History of the Mother Colonies of Bessarabia

Bessarabischer Heimatkalender 1951, Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Bessarabien, Stuttgart, Germany, 1951, pages 35-50

 By Professor Chr. Kalmbach

A.  Intoduction

German culture in Bessarabia constituted a link to its origin and in fact the last one in the extensive settlement undertakings of the Russian government, which had the purpose to scatter West European settlers across wide areas of the steppe at the Black Sea and the Sea of Asov region. It was conquered in the last quarter of the 18th century (after 1782).

This large-scale settlement operation links up with the manifesto of Empress Catherine the Great in 1763.  In which not only the settlement of large areas of Russia was introduced to foreign, almost exclusively German immigrants, but also for the first time in writing by properly defining the quantities of land to be apportioned to the settlers as well as their granted rights and privileges.

However, the first settlement attempts which had mainly led to the development of German settlements around Petersburg (Leningrad) and on the Volga, were defined by the desire to gain the most possible [number of] West Europeans for immigration to Russia.  The settling of South Russia from the Pruth River to Trans Caucasia and also of Bessarabia, occurred according to criteria by which now more emphasis was put on the suitability of individual immigrants, rather than on their quantity because the foreign settlements were to serve the Russian farmers as an example. 

The settling of Bessarabia began soon after this province had fallen to Russia after the peace [treaty] of Bucharest of May 16/28, 1812.  (May 16/21812; this indicates probably the date to our present calendar as compared to the Gregorian calendar, which was a few days behind ours.)  It was carried out from two directions i.e. the settlers [were] from two other areas not far from each other.  They are: 1. from the – at that time – dukedom Warsaw, mostly simply called Poland and surrounding areas and, 2. from Southwest Germany mainly from Württemberg.

The immigration from the dukedom of Warsaw and surrounding area was based on the manifesto of Kaiser Alexander I of November 29, 1813.  This manifesto was directed especially towards the German settlers in the Warsaw dukedom, who were called upon to immigrate to Bessarabia.

May 16/28, 1812; this indicates probably the date to our present calendar as compared to the Gregorian calendar, which was a few days behind ours.

Around 1800 these German settlers had emigrated primarily from Würtemberg, but in part also from neighboring areas to the then Prussian part of Poland.  [They, the settlers] had however, to suffer very much due to the unfriendliness of the Poles [which was based on] the difference in religion – most of the German immigrants were Protestants – and due to nationality as well as the unrest of Napoleon’s war (move of Napoleon to Moscow), so that many of them could not get accustomed there and their lives could not be happy.

In this depressing situation an event had them listen suddenly.  Kaiser Alexander’s manifesto had appeared.  They heard of it, they read it and hardly believed their eyes or ears.  The Kaiser called upon them to come to Russia to his new province of Bessarabia.  It was promised to them, exemption from all taxes for 10 years, 60 desjatines land (65 hektare) per family, freedom from military service for the immigrants and their descendants, advance of money for the initial furnishings and monies for food-supply, until the first harvest.  Also promised was the right to build churches according to their religious beliefs, to employ clergymen and to practice their religious customs.

This manifesto of the Russian ruler, to whom the hard pressed settlers had great confidence because of his piety and faith, appeared to our elders in Poland like a liberation.  The pledges contained, which were given by the Kaiser himself, gave them hope and new courage.

Soon, people from various places, who were willing to emigrate, and who were determined to assume once more the hardship of a long migration by primitive means of transportation, gathered to find perhaps still a homeland were they could be happy.  They set out on their long journey in small groups under their own “Transport” or “Wanderschulz” or in large numbers.  They were led by a Russian official, on horse buggies or hand-carts or with a bundle on their backs and a pilgrim’s staff in their hands.  The route led them through Volhynia, where they were received by Russian officials and led further to Bessarabia.  After overcoming many difficulties and problems, suffering and deprivations, the first troops and groups arrived late in the fall of 1814 in Bessarabia.  Yet in the fall [of the same year] only the founders of Tarutino experienced the end of their migration by receiving the place for settlement in the Antschokrak Valley and their new hometown.

