Lustdorf - 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
It was the excellent idea of the former superintendent of the Colonist Welfare
Office, Councilor von Hahn, to have a written account made of the founding of
the colonies and the events that took place in them, in order to preserve the
historical facts before they became falsified at some later date. For the
colonists, too, it was a useful undertaking to provide information about the
pioneer settlements and the events that affected their lives.
I. Founding of the colony of Lustdorf
The founding of this colony was a special project of the Governor General, Duc
de Richelieu, who intended to establish a village of artisans and craftsmen in
the neighborhood of Odessa. The colony was established by immigrants, most of
them craftsmen who had come from various towns and villages in the state of
Following a proclamation issued by Czar Alexander of blessed memory, the
emigration was organized by a certain agent named Ziegler, who conducted a
column of some 40 families coming from Wuerttemberg, Alsace, and Baden. They
reached the town of Brody (in Poland) in October of 1804 and were quartered
there for the winter. In the spring of 1805 they continued their journey, and
from the day they crossed the Russian frontier until the year 1806 the
government gave everyone. young and old, a daily allowance of 10 kopecks for
The amount of money that each family brought from their homeland was 300
guilders, and this was controlled at Regensburg before they were permitted to
continue the journey. Some families left money behind which was sent to them
after they were settled. The clothing, bedding, and household goods they brought
along may be estimated at 400-500 rubles.
The immigrants reached Grossliebental after having suffered the grievous loss of
many of their kinsfolk; others died after their arrival. The new colony was laid
out according to the official plan, and each settler was permitted to select
the portion of land he preferred. However, since it was the express wish of the
Duc de Richelieu that this settlement should consist entirely of artisans, each
of these 40 pioneer families were allotted only 25 dessiatines of land. But the
idea of founding a colony of craftsmen did not materialize, largely because the
commerce of Odessa was still so undeveloped that the colonists could not market
their manufactured products. or were compelled to sell them at a great loss.
II. Geographical Location and Boundaries
The tract of land on which the colony is located originally belonged to the
city of Odessa. It was an area of 1109 dessiatines, of which, however, 109
were unusable. To the south, the colony is bounded by the Black Sea and the
kbutors that originally belonged to the Odessa citizen Saposchnikof, but were
purchased by the local resident Konrad Roeser. To the east lies the Black Sea;
to the north, the land belonging to the inhabitants of Great Fontal. To the
west are the fields of Suchoi Liman. Close to the western side of the village
are two khutors, one belonging to a citizen of Odessa, the other to the local
colonist, Karl Wurster, a gardener. The colony is 12 versts from Odessa and
129 versts from Kherson, the administrative center of the gouvernement.
When the 40 immigrant families arrived at the site where the new colony was to
be established they found some houses completed, but others were still under
construction. These dwellings were 35 feet long, 18 feet wide and 7 feet high.
They were constructed of wood and wickerwork of straw. Each had an entrance
hall and one room, in which there was a clay oven.
Besides the house, each colonist received from the Crown a cash loan of 50
rubles, a yoke of oxen, a portion of seed grain, a plow, a wooden wagon, and a
few other items. On the average, each family received a loan amounting to 357
The steppe which was assigned to the settlers for their village and fields was
not inhabited when they arrived, except temporarily by a Ukrainian and a
Podolian family who dwelt in clay huts.
Since it is to be expected that even in a well-planned settlement many
necessary things will be lacking, it was indeed fortunate for us that the
winter of 1805/6 turned out to be a mild one. Otherwise we would have been in
danger of freezing to death, for the dwellings were wretched and there was a
lack of fuel.
III. The Naming of the Colony
The colony, which was originally called Kaisersheim (presumably in honor of
the Czar), was subsequently given the name of Lustdorf by Duc de Richelieu.
Why this name was chosen, remains obscure; perhaps it was because of the
delightful view of the Black Sea.
