Beissel, Johann Conrad (yōˈhän kônˈrät bĪˈsəl) [key], 1690–1768, founder of the Seventh-Day Baptist community at Ephrata, Pa. Emigrating (1720) from Germany, he settled first with the German Baptists, or Dunkards, in Germantown, Pa. He soon moved to the Conestoga Valley, where he preached to the German settlers. Beissel published (1728) a tract on his conviction that Saturday was the true Sabbath. With his followers he established (c.1728–1733) at Ephrata a semimonastic religious community that became well known in colonial times. Over 400 of Beissel's hymns were printed, most of them in the Turtel-Taube (1747), the Ephrata hymnal.
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