Sunday, February 28, 2010

Pfeifer, Russia


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Pfeifer is located in the Saratov gubernia, on the hilly side of the Volga River, along the Ilavlya River and Gnilushka Creek. It was originally inhabited entirely by those of the Roman Catholic faith. Small children were taught reading, writing, and religion by a schoolmaster under the supervision of a priest in a special building. The land of Pfeifer is sand, clay, and saline. Because of that, in even the most fruitful years, there were no harvests of any sort of grain. As a result, they farmed on state owned steppe lands adjacent to the colony. The hay lands were in abandoned wasteland. They pastured livestock on their own lands. There were no forests, so they used mostly dung for fuel. Because of inadequate hay for livestock, they sometimes purchased it. All of the colonists engaged in farming and were favorably disposed toward work. The buildings for the most part were old, but repaired. Their yards were fenced with wattle, and their kitchen gardens were close to the banks of the Ilavlya River. They had no orchards or aviaries, but they did have two flour mills. Their harvests were only mediocre, and every year a large quantity of the harvest was consumed by gophers. The only means they had for destroying the gophers was by flooding. Pfeifer was founded in 1767 by 328 persons. The Russian name for the colony is Gnilushka, meaning "dead tree stump."

The house shown on the top was my Grandpa Burghardt's family home.

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