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About Dinkel / Wasinger Family Ties
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Below you will find some of the history of the Dinkels and Wasingers and what they endured to make  a life for their families over the last two hundred plus years.  I hope that you enjoy reading  about our history.

 WHEN in 1762 Catherine the Great ascended the throne of the Czars as empress of all the Russia’s,  her one great ambition was to make her reign the outstanding period of Russian history. Ambitious,  energetic and competent, she was prepared to go to any lengths to realize her aim. Herself a German  by birth, she clearly realized the inferiority of her semi-Asiatic subjects and at once set out to  remedy it by the introduction of Western Civilization, following the example of her renowned  predecessor, Peter the Great. 
 One-of her most successful moves in this direction was the bringing in of foreign colonists to  settle and develop the vast semi-arid districts of her wide-flung domain.  Her first invitation to outsiders was issued on December the fourth, 1762. Owing to various causes,  however, this appeal met with practically no response. Undismayed by this first failure, she issued  a much more detailed invitation on July the twenty-second of the following year.  This invitation, the so-called "manifest," was a good sized document setting forth the conditions,  rights and privileges, under which settlers could enter her empire. Among other things it  guaranteed to all foreigners forming colonies in hitherto unsettled districts of Russia, free  exercise of religion, the right to build churches, bell towers, and schools, but no monasteries, to  have priests, teachers, etc. Furthermore, all such colonists should for thirty years be free from  all taxes, levies, and land service. For an indefinite time they were also to be exempt from  military duty. 
 Fearing lest the second "manifest" should share the fate of the first, Catherine sent imperial  commissaries to the various countries with instructions to extend her invitation far and wide among  the masses. Thus in 1763 Captain J. G. von Kotzer, assisted by Messrs. Florentine and Psanu, all  Germans by birth, was sent to Frankfort in order to induce as many as possible of their countrymen  to immigrate to Russia. 
 These gentlemen conducted an intensive campaign to secure settlers, offering free transportation,  money to maintain them on the road, and many other inducements, not contained in the "manifest."  The new country was pictured as a veritable paradise, where a life of ease and plenty would be the  happy and inevitable lot of all who availed themselves of the golden opportunity.  Despite the grave obstacles thrown in their way by the various German principalities which strictly  forbade the emigration of their subjects, Captain von Kotzer and his assistants were so successful  that from 1763 to 1767 they induced some eight thousand families (about 25,000 persons), to  emigrate from Hessia, Saxony, Alsace, Baden, Wuertemberg, Bavaria, Tyrol, Switzerland, and the  Palatinate. Their success was due in no small measure to the chaotic affairs in Germany consequent  upon the Seven Years War which had just ended. 
 As rendezvous for the emigrants various centers, such as Rosslau near Dessau on the Elbe, Luebeck,  Regensburg, - Freiburg, etc., were designated. From these centers the colonists moved on to  Luebeck - seldom to Danzig where they embarked for Kronstadt on the Gulf of Finland.  From Kronstadt the various groups of colonists proceeded to Oranienbaum, where they were met and  welcomed by Catherine. From Oranienbaum different routes were followed to reach the lower Volga  district. The most common route was to sail along the Neva, and down the Wolchow for some distance  past Novgorod. Here the newcomers disembarked and began the wearisome journey overland to Torzhok  on the Volga, where the majority were forced by circumstances to winter. Some, however, pushed on  to Kostroma, but none could reach Nishni- Novgorod, where the government had prepared some kind of  winter quarters for them. The sufferings entailed in all this travel can better be imagined than  described.
 As soon as navigation opened in the spring the journey down the Volga continued till the ships  docked at Saratov on the Lower Volga, the district set aside for the emigrants. This was a large  expanse of land lying on both sides of the River. The district west of the River was known as the  mountain side (Bergseite), and east of the River as the meadow side (Wiesenseite). The former was  in the government of Saratov, and the latter in the government of Samara.  In all, about 104 colonies, 45 on the mountain side, and 59 on the meadow side, were founded. The  homes of the settlers now in Ellis County were: Katharinestadt (popularly called Baronsk, because  founded in 1765 by Baron de Beauregard), Boregard (founded 1766), Obermonjour (founded 1766.), Zug  (Gattung, founded 1767), Luzern (Roemler, founded 1767), Schoenchen (Paninskoje, founded 1767),  Solothurn (Wittmann, founded 1767), all lying on the east bank of the Volga, north of Saratov;  Rohleder (Raskaty, founded 1766), Graf (Krutogorowka, founded 1764), Herzog (Susly, founded 1764),  Mariental (Pfannenstiel or Tonkoschurowka, founded 1766), Louis (Otrogowka, founded 1766), lying   north and south of the great Karamann, which flows from the south into the Volga west of  Katharinenstadt; Liebenthal (founded 1859 from the other colonies), south of the Great Karamann;  Neuobermonjour (founded 1859), 10 verst south (6.6 miles)of Liebenthal, Marienburg (founded 1860),  68 verst (45 miles)northeast of Liebenthal. All these colonies were on the meadow side. On the  mountain side lay Kamenka (founded 1766), 110 verst (72.9 miles) southwest of Saratov, Pfeifer  (Gniluska, founded 1766), 7 verst (4.6 miles) southwest of Kamenka, Rothamel (Pamnatnaja, founded  1767), about 25 verst (16.6 miles) northwest of Kamenka, Semenowka (founded 1766) 15 verst (9.9  miles) southwest of Pfeifer. 
 Since this is not the place to treat at length of the gradual rise and development of the Russian  Settlements, let it suffice to say that from the very landing in Kronstadt the colonists were sadly  disillusioned. To begin with, practically half of the immigrants were artisans, having no knowledge  of farming. These had been induced to leave their native lands by promises of plenty of  opportunities to practice their various trades in the cities and towns of Russia. Once arrived in  the Land of the Czars, however, all without exception were transported to the Lower Volga. This,  the vaunted paradise of the commissaries, proved to be a vast expanse of wild, semi-arid steppe  land which, as it then appeared, must have discouraged every one of the colonists. Moreover, the  buildings which the government had promised to erect were nowhere to be seen, and the allowances of  money advanced by Her Majesty proved sadly insufficient. To make matters worse, the colonists had  arrived too late in the season to do any planting, with the inevitable result that the winter which  soon overtook them, proved a time of dire need and bitter suffering in which death reaped a rich  harvest. 
