Associated Colonies
Place of origin
Pfeffelbach, Kusel, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany

Johann Andreas Scherer was born about 1716. Church records in Pfeffelbach show that he worked as a stone mason. He married Maria Eva (also known as Maria Salome) on 5 October 1741 in the Reformed church in Pfeffelbach. She was born in 1716. Her surname is unknown.

Three children from this marriage were born and baptized in Pfeffelbach:

Maria Rosina, born 28 September 1742

Johann Nickel, born 21 February 1747 and died 26 May 1749

Johann Nicolaus, born 18 November 1749

Maria Eva died on 22 April 1753 and was buried on the 23rd.

Johann Andreas remarried to Maria Angelica Morgenstern on 6 August 1754 in Pfeffelbach. She is the daughter of Nickel Morgenstern.

At least five children were born from this union:

Maria Sarah, born 11 June 1755

Anna Elisabeth, born 29 May 1757

Anna Catharina, born 18 September 1759

Juliana Catharina, born 10 January 1762

Maria Catharina, born 12 July 1765

The eldest daughter of Andreas, Maria Rosina, married Johann Heinrich Bier on 10 July 1764 in Pfeffelbach. A daughter, Anna Juliana, was born in Thallichtenberg (near Pfeffelbach) on 15 June 1765).

At the time Pfeffelbach was part of the Duchy of Zweibrücken. In 1768, 375 inhabitants lived in Pfeffelbach. In 1588, the Count of Zweibrücken forced all his subjects to convert to the Reformed (Calvinist) faith.

In early 1766, the Scherer and Bier families registered as Russian colonists with the private recruiter LeRoy. The David Hess family from Thallichtenberg joined them. All three heads of household were stone masons.

The families traveled to the Baltic seaport of Lübeck and boarded the Russian cargo ship “Slon” (Elephant), commanded by Sergey Panov. The ship carried about 345 colonists and made an intermediate stop at the port of Reval (now Tallinn, Estonia) before proceeding to Russia’s island fortress of Kronstadt in the Gulf of Finland. From Kronstadt the families were transported to Oranienbaum (now Lomonosov) on the mainland in an oared boat. There they were recorded by Ivan Kulberg as households 596, 597 and 598 on 27 May 1766. At this time, Andreas stated that he was a member of the Reformed faith and a farmer from Zweibrücken.

Andreas died during the journey to the settlement area on the lower Volga River. Maria Angelica (also known as Anna Maria) remarried to Jacob Roth, who was also widowed. They are recorded in the 1767 census of Warenburg as household 3. Also living in the household (listed as 3a) are Maria Angelica’s son Nicolaus and her daughters Maria Sarah, Anna Elisabeth, Anna Catharina, Maria Catharina and Juliana Catharina.

Johann Heinrich and Maria Rosina (née Scherer) Bier were recorded in the 1767 Census of Warenburg as household 118. A son, Johann Jacob, was born in late 1767 and likely died as an infant. Maria Rosina died sometime shortly after that.


Pfeffelbach parish records on

Idt, Andreas Idt and Rauschenbach, Georg. Die "Berufer" Abenteuer der Aufklärung in Katharinas II. Kolonisierungsprojekt (Moscow: 2019). Page 282.

Idt, Andreas and Rauschenbach, Georg. Auswanderung deutsche Kolonisten nach Russland im Jahre 1766 (Second edition). Moscow: 2019. Page 29.

Pleve, Igor. Lists of Colonists to Russia in 1766: Reports by Ivan Kulberg (Saratov: Saratov State Technical University, 2010): Page 63.

Pleve, Igor. Einwanderung in das Wolgagebiet, 1764-1767 Band 4 (Göttingen: Göttinger Arbeitskreis, 1999): Page 322, Households 3, 3a and Page 339, Household 118.  

Pfeffelbach - Wikipedia

Steve Schreiber
Sharon White