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Jefferson Minnig Deitzler family papers

Call Number: RH MS P17


This collection includes a history of the Deitzler, Ditzler, or Dietzler family from their arrival in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, as well as a brief history of settlement of Germans in Pennsylvania. The collection also includes several photographs of Deitzler family members and locations significant to the family in Pennsylvania.


  • Creation: 19th century


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

History of the Deitzler family

John Jacob Ditzler came to Lancaster County, Pennslyvania with his brothers Thomas and Michael (Melchor) in the late 18th century from the German states. John Jacob married Margaret Henne in 1792, and they had a son named Jacob. Jefferson Minnig (1828-1910) and George Washington (1826-1884) Ditzler were the sons of Jacob (circa 1800-circa 1835) and Mary (Minnig) (1802-1850) Ditzler, both born near Pine Grove, Schuylkill County, Pennslyvania. Their father Jacob died when they were young, so the brothers grew up in their grandfather's house, the Reverend George Minnig.

George Washington went west as a young adult and joined the California Gold Rush, living in both Illinois and San Francisco, California. While in California, he decided to change the spelling of his name to include the E, persuading his brother to do the same.

G.W. Deitzler arrived in Kansas Territory in 1855 and became a prominent member of the Free State Party, opposed to allowing slavery in the new territory. He served as a delegate at the Topeka Constitutional Convention of 1855 and was arrested in 1856 for failing to assist in arresting Samuel Newitt Wood. Deitzler served as a member of the territorial House of Representatives, mayor of the city of Lawrence, and treasurer of the new Kansas University in Lawrence, in addition to raising the 1st Kansas Infantry at the outbreak of the Civil War. He was appointed colonel of the regiment and commanded the 4th Brigade at the Battle of Wilson's Creek in Missouri, where he was wounded. President Abraham Lincoln later promoted Deitzler to Brigadier General, and he led the 1st Brigade, 6th Division, XVII Army Corps of the Army of Tennessee in the Battle of Vicksburg, which led to the capitulation of that Mississippi city in 1863.

G.W. Deitzler resigned his commission in August 1863, citing earlier wounds received in the war, and returned to Kansas. He was commissioned Major General in command of the Kansas State Militia, defeating Confederate soldiers at the Battle of Westport in Missouri in 1864. After the war, Deitzler engaged in various business pursuits throughout the western United States, dying in a horse and carriage accident in Tuscon, Arizona. He was buried with his wife, Anna Mary (Neille) Deitzler (1838-1901), and three sons who did not survive childhood in Oak Hill Cemetery in Lawrence, Kansas.

Jefferson Minnig Deitzler taught for two years after receiving his own public education. He also studied theology under his grandfather and already in his teenage years officiated as a minister and preached sermons at several churches. Deitzler continued his theological studies under Dr. James L. Schock, Dr. James A. Brown, and under Dr. Wedekind before his ordination in the East Pennslyvania Lutheran Synod. In the 1860s he preached at several churches in the synod. From 1865-1890 he served Annville, Hill Church, Bell Grove, and Seventh Street Church as minister, as well as Lebanon and Mt. Zion at some time. In the 1890s he served Union Deposit and etired to Dover, York County, Pennslyvania. Deitzler married Matilda Parr or Pohr (1833-1890), and they had at least five children survive to adulthood. Reverend Jefferson Minnig Deitzler and his wife are buried in Mount Lebanon Cemetery in Lebanon, PA.

[Information retrieved from, Deitzler family accession records at Spencer Research Library, and Early, John William. Lutheran Ministers of Berks County: Sketches of the Lives of Those Who Have Lived and Labored in This Conty. Berks County, PA: Central Lutheran League, 1902, available online through Google Books.]


9 folders

Language of Materials


Physical Location


Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Roy Daily, 1969.

Processing Information

Photographs formerly located at RH PH P85.

Guide to the Jefferson Minnig Deitzler Collection
Jefferson Minnig Deitzler family history
Finding aid prepared by lgg, 1972. Finding aid encoded by mg, 2004. Finding aid revised by sfw, 1984; rw, 2009.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Jefferson Minnig Deitzler family papers, RH MS P17, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States