 With the advent of spring, however, the outlook became somewhat brighter. The land proved to be  rich and well adapted for wheat raising. Nothing daunted by their sad plight, the colonists, both  farmers and artisans, made a bold attempt to wrest a living from the stubborn soil.  Energy, industry and thrift, the national characteristics of the German people, were not wanting in  the settlers on the Volga, and these, together with the fruitfulness of the soil, gradually  overcame all difficulties. But before the colonists arrived at a stage of comparative prosperity,  they had to pass through terrible hardships and sufferings. Thus, for the first ten years their  crops were total failures, and to ward off starvation, they were forced to apply to the government  for food; they had to fight for their lives in the murderous raids of the savage Kirghiz hordes  which periodically swept through the colonies with fire and sword, wiping out four of them  completely, and retarding the development of many others; their members were thinned by disease and  death which claimed many a victim in the early years. Added to all this there was the ever growing  irritation caused by almost continuous bickering between the colonists and the government  concerning the repayment of the money advanced, the amount of subsidies, taxation, and a number of  similar matters. In short, so fraught with disappointment, worry and suffering were those early  years that one is compelled to admire the optimism and tenacity of purpose which enabled the  colonists to go steadily forward in spite of their grievous trials.  By the middle of the nineteenth century, however, we find the colonists enjoying a measure of  peace, prosperity, and happiness undreamed of in the early years of their sojourn in the realm of  the Czars. But it was not to last.
 The privileges enjoyed by the settlers, especially their exemption from military service, together  with their ever-increasing prosperity and their aloofness from the native population, aroused the  resentment and jealousy of the Russians. The Empress Catherine, the friend and protectress of the  strangers, was now dead, and in her stead, men generally unfriendly to everything German, ruled the  land. All this gave rise to numerous curtailments, growing in importance as the years passed, of  favors enjoyed by the colonists. Unfortunately, too, the settlers themselves helped along this  unfriendly policy by indiscreetly signing documents inimical to their liberty. Things finally came  to such a pass that the government passed the military law of Jan. 13, 1874, which subjected all  the colonists to military service. This proved too much for the long-suffering settlers, and was  the immediate cause of the emigrations which followed. 
 In June, 1871, an edict had limited the period of exemption from military service to ten years,  leaving the colonists the right to emigrate within that time without forfeiture of property. This  was not generally known for some time, but when it was finally brought to the attention of the  people it led to a meeting of some three thousand colonists at Herzog, in the spring of 1874, to  discuss the question of emigration. 
 Though at first sight it may appear unpatriotic on the part of the colonists to resent the military  law of 1874, the question takes on a new light when we call to mind that they were solemnly  promised exemption from such service as an inducement to settle in Russia. Moreover, when we  consider the length of service (six years), the religious discrimination which prevented any but  orthodox Russians from rising to the rank of an officer, the poor treatment accorded the soldiers,  and the fact that during the whole of their stay in the army, Catholics were unable to fulfill even  their Easter duty, we can readily understand why the colonists should resist such an enactment.  The meeting at Herzog in the spring of 1874 resulted in the election of five delegates, who at the  expense of their respective communities, were to visit America, to look for places suitable for  settlement. The delegates chosen were: Balthasar Brungardt (Herzog), Peter Leiker (Obermonjour),  Jacob Ritter (Luzern), Peter Stoecklein (Zug), and Anton Wassinger (Schoenchen). Mr. Brungardt  declining, his place was taken by Nicholas Schamne (Graf). 
 The delegates soon convened in Obermonjour whence they proceeded to Hamburg by way of  Katharinenstadt, Saratov, Warsaw and Berlin. At Hamburg they were aided by a Mr. Weinberg, who  persuaded them to proceed directly to the United States. Arrived in Castle Garden, New York, they  were befriended by a Mr. Joseph Koelble. While in New York they stayed with a Mr. Schneider for two  days before going to Sutton, Clay County, Nebraska, traveling by way of Buffalo, Chicago, Omaha and  Lincoln. At Sutton, they remained one day, examining the land. In all, their sojourn in America  lasted ten days. Messrs. Leiker, Stoecklein and Wasinger took about one pound of soil, some prairie  grass, bluestem (?) grass, and some paper money, and all took some literature descriptive of the  land back to Russia. On their return to Russia they reported favorably of the land they had  visited, and subsequently four of the five emigrated. 
 Toward the end of December, 1874, two other delegates, Joseph Exner of Obermonjour and Jacob  Bissing of Katharinenstadt, were sent on a like mission. They came to Topeka and proceeded over the  Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad to Larned, in Pawnee County. They spent about a week in  Kansas, and returning home, reported unfavorably of the new country, thus deterring quite a number  from emigrating. 
 Anton Kaeberlein of Pfeifer and several others accompanied the five delegates mentioned above as  far as New York. Here they separated the former going to Arkansas. On his return to Russia, Mr.  Kaeberlein reported that the land pleased him but not the custom of living on farms instead of in  villages. This report induced several families to immigrate to Arkansas in 1874.  DISSATISFACTION BECOMES GENERAL
 In November and December of 1874 the Russian government drafted the first soldiers from the  colonies. This act precipitated matters. The movement in favor of emigration now became general.  On October 22, 1875, the families of Justus Bissing, Friedrich Karlin, Peter Karlin, Jacob Karlin,  and Friedrich Koerner left Katharinenstadt for America. At Saratov they were joined by Jacob Lang,  Joseph Stremel, Michael Meder, and Mathias Urban of Kamenka, and Christopher Stegmann of Pfeifer.  They left Saratov on October 23, and arrived in Berlin four days later.  Under the leadership of Nicholas Schamne, one of the delgates who had visited America in 1874, a  second group of emigrants left the colonies on October 24. This group was made up of families from  various settlements. From Herzog came Andrew Billinger, Alois Dreiling, Anton Dreiling, Nicholas  Dreiling, Nicholas Dreiling, John Goetz, John Kreutzer, Michael Rome, John Sander, Michael Storm,  John Van der Dunkt, Ignatius Vonfeld, and Ignatius Weigel.  From Boregard came Jacob Arnholt.  From  Liebenthal came Joseph Fraun and Franz Weber, Jacob Beil, Peter Beil, Martin Goetz, Jacob Hermann,  John Hermann, Peter Hermann, Adam Kreutzer, John Kreutzer, John Lechleiter, Michael Lechleiter,  John Schaefer, John Peter Schaefer, Peter Schaefer, and Joseph Schoenberger. From Obermonjour were  John Geist,  John Jacob Geist and William Geist; from Marienthal Anton Hermann. From Neu- Obermonjour were Henry Bieker, John Bieker, John Joseph Bieker, Nicholas Bieker, Frank Waldschmidt,  Philip Wolf and John Zimmermann. From Louis came Peter Quint. From Marienburg came Paul Dinges and  from Graf, John Bollig. 
 This second party traveled to Bremen by way of Tambow, Koslow, Grjasi, Orel, Smolensk, Witebsk,  Wershbolow, Eydtkuhnen and Berlin. At Bremen they were fortunate to meet the first who had been  compelled to wait four days on a ship. On November 2, 1875, all took passage on the  steamship "Ohio" of the North-German Lloyd. On Nov. 23, after a rough voyage of twenty-one days,  they landed at Baltimore. 
