Reverend Albertus C. van Raalte founds Holland
Holland is founded
The climate in Holland is a very different, depending on the time of year. It can snow two months before Christmas, which is called "Lake Effect Snow" and is a result of being so close to Lake Michigan. Cold pole winds from Canada take water from Lake Michigan, and above the land, it falls down as snow (above land, warm air rises). That snow is local precipitation, which falls down exactly at Holland. The spring often comes very late and is very wet. During the summer, the temperature does not get extremely high, but it still feels very hot because of very high humitity. Come fall, it can become chilly while all the trees turn many colors.
Van Raalte sinks in the snow, but it came thereWhen Van Raalte came to what would be future Holland, Judge Kellog was with him and some immigrants (the group had split up for a while, so Van Raalte could explore the land). They went over the snow one meter (three feet) high with snow shoes on. Van Raalte was not very good in walking with them. He sank very deep every time after a few meters, till he let himself fall in the snow and said he couldn't go any farther.
On February 9, they came at their own land where Van Raalte would found the settlement "Holland", renamed after the homeland in the middle of the dense forest.Trees, morasses, and rivers were the only things there was. Not everybody was very positive when they were in the middle of the forrest:
"Everywhere we look here, is forest, and the animals can stay there without getting disturbed."Many weren't sure if a village could be founded, but Van Raalte thought it could and that gave the immigrants more spirit. After praying for help and support, they went to work building a simple blockhouse.
Before the spring of 1847, the small village was complete. More immigrants poured in to Holland to join Van Raalte at his colony.
What now?There was a lot of wood. To build anything, the land first had to be cleared. This took a long time:
"We didn't know how to chop, and the tools were very primitive. Many times it went wrong, then a tree fell down the wrong way, on a blockhouse, which just was build. Many of us didn't know how to chop, and chopped a toe or a foot, or a tree fell down on some people."Fortunately, Native Americans and Americans stepped in to help them.
FinallyAfter these hard times, the colonists had a piece of land, which was free of trees, and the wood blockhouses. The the wood was used for tables, chairs, and beds.
But there weren't enough blockhouses and many immigrants had to live in tents or rough lean-tos. The cooking was outside, no matter what the weather. And, to make things worse, there were spring storms in the early days of the colony. The blockhouses weren't built to handle strong weather, so they were destroyed many times.
Trouble ×2Problems weren't over. More and more immigrants came to Holland and the house famine became bigger and bigger. Finally, some sheds were built at the mouth of the Black River. Those were soon full too, so many immigrants had to sleep outside, which killed many new immigrants because they were ill already. There was no doctor in Holland and there were only a few medicines. There was also a food shortage and many immigrants didn't live past the harsh spring.