Krehbiel (Krehbill, Krebell, Kraybill, Krayenbuhl, Crayenbühl, Craybill, Grabill, Graybill) family

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Krehbiel, a name that frequently occurrs among the Mennonites of Germany and America, was derived from the original name Krayenbühl. The family stems from the parish of Grosshöchstetten at a place near Signau, in the canton of Bern, Switzerland.

The first member of this family known to have been an Anabaptist was Hans Krähenbühl from Signau who attended the Anabaptist disputation in the city of Bern in March 1538. In a list of Anabaptists living in the vicinity of Langnau, canton of Bern, in 1621, Anna Krayenbühl is mentioned. The following members of the Krähenbühl family were brought before the Bernese authorities in the 17th century because of their Anabaptist beliefs: Barbara in 1645, Peter in 1655, and Margredt in 1678.

The Krehbiel family has figured in practically all of the migrations in which Bernese Anabaptists have taken part. One of the first records of the Krehbiel family who left Bernese territory was Jost Krähenbühl, who with others went to the Palatinate, Germany, in 1671. In 1709 he purchased the Pfrimmerhof near Sippersfeld in the Palatinate. In 1682 Peter Krehbiel settled on the Weierhof near Bolanden. His departure from Switzerland is described in a poem by Daniel Krehbiel, "Peter Krehbiel's Abschied von der Schweiz." In 1784 a member of this family migrated to Galicia and in 1796 to Volhynia. Other members of the Krehbiel family as well as a number of members from other families in the Palatinate migrated to America in the 19th century. They first settled in New York and Ohio but are now located mostly in Iowa and Kansas. The family name has remained well represented among Mennonites in the Palatinate as well.

The Krehbiel family was found in Ste.-Suzanne, Montbéliard, and Allenjoie in the Princely County of Montbéliard as early as 1719. Most of this branch found their way to North America during the following century.

The following lists some of the more notable members of the Krehbiel family in Germany. Adam Krehbiel (1766-1804) was a preacher in the Weierhof congregation who influenced and was influenced by Tersteegen. Jakob Krehbiel (1835-1918) was a deacon and an active leader in the Sembach congregation. J. J. Krehbiel (1841-1895) was a farmer at Weierhof and a leader in the church, who helped to found the South German Conference.

In 1851 John Krehbiel, a descendant of Jost Krähenbühl, migrated to America; he was the father of Christian who was in turn the father of Henry P. and Christian E., the latter being the father of Olin Krehbiel. All of these men were prominent leaders in the General Conference Mennonite Church (GCM), Christian E. and Olin being presidents of the conference. In 1770 a grandson of Jost immigrated to Galicia, and 15 years later to Russia, and his descendants went on to Marion and McPherson counties in Kansas 1874 ff.

Jacob Krehbiel (1781-1860), Pfrimmerhof, a descendant of Jost and minister of the Weierhof congregation, immigrated to Clarence, New York, near Buffalo in 1831, where he became a bishop of the Mennonite Church (MC) (1839) in the Ontario Mennonite Conference (MC). He prepared an account of the Krehbiel family (extended to 1880 by J. C. Krehbiel), a portion of which was translated and reprinted in W.J. Krehbiel's One Branch of the Krehbiel Family (McPherson, 1950). He was somewhat of a historian and wrote a pamphlet which was published at Speyer, Germany, under the title Letter from America and a Report About Conditions There (1832). His valuable manuscript, "A Few Words About the Mennonites in America in 1841," was published in the Mennonite Quarterly Review Vol. 6 (1932) in pages 43-57, and 110-21. J. C. Krehbiel (1811-1886) moved to Lee County, Iowa, in 1839 and became a prominent minister in the General Conference Mennonite Church, being one of the original promoters of the organization of the conference in 1859-60. His son J. J. Krehbiel (1838-1921) of Newton, Kansas, was a prominent layman (GCM) and for 20 years president of the Bethel College board of trustees. Another descendent of Jost Krehbiel, also of Lee County, Iowa, was Henry J. (1865-1940), a prominent minister (GCM) and president of the conference. Daniel Krehbiel (1812-88) of West Point, Iowa, and Cleveland, Ohio, was a prominent worker in the General Conference Mennonite Church. A Krehbiel family from Alsace settled in Allen County, IN, in the mid-19th century, where they changed their name to Grabill. The town of Grabill north of Ft. Wayne was named after a member of this family.

See also Grabill family


Krehbiel, J. J. Jost Krehbiel auf dem Pfrimmerhof. Moundridge, KS, 1903, a genealogical chart.

Gratz, Delbert L. Bernese Anabaptists and their American descendants. Goshen, IN: Mennonite Historical Society, 1953. Reprinted Elverson, PA: Old Springfield Shoppe, 1994: 190.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: "Krehbiel."

Mennonitischer Gemeinde-Kalender (1905): 143; (1911): 46 f.

Author(s) Delbert L Gratz
Date Published 1957

Cite This Article

MLA style

Gratz, Delbert L. "Krehbiel (Krehbill, Krebell, Kraybill, Krayenbuhl, Crayenbühl, Craybill, Grabill, Graybill) family." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 24 Jun 2024.,_Krebell,_Kraybill,_Krayenbuhl,_Crayenb%C3%BChl,_Craybill,_Grabill,_Graybill)_family&oldid=146536.

APA style

Gratz, Delbert L. (1957). Krehbiel (Krehbill, Krebell, Kraybill, Krayenbuhl, Crayenbühl, Craybill, Grabill, Graybill) family. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 24 June 2024, from,_Krebell,_Kraybill,_Krayenbuhl,_Crayenb%C3%BChl,_Craybill,_Grabill,_Graybill)_family&oldid=146536.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 235; vol. 4, p. 1146. All rights reserved.

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