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Maxweiler, a village in the Neuburg district of Bavaria, Germany, on the Danube, a former Mennonite settlement which helped to open the Donaumoos for agriculture. Maximilian Joseph, who was acquainted with Mennonite agricultural skills in the Palatinate, granted the Palatine Mennonites who had settled in Donaumoos 270 acres of wooded land per family, where they were to do pioneer work. The number of families in the settlement rose from 8 to 25 in 50 years, 12 of whom lived in Maxweiler, which they established, and 13 in the surrounding villages.
Immediately after they arrived they organized a congregation in the hunting lodge assigned to them while their houses were in building, and chose two preachers from their midst, Daniel and Heinrich Müller, who were ordained by elder Heinrich Zeiset of Willenbach, near Heilbronn. At first they assembled in the home of preacher Müller, and later in the church they built in Maxweiler in 1832, which contained several rooms for school purposes. They taught their own children or had them taught by a member of the settlement. In 1848 the government provided a teacher for them; they were to raise one fourth of his salary. At their request religious instruction was left to them.
In spite of all their efforts, which were recognized with great praise by the authorities, the struggle for existence was very difficult in the settlement because of the low productivity of the soil. Therefore beginning in 1852 the young men were attracted to America, where there were better prospects and where they would be exempt from military service, to which the second generation of settlers was subject (Correll, 83). They were soon followed by other members of their families. Between 1852 and 1855 most of them emigrated to Lee County in Iowa, and joined the Mennonites who had recently come from the Palatinate and from nearby Eichstock in the congregation of Donnellson and West Point, where the former preachers at Eichstock, David Ruth and Jacob Krehbiel, were located (Rupp, 10), with whom they had been acquainted in Germany. The rest of the Maxweiler Mennonites settled in Summerfield, IL. All left the settlement on the Donaumoos.
The two Iowa churches formed a union in 1859. They thereby laid the foundation for the General Conference Mennonite Church, which was constituted in Wadsworth, Ohio, in 1861, with the addition of six other congregations, including Summerfield.
The church at Maxweiler after the emigration of the Mennonites served the village as a school. The Mennonite farms passed into the hands of Protestant peasants.
Correll, Ernst. "Die Mennoniten im Donaumoos." Mennonitischer Gemeinde-Kalender (1922): 80-91.
"Haus- und Handbuch fur die Familie David Ruth zu Eichstock, 1852."; "Stammbuch der evangelischen Mennonitengemeinde in Westpoint, Lee County, Iowa . . . 1864." (the last two in Mennonite Library and Archives, Bethel College (North Newton, Kansas, USA)).
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: v. III 63 f.
Krahn, Cornelius. "Zur Auswanderung der Mennoniten von Maxweiler und Eichstock." Mennonitische Geschichtsblätter (December 1938): 81.
Krehbiel, H. P. The History of the General Conference of the Mennonite Church of North America. Canton, 1898.
Rupp, Jakob. Entstehung und Auflosung der Gemeinde zu Maxweiler bei Neuburg an der Donau. Moundridge, 1924.
Cite This Article
Hege, Christian. "Maxweiler (Freistaat Bayern, Germany)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 21 Nov 2018. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Maxweiler_(Freistaat_Bayern,_Germany)&oldid=58433.
Hege, Christian. (1957). Maxweiler (Freistaat Bayern, Germany). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 21 November 2018, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Maxweiler_(Freistaat_Bayern,_Germany)&oldid=58433.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 545. All rights reserved.
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