Bergdorf [Russian: Kolosova]

by Homer Rudolf

[Mertens, pp. 240-241] gives the span of 1808-1810 for the founding of the village, which ranges from the time the decision was made to resettle the colonists living in Grigoriopol through the period when the village was actually settled in 1810. [Glückstal-1915] gives 1808, [Keller, vol 1, p. 31] gives 1809, and, beginning in the 1896 edition, [OdKal] gives 1810.

Bergdorf is always listed in third place among the Glückstal colonies, ahead of Kassel, so the assumption is that is was settled before Kassel. Bergdorf was settled by 68 families: 263 individuals – 136 males and 127 females. Again Württemberg was the place of origin for the largest number of families – 35; 21 came from Alsace, 4 from Baden, 1 from Palatinate, 1 from Prussian-Poland, 1 from Hungary, 1 from Hamburg, and 1 from Hesse. This resulted in a population that was about half Swabian and half Franconian; They had arrived in 1808 and 1809 in parties without leaders, or conductors.

When they arrived at the village site in 1810 they encountered a few Armenian farmers from Grigoriopol. The site itself had a few wells, but no houses. Their loans from the Russian government totaled 60,465 rubles: 32,160 for provisions, 26,225 for settlement, and 2,080 for seed; and their assets were estimated to value ca. 3,000 rubles.

Located in a narrow spur near the north end of the Tschornenko valley, the site of Bergdorf is in a very hilly area, which prompted its name “Mountain Village.” The name again was suggested by Councilor von Rosenkampf. Today it is known as Kolosova, which is a variant of the name the Bergdorfers gave to the valley in which it was located: Kalossova --after its first inhabitant, an Armenian name Kalos who farmed and raised cattle until the colonists arrived. [Mertens, pp. 240-241] erroneously gives Halbdorf as a variant name for Bergdorf. The source of that information likely is the 1848 Chronicle of the village of Rohrbach, which states: “Opposite the main village, on the southwest eminence of the valley, lies Halbdorf (or Bergdorf) with its beautiful houses built ten years ago (1838), now numbering some 36 houses. From Halbdorf, the entire colony of Rohrbach can be viewed” [Brosz].

The village is 14 versts northwest of Glückstal, 45 versts from Tiraspol, and 260 versts from Odessa. Most of its 3,925 dessiatines of crown land is also hilly, with good humus topsoil. By 1859 its land had increased to 4,134 dessiatines, which is further refined to 4134 dessiatines, 1,000 square Faden in 1915 [Glückstal-1915].

The village was laid out with one main street that branched into three at the point where the church was constructed. Stone quarries for building rock were located 10-25 versts away, near Grigoriopol. By 1915 it consisted of 69 farmsteads, 230 households, and 1,552 individuals – 795 males and 757 females. The school then had 200 school children and three teachers.

In 1848 all kinds of winter and summer wheat, as well as fruits and vegetables are cited as thriving. In addition, they had planted 241,880 grapevines. Both livestock and wine were helpful sources of income in dry years. At that time there also existed 460 dessiatines of woods, including oak, blackthorn, whitethorn, alder, ash, and what was called “dye-wood” – used to provide dye for morocco leather. Although many of their fruit trees had been destroyed by drought, they still totaled 25,193. In the village common acacias and willows were planted.

