Paris - 1848 Village History

Copyright 1996, Roswita Niessner




In the year 1816 the immigrants arrived on the north side of the steppe river Kugelnik in Besserabia. These settlers were descendants of Prussian immigrants who were located in Poland near Warschau and Kalish. Upon demand of S. Kaiser Mja. Alexander, called the mild one, 141 families colonized in Paris after they had been quartered for nearly 2 years near the Dneister with the Moldauers. They had no leaders for their journey, only documents which entitled them to lodging and travel money.


The settlers were, for most part of the long journey, beset by need and poverty although they received travel money. As they arrived at their place of settlement, President Müller, head of the acting Comtoirs in Tarutino, showed them their future living place where they found nothing but a little building wood which had for very long been lying in wet and dry weather and was in very poor condition.


Since the immigrants, upon arrival, found no houses, they made sort of temporary tents that they covered with grass or reeds to live in until fall. For the winter some, however, made little houses of clay; others made earth huts wherein they lived until 1818. By and by the pitiful huts were replaced with decent houses to which barns were added later so that each householder owned a decent farm. For the construction of houses the settlers were each paid support money of 10 Rbl. B.A.


To make the steppe arable each family received a wagon, a plow, spades, a hoe and other tools on hand : scythe, sickle, hatchet, hammer, etc. The very firm ground was not as easy to cultivate as the immigrants thought. Six or eight oxen had to be hitched to one plow. Each family that took over a household received two oxen and one cow. If two  families shared the same household, they received only the same number of animals. Consequently many householders were forced to combine the use of their oxen. As new land, the soil was very productive, but for lack of money could buy only small amounts of seed and thus could not get the use of all the land.


(Picture of train station in Paris)


In the first years the immigrants were not required to pay taxes and have easily worked their way out of their pitiful poverty if they had immediately planted vineyards and fruit gardens, but the vines and tree seedlings were not easy to get, so they could not take advantage of that either. Upon their arrival the steppe w as for several years occupied by owners of considerable herds of cattle and they could get the greater use of the land which was not the case with the newcomers. Especially since the land of the local land contained saltpeter, was hot and for lack of rain unsuitable for plant growth, especially for grain.


The most suitable kinds of trees for the soil of this colony are: acacis, resister, apple, pear and cherry. There are no forests, The young growths cannot be so called. The closest inspections have often been made but up to now not the slightest trace of stone quarries has been found and therefore the colonists must buy and transport the stone they need. Upon arrival of the colonists, the name AleksUszwerth was given them which they did not hold long because the Master Minister of Interior named the village Paris as a reminder of the turn to betterment through the definite victory in the battle at Leipzig after which Paris was conquered in the year 1814, and the pressing load under which all of Europe suffered, was lifted.  As to the exact location of this colony -it is 80 W. from the district city of Akkerman; 80 W. from the capital city of Kischnew and lies in the north valley of the steppe river of Kugelnik which winds its way down from the Moldau, and with its various curves wanders now near; now far past the colony. The opposite side is a quite high mountain which rises sharply directly behind the tree gardens thickly planted with grapevines.


Along the mountain range from north to south this colony is laid out in two rows and consists of 121 households which, with few exceptions, are simply built. IN the west row stands the prayer house built with public money, resembling a church, back of it at an angle; the govern-ment office, and behind it at an angle is the provisions storehouse. Directly across the street stands the newly-built schoolhouse which attracts visitors by its beauty and size.


In 1831, cholera spread from Persien and raged through the Caucasus to Russia, especially south Russia. It aroused great fright and proved disastrous to the German Besserabian colony.  Forty nine souls were lost.


The first earthquake which occurred in the fall of 1823 just before midnight was, in this colony, so severe that those sleeping were wakened, left their beds and hurried out of their houses.  The second quake, 1830 was also severe.  But the third quake in 1838 excelled both the earlier in strength so that the severe shaking of the earth caused people to walk as in a state of drunkenness.


Nothing good can be said of the cummunity's welfare for there were many hindrances that could not be controlled.  For instance: If the colonists turned to raising cattle, epidemics brought their calculations to naught. If they depended on raising grain, the lack of rain shattered the outcome.  Often grasshopper infestations caused complete crop failures.  Many times their fondest hopes were shattered.  Even those farmers who planted considerable grains had to buy bread for their families. After several years of these conditions, through the kindness and blessings of God; with greater diligence and better order in their fields and gardens; the wellbeing of the community members improved considerably and showed first in more attractive houses.


Colony: Paris May 6, 1848

Witness: Jorke?  Schimke

Churchschool teacher: Dieno  (author)


Secretary: (Schulz) Dallman