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155

(1897) [MARC] Author: Jonas Jonsson Stadling Translator: Will Reason With: Gerda Tirén, Johan Tirén
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155 Among German Colonists.



order is a conspicuous feature of all within the borders of
these demesnes. The large common well is in an open spot
on one of the outskirts of the village, supplied with a spacious
cattle-trough.

The Mennonite colonies are, as a rule, of moderate size only,
mostly consisting of from fifteen to fifty farms. The land is
owned by the community, and each member has a right to
cultivate 65 hectares (about 160 acres) of this communal
land-He may, of course, if he please, purchase more land outside
the bounds, but this happens very seldom. On marriage, a
young couple is provided, if they desire, with these sixty-five
hectares, a house, implements, and stock from the communal
fund; in return, they must cultivate the land properly, keep it
in good condition, and pay their yearly quota to the communal
fund. Every farm is a small agricultural centre, perfectly
independent as regards the use made of it, just as an owner of
the soil would be, except that it is not permissible to let it run
to waste or in other ways become impoverished.

The Mennonite Colonies of Russia are standing miracles of
the triumph of human co-operation. Out of the dry, treeless
steppes there have arisen, as if by occult forces, flourishing
groups of homesteads, with fresh spring water in abundance;
large plantations of fruit and the common forest trees ; fields
made fruitful by laborious culture ; numerous herds of splendid
cattle and horses. In this village district alone the number of
trees amounts to about twelve millions. Each colony has its
own school and a large storehouse for cereals, kept filled in
case of failure of crops. Besides these, the Mennonite
denomination as a whole has several high-schools. Out of the
common fund they also support physicians, midwives, and
hospitals. They also form their own fire insurance company,
independent of all Government control. No premium beside s
the ordinary contribution is paid, but in each case the loss is
borne by the entire community, and payment made from the
common fund without delay.

The quota paid by each colonist to this communal exchequer
is proportional to his income, and the burdens of taxation (to the
Government) are divided among all able-bodied persons of both

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