words by: Elam Stoltzfus
— The Müller Family —
This month is a continuation of stories about the Müller family from “A True Report of the Brothers in Switzerland” (Wahrafftiger Bericht von den Brüdern in Schweitzerland) found on pages 845, 848, 849, 858, and 861 in the Ausbund.
In 1529 there is a record of an arrest of Anabaptist Hans Müller of Medikon in Grüningen district of the canton of Zurich, Switzerland. Hans was considered a radical and was put in prison. While in prison, he wrote a letter to the council explaining that faith is a free gift of God and that his conscience will not be forced. He asked for patience in another letter stating, “faith cannot be picked up like a stone.” The magistrate Berger said of him that he was otherwise a “fine, upright fellow.”
Hans Müller of Uticken
page 845, ausbund
On January 6, 1639, Hans Müller from Uticken [a different Hans Müller from the previous page] was captured and taken to Zurich and placed in the Oetenbach cloister. His imprisonment continued into the second year. In prison, he became deathly ill, but he and other prisoners came out with a peaceful conscience. After this, his wife and children sheltered him in his own home, and he died while with them. Subsequently, they had to pay a fine of forty pounds to the authorities because they had shown mercy to their very own father.
Hans Müller of Medikon
page 858, ausbund
In 1640, Hans Müller [same as previous page] was apprehended in the Grüningen district. He was one of those who, in the beginning, was imprisoned in the Council Hall for twenty-two weeks, as already indicated earlier in this booklet. After that occasion, they sent the catchers out for him many times by day and night. They searched for the brother in his house and in his neighborhood. And the unmerciful catchers threatened his children in the nighttime with bared swords, saying they would kill them if they would not show them their father. They had his name announced over the state church pulpit, that everyone would have authority over this brother to turn him over to the government. Also no one should lodge or shelter him anymore on pain of a severe punishment from the government. Afterwards the district magistrate in the Rüti cloister summoned the brother with a written peace and safe conduct for three weeks and promised that no one would do him any harm. After the conclusion of their talks, they would allow him to go home in freedom without any danger.
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Elam Stoltzfus currently serves as caretaker of the Nicholas Stoltzfus Homestead in (Berks County) Wyomissing, Pennsylvania. In 2018, he traveled to Germany to document the history of the Stoltzfus family—this research is documented in German Lutherans to Pennsylvania Amish: The Stoltzfus Family Story. To order a copy of this book, you can mail a $30 check to Elam Stoltzfus, 1700 Tulpehocken Road, Wyomissing, PA 19610.
Ohio Amish Library, Songs of the Ausbund V.2 ed. Edward Kline. Sugarcreek OH: Carlisle Printing.
Ohio Amish Library, Documents of Brotherly Love – Dutch Mennonite Aid to Swiss Anabaptists Volume I.
Neff, Christian. “Müller, Hans (16th century).” Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online.
Ausbund das ist: etliche schöne Christliche Lieder, Verlag von den Amischen Gemeinden in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.