IV. Rivers, valleys, springs, and swamps
The terrain is not watered by any river or stream, nor are any creeks to be
found on this steppe. Only a few narrow dales cross the fields, and only when
the snow quickly melts or abundant rain falls do the smaller dales carry a
considerable amount of water to the larger valley west of the colony. This
valley then becomes impassable and develops into a small lake that is
separated from the sea by a narrow sandbank. Whenever the sea surges over this
bank the lake increases in size, but it dries out almost every summer, leaving
behind a thin deposit of salt.
In this valley we have three balance-beam wells that provide the colony with
sufficient water. However, during the strong earthquake of 1838 the water in
the well nearest the sea became somewhat salty, so that it is hardly usable
for washing. The other two wells provide an abundant supply of good drinking
water, but it has to be hauled to the house. This imposes a great burden on
man and beast, especially in the winter when the water has to be transported
up the steep incline over slippery ice or deep snow. To dig wells in the
village yards is useless because of the high ridge on which the village is
built. Repeated attempts have shown that even the little water that was
obtained was salty and bitter.
V. The Properties of the Soil
The land that is used for the planting of grain, vines, trees, and other
produce consists of a one-foot layer of heavy black humus on the level steppe,
and of a 2-3 foot layer in the depressions. Below this soil, which is
saturated with saltpeter, there is a layer of yellow clay, and below this a
hardpan of calcium which is so impervious that the roots of trees cannot
penetrate it. The topsoil would be very productive if it did not dry out in
most years, so that not only the humus but also the yellow earth beneath it
becomes as hard as clay bricks. For this reason an older fruit tree with large
branches can never be expected to live very long, nor will a plantation of
young trees and vineyards survive for several decades, as is the case in other
According to the old-timers here, the grain and grass grew much more
luxuriantly in the early years, but there was also much more rain than in the
recent past. If this is so, then the matter could be partly explained by the
fact that the steppe was originally virgin soil which, once tilled, had such
great fertility that the same fields could be profitably planted for several
Since the first settlers were unable to pursue their trade as craftsmen, they
were compelled to devote themselves primarily to agriculture, but this they
were reluctant to do in the beginning. However, even though they had little or
no knowledge of farming they tried in every possible way to wrest a livelihood
from the soil. The fact that the land area assigned to them was small, made it
impossible for them to rotate the crops sufficiently, so that they had to sow
the same kind of ~grain on the same fields year after year, instead of leaving
the fields lie fallow. Consequently, the grain began to deteriorate and the
soil became so exhausted that only meager crops resulted. In addition, there
were frequent years of drought.
In order to improve and re-invigorate the soil, there would be no better
method than the proper use of fertilizers. But the fields used for the
production of grain lie too far from the village. The fields near the village
are used for the production of maize, potatoes, and other vegetables. These
could be fertilized, and this has in fact been done for several years. Until
now, the outlying fields could only be improved by using them several years
for the planting of wheat and then letting them revert to grass. On the other
hand, former grassland is again ploughed under, and in this way a kind of
rotation is made possible Because of the constant increase in the number of
families engaging in agriculture, available land outside the colony has been
leased for the past several years. In 1849 the lands leased to the colonists
amounted to 1,018 dessiatines. In addition, five local farmers have purchased
kFutors. Of the 1000 dessiatines of usable land belonging to the colony, only
485 were under tillage in 1849. This amounted to only 61/2 dessiatines per
From the very beginning until now the colony had no meadowlands, for there was
not enough available land that could be set aside for this purpose. According
to the surviving pioneers, the virgin steppe was at that time clothed in
luxuriant grass, so that an abundance of hay could be made every year. And yet
much less livestock was kept, compared with the present-day herds. But
gradually more and more of the steppeland was cultivated and sown in wheat,
until it was no longer productive. It was then allowed to revert to grass, as
already mentioned, and the farmers were able to obtain hay for winter fodder.
This is still being done today, but the hay crop hardly suffices to feed the
present-day herds of livestock. Indeed, there is often such a shortage that
both straw and hay must be purchased at high prices, as was the case in 1848,
when a fathom of straw cost 40-50 rubles, and hay could scarcely be obtained
in the neighborhood.
