How it was settled in the Colony
PauperismThere came more and more immigrants, but there still was pauperism. Everybody had to work hard to make ends meet. Life stayed simple, and to make some money, many immigrants went to the cities which were close too Holland, such as Grand Rapids, Allegan, and Kalamazoo. Young immigrants had more luck than older ones finding a job. Boys helped with building farms or making railway, and girls helped in the household. If they had saved some money, they went back to their family in the Colony, where the money was needed very badly to fight against the pauperism and to develop the settlement. Most of the money was used for the agriculture, which, in turn, provided food. To make good fields was very hard because there were many tree stumps, but eventually the immigrants could make fruitful fields of them.
Sowing seasonFinally, something could be grown in the fields. The colonists started immediately. Grain, beans, peas, wheat, rye and oats were sowed. The colonists also bred farm animals: cows, pigs, and chickens, which meant more food, like meat and dairy products.
Living in the CityHolland was the center for the Dutch immigrants in Michigan. That was the reason why Holland was called a city. The name wasn't very logical because Holland was not very big. But, Holland expanded steadily: houses, sheds, and also shops. At the end of 1847, the "Koloniale Stoor", the "Colonial Store", was opened. Available were provisions, household articles, and tools. It was surprising that there weren't many shops because most immigrants had been smiths, weavers, shoemakers or tailors in the Netherlands. It was more common for an immigrant to switch to farming than to continue his former trade.
There came more businesses. In the beginning of 1848, there was a saw mill. It didn't work very well because it was built on a piece of swampy land on the lake. A different one was built which had more success. Slowly, there came factories and things went well. However, they early ones were very primitive and they didn't pay their workers very well.
Religion, part 2Religion was very important. One of the first buildings which was built by the immigrants was a church. They started building in the summer of 1847. First it was only a simple, just a very big blockhouse. It took one year to complete. In the tower was, like all Dutch churches, a clock. It chimed when the service was, fire or other danger, and the times that you had to work, which was normally from 7 a.m. until 12 a.m. and from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. On Sunday, everybody went to the church. The streets were empty. For many people, it was their only day off. This was the time to talk with each other and relax. Many times, everybody took their lunch with them and they all had lunch together together after the church services.
The church had a very imporant part in the government. In the first years of Holland, the government was Van Raalte and the church council. Van Raalte was the real leader of Holland. He was reverend, judge, policeman, wood-cutter, carpenter, doctor and comforter. In short: he was very busy. On top of that, he kept up contacts with the American government.
GovernmentThere wasn't an official, state-regulated government in Holland. They had to do it on their own. There was anassembly every week to disuss things of every kind. In the beginning it was outside, later on in somebody's house. They discussed practical cases (like building a church, the financing of the municipality shop), and also quarrels or conflicts. It also played a court of justice.