Stephan, (Vodyanoi Bugerak) was founded August 24,1767, and was the ninth colony to be settled. It had a population of 144 in 1773; 2,900 in 1912; and 1,660 in 1926. It is located near the Vodyanoi Buyerak Brook from which it takes it's Russian name. Stephan was the parish center for the Lutheran colonies of Kraft, Shcherbakovka and Mueller. There were no craftsmen in 1798, only farmers. There were no stone houses, but some people added stone extensions to their houses. There were no orchards or mills in 1798.

The Rev. John and June Reehl from Grand Island, Nebraska, spent a year working with Lutheran congregations and prisons in St. Petersburg. They also visited the Volga Villages of Stephan and Dreispitz. John's grandparents left Stephan in 1903 when his father was three years old. His grandfather, George Ruhl, had a brother, Frederick, who was a teacher in Stephan. His grandmother, Mary Katherine Dick came from Dreispitz. His grandparents were married in Omsk, Siberia. Below are photos of Stephan, taken by the Reehls in May 2000.

Village of Stephan, June 2000
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Village of Stephan
Approaching Stephan from the south.

Village of Stephan
Street scene, looking north.

Village of Stephan
View of area near turnoff to Stephen

Village of Stephan
New homes for returning German heritage people.

Village of Stephan
House in Stephan.

Village of Stephan
Village store in back-left. Public restrooms in foreground.

Village of Stephan
Village store.

Village of Stephan
WW II memorial near center of town.

Village of Stephan
Farm land near Stephan.

Village of Stephan
Cooperative farm southwest of Stephan.

Village of Stephan
Old adobe house in disrepair.

Village of Stephan
Street scene.

Village of Stephan
Typical occupied adobe house.

Village of Stephan
John Reehl at a home in Stephan.

Village of Stephan
Yard of home on left.

A list of surnames from the 1798 census for the village of Stephan.
The census can be obtained from AHSGR

B-D-E-F Bal(t)zer, Baron/Born(n), Becker, Bender, Biel, Bloehm, Bosch, Dangemam?, Dietz, Doe(h)ring, Dreis(e), Ebel, Eberhard(t), Feierstein, Fis(c)hler, Fritzler, Funk
G-H-J-K Gint(h)er/Guenther, Goetz, Greb/Grabb/Kreb, Greilig/Greilich, Gut(h)schmidt, Haas, Helfenbein, Hilderman, Hohweiler, Hue(h)nergard, Jost, Just, Karpf, Kinhol(d)tz/Kuehnholz, Kraemer, Kries(s)
L-M-O-P Lautal/Lautmann?, Leneschmidt, Lieber, Lip/Lieb?, Lochman(n), Mahler, Martin, Meier, Meltzel?, Merlau/Mierau?, Mohr, Mueller, Muth, Ott, Peil
R-S Raeb/Raab/Raap, Reiswig, Reiter, Rie(h)l/Roehl, Rott/Roth, Ruhl, Ruppel, Sacherer, Scha(a)f, Schaef(f)er, Scherer, Schmidt, Schneider, Schoenhals, Seim?, Spielman, Stebenow/Stabenow, Steinert, Stoppel, Stuertz
T-W-Z Tietschler, W(h)it(t)man, Walter, Weber, Werner, Ziegler


George Adam Haas, June 19, 1838-1887
Laura Ollek writes in a letter, "My grandfather, George Adam Hass, arrived in America from Stephan, Russia, in 1896, settling at Marion, Kansas. He was never to realize his dream in the new country, for he lived only several months after he came. He died in the year of the floods and the typhoid epidemic in Marion. He was buried near Marion. Grandmother Maria remarried after two years and left the Marion area. My father Henry was only six years old when his father died. When he was older, he began searching for evidence of his father. The wooden marker on his grave had disappeared. Since he was in the U.S. such a short time, there are no census records, and we cannot find his death record.

I have been a member of AHSGR since the early 1980s and when the opportunity to research in Russia's archives became possible, I contacted Vlad Sochnikov with a request for research on the Haas family. I cannot describe the joy and the closure I felt. After all these years I found Grandfather George Adam Haas and his family - back to the time they arrived in Russia from Germany."

The following is from the descendent chart of Johann Kaspar Haas. For additional information, contact the volunteer for the village of Stephan.

Johann Kasper Haas, b. 1738, Hesse Germany, died in Stephan.
1st m. to Katharine Neff, b. abt 1740 Hesse, Germany. Married 1766, Budingen, Hesse. No children recorded.
2nd m. to Anna Katharine Meier, b. 1763, from Mueller. Died Mar 1838, Stephan.

