KAMENKA, was founded in the year 1764 by Catholic emigrants from various parts of Germany. Bahr, as it was originally called after one of the early settlers, lies on the left bank of the Ilawla river, a tributary of the Don, and is 110 versts (73 miles) from the provincial capital, Saratov, and 70 versts (47 miles) from the district capital, Kamyshin
At the founding, according to Beratz, KAMENKA had 42 families, with 73 males and 75 females. At the general Russian census of 1788, KAMENKA numbered 97 families with 268 males and 267 females. The following have left the colony since its founding: In 1858, 40 families migrated to the province of Samara on the Wiesen-seite of the Volga River: Between 1876 and 1879, 37 families went to the United States: In 1876, 32 families went to Brazil. In 1910 the colony had 399 farmyards with 5,351 people of both sexes, all of the Catholic faith. In addition to these, there were 146 families still belonging to this community, who had their homes elsewhere on bought or rented land in other Russian towns or cities who had not given up their rights in their home village.
KAMENKA is the seat of the dean, the superior of the Catholic clergy of the Bergseite. From 1765 to 1768 KAMENKA was the only Catholic parish on the Bergseite of the Volga. From 1914 till 1919 the deanery consisted of the following villages: Husaren, Vollmer, Schuck, also Degott, Rothammel, Seewald, Pfeiffer, Hildman, Leichtling, Kohler, Semonowka, and Gobel. After a reorganization in 1926 the priests of the colonies of Vollmer and Rothammel were no longer under the KAMENKA, deanery.
The priests that were Pastors at St. Mary's Church in Kamenka were Johannes Mueller 1765-1774, Melchior Trenker 1774-1778, Johannes Dedukla 1778-1785, Thomas Majewski 1785-1788, Sebastiani 1788-1792, Thaddaeus 1792-1795, Valerianus 1795-1797, Thaddeus 1797-1802, Antonius Postoll 1803-1808, Franziskus Kornet S.J. 1808-1810, Petrus Jacobs S. J. 1810-1819, Franz Xaverius Asum S. J. 1819--1820, Kyrillus Mieluzki, Karmaliter 1820-1823, Vincentius Szrednizki, Vinzentian 1823-1826, Thomas Konzewitsch, Vinzentian 1826-1827, Romuald Woitkewitsch, Vinzentian 1827-1828, Georg Nakutowitsch, Vinzentian 1828-1868, Kaspar Batrschewski Vicar 1859-1868, as Pastor 1868-1872, Joseph Baranowski 1872, Andreas Brungardt 1872-1873, Johannes Beilmann 1874-1884, Augustin Gabel 1885-1894, Johannes Schoenfeld 1894-1898, Alexander Staub 1898-1906, Peter Glassmann 1906-1912, Leonhard Eberle 1912-1928. It is unknown when the first church was built. The second church was built of wood by Pastor Nakutowitsch in 1832 and burned down in 1890. The church in 1907 was built by Pastor Glassmann Source: DIE KIRCHE AND DAS RELIGIOSE LEBEN DER RUSSLANDDEUTSCHEN by Schnurr.
KAMENKA is also the seat of the Russian land-captain who was appointed by the Tsar. The colony was also the local government center for most of the Catholic colonies along the Ilawla river. A medical doctor, with a female and two male medical assistants, a midwife, a pharmacy, and a hospital with ten beds. It also has a post office and a telegraph station. There are two annual fairs and a market day every Sunday. The main highway from Saratov to Astrakhan runs through the colony.
The colony has the following artisans: 33 shoemakers, 7 cabinet-makers, 7 carpenters, 2 tailors, 19 millers, 6 blacksmiths, 5 wheelwrights, 9 transport drivers, I tinker, 2 musicians and 1 weaver. There are 45 establishments dealing in manufactured goods, 9 small shops and 3 liquor stores.
The community pays personal and land taxes amounting to 12,495 roubles annually. The community income amounts to 2700 roubles for local government.
Source: AHSGR Work Paper #16(December 1974)
VORSTEHER [MAYORS] of the KAMENKA COLONY
The first Vorsteher was Samuel Bayer, a woodworker from Kemberg. He came to Kamenka with his wife, Katarina, and their four children on March 1, 1767.