Twenty-two German families from the Russian villages of Worms and Rohrbach arrived in Sutton in September 1873, the first of many German Russians to settle in Nebraska. The immigrants were descendents of ethnic Germans who began colonizing the Volga River and Black Sea regions of Russia beginning in the 1760s at the invitation of Catherine the Great. She promised the Germans land, freedom of religion, exemption from military service, and political autonomy. When Czar Alexander II revoked these privileges in 1871 many Germans living in Russia began emigrating to the United States. The Burlington Railroad built an immigrant house near the Sutton depot to shelter the new arrivals until they could build homes and acquire land, much of which they purchased from the railroad. Throughout the 1870s Sutton remained a destination for German Russians coming to Nebraska. Those who settled here were excellent farmers with a strong work ethic and firmly held religious beliefs. Although German Russian colonies sprang up in other Nebraska communities and throughout the Great Plains, Sutton remains a center of German Russian history and culture.