Writer's grandson David Graves with wife Eva in 1995, Manitoba
A girl stabbing her father for alleged abuse; a serious cough sickening children; death by lightning … these are some of the stories shared by a long-lost relative that I discovered through his letters to the Mennonitische Rundschau from Alexanderpol in Russia’s Memrik Mennonite Settlement.
David Isaak Graewe (#599467) was an older brother of my dad’s great-grandfather, Isaak Graewe (#1083368). David loved reading about relatives and friends who had moved to America, so to return the favour, he shared news about people he knew in Russia.
The final letter stands out for its stories, and the words of a minister recently back from hospital: “Brothers and sisters, if I had died or should still die, one thing I want to tell you: that nothing will separate me from God. I will die happy.” Enjoy this snapshot of life in Russia from 1895 to 1914 in David’s nine letters shared below.
I’ve included GRANDMA numbers for people where I could identify them. These numbers refer to individuals listed in the helpful Mennonite genealogical database of the California Mennonite Historical Society. As of 2021, the database now includes David and his family that we know of from his letters.
The translations are mine, with help from Google and DeepL; the original letters are transcribed in the German version of this blog post. I have added bullets and paragraph breaks for clarity.
It was not easy getting Rundschau articles at this time of COVID-19. The Mennonite Historical Society of B.C. kindly provided some articles, but had to close its doors temporarily. I’m grateful to Conrad Stoesz of the Mennonite Heritage Archives in Winnipeg, and Jon Isaac of the Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies in Winnipeg, who sent me digital copies of some missing Rundschau articles.
About David Isaak Graewe
David Isaak Graewe, a farmer, was born in Neukirch, Molotschna to parents Isaak Graewe (#26610) and Aganetha Boldt (#26611). He married Maria Schroeder (#34917), born about 1851 to parents David Schroeder (#49363) and Elizabeth Unruh (#49410). Maria was previously married to Heinrich Friesen (#34916), who had likely died.
David and Maria started out in Maria’s village of Landskrone, Molotschna. The original village farms of 175 acres were subdivided and theirs was half the size. In order to have more land to farm, in 1888 they sold their property for 5,275 rubles, about $10,600, and moved over 200 km away to Alexanderpol, St. Sajzewo (Memrik), where they were among the first settlers of the village.
By 1912, they were somewhat retired. In 1913, they moved to the 121.5 acre parcel bought for 18,200 rubles from from their minister, Kornelius Isaak (#32394), who was moving to California.
Three of David’s siblings lived in Friedensfeld, Sagradovka, where David liked to visit once a year. Their father had moved there in 1887 the year before he died. The siblings in Friedensfeld included my dad’s great-grandfather, Isaak Graewe (#1083368), Aganetha Graewe (#95066, married Abraham Reimer #523459), and Agatha Graewe (#1014337, married Heinrich Wiens #1014338). The train ticket was inexpensive at 5 rubles 20 kopeks in 1914, and travel was one night’s duration.
David’s wife Maria was operated on for cancer in 1911. In 1912, she suffered severely from rheumatism. By 1913, she had recovered enough that she was able to function again.
David and Maria had 13 children, 5 of whom were still living in 1900:
We have Canadian connections with the last two children. Katharina Graewe’s son Heinrich Warkentin has family in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Three of his children were married there in the 1970s (Hans and Heinz Warkentin, and daughter Elfrieda, who married a Bridge). They arrived in Canada after some time in Paraguay.
David’s grandson David Graves came to Canada in 1927 with his mother and stepfather. His mother died in 1934. At age 18, during the Great Depression, he rode the rails with a friend, searching for work. Later, “with $20.00 down and a handshake, he purchased 40 acres of bush land for $250.00. This place continued to be his home for over 60 years.” At age 54 in Manitoba, he married Eva Koop #1059027, and they worked the farm together. Eva “always admired David’s practical Christianity. He loved the Lord and we had many precious times together reading and discussing the Word of God and praying together.”
