Chortiza - 1848 Village History
Copyright 1996, Elli Wise    

Notes:  Please see the Introduction to the Village History Project for additional information.  


1. Condensed historical overview of the founding and existence of the colony of the Chortizan Mennonite district.

A reproduction documented by Heinrich Heese from the:  entertainment newsletter for German settlers in South Russia and requested published by the Chortizan districts office.  Year 1851 no. 8-10.

This community has such poor documentation of their settlement in Russia, that it is difficult to have a memorandum about their ancestors and history to pass down to their descendants.  Even with the exchange of documentation in writing, between local directors  Major von Essen, Baron von Brakkel and Mr. Brigonzi until the founding of the Guardianship Comptoir Office for the foreign settlers in Jekaterinoslaw in 1800, our archive is almost empty.  One can only depend on verbal memories of trustworthy men, already passed on, and their written notes they left behind, as a guide to the following historical description.

Because our community has only one church and citizen based documentation of our once common fatherland, one can only present its origination and condition at best with connecting documents.  For a more clear understanding from our descendants, and the approval and usefulness of our history by our children,  it is necessary to include a broader history of our earlier descent and of the most notable facts from the history of those ancestors  to proceed the contents of this documentary.  Not to make it boring, but rather it is intended to make it more entertaining.

Our ancestors fatherland was the Netherlands, mainly the provinces of Vlammland and Friesland, from which the 'vlaemish' and 'friesian' Mennonite groups derive.  These groups are still here, as well as in Prussia, in separate memoirs, but could be combined according to old church records. During the reform in Germany, a Catholic priest by the name of Menno Simons sided with the ones in favor of baptism and formed them into a tighter organization,  from which our name "the Mennonites" stems.  Since then, our ancestors were hunted everywhere, which prompted them to seek shelter in the states cities where citizens rights permitted shelter. That also brought them to Danzig, to where our first ancestors emigrated sixty years ago.  Near Danzig, our ancestors earned their keep in drying up the swamps by building channels and locks.  That skill was brought with them from the Netherlands. Within a few years, they were engaged with that type of work along the Weichsel river reaching Warschau, and even along the Pregel and Memel in the then dukedom (duchy) of Prussia.  Because of that, lots of them went to Poland, who's regime not only tolerated their religious customs, but also lent districts of such swamps along the upper river as inheritable estates, which they slowly worked into fertile plots. (real estate)

By importing dutch clover, they turned the land into luscious grassland for cattle.  These well nourished cows brought them profits; more than double the amount of local cattle.  Their clean dutch cheeses and butter always found a buyer.  In other words, they became rich farmers and served as blessed exemplars to the local neighbors, for they could never match up. The Mennonites houses always stood out, not only with paint, but also by cleanliness and comfort.  Their fields and cattle added in beauty by good growth and color.

During the Seven Year War, the Russians found this excellent condition of the land of our fore fathers in the three low lands of:  Danzig, Marienburg and Elbing.   This was noticed by field officers, prominent figures like Duke Romanzow, who inquired into such matters providing the first base for Mennonites to emigrate to Russia.  The High Regiment decided to call on foreign settlers to settle on the South Russian steppes, and, His Excellency, Duke Romanzow, mentioned the Mennonites.  It was such a worthy report, that the quite pleased Empress Katharina II did not hesitate to send her authorized officer of foreign affairs, Major von Trapp, to offer a special, most promising commission to the Mennonites in Danzig.  It was August 1786, when the above mentioned officer arrived in Danzig,  and shortly thereafter presented his offer to the Mennonite church elder, Peter Epp, who assisted him in quick cooperation.  In October of the same year, two authorized representatives of the Mennonites , Jakob Hoeppner and Johann Bartsch, traveled to Russia to seek a comfortable piece of land in the South Russian Steppe and  to have freedom of religion assured,  in addition to other provisions wanted from her Royal Highness.  All costs were absorbed by the Russian regime and in November of 1787, they returned to Danzig with successful results.   They had chosen Bereslaw, not far from Cherson,  the roadway leading to Crimea close by and two rivers meeting, Dnepr and Konskaja, and in between were two islands, Tawan and Karro, rich with woods and grassland.  It was to belong to their chosen area, but to inhabit that area, they also had to take on the district of Chortitza by special request of his Excellency Duke Potemkin, whom they had met during the war movements. Thus the preparations for emigration were agreed upon.

The total number of our Chortizan Mennonite ancestors that came from the lowlands of Danzig, Elbing and Marienwerder - amongst them 30 families from the lowland of the Pregel river near Gumbinnen - who were born in the kingdom of Prussia, came to 228 families.  All were poor people who were seeking a better life and had already left in March 1788.  Several traveled by land, carrying 2 to 3 families per wagon.  They had authorized Hoeppner and Bartsch to be their leaders.  Most of them went on waterways passing Riga until Dubrowna in White Russia, where they happily arrived the same summer. Because of the Russian Turkish war, they had to stay there, being well provided for by lieutenant Stael.  It wasn't until August 1789 that they arrived in Chortitza.
Most already had their own wagons, which they had acquired by doing odd jobs and with support money, while in Dubrowna.  The others traveled via barges on the Dnepr river from Mohilew to Jekatherinoslaw and from there on Russian supplied wagons.  Now that the difficult travel was behind them and they saw the mountains surrounding them, they became discouraged. Thinking they could not farm the land. and beginning a misery, they implied accusations at their leaders.

The Chortizan district to the East stretched lengthwise along the right side of the Dnepr river bank, opposite of the estate of Mr. Mark, the crown village Wosnesensk, the district capital Alexandrowsk and the Colony Schoenwiese.  Schoenwiese belongs to our community. The acreage along the south, forming a half circle to the north by river banks, is also bordered by the estates of Miklaschewski, Strukow, Lukaschewitz and Latschinow. It is under the governing district city of Jekaterinoslaw at a distance of 70 werst. Only the colony Schoenwiese lies in the district of Alexandrowsk, surrounded by land and estates owned by Alexandrowsk citizens and borders the Dnepr river in the West.