 In Baltimore, according to one version, Mr. Schamne entered into an agreement with C.B. Schmidt of  the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad. In his company they went to Topeka, where they arrived  on Nov. 28. For a few days they all lived together, but later they rented houses in North Topeka,  the men meanwhile seeking employment on the railroads, farms and so forth.  Under the direction of Mr. C.B. Schmidt they made their first trip in search of land, going as far  west as Great Bend in Barton and Larned in Pawnee Counties. The high price of land, five dollars  per acre, and the want of locations adapted to the establishment of colonies, prevented them from  settling in this district. 
 Several other trips for suitable land proving equally fruitless, the newcomers decided to return to  Russia. But about this time they met Mr. A. Roedelheimer, an agent of the Kansas Pacific Railroad,  who spoke to them of some desirable land his railroad company had to offer. Later he made three  trips with the men, going as far west as Hays and Ellis. The first land he showed them was near Hog  Back, and was so disappointing that they once more decided to return home. Mr. Roedelheimer then  showed them land near the present sight of Catherine, and some along the Smoky Hill River, and  finally that on which Victoria now stands. This land was cheap ($2.00 to $2.50 per acre), and well  adapted for forming colonies, and the newcomers decided to settle on it.  FIRST COLONISTS ARRIVE AT HAYS
 On February 21, 1876, fourteen of the families mentioned above arrived at Hays. The day following  they moved to the present site of Liebenthal, section 21, township 16, range 18 west, in Rush  County. 
 On March 1, 1876, the five families from Katharinenstadt (Bissing, the three Karlins, and Koerner),  arrived at Hays, where they remained one month and seven days. Each morning they drove to their  homesteads, where Catherine now stands, and worked at constructing their homes. Their building  operations completed, they moved into their new dwellings on the eighth of April, 1876.  Representatives of the Herzog contingent of immigrants had originally chosen land near Hog Back.  This choice, however, did not satisfy the men who later inspected it, and they in turn chose  section 1, township 14 south, and range 17 west as the site of their colony.  On April 8, 1876, twenty-three families came to Victoria and erected their first dwellings on the  east bank of the Victoria Creek, a little west of the present town.  Influenced, no doubt, by the glowing accounts of the colonists in America, a large group of  settlers from the western side of the Volga left Saratov on June 23, 1876. Only three settlements,  Pfeifer, Kamenka and Semenowka, were represented in this contingent. The names of the families  coming from Pfeifer were: Andrew Desch, George Etzel, Anton Holzmeister, Gottlieb Jacobs, Mathew  Jacobs, Michael Jacobs, Joseph Jacobs, George Schmidt, John Schmidt, Joseph Schmidt, Jacob  Schoenfield, John Breit, Valentine Schoenfeld, Peter Breit, and George Dome. From Kamenka came the  families of John Meder, John Schlieter, and Matthias Vogel. From Semenowka were George Seitz and  Casper Seitz. 
 The following day, June 24, the following left Katharinenstadt: John Karlin, Karl Koerner, Frederic  Meis, Mrs. Meis, Andrew Schmidt, Jacob Schmidt, John Schmidt, Peter Schmidt, Mrs. Schueler, Mrs. A.  Schuetz, Henry Staab, Karl Staab, August Walter, Frederic Walter, Jacob Walter and Jacob Welz.  On June 25 they overtook the first group and continued on together as far as Orel. Here the latter  party left in advance of the former, but they met again at Eydtkuhnen. George Schmidt and John  Meder here joined the group from Katharinenstadt and went with them to New York by way of Hamburg.  They reached Hays on July 26, and Catherine the day following. The other party sailed from Bremen,  and arrived at Topeka on July 23. From here most of them went to Hays on August 20 (or 23), and to  Pfeifer the next day. 
 The largest single expedition to leave Russia for America comprised 108 families, and started from  Saratov on July 8. This party had some difficulty in obtaining passports, but after paying the  government eighteen rubles (.55c today) per person and bestowing some gifts on the governor, all  were permitted to depart. 
 At Duenaburg, they were joined by a large party of Mennonites, and traveled together as far as  Eydtkuhnen, where they separated. The Mennonites finally settled in Nebraska.  As a result of the poor treatment they received on the North-German Lloyd ships, the colonists in  America advised their friends who contemplated emigration to take another route. Because of this,  those colonists who later settled in Munjor, Schoenchen, and Liebenthal went to Hamburg and came to  America on the Hamburg American Line. The others, to the number of 1,454 souls, arranged for  transportation to New York on the North-German Lloyd ship "Mosel”, at 38 rubles ($1.16 today) a  head. 
 When the group aboard the Mosel arrived in New York they received various offers of transportation  ranging from $18 to $22 a person. These offers were all refused. Finally an agreement was made to  transport them for sixteen rubles per passenger. Besides the Mennonites who went to Nebraska, there  were in this group the following, who also came to Kansas: Peter Braun, Peter Andrew Braun, Andrew  Brungardt Sr., Balthasar Brungardt, Franz Brungardt Sr., Franz Brungardt, John Peter Brungardt,  Peter Brungardt, Peter Brungardt, Alois Dening, Michael Dening, Andrew Dinkel, George Dinkel, John  Peter Dinkel, Michael Dreiling Sr., Anton M. Dreiling, Franz M. Dreiling, Michael M. Dreiling,  Peter M. Dreiling, John Dreiling, Elizabeth Dreiling, Paulina Dreiling, John Frank, Joseph Kapp,  Adam Knoll, Michael Kuhn Sr., John Kuhn Sr., Andrew Kuhn, John Kuhn, Michael Kuhn, Michael Kuhn,  Jr., Anton Mermis, Michael Pfeifer Sr., Adam Riedel, Martin Riedel, Michael Riedel, Peter Rome,  Ignaz Sander, Frederic Schamber, Andrew Scheck Sr., Andrew Scheck, Michael Schmidtberger, John  Vonfeld, John Wasinger, John Windholz, Michael Weigel, John Wittman, Peter Wittmann, Martin Yunker  and Peter Yunker. All of these came from Herzog, Russia. There were also John Leiker, Anton Rupp,  Caspar Rupp and Jacob Rupp, from Obermonjour, Russia; Joseph Graf Sr., Martin Quint and Michael  Quint of Louis, Russia; and Henry Gerber of Graf, Russia. All of these with the exception of Peter  Yunker who remained in Topeka till 1877, made their home in Herzog, arriving in Victoria on the  third of August, 1876. 