All other groups, who also had arrived in the fall of 1814, were accommodated in Moldavian villages around Kischinew and Bender because no shelters were yet available to them on their settlement places.  Many of them were allowed to settle in the spring of 1815 in their new hometown.  But many had to wait one or two years in these “shelters”.  Not all who had arrived in these years could be brought to their new destinations; many of those who had arrived in earlier years could not always be brought immediately to their settlements.  Many of these arrivals had to spend more time in “shelters” in Moldavian villages or with Moldavian farmers. 

The emigration from Southwest Germany took place based on the decree of 1804.  This had led to the founding of German settlements in South Russia from Odessa to Berdjansk on the Sea of Asov. 

The sight of the new homeland aroused the first great disappointment among the arrivals because only rarely did they find very modest huts.  Frequently only some building materials were available.  Yet often they found huts or building materials, so that they were forced to turn the dug-outs into initial shelters.

According to the following excerpts of chronicles of our mother colonies of 1804, it became apparent in what condition the emigrants found their new homeland and how they proceeded in establishing their villages.

B.  Arrival in the Settlement Area and Founding of the Villages
I.  The emigrants from the Poland founded:

Church in Tarutino

1.  Tarutino

The founders of this colony emigrated from the Kingdom of Prussia, from Prussian-Pomerania and Mecklenburg in various migrations were led by a Russian official.  They found here huts woven with brush wood and covered with mud.  The huts were ready to take in 100 families.  The first “Wanderschulz” was Gottfried Scheuchner.  Moreover, the immigrants arrived here not in one but in several small groups.

Futhermore, Wilhelm Mutschall reports the arrival of the Tarutinans equipped with passports.  Our emigrants met at certain places where they were divided into columns or groups.  A Russian official, as guide and protector, and a “Wanderschulz” from amongst them, is assigned to each group.  The founders of Tarutino had Gottfried Scheuchner as “Wanderschulz”.  It may have been spring of 1814 when the group set out.  Wagons drawn by one or two horses, hand-carts all loaded with the most necessary household effects, also pedestrians with a pilgrim’s staff, are seen on the dusty road moving on.  As they travel up the mountains, down the mountains through fields and woods… travelling up the mountains by pushing as the horses are weak.  Down the mountains, however, is too easy [and] therefore, often a bundle of shrubs has to be tied to the rear and anchored down with people serving as brakes. 

Our emigrants reached Bessarabia late in the fall, with much troubles and difficulties, sufferings and deprivations.  But what a disappointment!  Only about 50 houses were available for 100 families; the other settler families – thinking of Borodino and Krasna – were accommodated, therefore, in various Moldavian villages such as: Salbiin, Tschimischlia, Mardar, Koperach, Tschugrik, Boragan, Tomai, etc.

2.  Krasna

Most of the residents of Krasna have changed their homeland twice.  What drove our ancestors away from their nice homeland and into a foreign country?  Most of them had lost all their belongings and possessions.  The thought to find a new homeland, moved their whole inner self.

Then the King of Prussia issued an order to invite German colonists into his new provinces, which he had received after the separation of Poland.  Many who followed this invitation and who wanted to emigrate, came from various areas of Germany to Prussian Poland and to the dukedom of Warsaw created by Napoleon.

Our ancestors chose the dukedom of Warsaw as their new homeland and founded the places Orschokowin and Schitonitz.  Most of them came from the district of Mucnich (Upper Bavaria).  Yet their eyes and color of their hair as well as some French names, gave away the origin of the German French border area.  Many of our ancestors may come from the Palatinate.  However, a coherent dialect developed among the colonists and the one from the Palatinate, appears to have achieved dominance. 