This area, the original chosen land for settlement and the additionally acquired 12,000 dessjatine by Miklaschewski, was hilly, steep gorges and low lying valleys were found throughout, making farming immensely difficult. Even though fields were in higher elevations and did bring fair results during rainy seasons, they preferred cultivation of the level steppe land which consisted of 4-6 werschok deep fertile soil and where the water from thaw and rain did not run off.  The steep embankments along the ravines also did not prove profitable for farming.  There are five main valleys in our district, to which all the other valleys stretch into, full of streams that empty into the Dnepr river, swollen in the springtime by downpours and thaws; and dry in the summer. They are named north to south 1) lower Chortitza, 2) middle Chortitza, 3) upper Chortitza, 4) Tomakowka and 5) Heidutschma (snake valley).  Of the 14 colonies that lie in these valleys or border them, only three colonies, Einlage, Island Chortitza and Schoenwiese are across the Dnepr river.   All gorges along the Dnepr river and a large part of the Chortitza island were covered heavily with woods.  There were magnificent oak trees, poplars, elm trees, willows, wild pear and apple trees; mixed with linden and maple trees. Extreme abundance of  sloe and rose hip bushes, elderberries and others existed as well.  Everywhere one found vines mixed with lots of hop, making the woods almost inaccessible.  Wild vineyards are still growing in the upper Island.  These old forests are gone now, and here and there one can find an old tree. Todays wonderful woods stretch over an area of 819 Desjatines and are about 25 years old, growing into this beauty when order and supervision began.  The old woods finally turned into a place to at least serve at a minimum the needs of the settlers.  Even though the Dnepr river provides plenty fishing grounds,  profits are so meager that the four communities of Einlage, Rosenthal, Island Chortitza and Schoenwiese only arrive at a profit of 45 silver ruble during a one years lease.  Near the colony Rosenthal they just recently discovered a limestone quarry.  (One already started to break rock to build  two limestone ovens.) This is the natural make up of our steppe which measures, inclusive of Schoental, 32,707 1/2 Desjatines usable and 5,134 Desjatines unusable land.  The unusable land consists of sandy areas along the Dnepr river banks and areas in the gorges where the ground is mostly clay. Along the ravines are seven inhabitable huts to be found, which were left behind by the farmers before our settlement, in the vicinity where our colony Chortitza now is.

Major von Essen, an old, good, but also weak man, was the director of our emigrants, since the journey but did not do much good for them.  Deputies Hoeppner and Bartsch were the soul of all his dealings, which through more favorable conditions would have fared better.  While Hoeppner was a man of action, Bartsch was a thinker.  Fall had arrived quickly and our ancestors were still living in tents.  Building materials had not arrived nor support money and the reserves were gone.  Illnesses, especially dysentery, and with lack of medical attention, claimed lots of victims.   Despair was great.  The insoluble delusion of overcoming the mountains for farming, became embedded so deeply, that it hampered the efforts to move forward consistently for several years.  Getting so late in the season, the authorities moved to supply the community with the most necessary means to save them from distinction.  Except for a few families, who found accommodations in the Chaten of Chortitza,  most found shelter in Alexandrowsk with commander von Schwarz and in the Crown city of Wolochski near Jekaterinoslaw.  In the spring of 1790 they were ordered back to the proposed land and steps toward settlement were under way, however with modest success.

According to deputies Hoeppner and Bartsch, most merciful allowed conditions were approved by the regiment as follows:
1) CASH - to establish farms, 500 ruble per family
2) ALLOWANCE - from the arrival at the border until finalized journey, 25 Kopek daily for persons over the age of 15, 12 Kopek per person under the age of 12.
3) FROM ARRIVAL AT SETTLEMENT until next harvest, each person 10 kopek
4) 120  4-Faden long beams per family and the necessary lumber to built two mills at least, and six grindstones.
5) different sorts of grain - reimbursable
6) fare from the border to settlement
7) 65 Desjatines of usable land per family

During an inspection by an expedition of the German domain and the guardianship of foreign affairs, and by council von Continuous' established revision in 1799, it was found that the first emigrants received cash support in the amount of 237,001 ruble and 60 kopek  for a total of 288 families. The second batch of emigrants, 118 families, had received 121,235 ruble and 33 kopek.  Actually a total of 358,236 ruble 90 kopek had been disbursed. Because of that, negotiations between the guardianship comptoir, founded in Jekaterinoslaw in 1800, overseeing the affairs of new russian foreign settlers, and its officer von Contenious, took place.  In regard to the poor condition of the settlers and the irregular support to build their houses at different times to the then elders, (Hoeppner and Bartsch were already dismissed), significant sums of money to support the community were distributed, but there was negligence and misuse.  The money was to be used to acquire grain for seed and food, to build a cognac distillery,  purchase farming equipment, flax, looms and spinning wheels and cattle to re-settle 66 families.  These families were to settle on the land, purchased in 1803 by Miklaschewsky; the two colonies Burwalde and lower Chortitza.  42,686 ruble 88 1/2 kopek, for which there was no bill in the community archive, and for consideration of the poor condition of the settlers, did not have to be paid back until 1805.  The rest was not paid back until 1847.  The reimbursement for travel money was waived at the plea of the community.

Our ancestors did not possess many goods.  The items they brought were partially ruined if not totally destroyed, while traveling by boat.

In the originally proposed district of Chortitza, which measures 42,235 Desjatines, 228 families settled within 8 colonies.  They could not start building houses because they lacked the materials.  Their homes were mud huts.  The small amounts of money, 34 ruble per family, sometimes less, and only disbursed now and then, was used for food. The few wooden beams were cut up as firewood and sold for food.  The inflicted delusion that the land was useless and one had to find something better, slowed almost all effort.  Four years later they started to build houses on an irregular basis and without instigation.  The sociability of the families in the community easily awarded agreement in choice of settling spots.

The developed colonies are named in the following order:
1)  CHORTIZ, at the tip of the valley in the 'Upper Chortitza' from which it's name derives.  It is diagrammed fairly regular and in its position, being surrounded by the mountains, gives a comfortable view.  The removal of the dark oak forest by the first settlers was greatly rewarded by them and their children by planting orchards.  There is only a small part of the original wood standing at the tip of the valley.  At first they did not consider dividing the land into plots; each plowed and cut hay where they pleased, but almost always close to the colony.  Only a few years later did they measure out the district within the village and neighboring borders. The original amount of settlers was 34.

2)  ROSENTHAL, in the same valley, 'lower Chortitza'  and also the residence of deputy Bartsch.  The Dnepr divides there into two arms seemingly holding a small group of young oak trees.  The soil is sandy and grass grows only sparingly and thus earning this island the name "pigs head".  The name Rosenthal was given later by the request of von Contenius when a community orchard was planted where a lot of wild roses grew.  The view of Rosenthal is not very pleasing because of its layout.  Even though they have beautiful farms, all in one corner of the land,  are making it difficult for them to farm the land.  Cultivation is only meekly progressing because of the soils high alkali content.  Gardens in the higher elevations are rather pleasing though.  A special originality is the young growth of woods where once was the old forest alongside the riverbed.  There is also a small fishery on the Dnepr which earns a lease of 6 ruble a year.  The first families there numbered 20.

3)  ISLAND CHORTIZ, here resides deputy Hoeppner.  He immediately moved himself and 11 additional families onto this island, which measures 7 werst in length and 3 werst in width.  Two Chaten were left from earlier times, standing in the garden of the Russian Duke Potemkin, when care tenders of the forests lived there.  The colony lies between the left arm of the Dnepr river banks and the ravines of the mountains.  It is not guarded against the extreme floods of the Dnepr river, but comfortable to look at with its orchards and vegetable gardens.  The soil on the whole island is sandy, which bring plentiful crops in rainy seasons, and barely yield during hot dry summer seasons, despite all the work, efforts and costs.  The grassland is rather scarce but enough to raise good cattle in combination with the good drinking water from the Dnepr river.  The young forest and the fishery, which is an asset to the colony however, only brings 12 silver ruble a year of lease profit.  The large forest at the tip of the colony is not owned by the colony but belongs to the whole Chortizan community, which even employs a caretaker.  Only the grasslands around these forests are used by the whole community for cutting hay. The number of the first settlers is 12.

