Type of Settlement: Mother
Founded: between 1808-1810
Religion: Lutheran, Reformed
Wolost: Glückstal and later Kassel
Other Names and Spellings:
Also: Cassel, Kasel, Komarovka, Komarowka
Velykokomarivka, Odessa Oblast, Ukraine
1809-43: 47.1103, 29.6089
1841-present: 47.0921, 29.6474
History of the Colony
Kassel is about 15 versts [1 verst = 0.66 mile] southeast of Glückstal, and 30 versts northwest of Tiraspol. Although it was not settled until 1810, the colonists arrived in the late fall of 1809, traveling without guides. The Odessa Kalender [OdKal] gives two different dates for the founding of the village: 1809 in the 1896 issue, and 1808 in the 1900 issue. The 1848 Chronicle is apparently in error when it says that they were placed into winter quarters in the homes of the already established colonies of Glückstal, Neudorf and Bergdorf. According to the chronicles of those villages, Neudorf was not settled until January 1810, and Bergdorf and Kassel in the spring of 1810. That means things were pretty crowded in the village of Glückstal in the winter of 1809-1810. The Glückstal Chronicle specifically says that the 122 families of Glückstal had to provide quarters for 293 families, totaling 1,304 individuals. Things eased up a little in January, when 490 people moved to Neudorf.
Kassel was pre-eminently a Franconian settlement with 80% of the settlers from the Rhineland plain of Alsace, Baden and the Palatinate [Height, p.73]. It was the only Glückstal mother colony in which the Franconian dialect became established as dominant. In fact, of the 99 families that settled Kassel only 6 came from Württemberg. The others came from Alsace (60), Baden (12), Warsaw [actually the Duchy of Warsaw, Posen Province] (12), and Rhine Palatinate [Pfalz and Rhineland] (9). They consisted of 399 individuals – 205 males and 194 females. The Glückstal colonist, Heinrich Heilmann, served as the guide and advisor during the move to Kassel. The Crown had houses of stamped earth constructed for them, which were later replaced by stone houses. However, the 1848 chronicle states, “Local building stone is scarce and of poor quality, so that the colonists have to haul the needed stone from other quarries with great difficulty.”
Loans from the Russian Crown to the original colonists were 46,410 rubles for subsistence, 36,789 for settlement expenses, and 3,310 for the purchase of seed grain. Their possessions were estimated to have a value of 14,750 rubles.
Originally Kassel was located in a small tributary valley of the Dniester river, known as Kumurofka by the Russians. The valley originates near the then small market town of Domanov, and runs 45 versts south, until it joins the Dniester river, near Bender. The land was being used by locals for the grazing of cattle. Kassel was selected as its name in recognition of Daniel Ficke, a deceased colonist who was a native of Kassel, Germany (according to [Kassel- 1848], but apparently he was not from Kassel) . The current name of the village comes from the name of the valley. Although the village site was selected because of the fresh-water springs located there, it was relocated in 1841 – after more than 30 years – because of recurring spring floods and insufficient drinking water at its original location. The five wells were only 12-15 feet deep, and frequently went dry. It was moved four versts to the east, to the elevated bank of the valley. Originally only half of the village moved, but due to a variety of problems, including financial ones, the remainder moved in 1843. The poorest among them received an interest-free loan of 1,200 rubles, repayable in 15 years [Ketterling].
The village received 6,948 dessiatins [1 dessiatin = 2.7 acres] of crown land, and the 1914 edition of the Odessa Kalender [OdKal] states that it has 8,014 dessiatins. Many of the original colonists were not experienced farmers. In addition, local conditions were very different from those they had left. Couch grass was a problem in the area in the early years. It spread quickly, was difficult to eradicate, and the cattle would not eat it. Like the other Glückstal mother colonies, its land consisted of good topsoil. By 1848 the field crops were winter wheat, arnaut wheat, spring wheat, rye, barley, corn (raised for fodder), potatoes and melons. “Arnaut (also known as Glass wheat) is the oldest variety of wheat in South Russia, and is much sown, especially in Greece and Bulgaria. Arnaut has a hard grain, a longish form, and a very thin transparent skin. . . . Arnaut can be sown later than hirka and fully ripens in 110 days. This wheat is seldom sown at present among the German colonists” [Keller, vol. 1, p. 89-90]. Viniculture in 1848 occupied 116 dessiatins of land (ca. 313 acres) , with 169,995 grapevines. Native oaks again only grew to a height of 20 feet when mature at 30 years of age.
In 1851 Kassel was separated from the Glückstal Lutheran parish, and established as a separate parish. Unfortunately, no details are known about the process. Because it had a significant population of members of the Reformed faith, a Reformed congregation was established there in 1861 as part of the new Neudorf Reformed parish. It is noteworthy that neither a separate Reformed church nor a school was constructed in Kassel. Somehow, the Reformed and the Lutheran congregations were able to share the already existing Lutheran facilities.