Upon their arrival in Poland they were poor as beggars.  Gradually they reached a certain prosperity through industry and work.  Although far from France the all destroying military moves, Napoleon caught up with them in 1812 and they lost again all their possessions.  After they saw themselves in Poland without protection, they went on with their search for a new homeland and they found it in Bessarabia which Russia had incorporated in 1812 after the war with Turkey.

Following the invitation of the Russian government or ancestors, numbering 133 families, moved in 1814 to the praised land Bessarabia under the leadership of their guards, Mathias Müller and Peter Becker.  Their last possessions, which remained after the war, were put on inadequate wagons.  Many who did not have a wagon took the knapsack and the pilgrim’s staff, and went into the foreign land to seek their fortune. 

At first most of them were accommodated in shelters in Moldavian villages for a short period of time.  Many were in shelters in Kischinew and Bender.  Some of them moved, in the fall of 1814, to their destination.  Others left their Moldavian shelters as late as the spring of 1815.  Nineteen Evangelical families were among the 133 families settling in Krasna.  They lived in the upper part of the village.  The other 114 families were Catholics.  That’s why the community agreed in 1825, to ask the higher authorities to permit the Evangelical families to settle in the then just founded colony, Katzbach, which was eight kilometers from Krasna.  This request was granted.

And soon afterwards they settled on the lower end of Katzbach.  Eight Polish families, who had joined them on their emigration from Poland, joined the German families.  They were Germanized in the course of time. (According to E. Ruscheinsky - farmers calendar 1939).

3. Borodino

Yet in the same year of 1814 the founders of Borodino, under the head of commissary Krüger, started out on their journey to Bessarabia.  They moved to the land which was shown to them.

Originally, 100 families settled in the colony of Borodino; however, in 1815, on the order of higher authorities, fifteen other families joined them.  Of these 115 families, sixty-four were from the kingdom of Württemberg, eighteen from West Prussia, twenty-two from the Great dukedom of Mecklenburg, nine from the Great Dukedom Baden and two from the Kingdom of Saxonia. 

The steppe, allotted to the colonists of the present colony Borodino, was occupied upon their arrival with Moldavian natives.  Therefore, before the colonists could take possession of their land, they had to take shelter in nearby Moldavian villages for thirteen weeks. 

4.  Wittenberg (Württemberg, Malojaroslawez I)

Church in Wittenburg

In 1814, a commissary named Krüge,r came to Poland and enlisted personally the hard pressed Germans to immigrate to Russia and gave them the necessary passports.  Thus in the fall of 1814, they moved in various divisions from Poland to Russia under the leadership of a Russian official. 

Arriving in Russia they were accommodated with old natives of Bessarabia in various villages.  They were taken care of with food supplies until their settlement.

Happily, the settlers numbering 138 families, who were referred to earlier, followed the invitation of the Russian government and left in September 1814.  They left under the leadership of Colonist Bernhard Bohnet and his assistant Martin Voβler for the settlements Grümbach (Grümbach) and Suzfeld.  They traverled in poor conditions, so that almost one third of the people who were riding on a wagon, also had to continue their journey on foot.  These travelers entered at Utschiluk at the Bug River, the Russian states of the Kaiser.  They reached, at their own expense, the quarters meant for them in part in Moldavian villages near Bender, where they remained from November 1814 until the spring of 1816.

According to orders of the higher authorities, eighty families moved to the directed settlement area in the Kirgisch Valley and the remaining fifty-eight families followed them in the spring of 1816.  The colony was completely settled by 1816.  Upon arrival the settlers found nothing but a steppe grown with tall grasses, which two Kiechler of Bulgarian nationality had leased.  They  were forced to live in houses built of shrubs.

Immediately on the founding of this colony, it was named after their fatherland, Württemberg, later Mariental.  A few years later on October 24, 1812, it was honored with the name Malojaroslawetz, from highest order probably in memory to the memorable battle at Malojaroslawez..