4)  EINLAGE, named after a village at the Nogat river in Prussia because of its similar location, stretching within a curve of the river.   At time of settlement they found one single farm hut, not far from the crossing of a road to Kitschkas and an old Tschumakkenstreet leading from Poland to the Don.  Also found was a forest heavily occupied with oaks and wild apple and pear trees, which also were destroyed and replaced with young trees as an orchard.  With a yearly income of 18 ruble from lease, the fishery here is only a secondary matter.  The colony lies at the end of the grounds where one finds the most fertile soil behind the village and sandy soil around the village.  The sandy soil here is of an advantage especially in spring, when the grass here grows earlier and stays lush when the season stays moist.  The grass, however, disappears with the heat. The length of the village is 2 werst, irregular in its layout because of the curving of the valley and the rocky ridges.  But its houses do not lack in beauty nor does the village lack in prosperity.  A friend of nature shall find these beautiful houses, surrounded by orchards, and rocks covered by young oak trees, very surprisingly inviting. Amount of first settlers 41.

5)  KRONSWEIDE, a name agreed upon by the community. Originally built near the river bank of the Dnepr up on a ledge.  No trees,  nor kitchen herbs grew there.   The view is coincidentally reminding of the desert of Arabia.  For that reason and because of lack of land to spread comfortably, it was finally
decided in 1833 to move into a narrow deep gorge into the Heidutschina Valley. Only six families stayed behind on the ravine cultivated by them. It seems this small village vanished from the earth.  Even from close up it is hardlynoticeable, always hiding its treasure of beautiful houses and plentiful orchards.  A poet would find heaven here but the locals often find the roads in need of repair and very difficult to pass when delivering their fruits.  They do not lack in trade though, and are noted as an obedient people, belonging to the friesian party.  Number of original inhabitants is 35.

6) NEUENBURG, its name deriving from Prussia, lies at the tip of the Heidutschina valley and is also only noticeable by a second look.  It is a most unpleasant view right where the Kitschkasser crossing lies, but also does not lack in prosperity and cultivation.  The ground is one of the flattest,  most desirable ones. Original settlers 16.

7)  NEUENDORF, its name also derives from Prussia and lies at the tip of the Tomakowka valley along side the curving river banks making the neat originality less pleasing to look at. Original amount of setters 38.

8)  SCHOENHORST, whose name also derives from Prussian lowland.  It is situated just below Neuendorf.  Also with irregularity in its borders but similar comfort in the Tomakowka. Original settlers of 32.

That is how our ancestors were settled with in the above mentioned 8 colonies, 228 families, lead by the two, more than once mentioned, deputies by Major von Essen.  To further enhance their well being, they had chosen teachers, which also held religious services.  A church elder was blessed in 1795 for which an overseer from Prussia came.  Soon after the settlement, Mr. von Essen was replaced by Baron von Brakkel, who won the admiration of the settlers by his efforts and also by enforcing the building of houses more strictly.

In the years of 1793 - 1796 still more Mennonites arrived from Prussia. Altogether 118 families, of which most of them settled in the Chortizan colonies.  Because of lack of room, the rest were quartered in the town Alexandrowsk.  These new arrivals were called the second emigration.  Because of their own money and some German cattle stock they brought with them in addition to receiving support money,  the original community was livened. The community also happily received an advance of 1600 ruble  per family, to enhance their growth. That contributed to the erection of the first wooden prayer house.  In 1797, under supervision of Mr. Brigonzi , the last of the 118 families were settled.  86 families built their homes in the Chortizan colony and 32 families founded two new colonies:

1) SCHOENWIESE, name of Prussian origin, only separated from the district city Alexandrowsk by the creek Mokraja.  17 families make the colony complete, and church Elder Heinrich Janzen moved there right away from his parish Kronsweide.  Each family had goods on the average of 350 ruble.  Each lot measured 1401 Dessjatines and a small strip of land, about a third of their land per family lies across the Mokraja creek, which empties into the Dnepr,  making cultivation difficult.  The kitchen gardens along the creek banks, however, are very fertile and the harvest is easily sold at a profit to the occupants of the city.   The rest of the land, another third, yields hay.   The land is in bottom land of the Dnepr and has groups of oak trees, poplars and grassland.  The community has quickly advanced thus beginning to erect a more roomy prayer house.

2)  KRONSGARTEN, with a name hinting to the beauty of nature.  Founded by the remaining 15 families in the Nowomokowskan district at the creek banks of Kilschin which also empties into the Dnepr.  Kronsgarten is 12 werst form its district city Nowomoskowsk and 15 werst from the governing city of Jekatherinoslaw.  It belongs to the Friesan community and  is always beautiful to look at, matching the beauty of its name.  It was however built at low ground level, exposing the land to floods.  For that reason they are presently building houses, made of bricks, at a higher location.  They are also building a prayer and a schoolhouse. They have a fertile plot with a small wood and a small fishery at the Kilschin which earns 8 ruble a year for lease.  This community was included in 1843 under the jurisdiction of the Chortizan office.

It is during this time that that the two deputies Hoeppner & Bartsch had to resign, but it took a long time before they were replaced by a comparable man as far as their mind and efforts go.  Ignorance and jealousy was the only thing that lead to their misfortune.  Since they were not rectified during their life time, history owes to do so after their death to educate their descendants.  There was nothing noteworthy of their governing other than the continued carelessness.  It brought about the resettlement of the 66 families from the old colonies, who were placed onto the land purchased from Miklaschewski by the crown in 1802.  It was first divided into two colonies and later into three.

1)  BURWALDE (russian name: Barburka)  possibly stemming from the Prussian village Baerwalde.  It was founded at the mouth of the Chortizan valley with 27 families coming from the old colonies,  having received a support money of 1040 from the crown and the ten free years. There are small ravines with new growths of forests and a rather hilly landscape.  The view is not too pleasing because of the narrowness and curliness of the layout, but their land is comfortable and the farmers are diligent and prosperous.

2)  NIEDERCHORTIZ, the name deriving from the lower Chortitza on which estuary it lies, was also founded in 1803 with 39 families of original settlers.  Each family had 1000 ruble of assistance and ten free years.  The wide, flat view of the layout gives this colony a nice view, not to speak of their lack of competing with other nice farms.  Their status, however, has risen in the last few years, in looks and efforts.  One finds nice orchards already.  Most of the soil is sandy, more so the closer it gets to the Dnepr river banks,  and does not yield good crops, especially during dry seasons. Its slanted layout of the entire region does not provide fertile soil, especially because of runoff water.

