Glückstal Colony

Type of Settlement: Mother

Founded: between 1804-1809

Wolost: Glückstal

Religion: Lutheran, Reformed

District: Tiraspol

Province: Cherson

Other Names and Spellings:

Russian: Глиное

Ukrainian: Глинне

Moldovan/Romanian: Hlinaia

Also: Glinnoi, Glinnaya, Glinoye, Glinoje, Glynne, Glykstal, Gluckstal, Glueckstal

Current Name:

Hlinaia, Grigoripol District, Transnistria, Moldova

Coordinates: 47.228, 29.4141

History of the Colony

The Mother colony of Glückstal is located 260 versts [1 verst = 0.66 mile] west of the government city of Cherson, 45 versts (29.84 miles) north of the district city of Tiraspol, and 10 versts (6.63 miles) northeast of Grigoriopol, which is near the Dniester River. It lies in a side valley of the Tschornenko (Chornenko, Trehonenko) Valley, which stretches 27 versts in a southwesterly direction beginning two versts north of Bergdorf and ending in the Dniester River valley, near Grigoriopol. The valley is also referred to as Kalossova in Bergdorf (after its first inhabitant, an Armenian named Kalos, who farmed and raised cattle until the colonists arrived), and as Karamanovka in Neudorf.

Known today on modern maps as Hlinaia (its original Moldovian name was Glinnoi), it is situated in the Grigoriopol District of the breakaway Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic.

The actual date when the colony of Glückstal came into existence is complicated by the first arrival of future residents (in July 1804); the years spent in Grigoriopol (beginning in early 1805); the apparent year in which the decision was made to move the colonists to Glinnoi (1808); and the time when the actual settlement did occur (spring of 1809). Mertens cites three dates: 1805, 1808, and 1809 [Mertens, p. 301]. His sources are the following: Konrad Keller gives the date of 1805 [Keller, vol. 1, p. 31]; the Odessa Kalender [OdKal] states 1808—beginning with the 1895 or 1896 issue, when it first included this information; and [Glückstal-1848] gives 1809.

In 1809, 19 newly arrived families (from Baden, Elsass and Pfalz) were added to the original population of Glückstal, for a total of 125 families in 122 farmsteads: 618 individuals – 326 males and 292 females. Each farmstead was assigned 60 dessiatins [1 dessiatin = 2.7 acres] of land, including the farmstead. In addition, the head of the household of each farmstead was entitled to vote in the district and village elections. The origins of the families are given as 67 from Württemberg, 27 from Hungary, 10 from Alsace, 9 from Baden, 3 from the Palatinate, 3 from Saxony, 2 from Prussia, 2 from Hesse, 1 from Galicia, and 1 from Italy. In the Glückstal Wolost, only the village of Glückstal was predominantly Swabian. In 1814, five families arrived from the Duchy of Warsaw, primarily from Posen Province. These "Warschauer Umsiedler" families had probably been temporarily quartered in Glückstal awaiting the opening of the first colonies in Bessarabia; instead they were accepted into the colony of Glückstal.

The original houses in Glückstal were small and uncomfortable – laid out in an irregular fashion, and constructed with mud-wattle wickerwork walls. Before long the village was set out on a “regular plan.” We have an example of the role the government played in laying out a village in the relocation records of Kassel, dating from 1839-1854. In this case, among other things, a government surveyor was sent to lay out the lots in the village before construction could begin [Ketterling].

Once the village was laid out, the Glückstalers constructed two-room houses of stamped earth or sun-dried clay bricks, most of which were subsequently replaced by stone houses by 1848. At that time Glückstal had 215 houses for the 231 resident families. Building stone was easily available from the hills bordering the Tschornenko Valley.

The personal possessions and cash of the original Glückstal colonists were estimated to value about 7,000 rubles. They were also assisted by the government loan program, which advanced them 37,432 rubles for food rations, 47,282 rubles for settlement, and 2,410 rubles for seed—a total of 87,124 rubles. According to the colonist settlement policies, the colonists did not have to begin to repay these loans until ten years had passed.

The total of crown land received by the village varies in different sources. The 1848 Chronicle states 7,034 dessiatins. In 1901, the Odessa Kalendar [OdKal] says 7,034 dessiatins and 2,145 square faden (almost 18,994 acres); in 1915 it says 7,553 dessiatins, 2,000 square faden, bordered on the north by land of the Russian village of Remanovka, on the south by land of the village of Schippki, and in the southwest and northwest by land belonging to Grigoriopol. A total of 500 [Glückstal-1915 says 530] dessiatins of land southwest of the colony—between the borders of the colony and Grigoriopol—were designated communal sheep land for the four Glückstal mother colonies by the government, and 120 [Glückstal-1915 says 121] dessiatins east of that land were designated as church land for the use of the local pastor, who originally served all four mother colonies. The steppe land consisted of one to three feet of fertile humus, with a sub-layer of clay, sand and gravel. Over the years additional land was purchased by the residents of Glückstal. The 1858 tax list [Glückstal-1858] cites 259 houses and 11,012 dessiatins. In 1896 the total given was 10,899 dessiatins (with a population of 2,996) and again 11,012 in 1907 (when its population was 1,905) [OdKal].