 In the meantime, the party traveling by way of Hamburg-American Line arrived in New York, and a few  days later came to Kansas. Included in the group were the founders of Munjor: Jacob Engel, John  Berg, Franz Leiker, Henry Leiker, Jacob Leiker, Joseph Leiker, Joseph Leiker, Konrad Leiker,  Michael Leiker, Nicholas Leiker, Peter Leiker from Obermonjour. Russia; John Dechant, John Herl,  Henry Miller, Henry Ruder, Stanislaus Ruder, Joseph Schreibvogel, Anton Schumacher, George  Schumacher, Henry Schumacher and Catherine Schumacher all of Wittmann, Russia; Nicholas Eberle,  Peter Gross, Matthias Rohr, and Peter Rohr of Mariental; Anton Wasinger and Anton Wasinger Jr., of  Schoenchen; Anton Schneider and Peter Stoecklein of Gattung; and John Goetz of Herzog. For several  days these families remained in Herzog, and then moved to a place on Big Creek, north of the  present site of Munjor. After staying here two months they removed to Section 25, in Wheatland  Township, where Munjor now stands. 
 With the founders of Munjor came the following families who settled in Liebenthal: Henry  Depperschmidt, Peter Depperschmidt, John Jacob Schoenthaler. Karl Herrglotz, Jacob Monsch, Joseph  Monsch, Michael Schmidt, Simon Schoenthaler, Joseph Schuckmann, Frederic Werth, Jacob Werth, John  Werth Sr., John Peter Werth, Karl Werth, Louis Werth and Jacob Zimmermann. These arrived at their  new home on the eve of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin (August 14th), 1876. In September Adam  Bieker, Frank Dreher, John Dreher, Konrad Dreher, Philip Dreher, Frederic Graf, Joseph Rumbach and  Joseph Zimmermann came to Liebenthal from Obermonjour. 
 Rothamel on the Ilawla sent a small quota of emigrants who left Saratov on July 24, 1876. This  group was made up of the following: John J. Basgall, his brother Joseph Basgall, Martin M.  Appelhans, John J. Basgall, Elizabeth Basgall, her son Joseph Basgall, Martin Appelhans, John  Basgall, son of John J. Basgall, and Alois Hartmann. All of these settled in Pfeifer.  On September 26, 1876, Jacob Staab, J. Jacob Staab, John Staab, Peter Staab, Raymond Staab and  Peter Ubert of Katharinenstadt, arrived in Catherine. 
 The last group of emigrants to leave Russia in 1876 came from Obermonjour. They left Saratov on  September 18-30, and arrived in New York aboard the "Gellert" of the Hamburg-American Line, about a  month later. On November 1, they arrived at Hays. This contingent was made up of the following  families who settled in Catherine: Karl Karlin, Leonard Mittelmeier of Katharinenstadt; Jacob  Meier, Henry Paul and Michael Peter of Louis; and John Giebler of Obermonjour. The party also  included Anton Befort, Konrad Befort, Michael Graf, Christian Hertl, John Klaus, John Krannawitter,  Jacob John Leiker, and Jacob Pfannenstiel, all of whom came from Obermonjour, Russia, and made  Munjor their home. 
 On August 6, 1877, the families of Joseph Giebler of Obermonjour, and Friedrich Weilert of  Katharinenstadt arrived in Catherine. 
 Johannes Kaeberlein, Jacob Kissner, Kaspar Kissner, Adam Stegmann, Matthew Stegmann, of Pfeifer,  Russia, and John Ingenthron, Anton Stremel, Anton Stremel Jr., John Stremel, Michael Urban, Jacob  Urban, Stephen Urban, George Urban, Mrs. Michael Urban, George Urban, and George and Jacob Burkart  of Kamenka, Russia, arrived at Pfeifer, Kansas, on November 12, 1977, A few days before Christmas,  the following families of Herzog, Russia, arrived at Herzog (Victoria, Kansas); Peter Linenberger,  Joseph Schmidtberger and Peter Kuhn. 
 The year 1878 marked the waning of the immigration to Ellis County. On June 20, Andrew Bahl, Jacob  Lang Sr., Peter Roth, Mrs. C. Schaefer, and her son George Schaefer of Kamenka, Russia, arrived in  Kansas. All with the exception of the Lang family, which remained in Herzog, went to Pfeifer.  On July 20, the following families came to Catherine front Katharinenstadt: Peter Leikam, Jacob  Mueller, Jacob Mueller Jr., and Michael Weilert; on November 25, the following: Dorothea Beilmann,  Jacob Dorzweiler, Anna Mittelmeier, and Heinrich Wolf, likewise former residents of  Katharinenstadt. 
 Late in July, or early in August a small party from Obermonjour settled in Munjor. These were the  families of Gerard Befort, Anton Dechant, Carl Dechant, Jacob Engel, Peter Klaus, John  Pfannenstiel, Konrad Rupp and John Stoecklein. Two weeks later Anton Gabel arrived alone.  The last large group of immigrants to Ellis County left Herzog, Russia, on August 8, 1878, under  the leadership of Joseph Linenberger. It was made up of the following families: John Billinger,  Anton Dening, Andrew Goetz, Henry Hansen, Peter Kuhn, Joseph Linenberger, John Pfeifer, Michael  Vonfeld, Valentine Weigel and John Windholz, from Herzog, and John Ernst, Laurence Herrmann, Adam  Ernst, Joseph Gassmann, Andrew Korbe and Peter Pfannenstiel of Mariental. Of these, the four last  named, together with Anton Dening, settled in Munjor, and the others in Herzog.  After the departure of this group, emigration from the Volga colonies practically ceased. Though  military service was disliked, it was not, as in the case of the Mennonites, violence to  conscience. As the years passed the colonists came to look upon conscription as a matter of course,  and in addition, letters relating the hardships met with in the New World had given military  service the appearance of a lesser evil. 
 Though by no means a friend of the Catholic religion, Catherine the Great did not molest the  Catholic colonists. Her commissaries had promised prospective settlers that they would always be  supplied with ministers of their respective denominations, and this promise was faithfully kept.  The people whose history we are writing were all Roman Catholics, and it is certain that even on  their journey from Germany to Russia, priests accompanied them. Thus, for example, we read of a  Father Corbinian, a Capuchin of Melniza, Bohemia, who in 1767 accompanied a group of emigrants from  Kassimow to their new homes on the Volga, ministering to them in all their spiritual needs -  baptizing infants, blessing marriages, administering the sacraments and burying the dead.  Once the colonies were founded, the first priests to minister to the spiritual needs of the  newcomers were Franciscans and Capuchins. The nationality of these priests is doubtful, but all  could speak the German language fluently, and were greatly beloved by the people on account of  their deep spirituality and unassuming character. They were sent by the government, and, as seems  most likely, came from St. Petersburg, Riga, Rival, Libau and various other cities of the Baltic  provinces, where they were probably doing missionary work at the time the Gemans settled in Russia.  The Franciscans and Capuchins were soon followed by Dominicans and Trinitarians, all fervent  priests, filled with love of God and zeal for the salvation of souls. Unfortunately for the  colonists, these men soon died off, and in their stead the government sent Polish priests, entirely  ignorant of the German language and out of sympathy with German customs and manners. Under their  inefficient ministration, the colonists lost much of their zeal for religion. Apparently conditions  became so bad that the settlers complained to the government, demanding priests who could speak  German. As a result of this appeal, ten Jesuits, well versed in German, were sent to the colonies  on the Volga, in 1803, and the Polish priests recalled. The Jesuits remained until 1820, when they  were banished. Under their guidance the colonies underwent a religious renaissance, the effects of  which were to last for years to come. It was during this period that the foundations were laid of  that lively faith, touching devotion, and whole-souled adherence to the Catholic Church which even  to this day characterizes the people. 
