Kontenius, Samuel (1749-1830)
Samuel Kontenius (Contenius) (1749-1830) was a member extraordinary of the Fürsorge-Komitee of the foreign settlers in South Russia. He earned the gratitude of the foreign settlements in Russia for his important services. At the age of 25 he came to Russia from Silesia, in 1785 entered Russian state service, in 1799 received the commission to inspect the foreign settlers in South Russia. In 1800 he was appointed chief judge of the Neu-Russische Vormundschafts-Comptoir der Ausländer.
After 1803 Kontenius was occupied with the settlement of many foreigners coming into New Russia: Germans, Bulgarians, Greeks, Swedes, and French. In 1803-1805 he directed the founding of 120 villages in the vicinity of Odessa, in the Crimea, and on the Molochna River, and the erection of the necessary buildings. He arranged for fruit culture and supervised the silk and wine industries. He laid the foundation for the future prosperity of the German settlements, especially that in the Molotschna, conscientiously giving his attention to all the branches of business. The founding of the Agricultural Association in 1830 is attributed to his initiative. Johann Cornies was a great admirer of Kontenius. In 1818 poor health compelled him to resign.
On his journey to the Crimea, Alexander I, passing through the Mennonite villages and impressed by the achievements of 15 years in beautiful orchards, splendid woods, and cultivation of the soil, asked Kontenius to continue his aid to the settlers as far as his health permitted. He devoted himself to this task until his death. His small capital he left to the building of schools and churches.
Fadeew, A. M. Kontenius-Biographie. 1831.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: II, 545.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, pp. 222-223. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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APA style: Epp, David H.. (1957). Kontenius, Samuel (1749-1830). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/kontenius_samuel_1749_1830.