Germans from Russia Heritage Society


Ray Heinle Korner




Description of Saratov Colony of Yablonovka [Lauwe]

 Description made for the Office [Kontora] of Immigrant Oversight by Fellow of the Chief Justice. Court Counsellor Popov of the colony of Yablonovka [Lauwe]. inhabited by foreigners. according to selected data from the Vorsteher. Beisitzer. and best people. and by personal observation. August 4. 1798.

 This colony is located in the Saratov guberia. in the district of the city of Kamyshin on the meadow side of the Volga River along Popovka Creek. The distance to Saratov is 56 versts: to neighboring colonies: Volskaya [Kukkus]- 4 versts, Popovkina [Jost] - 2 versts. There are in it 140 males and l04 females totalling 244 persons comprising 43 families.  There are varied religions, namely 24 Lutherans and 19 Reformed. The Lutherans belong to Privolnaya [Warenburg] parish where they have a pastor. The Reformed do not belong to any parish. For their needs. they invite a pastor from Norka and they have a church building here. Children are taught reading. writing. and religion by a schoolmaster in a specially constructed building.

 Lands of this colony border on lands of Volskaya [Kukkus] and Popovkina [Jost] state wild steppeland. and the Volga  River. The colony has arable lands of 1648 desyatina 300 sazhen. hay lands of 270 desyatina. and forests of 200 totalling 1938 desyatina 300 sazhen. This was allocated to the colony during the previous Kontora land survey. The colonists report that farmsteads occupy 16 desyatina and roads occupy 30 desyatina of land.

Of the above quantity, only 600 desyatina are suitable for farming. The remainder being too saline and sandy, on which experiments were conducted, but no harvests of grain resulted. Therefore the colonists pasture cattle on the fallow lands, which are divided into three fields. Because there is no source of water there, the colonists graze their horses on the treasury [state] steppe near Tarlyk Brook. some 40 versts distant. In regards to hay lands and forests, although the colony has been allocated 270 desyatina of the former and 200 desyatina of the latter. now only 165 desyatina of hay lands and no more than 20 desyatina of poplar forests remain. The remaining parts of the hay lands and forests were along the Volga River. which now flows in the places where the forests and hay lands were located. Hence the colony suffers shortages of hay lands. and especially  forests. Because of these circumstances, the colonists feed their cattle with straw in winter, and use dung fuel instead of firewood. The colonists and their leaders have been instructed to increase their own efforts to multiply the forests.  

This colony may be allocated only arable land from the treasury [state] steppe adjoining their lands. No hay lands or forests can be added to the colony from anywhere, but to give them some small measure of relief, they can be allocated the recently emerged small island in the Volga River, opposite the colony's lands. The colonists suffer no other insufficiencies. They practice only farming. Of the craftsmen there is one blacksmith, six different weavers, and two shoemakers.  

Except for eleven families which don't have anything because they have just acquired their households, the colonists live in satisfactory conditions. Buildings here are ramshackle. except for two new houses. Houses are enclosed with wattle fences. There are no stone or wattle-and-daub houses in the colony, because of the absence of suitable stone here.  There are no orchards or apiaries. There is one windmill. Some of the people have watermelon, melon, and pumpkin patches where they grow watermelons. melons pumpkins. and cucumbers. Also, there are kitchen gardens behind the houses, where various types of vegetables are grown. The nearest plowed field to the colony is one verst distant, and the farthest is 9 versts. Lands are tilled with plows and are not fertilized with anything. During fertile seasons, harvests for all crops here are plentiful.  

The grain is harvested and threshed the same way as in previously described colonies.  Colonists sell their grain in Saratov, in the Ukrainian quarter of Pokrovsk, and to buyers coming from various places. Prices of grain vary all the time. Last winter's and summer's prices were: wheat - 3.50 ruble, barley - 2.60 ruble, oats - 1.30 ruble, and millet - l.60 ruble per quarter. The public granary here is old, but in good order and constructed in a convenient and secure place. One quarter each of rye, wheat, and oats was collected from 330 families all of which is present.  

This document is completed with the signature of the Vorsteher of the community, and is authenticated by Court Counsellor Popov.

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