5.  Kulm

City offices in Kulm

It was in 1815, when due to the invitation on behalf of the Crown of Russia, Germans had emigrated from the Kingdom of Poland, received from the authorities the place to be settled.  Originally eighty families, who together formed a migratory group from Poland to Russia, settled in the colony.  Later twenty-eight farmers were transported to Kulm, from already completed colonies in order to complete the colony to 108.  The majority of the immigrants consisted of people, who were born in the kingdom Poland, in which their fathers had settled earlier as Prussian emigrants to Poland.  Their earlier settlement places were in the dukedom of Poland, others however in areas of Plotzk, Kalisch and Warsaw.  Only a few were from the kingdom of Prussia, and from the province Brandengurt.  Most of the immigrants of this colony arrived with a group in 1814, under the leadership of the deceased Gottfried Radach.  They found the steppe, which was allocated to them, occupied by three Moldavian leaseholders.  Furnished houses were not available for their reception and only after a five month long stay did the construction of houses proceed.

6.  Leipzig

In the fall of 1814, several groups of German immigrants arrived here from Poland, and stayed throughout the winter in Moldavian villages.  In the spring of the following year they came to Tarutino, and the steppe, belonging presently to the colony.  It was distributed to them through an Official.  Still in the same year, the trading post procured building materials with which the settlers, by means of mud, built the so-called “gestampften” houses (mud houses).  (Refers to the way the houses were built.  Stampfen = to trample, to crush.)

Church in Leipzig

Originally, upon the founding of the colony of 128 families who had mainly immigrated from Prussia, settled here and arrived in three journeys under the presently still living leaders (then called Transportschulz) Martin Fries, Friedrich Ries and late Peter Steinke.

The immigrants did not find any houses available to them, but settled on the then much grass-grown steppe.  They lived in bad shacks, which they prepared of a few erected posts, protected by grass covered and woven roofs, until the trading post brought wood to build houses.

7.   Klöstitz

Klőtitz in winter

Once, the immigrants were from Württemberg and in the first years of the century had settled in Poland.   In the summer of 1814, many Prussian families joined the emigration to Bessarabia, set all together out for Bessarabia, under the leadership of commissary Krügerin, with several divisions with unknown frequently changing leaders.  The travelers were provided with written privileges of His Majesty, Kaiser Alexander I.  For the time being, they were accommodated from September 1814 until the spring of 1815 in various Moldavian villages.  In the spring of 1815, the colonists of the present colony of Klöstitz – numbering 134 families, mainly from Württemberg and Prussia, in part from Bavaria – moved onto the steppe allotted to them.

8.  Paris

In 1816, the immigrants settled on the north side of the Kugälnik River in the steppe of Bessarabia.  The settlers were descendants of Prussian emigrants, who had taken up residence in Poland near Warsaw and Kalisch.  Called upon by the request of His Majesty, Alexander the Mild, 141 families settled here, after they had previously been in shelters at the Dnjestr River with Moldavians for almost two years.  During their travels, the immigrants had no leader, but documents with which they received shelter and money on their journey.

9.  Arzis

In 1816/17, the colonists settled on the property of plan number fourteen.  Neither wood nor anything else was found, but everything [was] wild and desolate without a house or shack.  They had to find shelter in dug-outs.  The first party consisted of eighty-two families from the kingdom of Prussia, province of Marenwerder, and district of Kulm.  Their leader was Baron von Wittenheim, in the city of Thorn.  The second party, in 1817, likewise from the kingdom of Poland, province of Kalisch, district of Konin, consisted of forty-one families.  The leader was the governor of the city of Kalisch.  They are Evangelical-Lutheran. 

9.  Beresina

Gratefully and joyfully accepting the offer of the Kaiser, they went in the same year according to directions of His Excellency, governor Lansque, and His Excellency, Gerneral Woiwutzki., They were equipped with the privileges granted to them most kindly under the leadership of commissary Krüger.  In several divisions they journeyed on to Bessarabia.

