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In 1883 this combination Gebietsamt-municipal council gave a summary report to the Deputy Minister of Agriculture in Winnipeg as to the state of the municipal lands, population, livestock, and fixed and movable property. 57 Yearly elections, as prescribed by the Municipal Act of 1880, were held in the villages, but these amounted to no more than a confirmation of the Gebietsamt and Obervorsteher as the elec tions were administered by members of the Reinlaender Church. 58
Mueller's reign as Warden of the municipality did not go uncon tested. In 1882 Jacob Giesbrecht, an excommunicated Reinlaender and former Schulze of the Village of Reinland, opposed Mueller for the position and attempted to use the courts to confirm himself in the position. Giesbrecht lost the suit and Mueller continued to administer the municipality. 59
This state of affairs changed at the end of 1883 when Rhineland's municipal boundaries were again changed. The eastern half of the old municipality became the Municipality of Douglas in the County of Manchester, while the western half became the Municipality of Rhine land in the County of Dufferin. This division, made in part because the old Municipality of Rhineland had been too large to administer, now effectively gave control of the east half of the reserve to the Bergthaler. This division, along with the appointment of government returning officers to supervise the elections of 1883, provoked the Reinlaender Gebietsamt to outlaw all dealings with the new municipality. The Reinlaender group had been willing to undertake municipal business, but only according to their methods with no reliance or reference to secular law. When official, government supervised municipal affairs arrived in 1884, the Reinlaender Church forbade its members to have anything to do with the new municipality. 60
Bergthaler Mennonites in the Municipality of Douglas offered little res: stance to the introduction of municipal government. On Janu ary 8, 1884, Otto Schultz took over the office of reeve, meeting with his six Mennonite councillors in the house of Erdman Penner in Gretna. The only conflict, if it can be called that, was the protest of a number of English residents of Gretna that Schultz should not be allowed to become reeve since he had never become a naturalized Canadian. 61 Schultz, a German Native, had come to New York as a seventeen year old, and immigrated to Manitoba in 1873 becoming one of the first merchants in Gretna. The protest over his election came to naught as Schultz remained reeve.
After this first meeting the Douglas Council met regularly once a month in the home of Johann Klassen of Neuanlage. Franz Kliewer was