VII. Pasturage, and Animal Husbandry
In earlier years about 300 of the 1000 usable dessiatines of land were set
aside as pasturage. About 20 years later this field could no longer be used as
a pasture, for it produced not grass but such a profusion of wormwood that it
became known as the "Wormwood Field". There was no alternative but to turn an
equal area of former wheatland into a pasture and to till the field of
wormwood for the production of grain. But in a few years the second pasture
was again so overgrazed and dried out that it looked like a wasteland or the
stamping ground of a military expedition. For these reasons it is obvious that
no progress can be made in animal husbandry. Raising sheep is out of the
question, since there is no land available for this purpose in the entire
neighborhood. Indeed, every farmer who wants to keep more than 12 head of
livestock must graze the surplus on foreign pasture at his own expense.
The production of silk and honey ~s nor feasible here, because we are fully
occupied with the production of grain and large quantities of vegetables which
can be marketed in nearby Odessa. In fact. most farmers already find it
necessary to engage farm laborers.
VIII. Tree Plantations
The first settlers found no woods here, and few trees were planted in the
early years. A small nursery of 400-500 acacia trees was, however, started on
a plot between the village and the seashore. Finally, in 1843, the Colonist
Welfare Committee succeeded in getting the colonists to establish a plantation
on a vacant plot of 20 dessiatines adjoining the sea. At the present time
several sectors have already been planted and in a short time the entire area
will be covered.
The young trees grow quickly and easily, but the heavy masses of snow tend to
damage and even to crush them, so that one cannot expect to get trees of
sturdy growth. The seedlings are furnished by the authorities, but they can
also be obtained from the government nurseries at Odessa. Acacia and other
trees are bought by the farmers themselves.
On the seashore there is a fairly wide strip of good level land which has been
formed by the erosion of the steep bank. Here the first settlers found
extensive thickets of sloe, hawthorn, elm, and also wild fruit trees. Through
careful pruning and cutting, thousands of small trees could have been
obtained, so that we could now have an area of woods extending to the Fontal
border, if the authorities had not allowed the settlers to use them
indiscriminately. Of all the varieties of local trees, the acacia thrives
best. A young sapling easily produces several shoots that can be transplanted.
Moreover, the wood of a five-year-old tree can be used to manufacture farm
implements. Indeed, trees of 30 years' growth provide attractive, durable wood
for the manufacture of bedsteads, chairs, and tables.
IX. Stone Quarries
The stone quarried here consists of a fairly hard composite of petrified shell
lime and clay. Till now a sufficient supply for the necessary buildings has
been found, partly on the rocky cliffs by the sea, partly in the northwest
ravines near the village. It is, however, very difficult to haul the stone
though the rough sandy terrain of the seashore. The sandstone, which is also
used for building material, is hauled from the quarries at Kuyalnik
X. Vegetable Gardens and Vineyards
At the very beginning of the settlement some colonists began to plant
vegetable gardens, especially peas and beans. This was so profitable that, for
example, a pud, equaling 36 lbs., of peas or beans sold for 30-40 rubles. One
must assume that these vegetables were 20-40 times more expensive than they
are today. In earlier years comparatively few vegetables were planted, whereas
it is now necessary to produce large quantities in order to make a worthwhile
profit. It is estimated that the present annual revenue from our vegetable
crops exceeds 2,000 silver rubles. In fact, in the years when our grain
harvest was very poor, the production of vegetables allayed the threat of
bitter poverty among our people.
At the very start, Polish potatoes were plentiful in our colony. The seedlings
were obtained from the chief mayor of the Liebental district, and the potatoes
brought a good price. A few years later the colonists planted an earlier
variety that could be marketed in June, and these, too, were sold at a high
price. In time, everybody in the village planted early varieties which became
a principal source of income until the later varieties were ready for the
market. To be sure, there were also years in which the potato crop was almost
a complete failure.
