Freudental - 1848 Village History
Copyright 1996, GRHS    

Notes:  Please see the Introduction to the Village History 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 (copyright holder). 


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 building stone.

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 proprietor.

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 were:

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 rubles.

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:
Mayor: Jauch
Schoolmaster: Schweyer
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

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