Ramseyer, Peter (b. 1706)

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Peter Ramseyer (Ramseier) (b. 1706), of the Münsterberg in the Bernese Jura, Switzerland, was ordained as a minister in 1730 and as an elder in 1732. Ramseyer was one of the most important leaders of the Mennonites of the Jura of that time. One of the responsible services of these Jura preachers was the care of the orphaned Emmental Mennonites following the last severe persecutions and emigrations.  Traveling was in those days no easy matter. The official records found in the state archives at Bern report that meetings in the neighborhood of Thun were held by brethren from the Jura in 1767. On the other hand, young couples of the Emmental traveled to the Jura to be married by Ramseyer.

In the spring of 1762 Peter Ramseyer went to the Palatinate, Germany, with two other preachers and brought back a certificate signed by 25 elders and preachers, showing that these three men "paternally and sincerely comforted the congregations in the Palatinate and pointed them to true constancy in the faith." In 1766 the Jura ministers were again called to the Palatinate to try to settle a serious difference that had arisen among the preachers there in consequence of the pietistic preaching of Peter Weber. The matter was to be discussed at a conference of the Palatine brethren and the Swiss visiting ministers. In September Abraham Zeisset  wrote the letter of invitation with the following address: "An den bescheidenen Petter Ramseyer zu Minster im bischofsgebit brunatrut [Pruntrut] 12 stund ober Basel." (To the humble Peter Ramseyer at Münster in the bishopric of Pruntrut hours above Basel.)

Believing that the matter had come to a peaceful settlement, the Swiss preachers returned to their homes. But only a few months later the dissension had become so general that the Easter communion service of 1767 was omitted throughout the Palatine congregations, the laymen demanding of their preachers that they first make peace among themselves. A further attempt at unification was made by the Jura brethren in 1770, though with the same negative result. More letters were sent from Illfingen near Biel dated 24 May 1779. In 1782 the aged Peter Ramseyer made a final journey to the Palatinate, accompanied by Hans Lehmann, Bendicht Wahli, Hans Steiner, and David Baumgartner; they met at the Himmelhäuserhof, and this time succeeded in restoring peace. On 13 July 1784, he and the other ministers wrote a letter at Biderichgraben to Johannes Weber on the matter of the Amish division, and on 24 April 1787, he received a letter from a number of brethren in the Palatinate. Nothing more is known about Peter Ramseyer.


Geiser, Samuel. Die Taufgesinnten-Gemeinden. Karlsruhe, 1931: 452, 456 f.

"Geschichtliche Beitrage aus den Mennonitengemeinden." Mennonitischer Gemeinde-Kalender (formerly Christlicher Gemeinde-Kalender) (1928): 118-33; 1929, 139-44; 1930, 91-102.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. III: 427 f.

Author(s) Samuel Geiser
Date Published 1959

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MLA style

Geiser, Samuel. "Ramseyer, Peter (b. 1706)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 25 Feb 2020. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Ramseyer,_Peter_(b._1706)&oldid=146682.

APA style

Geiser, Samuel. (1959). Ramseyer, Peter (b. 1706). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 25 February 2020, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Ramseyer,_Peter_(b._1706)&oldid=146682.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, pp. 250-251. All rights reserved.

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