- 1848 Village History
Copyright 1996, Elli Wise
Notes: Please see the Introduction to the
Project for additional information.
The Colony Gnadenthal was founded in the year 1830. The land was measured
1822 for Pastor Lindl, who moved from Bavaria to Russia. He wanted to
community, equal to Sarata, for his parishioners. His stay in Sarata was
short lived, though, and he had to leave Russia. This type of settlement
never came about. Wuerttembergian colonists undertook this task in 1830.
The colony is 60 werst from the district city of Akkermann and 110 werst
from the governmental city of Kishinew and lies on an a 1/2 werst wide
ridge in the Kagelnik valley. The valley stretches from Kershinow at its
beginning point, into flatland, 15 werst from the Black Sea.. The creek
running through the valley is named Kagelnik, being replenished by rains
and snowmelts, such as are other steppe creeks that do not originate from
The colony is formed like a rectangle consisting of four rows of houses.
There are two streets leading through the colony and between them is a
large yard in which stands a prayer house. Behind the houses and yards,
there are large gardens and orchards and the water from the wells are
III. CONDITION OF THE LAND
The land is fairly flat without much rise to mention. The soil is rather
alkali and contains alkali concentrations throughout the valley. The black
fertile dirt is 3/4 to 1 fuss deep and beneath it is a hard layer of clay,
thus not favorable for the planting of trees which usually succumb before
reaching maturity. For growing grain, the ground is satisfactory but one
has to consider to only use land that was pasturage, or which has been
rested for 6 to 8 years to regain nutrients. However, if it rains at
the right times, there is plentiful harvest, even on the fields that have
been used more frequently. Since there are more dry than wet seasons,
one can not use the same fields too often.
For vineyards, the climate and the ground condition is favorable as well.
Use of precautionary measures will result in decent vineyards, such as
guarding from the northwinds and using new, unused land. Nevertheless,
the vines can't reach the maturity that vines in Germany do. The
Gnadenthal wine is, however of good quality. The land does not have
forests, rock quarries, or springs.
IV. NAMING THE COLONY
In the second year of the settlement, throughout the area, a cholera
epidemic broke out, taking many lives. This colony was spared the
severety of the out break and thus named "Gnadenthal" (Valley of mercy).
The name was introduced by the Welfare Committee and permission granted by
the Sarata district office.
The colony is also known under the name "Neu Sarata".
In 1830, this colony started with ten families that emigrated from the
German Kingdom Wuerttemberg, and in the same year twelve more families
joined. Most emigrants came from main districts like Schorndorf,
Waiblingen, Kanstatt (Cannstadt), Ludwigsburg and Marbach. They undertook
the journey without a leader. There were no houses waiting for them and
they lived in crude hutches until their houses were built.
In the years 1831 until 1833 more and more people and families emigrated
from the above mentioned towns. Gnadenthal became a focus of immigration
and it soon counted 80 inhabitants of which all received 60 dessjatine of
land to use. The emigrants did not receive any assistance from the crown
and had to use what means they had brought with them. They averaged 700
rubel per resident and they used it mainly to erect houses. During the
time of settlement, the steppe was occupied by some Moldavians and used
for grazing cattle.
VI. SPECIAL HAPPENINGS
A. Illnesses - In 1831, there were only 22 families settled in
Gnadenthal, when a cholera epidemic broke out. 70 people of different
ages succumbed, and it was not surprising, since most emigrants contracted
the fever right away. This misery quickly ripped 12 new marriages apart.
B. Earthquakes - On the evening of January 11, 1838 at 9 o'clock a
earthquake occurred. Luckily, there was not much damage and only a few
C. Cattle epidemics - Immense losses came twice during the time of
the settlement. In the years 1835 thru 1836, 370 animals were lost.
During the period of 1845 thru 1846, 300 were lost.
VII. FOR THE WELL BEING OF THE COMMUNITY
A. Because of the devastating cholera epidemic and many poor
harvests, the community received three extra 'free' years before dues were
In consideration of the state of emergency, General von Inzow, extended
the the 'free years' to begin in 1833 and also encouraged free leasing of
spirits production facilities.
B. The Supreme Welfare Committee enjoyed the reputation of being
dedicated to improve the well being of an individual as well as for the
community as a whole. The Sarata district government totally supported
all means that enhanced the welfare of a community.
Colony Gnadenthal, March 27, 1848
Advisory Board: Fickel, Kienzle
Lay preacher/Teacher: Jacob Koch (Author)
Community Secretary: Manske
as translated by Elli Wise 6/96
Coordinated with GRHS Village Research Clearing House
Coordinated with AHSGR/GRHS Translation Committee Chairman
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