is now a province of modern day Ukraine, with Poland located to the west.
In 1793, when Russia claimed this area, there were no Germans in the rural
areas of Volhynia. By 1860, there were approximately 4000-5000 Germans in
Volhynia. By 1914, around 200,000 Germans were living in Volhynia. The first
Polish rebellion in 1831 resulted in the loss of privileges and more rigid
controls over the general populace in Poland. In addition, massive unemployment
of Germans in the Vistula territory was occurring due to the automation of
the clothing industry. These factors and others lead to approximately 4000
Germans living in the Vistula territory to move to Volhynia in the 1830's.
Our known ancestors were not part of this initial migration.
In 1863, further political unrest was occurring. The Kingdom of Poland lost
its name and became known as the Vistula territory. Although the Polish nobility
retained literal ownership, the peasants gained rights to the land on which
they lived. However, over three thousand estates belonging to members of the
gentry who had fought in the Insurrection of 1863 were confiscated. There
were many Germans who were now living on confiscated land. Polish landlords
who still held vast tracts of land in Volhynia invited the Germans of Russian
Poland to come and farm their land. Oskar Kossman writes, "In the years
1863 - 1867 the roads from Warsaw through Brest, Kowel, Luck, Rowno, Zhitomir
to Kiev (and also Warsaw through Lublin, Chelm, Kowel and to Kiev) were strewn
with German covered wagons, pulling to the east. Promotional agents frequently
encouraged the colonists to leave Congress Poland. Others waited on the streets
to escort them and their goods to their new settlements. The agents without
exception hunted down the settlers, overburdening them with their promises."
According to Carl
Werner, son of Gustav
in approximately 1874 the move to the Heimtal parish area near Zhitomir, Volhynia,
Russia was made by the Werners, Eichelts and other families. Carl Werner writes,
"... (they) left because there was no freedom there (Poland)". Carl
describes that they traveled by horse, wagon and foot to their new home in
Volhynia. Many people had to walk, and as they became tired, they would rest
on the wagons while the others would walk. The wagons had iron tires which
became loose as the wooden wheels dried and shrank. They would have to stop
and soak the wheels in water to swell the wood again. The journey took several
weeks and Eva's mother, Anna (Fenske) Eichelt, died during the trip (~1874).
Eva would have been around eight years old at the time. After arriving in
Volhynia they soon built some log buildings and cultivated some land suitable
for potatoes and vegetables.
In 1879, there were two family deaths recorded in the Heimtal parish, Volhynia.
(Polnau) Werner died on June 6, 1879 at the approximate age of 50 years
old. On April 19, 1879, Christian
and Regina’s 24 year old daughter, Julianna
died. In 1879, Gustav would have been around fourteen years old. With both
of his parents now deceased he likely would have been cared for by other family
members, perhaps his older sister Charlotte.
Gustav and Eva were married in the Heimtal parish near Zhitomir, Volhynia,
Russia on March 16, 1887. It is assumed that after their marriage, Gustav
and Eva remained in the Heimtal area. According to Carl, they worked very
hard planting fruit trees and had a few acres of land which were very productive.
Their firstborn was thought to have been named Emil.
Their first surviving child, Albert,
was thought to have been born in the Heimtal area on April 12, 1890. Other
sources put Albert’s birth as early as 1888. Adoline
was thought to have been born in Olgenburg, Russia on June 29, 1893.