Although the government strongly advocated the planting of trees, the climate there was basically too dry for trees to be successful, so the oak trees and fruit trees that were planted did not do well. Already cited as a problem in 1848, little had changed by 1901: the height of mature trees was still hardly over 20 feet, and the diameter scarcely a foot. By that time the colonists had literally given up on the fruit orchards. It was easier to purchase fruit from the Moldavians who brought it in from the gardens of the Dniester alley. Crops that thrived, according to the 1848 Chronicle, were spring and winter wheat, winter rye, corn (raised for animal feed and fodder), barley, potatoes, various vegetables and vineyards (about 519 acres with 465,400 vines that year). In 1901 oats is also listed, and corn is cited as being particularly important, often providing half the income of the colonists.

More of this article can be found in [Glückstal-2004] pp. 57-80.

Read more about Glückstal in its 1848 Chronicle

By Homer Rudolf, 2009

Edited and updated by Sandy Schilling Payne, 2022

Progress of the Colony

























by 1900

ca. 1905





5,111.95 rubles in deposit

226,211.41 rubles on loan

8,968.93 rubles cash on hand

7 blacksmiths

5 carpenters

9 wagon makers

1 cooper

10 shoemakers

many beekeepers

180 boys, 200 girls

4 teachers (2 German, 2 Russian) in 4 grades (a Volkschule)


Year Pop.

1866 1967

1881 2786

1882 2813

1883 2927

1884 2449

1885 3450

1886 3588

1887 3521?

1888 3482

1890 3384

1892 3419

1894 2885

1896 2966

1897 2147

1898 2244

1900 2116

1901 2143

1902 2091

1903 2143

1904 2143

1905 2143

1906 2130

1907 1905

1908 1848

1909 1848

1910 1821

1911 1825

1912 1803

1913 1740

1914 1796

1915 1832


1881 Jacob Ritter

1882-84 Kaspar Kiess

1885-87 Simon Liedle

1888 Martin Schnaible

1890 Karl Geist

1892 Johannn Walth

1894 Georg Kessler

1896 Georg Kessler

1897-98 Georg Rott

1900-02 Dav. Müller

1903-05 Georg Rott

1906-08 Philip Kiess

1909-11 Georg Gross

1912-13 Gottlieb Keisz

1914-15 J. Geist


Glückstal Lutheran Parish, founded 1810

1811-16 A. Kruisberg

1816-24 (vacant)

1824-29 Johannes Karl Doll

1829-48 Friedrich Pensel

1848-52 Theodor Anton Leander

1852-55 (vacant)

1855-58 Carl Doll

1858-63 Dr. Emil Hackmann

1864-78 Georg Friedrich Kerm

1880-1902 Martin Friedrich Schrenk

1905-19 Julius Georg Schilling

1915-16 Friedrich Mertz

1916-17 Heinrich Roemmich

1924-27 Emil Schimke 


1881-88 Christian Weiss

1890 Christian Weiss

1892 Christian Weiss

1894 Christian Weiss

1896-1901 Christian Weiss

1902 Christian Rieger & Sam Kempke

1903-07 Christian Rieger

1908-10 J. Ritter

1911 (vacant)

1912-15 Fr. Gast


1812   Earthquake.

1814   Crop failure resulting in only half-seed crop.

1815   Eruption of Tambora Volcano on Sumbawa Island, Indonesia.

1816   Good harvest.

1818 —  Good harvest.

1822   Crop failure resulting in only half-seed crop.

1823   Crop failure resulting in only half-seed crop.

1823-27   Grasshoppers.

1829 —  Earthquake.

     Livestock epidemic.

1832   Crop failure resulting in only half-seed crop.

1833   Total crop failure.

1834   Earthquake.

    Total crop failure.

1835   Crop failure resulting in only half-seed crop.

1836   Good crop.

1836-37   Hoof and mouth disease.

1836   Good crop.

1838   Earthquake.

    Good crop.

