Settlements along the Volga > Mennonite Colonies
The Russian government granted permission to 100 West Prussian Mennonite families to establish a colony in the Russian province of Samara in 1853. These 100 families came primarily from the Ladekopp and Furstenwerder congregations and were led by Johann Wall and Claus Epp Sr., the Mayor of Furstenwerder. As a whole, the area in which they were to settle was called the Am Trakt Settlement, a name derived from the road near the settlement known as Salztrakt, or salt road, which had been used to haul salt from the Elton Sea for many years.
After wintering in the nearby village of Warenburg, the Mennonites began building in the spring of 1854. The first village in the settlement was Hahnsau, followed by Köppental in 1855, Lindenau in 1858, Fresenheim in 1860, Hohendorf in 1861, Lysanderhöh in 1864, Orlof in 1871, Ostenfeld in 1872, Medemtal in 1874, and Valuyevka in 1875.
When completed in 1880 the Am Trakt Settlement consisted of ten colonies on 37,800 acres of land.
- Am Trakt Mennonite Settlement (Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia)
- Dietz, Jacob E. History of the Volga German Colonists (Lincoln, NE: American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, 2005): 393-402.
- Dyck, Johannes J. Am Trakt: a Mennonite Settlement in the Central Volga Region. Winnipeg, MB: CMBC Publications, 1995.
Last updated 9 March 2011.