People called these German Baptist Brethren “Dunkers” because of their distinct form of believer’s (adult) baptism. They believed that the only proper way to baptize a Christian was kneeling in flowing water (a creek or stream), full body immersion, three times forward, each time after answering a question about their personal experience of the acceptance of Jesus Christ as their lord and savior. Usually there were other congregants watching and the few illustrations done of the scene show a small crowd of people gathered on the river bank as the elder immerses the applicant.
The Dunkers were originally known as Neue Teufer (“new baptists” in German) in the town of Schwarzenau, Germany, where they began in 1708. In America they became known as German Baptist Brethren and in 1908 they adopted the name Church of the Brethren, although since 1870 there are eight different splinter sects. Today there are over 150,000 people who trace their spiritual heritage to the eight persons who first baptized each other in 1708 in the Eder River.