3)  SCHOENEBERG (russian name Smoljanaja)  established at the upper valley of the lower Chortitza.  It's name deriving from it's location (beautiful hill). In the year 1816, 14 landlords from the colony Niederchortiz, were enticed to build this colony with aids of wagons and manual labor.  It has developed greatly and the houses and gardens are not lacking in value compared with other colonies.  Their land is fertile and busy with agriculture.

4)  KRONSTHAL (russian name - Dolinsk) who's name is a combination of Kronsweide and Rosenthal. The 12 landlords came from the two colonies.  In 1809 Kronsthal was established in the valley of the Middle Chortitza with only private support of 51 ruble per family.  It now has the best view with its layout of the well built houses and gardens and the straight road through the main part of the village.  The land is one of most fertile and agriculture is thriving.

5)  NEUOSTERWIK (russian name - Pawlowka) named after the village Osterwik in the lowlands of Prussia. Founded in 1812 by 20 landlords that came from the original established colonies, with only a private cash support of 50 ruble. It lays at the tip of the middle Chortitza.  It's view reminds of the village of Kronsthal but it has good houses and gardens and the fields are cultivated effortlessly.

During 1812 to 1824, there were now 13 colonies established in the Chortizan district of Jekatherinoslaw. (Schoenwiese being in the Alexandrowisch district was not counted, nor was Kronsgarten since it was not under Chortizan jurisdiction until 1843) There were 314 landlords with 100 Dessjatines each, of useful land. In 1823, new Mayor Isaak Toews, a man of action, undertook to give the community an upswing.  The land was re-measured and found to have 1824 dessjatines of leftover land.  He gave the original community 2,943 dessjatines and started to settle with 114 families - the most promising men of the mini farmers - on that land.  Sixty five families were assigned to leftover land from the old established colonies and 49 families went to this new extra land and formed three colonies:

1)  ROSENGART (russian name - Nowoslobodka or Popowa)  named by the mayor with the intent of a beautiful layout of the colony. It was established above Burwalde, in the valley Middle Chortitza.  There was no support since these settlers did not owe to the crown and with 22 estates they were not overworked and only had the welfare of the settlers in mind.  Originally small houses became nice large estates and orchards were abundant.  The characteristic of the land is medium.   Deep gorges cut through the valley and one can find new woods along the Dnepr river banks.  This colony began the limestone quarry, which hopefully will continue to be profitable.

2)  BLUMENGART, named because of flowers that covered the site .  It lies in the lower Chortitza valley between Schoeneberg and Nieder Chortiz.  14 estates are thriving,  even with the characteristic of the land only at medium usefulness on the steppes among the hills.

3)  NEUHORST, (russian name - Kapustjanka) named by combined parts of Neuendorf and Schoenhorst, from which the 13 landlords moved from.  It lies north of Neuendorf at the tip of the Tomakowka valley and owns a comfortable piece of land.  With much effort, they acquired nice farms, gardens and some fortune.

All now under the jurisdiction of the Chortizan government, each family has 65 Dessjatines of land, except for the two colonies of Burwalde and Schoenwiese. Because of difficult cultivation due to its location , Burwalde received 325 Dessjatines and  4 families were re-settled from Schoenwiese to Molotschna.

The below table gives the current count of farms in the following colonies:

In the district of JEKATHERINOSLAW:
1)   Chortiz - 39
2)   Rosenthal - 35
3)   Rosengart - 22
4)   Burwalde - 27
5)   Blumengart - 15
6)   Nieder-Chortiz - 29
7)   Island-Chortiz - 18 (Insel-Chortiz)
8)   Einlage - 36
9)   Kronsweide - 26
10)  Neuenburg - 18
11)  Neuendorf - 45
12)  Neuhorst - 13
13)  Schoenhorst - 36
14)  Kronsthal - 18
15)  Neuosterwik - 30
16)  Schoeneberg - 18

In the district of ALEXANDROWSKA:
17)  Schoenwiese - 14

In the district of NOWOMOSKOWSKI:
18)  Kronsgarten - 15

Total of farms - 460

In addition to the 460 landlords, there are 673 landless families, small farmers (homesteaders), bringing it to a total count of 7,217 people.

All beginnings are difficult. - The meaning of this saying reached our parent settlers, and the original reasons of persistent hindering was uncertainty.

Their poverty is therefore a secondary matter.  Proof  is, that several of our ancestors, who right a way worked peacefully and eagerly, already enjoyed homes and had plenty of food from their own cultivation, whereas the dissatisfied mass of settlers still sat in their mud huts, sneering at the bowls of soup made from half rotten flour.

The uncertainty made them disgruntled, brought distrust, misuse and tiredness.The two deputies, Hoeppner and Bartsch, as so many able men, not powerful enough of fight it, succumbed to this misery.  The people, coming from the work and service force, and focused on the idea to get rich and live a comfortable life, had to be very disappointed when seeing the uncultivated mountains. On top of this dissatisfaction came the unusual high death rate, because of lack of food and clothing.  That heightened the misery so severely that it took several (30) years to overcome.

The only total bad harvest occurred in 1833, even though scarce harvests of grain and hay crops occurred in the years of 1823, 1824, 1842 and 1845. To purchase necessary items cost the community large sums.  The bad harvests in the earlier years, mainly caused by late planting and summer heat burning the underdeveloped plants on the fields or crops eaten by field mice, cannot fall under this category.

The loss of cattle during the earlier 15 years was also mainly due to negligence to feed or feeding with spoiled grain.  Later though, when the community took greater care, they lost most of their cattle to epidemics, especially in the years of 1804, 1809, 1810, 1812, 1813, 1828, 1833, and in 1845 the colony Kronsweide alone lost 2/3 of its herd.  Most of these sicknesses usually were found along the Tschumakkenstreet, pointing to infections by strange cattle, spreading later throughout the district.

Flooding of the Dnepr river in 1820, caused damage only to the three colonies Insel-Chortiz, Rosenthal and the lower part of Einlage.  In 1829 and 1841 only Rosenthal was flooded and mostly had the gardens devastated.  In 1845,  when the Dnepr rose to its highest stage ever,  the four colonies, Einlage, Rosenthal, Insel-Chortiz and Nieder-Chortiz were heavily devastated. Einlage, which lies in a valley, was totally flooded when a dam burst.  20 houses were destroyed and the loss came to 8,922 ruble 14 kopek.  These houses are already rebuilt at a better location and of better quality with money through cash support and donations.  Also the dam was placed at a different location.   The cognac distillery, which used to be in Einlage, was so heavily damaged that the total loss came to 2,409 ruble 43 kopek. Rosenthal suffered a loss of 2,491 ruble 38 kopek but for lack of land space only 4 landlords could relocate their estates.  Most of their hay fields are covered by river sand but becoming grown over by washed up poplar and willow tree seeds and the higher locations have been planted with shrubbery.  The earlier mentioned Island, the 'pigs head' is surrounded now by a ditch measuring 1,120 faden long and the community built a dam at the lower end of the valley to protect against further flooding.  The loss on Insel-Chortiz was estimated at 430 ruble 59 kopek even though most houses were covered by water up to the roofs.  The most devastating loss for this community was, however, the sand layer covering their hay fields.  All the houses had to remain on the same places but they were able to raise the road. Nieder-Chortiz also was flooded and its damage came to 1, 221 ruble 67 kopek. The community  chose to build an earthen dam for protection in the future, rather than tolerate to avoid major costs.  The total loss of the flood in 1845 came to 15, 476 ruble 21 silver kopek.