Children of Johann and Anna Katharine -
1. Baltazar, b. 1782 Stephan, died Feb 1850 in Stephan. Baltazar married Anna Elisabeth Haas, b. 1786, Saratov, Volga, Russia. She was age 48 in 1834. Children of Baltazar and Anna Elisabeth are: Georg Heinrich, b. Mar 1810; Georg Baltasar, d. 1827 in Stephan; Johan Georg, b. Feb 1821 in Stephan.
2. Katharine Elizabeth, b. 1785
3. Christina Elisabeth, listed on the 1858 Revision Record with son Georg Conrad Hass.
4. Anna Maria, b. 1795 in Stephan
5. Katharina, b. Feb 1798.

Christian C. Hohweiler
From Our Ellis County Heritage, 1885-1974, Vol I. Published 1974 by the Ellis County (Oklahoma) Historical Society.

Anna Hohweiler and her sons, Henry, George, Fred and Christian C. arrived in the United States June 9, 1899 from Stephan, Russia. They went to Marion, Kansas and later to Fargo, Oklahoma and on to Woodward County, Oklahoma.

Christian married Dora Becker of Avard on Feb 18, 1908 and moved to the Tangier area. In 1918, they, with their five children moved to Fargo. He was one of the founders of the Fargo Co-op Lumber Association that later merged with Farmers Co-op Association. He was also a member of the Blue Ridge Telephone Company. Dora died July 16, 1966 and Chris died Jan 12, 1967.

Their children:
1. Joel moved to Kansas and later to Colorado.
2. Martha married Clinton Davis and had one child Ann.
3. Henry C. married Lois Lahann and had two children Rowena and Daryl.
4. Jake C. married Jewell Hisey.
5. Joel married Leta Gaston.
6. Ezra passed away in 1972.
7. Dorothy married Floyd Steinert.

George Sturtz
From A Pioneer History of Shattuck. Produced by Interested Citizens of Shattuck, Oklahoma (1970).

George Sturtz came to the United States from Stephan in 1900 through New York. He went first to Woodward and then to Shattuck in 1903. In 1904, he married Mary Hefley in Woodward. George farmed near Booker, Texas until he retired to Shattuck. He died Oct 21, 1950 and Mary died Mar 30, 1960.

Children of George and Mary:
1. Rudolph, died before 1950.
2. Willie married Rosalea Miller in Follett, Texas and farmed the home place. They had three children.
3. Elizabeth married Chris Pshigoda and moved to Colorado.
4. Harry died before 1950

Fred Schoenhals

From A Pioneer History of Shattuck. Produced by Interested Citizens of Shattuck, Oklahoma (1970). Anneva Sander compiled a Schoenhals family history, available for research at the AHSGR library.

Fred Schoenhals, b. 1873 in Stephan, Russia to Johannes and Julia Schoenhals, came to the US in 1893 with his parents, three sisters, and one brother to Marion County, Kansas.

Fred married Katharine Meier, May 1898, and in 1901 moved to Shattuck, Oklahoma. He farmed with horses until 1928 when he got his first tractor. He retired in 1940 and Fred and Mary lived on the farm with Leah and Ophelia until they died, Fred in 1953 and Katie in 1959.

Children of Fred and Katharine:
1. Theodore, died age 4
2. Willie
3. Victor
4. Harry
5. Emma married Klein
6. Selma married Kelln
7. Mary married Meier
8. Leah
9. Ophelia

George Schoenhals
From A Pioneer History of Shattuck. Produced by Interested Citizens of Shattuck, Oklahoma (1970). Anneva Sander compiled a Schoenhals family history, available for research at the AHSGR library.

George Schoenhals, b. Feb 14, 1871 in Stephan, Russia, borrowed $150 from his godfather (a Fritzler) in 1891 and came to Lehigh, Kansas. After paying the $150, he saved to bring the rest of this family to the United States.

In 1896 George married Maria Elizabeth Kelln, who came with her parents from Holstein in 1894. George and Marie moved to the Shattuck, Oklahoma, area in 1901.

At first, as was common with many of the early settlers, there was no well on their farm and Maria had to walk over a mile each day to wash clothes and get water for drinking and for the chickens and livestock. Their home was near the Star Valley School District #58 and there the children attended school. George and Marie retired to Shattuck in 1929.

Children of George and Maria:
1. Harry G., b. Marion Co., Kansas, lived near Darrouzette, Texas
2. Freida
3. Mollie, married Dave File and lived in Shattuck area
4. Bertha married Dave Helfenbein of Amarillo, Texas
5. Dave of Perryton

AHSGR Village Coordinator

Robert Miller

Lower Volga Project
Of Interest
[Lower Volga Project] [Dobrinka] [Dubovka] [Dreispitz] [Galka] [Holstein] [Kraft] [Mueller] [Shcherbakovka] [Schwab] [Stephan] [Of Interest] [Obituaries]