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Table 5 Population Statistics for the Rural Municipality of Rhineland 1884-1901

(including incorporated towns)

Year Rhineland Douglas
1884 3457 2610
1886 3943 2509
1891 7119
1896 8514
1901 9157

Source: Assessment Rolls

By 1900 most existing villages were pleasant well treed commu­ nities with many newly built frame houses. Towns had grown to a substantial size with a myriad of social and economic activities and for the first time many settlers had a chance to sit back and view their accomplishments. Despite the rapid economic progress and material advances in the area, not all were satisfied with what they saw.

During the two decades of pioneering many settlers had lost contact with family and friends in Russia and in the United States and some now took the opportunity to travel back to the old country to renew contacts.

Rapid agricultural settlement and rising land prices also made it difficult for the sons and daughters of the original pioneers to start farming on their own. This scarcity of land, evident by the 1890's, initiated a migration to the northwest of Canada where land could still be homesteaded. By the late 1890's this emigration reached significant levels disrupting both family and village life.

Similarly, the rise of towns in the area brought the Mennonites into immediate contact with the larger Canadian society challenging many of their cultural and religious traditions. Thus, by 1900 agricultural expansion and economic prosperity had affected all aspects of life in Rhineland.

Municipal Developments 1884-1890

Throughout most of the 1880's the R. M. of Rhineland attempted to establish its legitimacy with the Reinlaender Gebietsamt and ratepayers. In early 1885 the municipal council conducted a series of farmers' meetings to determine which group should retain possession of the municipal-Gebietsamt administrative office in Reinland. By a vote of 162-69 it was decided that the building should be turned over to the municipality. I

This vote, which had not included most of the Reinlaender Church