N. Tzukerman
DURING SECOND HALF OF XIX CENTURY
(according to an official report)
In Wilna’s National Archives a report was
preserved that was registered under the file number 18401988. The materials of
the years 18731880 were sent by the official KRILOV to the Wilna General
Governor.
As we deduce from the text, the reported
statistical data are for the year 1868, that is to say some years before than
was reflected in archive number. This report offers a clear view the situation
of the citydistrict of Pruzhany, its institutions, its tasks, the population
and its occupations. The following is the complete translation of the Russian
text.
1. The City  District Pruzhany of Grodno is located where the two
rivers converge: Mucha and Wietz.
2. Rights of the city were granted by the
Queen Anna Iagelonka and confirmed by the Polish King Sigmund III May 6 1589.
The documents were preserved by the Urban Commission and they contained the
writings of the following: a) Anna Iagelonka or Sigmund III, very old; b) King
Ian Casimir of the year 1664; c) King Michael of year 1669; d) King Ian III of
the year 1683; e) King August III of the year 1748; and f) King Stanislav
August of the year 1776.
3. Inhabitants in the city of Pruzhany: men 1819 and women 2176,in
groups by religion as per the following table.
Religion 
Men 
Women 
Orthodox
Russian 
518 
494 
Catholic 
179 
225 
Jews 
1119 
1456 
Mohammedans 
3 
1 
Total 
1819 
2176 
Total
Population: 3995
Hereditary
nobility 
17 
29 
Personal
nobility 
8 
12 
White Orthodox Russian 
12 
15 
Roman Catholic 
1 
 
Jews 
2 
 
Merchants 
15 
12 
Middle class 
1540 
2001 
Peasants 
14 
61 
Military 
201 
 
Military wives and
children 
7 
45 
Other 
2 
1 
A) Police commission circle: maintenance of personnel, 7190 rubles;
Chancellery: 1200 rubles; Commissaries (5) and Inspector (1): 1650 rubles.
B) Judicial circle: maintenance of tribunal 2547 rubles;
investigations judge 988 rubles; procurator's official 476 rubles with 92
kopeks,
C) Protectorate for the Nobility: maintenance of the society: 620 rubles.
D) City
Duma: maintenance 716 rubles
E) Orphans Tribunal: the tribunal was next to Urban Commission
and was directed by members and a Secretary; for that reason they should not
receive a fixed amount.
F) Salaries for Officials and Scribes of Chancellery: 4684 rubles with 77 kopeks;
G) Pruzhany Circle Gendarmerie Commission:
Town's Gendarmerie Head earned 1611 rubles annually and had two horses
for transport; Lower officials were paid annually: first guard 240 rubles, 20
under officials 3600 rubles plus uniform
H) Barracks Commission: scribe salary 120 rubles
I) Town head (nachalnik) had an annual salary of 312 rubles and 180
rubles for general purposes
J) Circle Inspector: 1478 rubles, mayor's three assistants
1184 rubles, young officials 988 rubles, considering that provisions for
transportation of each one was 400 annual rubles; scribe received 490 rubles;
to maintain inspectors 1900; for the chancellery 600 rubles.
K) Post Office: salary for officials, inspectors and
postmen 660 rubles with 6 kopecks
L) School Circle: annual maintenance 2539 rubles with 50
kopecks
M) Primary School: maintenance annual 821 rubles
N) Jewish Popular School: the government does not budget an amount
for maintenance; Jewish society contributes with 200 rubles.
Signed:
KRILOV and another illegible signature.
Pruzhany's population during second half of
XIX century
Religion 
Men 
Women 
Total 
% 
Russian Orthodox 
518 
494 
1012 
25.3 
Catholic 
179 
225 
404. 
16.1 
Jews 
1119 
1456 
2575 
64.5 
Mohammedans 
3 
1 
4 
0.1 
Total 
1819 
2176 
3995 
100.0 
As we see in the above Table, Pruzhany had
3995 souls at that time. The number of Jews was 2575 souls, or 64.5% of the
population. The Russian Orthodox was next with 25.3% and then came the
Catholics with 16.1%. Jews constituted
an absolute majority in our city compared with other groups.
The numbers shown in table, especially with
regard to the Jewish population, are not as certain as to consider them
absolutely correct. Jews were afraid of being registered in Revision Lists. A
phenomenon existed: a greater number of women were registered than were men;
the same thing happens among Catholics; but among Jews the difference is still
greater. One of the causes could be that Jewish men avoided registration to
escape the military. Therefore more women were registered. As we will see in
the table below, women were categorized in following way
Religion 
Women % 
Men % 
Jews 
56,5 
43.5 
Catholic 
55.2 
44.8 
Russian Orthodox 
48.5 
51.2 
It will be interesting to compare the
population's growth in Pruzhany with the census report of Brisker Ekonomie for
the year 1786.
As we already mentioned in a previous note
(see Table IV), the Jewish population at the end of the XVIII century was 571
souls out of a total population of 1348 souls.
In percentage Jews at that time constituted the majority group, but they
were not an absolute majority. Since the date the Brisker Ekonomie census was
taken until second half of the XIX century, there was a considerable change in
proportions among the Jewish and nonJewish population.
Table X
Jewish and nonJewish population growth
between the end of the XVIII century
and the second half of XIX century
Religion 
End of XVIII century 
Second half of XIX century 
Growth (times) 
Jews 
571 
2575 
4.5 
Non Jews 
777 
1420 
1.8 
Total 
1348 
3995 
2.9 
The average total population growth
according to this Table was 2.9 times. If we look at the number of Jews and
nonJews the following is noted: The Jewish population according to Brisker
Ekonomie increases from 571 souls to 2575, which means a growth of 4.5 times.
At the same time we see that nonJewish population increases from 777 to 1420
for an increase of 1.8 times. Therefore we see that the Jewish population
growth rate is 2.5 times the growth rate of the nonJewish population.
The reason for the Jewish population's
outstanding increase is not an increase in births in Pruzhany compared with
nonJews, because as is demonstrated in Table VIII the number of Jewish
families in the population was almost at the same level that in the nonJewish
population. It is therefore accepted that growth was due to the decrease in the
mortality. It was an outstanding phenomenon in the Jewish population. As it
appears in Table II the mortality among Jewish population was barely 1.67%.
This phenomenon is not an exception among
Jews of Pruzhany. In general the growth of the Jewish people in last 100 years
is due to the decrease in mortality and not due to an increased birth rate.
The population's increase also resulted in an increase in the number of
Jewish and nonJewish houses. In the year 1786 there were 264 houses (it is
probable that this figure is not exact because ten years later, 1796/97 the
report indicates that the figure was 349 wooden houses, but it does not reflect
the number belonging to Jews and the number belonging to nonJews). Of the
number of 264 houses, 69 belonged to Jews and 195 to nonJews. This view (of
number of Jewish and nonJewish houses) is different a hundred years
later. According to a report, of a
total of 594 houses, Jews owned 300 and nonJews 294. It is important to
highlight the proportional increase of number of houses in comparison with
population's growth.
Table XI
Increase of Jewish and nonJewish houses in
Pruzhany
Householders 
Houses end XVIII century 
Houses end XIX century 
Increase (times) 
Jews 
69 
300 
4.3 
Non Jews 
195 
294 
1.5 
Total 
264 
594 
2.3 
We see the increase in the number of Jewish
houses is 4.3 times as much as the population growth while the growth in the
number of nonJewish houses is 1.5 times as much as its population growth. We
should stress that the Jewish population's growth percentage in relation to the
general population is greater than the percentage of increase in the number of
Jewish houses compared to the general number of houses. Jewish population in
Pruzhany was 64.5% while the percentage of houses reached only 50.5%. >From
this we deduce that the Jewish population's residence density grew more than
the nonJewish population. In general, residence density increased to such an extent
that the population number is absorbed in a fewer number of housings.
Density of population in Pruzhany then was
not too high. The city’s general area comprised 1691,77 hectares. This means
there were 4234 square meters per person occupied by the population (which
numbered 3995) people. As there were
4234 square meters per person; each inhabitant therefore had an average per
area greater in size than 65 x 65 meters.
In general the areas of the city was not
very built up or inhabited. Of the general area that the city occupied, only
10.7% was developed with houses, orchards and fruitbearing plants. Occupancy
by fields for cultivation was 61.9%; therefore the city was occupied to a great
extent by prairies and shepherding fields.
Table XII
Pruzhany City's Surface Distribution
in the second half of the XIX century
Surface
Distribution 
Hectares

