Quest in Roots:
Brookdale Manitoba History

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HISTORY OF SPRUCE WOOD COLONY

Hutterite customs and social activities are based around their religion. Religion is based on the New Testament version of Acts 1: And all that believed were together, and had all things in common; and parted them to all men as every man had need.

Hutterites originated in 1528 in Austria and Moravia, and are a sect of the Anabaptist Movement.

The group is named after Jacob Hutter; one of its strongest leaders, who was burned at the stake in Innsbruck. After suffering persecution and expulsion for their beliefs and prosperity, they moved from one country to another. They finally moved to the United States in 1874-1879. Between 1919-1923 many of the colonies moved to Canada because of conscription and abuses the young men suffered for their pacifism. Colonies can now be found in Canada, United States, England, and Japan.

Milltown Colony, South Dakota moved to Canada to Bernard in 1919 forming Milltown Colony. In 1932, they branched to Sunnyside Colony and in 1962, they branched to Spring Hill Colony at Neepawa. In 1976, Spring Hill Colony bought the farm of Alf Evans. Later they bought the Frank May farm and then the Poole brothers (Arnie and Elmer) farm, on which Spruce Wood Colony is built. A colony usually splits when all the members can not be supplied with work. Due to new technological efficiency, it takes less man power, so colonies have to split sooner.

Spruce Wood Colony consists of a hog opera tion of approximately 600 sows from farrow to finish.

There is a 10,000 layer flock. The chicken barn raises 20,000 pullets yearly. Eighty hives of bees are also kept. There are 3,000 acres planted in various crops. A repair shop and carpenter shop are also located on the colony. Most of the repair work and the buildings are put up by the members. Each operation has its own manager.

Religion plays a prominent role in the lives of the colony members. Church services are held daily if possible and twice on Sundays. The minister is the head of every colony; and is a member of the colony. He is elected by lot and is ordained after he has proven a capable leader.

The secretary treasurer is the purchasing agent of the colony. He oversees the managers of the various jobs. The farm boss is responsible for the planting of crops and keeping the young people busy. They decide on the daily work of the colony.

On more pressing matters, two elders help decide matters. On all major decisions, all the male members decide or vote on the decision.

Baptism of colony members takes place usually between the ages of 20 and 25. Only the male members have a voice in the matters of the church.

Hutterian education is a persuasive influence.

In a large measure, it is responsible for molding the young people into dedicated community- minded people, willing to work and assume responsibilities which bring no special rewards or privileges. Peter Rederman, Hutter''s successor, explained explicitly the Hutterite feelings about public school when he wrote that "worldly schools teach but the wisdom, art, and the practices of the world and are silent about things divine." School starts at two and a half years of age: (kindergarten) to age five years. It is here that the children learn to communicate together, sing, and pray. They go to kindergarten from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

each day, from September to May. From the ages of 5 - 15, they attend the Grosseschul (Big School), where Hutterite history, songs, religious readings and writing are taught. They go to German school from 8 to 9 a.m. and from 4 - 5 p.m. The mother tongue is an Austro- Bavarian German dialect, and all religious teaching is conducted in German.

Between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. the children go to -I English school. The English Llangu~J~J aught in order that business can be conducted with the outside world. Teachers of English since the colony has been established are: Vance Bernie, Mrs.

Eleanor Stewart, Doris May; with Jean North and Donna Christison as the present teachers.

Sunday School is held every Sunday. Here religious studies are taught. All young people attend until they are baptized.

The colony has a central dining room where all eat except the minister. The minister eats at his house. Children age 5-15 eat separately from the adults. Men eat separately from the women. When everyone is seated the highest ranking male present says grace. Grace is also said after every meal. The head cook plans all meals and two women do the cooking, rotating every week. Baking is done in the same way.

The women take care of their families and most of the clothing is homemade. Material is provided by the colony. Washing is done in a central modern wash house.

Marriage follows baptism. Grooms bring their brides to their colony for the wedding, and they make their home there. Consent must be provided by both sets of parents and both churches. - The community provides all necessities for each family. There is a feeling of sound economic security, which provides each individual with a physical and mental sense of well being.

At present, the colony has 84 members with 14 families: Joseph Wollmann (minister), wife Maggie and children: Joey, Ervin, Susanne, John, Garry, Sara and David. / David Wollmann (secretary treas.), wife Mary and children: Rebecca and Melvin. / Tom Wollmann (farm boss), wife Rachel and children: Darrell, Jason, Richard and Kevin. / Mike Hofer (elder), wife Dora and one child Kathy. / Joe Waldner (elder, beekeeper), wife Mary and children: Elie (electrician) and James. / Sara Wollmann (gardener), Zack Wollmann (assistant German teacher), Elie Wollmann. / Jonty Waldner (mechanic) and children: Jonty, Becka, Harold, Mikey, Colleen and Clarence. / Sam Hofer and wife Lena and children: Sam, Margaret, Larry, Diane, Mikel, Ryan, Kenneth and Katrina./ David Wollmann and wife Barbara and children: Raymond, Sandra, Janice, Karen, Barbara and Eilene. / Zack Hofer (teacher), wife Sara and children: Zackarias, Lisa, Evan, Lorene, Edna, Neil and Jolene. / Joey Waldner (hog manager), wife Susanne and children: Joel, Maria, Melissa, Paulus and Susan. / Arnie Hofer (chicken manager), wife Rachel and children: Adrian, Rochelle and Jesse. / Rudy Wollmann (carpenter), wife Freida and children: Randy, Darcy and Sheldon. / Andy Wollmann (assistant hog manager), wife Hilda and children: Andrea and Heide.

 

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