My Husbands grandmother was Anna Elizabeth Schneider she was born 9 April 1885 in Russia to Freidrich and Maria Katharina (Schrader) Schneider. The couple (Fred and Maria) had been married in Kratska, Russia in 1871.
Maria Katharina died sometime between 1892 and 1894. Freidricich remarried a Katherine Elizabeth Muhlberger Schrader 24 October 1894.
In early 1899 through the help of an agency Freidrich Schneider and many members of his family including Anna Elizabeth (my husbands grandmother) left for America. On the ship Anna became quite ill and her hair fell out. There was a priest on board that gave her last rites and the story goes that it was assumed she was dying and the ship bells were rung, but she did not die. They landed in Mexico in April of 1899 and worked for six months in the banana fields to pay for their passage. From Mexico they travelled by cart and foot up through the southwest to the state of Kansas where they made their home. Several members of the party made their home in Russell while Freidrich and Katherine (Lizzie) and their unmarried children traveled on to Bazine Kansas. Bazine was where a brother of Freidrich’s first wife (Maria Katharina) was living.
Anna Elizabeth was just 14 when the family settled in Kansas. Many girls her age would already have quit school and she was definitely at a disadvantage with little to no English. Since many of her relatives had settled in Russell , the family visited back and forth and thus we can assume that Anna meet her future husband. The communities had quite a large number of Volga German families. These families ancestors had taken the invitation of ‘Catherine the Great’ to immigrate to Russia and develop farms on the lower Volga River some time between 1764 and 1772. Colonies were settled along the Volga River near Saratov, Russia. This had been at the end of the Seven Year War that left many in Germany devastated and looking for a fresh start. The initial invitation to immigrate to Russia guaranteed no taxes for 30 years and they would be free of serving in the Russian military. Their first years were difficult with the starting of the colonies, starting farms, and constructing housing. The colonies were organized based on religions some were Catholic and others were Lutheran. They mostly kept apart from their Russian neighbors, maintaining their German language and traditions.
1871 Tsar Alexander 11 rescinded the Volga Germans exemption from Military service.
1891 & 1892 Russia was hit with a great Famvine in the Volga region, 500,000 Russians die. Was Anna’s mother a victim of this great famine?
1894 Tsar Alexander 111 dies and Nicholas 11 becomes Tsar
1899 Freidrich Schneider Family leaves Russia.
Anna married Henry P. Bender 19 October 1903. See my earlier entry for Henry and the other family members at (http://putnamsisters.com/2014/09/14/52-ancestor-28-henry-p-bender-germanrussian-connection-part-1/) Their first child Amelia was born 29 July 1904. Henry and Anna went on to raise 9 children plus a nephew. They lived and farmed in the Russell and Bunker Hill area until they retired and moved to Waldo, KS. in 1935. They were living in Waldo when Anna’s husband Henry suffered a stroke and died in 1960. In 1964 Anna moved to Brookville, KS and lived with her daughter Amelia and son-in-law Orlin Bean. While living with her daughter, Anna attended the United Methodist Women’s Society and worked on their sewing project of Cancer Pads for two hospitals in Salina. She is noted to have sewn 26,112 cancer pads during that time.
Anna Elisabeth (Schneider) Bender died 13 December 1976