Suter family name

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Suter (Sutter, Suttor, Suder), a Mennonite family name, meaning shoemaker, originating in Kölliken, canton of Aargau, Switzerland. Persons by the name of Suter were known to have been members of the Waldenses in the canton of Bern many years before the beginning of the Anabaptist movement there. In 1538 Jacob Suter is mentioned as having been persecuted for his Anabaptist faith. Members of this family moved to Mennonite communities in Germany and to Florimont and Audincourt, France. Others came to America, settling chiefly in Rockingham County, Virginia, and Putnam County, Ohio, where a number of them have become leaders in the Mennonite Church (MC). Christian Suter (1791-1874), the second bishop of the Putnam County, Ohio, Swiss Mennonite congregation, helped to organize a Swiss Mennonite congregation in Madison Township, Polk County, Iowa, in 1858. Emanuel Suter (1833-1902), an active layman (MC) in Rockingham County, wrote extensively for Mennonite periodicals and served as secretary of the Virginia Conference for about 15 years. His grandson J. Early Suter and the latter's son Daniel B. Suter are ministers in the Virginia Conference, and Daniel is a teacher at Eastern Mennonite College.

An Amish branch of the family can be traced to Bavaria where Sutters owned the large estate near Ingolstadt known as Hellmannsberg during much of the 19th century. At least one Sutter family lived in Dittenfeld near Neuburg about 10 miles west of Ingolstadt. In 1848 a Christian Sutter from this location immigrated to near Morton, Illinois, followed by his father John Sutter, an Amish preacher; eight other children, including sons John, Jacob, and Andrew, followed him. From this family apparently all of the numerous Sutters now living in Central Illinois (chiefly at Hopedale), Milford, Nebraska, and communities in Iowa, Michigan, and at least 9 other states descend. In 1924 this family established a reunion, which in 1945 listed over 1,000 living descendants.


Springer, N. P. A Brief History of the John and Barbara Sutter Family.

Author(s) Delbert L. Gratz
Harold S. Bender
Date Published 1959

Cite This Article

MLA style

Gratz, Delbert L. and Harold S. Bender. "Suter family name." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 27 Nov 2020.

APA style

Gratz, Delbert L. and Harold S. Bender. (1959). Suter family name. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 27 November 2020, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 664. All rights reserved.

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