Literature > Major Works > Minkh > Rosenberg

Rosenberg, pages 825-829.

Rosenberg, Umet, also Ilovlinsky Umet, a German volost village of the Kamyshin uyezd 3rd police district of Ilovlinsky volost, on the Ilovlya river and great post road from Saratov to Kamyshin, Tsaritsyn, and Astrakhan. Situated 25.5 verst to the north of the city of Kamyshin, it is also the site of a rural district [zemsky] postal station with 9 horses. Distances from Rosenberg are: to Kamyshin, 25.5 verst, to the station Ust-Gryaznukha 20.5 verst, village of Guselka 20, Dvoryansky estate 6, Dubovka estate 14, and village of Verkhnaya Kulalinka summer tract 30 verst. The colony of Rosenberg consists of one village in which settler-landowners live, German Lutherans and Baptists. In Rosenberg are the directorate of the Ilovlinsky volost (which see [elsewhere in the encyclopedia]), a medical assistant's station with one medical assistant (the doctor comes once every two weeks), the Lutheran church and school, and the residence of the rural assemblyman [zemsky nachalnik] of the eighth district. The colony is located at 50:17 north latitude, 15:1 1/2 east longitude from Pulkovo [= Moscow; standard longitude from Greenwich is approximately 45:20 east longitude].

At the beginning of the 1820s, several colonists of the Ust-Kulalinka okrug founded on this place the colony of Umet (khutor, or farm/estate), from which the current village retained the general and more widely used folk name of Umet. The previous official postal station "Ilovlinsky Umet" was destroyed in the 1860s. By the end of 1830, 17 families of Ust-Kulalinsk and other German okrugs of the Kamyshin uyezd lived here as farmers. These first settlers founded a school in the communal house. In 1852 colonists began to relocate here from other areas, including Lesnoy Karamysh [Grimm], Gory Karamysh [Baiter], Kostysha [Kostichen], Verkhnaya Dobrinka [Dreispitz], Shcherbakovka, Vodyanoy Buyerak [Stephan], Verkhnaya Kulalinka [Kulalinkrr/Holstein], and Ust-Kulalinka [Galka].

The village is spread out on the left shore of the Ilovlya river (some call it the Ilavla) by a steep bluff, on which in former times grew the rose bushes from which the village received its official name of Rosenberg (hill of roses). According to the registry of colonies of foreign settlers founded on lands furnished by the crown (Our Colonies, A. Klaus, 1869), Rosenberg was founded in 1850-53, and the relocated colonists were provided with 14 V2 desyatine of arable land per person in the 9th revision [of a census]; altogether 4711 desyatine according to the plan of economic survey were allocated from lands under the authority of the Saratov Office of Settlement Affairs [Saratovskaya kontora inostrannykh poselentsev]. According to information of 1859, the 10th revision in 1857 counted 98 households with 393 males and 403 females, totaling 796 people. In the list of populated places of the Central Statistical Committee published in 1862, the German colony of Ilovlinsky Umet, or Rosenberg, is shown near the river Ilovlya on the Saratov-Astrakhan postal tract, 25 verst from the uyezd city of Kamyshin. In 1860 there were 80 households with 405 males and 403 females, totaling 808 persons, one Lutheran church, a school, and the postal station (see map on page 342 [p. 283). There was no out-settlement from Rosenberg.

The village of Rosenberg stretches along the left bank of the Ilovlya River. The valley of the Ilovlya stretches from wide [wet] meadows on the right bank to a low chain of hills on the left bank. Behind the village these hills form a plateau which drops into a ravine that leads east to the Volga. The village therefore lies on the bank of the Ilovlya, having behind it to the east a long hill, approximately 13 sazhen high. Behind the hill lies the steppe. In front of the colony on the right side of the Ilovlya is a wide ravine, partially flooded in the spring by the overflow of the river. This ravine, occupied partially by meadow, part of which is cut for hay, has fairly good dark soil, and further to the west is bordered by low hills.

