Palatinate in Germany
The forced emigration of Anabaptists from Switzerland began in the earliest months of the Anabaptist movement and did not cease for nearly 300 years. For various political and religious reasons, there was a irregular ebb and flow to the intensity of persecution and forced exiles. At peak times from the mid 1600s to 1700, the flow of Anabaptists out of Switzerland was more like a flood than a flow. By the end of that period, Switzerland had finally solved its Anabaptist "problem," by forcing almost all of them to leave their homeland to seek refuge elsewhere.
The area known as the Palatinate in southwest Germany was devastated and almost completely depopulated by the Thirty Years War (1618-1648). Its central location between the major warring countries turned it into a crossing point and battlefield for three decades. At the end of the war when Karl I Ludwig became the Elector of Palatine of the Rhine (1648-1680), he faced an enormous task of rebuilding the Palatinate.
Due largely to the war that ravaged the Palatinate and other parts of central Europe, several European countries were glad to receive the industrious Anabaptists after the war. They were known to be excellent farmers who could make the most of whatever farmland they were allowed to work. As the Anabaptists were forced out of Switzerland, they spread to various places in Europe but the down-the-Rhine location of the Palatinate was a relatively convenient destination for some of them.
Elector Karl I Ludwig was generous not only to Lutherans and Catholics, but also to Mennonites (Anabaptists or Mennists). He granted Mennonites limited religious and civil freedoms, including permission to worship in groups of 20 or less, but they were not allowed to admit non-Mennonites to their meetings and they were taxed an annual fee for "Mennist Recognition Money."
Palatinate (Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany)
|Village of Ibersheim
in the Palatinate of Germany
The Mennonite Congregation in Ibersheim
Ibersheim was probably the oldest of the Mennonite churches established in the Palatinate after the Thirty Years War.
In spite of wars, extreme weather, crop failures and heavy emigration to America, the population of Swiss Mennonites grew in the Palatinate during the early 1700s. The Ibersheim Mennonite congregation has persisted into the twenty-first century.
Initially, their church services were held in
private homes, but later a special room was used for their meetings.
Hiestand families were known to live in Ibersheim and nearby villages from early in the Anabaptist emigration from Switzerland to the Palatinate. And some Hiestands were leaders in the Mennonite congregations. In Ibersheimerhoff on March 13, 1709 Heinrich Hiestant was one of the ministers who signed a letter to Mennonite leaders in the Netherlands. Page 665 of Documents of Brotherly Love, Volume I by James W. Lowry.
Other Hiestand men, down through the years, have served the congregation as ministers and deacons.
Major source and for more information: Ibersheim (Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany) - Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online
Hiestands on the Palatine Mennonite Census Lists, 1664-1793
|The Edict of Tolerance signed by Karl
Ludwig, Elector of the Palatinate, on August 4, 1664 provided
some generous liberties for the Mennonites. But there was
an annual "protection fee" required of them. In order to
monitor payments of this protection fee, Mennonites were
required to register at irregular intervals with the government,
which created Mennonite census lists.
Source: Palatine Mennonite Census Lists, 1664-1793, edited by Guth and Mast. Morgantown, PA: Mastof Press, 1987.
|1685||71||Conrad Hiestand||Ibersheimer Hof**||"hereditary tenant" - Heinrich Nef also on this list|
|84||Conrad Hiestandt||Ibersheimer Hof||5 children & 2 stepchildren|
|84||Hennrich Hiestandt||Ibersheimer Hof||10 children - Hennrich Nef with 4 children on list - 12 tenants in this village|
|1717||18||Hans Jakob Hiestand||Friesenheim||Friesenheim, east of Rhine River, 195 km south of Ibersheim (nearer Switzerland)|
|1724||-||Jakob Hiestand||Friesenheim||temporary tenant of gracious count von Sicklingen - "very well-to-do"|
|150-153||Jakob Hiestand||Ibersheimerhof||Name entered on same line as and after Hansel Hiestand|
|1743||31-44||Johannes Hiestand||Ibersheimerhof||1 "men" - 1 "women" - 1 "sons" - 1 "daughters" - 0 "farmhands" - 1 "maids"|
|31-44||Jacob Hiestand||Ibersheimerhof||"at gate" 1-1-1-0-1-0|
|31-44||Jacob Hiestand||Ibersheimerhof||"in castle" 1-1-1-1-1-0|
|31-44||Johannes Hiestand's widow||Ibersheimerhof||0-1-2-1-0-0|
|31-44||Isaak Hiestand||Heppenheim auf der Wiese||village southwest of Worms - son-in-law of Johannes Becker, weaver|
|1753||45||Christian Hiestand||Ibersheimerhof||in a list indicating he was a tenant|
|45||Jakob Hiestand||Ibersheimerhof||3 person - "inherited his farm from his father"|
|92||Isaak Hiestand||Heppenheim auf der Wiese||wife, no children - "here since 1740"|
|1759||229||Isaak Hiestand||Heppenheim auf der Wiese||wife, linen weaver, assessed on capital of 242 florins, 2 persons|
|233||Jakob Hiestand||Ibersheimerhof||a tenant - wife, 1 child, 1 farmhand, and 1 maid, 5 persons|
|233||Jakob Hiestand's widow||Ibersheimerhof||a tenant - 1 person|
|1768||-||Johannes Hiestand||Ibersheim||"listing of Mennonites favored with protection"|
|-||Jakob Hiestand, Sr.||Ibersheim||"listing of Mennonites favored with protection"|
|-||Isaak Hiestand||Heppenheim auf der Wiese||"listing of Mennonites favored with protection"|
*Census folio number: In some cases, there were multiple census
folios in the same year - representing separate censuses.
** Heim = German for "home," the "s" is possessive: "Iber's home" - Hof = German for "house"