Karolswalde, during 1801-1874, was the seat of a congregation of West Prussian Mennonites, located near Ostrog, Volhynia, Russia. Coming from Graudenz, Culm, and Thorn along the Vistula River (some authorities say 1780-1785) a small group of West Prussian Mennonites settled at Michalin near Machnovka in the province of Kiev. Due to a disagreement with the government the majority of the Michalin group migrated to Karolswalde in 1801. The group spread to surrounding villages as Antonovka, Karolsberg, Jadvinin, Dossidorf, and Fürstendorf. Benjamin Dircks was ordained elder of the group in 1817, Tobias Unruh in 1853. Names of common occurrence were Becker, Buller, Decker, Dirks, Goertz, Koehn, Schartner, Siebert, Thomas, and Unruh.
In 1874 the entire group emigrated to America as part of the larger Mennonite emigration from Russia of that year. Tobias Unruh had taken an active part in the negotiations prior to the emigration of the Russian Mennonites, and was one of the 12 delegates sent to America on the exploratory trip of 1873. The Karolswalde emigrants left Volhynia in several groups: 28 July 1874, 25 families; 24 October 1874, 40 families; and 3 November 1874, 27 families. The leaders Tobias Unruh and Ben Buller left on 11 November 1874.
Because of poor economic conditions in Volhynia the group had made little economic progress there and consequently required considerable financial aid to make the journey to America. Arriving in Kansas in the middle of January 1875, without resources, the group was given considerable aid by American Mennonites. The majority of the group settled near Canton, Kansas. The Emmanuel Mennonite Church, near Moundridge as well as most of the members of the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite, congregations in the Canton area are from this group. The Bergthal Mennonite Church near Pawnee Rock, Kansas, is also from this group. The settlements at Montezuma, Kansas, and Meno, Oklahoma, are largely of Karolswalde background. Tobias Unruh and a few others settled in South Dakota, establishing the Friedensberg congregation near Avon.
Crous, Ernst. Mennoniten in Wolhynien und den benachbarten Gouvernements Kiew and Tschernigow, in Mennonitische Geschichtsblätter. XIII (1956).
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: v. II, 468.
Krahn, Cornelius, ed. From the Steppes to the Prairies (1874-1949). Newton, KS, 1949.
Kuhn, Walter. "Deutsche Taufersiedlungen im westukrainischen Raume." Zeitschrift für Ostforschung 4 (1955): No. 4
Mannhardt, H. G. Jahrbuch der altevangelischen Taufgesinnten oder Mennoniten. 1888: 79
Mennonitische Blätter (1888): 128
Das Namensverzeichnis der Aeltesten, Lehrer und Diakonen oder Vorsteher der Taufgesinnten Mennonitischen Gemeinden. Elbing, 1843; Danzig, 1857.
Unruh, Abe J. and Verney Unruh. The Tobias A. Unruh Biography, Diary and Family Record 1819-1950. Pulaski, 1950.
Cite This Article
Crous, Ernst. "Karolswalde (Rivne Oblast, Ukraine)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 26 Jan 2015. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Karolswalde_(Rivne_Oblast,_Ukraine)&oldid=57451.
Crous, Ernst. (1957). Karolswalde (Rivne Oblast, Ukraine). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 26 January 2015, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Karolswalde_(Rivne_Oblast,_Ukraine)&oldid=57451.
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