Zeper, a former Dutch Mennonite family (descended from Jan Dircx), from the 16th century at Leeuwarden, Friesland, where they were merchants and soap manufacturers. The Zepers were usually progressive and liberal, in the 18th century adhering to Collegiantism; Pier Jansz Zeper was baptized by immersion at the Collegiant center at Rijnsburg in 1781. At the same time they were loyal members of the Mennonite church. Jan Dirks Zeper (1736-1801), married to Nieske Tichelaar, like his father operating a soap factory at Leeuwarden, a deacon in his home church, was an ardent Patriot and an opponent of the Reformed magistrates. In 1785 he founded a volunteers' corps and in 1787 he was the leader of a revolt against the Frisian government; after the failure of his military expedition Jan Zeper fled to Germany, settling on a large estate at Hahn in Holstein where he engaged in forestry and peat-digging. He was very wealthy. His son Pier Zeper (1761-1845), married first to Neeltje Kool and later to Fenna Hesselink, was the owner of a brewery, a soap factory, and other businesses at Leeuwarden. He too was an ardent Patriot; in 1796 he was banished for his political activity, but soon returned to Leeuwarden where he held high political offices, being a burgomaster of Leeuwarden in 1817. He was a deacon of the Leeuwarden congregation and 1806-1836 treasurer of the Conference of Friesland (FDS). His son Dirk Zeper (Leeuwarden, 1803-1881), married to Dirkje Bienema, also a manufacturer, was also a deacon at Leeuwarden, from 1837 treasurer of the FDS, and 1835-1839 a trustee of the Algemeene Doopsgezinde Sociëteit (ADS). He served as burgomaster of Leeuwarden 1865-1871. Other members of this family were Sybrand Allard Waller Zeper (1874-1937), State Archivist at Leeuwarden 1924-1935, and Jacobus Waller Zeper, 1903-1933 a trustee of the Haarlem Mennonite Church.
Encyclopedie van Friesland. Amsterdam, 1958: 714 f.
Molhuysen, P. C. and P. J. Blok. Nieuw Nederlandsch Biografisch Woordenboek, 10 vols. Leiden, 1911-1937: IX, 1311 f.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 1024. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: van der Zijpp, Nanne. "Zeper family." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 18 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/Z520.html.
APA style: van der Zijpp, Nanne. (1959). Zeper family. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 18 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/Z520.html.