Developments in the Colony
What was in Holland?In 1853, Holland was all ready very big. It got better and better as time went on. There were seven shops, two hotels, a bakery, a brass shop, a tailor shop, a goldsmith shop and some cart wright shops, smith's, a church, a school, and a printing office. Holland had a paper since 1850: De Hollander ("The Hollander"). It was printed in Dutch. There were other Dutch papers in the Colony, look at 'Dutch papers in Michigan'.
Officially AmericanIn March, 1847, Holland officially became recognized as a colony by the American government because of a surveyor from Allegan, who had measured the village and plotted the streets. In spring, 1849, Holland was finally a municipality called "Holland Township."
The colonists had to adapt to the American political system. At the first, only Americans were allowed to run for election in Holland. A Hollander who wanted to be a candidate might not have been allowed. Immigrants had to live for 2½ years in the US before they would be an American citizen and allowed to join the local elections. When this was possible, the Hollanders were immediately candidates. They joined the elections in 1851 for the first time, so all the positions in Holland went to Dutch Americans. In the same year, "Zeeland Township" was created, and the third one "Fillmore Township" as well.
"Scrooge!"Americans had several different opinions about Dutch Americans.
"They were economical, clean and very sober. They didn't do anything for fun, like relaxing or entertainment."So what did the immigrants do in their spare time? Tede Ulberg from Vriesland explained:
"If it was beautiful weather at an evening, we sat on the foundations of the blockhouse, which wasn't finished yet. I learned to play the German flute, and had promised God, that I only would play Psalms. We sat on those foundations. I played. My wife and children sang the Psalms, happily."Music wasn't allowed solely for entertainment. Everytime, it had to be related with God. Choirs were allowed for church services, but public performances were out of the question.
The immigrants were interested in sports. If there was snow and ice in the winter, many of them skated. They later were interested in the American sport of baseball. They did not dance or play cards.
Van Raalte's governmentEven with the switch to the American form of government, Van Raalte was still played an important role. He meddled in everything and he still decided everything, if it was political. He was involved in the Colony, even when he retired as a reverend in 1867. He watched everyone, making sure they were good Christians and behaved well. The result of this was that there were some absurd incidents. A woman gossiped about another woman and later had to confess in front of her entire church congregation. Another young woman, had left the back of her neck indecently bared and was reprimanded. A circus came to Holland in the 1850s. The elders told everyone they would stand at the entrance and make a note of everyone who went inside and then annouce their names at the next church service. The result was that nobody dared to go to the circus and the circus went to another village.