German-Russian Migration to the Northern Great Plains

This last week while revisiting John C. Hudson’s 1976 article, “Migration to an American Frontier” in Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Vol. 66, No. 2, pp. 242-265, I came across this photo of German-Russian vernacular architecture. As the caption says, this is from 1894, taken right around Kulm, LaMoure County, North Dakota — the county just east of Emmons County, where the Welk German-Russian homestead is located (recent articles on that here, here, and here).

1894 Sod House Kulm, ND

The Welk homestead, in turn, is just down the road from Braddock, Emmons County, North Dakota, where my great grandfather Barth homesteaded and farmed. Barth was an Ohio-German imbedded amongst the German-Russians, something not as difficult to pull off as it might sound. Anyhow, below is also a map of the German-Russian migration to the Dakotas, at least as it played out just before and after the turn of the 19th century.

German Russian Migration


3 responses to “German-Russian Migration to the Northern Great Plains

  • Welk Homestead and German-Russian Interest | The Edge of the Village

    […] a couple days ago I looked at the blogging stats for a short piece I did on the Welk Homestead, this posted on January 21, 2014. I know that I’m interested in local history the world over, meaning that wherever I go, I […]

  • Susie Wickman

    I loved your migration map and wondered if you had any information on how they cross the country to get to, say Eureka. I know they took the train from New York, but does anyone know the route? Thanks.

    • Aaron Barth

      Susie, thanks for the comment. This is a good question. I only charted the large migratory theme here, thanks to the labors of scholars that charted it before me. Themes in history are good. It becomes human when we find the individuals stories within those themes, like you’re alluding to with your Eureka research question. One might start with the North Dakota Institute for Regional Studies (in Fargo) and proceed from there…

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