My uncle Heinrich Graewe visited David and Eva for their 25th wedding anniversary in 1995; a cousin provided a photo (see above). My father was surprised to learn of this relative in Canada, and although David has passed on, we are richer for knowing a little about him.
- Irene Plett
published 24 Apr. 1895 p. 1:3
I am pleased that the Rundschau gives us news from far and wide. We used to live in Landskrone [in Molotschna] and had a half-farm [88 acres] there, but could not buy more because it was too expensive. We therefore sold our farm for 5,275 rubles and bought land 200 verst [132 miles] from Landskrone and 40 verst [27 miles] from Bachmut. The cost was 59 rubles per dessiatine [2.7 acres], or 63 rubles with expenses.
We’ve been living here for seven years now. There are 35 of us proprietors in the village and we had to learn the hard way. I'll mention one instance.
We settled in places where not everyone got enough water. Half of the village at the eastern end had to move to the western end, because quite a few had dug wells 24 fathoms (48 yards) deep and still did not have enough water. We were lucky that we didn't have to move. Now everyone has their own well and enough water. For the first years we had a well in the middle of the village, which cost us 700 rubles. It is now closed up.
We have pretty good land, one arskin [28 inches] of black earth, but nothing helps at the moment, because it's a time of tight money for us, with grain prices too low. Wheat 4½ rubles per pud [36.11 lb.]; barley 2½ rubles; rye 4 rubles; oats 30 kopeks. Last autumn, some wheat sold at 2½ rubles per pud.
Our family consists of the two of us and four children. Physically, we are pretty healthy, for which we owe much thanks to the Lord, because many people are getting sick and dying.
We ask our acquaintances and friends for their addresses, such as Peter Ens, formerly of Neukirch; Joh. Heinrich's children, formerly of Marienthal; and then there are friends and acquaintances from Kleefeld.
My wife Maria is the daughter of David Schroeder from Landskrone. Whoever remembers mine or my wife lovingly may write to us, or let himself be heard in the Rundschau.
Heinrich Schmidt [#61600], formerly of Klippenfeld, asks for the address of Gerhard Baergen from Friendensdorf [#31682, he migrated to the US in 1877]. Schmidt's wife, born Katharina Baergen [#31681], is seriously ill due to dropsy [edema, probably due to congestive heart failure]. They also live in our village with all of their children. She is very patient in her suffering and wishes to be released.
The following have died in our village:
Greetings to all friends, acquaintances, and yes, all readers of the Rundschau, and I ask them to be helpful so that this writing may be seen by many of those concerned.
David & Maria Graewe,
Alexandropol, St. Otscheretino, Bachmut area, Ekaterinoslav Governorate.
Everyone is moving
published 15 Apr 1900 p. 6
Alexandropol, March 15, 1900.
When you read the Rundschau (which I like to do very much), you will find many things you would not have known without this paper, like in issue No. 8 by Kornelius Sudermann, I believe a son of Eduard Suderman, formerly of Landskrone. According to that correspondence, both parents are still alive. I would like to hear from them and from all their children, if not by letter, then by the dear Rundschau, which is such a reliable messenger and with so little expense.
Johann Graewe [#27683], I don't know where he has his home in America. Johann Holzrichter [#13405] of Inman [Kansas], formerly of Kleefeld, who are my siblings, if you do not have our address, I will add it at the end of this letter. If these lines come to your attention, please write to us, either a letter or through the Rundschau. Regardless, I would like to know your addresses.
Our family now consists of five children:
Our state of health is not the best. My wife is almost always ill. Our son David had a fever and is also very weak. Besides that, we must thank the Lord very much, for He has provided us with everything well.
The weather is not very pleasant, has been in a bad way for quite some time. Freezing at night, thawing during the day; too little snow for sledging, too much snow in places for wagons.