Futhermore H. W. Keller reports about the founding of Beresina: “The settlers of Beresina emigrated in the summer of 1814 from Prussian-Poland where they, a few years earlier, had immigrated to Württemberg, Bavaria and Prussia.  In the fall of the same year, they  arrived in Bessarabia.  Here they were accommodated in the villages of Bender district (Kopaka, Krichan, Tschimischlia, etc.) and accommodated by Moldavian farmers.  In the spring of 1815, they gathered in the Kugälnik Valley.  They built dug-outs where the village is today and stayed there for one whole year.  Only in the next year (1816), when the government sent building supplies through the supplier Polno, was the village established.  The first houses were built in part by the colonists themselves and by the military.  Originally 138 had immigrated and received a farmstead. 


11. Brienne

The first residents of this colony immigrated already in 1814 and 1815 to Russia; but as most of them were without means, they had to stay in shelters found among locals seen to by higher authority for them in the Moldavian region.  Only in the next year they could, with permit and instruction of the government, settle at the place.

Having arrived on the steppe instructed to them, each family head had to take care of shelter first against storms and weather.  This took place by erecting a temporary so called earth huts, which were lived in by most of them for several more years. 

In this colony were initially eighty-four families settled, which all had emigrated from the Prussian district of Bromberg, first to Poland then to Russia.

Church in Alt-Elft

12.  Alt-Elft (Fere-Champnoise I)

In 1816 a colony, with the name of Michaelsruhm, was founded by roughly 125 families on the west bank of the Kugälnik River.  The settlers of the colony Fere-Champnoise were originally from South Prussia and Württemberg.  They lived in Greater Poland, in the department of Posen and Warsaw, from where they moved on demand of Kaiser Alexander, after they had been for two years with Moldavians on the Dnjestr River.  During their journey the immigrants had no leader but only written documents with which they received shelter and monies.

13.  Katzbach

The residents of this colony consist in part of descendants of those families, who in earlier years, have emigrated from Prussia to Poland and descendants of those family fathers ,who in the years 1800-1804, have emigrated upon the call of the imperial-Prussian government from the principality Württemberg to Poland.  They settled there.  In Poland, we received news about our relatives and acquaintances from the colonies of Bessarabia that our relatives are well under the government of Russia.  They wanted us to know that we could also find acceptance in the province Bessarabia; upon hearing this news, twenty-eight families decided in 1821 to migrate to their friends and acquaintances in Bessarabia.  The founding of the colony, with the aid of the colonial authorities, proceeded with these twenty-eight families. 

Church in Katzbach

Furthermore, J. Wagner reports about Katazbach: “The first founders consisted of Prussians having immigrated earlier to Poland; emigrants from the Bessarabian villages of Malojaroslawez and Kulm, joined them.  The Catholic Village of Krasna consisted upon settlement in part of Lutherans.  In 1825, nineteen Evangelicals were transferee… including the proper desjatines of land to the neighboring community of Katzbach.”


14.  Alt-Posttal (Malojaroslawez II)

For the reason of unrest of war, the Evangelical-Lutheran, parents of the present residents of this colony, were willing to leave now their fatherland, the former principality of Württemberg, i.e. the area of the Black Forest, to settle in the dukedom of Warsaw not far from the capital in several colonies.  They stayed until 1814.

However, when the destructive campaigns of the French upset all of Europe and pushed ahead into Poland, the German Protestant immigrant suffered, especially as they were exposed to the religious hate of the Catholics through loss of most of their possessions.  Through some other pressures on behalf of the Polish subjects, they looked joyfully up when the Crown of Russia opened its doors to them for immigration into the imperial Russian states in 1813.  (For further migration and arrival in Bessarabia see Wittenberg).