The first planting of trees was undertaken by several settlers in 1807, and
others followed their example in succeeding years. In the beginning only sour
cherry, wild apricot, pear, plum, and apple trees were planted. Later the
gardeners learned the art of grafting and were also able to buy better
varieties of fruit trees. Mulberry trees were also planted, but these have
almost become extinct. In general, more fruit trees have perished in the last
few years than have borne fruit. At present the colony has 7,000 trees planted
in 60 orchards with a total area of 20 dessiatines.
The first vineyards were also planted by a few settlers as early as 1807.
Chief Mayor Brittner provided the original 50 vines. Other colonists soon
became interested in viniculture, especially when it proved to be a profitable
enterprise. The vine plantings grew quickly and began to bear fruit in the
fourth year in such quantity that 14 vedro(1) of wine were obtained from 30
vines. The local colonist Andreas Huber was able to sell his wine cider at 8
rubles a vedro. Wine continued to bring a good price until it was possible to
import it duty-free. However, as soon as all kinds of wine became available in
Odessa the wine grown in the colonies sold very cheaply. At the present the
price is about 3 rubles a vedro.
Because the vineyards require the same amount of labor and care, even in the
years when the harvests are poor, the younger generation is losing its
interest in this branch of horticulture. The years of drought, the short life
of the vines, the damage caused by winter frost, and the lack of markets are
factors that tend to discourage and retard the development of viniculture.
Nevertheless, the local farmers continue to tend their vineyards, of which the
colony has 25, with 197,460 vines planted in an area totaling 40 dessiatines.
XI. Construction and Building
In the first and particularly the second decade of settlement, several
colonists began to improve the original Crown dwellings by replacing the
wooden walls with quarried stone. Some colonists also built new houses
containing a living room, bedroom, kitchen, hallway, and barn. In most cases
there was also a vaulted cellar in the yard. To be sure, these houses were
only 3 fathoms wide and the roofs were of thatched reed or straw. Most of
these houses, though considerably improved, are still standing today. The
walls enclosing the yard were constructed of durable stone and provided with
big gates. Only two of the original Crown dwellings remain at present, but
they have undergone a number of improvements.
The first larger house was built in 1825. It was 4 fathoms wide, 10 fathoms
long, and contained several rooms and a vaulted cellar. The following summer
this house was leased to a citizen of Odessa. Soon other villagers of means,
began to build houses of this type and lease them to summer guests. People
also began to embellish the exterior and interior woodwork by the use of
varnish. The walls surrounding the yard were painted in varied colors and
capped with stone slab. Some have also built small cabins of wood for the
accommodation of summer guests, while others also provided a shady arbor in
the court yard.
- Communal buildings
Before 1818 there were no buildings for the storage of surplus grain and seed. That year the community erected a stone granary capable of holding about 80 chetvert(2) of grain. As this building soon became too small and decrepit, the community decided, in 1848, to construct a larger building on the west side of the Kreuzgasse. However, due to a delay in drawing up the plan for the new building, construction did not begin until 1850. The building will be 10 fathoms long, 31/2 wide, and almost 2 fathoms high. The walls are to be 1 arshine (= 28 inches) thick and the roof contructed of tile. The capacity of the granary will be 27 cubic fathoms, or 160 cubic yards. The hard building-stone will be hauled to the site by the community and the costs, estimated at 300 silver rubles, will be borne by the community treasury.
From the time of settlement until 1829 there was no tavern in the village, but some local people sold wine and brandy in their own homes until the licensed lessee proposed to build a tavern. But the community prevented this by first building an adobe house for the purpose at their own cost in 1829 and then, in 1832, they constructed a tavern from which an annual revenue of 50 silver rubles flows into the communal treasury.
- Church-and-school building
Not until 1820 did the community feel the need of erecting a community building for church and school. Since no lot had been provided for such a
building at the time of settlement, a house measuring 8 by 31/2 by 11/2 fathoms was built in the center of the village, on the eastside of the main street intersection. This house had two rooms: one that served as a church and a school, the other as a residence for the schoolmaster. Between the two rooms was a hallway that was used as a kitchen. The school was able to seat about 40 children. Apparently none of the builders envisaged the possibility that the community would increase rapidly. As a matter of fact, the building was too small right from the start. It should have been twice as large, both
for church and school attendance, for on weekdays there was not enough room for the school children, and during church service on Sundays half the congregation had to stand outside at the windows.
