ASSOCIATION OF MENNONITE BRETHREN CHURCHES OF UKRAINE
The colony’s creation history and the list of villages founded by Mennonites
The Memrik colony was founded in 1884, when the communes of Halbstadt and Gnadenfeld from the Molochnaya colony decided collectively to purchase 12 000 tithes of agriculturally used areas in the region of Bakhmut of Ekaterinoslav governorate. The land Mennonites paid 600 000 rubles for, was bought from two landowners – Kotliarevsky and Karpov. The Mennonites assumed the obligation to pay for the land in 8 years. The new lands found themselves 200km east from the Khortytsia colony, on a shore of the Vovcha river, a small side stream of the Samara river, flowing into Dniepr.
The better half of the new territory bordered with a Ukrainian village of Halicinovka, and the rest bordered with Alexeevka. In the south, lands of the new colony were hilly enough, but there were also several treed lowlands. This forest supplied the colonists with wood and building materials. The areas where there was no forest were used as pastures. The land lay in a steppe zone and was notable for its fertility. People of the new colony gathered much larger crops than in the Molochnaya colony. The Ekaterinoslav railroad crossed the north-east part of the area. The nearest station was Zhelannaia.
It was before the departure from the Molochnaya colony that peasants united into villages. Three hundred and three families settled in ten different villages. Inhabitants of three towns (Memrik, Marienort, Karpovka) received 60 land tithes each, the remaining seven villages got 30 tithes per capita. Most of the villages were built in the direction from the North to the South: winds there were not so often, so the probability of fire decreased. The villages were located mostly in shallow valleys of creeks, which flowed into the Vovcha river. One more village by the name of Dolinovka (from a Russian dolina – valley) came into being in 1922.
As for housing traditions, the ones from the Molochnaya colony were introduced to its affiliated colony. Those families that had 60 tithes of land, had to build the household on 1,5 tithes and set up a vegetable garden 85m in width. Those who received 30 tithes, had to assign one tithe for the household, and the garden had to be 64m in width, whereas the house size was 12,8m х 8,5m х 2,4m. According to the requirements, the walls had to be built from burnt brick or stones, and the roofs had to be tiled or shingled. In the early years of the Memrick colony existence, administratively, it was a subject of the Molocnhaya, but in 1888, the colony started to be governed by the Halicinovka volost administration.
The settlers kept struggling to get the independent rule, and it was in 1921 that the soviets agreed that the colony would create its own administration.
The early years were not easy, and the settlers would often delay the payment for the land they had to return to their mother colony. In 1888, the mother colony itself paid the mortgage for the land to a bank in Kharkov, thereby depriving the settlers of their independence. Second time the land was pawned to the same bank was in 1900. Gradually, the colonists gained experience, the agriculture gave its profit, industry and commerce started to shape up. The flour-grinding industry was developing especially quickly. At least five steam-powered mills and a factory of agricultural machines were functioning in the communities. There were also attempts to open coalmines on the colony’s territory. In 1914 the colony’s population grew up to 3500 people.
The colony of successful property owners suffered during the Revolution events. Many peasants were killed, private property looted or obliterated. At a later time, anguished of a like nature were brought by the Civil war, and after it, by the famine-genocide. In 1930s, most of the Mennonites from Memrik were sent to labor camps, and the former colony land was divided among three communal farms. Several Mennonite families who managed to survive the troubled times, left for Germany in 1943. Despite all these trials, we can still find many material evidences of Mennonites presence on this land in the past.
The list of settlements of the former Memrik colony. The following settlements were considered parts of the Memrik colony:
Name of the village – also known as – modern name
Bandorf (1885) - Orlovoe - Orlovka
Valdek (1885) - Lesovka
Dolinovka (1922) - Dolinovka
Ebental (1885) - Nikolaevka
Karpovka (1885) - Karlovka
Kotliarevka (1885) - Mikhailovka
Marienort (1885) - Kalinovoe
Memrik (1885) - Memrik
Mikhelsheim (1885) - Mikhailovka
Nordheim (1885) - Marianovka - Marianovka
Alexanderhof (1885) – Alexandrovka - Halicinovka
Ossokino (approx. 1895) - Kamishin
We suggest you take a look at the files on this topic
Jacob Martens' murder
The Germans of the Ebental (Mikolaevka) village
The history of Orlovo (Bandorf) village
German settlers repressed during the Soviet regime.
The Kalinove settlement
Opening of the statue "500 Years of the Reformation"
Mennonite congregation. A church document.