After six years in which the settlers regained their strength through industry and stronger draught animals, the whole community felt that the place of founding the colony was not well chosen.  It was not well chosen as it was 12 W. [erst] from the border of the landmark.  Te settlers wished that the community of Malojaroslawez was to be divided by two.  The more so as upon founding the colony the farms were limited to too little room.  That is why the settlers expressed their wish to a higher authority to divide themselves into two communities.  When the office had given the permit, sixty-nine settlers and their families moved in 1823 and 1824 in the Schalscheut Valley to establish themselves again.  

15.  Neu-Elft (Fere-Champnoise II)

The residents of the colony of Fere Champnoise II, of Evangelical faith, emigrated mostly at the beginning of the 19th century in 1800-04 in their childhood with their parents, from various areas of Prussia and Württemberg to Poland.  The imperial Prussian government supported them generously and settled them in various places of the kingdom of Poland.  However, hard pressed in Poland through revolutions and unrest of wars, they welcomed the Russian government. They invited them and were promised lands and support for their new settlement in Russia.  Thus in the spring of 1814, under the leadership of a Russian official, President Müller, they moved from Poland and arrived in August of the same year at Moldvia near the city of Soroki.  They settled in June of 1816, in the Kugälnik Valley (Fere Champnoise II).

As the colonists could not completely use the land allocated to them, due to great distances, half of them separated after it had been divided into two parts.  In 1825, sixty-three families and founded with permission of the authorities in the Alaga Valley, a new colony which got the name New or Fere Champnoise II.

16.  New-Ariz

The Bessarabian German of colony Neu-Arzis is subordinate to the district office of Klöstiz.  It belongs to the parish of Arzis and was founded in 1825.

Its residents came into the country in 1816 with those of the colony of Alt-Arzis.  Initially it was formed as a colony named Arzis.  But because of continually increasing difficulties to work in the fields due to the great expansion of the steppe, the settlers decided to divide the steppe and the one colony became two. 

There were 41 families who settled in the new colony.  All immigrated from the imperial Prussian district of Bromberg, first to Poland and from there to Russia.  They emigrated with the settlers of Alt-Arzis as the third party.  The families arrived with their leader, President Müller, in the designated steppe, which previously was leased to a Bulgarian named Karastoi. 

17.  Dennewitz

As the descendants of our forefathers, who had settled in the colonies of Beresina, Kulm, Tarutino, Malojaroslawez, etc., they had to seek their necessities of life in the above-mentioned villages without land and farms.  They became hard pressed.  Thus, they sought a better place to live for their families.  Therefore, several colonists without farms turned several times to the former first mayor Widmer, with the request to assist them.  The land, which was distributed to sixty-four farmers, was once allotted to the colony of Teplitz.  It should be given them for new settlement.  Hereby obliged he went personally, late in 1833, to the welfare committee with the wish and plea regarding the colonists.  The request was granted by the government.  In quiet happiness and gratefulness to God and to the authorities in the spring of 1834, the colonists settled here and began working on the construction of houses, fields and vineyards.

18.  Friedenstal

In the beginning of the founding of our colony, the settling of the colonists happened in 1833, in the fall of the same year.  In 1834 the settlement of all farmers occurred and even a considerable number of residents were accepted. 

Eighty-seven farmers were destined for the steppe allotted by the Crown as it is even today. Forty-eight residents, who consisted mainly of widows and orphans, were added to them.

The settlers were mainly from the kingdom of Prussia, the provinces of Brandenburg, Pomerania, East and West Prussia and the principality of Württemberg.  They became interested in the Polish decree, in the opinion, to improve their own situation and settled in Poland.  Furthermore, among the others living here, residents likewise settling in Poland in the local settlement are former subjects of the dukedom of Baden and some from the lower Rhine province of Elsass. 