 For some unexplained reason the Jesuits were forced to leave in the fall of 1820. Once more Polish  Regulars, Dominicans, Carmelites, Trinitarians, Vincentians and Lazarists, took charge of the  colonists; For some reason or other they ministered to their flocks in a very haphazard manner, and  were gradually supplemented and supplanted by secular priests from the various Polish dioceses.  After the erection of the diocese of Tiraspol in 1847, German secular clergy gradually replaced  their Polish brethren. 
 When the colonists arrived in Ellis County, there was no Catholic Church on the Kansas Pacific  Railroad west of Salina. To offset this want as much as possible, the settlers erected a large  wooden cross in each village, about which the entire community gathered for devotions on Sundays  and holidays. Usually these devotions consisted in the recital of the prayers for Mass, the rosary,  and litanies, together with religious hymns. This custom which, with the exception of Schoenchen,  was universal in the colonies was faithfully maintained until 1879.  The first priest to visit the colonies was Rev. Adolf Wibbert, who said Mass for the newcomers for  the first time about April, 1876. At the time, he was stationed at Salina. In March he had paid a  visit to Fort Hays, where he said Mass occasionally, and had promised to visit the new settlements  on his next trip. From this time, until the advent of Rev. Valentine Sommereisen, he observed the  following schedule: On the third Saturday of each month he held divine services in the public  school at Ellis; on Sunday, in one of the barracks of Fort Hays; on Monday, at Liebenthal, to which  place the inhabitants of Schoenchen and Munjor came; on Tuesday, at Herzog; and on Wednesday, at  Catherine. In August, 1876, Rev. Martin Kuhn, then rector of Epiphany Church, Leavenworth, paid the  colonies a single visit. 
 In October, 1876, Rev. Valentine Sommereisen took up his residence at Hays and assumed the  spiritual charge of the colonies. These he visited regularly once a month until May, 1878. He was  the first priest to visit Pfeifer. 
 On Jan. 31, 1878, Rt. Rev. Louis M. Fink, O.S.B., of Leavenworth, in whose diocese the colonies  then lay, together with Rev. Hyacinth Epp, 0.M. Cap., at that time commissary of the Capuchins, who  in 1873 had come to Pittsburgh, Pa., because of the "Kulturkampf" then at its height in Germany,  visited Herzog; Bishop Fink had asked the Capuchins to take spiritual charge of the colonies, and -  after some hesitation - the number of Capuchins being small - Fr. Hyacinth accepted. May 11, 1878,  Rev. Matthew Hau, 0.M. Cap., and Rev. Anastasius Mueller, 0.M. Cap., established themselves at  Herzog. Father Matthew died about a month later, and was succeeded by Rev. Joseph Cal. Mayershofer,  0.M. Cap. On Aug. 25, 1883, Bishop Fink entrusted to the Capuchin Fathers the spiritual care of all  Catholics in Ellis County north of the Smoky Hill River. Three colonies south of the river, Pfeifer  and Schoenchen in Ellis County and Liebenthal in Rush County, were at times in charge of the  Capuchins, and at other times under the direction of the secular clergy. Of late years, however,  the latter have taken permanent charge. 
 As remarked above, in the beginning services were held about a large cross erected at a convenient  place in the village. With the advent of the priest, a private dwelling was used. Only later were  churches of modest dimensions and equipment erected. At Herzog, the first church was a lean-to,  built against the south side of Alois Dreiling's dwelling. It measured about 40x24 feet, and could  accommodate but part of the congregation. At Munjor the first church was a frame building measuring  41x20 feet; in Schoenchen, the first house of God was likewise built of wood, but was smaller than  the Munjor edifice, measuring 30x18x9 feet. These are typical of all the earliest churches in the  colonies. Only with the passing of the years and the expenditure of much labor and sacrifice were  the magnificent churches built which today are the pride and the joy of the villages.  Humble and lowly though the churches were, the spirit of genuine devotion and true Christianity of  a surety dwelt in them. The attendance at divine service on the part of the settlers may be said to  be exemplary. Many attend several or all the Masses on Sundays and holidays, as well as the  afternoon services, Vespers and Benediction. The services on Candlemas Day (February 2), the feast  of St. Blasius (February 3), and during Holy Week, are always well attended. On the feast of St.  Mark (April 25), the Rogation days (the three days before feast of the Ascension), and the feast of  Corpus Christi, every man, woman and child takes part in the procession which even today makes  quite a large circuit when the weather permits. Formerly, however, they were much longer. Thus, for  example, in the early days the procession from Catherine, Munjor and Pfeifer terminated at Herzog,  a distance of from eight to ten miles, and the Herzog procession wended its way to Munjor. While  marching, the people prayed the rosary and litanies, while the choir sang German and Latin hymns in  honor of the Holy Eucharist. 
 The conduct of the people during the divine services was always very devout. On entering a pew the  usual salutation was, "Gelobt sei Jesus Christus" (Praised be Jesus Christ). To the present day one  may, occasionally, see worshippers praying with outstretched arms in honor of the five wounds of  the crucified Savior. Whenever a member of the community died, the villages gathered together for  the "Todten Wacht," during which the rosary was prayed every hour. At Catherine it was customary on  the occasion of a death to ring the church bell at evening. This drew all the people to church,  where they prayed a rosary for the repose of the soul of their departed brother. This was repeated  each evening till the funeral. 
 As a general rule, children are brought to church for baptism soon after birth. Formerly only such  names were given to them as could be found in duly approved "Legende der Heiligen" (Lives of the  Saints). For girls, the name of the Blessed Virgin Mary was the general favorite, though St.  Catherine, St. Margaret, St. Ann and St. Rose were frequently chosen as patron saints. For boys,  the most common patrons were St. Joseph, St. John, St. Michael, St. Anthony and St. Francis. Quite  frequently double names were given, such as Mary-Anna, Anna-Catherine, Anna-Margaret, John-Jacob,  John-Joseph, John-George, etc. (In everyday use these were usually contracted into one: Marian,  Ammerkret, Hansjakob, Hansjoseph, and Hansjoerg.)
