Wall, Johann (1793-1860)

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Johann Wall: first elder of Köppental-Orloff Mennonite Church, Am Trakt, Samara, Russia; born 14 December 1793 in Broeske, Gross Werder, Prussia to Johann (1765-1831) and Helene (Claassen) (1772-1846) Wall. He was the firstborn of 13 children of which only he and one sister Maria (Wall) Jantzen) survived to adulthood. He married Justine Toews (1793-1824) of Schoensee, daughter of minister Johann Toews (d. 1813) on 24 February 1815. Six children were born to this union, of which 2 survived to adulthood. Johann Wall entered a 2nd marriage on 9 November 1824 with Margaretha Regier (1799-1852), the daughter of Gerhard Regier, son of Aeltester Cornelius Regier. This marriage produce 12 children of which 4 survived to adulthood. Martin Klaassen's diary reports that Ältester Johann Wall died on 22 December/10 December (Old Style) 1860 in Köppental, Samara.

When the threat of loss of military exemption faced the Mennonites of Prussia, Johann Wall and Claas Epp, Sr. were sent to Russia in 1853 to locate a place for settlement. With the help of Philip Wiebe and von Köppen they located land for 100 families on the "Trakt", Samara. The settlement was established in 1854.

Johann Wall and the Prussian Mennonites that joined him and Claas Epp, Sr. to settle in Samara not only had very strong convictions regarding nonresistance, but also adhered to some pietistic-chiliastic views regarding the second coming of Christ and the role which the children of God would play at that time. They were strongly influenced by Jung-Stilling and Clöter.

When Wall visited the Molotschna Mennonites in 1853 he was ordained elder in Orloff by B. Fast. His report of conditions found in the Molotschna settlement is interesting. He comments, "Extraordinary privileges obligate to extraordinary contributions;" and speaking of divisions among the Mennonites he paraphrases Paul's admonition to the Galatians (Galatians 3:1): "Oh, foolish Mennonites, who hath bewitched you . . . ?" Wall was succeeded as elder by David Hamm, who continued the struggle with the radical chiliastic element of the settlement.

In 2019 Johann Wall’s diary and Wall family register, in which he describes his life and the trip to Russia to look for settlement land were discovered in an archives in Engels, Saratov Oblast, Russia.


Bartsch, F. Unser Auszug nach Mittel-Asien. Halbstadt, 1907: 80.

Dirks, H. Mennonitisches Jahrbuch (1907): 73.

Frese, Willi. "Tagebuch von Johann Wall (1793-1860), einem der Organisatoren der Auswanderung nach Am Trakt Kolonie". 2019. [a transcription of Johann Wall's diary written ca. 1857 and deposited in the Central Museum of the Volga German Autonomous Soviet Socials Republic]. Posted on-line at: chor.square7.ch/wfrs1.pdf.

Friesen, Peter M. Die Alt-Evangelische Mennonitische Brüderschaft in Russland (1789-1910) im Rahmen der mennonitischen Gesamtgeschichte. Halbstadt: Verlagsgesellschaft "Raduga", 1911: 129.

Author(s) Cornelius Krahn
Alf Redekopp
Victor Wiebe
Date Published November 2020

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MLA style

Krahn, Cornelius, Alf Redekopp and Victor Wiebe. "Wall, Johann (1793-1860)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. November 2020. Web. 28 Nov 2022. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Wall,_Johann_(1793-1860)&oldid=169491.

APA style

Krahn, Cornelius, Alf Redekopp and Victor Wiebe. (November 2020). Wall, Johann (1793-1860). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 28 November 2022, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Wall,_Johann_(1793-1860)&oldid=169491.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, pp. 878-879. All rights reserved.

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