Klippenstein, Peter (1819-1885)

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Peter Klippenstein: community leader and municipal secretary, born on 14 January 1819 to Bernhard Klippenstein (1781-1841) and Katharina (Penner) Klippenstein (1785-1865) in Osterwick, Chortitza Colony, Russia. He was the 6th of 8 children. He married Aganetha Enns (1816-1901), daughter of Isaak and Maria (Lehn) Enns on 8 November 1838. They had 12 children, two of whom survived their parents. Peter and his family immigrated to Canada, arriving in Quebec on 30 July 1876. Peter died on 30 March 1885 in Kleefeld, Manitoba.

Peter Klippenstein  and several of his siblings moved to the Bergthal Colony in Russia sometime after his marriage.  In 1858 he was living in Heuboden, Bergthal Colony, where he served as the village mayor (Oberschulz) for some years. Between 1874 and 1876, almost everyone from the Bergthal Colony left Russia for North America. Peter was part of a group of important community leaders who stayed behind to conclude the Colony’s business affairs including Oberschulz Jacob Peters (1813-1884), Waisenman Cornelius B. Friesen  (1833-1909) (orphan’s officer) and Assistant Aeltester Franz Dÿck (1822-1887).  This group of leaders came with the last contingent of immigrants from the Bergthal Colony to come to Canada, landing in Quebec on 30 July 1876.

Peter Klippenstein became the first Secretary-Treasurer of the Rural Municipality of Hanover in 1880, a position he held to the end of 1882. The salary of $60 per year he received for this job with an additional $30 for administering one of the local programs made it possible for Peter to make a reasonable living from the work, with only minor farming activities to supplement the family income. In the course of his work for the Council, Peter saw the implementation of a child labour regulation establishing a minimum age of 16, land and tax assessments, decisions about bridge and road repairs, and any other civic business that emerged. Even the habit of smoking near threshing machines or steam engines came under the Council’s scrutiny.

Although Peter Klippenstein farmed very little during the years he worked on the village Council, his family depended heavily on the land. His son acquired two homesteads near Chortitz, but a tornado in 1881 did substantial damage to the property. Peter and Aganetha’s daughter, Katharina, had more success in farming. She married Jakob Giesbrecht, who farmed one of the largest properties in the area. By 1884, their farm was the second largest in Chortitz.

Peter Klippenstein ended his term of office in 1882. Early in the year 1885, he developed a severe illness and died on 30 March 1885 at the age of 66. His widow never remarried, and she died on 10 December 1901, 16 years after Peter’s death.


GRANDMA (The Genealogical Registry and Database of Mennonite Ancestry) Database, 5.03 ed. Fresno, CA: California Mennonite Historical Society, 2007: #221031.

Plett, Delbert.  “Peter Klippenstein 1819-85, Municipal Secretary.” Preservings No. 13 (December 1998): 109-110.

Plett, Delbert. “R.M. of Hanover Council Minutes 1880-1884.” Preservings No. 13 (December 1998): 112-113.

Author(s) Susan Huebert
Date Published 2007

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Huebert, Susan. "Klippenstein, Peter (1819-1885)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 2007. Web. 25 Sep 2020. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Klippenstein,_Peter_(1819-1885)&oldid=112168.

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Huebert, Susan. (2007). Klippenstein, Peter (1819-1885). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 25 September 2020, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Klippenstein,_Peter_(1819-1885)&oldid=112168.

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