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 (December 24, 1826, Pordenau, Molotschna - July 26, 1907, Schönfeld (Brasol), Molotschna, South Russia)

Memoirs of David Matthies (Translated)


[This was written by David Matthies (b. December 24, 1826, Pordenau, Molotschna d. July 26, 1907, Schönfeld (Brasol), Molotschna, South RUSSIA) and translated into English]

We [David and Elisabeth Klassen b. June 20, 1829 d. August 27, 1901] were married on October 24, 1850 in the village of Altonau at the house of my Uncle David Braun, where I was raised from my 5th year until our marriage. After the wedding we moved to Ohrloff where we lived with my wife's parents for 2 years. In the spring of 1853 we accepted an offer by the Ohrloff village administration, to take care of their cattle that was on pasture during the summer at the Juschanlee (River) lowlands. This included daily watering and also keep an eye on the Nogajtzy which had their cattle nearby along the border, and who were know to be a thieving people. In return for our services we were to receive some farmland and hayland on lease and also the right to pasture 20 cattle of our own on their land. Here we stayed for another 4 years.

Then a new opportunity presented itself. A new village, Alexanderkrone, was being planned in 1857 along the Juschanlee River and we also applied for a Homestead in that village. Our wish was granted and we received 65 Desjatins (178 acres approx.) of land. We were told by the Authorities how to build. The house was to be of burned brick and tiled roof. The barn could be built of lumber. We had already our own stock and implements, but for the buildings we had to borrow the money. The buildings cost us at that time 2500 Rubles. We lived here for 12 years and worked hard.

In 1868 we sold everything for 4640 Rubles. It was in the fall of the year. In the same year, in conjunction with a group of men we bought a tract of land in the neighbouring province at 25 Rubles per Desjatin. Our share was 200 Desjatins. A little later we bought another 20 Desjatins at 75 Rubles per Desjatin. In the spring of 1869 we moved onto the new land. In 1885 we again bought more land together with another group. We divided it in 6 even parts at 85 Desjatins per part. Our children Johann & Elisabeth settled on this land - 85 Desjatins each. Because the little village (6 homesteads) had such good water, they called the village Schönbrunn.

Our two oldest children Johann & Elisabeth settled each on 85 Desjatins and each acquired a bank loan of 1156 Rubles 67 Kopecks for this land. So consequently, when our last two children will start their own homesteads, this bank loan will have to be assumed by all four of them at even parts.

In order to set the record straight, I have to mention another thing: In 1884 a Russian surveyor remeasured all of the Brasoler land and found that we had 3 Desjatins less - 217 instead of 220. We had to sell 1 Desjatin to Miller Dick because the old line ran right through the middle of his house.

I want to make the following explanation, namely, when I bought the Schönbrunn land, I paid 5257 Rubles 15 Kopecks for each homestead (85 Desjatins) and built the buildings and gave Johann and Elisabeth everything that was necessary for the farming operation. My plan is now to give each of our children 5000 Rubles for beginning their own household, which will have to be subtracted from the total sum and the rest they will owe me. On the rest I have received a promissory note from son Johann and also from son-in-law Johann Baerg, which can be presented in case of need. My own signature will verify to all of this.

Until David comes home from military service, I plan to farm together with Abraham, the Lord willing and my health holds out. Then we will build up the place next to ours for Abraham. The orchard is already planted there. This will give Abraham and David each 85 Desjatins of land the same as Johann & Elisabeth received. When Abraham moves into the new place it is my wish to stay with Mother at the old place with David. This leaves 47 more desjatins and they will be for us parents for our own livelihood. David and Abraham will have the 47 Desjatins for a reasonable rent payable to us parnets as long as we live.

As written by David Matthies and transcribed into english:

Following is a list of the dowry that our children have received from us, their parents. My wish is that all four would receive an equal part.

1.  Good clothes & bedding. Bedstead & one wardrobe
2.  Two horses, worth approximately  150 Rubles
3.  Two cows, worth approximately  70 Rubles
4.  Two calves  10 Rubles
5.  Three pigs, worth 10 Rubles a piece  30 Rubles
6.  Seed for 16 Desjatins of wheat, 20 barley & 7 of rye  150 Rubles
7.  The two oldest, Johann & Elizabeth, before they settled
in Schönbrunn, have also recived, in my estimation,
Room and board worth about 
150 Rubles
8.  They have also received, each  5,000 Rubles

All the above mentioned, Johann and Elizabeth have received from their father, David Matthies and later, Abraham and David, have received exactly the same.