14 July 2017

On This Day, 14 July 1766 and 1767

Note: This post was updated 14 July 2018 to include Reinwald, which was overlooked in the original post.  

On this day three Volga Mother colonies were founded: Herzog and Reinwald in 1766 and Hummel in 1767.

Locations of Herzog and Reinwald on Karte der deutschen Siedlungen im Wolgagebiet (Map of the German settlements in the Volga region, AHSGR map #6).

Herzog, also called Susly, was a Roman Catholic colony founded on 14 July 1766 by LeRoy and Pictet, a co-operative company commissioned by Catherine the Great to recruit and settle Germans in Russia.

A conference was called in Herzog in 1874 after Tsar Alexander II revoked the German colonists' exemption from military service. It was there that delegates from many Volga colonies chose to investigate immigration to the United States and decided to send representatives to seek out land in Kansas, Nebraska and Arkansas. 

In 1875, the first group of settlers left for Topeka, Kansas. The counties of Ellis, Rush and Russell counties would become home to many Volga Germans.

Today, the colony of Herzog no longer exists. 

Location of the defunct colony Herzog in August 2016. 

Reinwald was a Lutheran colony settled on 14 July 1766 followed by a second group a year later.  The founding date is often cited as 1767. 

According to the Center for Volga German Studies at Concordia Univeristy: "Originally, the congregation in Reinwald was a part of the Rosenheim parish, which had been established in 1767. Following the 1941 expulsion of the Volga Germans, the steeple of the church in Reinwald was removed and the building converted into a community cultural center."

The church in Reinwald. Source: Streetview, Google Maps, April 2016.

Location of Reinwald, known today as Staritskoye, Saratov, Russia. 

Location of Hummel (Brockhausen) on
Karte der deutschen Siedlungen im Wolgagebiet
(Map of the German settlements in the Volga region, AHSGR map #6)
Brockhausen,  or better known as Hummel, was founded as Lutheran colony by Baron Ferdinand de Canneau de Beauregard, a settlement agent hired by Catherine the Great, on 27 June 1766. It was among the rather congested area of 18 or so colonies that were settled very closely together along the Wiesenseite that ran from Schaffhausen to Katharinenstadt (Marx), including Näb officially founded just a day before Hummel.

Location of the Volga colony Hummel, today known as Buerak, Saratov, Russia.

Learn More: 
2017 marks the 250th anniversary of the founding of the Mother colonies along the Volga River. There are many events throughout the year to commemorate the anniversary, and the Germans from 
Russia Settlement Locations project joins in the celebration of this rich Volga German heritage.  

The German immigrants that came to the Volga region were among first colonists to take up Catherine the Great on her manifesto. They came from Hesse, the Rhineland, the Palatinate and Württemberg.  They are also among the most well researched and documented groups of German colonists in Russia. Thus far, the Volga Mother colonies settled between 1764 and 1767 are the only colonies that have precise dates they were settled.  
For more historical and current events related to Germans from Russia, see our calendar page or link to our public Google calendar.

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