When we read in the Rundschau how our brothers in America are going back and forth in all directions to improve their earthly home, the same thing is happening here in Russia. Almost everyone is full of buying and selling. To settle in Orenburg, Samara, Ufa, Omsk or Siberia, where the convicts were sent, such that we were horrified to hear when this or that person was condemned to Siberia. Now our Germans are going there in droves and are buying up large tracts of land for a low price. Many are very happy at the new settlements. There are also unhappy people. Those who used to be wealthy now have nothing, because they took on too much. People are also already talking about the Amur region. I think after a few years the biggest emigration will take place there.
Greetings again to the editor and all readers of the Rundschau.
Alexandropol, St. Otscherentino, E.K. Railway, Ekaterinoslav Governorate, Russia.
published 16 July 1913 p. 9.
Alexandropol, Russia, June 3rd.
As I am a reader of the Rundschau, and read in it so many instructional articles as well as much from friends and acquaintances, I would like to try to write something for the Rundschau too.
I would like to answer the question of Benjamin Wedel [#47606] of Gotebo, Oklahoma, about his three brothers.
After a long drought, it started raining yesterday and continued all night. Our grain, not big on straw, can still yield a good harvest. There will be very little among the Russians in our neighbouring village, because they didn't plow much in autumn.
I would like to hear from Johann Graewe [#27683], my brother [moved to the US in 1893], and brother-in-law Johann Holzrichter [#13405, moved to the US in 1884] and their children, as well as all my nieces and cousins. We love reading it. Then there are also the children of my wife's sister [Sara Schroeder #38162] and her husband Johann Heinrichs [#38161], who used to live in Prangenau and Marienthal. My wife Maria is the daughter of David Schroeder [#49363] from Landskrone [in Molotschna]. I would like to hear from Heinrich Schroeder's children and all former Kleefelders.
My wife was operated on for cancer two years ago. Last year she suffered from rheumatism for most of the year. We had to care for her as for a small child for several months. Now she can walk and also get some things done, may the Lord be thanked! My left thumb was removed last autumn. That has also healed after a lot of pain.
Our children are all in our village. Jakob Tessmann, my oldest daughter's husband, died five months after the wedding. After his death, a son was yet born to him.
Our address is: Alexandropol, St. Otscheretino, Jekat. Sh. D., Jekat. Governorate, Russia.
A warm greeting to all friends and acquaintances and readers of this paper.
David I. Graewe.
A Good Harvest
published 8 Oct. 1913 p. 14.
Alexanderpol, Russia, August 30, 1913.
Because I’m behind in writing to several people, I’d like to show a little sign of life through the Rundschau. We are currently healthy, thanks to the Lord. We’re well looked after. We didn’t sow last year or this year and don’t want to sow next year either.
Last Sunday we had Thanksgiving. We had a good harvest again this summer; but it wasn’t the same everywhere. Land plowed in the autumn yielded 10 Tschetwert [2,000 L]; unploughed land yielded three to four Tschetwert per Dessiatine [2.7 acres]. Wheat was priced at nine rubles 50 kopeks. Barley also yielded well. Its price is 65 kopeks per pud [36.11 lb]. Few oats are sown, only enough for the horses. The heavy rain has hindered the work a lot. A lot of plowing is happening now; it is actually still too wet for this work.
To you, dear niece [cousin] in Kansas [Helena Graewe #88939], along with your dear husband Johann Warkentin [#88940], your parents Heinrich Graeve [#265716] and his wife, and your children: a warm greeting and thanks for the essay in issue No. 35. The Lord Jesus can also restore complete health to the dear brother-in-law, whom we haven’t met yet. If your husband cannot, then you can only confidently write to the Rundschau, which will bring it to us safely. And one so gladly reads it printed there.
We have already received news about my sister, Anna [Graewe] Holzrichter [#26612]. May the Lord help them in their difficult situation. We got a letter from her daughter Aganetha Harder [#114344]. Thank you, only more please! Loving greetings to all of you.
