250 Years Fahlenwerder town history - founding history of the Palatinate settlement

By Dr. Günter Schreiber - reworked and completed by Manfred Kettel - translated by Maren Kettel

Wolfgang-Borchert-Weg 13, 51109 Cologne

In 1685 the Huguenots were cordially welcomed in the Great Electors land (Edict of Potsdam from Oktober 29th, 1685) and found a new home. They did not only bring money into the country, but also mechanical skills, which were still unknown in the agrarian state of Brandenburg. The Edict of Potsdam, allowing French refugees to immigrate, made Palatine refugees do so as well. Both Louis XIV’s raids and the economic situation may have led to this. The farmers’ fields were mostly divided up into smaller parts in the villages’ parish and therefore hard to operate. And the absurd raid war destroyed countless villages and towns. Apart from the town of Heidelberg, whose castle ruin is a monument for this war, it was particularly the economically prosperous town of Mannheim which was destroyed. That was the reason why many inhabitants of Mannheim decided to emigrate. The Edict of Potsam, assuring the Huguenots protection and privileges by the reformed sovereign Frederick William of the Margraviate of Brandenburg, suggested itself to the people. These privileges were promised to the delegates from Mannheim by Frederick III, later King Frederick I. of Prussia, in the patent from Mai 25th, 1689.

Magdeburg was not fully recovered from Tilly’s depredation in 1631 and accommodated settlements that needed to be formed. Other Palatinate settlements of German-Protestants formed in the Margraviate of Brandenburg, Altmark and Pomerania. Most of these settlers were town citizens and came from the upper-middle class just like the Huguenots, and brought along much stimulation for both the skilled crafts and trades and the arts and sciences. In some places settlers of both origins with the same religion formed a community. King Frederick William I, the Soldier King, provided the legal basis for this fusion through a decree from February 29th, 1720 which says: “Also His Majesty claims that the French may form a corps with every other refugee who emigrates from Switzerland or the Palatinate or any other country by reason of religion, and that they are treated equally”. But there were also a couple of Palatinate countrypeople who wished to be treated as colonial farmers, with all the privileges. When after the First Silesian War Frederick The Greats’ fame increased rapidly, the immigration of the Palatinates received a particular boost. As a result of the Thirty Years’ War, the country was sparsely populated, so that the king wanted to populate his country.

Frederick therefore set up a fifth department, which was assigned the job of “making as many foreigners as possible move into the country”. The president in Frankfurt on the Main river, von Freytag, recruited thereupon 54 Palatinate families in 1741. These families came to Berlin at their own expense. There were 29 Lutheran, 21 Reformist and 4 Catholic families. Of these 18 families returned to their homes. 6 families were taken by the count of Dohna although aristocratic landlords nearly always refused taking foreigners on the condition of these privileges.

After the end of the Second Silesian War in 1745, Frederick drew his attention to the colonization of his country. An advertising campaign by the king from January 7th, 1747 was supposed to make foreigners come into the country, who were then sought to improve the economic situation of the Oderbruch region as entrepreneurs. 1000 to 3000 acres of ground were given to the entrepreneur provided that he committed himself to cultivating it, a part by himself, the greater one though through foreign settlers. Von Freytag spread the king’s appeal in the Palatinate, where it gained popularity in Odernheim on the Glan river in Duchy Palatinate-Zweibrücken. Fifteen families from there sold their properties in the fall of 1746 in order to emigrate to the United States of America. But the king’s appeal brought them to send two delegates to Freytag in Frankfurt, Friedrich Werger and Veit Port. Freytag had second thoughts whether they were suited to be entrepreneurs and sent them to Berlin where they were introduced to the king. He was of a different opinion compared to Freytags and gave them a written agreement to accept them as settlers. This agreement is from March, 4th, 1747 and shall be shown here because it points out the privileges which were granted to the settlers.

