Village History

51°04' N 44°59' E

(also: Peskovatka, Peskovka, Peskowatka)

On May 13, 1767, 88 colonists of the Lutheran faith (four of these were born in Russia) arrived on land which had been set aside by the Office of Immigrant Affairs, 100 km to the southwest of the regional center of Saratov. They founded the colony of Peskovatka. This name was given by the Russian administration after the small stream along which the given colony was located. The colony is located in the Saratov gubernia, in the okrug (district) of the city of Atkarsk, on the hilly side (Bergseite) of the Volga River at a distance of 100 verts from Saratov and 100 from Atkarsk.

The German name of the colony, Kolb, was derived from the surname of the first "Vorsteher" Andreas Kolb, from the county of Hessenburg. In all, 24 families and 8 bachelors arrived. Each family was allotted 75 rubles. The single men did not receive money to establish a household, and for the early times (until they had families) lived as workers with the colonists of the colony.

By profession, 8 families were craftsmen and the remainder farmers. By the winter of 1768 they had succeeded in plowing 24 hectares of virgin land. Most of the colonists - 20 people - came from the county of Hessen-Darmstadt, 12 from Hessenburg. Eight people were from the county of Falkenstein and the Free Noble Province of the Ancient Knights; 6 from Saxony, Hanau, and Baden-Baden; 1-3 each were from the kingdom of Prussia, Ehrfurt county, duchy of Zweibrücken, and the principality of Braundschweig.

Set aside for colonists were 5307 hectares of land, of which 4679 were under cultivation, 314 in forest, and the remainder for other needs. But in reality, by the end of the 18th century, only 818 hectares were under cultivation, the rest too saline and clayey, good only for the use of livestock. Actually, the colony experienced a sharp need for arable soil and pasture. By that time, forest lands had significantly diminished (to 69 hectares), because from the moment of founding of the colony, the forest was actively used for construction and other needs. The forest was oak, birch, aspen, and linden, suitable only for firewood, of which they collected only dead falls, because the forest was held in reserve.

Located 8 km, from Peskovatka were two other German colonies: Grechishinaya Luka (Walter) and Medveditsky Krestovy Buyerak (Frank).

By 1798, in the colony lived 357 persons, comprising 50 families belonging to the Medveditsky Krestovy Buyerak parish. In Peskovatka there was only a prayer house. Young children were taught to read and write and the catechism by the schoolmaster under the observation of the pastor in a building specially constructed for this purpose.

By the end of the 18th century, there were no longer any craftsmen in the village. All families were occupied with farming, with an enormous expenditure of labor. Harvests of the majority of farm crops were not large. Harvested rye was 4 rubels 4 kopeks, wheat 4 kopeks, barley 3 rubles 7 kopeks, oats 7 rubles, potatoes 3 rubles, and peas 10 rubles. Grain crops were grown in a three-field system, requiring practically no fertilizer. Harvests of grain in the lower lands were good, but only mediocre from the remainder. Yields of the harvested crops of the Kolb colonists were taken to granaries located some distance from the colony, with the aim of protection from possible fire.

By the end of the 18th century, the colony was in poor condition. Houses and other structures were dilapidated, there being no stone or adobe houses. Yards were separated from the streets by board fences, and inside by wattle fences. Behind the houses, along the banks of the stream were located vegetable gardens. A communal mill stood on this stream, which, because of the low level of water, worked only in the springtime. The rest of the year it served as a dam to collect water, so needed by the inhabitants of the colony.

In general, the colony of Peskovatka did not differ from the majority of the colonies on the right bank of the Volga.


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