I was in Sagradovka in August, where most of my friends live. They had a very good harvest there. Lots of wheat; barley worth up to 29 Tschetwert [5,800 L] per dessiatine [2.7 acres]. Three of my siblings live in village No. 3, Friedensfeld:
In No. 14, Steinfeld [Sagradovka], my niece [cousin] Mrs. Kath. Rogalsky, nee Boldt [#952332], has been struck down by cancer. May the Lord be her comforter. [Katharina died on 11 Oct 1913 in Steinfeld.]
The farms are now expensive here. We bought 45 dessiatine [121.5 acres] of land and very good buildings on it for 18,200 rubles from our preacher Kornelius Isaak, who is going to California [#32394, he arrived in Reedley, California on 23 Oct 1913]. We’re moving in early September, if God is willing and if we are still living. Until now the Lord has helped us; he gave us what we needed, and we hope that he will continue to do so. Let us submit and walk joyfully through the valley of time; because the devil can take part in a lot, but he cannot submit.
I’ll close with this, and greet all friends, acquaintances, readers and the editor of the Rundschau, wishing that we scattered people will once again meet before the throne of God.
David Isaak Graewe.
Like the Time of Noah
published 31 Dec. 1913 pages 16-17.
Alexanderpol, Russia, November 8, 1913.
In the No. 45 issue of the Rundschau, I just read an essay by our friends, the family of J.J. Warkentin #88940, of Hillsboro, Kansas. How our dear brother-in-law is still suffering! Just a little more patience, it is provided for you, think of that white-clad flock who has come through great tribulation and gives honour to the lamb. Everything has no ending here on earth.
In some way or other, the Lord governs me,
Only his will is valid, I keep silent for him,
Because he leads to the goal, where it will be wonderful.
[“The Lord will provide,” by Martha A. W. Cook (1806-1874), translated into German by Ernst Heinrich Gebhardt (1832-1899)]
Brother-in-law Johann Holzrichter [#13405] isn’t communicating at all. Or are you no longer reading the Rundschau? I would be surprised at that. We read in the Rundschau that our sister [Anna Graewe #26612] is dead. Now she is no longer suffering. We still have to struggle, as it has been ordained for us, etc. [Hebr. 12:1]
Abraham Goossen’s Gretchen is no longer among the living. She died on the night from Nov. 7 to Nov. 8 at 3 a.m. She had been a believer for several years and was a childlike sister. She was only sick for four days. And so she has completed her course and rests until the Lord Jesus calls her, as we firmly believe.
Old Johann Unger is suffering a lot; he moved back to Nordheim. The Toews’ youngest daughter Justina is now serving him.
Weddings are also celebrated; it’s like the time of Noah here. On November 3, widower Jakob Giesbrecht [#1028030] from No. 3 [Friedensfeld], Sagradovka married our neighbour Johann Koop's daughter Maria [#1059192]. I think our Giesbrecht friend is due to write something for the Rundschau. (That would probably be correct. Please! Ed.) Brother Isaak Graewe [#1083368] and Peter Klassen also appeared at the wedding.
Tomorrow, on November 9th, there will be a wedding at Kornelius Unger's, namely that of their daughter Katharina with a Huebert from No. 3 [Leonidovka], Ignatyevo.
Dear niece [cousin] Helena Warkentin [#88939] of Hillsboro, Kansas, you ask if we have already had guests from America. From this we conclude that someone is coming, but we haven’t heard anything yet. We are pleased and hope that one of our friends comes to look us in the eye after such a long separation. I will then write again soon.
You newly arrived Russians in California, Kornelius Isaak [#32394, arrived in Reedley, California on 23 Oct 1913] and Johann Koop and your families, how are you? Warm greetings to you, and make sure that you keep your word and write, as you promised us. But don't write with a lead pencil; it blurs too much on the long journey.
Our daughter Maria is still in Riga. Her little Tessmann at our place is now healthier than before.
Jakob Goossen’s buildings burned down completely. He has set up the house next door and lives in it. He put most of the cattle in the burned stable. Everything inside it remained. He covered it with straw and plans to keep it that way over the winter.
