Between the fall of 1889 and the spring of 1890, the first
Germans from Russia started showing up to start their cluster of
farms known as Friedensfeld (Friedensfeld - the field of peace), later
to be known as the Settlement. The four families of Christian Baltzer,
Dorothea Baltzer, Friedrich Stutz, and Andreas Bauer departed from
Russia for America 12 October 1889.
They first went to Scotland South Dakota with their intentions
of settling in Colorado.
In the spring of 1890, the families started leaving from
Scotland to Colorado by train and wagon.
There were other families who also came to the area before
these folks, such as the Fanslaus, Andrew Bauders (Kramers) and Jacobers
arriving before 1890, and perhaps even the Schlichenmayers.
Others followed them. Some of those who also came at about that time
(1890-1892) were Christian Doblers (with 7 children), Jakob Schaal, Christian
Strobel, August Adolfs (with Grandpa), Otto Winters, Matthias Haefner and
Matthias Schaal. Other families have also been reported, such as
- Jacob Strobels (with four children), Johannes Schaal (with wife and two
brothers, Matthias and Samuel - age 17)
We need to recognize the scene these folks were coming
into, with their dreams and preconceived pictures in their minds.
The Homestead Act was in place for them, the railroad now was completed,
the young town of Burlington was offering promises of a prosperous future,
with Bethune 7 miles to the west. It was about 12-15 miles to the
north of Bethune that the Settlement was established.
We may ask, why the "Settlement" . . . why did they cling
together in this land? There have been several answers to such a
question. They had just left a closed community that had been their
home for two or three generations, where they lived in their villages going
to the fields, gardens, pasture land, and vineyards to do their farming.
This is what they knew and this is what they were comfortable with.
Most of them had come from the same region in South Russia.
They had a common language and a similar if not a common religion.
They were strangers in a hostile new land where they needed each other
for support and comfort. Even today, you will see the farm homes
tending to cluster within sight of each other near where the homesteads
The soil was a sandy loam making it easier to plow and
till. The rainfall was scarce. First efforts was to establish
and develop a place to live, and to open up the land and plant crops.
They had to do with the materials at hand. Some
of them were almost penniless upon their arrival. Some made dugouts,
a hole cleared out of the hillside with a framed opening with a door made
of lumber. It is reported that some lived out of their wagons the
first year. Some reports sound very much like the same sod houses
we are so familiar with in the earlier Dakota Territory. It is reported
that some had enough money to buy lumber and were able to build a house
They continued to come to the Settlement. In 1892
more came from the Scotland SD area. Some of these folks were Martin
Stahlecker and Samuel Schmidke. It is believed that this is also
when John Wahl came to the area.
Also in 1892 Christian and Andrew Adolf came from Russia.
In 1899 Christian Gramm, Andreas Weber and John Zeigler came. In
1906 and 1907 more folks continued to come - the Knodels (Johannes, Andreas,
Jakob, Gottlieb and the widow Knodel), Karl Weiss, Johannes Weiss, Peter
Knodel, Karoline Schaal and Herman Stoltz. In 1908 the William Adolf
family came. That was about the last of the families to come to the Settlement.
Church services were originally held in the home of Christian
Dobler. As they out-grew his home, in 1893 they decided to build
a church. Mr Baltzer donated a piece of land to be used for the church
and a Cemetery. In 1902 the congregation decided they need to build
a parsonage. On 7 September the parsonage was dedicated at the same
time the church was incorporated as Immanuel Lutheran Church of Friedensfeld
There were more than 25 families in 1908 living in the
township where the Settlement was at. They were the families of August
Adolf, John Wahl, John Stahlecker, John Schaal, Christian Dobler, Jacob
Strobel, August Fanselaus, John Eiglers, Gottlieb Gramm, John Weisshaar,
William Adolf, Gottfried Wiess, Frank Kramer, Gottlieb Amman, Herman Amman,
Chris Stahlecker, John Meyer, Fred Stutz, Andrew Bauer, Gottlieb Bauder,
John Jacober, Andrew Bauder, Andreas Bauder, Sam Schaal, Matt Schaal, and
Many of these folks had been here for a couple of decades,
when during WW I, some of the sons had been called to the service of their
new country, they still underwent the persecution of status as "alien enemies"
similar to many of the rest of the GR immigrants at that time. The
17 January 1918 issue of the Kit Carson County Record, published in Burlington,
contained the headline "All German Enemies in Colorado to sign register
of February 4th". This newspaper (page 4) reported that "Rules governing
the registration of all German alien enemies are being sent out this week
to chiefs of police and post masters by Samuel J Burris, United States
marshal of Denver. The registration will be made Monday, February
4th. Miss Rhoda Yersin, postmistress of Burlington, has been designated
as registrant for this territory".