19.  Plotzk

It was 1836 the Patriarch, Andreas Blum, emigrated from the kingdom of Poland to the province of Bessarabia with his whole family.  Being an industrious, experienced and able to cope with agricultural farming, saw immediately upon his arrival in Bessarabia, a need to provide a place for living for his family while he was still alive.  That’s why he turned in 1826, to the welfare committee for foreign settlers in South Russia, with the wish to allocate him and his son and son-in-laws a free piece of land for living and agriculture.  This request was granted by the government insofar as the immigrants would find, on the steppe south of the colony of Brienne, drinking water.  They were very happy and in the hope they and their children would have a home here.  They proceeded, with a few other heads of families who had joined them, to dig a well.  As they had however, looked for water in two places on the steppe in vain, they went in the spring to the small valley where the colony itself is located.  Here they looked for water once more. Much eager work was begun after they had dug even a Faden into the ground.  They hit rocks; then they became discouraged and gave up all effort and work.  Blum, a brave fellow countryman, sorely tried by much effort and work, appealed to the people to work through the rocks.  How happy were they when they found water two Fadens deeper.  Their joy was even greater when they noticed that it was not only healthy water, but 500 cattle could be given to drink sufficiently.  They could settle here with permission from the government in 1838, proceeding with building their homes and occupying themselves with agriculture. 

II. The immigrants from Southwest Germany founded:

1. Teplitz

This German Evangelical-Lutheran colony of Teplitz in Bessarabia was founded in 1818.  It had at the beginning 98 families and from high offices: Schorondorf 20, Reutlingen 25, Tübingen 19, Nagold 22, and Kerchheim 12.  These families in 1817, together with another party of immigrants based on the top imperial had the privilege to move into the country with the intention to move to Grusien.  Their plans changed, however, and moved in the border town of Ismael.   They consequently settled in the place given to them by the colonial office.  H. Weiβ reports about the founding of the colony of Teplitz more: In Ismael about 100 families separated from the group of emigrants and decided to settle in Bessarabia in accordance with their original plan.  Upon their request they were allocated a piece of land in the Küglnik Valley, where they settled and founded a colony which was named Teplitz in 1818.  Their other travel companions obeyed their hearts and continued the move to the east.

2.  Sarata

In 1822 the founding proceeded.  First forty families settled.  Half was from the kingdom of Bavaria and the other half from the kingdom of Württemberg.  The Bavarians from the districts of Burgau, Günsburg, Lauingen, Dillingen Werthingen, Landsberg, Friedberg and Fischen, arrived in 1821 in Russia, in nine columns under their leader Michael Wagner, Josef Schwarzmann and binder Mayer.  The people from Württemberg, from the districts of Heidenheim , Schorndorf, Waiblingen and Brackenheim, emigrated under Leader Leopold Nille in 1820.  The immigrants stayed at the time of their settlement in the city of Odess, and the colonies surrounding it.  The stay in the city was more advantageous because opportunity was not lacking to find daily means of living.  Those living in the colonies had to live on the possessions they had brought with them.

In the same year (1822) the settlement was strengthened through newly immigrated Bavaarians and Württembergians, so that the number of farmers amounted to sixty.  In 1823 the last migration from Württemberg occurred.  They arrived as the others divided and without a leader.  All immigrants travelled on land and with special hindrances and difficulties.

Church in Gnadental

3.  Gnadental

The colony of Gnadental was founded in 1830.  The land was already surveyed in 1822 for Probst Lindl, who moved from Bavaria to Russia.  He wanted to find here with his loyal parishioners, a community like the one in Sarata.  However as his stay in the latter was only of short duration, as he had to leave Russia. This intended settlement was left undone.  Only in 1830 was it begun by immigrants from Würtemberg.  In 1830 the settlement was begun with ten immigrated families from the kingdom of Württemberg, plus another twelve families came.  All immigrants are from the district of Schorndorf, Waiblingen, Cannstatt, Ludwigsburg and Marbach in Württemberg.  They have travelled on land and without a leader.  They did not find furnished houses upon their arrival.  They lived in self-constructed huts until the construction of such.

