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Religion was a high pnonty among these recent arrivals and church services among the German Lutherans of Rosenfeld, Plum Coulee and Gretna were originally held in private homes. These ser­ vices were overseen by Rev. Willing of Gretna until he left for Eben­ wald, Saskatchewan in 1896. The area then came under the care of Rev. Berthold of Langenburg. By 1897 a Lutheran Church had been built in Gretna and shortly thereafter the settlers of Rosenfeld organized the St. John's Congregation (March 2, 1900) with 34 charter members. Al­ though it was part of the same parish as Gretna, this congregation immediately set about building a permanent home. Under the leader­ ship of trustees: Ferdinand Pokrant, M. Recksiedler, and G. Dreger, a new church was built in less than six weeks at a cost of $800.

Agricultural Expansion

The coming of the railway to the West Reserve in 1882 led to a quantum leap in commercial grain farming in the area. Between 1884 and 1900 the amount of cultivated acreage increased every year. Be­ tween 1884 and 1890 alone, cultivated acreage in both the R.M. of Rhineland and Douglas more than doubled.

Table 7 Agricultural Statistics 1884 and 1890

R.M. Douglas 1884
Population 2610
No. of Farms 469
Acres Cultivated 15215
Horses 1073
Oxen 486
Cows 1001
Sheep 531
Pigs 1388
R.M. Rhineland 1884
Population 3457
No. of Farms 695
Acres Cultivated 20695
Horses 1586
Oxen 446
Cows 2759
Sheep 299
Pigs 2135

Source: Assessment Rolls.

1890 4281 648 41596 2212 294 1444

821 1708

1890 4281

773 52833 2278 467 1703 664 1448

The number of farms also increased steadily as farmers moved into the wetter areas in the northern part of the municipality.