We have a lot of reasons to thank the Lord, we are fairly healthy, which I sincerely wish for all of you. We know from M. B. Fast’s report that you are on the spot, so next week we’ll auction off Isaak’s things.
So I want to conclude in the expectation that there will be a lot to read again from friends and relatives in the Rundschau. Greetings to all readers with Psalm 111:10. [“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.” NIV] Remember us in prayer.
David Isaak Graewe
The Sleigh Run is Gone
published 22 Apr. 1914 p. 13.
Alexanderpol, Russia, January 25, 1914.
Encouraged by the essay in issue No. 3 by Jakob M. Thiessen of Berthoud, Colorado, I want to write again straight away and answer the question first whether I am a reader of the Zionsbote. I am not, but I have been a reader of the Rundschau for a long time already, and because I so enjoy reading from friends and acquaintances in the Rundschau, I feel compelled to write something too.
The sleigh run is gone, so you have to sit at home more, and then you think about a lot of things and also have lots of time to read the Rundschau. I have read all of your essays in the Rundschau, dear B. Thiessen.
Brother Johann Unger [#491671] has died; he endured terrible pain, but felt almost nothing at the end. Sometimes his thoughts were already tangled. His children are well looked after, they all have farms of 30 dessiatine [81 acres] each. Johann and Gerhard live in our village, Anna in Nordheim in the Memrik settlement. Justina lives at the Toews’ in Konteniusfeld, and Heinrich with Tobias Unrau in Waldheim. [Gerhard #136740 migrated to Canada in 1926; Justina #491670 in 1927 after marrying a Toews in 1922.]
B. Isaak of California, we have already read, and read aloud, your report in issue No. 3 several times. We like it. I think you receive letters; the widow of Jakob Isaak [Maria Wiebe #58828] wanted to write to you, and maybe others too. I prefer to write to the Rundschau, then everyone who is interested in us can read it. But I don’t want to get annoying to the editor and his helpers. (We ask for more reports, especially for the approaching warm period. Due to my illness, this report and several others were left out for longer than space would have dictated. Please bear with me. Ed.)
There are still many friends and acquaintances that we aren’t hearing from. I would like to know how old my dear Uncle Heinrich Graewe is [#265716, migrated to the US in 1884]. If he doesn't write, I ask my dear niece [cousin] Helena Warkentin [#88939] to do so. I would like to hear from all of you, preferably to see you all. If God is willing and we are living, maybe it can still happen.
Cousin [Jacob] Graewe [#28864], I’ve read your report in issue No. 53. You write very little about your family relationships. How many children do you have and where are they? Do you still have your first wife and do you have your own land? [I have news about your sisters:]
Jakob Bergmann recently died in Memrik; in Alexanderhof, Heinrich H. Neufeld, who lived in Wernersdorf and originated from Liebenau. We will soon be gone too. The wife of David Paetkau died in January. She is Franz Epp's daughter from No. 5, Nikolayevka. The Paetkaus own a steam mill in Baronovka.
Jakob Goossen had an auction on January 28 for the movable property. [David reported in Nov. 2013 that all of Jakob’s buildings had burned down.] He sold the house and yard of 1¼ desiatine (4 acres) to H. Tessman Jr. for 1,200 rubles. Goossen wants to continue learning. What God has in mind for him, the future will teach him.
On the 29th, 30th and 31st, these three days we had B. Penner from Millerovo in our midst. He wants to interpret Hebrews 1 and 2. The Lord gave him very good gifts.
Someone asks about the state of health of the family of Dietrich Thiessen. They and their children, of whom I believe they have eight or nine, are healthy. Their address is: Village of Alexandropol, St. Otscheretino, Ekaterinoslav Sh. Dor., Russia.
Farewell to all readers,
David Isaak Graewe.
Don't Exasperate Your Children
published 27 May 1914 pages 17-18.
Because I often read in the Rundschau that friends are searching in it, I must take a quill and write something for them despite all the "Drokkigkeit."
So first of all I want to answer the question of Benjamin Wedel #47606 about his brothers.