“After His Royal Majesty of Prussia, our very gracious king and master, heard from war council von Freytag how determined some families, consisting of peasants, were to move from the Duchy of Zweibrücken to Our Royal land, that for this reason even two delegates from Odenheim on the Glan river in Zweibrücken, named Friedrich Werger and Veit Port, came forward and emphasized that not only 15 families would now wish to come here but that even more would follow, for His Royal Majesty would grant them highest protection here and assist them, so that His gracious Royal Majesty would not only give the delegates from Zweibrücken verbal assurance but also give a written agreement hereby; 15 families but also all the others who decide to take up their residence from the Duchy of Zweibrücken to Our Royal land are granted highest protection but also following gracious privileges in their local establishment:

1. the mentioned 15 families are to be brought from Odernheim on the Glan river to the place of their local establishment at the expense of His Royal Majesty, and provided with the necessary daily subsistence allowance of 4 silver groats a day for a landlord, 3 for every woman, 2 for every child, 3 for every farm laborer and 2 for every maidservant, not only on the journey but also until they are employed and are able to earn their daily living, for what war council von Freytag from Frankfurt on the Main river was already given order.

2. As soon as these families get here, they are not only equivalently paid for working on the soil embankment of the Oder river, in order to earn their daily living, but also, once the soil embankment is completely finished, given a certain amount of land and grassland free of charge for their and their workers living, which may also be passed on to their children and offspring, whereupon then

3. they and their sons and servants etc. are entirely and for always exempted from any military service, also protected and supported by the King. Likewise, they also do not only

4. enjoy absolute freedom of religion but also have at the expense of His Royal Majesty an own schoolmaster for the education of their children, and also appoint registered families to such places where they are able to attend their church nearby.

By the way, His Royal Majesty declares hereby very graciously, by the power vested in me, to actually grant Royal mercy, protection and help not only to the mentioned 15 families but also all the others who settle in Our Royal land from Zweibrücken and elsewhere, as long as they are hard-working people and willing to support a family and able to, as long as they are not beggars, bring along some asset.

Documented with His Royal Majesty’s very genuine signature and impressed seal. Done and given

Berlin, March 4th, 1747

Frederick. “

After Werger and Port had returned to the Palatinate with this affirmative message, the number of willing emigrants increased from day to day. Freytag strenuously exerted himself for the to be-emigrants and outdone in advertising activity by an abortive theologian from Schweinfurt, commissioner Mieling. The latter arranged through the two other advertisers Ludwig Hartmuth and Wilhelm Schneider, that the advertising was spread in the game and whine count Gaugrehweiler residence.

The sheriff Kasimir Beyer of Odernheim informed senior bailiff of Bentheim in Meisenheim about this advertising activity and readiness to leave the country, who had Werger and Port arrested. Frederick’s advertising dercree of January 7th, 1747 as well as the king’s assurance from March 4th, 1747 were taken from them. Werger, who was soon set free, travelled to Berlin with 17 families from Odernheim via Frankfurt, where he arrived in May 1747. On most favorable terms these families were given an area in the Köpenick department, where they established the Müggelheim settlement which belongs to Berlin today.

This emigration movement caused the Duchy Zweibrücken considerable sensation, so that the provincial government enacted a ban on the emigration habit. But this action was without success. The Odernheim vanguard was followed by a transport of 47 families under Mieling’s leadership, which got to Berlin on June 20th, 1747. The newcomers depicted the harassments in their former home and complained about the in their opinion wrongly demanded residuary wages. The statements of these newcomers made Frederick send a letter to his “very highness, Prince, kindly dear cousin”, Duke Johann Christian IV. of Palatinate-Zweibrücken, on July 21st, 1747, in which Frederick, much as he would like to, disapproved of the handling of the emigrants. The Zweibrücken efforts were unsuccessful.