At times there were great hail storms and also devastating fires causing tremendous suffering to the community.  In 1811, three farms burned at once in Einlage.  In Schoeneberg, not counting the school, six farms burned in 1823.  2/3 of the loss was paid from the fire fund, aiding the community, being diligent and obedient citizens, to always recover during peace time. Nature also provided fertile soil on the burned land,  producing good harvests.

There were only two earthquakes this community had to endure.  One in 1799 and one on Jan. 11, 1838, at nine in the evening.  Neither caused much damage, only lasting a few minutes and rolling from west to east,  scaring people and animals, and noticeably increasing the flows from the springs.

Our community found itself in a disastrous situation, especially in 1793, when downfall was a threat;  new groups of Mennonites arrived , a total of 118 families from Prussia.  Having a small fortune on them, spread some money within the community as they could purchase goods and were able to pay for them.  Where there is money, there is courage.  The building of houses started and the fields were worked more and each could eat from their own provision.  Even more national emigrants from Prussia came, who first stayed at our colonies and later settled in the Molotschna.  In 1803, 179 families, and in the following year 146 families emigrated from Prussia.  These emigrants needed room and board, barns, bread and feed and they paid cash. This happy occasion brought an energy to the community life, which did not falter again.  Not only did money come into circulation, but our colonists had high income with the building of houses and so the morale grew as well. It improved the living standards tremendously and they could even afford corn mills.  In addition, they were raising sheep and became well off.  This luck started in 1803, when Mr. von Contenius, head official of the Guardianship Comptoir arranged for the community to receive as a gift from the crown, 30 sheep of which 15 were bucks.    These were to be paired with Russian sheep and with later acquired additional bucks from Mr. Stieglitz in Zarskoje-Selo and from Saxony.  They soon had a herd together.  This herd could be considered a gold mine for the community in those years, when the cultivation of the fields was not profitable because of low grain prices.  There were some lows with the raising of sheep but they usually jumped right back.  For a long time it was not advantageous for the community since the surrounding landlords did not care to buy sheep yet.  In 1822 though, our community gained wealth by the sale of russian sheep, when the same landlords started to buy whole herds, even at higher prices.  But now it seems that this branch of farming slowly comes to an end.  The grain farming seems to be on the upswing with higher prices.  Since the estate owners have put a yearly order in for wagons and plows, even young people started to learn the trade.  The liked originality of the German wagons surely is of an advantage for a long time to come.

His Excellence, Mr. von Contenius, donated out of our community income a special community sum.  Viewing a more quicker and  secure income by exemplars of silk production, vineyards, orchards etc.  Even though he did not succeed because of hesitation and misuse, he did lay a foundation and the community sheep production was a certain success.  The crowns crossing of Kitchkas (old russians hint the name stems from the narrow bed between the rocks just above the crossing of Kazzensprung) already existed before our first settlers arrived but in poor condition.   Realizing the advantage of such, as well as gearing to their own comfort, the first Germans built a ferry from the profits of the cognac sale.  With decent ferries like this everyone was using them.  In 1845, our community received the right to private ferry use, by his Excellence and proxy, Mr. von Hahn, according to the Ukas of the current senate by a special bill dated May 26, 1823.    In 1847, our community amassed a great sum of 1,235 ruble of which the community received a third as compensation for a cattle run.

Due to the flood of 1845, the cognac distillery was rebuilt, using brick, at a more secure location.  It has an annual income of 6,282 & 1/2 ruble from leasing.  The beer brewery used to be under lease too, bringing in 770 ruble annually.  To induce competition for a better product,  the regional office offered free enterprise which produced four breweries, paying a yearly sum of 700 ruble to keep their freedom.

The deep valley near the colony Rosenthal, where Mr. von Contenius had the community nursery placed, had previously been chosen by Duke Potemkin for an orchard.  He mainly wanted to plant cherry trees, dig a ditch around it and close to the garden on a ledge, where there is a picturesque view, he wanted to build his castle overlooking the Valley Chortiz and the Dnepr river.  Mr. Contenius hired a gardener, ordered young fruit tress and grape plants from the Crimea, ordered seeds and freely handed out trees and mulberry bushes from the nursery to the settlers.  He did not spare with warnings nor praise but laziness and prejudice hampered his desire for years. Finally, at an old age he did have the pleasure to see it come alive and be productive.

Presently, settlers that run a nursery primarily raise fruit trees and mulberry trees, but by order of the government, main planting is woods and Mulberry trees and with quite a success.

The community sheep raising started in 1803 with the 30 free sheep given by the crown. At last measuring of the land they received 2,943 dessjatines of the left over land on which they build shelters for the sheep and houses for the sheepherders.  With purchase of bucks for stud and the sale of barren sheep, the herd developed.  The wool, even in the last miserable years still always found a buyer.  The head count of the sheep presently is at 5,033 and last year the profit came to 10,704 ruble 39 kopek.  According to that, the sheep herds produced an income of 18,510 in 1847, of which the community buildings, gardeners and workers, sheepherders and guards, even the district council are maintained. (supported)

The untouchable funds of these two insurance facilities guaranties the whole brotherhood and the statutes were brought from Prussia.  Each in its own is overseen by two elders for life, as a foresight, if nothing drastic happens. The elders pay is to not having to participate in community duties and collect 1% cash from incoming funds.

FIRE INSURANCE:  It's investment trust is not cash, rather consisting of a register of stock.  (Hubenzahl-Aktien) One prussian Hube compares with about 15 dessjatines of land.  A so-called fire Hube compares in value at 200 ruble cash.  A participant will receive for a burned house as follows:  Insured for
one Hube gets 200,  for two, 400 ruble. etc.,   reimbursing  about 2/3, and the owner has to carry 1/3 of the loss.  Each house is taxed in advance and 1% cash payable at time of registration to avoid over registration of Huben in case of a loss.   Burned farming equipment and cattle is reimbursed in cash: a horse for 311/2 ruble, a cow for 24 ruble, 1 wagon for 60 ruble, 1 plow for 35 ruble etc.  This gives the misfortunate a chance to continue to farm right away, even though it may be less than he had.  Farmers and homesteaders are treated the same.  The capital of this insurance company, Chortizan and Molotschan Mennonites combined, consists of 27, 409 fire Huben valued at 5,481,800 ruble.  If a fire loss amounts to 1000 ruble, each Hube earns a dividend of 3 2/3 kopek, meaning that each participant pays to the insurance company 3 2/3 kopek toward reimbursement per Hube claimed.  That does not pose hardship and thus covers burned wheat and feed.

