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members, was not held to be binding by Obervorsteher Mueller. Instead Mueller proposed the building be sold at a public auction. 2 Blocked in this way the council took matters into their own hands and evicted the Old Colony proprietors, removing all Gebietsamt materials from the building. From this point until 1889, council meetings were held in Reinland.
This small coup d'etat, however, did not alter Old Colony opposi tion to the municipality. The council tried very hard to get the Old Colony members to participate in municipal elections and affairs, but to little avail. The Reinlaender Church was opposed to both voting and holding office in municipal government and was quite successful in preventing its members from participating throughout the 1880's. In the election of the 1886 municipal council it is estimated that only one-tenth of the 820 farmers in the area voted. 3 In that same election the village of Blumenort even wrote to the municipal office saying that its members would not vote and would not be available for any appointments. 4
Another indication of the opposition to the Rhineland Municipal council was the running battle between the municipal council and various villages throughout the 1880's and 1890's. Contentious issues included the refusal of some villages to clear up their weed problems and the practice of villages in constructing ponds and dams which flooded non-village farm land."
Particularly galling to the Reinlaender Church leadership, however, was the method the municipality used in reaching settlements - the threat of legal action. In Reinlaender eyes the use of legal means and secular authority was unbiblical and did much to harden the Rein laender Church's attitude towards the municipality. 6
The municipal council, in turn, gave little ground and in 1885 refused to accept village work, grading of streets and drainage of village lands, in lieu of statute labour. 7 By 1890 it was found necessary to merge the R.M. of Rhineland with that of Douglas in an attempt to achieve effective government over the area.".
Old Colony opposition, however, was not monolithic and eased over the years. Almost every year some member of the Reinlaender Church was elected to council and then had to resign or be excommuni cated from the Church. (Abraham Neufeld 1886, Wilhelm Reddekopp, Peter Peters 1888).9 While voting statistics are not available the Morden Monitor noted that in 1894 more Mennonites were putting themselves on the voters' list. 10
Even before this there is evidence that a greater co-operation was developing between the municipality and the Old Colony Villages. By 1887 Franz Froese, the successor to Isaak Mueller as Obervorsteher of