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Homesteading in Ellis County


Ellis County - Scouts

n 1874, Russia passed the military law, which required participation from all the colonists to the military service. This went against Catherine the Great's manifest that exempted the German colonists from military service if they went to live in the Volga region.

The colonists met in Herzog in the spring of 1874 for the purpose of electing 5 delegates to visit America. The delegates, representing the different communities, were to look for places that they felt was best to create new settlements. One of the delegates chosen was Balthasar Brungardt from Herzog, but he declined and was replaced by Nicholas Schamne from Graf. Peter Leiker from Obermunjou,
 Jacob Ritter from Luzern, Peter Stoecklein from Zug, and Anton Wasinger from Schoenchen were the other four delegates.

After arriving in New York, they journeyed to Clay County, Nebraska where they looked over the land for one day. Upon returning to Russia after being in America for ten days, they reported that the land was very good and brought with them samples of soil and prairie grass to show the others. Two more scouts, Joseph Exner of Obermunjou, and Jacob Bissing of Katharinestadt, came to Larned, Kansas and spent a week looking over the land in December 1874. Their report was less favorable.

However, after four men from Herzog and twenty-one men from Katharinestadt were drafted in late November and early December 1874, the emigration to the United States began. Eventually, four of these scouts emigrated to the United States to settle in their new homes. Peter Leiker, Peter Stoecklein, and Anton Wasinger settled in Munjor. Nicholas Schamne escorted two groups of emigrants to America, but he died before he could be an emigrant himself.

NOTE: Picture came from the Center for Ethnic Studies


Dreiling, Norbert R. "Official Centennial History of the Volga-German Settlements in Ellis and Rush Counties of Kansas, 1878-1976." Hays, KS: Volga German Centennial Association, 1976.

Dreiling, B. M. "Golden jubilee of the German-Russian settlements of Ellis and Rush Counties, Kansas, August 31, September 1 and 2, 1926." Hays, KS: Hays Daily News, 1926.


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