ORPHAN FUND:  This facility presently holds a capital of 213,060 ruble 50 kopek.  These funds are available for loan to the settlers.  Each year it increases on income with the number of new settlers and their fortunes.  The main source of income derives from the sale of estates of perished parents and relatives, leaving the under age heirs behind.  The buyer has to pay 1 % fee right away, and if does not have enough cash, he has to provide two grantors that assure payment, or he will not get the purchased property assigned.  Each debtor has to pay 6 % interest and a 10th of their debt annually.  From this income, the adult age heirs would get their capital plus interest.  The elders also confirm watching over the orphan fund in regard to guardians having the duty of raising the orphans and taking care of the widows through this fund.

Our condensed description of our community presents a picture of a grown man.  Having lived through all stages of life, like a child nourished by its mother, the community from the state.  Like a boy, who in his young age already had to give input to earn his keep, like a young man who already had to show duty to himself and to the state.  Now the community, in full strength, to do what is right before God, having recognized the favor received from the state, stands as an example to everyone and a welfare to its descendants.  It climbed, with visible guidance by God, from total poverty, in slow steps, to prosperity.  The hardships it had to endure gave it experience and awareness and grew to live under leadership of church and law abiding customs.  These fortunate happenings are surely a praiseful step in the future.  Mennonites do not have the character of quickness, but they are calculating, able and enduring and with their religious obedient nature, and under a good leadership, should happily reach the goal the set.  Their tendency to acquire and lack of land, drives them to lease land from estates for cultivation, to market their harvests and earn income as wood workers and blacksmiths.  If, however, the landowners ever decide to keep their land to themselves, our community, because of its growth, will find pressed conditions.

Inhabitants of the Chortizan area:

Year          People
1802           1681
1810           1972
1813           2446
1819           2888
1825           3760
1834           4680
1841           6029
1846           7100

The homesteaders, who farm around our area to earn their keep, will have to become day laborers, and totally become unbalanced toward the farmer. Permitted by the regime, the local government re-settled 115 young families, divided into 4 colonies on a barren piece of crown land near Mariupol(Bergtal, Schoenfeld, Schoental, Heubuden). This reduction already has been tripled  by new growth and more re-settling would be in order if land was available.  But the human thinks and God leads;  we should not worry about the future, but go forward with trust in God,  with intercession for the crown, with obedience to the Authorities,  with love for the neighbor, and follow our duty and we surely shall continuously be blessed.

Mayor Bartsch*
Assistant:  Dyk
Assistant: Siemens

*  Jakob Bartsch - son of deputy Bartsch

Colony Chortiz, 21. July 1848                    Heinrich Heese
NOTICE:  The Chortizan districts office felt compelled to use Heinrich Heese to compose this report.  Engaging the ability of an already old, yet deserving man who used to be an area writer of the Mennonite colony Einlage. Even in his younger years, he already gave the best in communicating with the first emigrants and their deputies.  His notes and personal experience during his time of service will ensure the exactness of situations, by using his service, in compiling the history of the Mennonite colonies in the Chortizan district.

Mayor Bartsch
District writer Nerau

No. 1691, July 21, 1848
as translated by Elli Wise 9/96
Coordinated with GRHS Village Research Clearing House
Coordinated with AHSGR/GRHS Translation Committee Chairman



<<Comment from translator - Elli Wise>>

Some notes pertain to same reading material referenced through out the above... I just translated the most ( to me) important notes and  references with some of the notes I took the liberty to include into the actual story.
- Elli Wise

Compare the history of the Mennonites among others from U. Eher:  The Mennonites in Russia from emigration to presence.  Langensalza 1932

     G. Pisarevskij: Iz istorii innostranojkolonizacii v Rossii v XVIII v.

     From the history of foreign colonists in Russia in 1800. Moskau 1909

     S.D. Bondar:  Sekta Mennonitov v. Rossii (The Mennonite sect in Russia,
     Petersburg 1916

     P.M. Friesen:  The Old Evangelist-Mennonite brotherhood in Russia

     Framework of the Mennonite history, Taurien 1911

     distantly:  D. Epp:  The Chortizan Mennonites, trial presentation of
     their developing stages, Odessa 1889

Fleeing the french recruitment, Heinrich Heese (born 1787 in Prussia), arrived in the Black Sea region and joined the Mennonites there.  He was a writer and teacher from 1818 - 1829.  First he taught at Chortiza and later at the Ohrloff Society school. He became teacher at the Chortizan Central School (founded 1841) from 1841 -1846, also had helped erect it.  In 1848, he moved to Einlage where he taught in private schools until his death in 1868. Heese earns lots of credit for his services to the Mennonite schools.   Aside the so-called "Review", ordered by the Chortizan area office, he also wrote: 'Short stories of our Mennonite brothers' of which just some drafts are published.  Compare Mennonite Dictionary by Hege and Neff, Volume 2 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 1937 page 267f;  P.M. Friesen on page 91 with drafts of Heese's histories on p. 94

The "Director and Trustee" i.e. the commander of the foreign colonies on South Russia was still under the government authorities until 1800.  Together with the church elders he handled the lower jurisdictions of  the colonies and with the help of deputies and/or mayors, imposed the governmental regulations. We are missing the naming of the first 'Director and Trustee' of the Mennonite colonies.  Georg von Trappe (compare p.3) was named  per wish of the Mennonites (compare paragr. 17, giving him the privilege through Epp, on page 31) but could not take over the local leadership while continuing his business in foreign countries.

For histories about the administration of the Black Sea colonies in the first qtr. of the 1900's compare Hans Rempel: German farmers achievement at the Black Sea.  Leipzig 1940 (=collection Georg Leibrand No 3)

One cannot easily assume that von Essen was Italian, even though Epp states that on p 116, since nothing more is known.

Brigonzi, director of the New-Russian colonies, since 1797 (compare p 1 Am. 3), was made assistant to the head judge of "Guardianship'. (Welfare of Tutel) of the local authorities for the colonies in South Russia.  compare Polnoe Sobranie Zakonov (complete law collection) first series (I PSZ) edition 26, no 19372 p. 127.

The development of the Guardianship Comptoir was inspired by von Contaenius compare p 9 addendum 2) - Already during the officiating of D. von Essen, the two deputies Hoeppner & Bartsch (compare p 4 ad 2 a p 19 ad 1) had to turn in all the documents they had been entrusted with, to the 'Office of Chortiz' compare p. 116.

The naming of Flaemisch and Friesan, is leading more to a parting of the community , which took place in 1566 among the Dutch Mennonites.  Only in Prussia did the two groups get closer through gatherings of elders and teachers since 1772.  Still, there were too many differences during emigration to Russia, and they settled in different communities.  Even though G. von Trappe (p 3) had begged Amsterdam in 1788 to try to unite.  compare the letter from the Amsterdam citizens from Friesen p. 54

The Flamish were stricter towards keeping up their religious customs and were called the "fine or exact group' in comparison with the less strict Friesan who were called the 'rough ones.  compare Mennonite Lexicon  2nd edition p 8, Friesen p. 46.

