Nickel, David D. (1853-1940)

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David D. Nickel: Mennonite teacher and elder of Russia; born in Rudnerweide, a village in the Gnadenfeld district of the Molotschna settlement in South Russia on 30 August 1853, the eighth child of David A. Nickel and Helena (Janzen) Nickel. His father had come to Russia as a child from the Stuhm area of West Prussia in 1819. His parents and all his brothers and sisters immigrated to Mountain Lake, Minnesota in 1878; David remained in Russia. He was baptized on 5 June 1872. On 19 June 1875 he married Margareta Dück of Pordenau. Ten children grew to maturity. Three of their sons became elders and another a minister in the Mennonite Church. One son, three daughters, and three sons-in-law were exiled by the Soviets; some died there and some are missing.

David D. Nickel was trained as a teacher and worked at this vocation for 18 years in Orechov, Neu-Halbstadt, and Steinfeld in the Molotschna settlement. In 1881 he was chosen as preacher and in 1891 as elder of the Rudnerweide Mennonite Church. In 1891 he moved to Grossweide. In 1927 he retired from his duties as elder, but continued to work for the kingdom of God as his strength permitted. In these 46 years of service for the church he also worked outside its borders. In 1896 he and Elder H. Unruh of Muntau were given an audience with the newly crowned Tsar Nicholas II and as symbols of true submission presented him with bread and salt. In 1898, 1899, and 1900 he visited and served the Mennonite settlements of Samara in Orenburg; in 1902 those in Terek and Suvorovka; in 1909-1911 in Siberia the settlements at Omsk, Pavlodar, and Barnaul; in 1913 those in the Caucasus. He also served for many years on the Molotschna Mennonite school board.

In 1931 under pressure from the government he was compelled to leave his house and property at night and flee. In Chortitza in the home of his youngest married daughter he spent the rest of his life in wretched outward circumstances. The general destruction of the congregations and churches grieved him deeply. His mind and body, however, kept their vigor until he was struck by a cerebral hemorrhage. Ten days later, on 31 August 1940, he died, and was buried in Chortitza. A deacon of the Mennonite Brethren congregation, Wiens, conducted the simple graveside service.

Author(s) J. D Nickel
Date Published 1957

Cite This Article

MLA style

Nickel, J. D. "Nickel, David D. (1853-1940)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 22 May 2024.,_David_D._(1853-1940)&oldid=141240.

APA style

Nickel, J. D. (1957). Nickel, David D. (1853-1940). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 22 May 2024, from,_David_D._(1853-1940)&oldid=141240.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, pp. 869-870. All rights reserved.

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