The Ilovlya flows in this place from the northeast to the southwest, and the streets of Rosenberg run in the same direction. Actually, there is one main street, the highway or post road, the other street is shorter as a result of a bend in the Ilovlya and the closeness and separation of the hill chain. The church and a small bell tower stand on a square on the main street. The hill is lower at one end of the village, so there alleyways have been built to ascend the bluff. At the base of the bluff of the hill in the village is a shallow gully occupied by vegetable gardens; in spring, when the water runs from the hill, here appears a standing lake of approximately 500 square sazhen, which dries out only at the beginning of June. The villagers then plant patches of cabbage and tobacco on this dry space. In the spring the Ilovlya floods all the right bank, which is lower than the left; often the water from the northeast end floods the main street, which runs along the bank of the river, and leaks into cellars where it stands for one to two and one-half days. From the southeast end the water reaches yearly up the main street to the church square, lying in the middle of the village.

With the rise in the level of the Ilovlya, the water level rises in the wells. These wells have a depth everywhere of 1/2 sazhen, at which level there is a deposit of sand which sucks at the leg when one steps in it, and many smooth stones. Old people say that while digging the wells in the meadow they found smooth stones and [bivalve] shells the size of the palm. In one well was found a piece of pure copper at a depth of one sazhen, and in another a piece of wood at 2 sazhen. Water for drinking and cooking is taken from the Ilovlya and from 2-3 wells. Usually the water in the wells is somewhat slimy and nitrous to the taste, leaving a powder on the walls of the cooking vessel. The bottom of the Ilovlya is hard, consisting of sand and in places of small stones. The water in it, except in early spring, is light, clear, and soft. There are no ponds or lakes in the vicinity of the village, but across the Ilovlya on the right side there are lakes. Vegetable gardens are cultivated on the lakeshores; the first settlers called these "lake gardens." There are several paths which run to the river, and there the colonists take water for drinking, water their stock, and wash clothing. During field work in the summertime, the people use water from several springs and ponds which are located in the fields.

All workable land of the village society is: arable 5157 1/5 desyatine, non-arable 3080 desyatine, all together 8237 1/2 desyatine [sie] of arable and non-arable land. Of that quantity, 4232 desyatine are tilled. There are 102 desyatine of meadows and 209 desyatine of forest. Fields bear individual names such as "Hebreidevald," "Kuplenskoye," "Spitz," "Tambov," and "Leimspitz." The village lands make up one contiguous area, divided by the Ilovlya, along which are located the meadows and part of the plowed lands. Around the village are located common pastures, and beyond them are the plowed fields, located about 1 verst from the buildings. The plowed fields stretch on for about 12 verst. Woods are located among the fields about 4 verst from the settlement. The surface of the fields is for the most part hilly. There are gullies, two of them deep and steep-sided, devoid of all growth. Two are covered with woods. The soil is 1/4 good black soil [chemozem], 1/4 a bit worse, about 1/4 sandy, and 1/4 sand. The subsoil is clay under the black soil, and sand and stones under the sandy soil.

During the formation of the colony, the distribution of the land was done according to the number of males. According to the 1876 revision [of the census], when the first redistribution was done, there were 610 males who received land for a period of 3 years. In 1879 the redistribution was the same. The redistribution of 1882 was done for a period of 4 years among 745 males. In addition, 65 desyatine belonging to the crown were placed under "debt cultivation," which debtors were to have worked. The strictly established system of field crop rotation did not exist in the colony. Only in 1887 was division of field work established. [These were procedures for land reform established by the rural assemblies-zemstvo.]

Wet meadows (102 desyatine) and dry (more than 100 desyatine) are mowed annually. Forest of 209 desyatine is cut yearly in sectors by households in the autumn. In the spring they gather windfall branches. Huts are generally heated with dung. Vegetable gardens have been divided by household from old times, and are not redistributed, neither are threshing floors and yards. Farmsteads for the new families are allotted after harvest. By 1883 there were 129 households which had potato patches near the fields. There are no fruit orchards in the vicinity of the village, but orchards are located within the village in the vegetable gardens, especially in those of householders whose vegetable gardens are now located under the hill in the gully. Further, near the base of the hill is a space where vegetables are planted. [Spaces] nearer the yards are planted with fruit trees, in apple, pear, plum, cherry, and berry.

