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Richer farmers and businessmen could still afford to buy land," but poorer farmers with three or four children could not afford to establish their children on new land in Rhineland. The prospect of selling their own land for high prices and moving to the Northwest with the family thus became more appealing. In 1890 the Dominion Govern ment sent an agent to the Mennonite settlements to investigate the causes of Mennonite emigration. He reported that the scarcity of land and high prices prevented many young farmers from getting estab lished. These young farmers he claimed:
were on the move, or were going to move sooner or later. The old people would be willing to remain. . . but if the young people go it may not be so easy to keep the farmer back, as these people dread and are averse to separation from their kindred."
As early as 1888 a number of families had left Manitoba for Oregon, Kansas and the Dakotas, citing the shortage of land and the cold winters as reasons. 77 This move south, however, never amounted to more than a trickle and many in fact returned to Manitoba. The move to the Northwest of Canada, beginning in the 1890's, had more serious repercussions.
The settlement of Indian and Metis troubles after 1885 and the opening of new railways in the west, Regina to Prince Albert and Calgary to Edmonton, opened vast new areas to settlement. By 1890 committees were being formed in Rhineland to make land inspection tours on the C.P.R. and the first group of 15 families left to settle in the Northwest in 1891.78 This first trickle turned into a steady stream by 1892 as long immigrant trains were leaving Gretna, Plum Coulee and Morden for Saskatchewan and Alberta." In 1899 over 600 residents from the Rhineland area left for the Rosthern and Hague area.
Many of these settlers were aided by the churches who took an active interest in the landless problem in their villages. In 1895 Bishop Johann Wiebe of the Reinlaender Church and Obervorsteher Franz Froese travelled to Winnipeg to arrange special rates and cars for their brethren leaving for Saskatchewan." These Old Colony immigrants settled in the Hague-Osler area where they sought to again recreate their closed village communities. This was made possible because church representations had convinced the government to reserve all even num bered sections in four townships in this area.
The Reinlaender Church also took a direct hand in the disposal of property of those that were leaving. They published yearly lists of those villages planning to migrate west, announced auction sales of farm goods and decreed that any debt owed or owing to or by members leaving should be settled by a certain date." This type of management