8 and 9. David and Maria Katarina (Dahlinger) Kraus 

This page was last revised 9 January 2002 -- rak.  For information on their descendants click on 8x9 children.

Their portrait 

(click on it to enlarge)

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The portrait is in the frame shown here which measures 17.5 by 11.5 inches.  I don't know when the original picture was taken, but it had to have been taken before 1920.  The color probably was painted on later.  It and a matching portrait of my Beltz great grandparents have been in our family for a very long time and were given to me upon grandmother's death.  

David and Mary had religion in common and it was the cause of their coming to America.

"... the Brotherhood, a lay movement outside the church proper, that introduced prayer meetings in many [Volga-German] villages, effecting ... [spiritual] regeneration .... The Brotherhood, which gained special prominence during the Great Revival of 1872 (which continued until the early 1890's), owed its origin to a number of influences, including a variety of anabaptist and millenialist neighbors: Moravians, Mennonites and Stundists.  Prayer meetings held in private homes by itinerant members of such groups, coupled with the irenic pietism already prevailing in the village churches, quickly spread a new personal religion [in the German villages along the Volga].  In lay meetings, always attended by church members, sometimes without the pastor's blessing, people sang, read Scripture and offered testimonials that spoke of fellowship with God in Jesus Christ." --taken from William G. Chrystal, "German Congregationalism," AHSGR Journal Vol.6, no.2 (Summer 1983), pp. 32-33.

Maria, or Katarina Dahlinger, as she probably was known at the time of her marriage, was the sister of Frederick Dahlinger, one of the leaders of the Baptist/Brotherhood.   She and David must have reborn in this new more personal faith and been baptised by brother Frederick not long after their marriage.  By then, the traditional Lutheran Church on the Volga felt deeply threatened and these new "religious fanatics" were not to be tolerated -- in fact they often were openly persecuted.

My great uncle Alec told me that when his father, David, converted to the Baptist faith, David's father ordered him out of the family and told him he was no longer welcome in his home village of Alexandertal.  Thereupon David, Mary and their small children departed for the US in the company of brother Fred Dahlinger and his family.  

It is apparent that this family rift never was repaired although David's father ultimately did immigrate to Marion County, Kansas where David and his family lived.  As best I can tell, for over 140 years prior to 1876 there had always been someone of David's father's name in the family: Johann Peter Kraus -- but David gave that name to none of his sons -- and in the 1960's his youngest son, uncle Ferd, told me and his elder brother, Alexander, that he could not remember ever hearing his grandfather Kraus' name mentioned in the family!  He was surprised to learn of it when uncle Alec told it to us -- and Alec himself was very uncertain at the time that he remembered the right name.  In the 1990's I finally obtained the Russian records which proved Alec did remember correctly.

Ferd and Alec were, of course, my great uncles, but I never called them anything but "uncle".

At one point while living in Marion County, Kansas, there was group of fellow "Brothers" with whom to worship, but there was a nearby Mennonite church which had been heavily influenced by the "Brotherhood" movement, so David and Mary chose to worship there.  The preacher at the time was David Schmidt, great grandfather of my first wife, Adele Schmidt.

When I was young, David Kraus' children still told tales of these worship services!  Both Davids took their religion VERY seriously.  The story goes that David Schmidt would be preaching away with great gusto, when suddenly from the congregation a loud "Nein!" would be shouted, and David Kraus would rise to put David Schmidt straight.  Heated debates would ensue, with Biblical passages being quoted on both sides, while the congregation sat there open-mouthed.  Evidently these two guys liked this or thought it important.  They kept coming back to do it again, Sunday after Sunday.

My son David Ray Kraus is named for his two great great grandfathers David.  When he is at war with himself, we can say it is in the genes!

When David and Mary came to this country, they doubtless brought seeds with them, as thousands of the Russian-Germans did, to help them get started in farming.  Among those seeds would have been the hard red winter wheat which transformed the high plains into America's breadbasket and sunflowers which were destined to become the Kansas state flower.  Sunflowers were already a cash crop back in Russia at least as early as the 19th century (see Solomon Otto in the AHSGR Journal, volume 7, number 1, p. 40).

To return to the Log, click it.    To get to the Tree Index, click it. To get to David's page, click it.  To get to Mary's page, click it.