Alexanderhilf - 1848 Village History
Copyright 1996, GRHS    



The first colonists were settled in the spring of 1805. As there were no houses available, the people had to live in tents while houses were constructed during the summer. These houses, however, were wood-frame huts plastered with clay.

2. The colony was located along the Baraboi creek, which passes through the village at one section. It is 25 versts from Odessa and its land area has the following boundaries: to the east the colony of Grossliebental; to the south the Russian localities of Alexandrovka, Ovidiopol and Kalaklei; to the west the Dniester river and to the north the colony of Neuburg.

The properties of the soil consist almost everywhere of black humus mixed with saltpeter, which is very fertile, provided the lack of rain that often prevails in the spring and summer does not hinder normal growth.

In the area are also stone quarries that provide useful building material. But at the time of settlement there were no woods of any kind.

3. The name Alexanderhilf was given the colony by Court Councilor Brigonski and the first chief mayor of the Liebental district, a man named Brittner, in honor of His Majesty Czar Alexander.

4. Sixty-six families were originally settled in this colony, namely:

  • 36 from Wuerttemberg     

  • 21 from Hungary  

  • 3 from the Palatinate        

  • 2 from Nassau

  • 3 from Alsace                  

  • 1 from Hessen

  • 1 from Moravia               

  • 1 from Hamburg

But it should be remarked that 4 of these families received no farm land, and that the families from Hungary arrived only in 1807. Several families came in 1817, among them 12 from Wuerttemberg and 5 from other German provinces.

5. The principal leader of the first immigrants was Commissioner F. Ziegler. Among the transport conductors were: N. Schopf and N. Kretzinger for the 7. Transport; Philipp Jaeger for the 12. Transport; Jakob Muehleise, Johannes Fassnacht, Friedrich Becker, Johannes Scherer and August Zimmer for the 17. Transport.

6. When the immigrants arrived on the steppe it was being used as grazing land for sheep by a Greek shepherd, whose dwelling was a clay hut. Two similar houses were inhabited by Russians.

7. Upon arrival each family was given a Crown loan of 355 rubles, to aid it in getting settled. Thirty-five rubles of this amount was in cash; 215 rubles was paid for the oxen, farm equipment, provisions, etc., and 140 rubles went into the construction of a wood-frame house. Some families received as much as 500 rubles; among these were people who received the effects of families who had died.

At the frontier the immigrants also received so-called food-ration money. The first transport received 80 kopeks per day for each man, woman, or child; the succeeding transport received proportionately less, so that the last transport received only 10 kopeks per person.

Only a few families brought funds with them from their homeland, and those few soon depleted their resources by helping those in need during the journey and taking care of their own sick and dying.

8. The immigrants were directed to the place of settlement immediately upon their arrival.

Since the time of settlement, 7 houses have been lost by fire. There were two floods, namely in 1831 and 1845, both of them in February. They caused considerable damage - a number of houses became uninhabitable, and five collapsed. The damages in 1831 amounted to 4,681 rubles, not including the damage to trees. The damages in 1845 were 2,203 rubles, 43 kopeks. But, providentially, no lives were lost. Of course, during the spring thaw the Baraboi often overflows its banks and causes a certain amount of damage to the gardens, cellars, and the well water. There were also two violent earthquakes; the first one in November, 1828, and a more recent one in January, 1838, which however, thank God, caused no significant damage.

The colonists were seriously afflicted by epidemic disease both during the trip and after their arrival in the colony. Indeed, in Ovidiopol 366 people from Alexanderhilf and other colonies died in the period between St. Michael's Day and Christmas of 1804. Deaths caused by epidemics continued in the colony for several years, so that there were only comparatively few survivors in 1805 and 1806.

The causes of this great mortality were a lack of adequate housing, which forced people to live in tents and wretched mud huts, where they were exposed to humidity and cold, and, except for those who were brought to the hospital in Grossliebental, there was lack of proper care and medicines for the sick. Cholera broke out in the colony in 1831, but none of those who fell ill died. The only victim was Johann Grad, a colonist from Josephstal, who had brought the disease into the village. The colony also had its share of cattle disease, crop failures, locusts and other destructive pests.

9. The economic, physical and moral well-being which the colony enjoys at present is largely due to the wise provisions made by His Majesty Czar Alexander of blessed memory and to the currently reigning Czar Nikolas; then also to their Excellencies the former president of the Committee for Colonial Welfare, General von Inzow, and present chairman Councilor von Hahn, and indeed to the entire Committee. To be sure, also the obedience of the colonists to the regulations, and the diligence and industry of the majority have unquestionably been contributing factors.

Alexanderhilf, 1848
Mayor: Hirning
Burgomasters: Widemayer and Bauer
Village clerk: J. Roduner
Schoolmaster: Christian Wenslaff (author)

Scanned by Dale Lee Wahl
Coordinated with GRHS Village Research Clearing House
Coordinated with AHSGR/GRHS Translation Committee Chairman

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