1841   Crop failure resulting in only half-seed crop.

1845   Crop failure resulting in only little more than seed.

1846   Plague of field mice.

1847   Grasshoppers.

    Poor hay harvest, livestock due to shortage & livestock epidemic.


c. 1900Evangelical Lutheran church.[SPB-museum]
Old image o Lutheran church with belfry
n.d. — Glückstal Lutheran church built in 1845 in the classical style according to a plan by Christian Beutelspacher.  [Schnurr1] p. 346
Lutheran church 2019
2019 — Former Lutheran church in Glückstal. Photo by Jeremy Kopp. [GRHC-JHT]
close up of text on memorial stone in Glückstal
2002 — Memorial erected in Glückstal by GCRA on 22-23 May 2002. [GRHC-JHT]
A large garden with a small house in the background
2005 — Martha Kammerer's garden in Glückstal. Photo by Carole Herlyn Schauer. [GRHC-JHT]
View of farmstead with many people standing on the ground and on rooftops holding farming tools. Horses in the foreground. Buildings in the background. A threshing machine on the right.
circa 1880 — Threshing in Glückstal. Photo courtesy of Margaret Freeman. [Glückstal-2008]


[Arcanum-1872] – “Russia (1872).” Arcanum Adatbázis Kft. 1872. [This map, although not identified on the website, is probably the work of Theodor Friedrich Schubert (1789-1865) a.k.a. Fedor Fedorovich Shubert. The 1860 and 1872 versions of this map appear on other map websites identified only as by "Schubert."]

[Glückstal-1848] – “The Chronicle of Glückstal,” transl. by Joseph S. Height. – Copies of this translation are available in three sources: [HeightH], pp. 186-192; [Glückstal-2004], pp. 60-64; and at the website [Odessa3], The original German version can be found in [Leibbrandt], pp. 52-61.

[Glückstal-1858]Hoffman, Karl, Margaret Freeman & Harold Ehrman, transl. for Glückstal Colonies Research Association. Glückstal Colony Census (1858). Fargo, ND: Document Publishing Center, North Dakota State University, 1998.

[Glückstal-1901] – Schrenk, Martin Friedrich. “Glückstal,” in [OdKal] 1901, pp. 101-106. English transl. in [Glückstal-2004], pp. 64-67.

[Glückstal-1915] – “Das Wolostgebiet Glückstal,” in [OdKal], 1915, pp. 108–128. English transl. in [Glückstal-2004], pp. 51-56; 68- 69; 86 & 96-97.

[Glückstal-2004] – Rudolf, Homer ed. The Glückstalers in New Russia and North America: A Bicentennial Collection of History, Genealogy and Folklore. Pierre, SD: State Pub. & Printing, 2004.

[GRHC-JHT] Germans from Russia Heritage Collection Journey to the Homeland Tour Photo Collections, 1996-2019. Collections available on Flicker website, and NDSU Repository website,

[HeightH] – 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] – Keller, Konrad. German Colonies in South Russia: 1804-1904, 2d ed. translated by Anton Becker, 2d. ed, with some revisions by Adam Giesinger, 2 vols . Lincoln: American Historical Society of Germans from Russia: 1980-1983. [NOTE: 1st ed: 1968-1973.] Digitized version.

[Ketterling] – Ketterling, Lloyd & Adam, transl. “Relocation Records of the Village of Kassel 1839-1854,” Heritage Review [GRHS-HR], 28/4, Dec. 1998, 18-38. 

[Leibbrandt] – Leibbrandt, Georg. Die deutschen Kolonien in Cherson und Bessarabien: Berichte der Gemeindeämter der lutherischen Kolonien in der ersten Hälfte des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts. [The German colonies in Cherson and Bessarabia: reports from the parish offices of the Lutheran colonies in the first half of the nineteenth century.] Stuttgart: Ausland und Heimat Verlags-Aktiengesellschaft, 1926. Digitized version.

[Mertens]Mertens, Ulrich, Allyn Brosz, Alex Herzog, and Thomas Stangl. German-Russian handbook: a reference book for Russian German and German Russian history and culture with place listings of former German settlement areas. Fargo, ND: Germans from Russia Heritage Collection (GRHC) Publications. 2010.  Digitized version.

[OdKal] Neuer Haus- und Landwirthschaftskalender für deutsche Aussiedler in südlicher Russland auf das Jahr ... [New house and farming calendar for German emigrants in Southern Russia for the year ...] Odessa: Druck und Verlag von L. Nitzsche, [published 1863-1915]. Digitized versions of 1906, 1909, 1910 and 1913.

[Schnurr1] – Schnurr, Joseph. Die Kirchen und das Religiöse Leben der Russlanddeutschen: Evangelischer Teil. [Churches and Religious Life of the Russian Germans: Protestant Part.] 2d ed. Stuttgart: Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Russland, 1978.

[SPB-museum] – State Museum of the History of St. Petersburg, [archive, museum, website],

Page last updated 10 February 2024