Village of Brunnental

The former German village of Brunnental (Russian name:   Krivoyar) holds special significance to David since his maternal grandfather, John Hergert, was born here in 1870.  It was from this village he immigrated to the United States, with his parents and siblings, settling near Marion, Kansas.  John was six years old at that time and eventually moved to Fairview, Oklahoma, with his father, Wilhelm (born in village of Walter), his mother Magdelena (Ernst) (born in village of Moor), and the following brothers and sisters:

Heinrich b 1861, Gnadenfeld
Elizabeth Margaretha b 1862, Brunnental
Maria (Mary) Catherina b 1864, Brunnental
Barbara b 1866, Brunnental
Catharina Elizabeth b 1869, Brunnental
John b 1870, Brunnental
Katharina b 1873, Brunnental

The family immigrated to the U. S. in 1876

Wilhelm, Jr. (William) b 1876, Hillsboro, KS
Magdalena b 1878, Hillsboro
Daniel b 1881, Minnesota
Lena b 1882, Minnesota
Menno Simon b 1883, Hillsboro
Katie b 1884, KS

Mother Magdalena dies; Wilhelm marries Aganetha Krause Neufeld

Samuel b 1892, KS
Cornelius b 1895, KS

John Hergert died in 1902 when David's mother, Louise, was one year old.  He is buried in Oklahoma in the South Fairview M.B. Cemetery next to his father, Wilhelm, and brother, Wilhelm, Jr.

We visited Brunnental on June 12, 2005, with the able guidance of Ilmira Khansvyarova. Ilmira's father furnished the car and was an excellent driver.  We found the village much we had envisioned from the descriptions that previous visitors had given.  There are dirt streets, some with ruts remaining from the last rain.  The school building built by Germans in the late 1800's is the center of town and is still used as a public school.  Across the street is the village park in which cows roamed freely.  In fact, some were roaming along village streets.  A block from the school another German building is located which serves as the village store.  A delivery truck had just dropped off a supply of food so young children were anxious to buy ice cream bars while adults stood in line to buy groceries. 

We met several adults walking the village streets along with some children playing.  Most of the people we met looked to be of some Asian descent.  A large Russian cemetery is located just east of the village near a small lake.  Adjacent to the Russian cemetery appear to be the remains of a large, presumed to be, German cemetery.  As was and still is the custom, dirt was heaped on the grave at internment, so one could see many mounds of dirt over a fairly large area.  Among the Russian graves, a number of German graves were found, some dating to the early 20th century.  All the Russian graves face west while the German graves face east.

During the winter, the homes in the village are heated via a central village heating plant.  The distribution pipes for this central heating system can seen throughout the village and are placed overhead when they cross a street.  On the north side of the village we met a shepherd, herding his flock of sheep.

As you can see from the pictures, it was a beautiful day in Brunnental and this visit provided the opportunity to "connect" with David's maternal ancestors. 

(Click on pictures to see larger picture)

The road leading  to Brunnental.

A lake is located on the east side of the village.

The Brunnental school, built by Germans in the late 1800's, is in good condition and serves today as a public school.  The chart listed the students' names, their grade level and the subjects they were taking in the summer school.

The classrooms were clean but sparsely furnished.  The "blackboards" were cloth that was nearly worn out.  Maps were folded and placed on one of the desks.

A German building currently used as the village store.

Various buildings in the village.

Various streets in the village (Note heating pipe crossing the street)

More village streets, again with heating pipe crossing the street overhead.

Location of former German cemetery.

David, touching the soil of Brunnental.

German graves in the Russian cemetery.  Russian graves face west; German graves face east.

Additional German graves.            

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