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individual settlers became eligible to receive deeds to their land, having fulfilled their three year residency requirement.
In an attempt to close this breach of authority a brotherhood meeting was held in 1880 where all who wished to remain in the Reinlaender Church were asked to reaffirm their vows and pledge allegiance to the Church's teaching. Those who chose to leave usually joined the Bergthaler Church. The split between the two groups wid ened until 1884 when the municipal issue led to a complete break. 50
In the twenty years after 1880 over a hundred persons were excommunicated for leaving the village, selling land to an outsider, sending children to a district school, or having dealings with the Bergthaler. 51 The introduction of municipal government after 1880 only added fuel to this conflict.
The first municipal act of Manitoba was passed in 1873 and provided for the incorporation of a municipality on petition of two thirds of the male freeholders over the age of twenty-one in any locality where there were no less than thirty freeholders. Since the Mennonites had their own system of colony government this act did not affect them."
In 1880, however, this changed as the government, recognizing the need for united action in building roads and bridges throughout the province, passed another municipal act. Under this act the entire settled portion of the province was divided into counties and municipalities, with the election of a municipal council made mandatory. In this way the Municipality of Rineland" came to be composed of "that part of the Mennonite Reserve in the Counties of Dufferin and Morris not included in the Municipality of Morris and South Dufferin" . 54 This vague de scription led to some confusion as to who had the right to tax residents in the disputed area between the Mennonites and Anglo-Saxons on the western fringe of the reserve. This problem was rectified in 1881 when the boundaries of the Municipality of Rhineland were spelled out specifically as comprising townships 1, 2, and 3, ranges 1,2,3,4 west and the eastern two tiers of sections in range 5 west. 55
The imposition of municipal government was resisted by the Reinlaender or Old Colony group, with some threatening to emigrate if municipal government were forced on them.
In contrast to this reaction, the growing Bergthaler population along with some dissidents of the Old Colony group welcomed munic ipal government as a means of countering the power of the Reinlaender Gebietsamt.
As a compromise Premier Norquay, through William Hespeler, convinced the Reinlaender Gebietsamt that the Mennonites could ap-