon of the Lexington congregation. They were the parents of eight children. Although John went to school but six weeks he was able to write both German and English. He was gifted with a keen mind and a remarkable memory. Ordained in 1810 or 1811 he served in the congregation at Line Lexington, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, as a beloved and influential minister for over half a century. He farmed near the Fretz mill in New Britain Township and attended market in Philadelphia. Physically he was tall, slender, erect, well-proportioned, and had a high forehead. As an aged man he wore his white hair almost to his shoulders. In disposition he was modest and quiet and a man of strict simplicity. In the pulpit he was logical and fluent. His farewell address to his congregation in 1852 (published as a broadside with the title Abschiedsworte) is a model of pastoral love and concern. His brother Jacob Geil (1771-1856) was a Mennonite minister in Fairfield County, Ohio.


Funk, John F. Biographical sketch of Pre. John Geil, pastor of the Mennonite Church at Line Lexington, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Elkhart: Mennonite Publishing Co., 1897.

Author(s) John C Wenger
Date Published 1956

Cite This Article

MLA style

Wenger, John C. "Geil, John (1778-1866)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 28 Sep 2023.,_John_(1778-1866)&oldid=113370.

APA style

Wenger, John C. (1956). Geil, John (1778-1866). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 28 September 2023, from,_John_(1778-1866)&oldid=113370.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 445. All rights reserved.

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