Locle-Bressels (Neuchâtel, Switzerland)
Locle-Bressels was an Amish Mennonite church in the canton of Neuchâtel, Switzerland, on the French border, formerly called the Neuenburg church. The severe persecution of the Mennonites by Bern, continuing into the 18th century, induced many old Bernese peasants in the Jura to seek refuge in the mountains of Neuchâtel. A few may have gone to this canton as early as 1671 and 1693-1695, when the Mennonites were compelled to leave with all their possessions. But the principal immigration took place in the first quarter of the 18th century, when several old Bernese families settled in Val de Ruz, Chaux-de-Fonds, and Le Locle. At the demand of the political communities of the Jura, the Prince Bishop of Basel ordered the evacuation of all Mennonites from his domain in the Jura in 1730-1731. Though this order was not carried out, a number of families went to Neuchâtel. One of these immigrants was Christian Hummel (Ummel) of Buchholterberg near Thun.
These immigrants, who settled on farms around Le Locle and the hamlet of Bressels (La Sagne), constituted the Locle-Bressels congregation. The earliest information about it states that in 1785 Abraham Kocher, his sister Bäbi Kocher, and Susanna Frutiger, who were on the farm of Abraham Ramseyer, a preacher, were received into the congregation. These brethren were Amish, and kept close contact with the sister congregation at Montbéliard, France.
Services were held on the scattered farms. In the second half of the 19th century many of the members immigrated to America, and the congregation, which was always small (in 1887 only 31 baptized members, 14 males besides 46 children), continued to decline. In 1923 the group merged with Chaux d'Abel. Jacob Müller was elder 1881-1911, and Alexander Stähly elder 1902-1923 (preacher from 1867). David Geiser appears in the yearbook as preacher 1902-1923, 1902 being the first volume containing Swiss congregational reports.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: II, 682.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 384. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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To cite this page:
MLA style: Geiser, Samuel. "Locle-Bressels (Neuchâtel, Switzerland)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 21 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/locle_bressels_neuchatel_switzerland.
APA style: Geiser, Samuel. (1957). Locle-Bressels (Neuchâtel, Switzerland). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 21 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/locle_bressels_neuchatel_switzerland.