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Munjor, Ellis County, Kansas

Founded - August 1876

The Founding of the Town of Munjor

     After landing in New York, the immigrants immediately headed westward.  Arriving in Kansas, some stayed a few days in Herzog (Victoria) with earlier immigrants; others arrived in Hays on July 28 and spent a short time there.  In a matter of only a few days, both of these groups moved to a tract of land along Big Creek, north of the present town of Munjor.  This site proved unsatisfactory and after two months, they moved to Section 25, Range 18 in Wheatland Township to establish their permanent home which is to this day the location of the town of Munjor.  Other immigrant groups arrived in Munjor in November 1876, September 1877, and July 1878.  After this, until about 1900, individuals and small groups continued to join the Munjor community.

     The people lived very closely together in houses built after the style of their forefathers in Russia - the lower half of the building dug into the ground, the upper part built of sod cut from prairie.  Those dwellings were called "Semlinkas."  The interior usually contained only two rooms: a small room with a fireplace and cooking materials, and a larger room which served as living, dining, and bed room.  Straw, sunflowers, and wood were used for fuel when available and, in their absence, decomposed cattle manure know as "Mistholz."  Large sheepskin coats, woven with fur on the inside, were brought from Russia and proved to be very practical during the first winters.  In general the women dressed much as they did in Russia wearing neither hats nor bonnets, but rather small, black shawls embroidered with designs in colored silk.  At first, the older men wore their hair long onto the neck, but this custom soon disappeared.

 Founders of Munjor

Left Saratov, July 8, 1876
     from Obermunjour, Russia

        Joseph Engel
        John Berg
        Franz Leiker
        Henry Leiker
        Joseph Leiker
        Konrad Leiker
        Michael Leiker
        Nicholas Leiker
        Peter Leiker

    from Wittmann, Russia
         John Dechant
         John Herl
         Henry Miller
         Henry Ruder
         Stanislaus Ruder
         Joseph Schreibvogel
         Anton Schumacher
         Catherine Schumacher
         Henry Schumacher
         George Schumacher

     from Marienthal, Russia
          Nicholas Eberle
          Peter Gross
          Mathias Rohr
          Peter Rohr

     from Schoenchen, Russia
          Anton Wasinger
          Anton Wasinger, Jr.

Left Saratov September 18-30, 1876 and arrived on November 1, 1876 all from Obermunjor, Russia
          Anton Befort
          Konrad Befort
          Michael Graf
          Christian Hertel
          John Klaus
          John Krannawitter
          Jacob John Leiker
          Jacob Pfannenstiel

Left Herzog, August 8-20, 1877 and arrived on
September 15, 1877 from Herzog, Russia

          Anton Denning

     from Marienthal, Russia
          Adam Ernst
          Joseph Gassman
          Andrew Korbe
          Peter Pfannenstiel

Left Obermunjou in late July of 1878 from
Obermunjou, Russia

          Gerard Befort
          Anton Dechant
          Jacob Engel
          Peter Klaus
          John Pfannenstiel
          Konrad Rupp
          John Stecklein
          Anton Gabel (arrived later)

Photograph from the collection of the Kansas State Historical Society, Copy and Reuse Restrictions Apply.

Scouts Peter Stoecklein, Jacob Ritter, Nicolaus Schamme, Peter Leiker and Anton Wasinger

This photograph was published in the Hays Daily News, November 11, 1929, with the following caption: Here is a group picture of the five pioneers who came to Ellis county, Kansas, from the Volga region of Russia in 1874. These five men were delegates sent to America by the Volga colonies for the purpose of seeking a location to establish new settlements, as many of the Germans of the Volga region were determined to leave Russia and migrate either to North America or South America. This picture was taken of those men shortly before they left Russia bound for America. Reading from left to right are Peter Stoecklein, Jacob Ritter, Nichlas Schamne, Peter Leiker, and Anton Wasinger. They fulfilled their mission successfully, having come as far west as Nebraska. On their return to their home towns they made a favorable report, on the strength of which the first emigrants left Russia in the year of 1875. Four of the five delegates backed up their judgment by coming to the United States themselves, namely: Peter Leiker, Peter Stoecklein, Anton Wasinger, and Nichlas Schamne. The first three named here remained until they died, while Nichlas Schamne returned to Russia. This photograph published for the first time today, was procured through the efforts of Mr. A. D. Wasinger who, knowing of its existence, corresponded with his sister in Russia, who sent it to him. It is a valuable addition to the historical data covering the history of the early settlements of this colony.

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