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Settlers headed to Volga colony villages - Long Walk

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Where: Northern Russia map

When: 1767 [uncertain].

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Comments: 3, WikiTree Popularity: 3.

Original digital image: 621 x 333 pixels. Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0 software. Dated 2009:08:03 16:02:45.

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...And this was after they traveled, mostly on foot, with their family for weeks or months from their home town in Germany to a gathering point, then to a port to board a ship for a few days to a couple weeks to Russia. Once arriving at the port in Oranienbaum (next to St. Petersburg), they took the oath of allegiance, received their money rations, and began an orientation education program to learn about the Russian people and farming in Russia where the land and elements were more harsh than in Germany. Often it was too late to then travel to the Volga so they stayed the winter until the spring thaw allowed for resumed traveling to the waterways. The settlers walked hundreds of miles until they reached a barge that crossed the lake and then began the long voyage down the river Volga to the village of Saratov.
posted by Russ Gunther KT CH
Once in Saratov on the river Volga, each head of family signed their loan and were then issued their ration of money (less than what was originally promised) and stock (horses, cows, etc.), then traveled with their fellow settler families to their assigned colony.

Not only was the government-promised planting seed not available, but the homes had also not been built as promised. Areas of forest needed to be cleared for villages or farming lands while the first houses were roughly constructed dug into the ground for shelter. The colonists lived closely together and traveled out to the fields to farm or forests to hunt in the morning and back home to the village in the evening together as a group for protection from wandering bandits from the south who would pillage property and kidnap women and children to sell into slavery. They also soon discovered that the government provided seed was not well suited for the harsh weather conditions and poor quality soil of the Volga region. What did grow was often destroyed in hail storms. The first several years were amazing stories of survival before life began to steadily improve.

posted by Russ Gunther KT CH
It took 8 to 9 months to travel, mostly on foot, from northern Russia to the new colonies in the south. Several died on the way. Often, by the time they arrived, it was too late to plant and harvest crops before winter, and other times the government did not have the promised seed available on time, so there was often starvation the first year.

Do you notice...there are no covered wagons. It was all completely open to the elements.

The folks who survived all that were no wimps!

posted by Lana (X) H