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From Far Away Russia - Part 1

Unidentified Mennonite couple in RussiaRussian-Germans in Kansas


"They looked as forlorn as possible for a strange people in a strange land to appear. They had come from far away Russia."
--Topeka Capital, March 20, 1890

Thousands of people left Russia for Kansas in the 1870s. Actually, these emigrants had closer ties to Germany than to Russia.

Just a century earlier they had left war-torn Germany for Russia's unsettled agricultural provinces. In these isolated lands they clustered in close-knit villages removed from their neighbors, preserving many of their German customs.

As a group the Russian-Germans were highly religious. Many were Mennonites, a Protestant sect. Others were Catholics or Lutherans living along Russia's Volga River; they were known as the Volga Germans.

Map of Russian-German settlement in Kansas

The two main concentrations of Russian-German settlement in Kansas were:

Mennonites in Marion, Harvey, and McPherson counties (highlighted in blue on Kansas map) 

Volga Germans in Ellis, Russell, and Rush counties (highlighted in red).



  1. Introduction
  2. Lured to Kansas by Railroads
  3. Early Years in Kansas
  4. Growing Wheat
  5. German Customs With a Russian Flavor
  6. A Profound Faith