The town of Liebenthal was founded on 22 February 1876 by a group of Volga German immigrants who had arrived in Topeka the previous fall. It is the oldest of the Volga German settlements of Ellis and Rush Counties and is located in Section 21, Township 16, Range 18 West of Rush County. Its founders included the following families (along with the number of people in the family):
from Liebental

Jacob Herrmann (8)
Peter Herrmann (3)
John Schaefer (5)
Martin Goetz (2)
Peter Beil (3)
Joseph Schönberger (4)
Andrew Weber
Adam Kreutzer (6)

from Neu-Ober-Monjou

Henry Bieker(6)
John Bieker (7)
Frank Waldschmidt (7)
John Joseph Bieker (7)
Nicholas Bieker (9)
William Bieker (6)
Philip Wolf (7)
John Zimmerman (2)

A second group of emigrants arrived at Liebenthal on 14 August 1876. They were all from the colony of Schönchen and had come to America in company with the founders of Munjor. This party was made up of the following families:

Henry Depperschmidt (6)
Peter Depperschmidt (10)
John Jacob Schoenthaler (3)
Karl Herrklotz
Helen Herrklotz
Jacob Munsch
Joseph Munsch (3)
Michael Schmidt (7)
Simon Schoenthaler (7)
Joseph Schuckmann (2)
Frederic Werth (4)
Jacob Werth (4)
John Werth, Sr. (3)
John Peter Werth (3)
Karl Werth (8)
Louis Werth
Jacob Zimmerman

In September they were followed by a another group of families from Neu-Ober-Monjou:

Adam Bieker (5)
Frank Dreher (6)
John Dreher (4)
Konrad Dreher (3)
Philip Dreher (9)
Frederic Graf (6)
Joseph Rumbach
Joseph Zimmermann.

Shortly thereafter, a disagreement arose among the inhabitants concerning the permanent site of the town. The tract of land in Section 21 on which the village was situated was poorly supplied with water and those in the group from Schönchen wanted to move the colony to the east half of Section 16 which was better supplied with water. A number of families had already built their homes on the new location in Section 16 when John Schaefer, apparently contrary to the agreement, deeded four acres of land in Section 21 to Rt. Rev. Louis Fink, 0.S.B., Bishop of Leavenworth, on which a church was to be erected. This split the settlers into two groups. The settlers from Neu-Obermonjour with the exception of the families of Henry Depperschmidt, Peter Depperschmidt and John Jacob Schoenthaler moved to Ellis County, Section 28, Township 15 South, Range 18 West, where they founded the town of Schoenchen. The others remained at Liebenthal and began building a church on the land donated.


St. Joseph Catholic Church


Appelhanz, Isadore, The Volga-Germans in Topeka, Kansas, 1875-85. Topeka: privately published, 1992.

St. Joseph's Kirche (Rush County Historical Society)

Laing, Francis S. "German-Russian Settlements in Ellis County, Kansas." Kansas Historical Collections 11 (1910), 489-528. [Online]

Transcript of The Golden Jubilee of German-Russian Settlements of Ellis and Rush Counties, Kansas, 1926.