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From the report prepared by Henry Diel (b 1907 in Friedenberg) in the early 1980’s for his children, and published in 1984 by Betty Miley Ashley in “Wiesenmuller Verwandtschaften”
“… The Diels came from Swabia in Germany to the colony of Schwab near the Volga River. Schwab was established in the year 1773 with a population of 187. Great Grandfather and wife were born there. My grandfather, Johan Johan Diel, was born there in 1830, and also my grandmother, Susanna Freidenberger. They moved to Friedenberg with others and probably were among the founders.
A few years after the establishment of the new colony the river [Jeruslan River] rose and flooded the village, so they moved the village farther back. The earthen dam… was on the outskirts of the village. Friedenberg and Wiesenmuller were about eight versts (about 6miles) apart.
In the center of the town was a Lafka, a church in which school was also conducted, and the granaries which held the grain required of every farmer to put one sixth of his yield which was doled out to the needy and also for spring planting. Also in the center of the town were the village bells. We had three. These bells were rung for different purposes. One rang morning, noon, and night.
I don’t know how many streets there were or just where my father’s father
lived. It was customary for families to stay together in one house as long as
possible for economic reasons. It could be my father was the only one of his
brothers to move out and build his own house, although my father and his
youngest brother, Jergenrich, worked together, while Henry and Jacob worked
together. We lived in the last house on the street. Our neighbor was Maier with
whom we shared a dug well. Across the street from us was Albrecht, four houses
from us lived my father’s cousin Diel. …
[Webmaster's Note: I was not able to visit the village Friedenberg while in Russia, July 1993. However, we did drive by this village on the way from Wiesenmuller to Gnadenthau. Easily visible from the road was the cemetery with very many headstones and iron crosses also easily seen.]