Now a little about the weather: we could not have imagined such a spring. Always rain and frost and wind. We have had very few nice days. The sowing time is over. Welsh corn and Baschtan are in the ground. And such weather again today! Cold north wind with rain and snow, so that nothing can be done outside. There are no accidents or illnesses to tell you about. May God be thanked!
Brother Johann Abrahams of Margenau, thank you for writing in the Rundschau every now and then. But that isn’t enough; we would like to see you sometime.
We Alexanderpol brothers have spoken about it so often: who knows whether our Aeltester David Schellenberg will visit us this spring to tell us something about America? And how about if you and the Schellenberg brothers and sisters visited us? Our address is: St. Otscheretino, Ekat. Shel. D. Selo Aleksandropol. Write to us, we’ll pick you up from the train.
We haven’t heard anything from our brother-in-law, Johann Holzrichter #13405. Please write how you are in your widower status and where you are. If he doesn't read the Rundschau, would someone be so good as to give him this newspaper to read?
The family of Kornelius Isaak #32394 [arrived in Reedley, California on 23 Oct 1913] and [Johann] Koop of California must join you in a little while.
On Sunday, [April] 13, we joined many others at the home of the widow of Jakob Isaak [Maria Wiebe, #58828] for her 51st birthday. Psalm 55 and Psalm 119, verses 1 to 51, were read. Her son Johann [#58833] is engaged to Katharina Krause [#335666]. The banns of their intended marriage were announced for the first time on Sunday.
In No. 5, Nikolajevka, a great misfortune happened to the shepherd, Artem. While sleeping, his almost grown daughter went up to him with a knife and cut him on the neck. He jumped up, but she had already wounded him. It's supposed to have happened because of bad treatment. That is why the scripture must be observed, “do not exasperate your children” [Col. 3:21, NASB].
Bankruptcies are proceeding. In Michaelsheim, at the Memrik settlement, there is a steam miller called Andres. He cannot pay for everything and the fortune is gone. They have been locked out. In Bahndorf (in writing: Orloff) there is a Dueck, originally from Lichtfelde. He cannot stay either. He had a small steam mill and borrowed too much that he couldn't pay back. Very poor people are losing their money there. Widow Stobbe of Orlov is also losing over 1,000 rubles through that. We don't want to go into debt too easily!
David I. Graewe
Children are Coughing Up Blood
published 8 July 1914 pages 16-17.
Alexanderpol, Russia, May 27, 1914.
I’d like to write something for the Rundschau again. I was very happy about the report by J. J. A. and Aganetha Harder [#100825 and #114344] of Meade, Kansas, the child of my late sister [Anna Graewe #26612]. Thank you so much, just keep going. Your husband may be a good "dictator." I would like to hear from him too. We carefully read through every issue of the Rundschau to see if there is anything in it about friends and acquaintances.
Now I want to answer the question of where our Kleefeld friends have gone. The families of Abraham Reimer [#513459], Heinrich Wiens [#1014338], and Isaak Graewe [#1083368] live in Sagradowka in village No. 3, Friedensfeld. I like to go there once a year. The ticket there costs 5 rubles 20 kopeks. It's only a one night drive.
The Reimer children are all married except for one daughter, and almost all of them live in Barnaul, Siberia. The Wienses have three married children. Isaak Graewe and his wife are also grandparents of one child [Peter Plett, #1258664]. Their eldest daughter Aganetha [#1192981] was married to a [Peter] Plett [#476148], who lived only a year as her husband and then had to say goodbye to the world. She and her son are at her Graewe parents.
I wrote about our children earlier, you have probably already read that in the Rundschau. But if you want to know more, just ask, and I will answer if possible.
Thank you too, dear niece [cousin] Tine [Katharina Graewe #265092] and Lene [Helena Graewe #88939], children of Heinrich Graewe, for the letter. We ask you to also read this to your parents. Greet them with Psalm 34, verses 1 to 11.