In 1831 to 1833, either single or several families emigrated from the mentioned districts of Württemberg,  So the designated number of eighty farmers settled in the colony and of these, everyone had for his own use sixty desj. land.

4.  Lichtental

The colony of Lichtental was founded in 1834.  By 1822 Probst Lindl had already arrived here in Bessarabia.  The local land was surveyed for him by the Crown for this purpose.  However, after Sarata was founded, Lindl, after a brief stay, left Russia.  The settling of this community did not occur until 1834, when it was begun with people who had immigrated from Württemberg.

In 1834, first eight families settled here, of who four were from Württemberg, i.e., from Waiblingen, and the others who followed from the colony of Sarata.  In 1838, 1839, and 1840, the settlement was strengthened through recent immigrants from Württemberg, from the district of Ludwigsburg, Wablingem, and Marbach, as well as some from Sarata.  Only in 1847 was the colony filled with the predetermined number of eighty farmers.  The immigrants travelled on land and without a leader.  The first settlers did not find any furnished house, but lived in huts until the construction of such.

II. Special group Hoffnungstal

The community of Hoffnungstal holds a special place regarding its beginning, insofar as the residents of this village were neither from the dukedom of Warsaw nor from Southwest Germany.  They were of Württemberg origin.  After Bessarabia these settlers came from the area of Odessa, to which they had emigrated forty years earlier.  The chronicler reports about the disappointment of the village


It was in 1841 that twenty-five families, who had immigrated in 1806/19 from Württemberg, to Russia, had settled on the estate of Karstal near the city of Odessa.  This estate belonged to . Karl Vitsch, Rittmeister in the Prussian service.  They were driven out from there and were therefore seeking a new place to live in the Swiss colony of Chaba, near the city of Akkerman.

The government instructed the displaced persons to the steppe below number nine, in the Klöstitz area, until the parish was a settlement.  In 1842 the founding of the colony in the Karatay Valley, began through the above-mentioned people.  This ends into the larger valley of Tschaga near the colony of Klöstitz.  From 1843 to the end of 1847, still other colonists settled from the Chersonarea, namely from the colonies of Worms, Glückstal, Bergdorf, Neudorf, Kassel and Alt-Hoffnungstal.  After completion at the beginning of 1848, the colony consisted of eighty-two families.  As these came upon the call of the colony, they did not have a special leader. 

IV. Special Founding of Schabo

Schabo differed far more than Hoffnungstal from all German settlements in Bessarabia, i.e., not only regarding its founding, but above all regarding the very origin of its founder and later residents. 

Schabo (Chabag)

At this time the Swiss, Frederic Cesar de la Harpe was educator of the Russian successor to Alexander.  He managed to gain the sympathy of the Czar as well as of the entrusted Grand-Duke Alexander and Konstantin and this friendship and remained even after the accession to the throne of Alexander I in 1801.

In 1820, de la Harpe turned to the Czar with the request for immigration of Swiss to Bessarabia.

The petition was granted and the Swiss were given the same privileges as the colonists were assured.  For a Swiss colony of 120 families, 1,200 desjatines land were given by the Russian government of which thirty-four dejatines were available for vineyards.

De la Harpe called upon the people to emigrate without hesitation.  Thirty-six year old Louis Vincent Tardent of Ormonts, Kanton de Baud was teacher at Vevey and a highly-educated man, good botanist and vine grower.   He decided as first for emigration and enlisted in a short period of time, 10 more people willing to emigrate.  They sent him to Tardent, to Bessarabia and made available to him 800 Swiss Francs.

The vineyards and orchards formed a true paradise.  In the middle of all the beauty was the scattered Turkish village of “Acha-Bag” with the local name “Cha-Bag” in German “Garden of earth”.  That’s why the name of the Swiss colony of Chabag, pronounce Schabo, as it was last.

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