Village Grimm data and links to sources
Grimm statistical data
Grimm resident names
Grimm population statistics
AHSGR American Historical Society of Germans from Russia
ODESSA A German-Russian Genealogocal Library
GRHS Germans from Russia Heritage Society
GER-RUS Germans from Russia Discussion List
The village of Grimm, Russia was founded on July 1, 1767 by 179 colonists and by 1773 had grown to 769, consisting of 402 males and 367 females making up 171 families. It lies on the Bergseite (mountainside), 100 kilometers south of Saratov, 100 kilometers west of Kamyshin and 26 kilometers west of the Volga river. It grew rapidly and by 1912 had 11,788 residents.
According to the 1774 census, the Vorsteher (Mayor) was Gottfried Grimm, after whom the village was no doubt named, as was the custom then.
The village lies on a small river with the Russian name of Karamysch and was therefore also known as Lesnoi-Karamysch and also known as Kamenskii. A small creek, the Medwediza, which the Germans called "die Bach" flowed into the neighboring river Don. With its considerable number of residents, the wide meadows and cultivated fields that spread out around 25,000 Hectares, with its four 3 1/2 kilometers streets and many side streets, with its enterprises and business establishments, it was not only a birth place, but also a distant and unforgettable past for the residents. It is also a place that formed the moral and ethic codes that descendants of these courageous colonists have inherited and live by.
Nature was sometimes kind to Grimm and the moderate climate was a gift of strength for the colonists. It was also sometimes cruel, with droughts and hordes of gophers and locusts which devoured the crops so necessary to the colonists survival. Broken promises by the Russian government and raids by roaming hoards of bandits made life no easier in the village.
The Karamysch river began outside the village in the forest and was strengthened by Baren Creek, Zieglings Creek, Dreipitz Creek, Groschen Creek and Bertel Creek. It transversed the landscape from east to west and flowed through other neighboring villages into the Medwediza. Five dams kept the water high in the creeks and provided a scource of power for the five water mills: Hanfatnis mill, Jab mill, Peter mill, Ernst mill and Robarts mill. The water provided the ability to grow food crops such as cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelons and other fruits and vegetables, as well as a scource for fishing swimming, bathing and laundering.
The citizens were Lutheran by faith and farmers by occupation but possesed other skills such as blacksmithing, tailoring, bootmaking and others, which enabled them to survive the harsh climates. The farmlands were located at some distances from the village and sometimes in separate locations requiring the males to often spend the weekdays away from the village but they always returned on Sunday for Church services. As was the custom in all the German villages along the Volga the farm lands were portioned out to the males only, so those families with a lot of male offspring were land "wealthy" and those with females offspring had a much harder life.
The village grew and prospered until political unrest and revocation of the rights and privileges granted by Catherine's second Manifesto caused the colonists to seek religous and political freedom elsewhere. Many families emigrated to the USA, Canada and South America in the late 1800s and early 1900s, as can be seen by the population statistics decline. The seizure of power by the Bolsheviks in 1917, which eventually led to the establishment of Communism and the death and relocation of the majority if not all of the German citizens. The village itself still exists today, unlike many along the Volga which were destroyed, but few if any descendants of the original colonists live there.