We no longer know anything about our brother Johann Graewe [#27683]; would someone be so good as to give him this to read, and also report something for them in the Rundschau if they do not do it themselves.
The so-called blue cough broke out among the children in our village. It torments the children terribly. What can be done about it? Could someone advise us, because it is spreading more and more. The children cough so badly that they spew blood.
The grain is standing well. After a lot of rain it has been dry for a while, now we could use some rain. Heavy rain with thunder recently fell in our area, from which we were spared. In New York, Ignatyevo, a man was killed and other calamities were caused (likely by the storm. Ed.) The Hessian fly is also doing a lot of damage to the fields; not much to our fields, but much must be reseeded near and far.
Today is a jubilee festival in Nikolajevka [in Ignatyevo]. It has been 25 years since the settlement began. Some of the settlers are no longer living. The New Yorkers [in Ignatyevo] recently celebrated this festival. Our neighbours who first settled Ignatievo came from the Old Colony, Chortitza Volost [district].
Oh how the time speeds by and we with it, there is no stopping. We should be mindful and save for the time when help will be needed, because usually the last days of life are not the best. God knows what lies ahead for us. May His will be done. Even if in great weakness, our path is toward heaven! And such I wish for all readers and the editor.
Greetings, your friend of all
David Isaak Graewe
I will die happy
published 29 July 1914 p. 13.
Alexanderpol, Russia, June 15, 1914.
The No. 23 issue of the Rundschau was so interesting for me that I must write again right away. It is always important to me that people who have never seen each other become known and able to communicate through this valuable newspaper.
I read to the widow of Johann Wedel [Sara Rennpening, #123751] [text missing?] the preacher in Alexanderpol proposed ... of brother Benjamin Wedel [#47606, migrated to the US in 1885]. She asks to send warm greetings. She also wishes to know the whereabouts of her sister, Aganetha, the wife of Isaak Wall, née Rennpening, from Fabrikerwiese [in Molotschna]. If the named people do not read the Rundschau, those who do are asked to give it to them to read. She asks for her address and greets the Walls warmly. She wrote them two letters; perhaps they did not arrive.
At the beginning of June, about 8 verst (8.5 km) from us in Poltava, near Osotino, lightning struck and killed the 19-year-old son of the Russian farmer, Kosatchok, and two very good horses. The son had stayed a little behind with a team of three horses. He and two horses died immediately; the third horse fell, but soon got up uninjured. It is very painful for the parents. They are wealthy people, they have a little Chutor [estate].
Similarly, there would be a lot of accidents to record. B. Pauls of No. 5 [Kronstadt], Nikolayevka in Ignatyevo, who had fallen very unhappily, is somewhat better, but not as before; spiritually, however, it has served his health. It is very fortunate that Paul's siblings are wealthy; they will come through even if he cannot work. Now I think he will do a lot of good for the Lord.
In one village (I forgot the name of it), a whole herd of horses was stolen. Several of them came back right away and 21 were taken at Grischino. The colonists [Lutherans] were so brave behind them, that they [the thieves] only kept the three they were riding on. With that they escaped, and they are happy that these brave people didn’t catch them, otherwise they would have stolen for the last time.
Some time ago, brother Franz Goossen, our leading preacher in Alexanderpol, struck a horse in front of the body, such that he had to go to the hospital in Muntau [in Molotschna], where he was also healed. But he is no longer the way he used to be. His hair quickly turned somewhat gray. When he came home from Muntau, he could only speak very weakly; any effort was harmful to him. The few words he spoke when he first entered the pulpit made a deep impression on us: “Brothers and sisters, if I had died or should still die, one thing I want to tell you: that nothing will separate me from God. I will die happy.”
Today we held communion and foot-washing, known by the Lord Jesus, who instituted the practices. Non-local brothers and sisters [in Christ] present were the Froeses from Memrik, B. J. Martens, B. Abraham Fast and the Klassens.
A warm farewell to the editor and all readers!
David I. Graewe.
Irene Plett is a writer, poet and animal lover living in South Surrey, British Columbia, Canada.