For these reasons the present pastor, Provost Fletnitzer, advised the community to enlarge the school room by adding the storage granary adjoining it. This was done in 1836, but the low ceiling of the annex and the lack
of ventilation made this area very unhealthful. Besides, the building is again
too small and quite dilapidated.
XII. Condition of Church and School
Because of the lack of a church building in the early years, religious services were held in the private homes of former schoolmasters. The services were simple. A couple of well-known hymns from an old Wuerttemberg hymnal were sung. Then the schoolmaster proceeded to read a homily from an old book of sermons, the congregation sang another hymn - and the service was over. There were no church announcements, no prescribed prayers.
Soon after the founding of the colony until the year 1809, the now deceased Pastor Pfersdorf from Grossliebental administered baptism, confirmation, and
communion in private homes. When the former superintendent Boettiger came to Odessa in 1819, the community of Lustdorf became affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Odessa, and this situation has continued to the present, although in 1828 Lustdorf was to be separated from this church and
affiliated with the church in Grossliebental. However, when the community refused to accept this transfer, the members of the mayor's office, though innocent, were physically punished and several refractory colonists were sentenced to communal labor. But the community was no longer coerced, and Lustdorf remained affiliated with the Odessa church.
In 1823, when Provost Fletnitzer became pastor of the community, all church affairs were set in order, for up to that time even the registers of baptism, marriage, and death had been poorly kept.
Until 1820 the school was likewise in a very poor state. Instruction was given to the children in private homes. For this task men were appointed who, because of their age, were no longer capable of any other work. Except for one man who was briefly engaged as a substitute teacher, these old men could
barely read or write, and knew next to nothing about arithmetic and other subjects.
The fact that most of the men and women of the first generation remained illiterate is partly due to the ignorance of their teachers, partly to the negligence of their parents who allowed them to follow their own caprice. Nevertheless, there were some who, although they did not obtain any better education, acquired the necessary knowledge through their own initiative and the encouragement of their parents.
What little appreciation even former superintendent Boettiger had for a schoolmaster of outstanding education and excellent behavior is revealed by the following incident. In 1820 a newly arrived Swiss immigrant (it was John Roduner, presently a colonist at Alexanderhilf) was hired as schoolmaster. Besides acquiring a thorough knowledge of German and French, this man had studied other sciences on the secondary school level. In the religious services he advocated a moderate style of choral singing and gave lessons to young people in music, arithmetic, spelling, etc. But what was the result? Instead of getting the support and gratitude he deserved, he was criticized for introducing all kinds of useless and even harmful novelties, and wasting the children's time. He was fired, and a local colonist was again appointed as the schoolmaster of the village. This is not the place to mention the reasons why the former superintendent failed to support the aforementioned teacher in his worthwhile and necessary endeavors.
Through the efforts of Provost Fletnitzer the school situation began to improve since 1839, so that children have been able to obtain instruction in all necessary subjects in the church school, provided that the parents do not hold their children back from regular attendance at school.
XIII. The Church Bells
Until 1823 the community had no church bell to indicate the beginning of the
service. A schoolboy simply ran up and down the street with a handbell to summon the faithful, just as the mayor's beadle calls together the townsmen for the public meetings.
In 1823 the heirs of the late Odessa merchant Kattli donated a small bell to the community and it was subsequently installed on the roof of the grain storage building. In 1837 the community bought a somewhat larger bell and
built a wooden belfry for it in front of the storage granary. The cost of both bell and belfry was paid for partly from freewill offerings, partly from the church treasury.
XIV. Church Treasury
From the beginning of the colony until 1833, the sole income for the church treasury came from the Sunday collection. and this money was spent for the support of church needs.
