Gerhard Lang

Unity in conjoint fate


The first colonists of the village of Prinzenmoor drew their lots on July 24, 1761.


Only the colonists relevant to this essay will be introduced.


Plot 16/3: Philipp (Peter) Freymüller, his wife and two children

Plot 16/6: David Zoller, his wife and one child

Plot 16/7: Matthias Boger, his wife and five children

Plot 16/8: Georg Boger, his wife and six children

Plot 16/9: Johann Friedrich Behringer, his wife and four children

Plot 16/13: Johann Adam Nufer, his wife and two children

Plot 16/15: Joachim Friedrich Leist, his wife and two children


On May 17, 1763, additional colonists followed:


Plot 16/1: Jakob Sick, his wife and two children

Plot 16/4: Georg Scholl with his wife

Plot 16/10: Michael Steiger, his wife and four children

Plot 16/12: Nikolaus Eigenherr, his wife and two children

Plot 16/14:  Georg Wanner, his wife and one child

These colonists were our main actors. They all had a role to play, each colonist along with all the wives and children. They were supplemented with the administration office in the form of Magistrate Plessen, Dr. Erichsen and Johann Matthias Costenbader, Dr.  Erichsen’s assistant. The trigger for this story is Hans Stahl, village schoolmaster,  who was living with Georg Boger.

Hans Stahl was awakened by voices on the night of March 5.  Curious, he wanted to find out what it was all about. As he stepped into the living room, he caught sight of four or five colonists, one with a rifle aimed directly at him.


Challenging words sent him back to his room with an order to stay there.  As quiet once again settled over the house toward morning, he came out to find the homestead empty.


In a state of shock, he hurried to a neighbor, Mr. Kröger. Together they discovered that twelve houses stood abandoned.


They were obliged to tell the authorities as quickly as possible.


Straight away, Assistant Costenbader rode after the deserters, who in the meantime had been ferried over the Eider River. They thought themselves safe from pursuit as they were in a foreign land.  A treaty between the ministries of Gottorf and Dithmarsch, however, required all deserters to be returned.  On the other hand, Gottorf had been a bit negligent in paying Dithmarsch expenses for returning the prisoners and so Constable Lowtzow demanded that Costenbader be held as surety.  Costenbader agreed to the arrangement. Inspector Heldt hurried to Gottorf to get the necessary warrants. Meanwhile, officers looked for the deserters. They found six families in the town of Tellingstedt selling the things they had brought with them. The other six families were captured in Wrohm.


All of them were taken to Heide and put in jail.


On March 9, the colonists wrote a petition to Constable Lotzow, maintaining that they had been enticed to Schleswig with false promises and had no way of supporting themselves in the plots that had been assigned to them.


After some letters back and forth between the various officials, they took the deserters to Süderstapel on the Eider on March 15. Here they were given over to the Gottorf authorities. Early in the morning of March 16, they took off into the direction of the Gottorf palace. The men were confined in the palace jail, the women in some nearby rooms.


The hearing and investigation of the escape took on a very difficult character. The leader of the insurrection could not be determined.  Punishment for the deed was decided upon in this way:

Joachim Friedrich Leist was said to be the prime instigator because he scouted the situation in Dittmarsch and had composed a petition to the governor.

Georg Scholl had known about the preparations yet never reported them.

Johann Ludwig Behringer had also been in Dithmarsch and during his arrest, he had threatened Costenbader.

Georg Wanner had aimed his rifle at schoolmaster Stahl on the night of their escape.

Michael Steiger, Nikolaus Eigenherr, Jakob Stick, Georg Boger, Matthias Boger, Peter Freymüller and Hans Adam Nufer were found to be less guilty.

On April 3, the verdict and its penalty reached Gottorf from Copenhagen and it was carried out on April 6:

Georg Scholl, Joachim Friedrich Leist, Johann Ludwig Behringer were all to be given a prison sentence of two years, the others one year.

Georg Wannter, David Zoller, Matthias Boger, Peter Freymüller were taken to Rendsburg.

The less guilty were sentenced to three weeks in Bährenloch prison. Mrs. Zoller bore a child while incarcerated. Mrs. Steiger and colonist Behringer died in jail. At this time, the women and children were quartered in villages.

On April 28, the less guilty ones were released from prison and sent on their way to the district Flensburg.

The wives of those deserters incarcerated in Rendsburg prison now began a campaign of letter writing, seeking pardon from the Danish king. Finally, in August, their petition was approved for those sentenced by the Constable in Gottorf to one year’s term. This pardon cleared the way to freedom for all of them. Colonists Wanner, Zoller, Boger and Freymüller were released in October and assigned new plots in the district Flensburg.

Finally on June 5, 1765 the fate of Leist and Scholl did improve. They were released and exiled from the county. Both went to Russia, Leist went to Fischer on the Volga and Scholl to Riebensdorf on the Don. The widow of Behringer marries Johannes Neuwirth and moves to Reinwald with him and their children. With new records, I found the rest of these colonists again, all in Riebensdorf. In the intervening months, widow Eigenherr had married colonist Scholl.


The following is a conjecture about what could have happened.

If we assume from the fact that the beginning date is valid May, 1765 of Jakob Sick also for the other colonists and further the dismissal of the colonist Resounding falls on the 6/5/1765. As an important appointment we have the marriage of the colonist pit foreman, she was also in the 6/5/1765 in Lübeck. With high likelyhood the other colonists will also have been in Lübeck. Unfortunately, no witnesses are registered in Lübeck. Here they have visited the Russian agent and then have waited for a ship passage to St. Petersburg. In St. Petersburg it went to Oranienbaum to the quarantine, this also lasted quite a while. In Oranienbaum a group was selected by 60 families which should settle in the area Ostrogoshsk. The management there undertook nothing. When the colonists arrived in February, 1766 there, only prince Tewjaschew looked after the colonists. This prince searched farmers for the ordering of the fields for his own country. Thus they were settled by the rivulet Sosna and Riebensdorf originated. The name originated from joining the Russian word for "fish" and the German "village".