Their founder was Johann Conrad Beissel (1690-1768), a native of Eberbach and one of the first emigrants, who, after living as a hermit for several years on Mill Creek, Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, founded the sect (1725), then again lived as a hermit in a cave (formerly occupied by another hermit, one Elimelech) on the Cocalico Creek in Pennsylvania, and in 1732-1735 established a semi-monastic community (the "Order of the Solitary") with a convent (the "Sister House") and a monastery (the "Brother House") at Ephrata, in what is now Lancaster county, about 55 m.
German (Ephrata, Penn., 1786) and in English (Lancaster, 1889); G.
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.
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