However, in 1834, the Chief Superintendent ordained that an annual report on the administration and the financial assets and expenditures had to be made,
and that responsible church trustees be elected by the community. Accordingly, in 1834, the existing church assets were inventoried for the first time, and
the results were duly submitted on prescribed forms to the highest church authorities. At that time the church assets of Lustdorf consisted of:
- Immovable properly
- Church end schoolinventory 269
- Cash funds
Total assets for Jan 1, 1834: 1,270 rubles
Since the affiliated church in Lustdorf had no other source of income than the Sunday collections, the community decided to get some revenue from the "Big
Fountain", a spring that was located on community land and whose water had been flowing uselessly into the sea since the establishment of the colony. Through the assistance of Provost Fletnitzer, this spring was now leased to the Odessa merchant, Walther and Co., for the establishment of a wool-washing plant, and this produced an annual rent of 200 rubles for the first five years, and 250 thereafter.
The pastor proposed that this annual revenue should be donated to the poor village church, so that the community might in time be able to erect a suitable building. The proposal was accepted by the community and approved by the higher authorities. But when plans were projected to run a water line from the Big Fountain to Odessa, the community reversed itself and in 1843 the church property was agam declared to be community property. That same year the spring was leased to the city of Odessa for a waterline, and in the last six years an annual rent of 500 rubles flowed into the community treasury. However, the money was placed in a commercial bank at interest to provide funds for the construction of a church and a school, together with the necessary furnishings According to a very recent contract of 1850, the water supply, with all buildings, equipment, and rights will be ceded to the community after 60 years.
The church trustees also decided that every bridal couple who publishes its marriage banns in the local church would have to pay 3 rubles to the church treasury, and 5 rubles if one of the parties was a non-resident. Also, non-residents buried in the local cemetery would be required to pay 5 rubles for a burial plot From these revenues and through an economical administration the church now has the following assets:
- Immovable property
- Church and school inventory 249 rubles
- Cash funds
Consequently, in the course of 19 years, apart from the repair costs of the prayer-hall and school and its furnishings, there has been a saving of 1,410
silver rubles. These cash assets are in part deposited in the community treasury, partly in the savings account at the Odessa Bank of Commerce.
XV. The Cemetery
The graveyard that was originally laid out at the time of settlement is located behind the gardens on the east side of the village, near the steep embankment of the seashore. In 1816 a considerable portion of the graveyard slid down the embankment, and with it the mortal remains of the early colonists who had been buried there. The grave of the Odessa merchant Kattli, who was also buried close to the embankment, was left intact, however. The grave was enclosed by a beautiful iron fence which was mounted on a foundation of blue stone imported from Italy. Within the enclosure grew a profusion of beautiful flowers and various shrubs. Since the surviving relatives feared that the grave might also be destroyed by future cave-ins, they exhumed the coffin and reburied it at their country estate.
Not far from this grave stood a large wooden cross on a stone pedestal which served as an altar for the bread and wine that was used at the Communion service, which was regularly celebrated here every spring.
As there was good reason to fear that the erosion of the underlying yellow clay would gradually undermine the entire graveyard, the community decided to
start a new cemetery at some distance from the sea and the village. There was also talk that the remains in the old graveyard would be exhumed and reburied in the new one, but this pious intent was never carried out.
In 1834, when the local colonist Friedrich Wagner lay on his deathbed he requested that he be buried in the new cemetery. This was done, altough it had not yet been consecrated. He was, therefore, the first seed-grain to be planted here, to await the Resurrection. The cemetery was blessed in 1835 by Provost Fletnitzer, and on that occasion Communion service was held there.
The trees that line both sides of the road leading from the village to the cemetery are a gift of the gardener Anton Schulz, who had them planted at his own cost.
