GERMAN BAPTIST BRETHREN, or German Brethren, a sect of Anabaptist Pietists which originated in Germany, and whose members are popularly known in the United States as "Dunkers," "Dunkards" or "Tunkers," corruptions of the German verb tunken, " to dip," in recognition of the sect's continued adherence to the practice of trine immersion.
An early secession from the general body of Dunkers was that of the Seventh Day Dunkers, whose distinctive principle was that the seventh day was the true Sabbath.
The same element in the Brethren opposed a census, but according to Howard Miller's census of 1880 (Record of the Faithful) the number of Dunkers was 59,749 in that year; by the United States census of 1890 it was then 73,795; the figures for 1904 are given by Henry King Carroll in his.
Falkenstein, "The German Baptist Brethren, or Dunkers," part 8 of "Pennsylvania: The German Influence in its Settlement and Development," in vol.
Of the Pennsylvania German Society, Proceedings and Addresses (Lancaster, Penn., 1900); Julius Friedrich Sachse, The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania, 1742-1800: A Critical and Legendary History of the Ephrata Cloister and the Dunkers (Philadelphia, 1900); and John Lewis Gillin, The Dunkers: A Sociological Interpretation (New York, 1906), a doctor's dissertation,, with full bibliography.
There were Dutch, Swedes, English, Germans, Welsh, Irish and Scotch-Irish; Quakers, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Catholics, Lutherans (Reformed), Mennonites, Dunkers, Schwenkfelders, and Moravians.
The British party was strong because of the loyalty of the large Church of England element, the neutrality of many Quakers, Dunkers, and Mennonites, and a general satisfaction with the liberal and free government of the province, which had been won gradually and had not suffered such catastrophic reverses as had embittered the people of Massachusetts, for instance.