 The Empress Catherine permitted the settlers on the lower Volga to choose their own form of  government, only demanding of them that they submit to the prevailing form of civil law. Their  choice was a kind of communal government, each colony being ruled by a Mayor (Vorsteher), assisted  by two or four Councilmen (Beisitzer) and a Secretary (Schreiber). The legislative body consisted  of all the heads of families. 
 Since 1798, however, several colonies formed a circuit, the highest official of which was called  the Obervorsteher. The Obervorstehers in turn were subject to the Comptoir in Saratov. The Comptoir  was established March 17, 1766, and was made up of an Oberrichter (Supreme judge) and two  Mitglieder (Members), a Secretary, a Bookkeeper, a Translator, two Physicians and a Surveyor, all  of whom were subject to the Protective Chancery (Tutel-Kanzlei) in St. Petersburg.  To some extent the immigrants to Ellis County introduced these institutions in their new homes.  Thus, from April till the fall of 1876, Herzog had its Vorsteher, Town Crier (Buettel), and  Gemeinde versammlung (Legislative Body), and originally, homesteads were sought with a view to  distribution by lot as was customary in Russia. But when it was discovered that such a local  government body possessed no authority in the United States, it fell into discard, and the settlers  submitted their differences to the properly constituted authorities for settlement.  The communal life, however, remained, for when settling in America the first thought of the  newcomers was to find land suitable for farming, and in quantities large enough to permit the  founding of colonies. Unlike in Russia, these colonies were united by no legal bond. Rather, a  degree of rivalry existed between them which only the passing years have mollified. The communistic  character of the settlements has served to unite the inhabitants more closely in social life and,  especially in the early years, each village resembled one large family. Living as they did,  secluded from practically all outside influence, the colonies gradually underwent a rather slow but  healthy development, which permitted the settlers to retain the good they inherited, and at the  same time adopt the advantages of their new country. On the other hand, this seclusion retarded the  development of public spirit with the result that at the present day the villages, with the  exception of Victoria, are still under township law. Of late years, however, a marked change has  been brought about in this regard, and the future is bright with promise.  When they arrived in Ellis County the immigrants were for the most part very poor, having exhausted  all their resources on their long journey. The families who came with any considerable sum of money  were the exceptions. If in the course of time they bettered their condition, it is due solely to  their industry, economy and perseverance in the face of trying difficulties. In 1876 Ellis County  was still practically all a vast unbroken prairie. At Victoria, the newcomers found the present  railroad station and one other house, with the ranch of an Englishman set down here and there in  the vast territory. Near Munjor there was also a dwelling. 
 To construct some kind of shelter for themselves on their newly acquired land first demanded the  attention of the immigrants. In some instances, the first dwellings were rude board tents, which  were replaced, as the season advanced, by sod houses or dugouts. Generally, however, the sod houses  were built at once. Only a few of the settlers could enjoy the luxury of a two or three-room frame  house in the early days. Later, though, as prosperity increased, houses of stone, which required  labor rather than money, and of lumber, which required money, took the place of the dugout  throughout the colonies. It may not be out of place here to give a brief description of the early  sod house. 
 The walls were built of sod cut from the prairie. Trees and saplings gathered on the creek banks  formed the rafters and supports for the roof which was made of plain boards covered with a layer of  dirt several inches thick, firmly packed. The interior of the house usually contained two rooms - a  small anteroom containing the fire-place and the cooking utensils, and a larger one which served as  living, dining, and bed room. In some cases the larger room had a wooden floor, though more often  the bare earth had to serve this purpose. 
 The larger room contained the stove, which was used for baking and heating. This was of home  construction, being built of sunbaked brick made of soil mixed with a goodly portion of straw. The  stove was so constructed that almost anything combustible could be used as fuel. Straw, sunflowers  and wood were used, and in the absence of these, "mist-holz" had to serve the purpose. This latter  fuel was made by letting the accumulated manure of the barnyard heat and decomposes to a certain  degree, then spreading it out in a circular plot ten to twelve inches thick. After this, a number  of horses were made to tramp around in it and thoroughly mix it. The mixing process completed, it  was cut into blocks and dried in the sun. This fuel, when properly prepared, produced intense heat  and was very well adapted for use in the stoves. 
 Cooking utensils were few and simple: a tripod, a few iron or copper kettles, and a small  assortment of dishes being sufficient for the preparation of the meals, which consisted mostly of  one course, except on feast days, when more elaborate meals were prepared.  Like everything else, the furniture of the house was of the simplest: wooden bedsteads, all home- made of plain boards, mattresses filled with straw or hay, tables made of rough lumber, and benches  from four to eight feet long, which took the place of chairs.  The interior walls were frequently whitewashed and the entire house kept neat and clean, the women  taking a special pride in having an attractive, well-kept home.  The clothing of the early settlers was very plain, most of it being made at home by hand, as they  were unacquainted with sewing machines. Coming from a land of long, severe winters, they were  prepared to meet similar conditions here. All brought with them heavy fur-lined overcoats, felt  boots, and long topped boots, i.e., boots with shafts, into which the trousers were stuck. These  latter were worn the year around. Especially peculiar were the large sheepskin coats, woven with  the fur on the inside. The upper part to the waist was close-fitting, and the lower part was  attached at the waist in folds after the manner of a skirt, causing it to spread below. As  headgear, the newcomer wore a cap (carduse), somewhat similar to the cap worn by the American boy  today, but which at the time was somewhat of a novelty and attracted quite a bit of attention. The  women and girls continued to dress as they did in Russia. They wore neither hats nor bonnets, but  were contented with small, black shawls which they frequently embroidered with flower designs in  colored silk. On their arrival in America, the men wore their hair long, i.e., from the crown to  the neck. This custom has gradually disappeared. 
 Though originally a large percentage of the immigrants who settled on the Volga were artisans, all  were compelled by circumstances to devote themselves to agriculture. In addition to cereals, they  also cultivated tobacco and raised cattle. Of those who later came to America, practically all were  farmers, and as a general rule all remained true to their calling here in Ellis County.  Some few of the settlers brought with them small quantities of seed - spring wheat, tobacco and  watermelons. Spring wheat, which was successfully cultivated in Russia, did not thrive well here,  and after a few experiments was discarded and only winter wheat sown. In the early days tobacco was  extensively cultivated. At present it is still planted but only in small quantities. Watermelons  thrive well, and are quite generally cultivated for home use. The cultivation of other vegetables,  however, as well as of cattle, is carried on only on a very small scale. Maize and Kafir corn are  raised as food for the cattle. 
