Mankell Family History

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Johan Herman Mankel In Christiansfeld, Denmark

In the early 1770s, after a visit to the Moravian communities in Holland, Danish King Christian VII believed a Moravian community would be good for Denmark because the Brethren were known as efficient and talented builders, which Denmark was lacking. In 1772 King Christian offered his Royal farm “Trystrupgaard” to the Moravian leaders in Herrnhut (Germany) for the specific reason of developing a Moravian Mission. They accepted and laid the first cornerstone in 1773. Thus began the Christiansfeld Moravian community, located south of Kolding (Southern Jutland) in an area of Denmark historically known as the “Little Belt”.

Following the 1798 death of their organist (C.F. Türstig), the Brethren in Christiansfeld (see maps) invited Johan Mankel, an unmarried Moravian brother and music scholar in Niesky, to be their next organist. The Niesky community was reluctant to part with Mankel. However, Mankel was barely supporting himself financially as a music teacher; he was interested in this new job. Mankel asked to have an additional occupation while in Christiansfeld, and he demanded an increase in pay from the brethren for his position as organist. He received both. In addition to being the new organist, Johan also became a glass-maker in this Danish community. Johan Herman Mankel arrived in Christiansfeld on July 1, 1799 and was a member of the Brethren and organist for the congregation until 1814. He has been described as a happy brother with an uncomplicated and spontaneous disposition. Johan writes “I am by nature a cheerful character, friendly, willing to serve, loyal to friends, silent when it is necessary, and cheerful in company.”

Moravian Church in Christiansfeld Denmark
Source: Nr. 103 Brorsbol Foto

The Brethren built their sanctuary in 1776 and Moravians continue to use this space for worship today. The organ that Johan played dates to 1760. It was built in Flensburg, Germany, and is now located on the main floor of the sanctuary. While it is not the primary pipe organ of the congregation, it still works and the congregation uses it frequently. (A larger pipe organ, built in 1865, is located in the balcony and remains the primary organ for the congregation. Johan’s son Gustav, who later was the organist for this congregation, organized the effort and supervised the installation of this larger organ.)

Organ played by Johan Herman Mankel, 1799-1814

Sanctuary of Christiansfeld Moravian Congregation.
Gustav Mankell played and arranged for the installation of the 1865 organ located in the balcony.
A portion of the older organ played by Johan Herman Mankel is visible on the floor, to the far left.
Source: Nr. 293/84 Brorsbol Foto

Bibliography: Grell, p. 1-4; Reventlow, p. 675-676; Norlind.

Johan H. Mankel's First Marriage

Johan H. Mankel's Second Marriage

Children and Descendants of JH Mankell

Johan H. Mankell, a summary of his life

Genealogical Charts

Webmaster: Carolyn Mankell Sowinski
Last updated: February 20, 2008