Education in the ColonyThe upbringing of the children was very difficult when the Colony started. Education was a struggle, trying to pay teachers and finding a place to hold classes. They had only a few desks, slates, books, and blackboards. Enrollment was also very low. Most immigrants couldn't spare their children their children from the fields and others were scared that their children would get lost in the big forest.
A typical school day started with a pray and then continued on to regular studies. The pupils were taught Dutch of course, and also English becuase the adults who had contact with the Americans thought that this was important. Later on, the adults were also taught English, using a Bible with English on one side and Dutch on the other.
Pioneer? Not anymore.At the end of 1848, the Colony had grown very much. There were houses, churches, schools, shops and businesses. And more and more people came. In 1849 there were 640 houses, which contained 3,000 people, in the Colony. Holland was the biggest place with 230 houses, and Zeeland had 175. It seemed that the days of the pioneers were over.
GrowthThe Colony improved greatly over the years. More and more factories opened their doors, and agriculture remained a steady area. The good fortune the settlers had experienced began to change, however. In the spring of 1851 there were heavy rainstorms, which destroyed most of the harvest and the the harvest which was left was attacked by mice, raccoons, and squirrels. For a little time it seemed that the Colony would return to the pauperism of the beginning. In the winter, many immigrants left and went to near-by American cities. Immigrants who stayed switched their trade from agriculture to business.
Now it was a good time for starting a factory because many had closed in the years before. A woodfactory was started because the colonists had finally found the wealth of the forest. A great discovery was found in the forest: cranberries, which the Americans loved. Harvesting cranberries brought in a lot of money.
WoodWood was the most important product. There was much done in the wood industry, especially in the winter because then the trees could easily be brought to the nearest river, over the snow. In the spring, the snow melted, the river got bigger and the trees were easily floated down the river to the sawmill. There, the trees were lifted out of the water and were stored until they could be worked on. The sawmill made planks of wood for tubs, staves of casks, bottoms of barrels, axe handles and mainly for wooden roofing tiles. The majority of them were made for the Colony itself, with only a few being exported.
More growthThe settlement became bigger, and in 1853 the Colony had 4,000 inhabitants. The newest immigrants were farmers, bringing in food for the whole Colony, while more established settlers worked in business. After the disaster year of 1851, the harvest was a success again in 1853. The harvest became bigger; mainly wheat, rye, oats, barley and grain. The cattle breeders had good times; the cows provided milk, cheese and butter. All the immigrants who started as simple farm hands were now independent farmers. Also, most of the blockhouses had dissappeared and were now stately farms as were in the Netherlands. Some farmers let their blockhouse stay, as a souvenir of the hard times they had.
The prosperity wasn't as big as it could have been. In spite of that, Holland had fruitful grounds, the forests were good for the industry, and there were enough near places where the products could be sold. The reason for the lack of growth to its potential were the undeveloped roads that surrounded the Colony. Many immigrants simply assumed water travel would be enough. The immigrants tried many times to make a harbor, but it stopped every time because there wasn't enough money. Importing and exporting items was very difficult because the roads were so old. That's why the trade and industry stayed small.