Landes (Landis) family

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Landes (Landis), a widely ramified Mennonite family in South Germany and in the United States. It stems from the canton of Zürich, Switzerland, where it is found (spelled Landis) in Pfäffikon on Lake Zürich in 1417, Hirzel in 1438, and Menzingen in 1454.

Horgenberg near Hirzel was the birthplace of Hans Landis, a Mennonite preacher who died as a martyr on 29 September 1614, in his seventieth year. He left a large family. His wife Margaretha Hochstrasser was 60 years old and stood loyally at his side. The father's steadfastness engraved itself deeply into the hearts of his children, who preserved his spiritual legacy for the most part, resisting the pressure of the government on their faith. His son Felix died in prison in 1642 in consequence of inhuman treatment, but Felix's wife Adelheid Egli managed to escape after four years. Another son, Hans, married to Elisabeth Erzinger, was also a preacher; his daughter Margaretha lay in prison with him for 60 weeks. The martyr's daughter Verena was married to the weaver Jacob Suners of Holland(?); she died in prison at Zürich in 1643 at an advanced age in consequence of maltreatment (Mart. Mir. D 822, E 1121), one of the last victims of the persecution of the Zürich Swiss Brethren. Through Hans Suner, probably a son of Jacob Suner, frequent relief offerings of the Dutch Mennonites passed to the Swiss Brethren.

After the execution of Hans Landis the Zürich council decided to confiscate Anabaptist property without respite. On 22 October 1614, it ordered the confiscation of the property of exiles. The property left by Hans Landis was indeed promised to his wife and children on 23 February 1615, but only on the condition that they join the state church within two weeks. Otherwise they could expect only exile and loss of property. Since the sorely tried widow could not make such a promise she was "laid in bonds" on 24 May. The Reformed preacher tried to win her to his church in prison. It is not known how long she was held. Her children were at first intimidated, but finally most of them decided to stay with the Swiss Brethren. The government then confiscated the property and put dependent members of the family among strangers. About 1640 the property of Rudolf, Hans, and Felix Landis, all sons of the martyr, was sold.

The descendants of the martyr Hans who were loyal to the faith of their fathers left the country. Some of them settled in Alsace (especially in the Rappoltstein region). The first mention of the family in the Palatinate occurred on 2 March 1661, when a group of 50 persons was surprised at an evening meeting at Steinsfurt near Sinsheim on the Elsenz; they were heavily fined. Among them were Hans Heinrich Landes of Rohrbach, his son Rudolf Landes of Weiler, and his mother and sister.

In the 18th century there were Mennonite members of the Landes family in the Palatinate at Steinsfurt, Zuzenhausen, Schatthausen, Richen, Bockschaft, Kirschgartshausen, Ibersheim, Heppenheim, Hochheim, and Herrnsheim. In Monzernheim near Alzey a member of the Landes family (his Christian name is not stated; it was probably Johann Jakob Landes who was at this time a renter of the Dalberg estate near Herrnsheim) wanted to purchase an estate owned by a merchant living in the Dutch province of Groningen. He had already paid, but the Catholic renters (Roll and Walldorf) objected and demanded that the sale be nullified; they also demanded a decision as to whether a Mennonite in the Palatinate could buy land at all and own it like a Catholic citizen. On 24 January 1726, an electoral decision compelled Landes to yield the land to the plaintiffs upon repayment of the purchase price and other expenses. On 18 January a decree was issued by which any member of the three established churches could require a Mennonite purchaser to return it for the original sale price. This regulation remained effective until 1801, with the modification in 1737 limiting the right of redemption to three years.

