Schroeder, Peter Heinrich (1838-1896)
Peter Heinrich Schroeder: merchant and estate owner; born 23 September 1838, the third of eight children born to Heinrich and Anna (Reimer) Schroeder in Sandhof, West Prussia. In about 1861, Peter married Katharina (Neufeld) Martens, a widow with two children. The couple had two children together, a daughter and a son, both of whom survived childhood. After Katharina’s death on 12 June 1864, shortly after their second child’s birth, Peter married Maria Klassen, daughter of Abraham and Anna (Martens) Klassen. The couple had eight children, six of whom survived childhood (see additional information regarding Peter's family). Peter died of pleurisy on 30 August 1896 on his estate in Taschtschenak.
Peter's family immigrated to South Russia during the 1850s. Much of Peter's income came from the estate his first wife Katharina had inherited in Taschtschenak, a part of the Schoenteich Estate originally owned by Wilhelm Martens. He did little farming of his own, but he rented his land out to tenants, who dug their own wells, built their own houses, and supplied seed grain, as well as paying rent and giving a portion of each year's crops to the Schroeder family. This system remained in operation on some of the land until 1929.
Several Russian and Mennonite villages were already located on the land Schroeder had purchased, and he also allowed three more Mennonite villages to be established on his property: More, Baschlitscha, and Bek Bulatschi. Over the next years, Peter expanded his property, buying land in the Crimea with the intention of dividing it among his children as their inheritance.
In addition to his duties as an estate owner, Schroeder volunteered extensively in civic administration and judiciary work. He functioned as a kind of justice of the peace, helping to conciliate disputes, even in divorce proceedings. He was the head of the animal protection committee and the volunteer fire brigade in Melitopol, a city close to the Taschtschenak estates.
Peter traveled extensively, and his wife managed the estates in his absence. He retained his family’s status as merchants, obtaining a certificate of membership in a merchant guild in Melitopol in 1891. Meanwhile, Peter and his family also attended church in the community, becoming part of the Gnadenfeld Mennonite Church. Peter was considered by many people in the community to be a very good and noble person, well regarded by the people he encountered.
By the time of his death, Schroeder had purchased seven estates in the Crimea in addition to retaining the land inherited by his first wife. He died of pleurisy on 30 August 1896 on the Taschtschenak estate. After his death, the land he had acquired was divided among his children, with the two children from his first marriage receiving small plots of land in the Crimea in addition to their mother’s land in Taschtschenak.
Peter Heinrich Schroeder was a dedicated merchant and estate owner who used his status to benefit his family and the community. Throughout his life, he worked to provide for his family and was an example for the people coming after him to follow.
Durksen, Martin. Die Krim War Unsere Heimat. Winnipeg, MB: Im Selbstverlag, 1977: 31, 57-59, 264-269.
Dyck, Gerhard. Peter H. Schroeder and His Family, family document: many pages.
Friesen, P.M. Die Alt-Evangelische Mennonitische Brüderschaft in Russland (1789-1910). Taurida, Russia: Raduga, 1911: 552-559.
GRANDMA (The Genealogical Registry and Database of Mennonite Ancestry) Database, 6.02 ed. Fresno, CA:, 2010: #207857.
Huebert, Helmut T. Mennonite Estates in Imperial Russia. 2nd ed. Winnipeg, MB: Springfield Publishers, 2008: 325-330.
Huebert, Helmut T. Mennonites in the Cities of Imperial Russia, Vol. I. Winnipeg, MB: Springfield Publishers, 2006: 362-363.
Martin, Terry. "The Mennonites and the Russian State Duma, 1905-1914." The Donald W. Treadgold Papers (January 1996): 51, 52.
Peters, Katie. Genealogy of Cornelius Willms, 1730-1972. Winnipeg, MB: Ernest J. Klassen, 1973: 197.
Peters, Katie. Genealogy of Aron Martens, 1754-1977. Winnipeg, MB: Ernest J. Klassen, 1977: 7, 209.
Schapansky, Henry. "On the Origins of the Mennonite Estates in Russia." Preservings (2007): 34-38.
Peter was the son of Heinrich Schroeder (8 April 1808 - 13 March 1863) and Anna (Reimer) Schroeder (13 April 1814 - 1 September 1869).
Peter's first wife was Katharina (Neufeld) Martens. She was the widow of Wilhelm Martens (25 April 1811 - 21 January 1859), son of Wilhelm Martens (31 December 1781 - 10 June 1845) and Aganetha (Baerg) Martens (10 March 1792 - 18 July 1819). Peter and Katharina had two children, Anna and Heinrich.
Peter's second wife was Maria Klassen (14 April 1845, Chortitza Mennonite Settlement, South Russia - 30 May 1911, Novo Nikolskoye, Orenburg, Russia), daughter of Abraham Klassen (19 August 1810, Kronsgarten, Chortitza, South Russia - 24 August 1864, Chortitza Mennonite Settlement, South Russia) and Anna (Martens) Klassen (31 May 1812, Neuenburg, Chortitza, South Russia - 26 September 1876, Chortitza Mennonite Settlement). Peter and Maria had eight children: Peter, Maria, David, Albertine, Jacob, Johannes, Wilhelm, and Margaretha. Son Peter P. Schroeder (1868-1942) was elected to the fourth Duma, one of only two Mennonite representatives in the Duma.
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MLA style: Huebert, Susan and Helmut T. Huebert. "Schroeder, Peter Heinrich (1838-1896)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. October 2010. Web. 22 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/schroeder_peter_heinrich_1838_1896.
APA style: Huebert, Susan and Helmut T. Huebert. (October 2010). Schroeder, Peter Heinrich (1838-1896). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 22 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/schroeder_peter_heinrich_1838_1896.