Catherine the Great of Russia issued a Manifesto in 1763 inviting all Europeans to come and settle various pieces of land within Russia, especially in the Volga River region. For a variety of reasons, Germans responded to this in large numbers. Mennonites from the Vistula delta region of Prussia later sent delegates to negotiate an extension of this Manifesto and, in 1789, Catherine's son, Paul signed a new agreement with them. The Mennonite migration to Russia from Prussia took them to their settlement territory northwest of the Sea of Azov, which had just been acquired from the Ottoman Empire in the Russo-Turkish War (1768-1774). Many of the Mennonites in Prussia accepted this invitation, establishing Chortitza on the Dnieper River as their first colony in 1789. The other primary colony, Molotschna, was founded in 1803.
Many of the Russian Mennonites established colonies in South Russia (present-day Ukraine) beginning in 1789. Since the late 19th Century, many of them have come to countries throughout the Western Hemisphere. The rest were forcefully relocated, so that none of their descendants now live at the location of the original colonies. Russian Mennonites are traditionally multilingual with Mennonite Low German as their official language.
Eventually, after many years of prosperity, the colonies of Russian Mennonites were torn apart by war, famine, disease and finally mass expulsions under Soviet Union. The introduction of a conscription law in 1871 was one of a number changes ending special privileges, prompting community leaders to seek immigration options. In 1873 a delegation of twelve explored North America, seeking large tracts of fertile farmland. This group consisted of Leonhard Sudermann and Jacob Buller representing the Molotschna settlement; Tobias Unruh from Volhynia settlements; Andreas Schrag of the Swiss Volhynia congregations; Heinrich Wiebe, Jacob Peters and Cornelius Buhr from the Bergthal Colony; William Ewert from West Prussia; Cornelius Toews and David Classen of the Kleine Gemeinde and Paul Tschetter and Lawrence Tschetter representing the Hutterites. This group returned with positive reports of good land available in Manitoba, Minnesota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas. Consequently between 1874 and 1880, 18,000 of the approximately 45,000 Mennonites in South Russia left for North America.
Peter Wiebe, born 21 Nov 1825 in Wernersdorf, Molotschna, Russia, married Judith Reimer about 1850 in Russia. She was born 21 Feb 1831 and died 25 Mar 1882. Peter died 12 May 1898 in Asiatic Russia. They had eight children, may of whom moved to the USA. Some came to the US via a stay in Canada for a few years. Sons Bernard and Cornelius settled in KS, then moved west to Polk Co OR. The children were-
1. Peter Wiebe, b 3 Nov 1852 in Molotschnaer, Russia, died 8 Jan 1911 in MI. He married a Russian girl, Anna Janzen, and their eleven children were born in Russia near Turkey in the 1880s, in KS in the 1890s, and in OK in the 1900s.
2. Judith Wiebe, b abt 1855. Nothing else is known.
3. Jacob R Wiebe, b 30 Nov 1858 in Wernersdorf, Molotschna, Russia. He married Anna Koop from Russia, had a child there, then came to KS about 1894 and had a daughter born in KS. Jacob died in OK in 1914; Anna died in OK in 1941.
4. Bernhard Wiebe, b 16 Feb 1861 in Molotschna, Russia. He married Katharine P Dalke in 1882 in Russia. She was born 15 June 1863 in Russia. They had a large family of ten children; the first five were born in Russia, then next five were born in KS. Bernhard and Katharina and many of their children moved to Polk Co OR. This family were Mennonites. Katharine died at Dallas, Polk Co in 1944 and Bernhad died there in 1939. Their children were-
a. Margaretha Wiebe, b 20 Sep 1883 in southwestern Russia (their language was German), married Franz F Wall about 1903 and died at Merced, CA on 4 May 1942. Frank was born in NE in 1881. In 1910 they lived at Little River, Reno Co KS just five doors from her brother Peter and his wife. In 1920 they lived at Fresno, CA and had three sons, all born in Reno Co KS-
1. Samuel W Wall, b 14 Aug 1904, died at Fresno, CA on 10 Aug 1982.
2. Arthur Wall, b 1907
3. Frank H Wall, b 1911
b. Elizabeth B Wiebe, b Mar 1885
c. Peter D Wiebe, b 6 Jan 1887 at Nicolaipol, Russia, lived in Reno Co KS in 1917, was a Mennonite, and had married Maria _____ in 1909, and had a child by 1917. Maria was born in 1889 in southwestern Russia.
d. Katie B Wiebe, b Jan 1889
e. Bernhard D Wiebe, b 30 Jan 1891 at Auliesta, Russia, married Katherine _____ in Polk Co OR on 26 Feb 1913. She was born 10 Oct 1894 and died in Polk Co on 2 Mar 1895. Bernhard died in Polk Co 28 Dec 1971.
f. John Jack Wiebe, b 20 Jun 1893 at Hillsboro, Marion Co KS. He died in Polk Co OR on 19 Jan 1974.
g. Herman D Wiebe, b 2 Jul 1897 at Hutchinson, Reno Co KS, died at Santa Cruz, CA on 6 Oct 1982.
h. Helen Wiebe, b Jun 1900
i. Bertha Ann Wiebe, b 4 May 1902, married Mr Friesen and died at Fresno, CA on 2 May 1983.
j. William Dalke Wiebe, b 8 Oct 1904, died at Fresno, CA on 27 Aug 1986.