The decision to emigrate spread wavelike across the border of the Zweibrücken state and also caught the neighboring Electoral Palatinate. Small groups were formed, who carried their belongings on their backs or in a wheelbarrow. Some also had horse and buggy, in which small children and weak persons found their place. They went to Frankfurt, where Freytag assembled them in groups for further transport to Berlin. The emigrants could choose whether they wanted to receive the assure day-to-day accommodation or mileage allowances. Their route lead across Eisenach to Berlin and lasted for weeks. There were six transports as a whole, from which 36 people died of the stresses and strains of the journey. But also six couples were married on the journey by travel marshal Dorn. From June 1747 until November 265 families arrived in six transports, in which the beforehand arrived 17 families from Odernheim were not included. The 282 families counted 1257 people at the beginning of the journey, of whom 36 had died on the way. The six transport lists are available in the archive and tell us about the points of origin, as well as the age of the people and their professions. I am going to use these lists for complementing my first list of landlords in Fahlenwerder.

About two third of all settlers were yeomen. However, the other craftsmen declared that they had cultivated land in order to receive land as well. The assets they brought along was not very large as well, so that an acquisition on their own account was hardly possible. The 265 families of the six transports altogether brought along an asset of 19976 gulden in cash and had left, according to their own statements, 8643 gulden active debt in their former homeland.

Having the Palatinates work at the Oderbruch soil embankment was impossible, because the project had not started yet. They were also not as well-funded so that they came into consideration as entrepreneurs or collective entrepreneurs. So it was attempted to settle them as colonists in the country. This had to be put into effect by the general board after the fifth department had performed its task to make settlers come into the state. Pomerania and Neumark were considered as possible regions. And on August 10th, 1747 there was a ministry order issued concerning the method and funding of the to-be funded colonies.

Apart from the settlements in, for example Pomerania in the department of Friedrichswalde, such as Great- and Little-Christinenberg, Great- and Little-Sophiental or Lower-, Middle- and Uppercarlsbach on the Ihna river, the greatest Palatinate colony was established in the Karzig department near by the Mietzel Canal on the sallow river island (fahles Werder). The president of the Neumark board of Loeben, in charge of the establishment of the colony, originally planned to accommodate 52 Palatinate families, who were to be brought to the town of Küstrin on barges. The settlement area consisted of uncultivated, swampy forests and bushes and had to be cleared. 1000 taler were taken from the Palatinate establishment fond and provided for these works – not for the colonist’s provisions. On August 26th, 1747 the president of the compartment was able to confirm the arrival of the Palatinate families in the province of Küstrin. The colonists were soon temporarily accommodated in Soldin citizens homes nearby their new settlement areas. All of these 52 families had come to the new homeland as part of the first two transports.

The first plan for the 52 families provided by the board was disapproved by the general board. Also did the colonists by no means agree with the small parcels that they were supposed to receive. They complained that they should only get 20 Magdeburg acres per farm. But they had been promised two virgate = 60 acres of land. To meet these requirements half-decently, the board decided to add the so-called “Dicken Bruch” to the settlement area, an area next to the sallow river island (fahles Werder), and start with 59 families there. In the meantime, on September 8th, von Loeben had also reported that two more families had added to the 52 and that they were all accommodated in the town of Soldin. Von Loeben did only come forward with two proposals how to distribute the land among the settlers. The first was arranged for 89 settlers, the second 59 landlords. Frederick went for the second and ordered on October 6th, that the settlement was soon to be put into effect.

The new calculation for the distribution of the land read as follows:

1) On the “Fahlenwerder”

Non-interest-bearing land for the preacher à 60 acres

Special interest-bearing land for the sheriff à 10 acres

For the senior bailiff Horn in exchange for the canal that was built on his grassland à 1 acre

For the innkeepers à 18 acres, 129 roods

For the landlords each a virgate à 1770 acres

2) In the “Dicke Bruch”

To be left to the preacher à 30 acres

Free for the sheriff à 5 acres

For the innkeeper à 19 acres, 90 roods

For the landlords each 12 ½ acres à 737 acres, 129 roods

Total à 2651 acres, 129 roods

To be estimated as costs:

1. for establishing 59 farms à 12698 taler, 2 silver groats 4 pennies

2. for preacher’s house and economy à 692 taler, 20 silver groats

3. for church with bell and clock à 1510 taler, 15 silver groats 2 pennies

4. for tavern with barn à 413 taler, 2 silver groats 3 pennies

5. for clearing 2651 acres of forest, each 5 taler à 13255 taler

6. for drainage ditches à 1500 taler

Total à 30069 taler, 15 silver groats 9 pennies

An income of 1870 taler, 23 silver groats and 6 pennies after four nonrepayment years was estimated for the colony’s income, in which the heir interest rate was at 16 silver groats for every acre of land, 12 silver groats for every acre of grassland. This estimation of costs was approved by the king. However, this approach needed modifications in later years because of changing conditions.

When the final survey of land proved that there was more land than originally assumed, the number of estimated families was raised up to 65. Although it was not finally decided on the plan, the forest clearing could begin. The land to be cultivated was covered with strong beech trees for whose great amount of wood there was no use. The clearing was difficult and time-consuming. The spare wood was floated down on the Mietzel Canal in order to avoid cost-intensive transports on carts. A ditch, that was to be built parallel to the village’s main street in the upper line and running into the Mietzel Canal, served very well for this undertaking.

On January 11th, 1748 a Karzig deanery board agent declared the terms and conditions for the Palatinates and administerd their oath towards the new ruler. Three Palatinates – two married and one unmarried – had already taken off. Two lots were left over for them though when distributing the lots in order to still bear them in mind in case of changing their mind, returning and apologizing. By now Adolf Mannweiler was appointed to the sheriff by the administration, Adam Bergeler, Joh. Weidehoff, Joh. Loth and Johl Pfeil sen. responsible for the court. The colonists agreed on four nonrepayment years and the heir interest rates as a part of the estimation. They were to be exempted from payments in kind and cartloads forever, a privilege that was emphasized emphatically by the chief navigator with the admonishment to be particularly thankful for this and to apply to engage in the forest clearing even more than before at a day’s wage of 4 silver groats. Because the authorities were not pleased with the work accomplished and wanted the works to be carried out faster. That was the reason why Christian Hübner, who had been engaged in the Canal works so far, was assigned to supervise and manage the clearing. Everyone had to act precisely in accordance with his instructions.

The spaciousness of the settlement area rendered it impossible to create a closed village as it was usual in the other Palatinate settlements. Long ways would hinder the cultivation. That was the reason why the colon was set up widespread, according to the Dutch style. Each one was supposed to have a field and grassland right behind his house. This adjustment defined the formation of the village with its far-apart farms and the about 3 miles long main street.

In the summer of 1748 the settlers moved into their houses which they had got in a drawing, and soon started the fall sowing, although 1000 acres of clear land were still occupied by about 2500 fathom wood. Against the estimation the immediate creation of a preacher’s positions was abandoned. On August 13th, 1748 Frederick had ordered, against his earlier intent, not to appoint a preacher yet. The Reformist families were to be taken care of by the Reformist preacher in Soldin and the Lutheran church service was to be ministered by the Bruges preacher. That way it was possible to establish two more colonist sites from the glebe land, so-called church colonist farms, so that the total number of landlords went up to 67. 48 of these were in a group together in the upper line, the remaining 19, a little better equipped, in the lower line. The 24 farms in the middle line west of both came into existence later. There was also no so-called “middle line” in the beginning. This happened later.

As long as the families were accommodated in Soldin, a benefit in kind (Deputat) had to be paid for the women and children. The landlords and landladies also received rent for accommodating the new settlers. From September 1st, 1747 until September 1st, 1748 4127 taler and 2 silver groats were paid as benefit in kind, 94 taler for the host landlords in Soldin and 2040 for breadstuff. Since these payments were made since September 1st, 1747, this is very much likely the point in time when the settlers had arrived at their new settlement area.

The estimated start-up costs had increased significantly as the result of repetitive modifications of the original plan. An amount of 6261 taler and 13 silver groats for subsistence and rent, to be paid from September 1st, 1747 until the next year, was added to the original sun. But there were still no ovens and water supply wells, living agricultural implement needed completion and furthermore a subsidy for building church and school was needed. All these costs included added up to a total sum of 39893 taler for the establishment of the colony.