In the 19th century the family produced personalities whose influence on the Mennonite churches in Baden, Württemberg, and Bavaria was very beneficial. Heinrich Landes (d. 1886) of Ehrstadt, later at Lautenbach near Heilbronn, was one of the leading elders. In a similar spirit his sons worked, Christian Landes (d. October 10, 1933) and Heinrich Landes (d. June 24, 1918) at Lautenbach. The former was a cofounder of the Mennonite deaconess work taken up in 1904 in Baden and Württemberg, and was for many years the director of this charitable work (see Gem.-Kal., 1933, 36-38), and a cofounder of the Heilbronn branch of the Evangelical Alliance. A son of Heinrich, Walter, was elder of the church at Heilbronn, and another son, Christian, was a preacher there.

The task of visiting minister among the Mennonites of Baden was undertaken by Michael Landes of Albertshausen in 1872 after completing his training at St. Chrischona. He was the first full-time visiting preacher (Reiseprediger) in Germany. In his later years he preached for the congregations at Eichstock and Ingolstadt (d. 13 July 1926). His deep piety and humility won him honor and appreciation even on the part of the Catholic clergy of his vicinity (Gem.-Kal., 1928, 63-74). Emanuel Landes served the congregations of Munich, Regensburg, and Eichstock as pastor for many years until his retirement in 1954 at the age of 74.

The members of the family expelled from Switzerland who did not settle in the Palatinate, immigrated to America in the 18th century, retaining the Swiss spelling of their name. In 1717, with the first German mass immigration, three brothers, Benjamin, Felix, and Johannes Landes of Mannheim, landed in Pennsylvania. American immigration lists of 1727, 1732, 1734, 1736, and 1745 contain the names of other members of the family. The towns Landisville and Landis Valley were named for them, in which large Mennonite churches were established. The name is of frequent occurrence among the Mennonite preachers in Pennsylvania. The Dutch [[Naamlijst der tegenwoordig in dienst zijnde predikanten der Mennoniten in de Vereenigde Nederlanden|Naamlijst]] names Jacob Landis as a preacher at Indian Creek in the late 18th century, and Abraham Landis from about 1790 at Deep Run.

John Landis settled at Quakertown in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Franconia Conference (MC) district. Jacob, who settled in Lancaster County, had one son Benjamin (1700-81), ordained to the ministry before 1746, who became the progenitor of the widespread Lancaster Landis line. Among the prominent Lancaster Conference (MC) ministers have been John B. Landis (1820-1902) of East Petersburg, John L. Landis (1832-1914) of Mellinger's, Sanford B. Landis (1869-1926) of Mellinger's, and Noah L. Landis (1857-1940) of Landis Valley, preacher from 1898 and bishop from 1905, moderator of the conference 1928-40. His son Ira D. Landis (1899- ), also of Landis Valley, preacher since 1921, was the historian of the Lancaster district. Noah E. Landis (1893- ) was a bishop at Alpha, Minnesota. In 1954 eight ministers in Eastern Pennsylvania bore the name Landis.


Bergmann, C. Die Täuferbewegung im Kanton Zürich bis 1660. Leipzig, 1916.

Correll, E. Das schweizerische Täufermennonitentum. Tübingen, 1925.

Landis, D. B. The Landis Family. Lancaster, 1888.

Smith, C. Henry. The Mennonite Immigration to Pennsylvania. Norristown, PA, 1929.

Weaver, M. G. Mennonites of Lancaster Conference. Scottdale, PA, 1931.

Landis, Ira D. The Landis Family Book, 4 vv. Lancaster, PA 1950, 1952, 1953, 1954.

Landes, Henry S. Descendants of Jacob Landes of Salford Township, Montgomery Co., Pennsylvania. Souderton, PA, 1943.

Landes, Jakob. "Hans Landes and seine Kinder." Manuscript in Mennonite Historical Library, Goshen College, Goshen, IN.

Author(s) Christian Hege
Date Published 1955

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MLA style

Hege, Christian. "Landes (Landis) family." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1955. Web. 27 Feb 2024.

APA style

Hege, Christian. (1955). Landes (Landis) family. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 27 February 2024, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 280-281. All rights reserved.

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