Bergdorf - 1848 Village History

Copyright 1996, GRHS    

Notes:  Please see the Introduction to the Village History Project for additional information.  


1. In 1809, under the glorious reign of His Majesty the late Alexander, the colony of Bergdorf was founded and the construction of houses begun.

2. The colony of Bergdorf lies in a valley which begins about 2 versts to the north and continues westward another 25 versts till it reaches the vicinity of Grigoriopol. This valley has the name Kalossova from its first inhabitant, a certain Armenian Kalos who was farming here and raising livestock until the arrival of the colonists. The valley is called Karamanovka by the colonists of Neudorf, but the colonists of Glueckstal, 5 versts farther on, call it Trehonenko. The distance from Bergdorf to Tiraspol is45versts, and 260versts to Odessa. The colony has 3,925 dessiatines of land, which consists mostly of hill and dale, with a few level tracts. The uplands have fertile black humus, two feet deep; likewise the valleys, except for some sandy spots. On the whole, the soil is of good quality and all kinds of winter and summer wheat, as well as fruits and vegetables, thrive well, provided the weather is favorable.

The woods which existed when the colonists arrived have been developed and increased by surrounding them with protective enclosures. In various places there are 460 dessiatines of fine growth. The most important types are oak, blackthorn, whitethorn, alder, and to a lesser extent ash trees. There is also the "Farbe-Holz" which is used to furnish morocco leather dye. The common acacias and willows planted along the main street of the colony exhibit fine growth.

In suitable locations grapevines have been planted which, in 1848, numbered 241,880. In favorable years these furnish a rewarding harvest for the planters. Also orchards with various kinds of trees were planted in the early years, and no doubt also flourished. But the dry years have destroyed a large part of them. The present number of fruit trees is 25,193.

The colony has no quarries, but has to haul its stone 20 to 25 versts from the neighborhood of Grigoriopol, not far from the Dniester.

3. The former assistant Councilor von Rosenkampf gave the colony its name Bergdorf, in view of its location between the hills.

4. The immigrants who were originally settled here consisted of 68 families, with a total of 263 persons (136 males and 127 females). They came from the following countries: from the Kingdom of Wuerttemberg, 35; from Elsass, 21; from the Grand Duchy of Baden, 4; from the Pfalz, 1; from Prussian Poland, 1: from Hungary, 1; from Hamburg, 1; from Hesse, 1. In all, 68 families.

5. The settlers arrived in 1808 and 1809 in smaller or larger parties, without leaders, under the privileges of the Russian imperial crown.

6. Upon their arrival on the steppe the settlers found a few isolated farms that were inhabited by Armenians from Grigoriopol who carried on agriculture and animal husbandry. There were a few wells available, but no houses had been prepared for the immigrants.

7. The settlers received the following financial aid from the Russian government:
  For provisions     32,160 rubles
  For settlement     26,225 rubles
  For seed grain      2,080 rubles
  Total              60,465 rubles banco

The assets owned by the immigrants upon arrival amounted to approximately 3,000 rubles.

8. Among the factors and incidents that had an unfavorable influence upon the development of the colony were the locusts that caused a great deal of damage to the crops in 1828 and 1846. In July, 1820, a hail storm passed over the grain fields causing complete destruction of an area 4 versts long and 2 versts wide. The years 1833 and 1834 produced no crops whatsoever. Livestock epidemics raged in 1828 and 1833 and destroyed most of the animals. The year 1847 was so dry that there was a great shortage of grass and hay, so that the livestock could be but poorly fed through the winter months. Even though large sums were spent in buying fodder, a large part of the livestock perished, whereby the settlers were in dire straits. The marching through of military troops in 1828,1829, and 1830, to fight the Turks placed a great burden on the colony. Since Bergdorf was only 1 1/2 versts from the army road that leads from Balta to Tiraspol, the colonists had to provide billeting and undertake transport duties with horses and wagons.

9. The colony owes its prosperity to a number of favorable factors and conditions. Particularly beneficial for the education of the young people was the construction of a school soon after the settlement was completed. This first building, however, soon became too small and had to be torn down. In 1832 school was held in the newly constructed stone church, and this situation prevails to this day. But the community is planning to build a new church, and a considerable portion of the building stone has already been hauled to the site. But since the people are at present incapable of providing the necessary funds, they are hoping for the support of the Welfare Committee and for more favorable times.

A most productive year was 1817, when the crops were good and the price of grain was high. Other good years were 1837 and 1838. Both the raising of livestock and the growing of wine is profitable. In the dry years, when we had total crop failures of wheat, we still had very fine grape harvests and were able to buy the necessities of life and pay our taxes.

We have a communal granary from which the needy colonists can obtain grain in years of scarcity. Thanks to the pure preaching of the Gospel, the colony also enjoys great moral improvement and, with it, growing prosperity.

Bergdorf, May 4, 1848
Schoolmaster: Johann Seb. Scheuffele (author)
Mayor: Wolff
Burgomasters: M. Weiss; Herrmann

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

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