There are 2 reserve grain stores in the community. Almost 1/2 of the crop sown is spring wheat, almost 1/4 is rye, almost 1/8 is oats, and 1/8 is barley, flax, and sunflowers. They farm with plows which are pulled by oxen led by a small boy or girl. Behind the plow walks a man, less frequently a girl, should she have sufficient strength for the work. Sowing often suffers because of gophers, of which there are many. By court decision in 1881, it was decreed that it was necessary to dig trenches around them in case gophers appeared. [ie; if gophers appeared in a field, a trench was dug around the field, not the gophers (I think). -Trans.] It was then established that each householder was to [turn in] 16 gopher tails per person in his household. A fine was levied for any number under that quantity of tails, with the funds thus obtained to be used to acquire the appointed quantity. Destruction of gophers is accomplished exclusively with water. The settlement has almost 2000 desyatine of common pasture. In 1886, 367 desyatine of common pasture were divided among the people for cultivation. No land is leased to outsiders, [but is leased] only to their own villagers of their own settlement.

Homes in the village are part wood, part stone, and all of one story. Wood homes are built on a stone foundation which has a height of one Qrshin or more. Roofs are covered either with shingles or thatch. In rooms of average size there are 3 to 5 windows; double frames are used only in homes of the well-to-do. The middle wall which divides the kitchen from the other rooms is occupied by the oven/stove [pech]. On the stove are two metal heating surfaces of unequal size; the stove is fed with firewood, or more often with dung and thatch. Smoke exits through a pipe, the lower part of which forms a hood over the hearth in the kitchen where food is prepared in the summertime. In the winter, food is prepared for the most part in the oven and on the cooking surfaces in large pots.

Of 142 homes (in 1890), 32 have clay floors. All floors are sprinkled with sand, so they do not get dirty very quickly. Inner walls and the oven are covered with clay and whitewashed. Every Saturday and before each holiday, and often in the middle of the week, householders clean and wash rooms, windows, and the vestibules and roof. Germans sleep in beds, both adults and children. They never lie on the floor nor do they use pallets [Russian-style sleeping pallets]. The colonists do not have Russian-style bathhouses. They change their underclothing [or: clothing] weekly before every Sunday. On Saturdays in summer they clean the whole home and the yard and the part of the street in front of their homes. Almost everyone keeps dung in rear buildings [postoiki]. After the first spring work, they take it out of the village and make dung blocks [dried, for heating]. Rooms in the homes are lighted with kerosene lamps.

The potato is the main food for the Germans at all times of the year. They also eat vegetables year-round. They prepare vegetable gardens even in part of the fields. In the morning almost all of the colonists of Rosenberg drink so-called "steppe tea" a concoction of licorice root which grows here in abundance. They flavor the tea with some sort of grass. In the fall they butcher hogs, make sausage, and salt or smoke the remainder of the pig. There is no slaughterhouse in the village, and each household butchers stock for itself. If an animal dies, it is buried behind the hill.

In one place behind the village, where the bluff is a little lower and the slope gentler, there is a cemetery, located about 10 sazhen from the nearest houses. Close to it is a well about 10 arshin deep, with good water. Behind the cemetery is a big ravine. In the village there are two schools. One is the German community school founded in 1830 and supported by the village in the community hall. In 1890 it was attended by 117 boys and 108 girls. The school year runs in the winter from October 1 to April 1. The other school is a Russian-German school founded by an association of local settlers and currently supported by the founders. This school also receives assistance from the Kamyshin rural assembly [Zemstvo]. Previously it received 100 rubles per year, but from 1880 on it received 250 rubles per year. Thirty-nine boys study in this school.

From the top of the bluff at Rosenberg, the landscape spreading out from its base is quite pretty. The base of the hill is green with vegetation; beyond it one sees the homes of the settlers disappearing into the green growth. Many old trees stand in front of the homes and along the Ilovlya river, which here in the valley flows like a glistening ribbon between verdant banks. Across from the village on the right side of the Ilovlya is an are-shaped lake, Kachkarnoye [Rolling Wave Lake], evidently the old path of the river.

Translation by Richard Rye.

Last updated 31 August 2009.