XVI. Communal Fishery
From the beginning until 1824 every colonist was free to fish along the seashore adjoining our boundary. No one thought of the idea of making money from it, until a fisherman appeared in the village and offered to pay the community 80 rubles a year for exclusive fishing rights. The offer was accepted, without any thought of making a better deal. However, in 1825, the fishing rights were leased for 300 rubles. This new revenue was then divided among the local house-holders, to help pay their taxes, but they were promptly compelled to deposit the money in the district treasury, and the subsequent revenues were likewise deposited there until 1842. Later on, the community requested permission from the Minister of Imperial Domains to use this money to build a church. The request was granted, with the proviso that the money be placed in a commercial bank where it would earn interest until the church was to be built. Moreover, the community was obligated to keep these accounts in order.
XVII. Various Remark
- After the initial settlement new immigrants continued to arrive, among them several families in 1817, six of which took over the properties of older
immigrants. Some of the pioneer colonists were partially engaged in some craft or other enterprise, but all were members of the colony and were registered as such.
There were no windmills in the colony at the beginning; all grain had to be ground by hand - a slow, tedious process. In 1807, the community purchased a windmill for 400 rubles, and it was in use until 1825, when it was sold to a local colonist and the proceeds deposited in the community treasury. There are now three windmills in operation, and a horse-powered mill. There is also an oil-mill which is owned by four local colonists.
- Accidents and Mishaps.
Six fatal accidents have occurred in the history of this colony. One man was crushed to death by a gear in the grist mill; three children drowned in the sea, and one in a water barrel near the house. An eighteen-year-old boy was dragged to his death by a runaway horse. In 1828 a young farmer, who lost his way in a blizzard while returning from Odessa, fell down the embankment by the sea, and froze to death.
There have been five outbreaks of fire in which 7 houses and a barn weredestroyed. Four of these dwellings were built before the district had
established a fire insurance fund, and hence the owners received no compensation.
- Storms and Earthquakes.
There was hail in some years, but generally with little damage to crops. In 1845, however, the farmers, especially those who had leased land beyond the colony, suffered heavy losses. There were also frequent windstorms, especially in 1809, 1823 and 1843, which uncovered many buildings and, in 1843, completely destroyed a windmill. The earthquakes that occurred in 1823,1829 and 1838 caused no damage.
- Poor crops.
Crop failures occurred in 1824 and 1833. In the last five years the harvests
have been rather poor. In 1850 there was scarcely any bread, seed, and
- Livestock losses.
The colony has had two epidemics of cattle disease. The first, in 1837, destroyed almost all of the herds. The second, in 1849, struck down the
greater part of the livestock.
These appeared in massive swarms after the harvest of 1827 and 1846. In 1850 they afflicted us for three days and devoured the fields of maize.
- Epidemic diseases.
The community was spared from the plague that raged in Odessa in 1812. In 1829, when typhus broke out in that city, we also remained unharmed. Several people were down with cholera in 1830, but no one died. Otherwise there were no epidemics, except sporadic outbreaks of smallpox that carried off several children and, in 1830, a young girl of twenty.
- Favorable factors.
Even though we cannot lay claim to great wealth, several farmers have become prosperous by leasing available farmland. By dint of hard work and some good fortune they have obtained a number of good harvests. They have improved their houses and farm property, and derive a good income from the bathing guests that seek accommodation here every summer. The proximity to Odessa has enabled the colonists to haul a variety of garden produce, straw, and kirpitch (manure brick) to the city markets, and through this revenue they are compensated for their small tracts of land.
In 1833 the colonist Christian Kessler, who had saved some people from drowning, was awarded a medal bearing the inscription: For Saving Human Lives. For a similar deed, Elisa Blum was awarded 300 rubles. In 1844 Mayor Friedrich Kurtz received from the Czar a medal with the St. Anne ribbon For Administrative Zeal.
Dated: Lustdorf, in 1850
Authors: H. Buerkle, sexton
Brauchli, village clerk
The signatures have been verified by the mayor's office.
(Signed) Mayor: Kurtz
Assessors: 1. Ott; 2. Beck
1 One vedro = 3/4 gallons.
2 One chetvert = 6 bushels.
Scanned by Dale Lee Wahl
Coordinated with GRHS Village Research Clearing House
Coordinated with AHSGR/GRHS Translation Committee Chairman
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