 On their first arrival in Ellis County, lack of resources prevented the settlers from doing much  farming, and in order to make a living they hired themselves out as laborers. The English  colonists, who in 1873 founded Victoria, gave employment to a number, while the majority found work  on the railroad. With the money they earned by their labor, they bought land and stock, and as  conditions allowed devoted themselves exclusively to the development of their farms, for them the  most congenial kind of work. 
 Owing to their seclusion, the settlers in Russia retained their native tongue, German, and few ever  acquired a thorough knowledge of the Russian language. The settlers in Ellis County still speak  German, and even today there are but few children in the settlements who cannot speak it. This  heritage is still fostered at home, and, to some extent, in the parish schools. The spoken German  closely resembles that spoken in the Palatinate and in Bavaria. Some varieties in the language of  the different villages still remain, such as, e.g., the pronunciation of e as ä, â, õ í in such  words as "Weizen," "Stehen," etc. One peculiarity is that words are still employed in a sense that  has grown obsolete, as "bloede." in the sense of timid.  As a class, the people are very conservative, and for a long time clung tenaciously to a number of  peculiar customs which only the last few years have tended to root out. In part these customs were  connected with the various ecclesiastical festivals. Thus, on Christmas Eve, a lady dressed in  white, with a girdle of blue and face veiled, would appear in each house as the herald of  the "Christ Kindlein" (Christ Child). The first sign of her approach was the tinkling of a small  bell, followed by a knock at the door. Entering she saluted all with the greeting: "Gelobt sei  Jesus Christus" (Praised be Jesus Christ). Next calling for the youngest child, she would recite  some short prayer as evidence of diligence in this regard, and would then reward it with gifts. The  older children were then summoned and not infrequently mildly chastised for various faults  committed, after which they too received presents. Finally, a quantity of nuts was thrown into the  air and as the children scrambled for them the white-robed herald departed.  In Catherine it was customary for each child to call upon his godparents on Christmas and Easter  and offer them the greetings of the season. As a reward for his thoughtfulness he received a  quantity of sweets which he carried away in a white cloth. 
 On New Year's Day the children called upon their relatives and friends and wished them a Happy New  Year, always employing the same formula: "Ich wünsche Euch ein glückseliges Neujahr, langes Leben,  Gesundheit, Friede und Enigkeit, nach dem Tode die ewige Glückseligkeit." (I wish you a happy New  Year, long life, health, peace and unity, and after death eternal happiness.) For this greeting the  children were rewarded with sweets. 
 In Holy Week the Church bells are silent from Holy Thursday till Saturday. During this time it was  customary for the altar boys to go through the village with wooden clappers to announce the time of  divine service and of the Angelus. After Mass on Holy Saturday, they went from house to house  collecting eggs as their reward for services rendered. 
 A great number of marriage customs prevailed in the colonies, differing considerably in the various  villages. Thus, at Schoenchen and several of the other settlements, oral invitations to the wedding  were served by two men deputed by the fathers of the bridal couple. These men carried canes to  which a ribbon was attached, and walked through the colony inviting the chosen guests, using for  this purpose a special formula. At Catherine, however, written invitations were always sent out,  and the oral form dispensed with. 
 The evening before a wedding, known as polterabend (rachet eve), was given over to music, dancing  and general merry making. Before going to church on the wedding day the bridal couple knelt on a  cloth spread on the floor, facing each other and with hands joined, and received the blessing of  their parents and of all the relatives present. 
 At the dinner which followed the wedding the bridal couple, though seated at table, did not partake  of food with the guests, but later on took their meal alone in another room. While at table, the  bride was robbed of one shoe, which had to be redeemed with money by the best man. After the  festive meal, dancing was begun by the young husband and wife and the marriage witnesses. During  the dance presents were pinned to the bride's dress. 
 The settlers are great card players, frequently coming together on an afternoon or evening to play  Durack, Kopfbauer and Solo, all specific Russian games. 
 In Russia each settler received as his portion an area of land in keeping with the number of male  members of his family, females being disregarded. A remnant of this custom is to be found in Ellis  County today. Farms are generally divided among the boys of the family, while a present in the  manner of a dowry is the usual portion of the girls. 
 The status of woman is to all purposes that of a "Hausfrau," the home being the sphere of her  activity. In the early days she also lent a hand in the harvest fields. The large family is  proverbial. among the settlers and from every standpoint their family life is pure, divorce and  illegitimates being practically unknown. 
 The details given above portray but in part the character and activity of the settlers. Various  interests, already in the early years, and even more so at present, drew many from the settlements  to other towns. The largest contingent is at Hays, whose Catholic congregation has several hundred  German-Russian families among its members. A goodly number also moved to Ellis and Walker in Ellis  County, and to Gorham in Russell County. 
 The nuclei of several new settlements have been formed by the erection of churches at Emmeram,  Antonino, Hyacinth, Yocemento, Vincent, Severin and a number of other convenient points.  The story of the quiet and unassuming conquest of the one time desert by the German-Russian  immigrants is one of the brightest pages of the history of Kansas. Great were the difficulties they  had, and still having, to contend with; but they are being met as they come, by the never-failing  courage of the settlers.
 In Russia during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the education of the common people  was sadly neglected. Indeed, the colonists on the Lower Volga, together with the native Russian  peasantry, were the victims of a deliberate policy on the part of the government to discourage, for  political reasons, the education of the masses. 
 The German immigrants, however, refused to let their children be deprived of an education.  Receiving no help from the government, they erected private schools in each of the colonies and  attempted, as best they could, to instruct the children. Each village was forced to finance its own  school. No money could be raised by taxation, and the people themselves were poor. All these causes  worked together to prevent the schools from developing to any noticeable degree. A schoolmaster  (Schulmeister), who at the same time was sacristan and choir director, presided over each village  school, some of which contained as many as two and three hundred pupils. There was no division into  grades, no standard textbooks, and, in fact, no system whatever. Conditions such as these readily  account for the fact that numbers of the pioneers in Ellis County can neither read nor write.  After coming to the United States the immigrants attempted to educate their children. Private  teachers, who taught in German only, were employed to conduct school in some private dwelling.  Thus, at Herzog we find Peter Linenberger, who had studied at the seminary at Saratov, teaching  first in the home of John Sander, and later in the home of Alois Dreiling. At Schoenchen, John  Dreher taught in his own home, while at Catherine, Jacob Schmidt, who had been a schoolmaster in  Katharinenstadt, Russia, instructed the children regularly for years.  These private schools were, however, but temporary makeshifts. The colonists soon learned that  schools could be maintained by taxation, school districts were organized, public school teachers  employed, and the English language taught. 
 But it is with the parochial school that the history of the development of education in the  colonies is most closely connected, and in these schools was the greatest progress made.  The first parochial school in Ellis County was opened at Victoria in September, 1879, by Sisters  Agatha and Aurea of the Congregation of St. Agnes; who had come to Victoria for this purpose on  August 29. 