% 
Houses,
orchards, fruitbearing plantations 
181.21 
10.7 
Cultivation
fields 
1048.11 
61.9 
Prairies 
283.87 
16.8 
Shepherds'
fields 
118.56 
7.0 
Others 
60.20 
3.6 
Total 
1691.77 
100 
Until this period Pruzhany had same number
of housings as that of other nearby towns, but later other towns grew at a
higher rate. For example, in documents of Vilna National Archives it is shown
that in the same period that we had 349 wooden houses, Kobrin had 354, only 5
more that in Pruzhany. Volkovysk had 2 material constructions and 215 wooden
housings. The city of Lida had only one building that was constructed with
material and 241 wooden housings.
At the end of XIX century when
communication means were an important factor in the development of towns,
Pruzhany was behind other towns. At the end of XVIII Century, the report of
Brisker Ekonomie pointed out that Pruzhany would not have future due to the lack
of forests and low level of rivers.
It is important to report on the origin of
population of that time. A greater percentage of inhabitants, 88.7% were
metshanes (middle class); it was also true in most other towns and cities
(Table V). In addition it included the military that, together with their wives
and children, resulted in the population's percentage of 6.4%. In the report
each one with the class to which they belonged is registered. There were few
merchants (15 men and 12 women), 0.07% of the general population.
According to the document, the city should
pay taxes by the amount of 3802.61 rubles. Of this amount, Jews contributed
2779,06 rubles and non Jews 1023.55, that is to say the percentage of Jewish
contribution was 2.7 times as much as that of non Jews. The specific annual tax
Jews should pay was 1122 rubles. This included the expenses of illumination,
articles of first need and the maintenance of the Popular Jewish School.
The Duma was maintained with urban contribution. This
demonstrated there were a number of officials who were maintained by National
Funds.
Table XIII
During the second half of the XIX century
Activity 
Men 
Women 
Total 
% 
Nobility[1][3] 
25 
41 
66 
1.6 
Pries and nuns[2][4] 
15 
15 
30 
0.8 
Merchants 
15 
12 
27 
0.7 
Metshanes 
1540 
2001 
3541 
88.6 
Peasants 
14 
61 
75 
1.9 
Military 
208 
45 
253 
6.3 
Various 
2 
1 
3 
0.1 
Total 
1819 
2175 
3995 
100.0 