Kliewer family

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Kliewer, a widespread Mennonite family, originally from Holland, where they are called Kluiver (Kluyver, Cluyver). Some members of this family migrated from the Netherlands to West Prussia. In 1629 Dutch farmer Peter Kliewer was among the Mennonite land-leasers of the village of Klein Wolz near Graudenz. In Danzig the Kliewer family is also found since the 17th century. The first representatives of the family in Danzig were five brothers, Jakob, Cornelius, Paul, Conrad, and Heinrich; but nothing is known of any except Jakob Kliewer (1669-1728). He was received into the congregation on 29 October 1694, and chosen deacon in the Frisian church in 1714. His first wife was Lucia van Dühren, his second Sophia Arentz. There were eight children from his first marriage, among them Jakob (1704-75) and Heinrich (1709-62). The former was a preacher and elder in the Frisian Mennonite congregation in Neugarten-Danzig from 1742. In 1748 Heinrich moved to Tiegenhof.

Heinrich's oldest son, Jakob Kliewer (1743-1826), was chosen head of the Frisian Mennonite church at Neugarten in 1786, preacher in 1797, and elder in 1798, serving during the difficult period of the war. When this church merged with the Flemish in 1808 he remained an elder in the united Danzig Mennonite church, which had 900 members. During his co-operative work with Peter Thiessen, Jr., the Mennonites lost two meetinghouses in the sieges of 1807 and 1813; a spacious new one was built in 1819. These two elders died only a few days apart. They were the last ones chosen from the congregation (pictures in Mannhardt, Die Danziger Mennoniten-Gemeinde). From this time on the church was served by trained ministers; Jakob van der Smissen had been called shortly before their death.

Jakob Kliewer was married twice. From his marriage with Deborah Jantzen (b. 1 December 1742, d. 17 March 1796) he had ten children; from his second marriage with Sara van Dühren(b. 23 December 1773, d. 19 December 1820) four children. Two of the sons of his first marriage, Heinrich (b. 24 December 1770, d. 10 January 1847) and Abraham (b. 10 February 1778, d. 6 September 1859), were copperplate engravers; the descendants of the former continued the art in Berlin, the son of the latter in Danzig. The youngest son of the second marriage, Gustav Kliewer (b. 18 July 1803, d. 29 February 1872), was Vorsteher of the Danzig Mennonite church 1836-62, and a city commissioner 1836-48; he also served on the boards of various charitable institutions. His oldest son, Paul Kliewer (b. 14 February 1851), became head of the sales department of the sugar refinery in Riesenburg, and was a member of the board of directors until 1923; he was a city commissioner of Riesenburg (1904-15), and was named a city elder when he left. In 1915 he moved to Danzig.

Members of. the family who lived in East Prussia, Poland, and Russia all stemmed from Danzig. Many families immigrated to America when universal military training was introduced in the 18th century and settled largely in Kansas. Several missionaries to the Indigenous belonged to this family, as Henry J. Kliewer and Peter A. Kliewer to the Cheyennes and John J. Kliewer to the Arapaho. The chairman of the Foreign Mission Board of the General Conference Mennonite Church was for 25 years John W. Kliewer, who was also president of Bethel College 1911-20 and 1925-32.

In Paraguay members of the Kliewer family are also found. In 1930 Kornelius Kliewer instigated the founding of the village Rosenfeld in the Gran Chaco; the inhabitants had previously been members of the church at Wymysle in Poland. The population of the village in 1934 included four Kliewer families with 31 persons. Dr. Fritz Kliewer (d. 1956) was for a time principal of the Zentralschule in Filadelfia, and in 1954 a teacher in the new Witmarsum Colony in Brazil. Besides these there are two Kliewer families in the Fernheim Colony who come from the Waldheim settlement in South Russia, which was settled by Mennonites from Poland.


Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. II, 512 f.

Mannhardt, H. G. Die Danziger Mennoniten-Gemeinde. Danzig, 1919.

Mennonitische Gemeinde-Kalender (1934): 101.

Mennonite Quarterly Review 8 (1934): 69.

Author(s) Christian Hege
Date Published 1955

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MLA style

Hege, Christian. "Kliewer family." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1955. Web. 3 Dec 2023. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Kliewer_family&oldid=174681.

APA style

Hege, Christian. (1955). Kliewer family. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 3 December 2023, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Kliewer_family&oldid=174681.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 204. All rights reserved.

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