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Bessarabian Village Reports, DAI T81 316, (H. Gutsche) . . .

The colony of Elsass (Alsace). The settlement of this colonists began in the

year 1801 and was concluded in the year 1809. The settlement took place in the

Baroboi Valley. The new settlement received the name Alsace, because the

majority of the inhabitants had come from the province of Alsace. The colony was

situated on the estate of a man by the name of Tscherbanko, from whom the crown

purchased it for the colonists; because of this the colony was named

Tscherbanker. Originally the colony of Elsass had 60 families with 138 male and

135 female souls, and to be sure there were 36 families from Alsace, from the

Grand Duchy of Baden, district of Rastatt there were 21 families, from Prussian

Poland 2 families and from Austria 1 family. Upon arrival in the locality each

settler received 101 rubles and 42 kopecks for breeding cattle. Besides this

there were 3 kopecks distributed per individual and this on a daily basis. The

houses were built by the crown. Their own goods brought from their old homeland

reached a value of 10,020 rubles. These two colonies were called Boroboier

because they lay in the river valley of the Boroboi.

So the colonists lived until the year 1880 as farmers. The first and big farmers

bought themselves their own land and by their diligence and toil became very

rich and very big farmers. In time, the number of Germans in Russia became very

large. The first and big farmers always bought the best land, so that their

descendants and the small farmers didn't have anything anymore which they could

work upon, so that the German farmers continually searched for new land. There

was a certain landowner by the name of Lermandov in Bessarabia, who had an

estate of about 6,000 desjatins (6,558 hectares) of land. In 1886 a group of

approximately 46 families joined together, from the various colonies of Russia,

such as Elsass, Baden, Mannheim, and Kandel and leased 2,200 desjatins (2,405

hectares) of steppe land from Lermantov; at first for a period of 12 years then

for 10 years and so forth and founded on the free and wild steppe the village of

Balmas, ( in German meaning Mischmasch - in English hotchpotch), because the

founders came from a mixture of various colonies. There the German Balmasers

lived in dire need and in great misery for the first years, for the first years

were failed harvests because the land had never been cultivated before but had

only had sheep grazing on them. However with time the land was continually

cultivated more thoroughly and after 12-13 years it was turned into very fertile

land. Then the farmers were able to recuperate and became very prosperous

farmers through their diligence and toil.