The first colonist list was provided for the war and demesne compartment on January 17th, 1750. This list the first complete index of names of the families located in Fahlenwerder. Provided that the settlers came as part of the 6 transports, their points of origin, age of the landlords, number of children and their age, occupation and financial circumstances are listed. These pieces of information come up to the circumstances of 1747 and not those of 1750. In the following list the 67 landlords are listed with their age, their family status and with the children. Right next to the number of children is their age. The age of the sons is in squared brackets and that of the daughters in round brackets. Marital status changed in between 1747 and 1750 as a consequence of marriages, childbirths and deaths. If a change happened, the number of children at the end of 1750 is quoted in the third row. The Roman numeral stands for the transportation number and behind it the Arabic numeral for the current number in the transportation list. In the list of the 2nd transport 8 families are listed who arrived from Rüdigheim separately. They carry the label “Erg.” (amended). 9 unmarried persons are listed at the end of the 4th transportation list, of whom 8 were part of the first transport though. The no. 43 is part of it.

The names are spelled differently in the different lists. This is because the writers put down the names to oral specifications and due to the Palatine dialect mistakes are quite possible. The following list consist of the notations of the transportation lists from 1747 that were very good to read. The list from 1750 contains all 67 landlords in the order of the numbers of their farms:

Transportlists 1747

The starting years were economically quite tough for the settlers. The things brought along were disbursed for arranging the household, the agriculture, still unfinished, was not very profitable on raw grounds. The death of livestock and malformation made matters worse. That is how the nonrepayment years proceeded for the settlers, without providing any sufficient means of existance. Under these circumstances the general board felt impelled to agree on the request of the compartment to grant the colonists another two nonrepayment years. The board tried to convince the King of this decision by stating, that the colony had already brought in 300 taler and 14 silver pennies of beverages and multure. But the King was reluctant for the compartment had not made better arrangements.

In spring 1750 the church was inaugurated. Initially, Protestant children were taught by sexton Pierre Courtois, the Lutheran by pastor Plato from Hohenwalde, while the few Catholic families were looked after by the priest from Landsberg.

In the church register of the Protestant parish it was certified that during the Seven Years War from 1756-1763 all residents of Fahlenwerder had fled when they were occupied by the Russians. But apparently nothing is mentioned about this period of time and today we have no chance to find out more about it because the church registers were lost in World War II.

As it had been feared, things did not improve during the two following nonrepayment years, so that the leasehold could not be paid starting at Trinity Sunday 1758, especially due to malformation. The colonists were entirely faced with ruin. Poor, without any chance to get themselves and their livestock with their harvest through the winter, surrounded by fallen enemies, they almost entirely lived on potatoes. The leaseholder Lüder’s attempt to have the payments collected by marshal Loth, was unsuccessful. Lüder told the compartment, that it was impossible to bring in the outstandings due to the people’s poverty. It was to be feared, that they would, in pain, attack the field devices or even ran off. Once again, the Fahlenwerders were granted another nonrepayment year, and the administration reduced the rent per acre for field and grassland equally down to 12 silver pennies. The general board declared though, that the services had to be performed until Trinity Sunday 1757. But again, the colonists were not able to pay the whole sum at the end of this year. In September 1757, threatened with military execution, they offered 8 silver pennies per acre. The leaseholder Lüder – her husband seems to have died in the meantime – accepted this sum as an advance payment and claimed the rest within 8 days. In her report to the compartment, the reasonable woman explained, that, in her opinion, a higher sum could not be collected from the debtors, without them abandoning their farms. The wartime’s hardship might have made the administration bitter. No personal interview of the community’s delegates was successful. On September 15, 1757, the general board ordered to have sheriffs and marshals brought to Küstrin into the two-story house, if not, all of Fahlenwerder was to be put in prison. The compartment then arrested, by reason of impartiality, as she claims, the two marshals Bergeler and Hempf, per se proper and hard-working people, in lieu of the ill sheriff Jac. Hahn, but explicitly did not put them into a fort. But when three delegates of the community, Adam Schufft, Martin Strunk and Joh. Schreiber, raised objections against this action, the administration arrested them instead of the court members. To a large extent, Lüder spoke up for her inferiors, and the administration finally had to agree upon the payment of the amoung offered. Eleven landlords were even now back with their payments. And in the following years it seems as if the other landlords did not pay as well, because until Trinity Sunday 1760 debts grew up to 7570 taler and 3 silver pennies. It was not until the end of the war, when things and with it a smoother economic development of the colony seemed to improve. For another ten years there were still problems with the clarification of the tenancy agreements, particularly in the conflict with the parishes Staffelde and Hohenwalde. But when these disputes were dissolved at the beginning of the seventh decade, Fahlenwerder repeatedly requested for an execution of the ground rent debenture, namely using the example of Müggelheim. With order from October 1772, the King instructed the war and demesne board to issue the ground rent debenture. On May 24, 1774, the debenture is finally issued with the following text:

“Ground rent debenture for the Fahlenwerder colonists of 1569 acres 64 square rods of land and 1530 acres 116 square rods of grassland.

After the present owners of the 1747 of Cartzig established 67 colonist establishments of Fahlenwerder,

1. Peter Printz, 2. Gottlieb Haase, 3. Hans Gürgen Witte, 4. Valentin Wickert, 5. Johann Beil, 6. Christian Greff, 7. Philipp Hoffmann, 8. Peter Schmidt, 9. Heinrich Schmidt, 10. Richard Rauch, 11. Martin Wilcke, 12. Caspar Hoffmann, 13. Caspar Fickeisen, 14. Gottfried Engel, 15. Johann Nelius, 16. Nicolaus Andler, 17. Johann Adam Geddel, 18. Jacob Bergeler, 19. Gottfried Wichmann, 20. Jacob Bötticher, 21. George Gaenge, 22. Peter Halm, 23. Valentin Geddel, 24. Casdpar Hensel, 25. Adam Schär, 26. Andreas Hase, 27. Johann Wancke, 28. Peter Hahn, 29. Johann Ripp, 30. Adam Feickert, 31. Samuel Asselberg, 32. Johann Collmann, 33. Peter Winchel, 34. Peter Winckert, 35. Martin Heindel, 36. Michel Sahr, 37. Wilhelm Helterhoff, 38. Nicolaus Freyler, 39. Johann Benninghaus, 40. Johann Wolffgram, 41. Peter Weber, 42. Heinrich Böse, 43.

Martin Mielitz, 44. Johann Nicolaus Jacobi, 45. Leonhard Berger, 46. August Weidenhoff, 47. Mathias Jacobi, 48. Mathias Germann, 49. Christian Hempf, 50. Christian Graby, 51. Michael Greff, 52. Christoph Mannroler, 53. Nicolaus Hensel, 54. Johann Zimmer, 55. Jacob Herrlemann, 56. Nicolaus Schäffer, 57. Michel Hensel, 58. Heinrich Bettenheimer, 59. Johann Raabe, 60. Ludwig Senckel, 61. Peter Schmidt, 62. Johann Nicolaus Pergeler, 63. Conrad Schäffer, 64. Marcus Norby, 65. Philipp Rauch, 66. Martin Strunck, 67. Nicolaus Hertemann.

have condignly asked the Royal Neumärck War and Demesne Board for a general ground rent debenture for the establishment of Fahlenwerder, which was given to them:

So after hearing those colonists beforehand, and provided that the promise, given to them at their first coming and adjuration on January 8, 1748, of enjoying the same privileges as those colonists in the Chur Marc near Cöpenick and as the Palatinate-Zweybrücken colony Müggelheim near Cöpenick, they were officially given the following ground rent debenture.

