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About this Exploration:
Peter was one of the original founders of Munjor in August 1876. His ancestors were part of the group of Germans who left their homeland following the end of the Seven Years War. From 1763 to 1768 many Germans immigrated to Russia and built villages along the Volga River. They were invited to Russia by Catherine the Great, who was born in Germany and was the leader of Russia at the time. The Empress issued a manifesto on December 4, 1762, and sought to strengthen her empire by having immigrants settle and farm the vast steppe regions of southern Russia and the Ukraine. The first invitation was not effective and a second manifesto was issued on July 22, 1763, with many more enticements to lure potential immigrants. She promised freedom of religion, freedom from military conscription, free land and an exemption from taxation. Catherine’s invitation appealed to the people in the southern provinces of Germany, who had suffered great economic stress and other problems as a result of the Seven Years War.
In 1874 the reigning Czar began to remove the privileges Catherine the Great had promised the Volga Germans. Consequently, the Volga-Germans began to search for a new homeland. In 1875 they sent a scouting party of five men to America to inform themselves of the climate, soil and living conditions suitable for their farming lifestyle. Peter Leiker was one of these men in the scouting party, which also included Jacob Ritter from Luzern, Nicholas Schamme of Graf, Peter Stoecklein from Zug and Anton Wasinger of Schoenchen. The five men departed from Obermonjou, Russia, in 1874, arrived in New York and set out for the plains of western Kansas. They found the prospects of life in America and the farmlands favorable and returned to Russia with their report. Encouraged by the accounts of these men, a group of colonists left Russia the following year. They landed in Baltimore, Maryland, on November 23, 1875, and traveled westward to Topeka, Kansas. After spending the winter in Topeka, many of the immigrants then arrived in Ellis County in the spring of 1876.Peter, born in 1836, came from Obermonjou, Russia. He died in Munjor, Kansas, in 1927 at age 90. His grave marker is in the east section of the cemetery, approximately 10 grave markers north of the crucifixion scene in the center of the cemetery. (75’ north and 2 rows east of the center crucifix).
Munjor, KS 67601
Munjor Improvement District
P.O. Box 98 - 893 Main
Munjor, KS 67601