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These line villages were usually situated in the middle of the village with the street running parallel to a creek. In the East Reserve houses were built only on the creek side of the street, but in the West Reserve, owing to the larger villages, lots were taken out on both sides. The houses were usually 100 feet back from the street so that there was a yard for trees and flowers. The houses stood in a straight row parallel to the street with the gables facing the street. 9
Each village lot or Haus Korgl had enough space for a house, farm buildings, farm yard, vegetable garden, orchard and a small piece of ploughland for crops for home consumption. The rest of the land was divided into large field or Gewanne according to land use.
These Gewanne were divided into strips or Kagel usually 16-18 rods in width and apportioned out to the holdings in the village. It was divided so that each household would receive an equal share of land. If a farmer then bought more land he would receive a proportionally larger share. Remnants of these strips can still be seen today. The rest of the village territory, usually the less arable land, was set aside for utilization as hayland or common pasture. The common pasture held all the livestock of the village and was under the care of one herdsman. Village land was also allotted for the church and school.
Obligations in this type of settlement included roadwork and the building of schools and churches. Each farmer was expected to do his share of the stipulated labour and accurate records were kept as to the amount of village work or qui valent man hour service done by each villager. Those found in arrears were either asked to compensate in some way or the debt was carried over into the next year. 10
This system was to some extent similar to the corvee in Europe and was likewise effective in getting the necessary village work done. Officers of the village were the Schulze or mayor, the secretary for the Brandschult "fire insurance", teacher, cowherder, and secretary.
This close type of village organization fostered a strong social coherence, a readiness to co-operate and offer mutual aid and was definitely an asset in the early years of prairie settlement when no roads or trading centers existed. Its common value system with its strict social controls, however, would in later years cause some farmers to leave the Village.
Village and Colony Government
When the first Mennonites came to the West Reserve in 1875 there was as yet no municipal government and consequently the Mennonites were left to their own devices. The civil government they set up was