More of this article can be found in [Glückstal-2004] pp. 105-114.
Read more about Kassel in its 1848 Chronicle.
By Homer Rudolf, 2009
Edited and updated by Sandy Schilling Payne, 2022
Progress of the Colony
Cholera, 2 died.
Colony begins to relocate due to recurrent spring floods and insufficient drinking water.
Remainder of colonists relocate to Kassel's new location.
Smallpox outbreak. 44 children died.
Colony has a "new" school house and prayer hall.
The Crown granted a 1,000 ruble construction loan, but later released the colony from repayment.
Kassel became an independent Lutheran parish with 12 congregations.
Neudorf Reformed parish established on 4 January included the Kassel Reformed congregation.
Lutheran church and parsonage.
School with 250 children.
Still part of the Glückstal Wolost [Matthäi, p. 64]
Sometime during these years, Kassel became an independent Wolost.
Konsumverein Gemeindeladen (community cooperative store) listed in Odessa Kalender [OdKal].
Kreditanstalt (Waisenkasse, Orphans Fund) listed in [OdKal].
Odessa Kalender [OdKal, p. 179] includes a photo of a monument to Czar Alexander II in Kassel.
1882 1183 [2183?]
1881-82 Jakob Dörr
1883-85 Philip Ketterling
1886-88 Gottlieb Reich
1890 Daniel Meyer
1892, 94 Friedrich Dörr
1896-98 Jakob Klooz
1900-01 Ludwig Eberhardt
1902-04 Ludwig Martel
1905 Andr. Stewahn
1906-10 August Schnaidt
1911-1913 Jakob Burkhardt
1914-1915 A. Schnaidt
Kassel Lutheran Parish was founded 1851.
1852-65 Nikolaus Emil Justus Mikwitz
1866-70 Carrol Wilhelm Segnitz
1873-75 Ludwig Traugott Katterfeld
1875-82 Peter Gustav Becker
1882-97 Georg Leonhard Eppeler
1897-1908 Heinrich Mantel
1914-22 Waldemar Seib
1923-35 Wilhelm Frank
Kassel Lutheran Parish
1881-86 Friedrich Koch
1887-88 Alexander Stuhlfeier
1890-1901 Christian Rieger
1902-07 Friedrich Magstadt
1908-15 Jakob Leicht
Kassel Reformed Parish
1881-84 Jakob Permann
1885-94 Jakob Knoll
1896-98 Jakob Fink
1900-01 Jakob Kessler
1904-07 Jakob Tomm
1908 Christian Obernauer
1909-15 Philip Bender
1813 — Middling crop.
1814 — Middling crop.
1818 — Livestock epidemic.
1822 — Crop barely yielded seed.
1822-27 — Grasshoppers.
1823 — Crop barely yielded seed. Neighboring districts offered surplus grain at modest prices.
1828 — Livestock epidemic.
1832 — Middling crop.
1833 — Total crop failure.
1834 — Livestock epidemic.
1234 — Total crop failure.
1835 — Middling crop.
1844 — Livestock epidemic destroyed 680 head of livestock.
1846 — Grasshoppers.
1847-48 — Livestock epidemic destroyed 430 head of livestock.
[Arcanum-1872] – “Russia (1872).” Arcanum Adatbázis Kft. maps.arcanum.com/en/map/russia-1872. 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-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, www.flickr.com/photos/ndsu-libraries-grhc/collections/72157637054248256/ and NDSU Repository website, library.ndsu.edu/ir/handle/10365/26147.
[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.
[Kassel-1848] – “The Chronicle of Kassel,” transl. by Joseph S. Height. – Copies of this translation are available in three sources: [HeightH], pp. 196-199; [Glückstal-2004], pp. 105-108; and at the website [Odessa3], (Odessa3.org). The original German version can be found in [Leibbrandt], pp. 68-71.
[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.
[Matthäi] – Matthäi, Friedrich. Die deutschen Ansiedelungen in Russland: Ihre Geschichte und ihre volkswirthschaftliche Gedenkung für die Vergangenheit und Zukunft. Studien über das russische Kolonisationswesen und über die Herbeiziehung fremder Kulturkräfte nach Russland [The German Settlements in Russia: Their History and Economic Considerations for the Past and Future. Studies on the Russian colonization system and on the attraction of foreign cultural forces to Russia]. Leipzig: Hermann Fries, 1866. [WorldCat does not have a sufficiently useful entry for this volume at this time. It is available at the following locations: AHSGR, GRHC, GRHS.]
[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.
Page last updated 7 March 2022