Stefan, Stephan, Vodnobuyerachnoye, Vodyanoi Buyerak, Wodjanoi Bujerak, Wodjanoy Buyarak
50º32' N 45º38' E
Stephan was founded on 24 August 1767 by the Government as a Lutheran colony by 31 families who came Darmstadt, Prussia, Württemberg, and Mecklenburg. The colony was named Stephan after its first leader. By official decree dated 26 February 1768, the colony received the Russian name of Vodyanoi Buyerak which means "water gully."
In 1841, a fire destroyed 22 homes in Stephan.
Since 1770, there was a parochial school in the colony. A government (Russian) school was founded in 1874, and in 1898 a private school was established by L. F. Schneider. There was also an orphanage called "Salem" was also located in Stephan.
In 1856, several families settled in Oberdorf, a daughter colony to the southwest of the other colonies on the Bergseite. From 1859 and 1886, 78 families (total of 671 people - 351 male & 320 female) resettled to daughter colonies on the Wiesenseite. Between 1863-1868, three families (29 people) moved to the Stavropol Province. Immigration to America began in 1886.
There was a hospital in the village as of 2003.
The Stephan parish was founded in 1771 when a wooden church was constructed. A new Lutheran church was built of stone in 1872. Some residents of Stephan were Baptist.
The congregation in Stephan was served by the following pastors:
1771-1778 Johann Kaspar Brauns
1778-1778 Laurentius Ahlbaum
1779-1782 Klaus Peter Lundberg
1782-1788 Jakob Alexander Topelius
1798-1811 Karl Adolf Günther
1812-1834 Ludwig Heinrich Dietrich
1835-1838 Ernst Theodor Hellmann
1839-1861 Robert Collins
1863-1872 Georg Gottlieb Kayser
1875-1879 Richard Heinrich Walker
1882-1915 Johannes Schneider
1917-1918 Alfred Kleindienst
1927-1929 Max Maier
1929-1930 David Kaufmann
The following served in Stephan as vicar:
1898-1899 Emil Friedrich Busch
**Of which 318 households were German.
***Of whom 1,653 were German (1,656 households: 798 male & 855 female).
****Of whom 2,054 were German.
- Beratz, Gottieb. The German colonies on the Lower Volga, their origin and early development: a memorial for the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the first German settlers on the Volga, 29 June 1764. Translated by Adam Giesinger (Lincoln, NE: American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, 1991): 353.
- Diesendorf, V.F. Die Deutschen Russlands : Siedlungen und Siedlungsgebiete : Lexicon. Moscow, 2006.
- Mink, A.N. Historical and Geographical Dictionary of the Saratov Province [in Russian] (Saratov, Russia, 1898): 128-131.
- Mittheilungen und Nachrichten fuer die evangelische Geistlichkeit Russlands: 1841, p. 295.
- Pallas, P.S. Reise durch verschiedene Provinzen des Russischen Reichs. Theil 3,2, Reise aus Sibirien zurueck an die Wolga im 1773sten Jahr (St. Petersburg: Kaiserl. Academie der Wissenschaften, 1776): 621.
- Pleve, Igor R. The German Colonies on the Volga: The Second Half of the Eighteenth Century, translated by Richard Rye (Lincoln, NE: American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, 2001): 318.
- Preliminary Results of the Soviet Census of 1926 on the Volga German Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (Pokrovsk, 1927): 28-83.
- Schnurr, Joseph. Die Kirchen und das Religiöse Leben der Russlanddeutschen, Evangelischer Teil.
- "Settlements in the 1897 Census." Journal of the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia (Winter, 1990): 18.
Last updated 6 April 2013.