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Colony Movement

Pfeifer (Gnilushka), Russia

AHSGR Village Coordinator - Rosemary Larson

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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.

      From the beginning of the colony, there was parochial education available in Pfeifer. The students were taught reading, writing, and religion by a local schoolmaster under the supervision of the parish priest. In 1888, a government school was constructed in the colony.

      From 1860-1864, 23 families resettled to daughter colonies in the Samara Province. Between 1877 and 1886, 64 families immigrated to South America.


      In 1846, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Pfeifer was built of wood in a neoclassic style. The building contained a high altar, side altars and an organ that came from the South Tyrol. The upper half of the interior walls was whitewashed whereas the lower half was finished in light blue.

      Pfeifer became an independent Catholic parish in 1871.

      The Church of St. Francis of Assisi is no longer standing.


The parish of Pfeifer was served by the following priests:

Philipp Dorzweiler
1869-1877 Michael Haag
1877-1878 Sebastian Wolf
1878-1880 Philipp Dorzweiler
1880-1894 Johannes Burgardt
1887 Peter Müller
1897 Josef Hein
1897?-1898 Josef Paul
1904 Alexander Staub
1905 Joseph Gütlein
1905-1909 Johannes Fix
1911-1913 Joseph Beilmann
1914-1918 Nikolaus Maier
?-1921 Emanuel Simon
1921-1928 Leo Weinmayer

The Scouts

   Pfeifer was founded on the right bank of the Ilava River on 15 June 1767 by the Government as a Roman Catholic colony. Pfeifer is 117 versts from the provincial capital of Saratov, 65 versts from the district capital of Kamyshin, and 6 versts from the local administrative center of Kamenka.

High Altar of the Church of St. Francis if Assisi -

Pfeifer, Russia

Plot map of Pfeifer, Russia in 1913, drawn be a original resident who came to the United States. Thanks to Marvin Bittel for sharing.  Click on photos to enlarge

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Resarch Material Available for Pfeifer, Russia
Archival Records Available & Where

Census Books

Kulberg List

First Settlers List

1834 Census

1850 Census

1857 Census

Birth Records


Marriage Records








Death Records

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