Progress of the village

? - school built soon after the village was settled
1832 - new school opened
1848 - planning new church, considerable stone already hauled to site - hoping for support of Welfare Committee & more favorable times
  - has a communal granary to help the poor
1851 - 21 Oct – new church was dedicated
1859 - 168 farmyards - 4,134 dessiatines of land.
1862 - 1430 residents
  - stone church and school building
  - school with 2 classes & 300 children
  - distance from the Parish headquarters - 12 versts.
1864 - Bergdorf leaves Glückstal parish to establish an independent parish.
1865 - first pastor arrived
  - 1430 residents
1908 - purchased electronically controlled gas lights for the church
1911ff - Konsumverein - Gemeindeladen (community cooperative store)
1912 - Jan 12 - Gesellschaft Gegenseitigen Kredit (Mutual Credit Association) opened
1913 - Mutual Credit Association - transactions = 8,214,498 rubles, 16 kopeks, with profit of 10,324 rubles, 3 kopeks
1914 - 9 Dec - Pastor Otto Seib ordained as the minister
  - old organ was being reconditioned again - is quite small and old
  - school building is quite old
  - Küster’s house is in the church garden
  - 200 school children, 3 teachers
  - post office
  - telegraph office
  - Mutual Credit Association - creditworthiness - 801,700 rubles
  - bank
  - needs new village government building
1915 - Agricultural Mutual Credit Association had 553 members
  - practicing craftsmen
2 blacksmiths
1 locksmith
4 carpenters
2 steam mills
1 cement brick/tile maker
some large beekeepers
  - 4134 dessiatines, 1000 sq. Faden of Crown land
  - 69 farmsteads
  - 230 householdsFarming, etc.
  - 1552 souls (795 males, 757 females)


732 horses
809 cows
446 poultry
39 sheep
439 pigs

Farming, etc.
1817 - good crop
1820 - hail storm caused significant damage
1828 - grasshoppers
  - livestock epidemic
  - Russian military troops fighting Turks, placed burden on village – Bergdorf only 1.5 versts from military road leading from Balta to Tiraspol – billeting and transport duties required
1829-30 - military troops fighting Turks, placed burden on village
1833 - complete crop failure
  - livestock epidemic
1834 - complete crop failure
1837 - good crop
1838 - good crop
1846 - grasshoppers
1847 - serious drought, with severe shortage of fodder


– “Chronicle of Bergdorf,” transl. by Joseph S. Height. – Copies of this translation are available in three sources: [Height, pp. 199-201]; [Glückstal-2004, pp. 95-96]; and at the website: – /Collections / Village Histories. The original German version can be found in [Leibbrandt, pp. 65-68].

– Klüpfel, Johannes. “Das hundertjahrige Gründungsjahr der Kolonie Bergdorf, Süd-Russland,” in Eureka Post, Eureka, SD: 17 Feb. 1910, p. 1. (English transl. in [Glückstal- 2004, pp. 100-102].)

– Brosz, Allyn. Email message of 17 May 2004.

– “Das Wolostgebiet Glückstal,” in Neuer Haus- und Landwirthschafts- Kalender für deutsche Aussiedler in südlicher Russland auf das Jahr 1915. Odessa: Druck und Verlag von L. Nitzsche, [1914], pp. 108–128. (English transl. in [Glückstal-2004, pp. 51-56; 68-69; 86 & 96- 97].)

– Rudolf, Homer ed. The Glückstalers in New Russia and North America: A Bicentennial Collection of History, Genealogy and Folklore. Pierre, SD: State Pub. & Printing,

– Height, Joseph S. Homesteaders on the Steppe: Cultural History of the Evangelical- Lutheran Colonies in the Region of Odessa, 1804-1945. Bismarck: North Dakota Historical Society of Germans from Russia [now the Germans from Russia Heritage Society], 1975.

– Keller, Konrad. German Colonies in South Russia: 1804-1904, transl. by Anthony Becker, 2d. ed, with some revisions by Adam Giesinger, 2 vols. Lincoln, NE: American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, 1980-1983.

– Leibbandt, Georg. Die deutschen Kolonien in Cherson und Bessarabien: Berichte der Gemeindeämter der lutherischen Kolonien in der ersten Hälfte des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts. Stuttgart: Ausland und Heimat Verlags-Aktiengesellschaft, 1926.

– Mertens, Ulrich. Handbuch Russland-Deutsche: Ein Nachschlagewerk zur russland-deutschen und deutsch-russischen Geschichte und Kultur (mit Ortsverzeichnis ehemaliger Siedlungsgebiete). Darmstadt: Weihert-Druck GmbH, 2001.

OdKal]Neuer Haus- und Landwirthschafts- Kalender für deutsche Aussiedler in südlicher Russland auf das Jahr ... Odessa: Druck und Verlag von L. Nitzsche, [published 1863-1915].

Homer Rudolf, 2009

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