Duke Peter Rumjancow-Zadunajskij (1725-1796), since 1774, a Russian field marshal, distinguished himself during the battles of Gross-Jaegersdorf and Kunersdorf.  As governor general of South Russia, he participated in the uplifting of the agriculture and permitted Hutteran brothers, called Mennonites by the Russian authorities, to settle on his estate Wischenki, government of Tschernigow.  In 1801 , after Rumancows death, these settlers founded the colony Raditschew on land owned by the crown, about 12 werst away from Wischenki.  compare A. Klaus:  Our colonies, Trials and materials of history and statistics of foreign colonization in Russia.)  Edition. 1, Petersburg 1869 p.24-55 (the German translation by J. Toews, Odessa 1887 is incomplete) - Duke Zachar Tschrnyschew, who learned of and admired the German agriculture during the 7 Year War, also tried to get Keepers for his brothers estate. compare Herwig Hafa:  The Brotherhood Sarepta.  an addition to history of the Volga Germans.  Breslau 1936. page 19 ff

Agreeing with chronological review of the history of the New- Russian territory. Part 1, Odessa 1836 page 183

About the activities of faculty assessor Georg von Trappe in Danzig and surrounding area by request of the governor general of New-Russia, Duke Potemkin, compare Pisarevakij page 262-338 and Paul Karg: The emigration of West and East Prussian Mennonites to South Russia (to Chortiza and Molotschna) 1787-1820.  In Elbinger yearbook, book 3, Elbing 1923 p. 65-98 Peter Epp (1725-1789) was the elder of the Flaemisch Mennonite community from 1779-1789 to Danzig.  More about him from H. G. Mannhardt:  The Danzig Mennonite community, their development and history from 1569-1919.  Danzig 1919 p. 122 and 127 ff.  Mennonite Lexicon edition 1

Jakob Hoeppner from Bohnsack and Johann Bartsch from  the Neugarten community compare J. Quiring:  The slang of Chortiz of South Russia.  Munich 1928. p. 9 Mennonite Lexicon vol. 1 p. 128 vol. 2 346, also compare the letter written by Bartsch from Dubrowna by Epp. p. 17f, p. 24 & p. 37.

Bereslaw = Berislaw close to the then Turkish fort Kyzykermen, which was an important support spot for the Russians in their fight against Crimea. Duke Gregor Potemkin (1739 - 91), was named governor general of New Russia in 1774.  A favorite of Katharina II, really presented extra ordinary activity on the settlement and cultivation of the fallow land.  He called on foreign colonists, lead the re settlement of russian farmers, founded cities for example Cherson in 1778, Jekaterinoslaw in 1778 and others.  Had roads built, created factories, encouraged the planting of woods and vineyards.  Eruption of the war with Turkey in 1787 hindered his plans considerably but the gain of Crimea is to his credit.   To read about his colony strives compare Th. Adamzyk:  Duke G. A. Potemkin.  Examinations of his life's story.  Emsdetten 1936.p 28-49

The same number of people is mentioned also by Contaenius in his report. compare p 8 and I PSZ vol. 26 no 19372 6 April 1800 p 116.  But the Kameral estate that had to pay out the support money insisted, that in 1789 and 1790, 226 Mennonite families emigrated.  compare Zapiski Odesakogo Obscestva Istorii i Drevnostje ( documents for history and antiquity)  vol. 2 Odessa 1848 p. 662 f

In the printed order to emigrate:  'The Coercion of the Mennonites to the Empire of South Russia', which George von Trappe had distributed, it says about Baron von Stael:  "This extraordinary man of good mind and heart, is (as also your officials know) a good friend and patron of  Mennonites, and still remembers you from the time during the 7 Year War.  I also give you my word, that he, this noble and knowledgeable man, knows quite well, how good the Mennonites will advance in Russia.  If need should arise, he will care for you and be useful to you, he won't shy away, and like myself, write or tell the truth for your best, to his Excellence the Governor General. compare Epp p. 45f

Mark =Marki compare I PSZ vol. 35 p 425  or Mari compare Eduard Doering: From the memoirs of my father Friedrich Doering, a Saxon who settled in Russia.  Dresden 1903 p. 218

Wosnesensk = Woznesenskoje at the left river banks of the Dnepr, compare P. Semenov:  Geographical Statistical Lexicon of the Russian imperialism - vol. I Petersburg 1863 p. 506

Alexandrowsk = Aleksandrowsk, founded as a fort in 1770, became district city of the then Asowschen, and since 1806, is under the government jurisdiction of Jekaterinoslaw compare Semenov Vol. I p 60 In 1900's there were large sheep businesses on the estates of Miklaschewski and Strukow in the district of Jekaterinoslaw compare Semenov Vol. 2 p. 177

According to plans of von Potemkin, in this area of insignificant settlements, Jerkaterinoslaw was supposed to be center of the whole Black Sea area. compare Semenov Vol. 2 p. 176

According to I PSZ Vol. 28, no 21909, the property, purchased by Miklaschewskij, the prior  governor, for 24,000 rubel, measuring 11,755 Dessjatines, originally  was supposed to settle 150 families.

The notes about the land lent by the regime sway within this report.   A. von Haxthausen:  Studies of conditions, lives & the Russian land establishments. part II, Hannover 1847 gives different land measurements without noting so. like 32,663 Dessjatines p. 177, 32, 648 on p. 175 as are in the data of Mennonites in Europe and America, statistical, religious and historical contents. by von Rieswitz and Wadzeck, Berlin 1821 p. 382 and 32,684 9/40 Dessjatines by Klaus;  E. Hahn news letter of German settlers in Russia mentions 33,682 inclusive of sheep herding land.

Compare the contract between the deputies and Potemkin dated Apr. 22, 1787 p. 209-304 and the 'extraction' by Epp p 24-32 and I PSZ Vol. 26 No 19372 - The support pay out to the settlers, however, was in payments because the war with Turkey weakened the financial state of the Russians.  Potemkin, who made the settlement in Russia his special effort, died in 1791.  compare Pisarevskij p 336  For those reasons, the Mennonites only had received 117, 387 rubel 68 3/4 kopek by March 31, 1792 instead of the 172,123 rubel 68 3/4 kopek  compare Zapiski Odesskogo Obscetva Istorij i Drevnostej Vol. 2 p. 662 f.  For bank notes assignments compare p 106 amendment 1

Originally, the Mennonites were to receive 25 kopek food money per adult and child, and a pay out of 500 rubel, a 100 per month, counting form the time they arrived in Riga  compare Pisarevskij p 299-304

The economy directors office, which originally oversaw the settlement affairs, was dissolved on Dec 31, 1796.  In 1797, the powers were delegated to the new organization , the expedition of Agriculture.  see I PSZ Vol. 24 no 18021. To control the agricultural condition of the German settlers in New Russia, Samuel Kontaenius was assigned and for the Volga region Karl Hablitzl. Contaenius report of 1820 contains important data about the development of the colonies and advises of handling certain problems. compare I PSZ Vol. 26 no 19372

In his report, Contaenius states that the first 228 families received 238,203 rubel 93 kopek and further 118 families received 142,771 rubel 18 kopek.  On top of that, they did not have to pay back 21,535 rubel 85 kopek for travel reimbursement.  The 346 families counted 1696 people.