 Until 1888, the church built by the Hon. Walter Maxwell served the double purpose of church and  school. In that year Father Anselm Bayrau, 0.M. Cap., built a large, four-room school which  measured 66x30x23 feet. Northeast of the school a convent was built for the Sisters who until this  time had lived in an annex built to the church. The present commodious school building, which  contains eight large class rooms, was completed in July, 1898, by Father Gabriel Spaeth, 0.C. Cap.  For years the first church in Munjor was used as a school on week days. The present stone  schoolhouse was completed in September, 1893. It measures 74x36x37 feet, contains five class rooms,  and cost about $3,600.00. 
 At Catherine the first school was built in 1879. In 1902 the present four-room stone structure was  erected. At Pfeifer a large parochial school measuring 65x4O feet, two stories high, was built in  1897-98. Schoenchen and Liebenthal also have parochial schools conducted by Sisters.  The beginnings in the parochial schools were very humble. In the first years the curriculum  embraced but reading, writing, arithmetic, religion and singing. Both German and English were  employed, the former in the morning and the latter in the afternoon. In addition to the sisters,  who taught daily, the pupils received religious instruction at stated-times from the pastor, who  likewise conducted periodic examinations. 
 Due to a number of causes, progress was rather slow in the early days. Many of the older people  were not very enthusiastic about education, attendance at school was irregular and intermittent,  the children frequently being kept on the farms as long as possible in fall, and removed from  school very early in spring; not accustomed to special assessments, the fee of fifty cents per  month per child proved to be quite a burden to many parents; at home and on the village street the  only language used was German, and as a result, the children made but little headway in English.  Though they learned to read and write it, fluency in speech was lacking, a defect which to some  extent is noticeable even today. 
 In the course of time, however, all these hindrances to progress were removed. Indifference and  apathy have given way to a genuine eagerness for education, children are sent to school regularly,  and the people willingly make many sacrifices to keep up their schools. Every parish school has  been standardized, the curriculum extended so as to embrace all the branches required by the laws  of the state, and all the Sisters have teachers' certificates. The result of all this is easily  seen in the graduates sent out by these schools. In every respect they are equal if not superior to  the pupils of the public schools. 
 Nor has higher education been neglected in the colonies. The first attempt in this field was made  by Rev. Lawrence Becker, 0.M. Cap., who in 1893 opened an advanced course for boys at Hays. Owing  to poor crops in the immediately succeeding years, however, this course was discontinued on May 14,  1895. The project was revived in 1906 when the Capuchins opened Hays Catholic College.  Of recent years quite a number of children of the colonies are attending various institutions of  higher education. The young men attend chiefly: St. Mary's College, St. Mary's, Ks.; St. Benedict's  College, Atchison, Ks.; St. Francis Solanus' College, Quincy, Ill.; St. Fidelis College, Herman,  Pa.; St. Louis University, St. Louis, Mo., and Creighton University, Omaha, Neb., while the girls  usually choose one of the following: Nazareth Academy, Concordia, Ks.; Mt. Carmel Academy, Wichita,  Ks.; St. Scholastica's Academy, Atchison, Ks. 
 Progress in education has been especially pronounced during the past fifteen years. A number of  parishes have introduced high schools, and the demand for higher education for boys especially has  become so insistent that the Rt. Rev. Bishop Tief has found it necessary to sponsor the erection of  a new college. The comprehensive plans for this undertaking, the consummation of educational  progress in the colonies, contemplate the erection of a series of buildings costing about  $1,000,000.00. The administration building, a magnificent structure of brick and terra cotta, is  now under construction. 
 Offered land and religious freedom plus a military exemption from Catherine The Great of Russia,  141 people from Germany, Austria and France settled and started Herzog, Russia in 1766.  By 1871  they grew and 
 The one hundred year military exemption was coming to an end. In 1874 the immigration to the U.S.  began.  All who wished to immigrate had to give 10% of their property value to the government plus  18 rubles (about $6) per person for the trip.
 The Dinkel Family:
 In 1723 Nicolaus Dinkel was born in Wittlich,Germany.  Which is located in the western part of  Germany near the border of Luxembourg and France.  He and is wife Anna started their family in  Wittlich, and moved to Herzog, Russia, along with their son, George Jakob Dinkel(1754-1798)where  George began his family in 1784.  
 Sometime on or before 1790 they moved to Leichtling, Russia which is located south of Saratov in  the Volga region. 
 Josef Dinkel (1795 -   )began his family in Leichtling but after the death of his first wife  (Catharina Riedel), a family was begun with his second wife (Catharina Graf) in Herzog, Russia.  Joseph (II)(1824 -   ) was born in Leichtling but started his family in Herzog.  His oldest son was  Anton Dinkel (1849-1936) who was my great grandfather.  
 Anton moved his family to the United States in 1876 where they lived in Victoria, Kansas for a time  before they moved to St. Peters where my fathers life began. The Wasinger Family:  In 1876 Johannes Wasinger II and his wife Catherina(Rome) Wasinger along with  their five children joined the largest single expedition to leave Russia for America.  This  consisted of 108 families. They left Herzog, about July 6-7, 1876, by horses and wagons, for  Kosakenstat, 40 miles away; then by boat on the Volga river to Saratov. On July 8, 1876 they left  Saratov by train and entered Poland at Witebek.  To enter Poland each adult had to have 150 rubles  ($46) on hand.  They traveled on to Bremen, Germany. 
 After a 3 day layover, A man from the SS (Steam Ship) Mosel brought good news that their voyage,  which the fare was 38 rubles ($12) each, included all expenses.  The next day was filled with fear  of the vast ocean as they left for Bremenhafen. Freight was loaded in England and the journey  across the wide ocean began.  They had several days of calm seas and the young people spent much of  their time on deck.  The women did various chores, mostly washing clothes and drying them which was  a problem with no clothes lines.  So they would pin the many washed diapers to their full skirts  and walk around until they were dry this kept them occupied most of the day.   There were a total of 705 persons on board. Twenty one in first class.  Sixty five in second class  and 619 in steerage.  Johannes and his family were in steerage.  They arrived in Castle Gardens,  New York July 29, 1876, after 14 1/2 days at sea. 
 Again they had to make arrangement for transportation to their new home in Herzog, Kansas just  north of Victoria, Kansas.
 At first the railroad gave various offers ranging from eighteen to twenty two rubles.  These offers  were all refused.  Finally an agreement was made to transport them for sixteen rubles ($5) per  passenger.  This cost Johannes one hundred twelve rubles ($35). They arrived in Victoria, Kansas on August 3, 1876.

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Catherine the Great Invites the German Colonists to Come and Settle the Semi-Arid Regions of Her Far-Flung Domain

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