5. Agatha Wiebe, b abt 1863. Nothing else is known.
6. Cornelius Wiebe, b 29 Dec 1866 in Molotschna, Russia, came to Quebec in 1875 at age 8, then to KS in 1893. He married Aganata "Agnes" Hiebert in KS in 1895. She was born in Sep 1874 in Russia and came to KS in 1892. They had eight children. The first seven were born in KS and the youngest was born in Polk Co OR. Cornelius lived at Dallas, Polk Co in September 1918, but died at Reedley, Fresno Co CA on 6 1927. Agnes was living in nearby Fresno in 1930 with her younger children. Their children were-
a. Rachael Leah Wiebe, b 14 Feb 1896 at Hutchinson, Reno Co KS, married Earl M Gee about 1918 in OR and had two children. After he died she married a Mr Cherney, moved to Fresno, CA, and died there on 2 Mar 1984.
b. Menno Harold Wiebe, b 11 Feb 1898, lived Dallas, Polk Co OR in 1918. He married Ellen L _____ about 1922 and in 1930 they lived at Wheeler, Tillamook Co OR next door to his sister Rachel. Ellen was born in OR in 1898. They had two children-
1. Robert M Weibe, b 1923
2. Virginia Weibe, b 1925
c. Eli C Wiebe, b 4 Nov 1900, died in Sep 1987 at Tillamook, Tillamook Co OR. He married Delight _____. She was born 1 Mar 1905 and died 3 Mar 1986 at Tillamook.
d. Susan A Wiebe, b 1903
e. Louise L Wiebe, b 1906
f. John C Wiebe, b 3 Apr 1908, died 6 Jun 1977 at Los Angeles, CA.
g. Benjamin F Wiebe, b 22 Feb 1911 in KS, moved to Polk Co OR in the 1920s, then later moved to Reedley, Fresno Co CA by 1930. He died in Butte Co CA on 27 Apr 1984.
h. Earnest H Wiebe, b , b 1914 in Polk Co OR.
7. Abraham A Wiebe, b abt 1869
8. Johann Wiebe, b 19 Feb 1872 in Molotschna, Russia.
There was a different Wiebe family living in Polk Co OR; this was John M Wiebe and his wife Anna, and their children. This John Wiebe may have been a close cousin to the two other Wiebe families in the Polk Co area. John M born 6 Jan 1863, moved to Manitoba Province, Canada, and married Anna Harder at Steinbach, in southeast Manitoba Province, Canada on 10 Jun 1883. She was born in Russia on 10 Nov 1864. They moved to Polk Co OR in 1911. John died at Portland on 10 Jun 1952 and Anna died there on 28 Mar 1946. John M and Anna had eleven children; all but the youngest were born at Steinbach, Manitoba Province, Canada-
a. Maria Wiebe, b 12 Dec 1883, married Abraham Julius Plett on 12 Dec 1909.
b. Anna J Wiebe, b 12 Dec 1883, married Jacob Carl Neufeld on 28 Mar 1913.
c. John H Wiebe, b 28 May 1885, married Katharina Rempel in 1910 at Steinbach, Canada and died at Portland, OR 22 May 1968. Katie was born in Canada in 1891. They had a son-
1. Otto H Wiebe, b 16 Jan 1912 in Canada, died in Washington Co OR on 15 Apr 1994. His wife was Lenora _____.
d. Henry Johann Wiebe, b 13 Jun 1887, married Margaret Maggie Harder in 1909 at Steinbach, and died in Apr 1977 at Portland, OR.
e. Isaac H Wiebe, b 25 Nov 1889, married Ida Grohn abt 1910. Isaac died 27 Aug 1950 in Coos Co OR. Ida was born in Germany in 1895. They lived near Portland and had three children-
1. Arthur Wiebe, b 1913 in Canada.
2. Edward Wiebe, b 1918 in Canada
3. Ruby Wiebe, b 1919 in OR.
f. Ernest Aaron Wiebe, b 27 Oct 1891, married Agatha Peters and died 19 Mar 1955 in Calaveras Co CA.
g. Sara Wiebe, b 6 Mar 1896, married Peter Neufeld on 30 Dec 1916, and married Al Hoagland.
h. Peter Johann Wiebe, b 28 Mar 1900, married a Ms Voder and died 21 Feb 1980 at Portland, OR. His wife was Gladys _____ when he died.
i. Otto Harder Wiebe, b 6 Jun 1902, married Elsie A Schaible, and died 6 Dec 1994 at Clackamas, OR. Elsie was born in Canada on 19 Nov 1905 and died at Clackamas on 25 Dec 1994. In 1930 they lived at Portland, OR and had no children.
j. Albert Howard Wiebe, b 19 Mar 1905, died in 18 Feb 1987 at West Lynn, OR. His wife was Lorena _____.
k. Eva E Wiebe, b 19 Oct 1907 in Saskatchewan, Canada, married Bryan Ward Lambert on 4 May 1935 at Longview, WA. She died at Anacortes, Skagit Co WA on 25 Jan 2003.