1. The initially named 67 colonists of Fahlenwerder are given

one hundred fivehundred and sixty acres 64 square rods of land, one thousand five hundred and thirty acres 116 square rods of grassland, both by Rhineland measure, the acre counted to 180 square rods, which was originally assigned to their establishments (stable, heir and singular), that they use them to the best of their knowledge and only if necessary sell them again with the consent of the Cartzig administration.

2. They shall be completely exempted from their in § 6 specifically named interest rates, all further dues, offerings, contributions, daily subsistence allowances, crop tenure, services, department and war loads, or however those are called. As well as:

3. After a previous examination of the necessity of required repairing and construction of buildings for the purpose of their industry and the construction timber from His Majesty’s forests they are granted a one-third payment, likewise:

4. Those colonists are allowed to take flooring sleepers and wood that is picked up by hand from the Royal forests for their required firing, for what everyone needs to discharge 12 groats wood fee and 1 groat 6 pennies log fee to the local department.

5. For purchasing livestock, which is necessary for the operating of their economy, they are, just like every other subject of Your Royal Majesty, guaranteed an excemption from import duties, whereas they need to pay the usual toll, corresponding to every toll roll, for young livestock which they are buying apart from their economy for possible trading.

6. Mentioned colonists are bound and pledge to pay for their land and lawn, assigned to their lot and establishment by special measurement, namely for each acre of land twelve groats a year, and for every acre of grassland ten groats a year, as a constant, and never to be raised interest and the whole sum of

1569 acres 64 square rods land at 12 groats with 784 rods 16 groats 3 pennies

and of 1530 acres 116 square rods grassland at 10 groats with 637 rods 18 groats 5 pennies

and in summary 1422 rods 10 groatds 8 pennies

say one thousand and four hundred twenty and twenty taler 10 groatds 8 pennies each year into the ordered 4 pay office to the Cartzig department, properly and expeditiously; and although

7. there is no remittance with groundrent, mentioned colonists, shall be, by His Royal Majesty himself, granted remittance or amnesties, which may be given to other subjects of the King, when there are great misfortunes, war, common devastation, fires, complete malformation, damage by hail and animal diseaseas; whereas

8. the same are also obliged to take thir beverages, such as beer and brandy, from the Cartzig department only and no other place, just like they are

9. obligated to have their grain and bread, groats and feeding grain milled in no other than their assigned mill, at the target price for milling.

10. Are more mentioned colonists subject to the jurisdiction of the Cartzig Department of Justice, they also have to acquiesce to the instruction and other things, the regulation and direction of this department, however, whenever they feel serious about a matter, they are free to appeal to the Federal Council, who concern themselves with such things, and just like

11. frequently mentioned colonists pledge to follow their oath by behaving as faithful and dutiful subjects, both them and their children and offspring are freed from all violent propaganda, and they shall generally enjoy all security and help, both them and each establishment assigned to them, and this additional general debenture as long as they satisfy the same themseves, shall be secured everywhere.

Therefore has the Royal Neumark War and Domain Board not only executed this groundrent debenture as a signed and sealed record twice, but had it signed personally by all mentioned colonists.

Cüstrin, May 24th, 1774

Friedrich approved this version on July 9th, 1774, which was signed by the colonists on August 5th, 1774 in Fahlenwerder.

27 years had passed since the establishment of the colony until the inheritance debentures were issued. Many changes have happened during this time. In 1764, sheriff Adolph Mannweiler handed over his farm to the blacksmith Helterhoff, claiming that he was not able to support his big family in Fahlenwerder. Johann Schreiber, a son of Joh. Schreiber sen., sold his farm in 1770 to a Pole for the same reason and acquired a farm in Brüsewitz. This was sold in 1772 and he moved into the just recently established colony New-Falkenberg at the Madu-lake. Here Friedrich followed through with his long longed for dream and established 12 new small towns through the assignment of the Madü-lake. Just like him, Johann Schreiber’s brother took up residence in New-Falkenberg and in the next years 5 of the 10 colonists farms are owned by Schreiber families and half of the 70 villagers bear this name. The family spreads in the Pyritzer and Stettin area and is used as an example, that the Palatinate colonists did quite well in spite of all hardship of the first years. In the Madü-lake colonies you find names, which indicate Palatinate ancestry. The recruited colonists for the Madü establishment, them and their children just like the Palatinates, are exempt from military service.

