Möllinger, David (1709-1786)

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David Möllinger, an outstanding German Mennonite farmer, "the father of agriculture in the Palatinate," was born 24 January 1709 at Dühren near Sinsheim, Baden. He married Maria Kindig of the Immelhäuserhof on 8 February 1732. In farming he was a pioneer. At first he lived in Mutterstadt in the Palatinate, where his father Vincenz was farming, and in 1732 moved to nearby Cronau, where he increased his small patrimony (500 florins) "through trade and crafts." In 1744 he bought land near Monsheim.

Möllinger's success at extensive farming was widely acclaimed. He distilled liquor, brewed beer, made vinegar, fattened cattle, and cultivated the land. He was the first to manufacture liquor from potatoes. A byproduct of his distillery was some valuable cattle feed. To feed his cattle he also raised certain kinds of clover. In 1769 he lost much of his hay through a flood of the Rhine. Then he transferred his meadows to the higher lands and planted grain on the lower. He purchased part of a neighboring wooded hill, planted the bare top of the hill in clover and scattered limestone over it, which he ground in a mill driven by horsepower, and raised an amazingly good crop. A complete revolution in the system of crop rotation followed. Instead of letting every field lie fallow each alternate year, the soil was improved by the use of clover, his stand of cattle was trebled, the fertility of the soil increased, and the prosperity of the farmer improved. "All of this the Palatinate owes a single man, a Mennonite" (Schwerz). He died at Monsheim on 3 May 1786.

The monthly periodical of the historical society of Frankenthal (Frankenthaler Altertumsverein) of June 1904 published a guest book of his family containing more than 350 entries, some of them very important persons, a glowing tribute of the high esteem he enjoyed.


"Aus dem Stammbuch der Familie Möllinger." Mennonitischer Gemeinde-Kalender (1933): 116-25.

Correll, Ernst. Das Schweizerische Täufermennonitenlum. Tubingen, 1925: 122-126 contains an excellent description of Möllinger's "model farming."

Crous, Ernst. "The Mennonites in Germany Since the Thirty Years' War." Mennonite Quarterly Review 25 (October 1951): 235-262.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. III: 152f.

Schwerz, J. N. Der Ackerbau der Pfälzer. Berlin, 1816.

Author(s) Christian Neff
Date Published 1957

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MLA style

Neff, Christian. "Möllinger, David (1709-1786)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 30 Sep 2023. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=M%C3%B6llinger,_David_(1709-1786)&oldid=146631.

APA style

Neff, Christian. (1957). Möllinger, David (1709-1786). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 30 September 2023, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=M%C3%B6llinger,_David_(1709-1786)&oldid=146631.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 731. All rights reserved.

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