Samuel Contaenius, born 1750 in Westfalia, died 1830 in Jekaterinoslaw and was buried in Josephstal.  He started serving the Russian state in 1785.  Advisor of the Geographical department, he was entrusted to oversee the German colonists in New Russia and in 1800 was made head of the Welfare Office in Jekaterinoslaw which was founded upon his suggestion and he served there until 1818.  Because of his far-sightedness and untiring effectiveness, the German colonists in South Russia became quite prosperous in later years.  An acknowledgment of his services in regards to the raise of the cultural agriculture level, shall be found in one of the following references. compare Conrad Keller:  The German Colonies in Russia Vol. 1 Odessa 1905 p. 49-51; A. M. Fadeev :  Memories in Russian Archive, Moskau 1891 p. 321 f; Mennonite lexicon Vol. 1 Frankfurt a. Main 1913.

The date of repayment of the 10 year credit (compare I PSZ Vol. 26 no 19372) was moved back for five more years for the in the Chortizan area living Mennonites on September 6, 1800. (compare I PSZ Vol. 26 No 19546) and on September 9 a suggestion was accepted that each family  of the Chortizan area was to pay 25 rubel as land tax, and 14 rubel 571/3 kopek to cover the debt. (compare I PSZ Vol. 28 No 21909) The total debt was advised to be 38,7019 rubel and it was waived because of the land purchased with a  Miklaschewski advanced sum of 240,000 rubel, because otherwise these Mennonites would have a special position in self purchased land.

To  re afforest was made a duty to the German settlers already on July 7, 1802 by the Russian regime.  It was strictly watched over by the colonial office compare I PSZ Vol. 27 no 20841

An even apportionment of the land to the individual farms must have started in 1805 or at least was intended during the settling of how to settle the matter of repayment of debt.

Island Chortiz also is called Kamp - The Island Chortiza at the Dnepr river - The Kiew antiquity Vol. 14 Kiew 1886 p 41-90

The Tschumakenweg, the old sea travelers street, ran from Kischkas on the left river bank of the Dnepr to Kachowka and the south east to Perekop.  Even in the 1900's  this street is of importance. compare V.P. Semenov-Tjan - Sanskij; Rosaija Vol. 14 Petersburg 1910 p. 436

In 1790, the Chortizan community elected Berend Penner as one of their elders.
After he died, some turmoil erupted, and in 1794 the Elder Cornelius Regier and preacher Cornelius Warkentin were able to to solve the problems.  Elder Regier died in 1794 and Johann Wiebe was chosen to take on his duties.  But a reunion between the Flamish and Friesan did not come about.  compare Friesen p 74 ff and Johann van der Smissen: History of the early forming of Mennonite communities in South Russia.  In Mennonite notes to instruct and build christianity among Mennonites. Edition 3, Danzig 1856 p 18-21, 34-37 & 49-51. A good characteristic of the powerful authority of the 'Directors' is shown in the 'Unification paper as agreed upon in our Mennonite community in Chortiz - June 1794.  It was used to solve disputes among the Mennonites and the signatures of Cornelius Regier, Cornelius Warkentin and Baron Johann Brackel are on it.  A director was also simultaneously an authorized representative for the settlers.  compare Epp p 91-93.  Notable is that the 'instructions for interior order and management for settlements in New Russia' is also characterized the rights of the German settlers in Russia.  compare I PSZ Vol. 26 No 19873 of May 16, 180.  It advises the area authority to be cautious to not agree to any written agreements unless the regime was notified first.  The accusation of mishandling the support moneys by the first German Settlers against Brakkel seems to have been an injustice. Still 38 families had no housing in 1799

It is the first  church merger of the 'Friesen' in the Black Sea area. The list of head mayors in the Chortizan area, compiled by Epp, does not contain the name of Peter Siemens.  Until 1823, a Johann Siemens though, was supposed to have been head mayor for 18 years, assuming, that he was re elected every three years and approved by the authorities each time as well. compare I PSZ Vol. 26 No 19873 (16 may 1801)  about the self management of the German colonists in the Black Sea Region.

The dissatisfaction over the land management rules,  which was established by the regime, took on such measurements that they accused the deputies, who also wanted to settle there, of embezzlement of community funds, and they oddly enough complained to commanding officer Schwarz.  An examination in association with the lieutenant governor proved their innocence.  Bartsch, who was re admitted to the church community, spent the rest of his life though in deep depression.  The complaint against Hoeppner however, brought about the sale of his properties to cover his debts to the crown and imprisonment.  Pardoned in 1801, Hoeppner joined the Friesan community and found his support with Miklaschewskij.  One could explain the accusations against him with his special rights and land he had received by the regime. compare Epp p. 50 f - privilege certificate.

The privilege certificate by Paul I of September 6, 1800 authorized the Mennonites to produce cognac for their own use as well as for sale.  compare I PSZ Vol. 26 No 19546

Contaenius had advised in his report about the condition of the colonists in the Chortizan are, that the dry climate would not favor grain cultivation but rather the sheep business would be of greater success.  compare I PSZ Vol..; 26 No 19372 p. 117 (April 6, 1800)

The sheep herding business proved so successful, that a report sent to the minister of interior, was found unbelievable.  They sent two officials in 1827 to check it out.

Ludwig Stieglitz, b 1778 in Arolsen d. 1843 in Petersburg, was one of the biggest leaders of that industry in the then Russia and was holding the famous Merino Sheep herd.  One of his estates ( 100,000 Dessjatines) also was in the Jekaterinoslaw district.  compare Russkij Biograficeskij Slovar - Russian Biographic Lexicon Year 19 Stuttgart 1846 p. 284

All the larger sheep raisers of South Russia ( Rouvier, Vassale, Mueller, Vietzsch etc.) used to get their breeding stock from Saxony in the early 1900's.  The Russian regime bought from the herd that Baron von Mueller raised in 1808 4,000 piece at the price of 40-60 rubel each sheep, intending to distribute these to the foreign settler colonies and Crown settlers in South Russia.  The choosing of such animals was undertaken by Friedrich Baron von Bieberstein, a native of Stuttgart.  He also oversaw the production of silk in South Russia and added to the success of the vineyards. compare also Odessa 1838 p. 132f

Haxthausen reports of the ferries Vol. 2 p. 171. "We came to the Dnepr, and were transported across on one of those German ferries, there was not a hardship for moving the wagons.  Instead of trying to put them sideways they were all put lengthwise one after the other.  I cannot understand why the usually practical Russians keep up with such absurd old customs."

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