Klöstitz - 1848 Village History
Copyright 1996, Elli Wise    

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


After the annexation of Bessarabia to the Russian empire, the government, heading the colonization of this province, sent an invitation with considerable privileges, aiming at Germans in Wuerttemberg and Prussian Poland interested in immigrating.  Suffering oppression for years by warlike conditions and experiencing loss of property by disrupted business opportunities, they were longing for a new home.  They greeted the opportunity with happiness and prepared themselves right away for a move to South Russia.

Most of the immigrants who had settled in Poland during the first years of the century were from Wuerttemberg.  Many Prussian families joined them to emigrate to Bessarabia in the Summer of 1814.  Under the leadership of Commissioner Krueger, many groups were leaving.  All had individual guides provided with written privileges from His Majesty, Emperor Alexander I.  They temporarily had to billet in different Moldavian villages during September
1814 until the spring of 1815.

In the spring of 1815, the original colonists of  Kloestitz -- 134 families, mainly from Wuerttemberg and Prussia, some from Bavaria -- moved to the steppe land assigned to them.  At their arrival, the colonists did not find any houses nor other means of provisions for their settlement, and had to make accommodations in huts made of cane, which they lived in for more than a year.

Construction of the houses began in spring of 1816, and with it the original founding of the Colony.  It is in the wide, spacious Tschaga river valley, named for the river that runs about 1/4 Werst north of the Colony.  This area is within the district of Akkerman.   For support, the settlers received the most necessary wood and cane to build the houses.  They received work animals, farming equipment and seed to begin cultivation. All was on credit to be paid back to the crown.  In addition, they received support for two full years with necessary vital provisions.   The goods brought by the settlers were very scarce.  Few of the settlers had horses, a wagon and cash.

The new settlement was first called Emaut, and somewhat later, Tschaga, after the river.  The High Authorities, pleased to lend the name of a memorable place to the Germans, gave it the name Kloestitz.  It was in hope of an everlasting memorial for generations to come of the famous battle of Russian armies and it's 20 allies won against the French, so our Colony has been Kloestitz ever since.

Kloestitz is 90 Werst from the District city Akkermann.  100 Werst from the provincial city Kischinew.  60 Werst from Fort Bender.  More closely surrounded by colonies, northward at a distance of 10 Werst is Hoffnungstal, southward at 10 Werst is Beresina.  To the East at 20 Werst is Paris and to the West at 9 Werst is Borodino.  After the citizen organization of the local German colonies, the administration office relocated to Kloestitz.  Since 1842, this village is also the seat of the parish preachers.

The soil of the land assigned to the colony Kloestitz varies.  In the higher elevations, the Fuss (foot) deep soil, was black, containing some alkali and occasionally had underlying patches of white and reddish clay.  The soil in the valleys is almost all alkali, mixed only with a little black dirt and sand, proving rather unfavorable for gardening, mainly during the long dry spells.  Generally, the ground is fertile and with plenty of rainfall will produce good crops; lack of rain, brings only meager crops of hay, grain and other such products.  Rock quarries were located in the vicinity of the colony.  However, at a depth of 1 and 1 1/2 Faden (1 Faden = 7 ft) does require great effort to retrieve the rocks.  The fact that the quarries are there favors the continuing improvement and expansion of houses and other buildings.

They expect the woods to establish, because the trees, planted during the last few decades, have shown promise of good growth.

Kloestitz was not free of mishaps.  It had to endure more accidents than any other settlement in South Russia.  The colony never relocated.  It did not experience great floods, yet lots of fire disasters robbed many landlords of all their belongings.  Two earthquakes did occur, one in the morning at 3 AM of November 14, 1829, and one on Jan. 11, in the evening at 9 PM.  They did not cause destruction.  Movement of Russian troops in 1828, was bringing a large hardship upon the hosts.  The military used the farm and its reserves and hindered the gathering of supplies such as hay and grain.

In the fall of 1829, plague broke out and within 4 months had claimed 365 individuals of both genders.  In 1831, the Cholera epidemic was raging in Kloestitz, but luckily not as terribly as had the plague two years earlier, but still bad enough that all had to suffer.

In the years 1821, 22, 23, 32, and 33, the local colony had to suffer because of poor crop growth.  The years 1829, 32, 37 and 46, brought great loss due to grasshopper infestation to the grain, causing the colonists to suffer again.  Another mishap, just like the terrible cattle epidemic, occurred in the years of 1829, 32, 37 and 46.  The farmers' losses of 300 to 500 cattle a year was hindering the colony's prosperity.

To say that there was well-being in the community would not be appropriate, because of the circumstances mentioned.  Admirably though, are the conditions the local colonists live in, and rightfully expect a better future.  To such hope is the vineyard cultivation the next reason.  It already has advanced to great expectation and guarantees a useful tool and will lift the individual as well as the community as a whole.  During the last two years, the 30,000 grape vines planted and it's success, we owe thanks to the authorities that advised of its advantages and encouraged such a goal.

This, in short, would be the history of the colony.  But its welfare and existence in the future, will be with God and the Welfare committee of our higher authorities.

Colony Kloestitz, April 30, 1848
Lay preacher and church school teacher;  G. Schaeff (author)
Mayor:  Wegner
Assistant:  Schlaaf, Kuest.
Community writer:  Pueschel

as translated by Elli Wise 11/96
Coordinated with GRHS Village Research Clearing House
Coordinated with GRHS Translation Committee Chairman - Ralph Ruff

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