Other Names and Spellings:
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.
Progress of the Colony
Page last updated 29 March 2022