- 1848 Village History
Copyright 1996, GRHS
Notes: Please see the Introduction to the
Project for additional information. This particular Village History
was published in the English form in Joseph S. Height's book "Homesteaders
on the Steppe". There is much more data contained in this book concerning
this area and our German Russian ancestors who lived there. As this file
is placed on the Internet, the book is still available from GRHS
1. The immigrant settlers began the establishment of the colony of
Freudental in 1806, and it was completed in 1807 with the arrival of a
second group of immigrants.
2. The colony was laid out on the north bank of the Baraboi river, about
30 versts from Odessa. The steppe assigned to the colonists was rich
grassland, with a layer of black humus about 8 vershok(1) deep and a
sub-layer of yellow clay mixed with saltpeter and lime. The south bank,
which has several lofty hills, provides the colony with some very fine
Since the population of the colony has more than doubled in the course of
42 years, it has become necessary, with the advent of the second
generation, to plow the fields more often and to graze more cattle. As a
consequence, the pastures are often bare, and the denuded soil is no
longer as productive as it was in earlier years. Since land beyond the
south bank of the river has a large gravel content, it is unsuited for
grain and hay. However, near the village the colonists have planted
vineyards and woods, wherever the stone quarries permitted such
plantations. The trees are thriving quite well and in time can contribute
to the enhancement of Freudental.
3. The colony of Freudental got its name from one of the first settlers, a
certain Heinrich Herth, who reached this healthful eminence on the Baraboi
river after his long and arduous journey.
4. In the beginning, only 36 families who had arrived from the Kingdom of
Hungary were established here. However, since the government had intended
to settle 78 families here and allotted 5,830 dessiatines to the colony
(75 dess. per family), 42 additional families from Hungary were directed
here in 1807. At that time the land apportioned to Freudental exceeded
that of any colony in the Liebental area. For that reason the colonists of
Grossliebental lodged a complaint with the authorities and at a meeting
convened in Grossliebental, the officials of Freudental agreed to accept
the same quantity of land as the neighboring colonies. After a new survey
was made, the land of Freudental was reduced, so that at the present it
owns only 3,829 dessiatines, which means about 49 dess. for every farm
5. Like most of the settlers, the immigrants from Hungary did not come
here in organized groups, but independently and without any leaders.
6. The steppe which was assigned to these immigrants by Duc de Richelieu,
who was at that time the Governor, was not inhabited when the settlers
arrived. It was used by the Tatars as pastureland for their flocks, and
only a small part was cultivated. The colonists found only 20 unfinished
dwellings, consisting of 4 wooden walls devoid of a roof.
7. Like the other colonists, the settlers of Freudental were exempt from
taxes for the first twenty years and given both food money and a
government loan to purchase the needed farm equipment. The interest-free
loan amounted to 41,885 rubles. The money brought by the colonists from
abroad is estimated at 31,200 rubles. Although the colony of Freudental
provided the funds for its own prayer hall, parsonage, school, and other
communal buildings, it was also assessed 41,886 rubles for the churches,
parsonages, windmills, etc., that were constructed in several of the
earlier colonies with the help of Crown loans, so that its total Crown
debt rose to 83,771 rubles.
8. The events that had harmful effects upon the development of this colony
a. Since the founding of the colony there have been
several fires which destroyed 10 houses and caused other damage.
b. In 1831 the ice of the Baraboi river caused damage amounting to 1,527
c. In 1845 the valley was flooded, causing a loss of 262 rubles and
bringing death to a man named Nikolaus Kappel.
d. Two earthquakes. The first occurred in November 1828, the second in
1838. Neither caused any damage.
e. In 1831, 103 people became ill of cholera, but only two died. Several
livestock epidemics, crop failures, grasshopper plagues. Bugs and
rodents inflicted many a bitter loss on this colony.
9. But regardless of all these setbacks, the economic and
physical well-being of this community improved steadily, for which we are
indebted, next to God, to the eminent benefactor His Majesty Alexander of
glorious memory and the reigning Czar Nikolaus, as well as to the former
chief of the Welfare Office, General von Inzow, and its present chairman,
Councilor of State von Hahn, and indeed to the Welfare Office of Foreign
Settlers; and finally to the loyal efforts of the present worthy members
of the laudable district administration at Grossliebental. To be sure,
also the colonists' obedient acceptance of the wise enactments of the
authorities, their industry and hard work must not be overlooked. And now
that the former lack of preachers and teachers has been remedied, there
has been a notable improvement in present-day morals.
The original was signed by:
Assessors: Forch and Jaeger
Village clerk: Joh. Ehnis
1 One vershok = 1.75 inches.
Scanned by Dale Lee Wahl
Coordinated with GRHS Village Research Clearing House
Coordinated with AHSGR/GRHS Translation Committee Chairman