But let us turn towards Fahlenwerder again. The Seven Years’ War from 1756 until 1763 created hardships for our colony and also brought about personal changes during this time. The Palatinates as well as their descendants were exempt from military services because of their privileges, which was of great use for the cultivation of the colony. In contrast, in other parts of Prussia localities enlistment made their male population disapper. But a dispute arose at the end of the century among the military authorities and the colonists of Fahlenwerder, who relied on their privileges. On October 6th, 1803 public authorities ruled, that only those 67 colonists who had received a inheritance debenture on May 24th, 1774 and were listed there, and their descendants had the right to be exempt from military services. In Hensel we find a list from the years 1800-1802, where landlords and homeowners are listed separately as non-compulsory military servants (canton free) and compulsory military servants (canton bound). This list shows, that the Palatinates had in general remained in their economies and passed them on to their descendants in spite of all the hardships. Although this list is very large, it is reproduced here:

This short abstract of the founding history of our Palatinate colony Fahlenwerder is also a very detailed record of the colonists’ names and their heritage. Unfortunately, the genealogy interested person cannot consult the church registers anymore, which are irrecoverable lost. Descendants of the first colonists live all around the world today and some of them may have read these lines with great interest. For you and everyone else the files and books are enlistet, on which the here reflected description of the founding of the Palatinate colony is based and taken from.

1) Otto Gebhard: Friderizian Palatinate colony in Brandenburg and Pomeranie, Stettin 1939

2) A. Drumm and A. Zink: Saar-Palatinate colonisation in Pomerania under Friedrich the Great, Stuttgart without date

3) Dr. Peter Wehrmann: Friedrich the Great as colonizer in Pomeranie. In VI. Annual report of the Geographic Society of Greifswald, Greifswald 1898

4) Ernst Gaedke: The assignation of the Madü under Friedrich the Great 1770-1774, Pyritz 1936

5) Wilhelm Hensel: The Palatinate-Zweibrücken Colony Fahlenwerder in the Karzig Department. The Neumark, volume 12 (1935), p. 21-37.

6) idem: population lists of Fahlenwerder (district Soldin) from the years 1800 until 1802

7) Transport lists in the Secret State Archives Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation Berlin, General Board Pomeranie, III. matters, Zweibrücksche Colonist matters Nr. 2

8) Inheritance debenture for Fahlenwerder in: Brandenburg State Main Archive, Pr. Br. Rep 3 Neumark War and Domain Board Nr. 562


The author is keen to receive family historical date about the Schreiber and Bettenheim families from Fahlenwerder from the years 1747 until 1775. He is also interested in data about the Schreiber families from the villages of the Madue establishment from the years 1770 until 1840, especially from New-Falckenberg and Pyritz. Replies are requested and a great amount of information about Schreiber families may be provided.

Since 1721 oletzkoisch surveyor’s measures (with royal farm goods) were still used.

1 Hoof = 30 Acres

1 Acre = 300 rods (square rods)

in present-day measures:

1 Square rod = 17,3871 m²

1 Acre = 52,1612 are = ca. ½ hectare

1 Hoof = 15,6484 hectare

1 Taler = 24 silver groats (Sgr.)

1 Silver groat = 12 pennies

What about the expenses around 1750? (Source: Otto Gebhard: Friderizian Palatinate Colonies in Brandenburg and Pomeranie, Stettin 1939)

The standard equipment of a colonial post consisted of as farm facilities at that time usually 2 horses, 2 oxen, 4 cows, 12 bushels rye, 8 bushels barley and oats for the first sowing. In Fahlenwerder however, livestock and agricultural implements had to be purchased by oneself. To minimize teething troubles, no groundrent had to be paid for 4 years (nonrepayment years) after the settling in the year of 1747.