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The History of Stanitsa Vyoshenskaya

According to the legend the name of Stanitsa Vyoshenskaya originated from the word “vekha” (“veshka”) meaning a pole, a rod set upright, sometimes having a sign, flag or brush used as a landmark. Sometimes a signal pole was set to let somebody know about the enemy coming. Such landmark poles or rods were used to show winter roads in steppe places and on ice.

According to one version a vekha showed a water way along the Don (from Voronezh to Azov), according to another, it directed the travellers going from Moscow southward to keep to the right way or to find a place to cross the Don.

There is also a version according to which the settlement name originated from the word “vezha” meaning a hut, dwelling, lodge.

The settlement of Vyoshki first mentioned in the historic documents in 1672 (though according to old residents it was founded in 1640) left no material traces. The settlement was situated on the flood-lands of the left bank between Lake Rassokhov and the River Don. Over against it, on the right bank, there were cattle enclosures and perhaps refuges for people during high-water periods. Spring floods disturbed the life of the settlement. According to the Don Eparchial Records, in 1740, frequent floods made the residents of the settlement Vyoshki move to a new place that of the former Stanitsa Reshetovskaya. It was founded by the Cossacks of Chigonaki settlement, which was burnt to ashes in the reign of Peter the Great, because the Cossacks had robbed and drowned the barges with the tsar’s chattels.

On the present place Vyoshenskaya was founded by the Cossacks who had moved from Stanitsa Chigonaki ruined for joining Bulavin’s rebellion.

“On the slopy sandy left river bank, over the Don, Stanitsa Vyoshenskaya lies, the oldest of the Don upriver stanitsas which was moved from the place of Stanitsa Chigonaki ruined in the time of Peter I, later renamed Vyoshenskaya”. (From the novel “And Quiet Flows the Don”).

The first stanitsa’s ataman was Ivan Fyodorovich Shchepotkin. There are known some surnames of the Cossacks who lived in the stanitsa in the first half of the XVIII century. The Confessional Records of the Vyoshenskaya Church in 1745 mentioned surnames of Averkin, Dudarev, Zykov, Kolundayev, Kaledin, Soldatov, Likhovidov, Bolgarov, Popov.

All business and civic matters of the Cossacks were tackled at the gatherings which were of supreme power. Every Cossack had a right to speak on the subject discussed or to propose. The resolution was adopted by simple vote. The gatherings considered a great deal of business matters concerning allotment of land, meadow, timber felling and organization of public services in the stanitsa.

When Vyoshki settlement was moved to a new place, the wooden church of Mikhail the Archistratig was moved there as well. In the same year a construction of a new stone church was set out with suchlike belfry and fence bearing the same name, with a chapel of saint apostle Joan the Theologian. The chapel was sanctified on November, 26, 1780, the main throne – on December, 28, 1786. “The church is rich in utensils, it possesses the following antiques: Gospel of 1744 and a small Gospel of 1701. Thriod coloured of 165. Explanatory Gospel of 1707 and a silver chalice with a set dating to 1777”.

In 1853, in the low part of the stanitsa another stone church in the name of Holy Trinity and a chapel of the Virgin’s Repose was set up. (The church was destroyed in the 1930-s, its materials were used for building Vyoshenskaya teacher-training school).

There were no economical enterprises in the stanitsa. Commercial business was carried out by the food and manufacture shops belonging to merchants: Khrennikov, Mokhov, Konev, Serghichev. In all the Don stanitsas, among them Elanskaya, Vyoshenskaya, Kazanskaya, there were “Paramonov grain collecting sites”.

On the River Don, opposite the Archangelsk Church, there was an office and storehouse of “Zinger” foreign agency, which business was production of sewing machines, mowers and other goods.

Following the overflow abatement an oak-piled bridge was built across the River Don (opposite Mostovoy Lane). It was used till the time of the river freezing-over. In spring the only way to cross the Don from Vyoshki to Bazki was a ferry consisting of several paired boats run with oars.

The state of education in Stanitsa Vyoshenskaya in the XIX century can be characterized by general Record of the Don Region. In 1889 there were 22370 students of all kinds from the population of 1424. Four schoolboys rated per one girl. In 1915 a women’s school was opened in Vyoshenskaya, in a two-classroom stone building constructed in 1913.

In 1917, the Society of Education Assistance of Vyoshenskaya opened two schools: an eight-year school which comprised two first forms catering for 82 students and a four-year school comprising two first forms catering – for 29 students. In the academic year of 1918-1919 in the eight-year school there were three classes and in the four-year school – two classes. Both the schools were temporarily housed in the building of the Administration of Stanitsa Vyoshenskaya according to the resolution of the stanitsa’s gathering of June, 2, 1918.