Neu Freudental - 1848 Village History
Copyright 1996, Ralph E. Wiseman
Notes: Please see the Introduction to the Village History Project for additional information.
The foundation of the colony and the settling took place in 1828 in the spring, but the houses were built only in 1829.
The colony is situated in the south Cherson region on both of the mountain slopes of the left side-valley, towards the south of the so-called Serbker valley, 10 W. away from the Russian small town Serbka. Right above the colony, the valley parts into two arms, and it gets quite lost about 10 W. towards north. The proper village consists of two rows of houses built on the mountain slopes of the valley. It extents 80 Faden long, and it is separated in the so-called Oberdorf (=perhaps: upper village) and Unterdorf. At the end of the right row of houses, two side-valleys run into the village valley. The one is going towards north-west, the other, a curved one, goes to north and ends in a distance of about 6 to 8 W. Where this valley extends to north-east they have started to build a new row of houses, right above the gardens belonging to the houses in the left row of the proper village. This new row is called "Siehe dich vor" (=take care!). There are small farmers living there in well-built cottages and houses. In the proper village all of the houses, without any exception, have been built according to a construction plan got from the one-time Vormundschafts-Comtor (=guardianship office?)[ Welfare Committee ?], most of them including two apartments and the stables. Near to each row of houses there is a small place surrounded by walls so that the cattle driven out and in every day cannot enter. The upper walls enclose the yards, and the others the gardens. The gardens are all fenced in, in some parts by hedges, in other parts by walls. With only a few exceptions, all of them are planted with trees, and under the tress there are different leguminous plants and root plants, especially rapes and turnip-cabbage. At the farms down in the valley they have always good water. In the upper estates they have built fountains in their gardens. There is good water in those fountains at any time. In the first years of the settlement there had been several wells in the valley, so that the valley had been rather filled with water. But in the course of time the wells as well as the valley got overflown, so that the original wells disappeared and only the lowest parts of the valley are under water now. In the west, the colony is bordered by different landowners' land extending up to the village. In the east, too, the border-land about 3 to 5 W. broad and 8 W. long towards the south, is bordered by landowners' prairies. In the south-west there is the colony Helenenthal.
The land of the colony Freudenthal, according to the latest survey, is 2,655 Dessartin. It formerly was owned by a landowner name Marine [Marina, Mariental ?] who had no heirs when he died. Even today the land is called Marine Chutter. It is cut by two valleys being wider the more you go towards the south. At some places the slopes are too steep to be cultivated. At other places the slopes are less steep but their ground is not fertile, not even good enough to grow grass. However, the ground of the prairie consisting of black mold and clay is suited for grain and potatoes and grass, and the weather being benign the crop is good. The third stratum being loam most of the trees are of short duration. When they have just been planted they are fine as they get much nourishment from the mold. But when their roots have passed the mold and the clay and come to the loam that is as hard as stone the trees begin to dry up. It is wild acacia, elm-tree, willow, and mulberry tree which grow best. If there was ;more gravel and lime marl instead of clay and loam the trees would have a longer duration. There is no shortness in stones and stone-pits in Neufreudenthal; lots of them are not at all wanted.
The colony being founded by colonist come from the colony Alt Freudenthal got the nice name Neu Freudenthal in memory of its mother-colony.
47 families settled, most of them sons and daughters of the Alt Freudenthal colonists. Only a few of them came directly from the Kingdom Wuerttemberg (Germany) after having stayed at Alt Freudenthal for some time.
There are only a few colonists now (in 1848, when this part of the book was written!) who with their parents have immigrated to Russia from Wuerttemberg (Germany), Sachsen (Germany), and Hungary. They do not remember their leaders. The others were born in Russia.
When the immigrants came to the prairie assigned to them, they found it occupied by one landowner and some slaves living in poor cottages. The immigrants of Neu Freudenthal were allowed to live in those cottages until they had built their houses. They did not get any other help.
At the time Neu Freudenthal was founded, the inhabitants of the mother colony Alt Freudenthal were not yet very well-to-do. So the children could not get much from their parents, and it was hard for them to start.
When the colony was founded, in 1828, the land was nearly all covered with grass and different herbs. The ground being not wornout but fresh and the weather being benign the crops were rich. The colonists soon got wealthy because they knew about agriculture and because they started cattle-breeding, too. But the bad year 1833 used up nearly all they had stored so that they had to start from scratch. During the following plentiful years they recovered, especially in 1837. Now they enlarged and embellished their houses which up to then had been rather poor. They built stables and they purchased cattle. The colonists now owned a herd of Nachtvieh (= night cattle?) of more than 600 heads, and about 400 cows. Nearly everyone owned 6 to 10 horses, 2 to 3 wagons, several harrows, plows, and everything necessary.
The following years were not so good because of some damage done by hail. Besides, there was a terrible cattle-plague in 1845 that cut off about 500 cattle in Neu Freudenthal. In the following years 1846 and 1847, there were very bad crops. Because of the dryness in those years the cattle could hardly feed in the pasture. In winter there was a bad shortness of food, and a lot of cattle starved. So the people of Neu Freudenthal fell in poverty again, and better times are wanted. There were two earthquakes, in 1830 and in 1838, which did not do any harm; but two fires, one in 1846 caused by a flash, [Lightning ?] and another one in 1842, plunged two families into poverty.
In 1838, the community bought a colonist's home for 1,500 Rbl.B.A. It was enlarged so that there was enough room for school and church - and there is today.
The community for its existence, still poor in some points but good on the whole, feels indebted to the goodness of God and to the kindness of the emperor's Mr. Nikolai Pawlowitsch, as well as to the help from a committee for foreign settlers in South Russia (which always truly cares for the colonists). It thanks them in full respect and submission.
Neufreudenthal, den 8. Juni 1848
(gez. = signed)
Schullehrer (= teacher) Joh. Baumann
(This reading of the Neu Freudenthal 1848 history was performed by the aunt of Ralph E Wiseman, while he was stationed in Germany. In August 1993, Ralph provided copy of this reading to the GRHS Village Research Project in support of an effort of gathering all of the English translated 1848 village histories available.)
Scanned: Dale Lee Wahl
Coordinated with GRHS Village Research Clearing House
Coordinated with AHSGR/GRHS Translation Committee Chairman
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