Sewald, pages 118-120.

Verkhovye, Verkhovya, Seewald, Sewald, Zevald, German colony of Kamyshin uyezd (district), Oleshinskaya volost (small rural district) is located on the right bank of the Karamysh river where there are 3 not very big dams for watering and washing. There are 50 wells in the yards of people, the water from which is used for drinking and cooking. There are fruit gardens near the river. The settlement is divided into blocks of 4 to 6 houses in each. Colonists are villagers-owners, Germans, Catholics, there are several French names among them.

Verkhovye is 100 verstas* from Saratov, 95 verstas from Kamyshin, 35 – from the dock on the Volga Nizhnyaya Bannovka, 37 – from Krasnoyar, the railroad station of Tambov-Kamyshin Railroad, 3 – from Dietel, 3 – from Rothammel, 4 – from the colony Kratzke (Sosnovskaya volost), 4 – from the colony Kautz, 12-13 – from the colony Gryaznovatka (Kamenka volost). Verkhovye colony was founded in 1766-67 by Germans. According to the 1859 Register of State Property it was shown in the Norka district and was allotted 15 desssiatinas** per male by the Crown.

In this register Verkhvye had: according to census #5 (1788) – 38 families, 126 males and 103 females; according to census #6 (1798) – 36 families, 120 males and 115 females; according to census #7 (1816) – 42 families, 174 males and 165 females; according to census #8 (1834) – 77 families, 298 males and 298 females; according to census #9 (1850) – 78 families, 430 males and 471 females; according to census #10 (1857) – 94 families, 530 males and 490 females. 

According to the list of settlements of the Central Statistics Committee, published in 1862, there were 98 households, 549 males and 532 females, total: 1,081, also there was 1 Roman Catholic church, 1 school, 2 mills in Verkhovye, a.k.a. Seewald, on the Karamysh river, 90 verstas from Kamyshin. In 1873 3 males mentioned in the census and in 1874 4 males mentioned in the census moved to Samara Province from the colony. Moved to America: 1875 – 6 males mentioned in the census, 1876 – 18 males mentioned in the census, 1886 – 1. According to 1886 Zemstvo*** Census there were 163 households, 547 males and 515 females, total: 1062, also there were 23 families constantly absent and 11 families of 52 people of both sexes who were outsiders. 176 males and 220 females were literate. There were 150 inhabited izbas****, 72 were made of stone and 78 of wood; roofs of 67 of those were made of wood and 83 – of straw. The endowment is 3,347 dessiatinas of convenient (including arable land – 3,000 dessiatinas) and 747 dessiatinas of inconvenient soil, total: 4,094. The settlers had: 121 ploughs, 441 horses, 150 oxen, 152 cows, 109 calves, 719 sheep, 560 pigs, 178 goats. There were 7 industrial enterprises, 1 tavern, 2 stores. In 1885 4,521 rubles were paid in taxes and duties.

According to the Province Statistics Committee (1891) there were 140 households, 715 males and 697 females, total: 1,412. Accodring to Oleshnya Volost Board (1894) there were 143 households, including a public church school. Buildings are mostly wooden and some are made of stone or clay. Most of the roofs are straw, about 1/3 of the roofs are made of boards, and one roof – of metal. The church is wooden and covered with a metal roof, sanctified in 1839. There are 2 schools: one is a parochial school that possibly has been in existence since 1767 and the other one is a zemstvo school opened in 1873. There were 765 males and 741 females, total 1,506 people of both sexes in 1894. They were German, Catholic, all of them being in one Verkhovsky Community.

According to 1886 data dwellers of Verkhovye were farmers and also carriers in the same way as they do in Oleshnya. There were 83 carriers in the colony. Besides, there were 16 shoemakers and 10 printed calico (sarpinka) weavers, according to 1894 data of Volost Board. In winter 70 people engage in printed calico (sarpinka) weaving. Around 1881 the society gave a site to one of its members to build a water-mill under the condition that this member uses the mill for 22 years free and then the mill becomes the society’s property. The allotted land is 3,347 dessiatins of convenient and 747 dessiatins of inconvenient, total 4,094 dessiatins. The fartherst end of arable land is 7 verstas away from the colony and the closest – 100 sazhens**. Pasture is to the south-west and north-west, ½ versta from the colony by the road. The forest is 4 verstas to the west. Meadowlands are in the forest, along the river, in the steppe and in the ravines, beyond the pasture. Fields are sloped to the east, there are some hills there. There are 2 ravines, absolutely inconvenient. Half of the soil is black-earth (chernozem), the other half is loamy, saline, and sandy; subsoil is red clay. Earlier land was owned by families, then by males mentioned in the census, in 1872 the land was divided between 520 available males and in 1879 – between 600 males. There are 182 dessiatins of forest. It can be felled in fall, young forest cannot be felled, only after it gets 3 years old. They stoke with straw and kizyaks.They grow potatoes and cabbage in the fields. As some colonists have big gardens, and some do not have them at all, it was decided that those who have gardens have to pay duty: ¼ copeck for each sazhen.

There is no public ploughland. There is one reserve bread store. They sow wheat and rye in equal quantities; oats – half as much; barley, millet, flax, sunflower, and hemp – not a lot. They sow hemp in the best, low places. Crop rotation is 4-field: fallow is sown with rye, and then for 2 years it is spring-sown after which it lies fallow. Bread is sold in Bannoye. Gophers (ground squirrels) appeared in great quantities around 1884, before that there were not a lot of them. They are exterminated in different ways, in spring people pour water in their holes, making them get outside and after that kill them. Every person has to kill 20 gophers a year. Until now gophers were not very harmful. Cattle graze first on fallow fields, then on the pasture and meadows and after harvest time – on the stubble-fields. In winter they are fed by straw, hay is given only to sheep and goats and horses. Arable land can be rented at 4-6 rubles per dessiatina (2,400 square sazhens) - the price is set by the crown. Some rent in the region of the Don Army and on the left bank of the Volga.

(Collection of Saratov province Zemstvo, 1891, vol. XI; data of the Province Statistics Committee, 1891; List of Settlements of the Province Zemstvo Council, 1894; Our Colonies by A. Klaus, 1869; ordnance survey map of the General Staff).

Translation and notes by Dr. Lyudmila I. Koretnikova

Translators Notes:

1 versta = 3,500 feet, 1.06 km, 0.66 miles.

1 dessiatina (measure of land) = 2.7 acres.

Zemstvo - elective district council in pre-revolutionary Russia.

Izba - peasant's (log) hut.

Volost – small rural district.

1 Sazhen – 2,134 meters.

Kizyak - pressed dung used as fuel.

Copeck – there are 100 copecks in one ruble.

The Don is now Rostov-on-Don region.


Historical and Geographical Dictionary of Saratov Province by A.N. Minkh (Saratov, 1898-1901)