Thursday, September 30, 2010


Also known as The Church of the Brethren and sometimes confused with the Moravians which were totally different. Dunkards were formed in 1708 in Schwarzenau, Wittenburg Germany by Alexander Mack.
This group came to America and settled in Pennsylvania.

The Swiss/German sect, much like the Mennonites, Moravians, etc. were called Dunkards or Dunkers, because they believed in baptism by dunking or total immersion rather than just the sprinkling of holy water on the head.
They wore plain clothing, coats with standing collars for men, plain bonnets and hoods for women. Men were urged but not required to wear beards; they should not wear mustaches alone. Women should not wear jewelry. They were to avoid narcotics, including tobacco and didn’t use instruments of music in the house of God.

The observed the Lord’s Supper (full meal, with soup eaten from a common dish) and communion of the bread and cup after the meal. This was usually held once in the spring and once in the fall.  They did not celebrate holidays such as Thanksgiving or Christmas.

The were to obey civil government as far as it’s laws didn’t conflict with their religion. They were not to participate in politics and not allowed to affiliate with secret societies or lodges. They would not take nor subscribe to an oath and considered slavery abhorrent. They believed in nonresistance, and would not participate in the Revolutionary War.

Indians learned Dunkards wouldn’t resist so they raided their homes.

They stayed to themselves and spoke only German and stayed out of trouble

Prior to1800 Dunkards could be excommunicated for obtaining a marriage license or bond. Hence locating marriage bonds prior to  1820 for both Dunkards and Mennonites is very difficult.

They mainly lived in PA., VA and the Carolinas, eventually moving some to OH and MS valleys

Part of the group of religions known as Anabaptist communities; Hutterites, Amish, Dunkards,  Apostolic Christian and Old Order Mennonites are all Anabaptist. They believe in the simple life and reject some or most of the modern world.

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