Sioux County, Iowa

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(Note: This is basically a History of the Dutch settlement of Sioux County Iowa in 1879, with substantial emphasis on the remedies of the grasshoppers plague in Sioux County from 1873 to 1879)



Articles Copied Word for Word from the

Sioux County Herald Newspaper

Issues: Thursday

June 12, June 19, Jun 26, July 3, July 10, July 17 of 1879

Entitled: “ History of Sioux County ”

by Rev. J. W. Warnshuis



Sioux County Herald, June 12, 1879



Colony of Hollanders Located In The Eastern Part of The County Sketch of The Reformed Churches Established Here.

(The writer is preparing this history for a New York paper, has made free use of the Centennial Address of Hon. O. C. Norse, and the Historical Sketch, by S. C. Hyde and is especially indebted to Henry Hospers, Esq., of Orange City, for valuable information concerning the early history of the Holland Colony.)


This “Dutch Colony,” as it is commonly called, is located in the southeastern part of Sioux County, in the State of Iowa, occupying the townships of Holland, Nassau, West Branch, Sherman and Floyd with Orange City, the county seat, as its center, and East Orange as its railroad station and principal business place. In 1877 not less than one hundred and forty thousand bushels of wheat were shipped from this station. The station agent informs the writer that there is not a station on the Sioux City & St. Paul Railroad between Sioux City and Mankato not excepting St. James, that does as much business as this station at East Orange.

This Holland Colony was organized and started from Pella, Marion County, Iowa, under the leadership of Henry Hospers, Esq. In 1847 a large colony of Hollanders, direct from the Netherlands, settled in Marion County, under the leadership of the late Rev. Scholten. In the same year a large colony of Hollanders was also settled in Ottawa County Michigan.

The colony in Pella grew and flourished to such an extent by the almost constant addition of immigrants from the Netherlands that in a few years all available and tillable land was occupied. It soon became a question with many where to find a home for themselves and their families. This question came year by year with increased force to the hearts of many fathers and mothers as the small farm became insufficient to support the growing family, and as they saw their sons and daughters coming to years of maturity, why they, too, must seek a home for themselves – but where? Rather than be separated, parents preferred to go with their children and endure the trials and hardships of a new settlement.

A colonization society was organized of which Henry Hopsers, Esq., became president. This society appointed a committee in the fall of 1869 to seek a location for a new colony in Northwestern Iowa. This committee consisted of S. A. Sipma, H. Muilenberg, and J. Pelmulder. This committee, soon after their appointment, started on their exploring mission. They went northwest as far as Cherokee, about 250 miles from Pella, Here they were so delighted with the beautiful undulating prairie and its deep, rich soil, and the Little Sioux River, with its bright waters, shimmering in the sun-light, and the green plateaus, of limitless prairies as yet untouched by the hand of civilization, that they resolved to locate here the new colony and to secure here that birthright of every American citizen – a good home. They returned to Pella, filled with enthusiasm and high hopes. On arriving home a public meeting was called at which the exploring committee gave their report of what they had found. They reported “glorious things” about the northwest. This report was published in the Pella papers.

At this meeting another committee was appointed with power to act and take up land in Cherokee County, three or four townships. This second committee consisted of Henry Hospers, L. van der Meer, and D. van den Bos. Mr. Hospers went by rail to Sioux City and the other members of the committee went with their own conveyance to Cherokee, where Mr. Hospers was to meet them. When Mr. Hospers arrived in Sioux City, at the land office, he was informed that most of the land in and about Cherokee had been taken up by speculators. That was the result of publishing that “glorious report.” At Sioux City Mr. Hospers was told that in Sioux County there was equally as good if not better land than about Cherokee. The other members of the committee having arrived, they proceeded together by team into Sioux County. As they ascended by an easy and gradual grade from the bottom lands of the Floyd River, and after they had crossed the line of Plymouth County, they unpacked their instruments and commenced surveying to find the different section lines and stuck their stakes to indicate that the land was taken up. As they proceeded more than two miles north of where now Orange City is located, they were more than delighted with the beautiful rolling prairies.

They were glad that the enterprise in Cherokee county had failed, as they were better pleased with the land of Sioux County. From the point about two miles northwest of Orange City they ran their chain a mile east and then south, to the corner where now stands the wind mill. Here the Floyd River came in view. As they stood here, on this elevated point, whence they could see the green, rolling prairies until lost in the blue horizon, and the Floyd with its delicate fringe of willows, who can tell what feelings must have been? From this point they surveyed down to the Floyd Rivers by the section line where now lies the road from Orange City to East Orange, setting stakes at every corner section. As they were running their chain down this line they saw in the distance two Indians galloping over the prairies. They came upon them. The Indians were very much taken up with and wanted the gold watch chain of Mr. Hospers. Mr. Hospers offered to trade with them for their ponies, but this was refused, and they went on. They had a camp across the Floyd, very near to where the Hendericks' now live. Mr. Hospers and his party pitched their tent that night near the Floyd, not far from where now stands the watering tank of the Sioux City & St. Paul railroad. That night D. van den Bos was appointed to watch the Indians. About 11 o'clock he gave the alarm, “ the Indians are coming.” The whole camp turned out but could find no Indians, some tall weeds, which, shaken back and forth by the wind, were taken for the savages. By morning the Indian camp was broken up and no more Indians have since been seen in Sioux County. As soon as the necessary surveying was completed Mr. Hospers returned to the land office at Sioux City. Here he wrote two nights and a day, with his right and left hand, and presented 182 names for whom he asked pre-emption claims. Never before nor since have so many pre-emption claims been taken at this office at one time. After this was done the committee returned to Pella, having been absent three weeks. They made a report but not in a public meeting. The experience in Cherokee had taught them a lesson.

In that same fall of 1869, 20 teams were sent from Pella to Sioux County to plow about five acres on each claim in order to secure the pre-emption right, as required by law. Only one woman was in this company, Mrs. Vennema called “the mother of the colony.” She was the first white woman that lived in Sioux county east of Calliope. She is still living, enjoying with her husband the fruits of those pioneer days. When winter set in this company returned to Pella.

In the spring of 1870 some 60 families loaded their wagons, covered with white canvass, and started for the land of their adoption, to make their future home. Since that day this colony has grown and has increased by an almost continual influx of emigration. Especially in the spring of the year the white “prairie schooners” (moving wagons covered with white canvass) are seen coming in from all directions. They came from Iowa, Minnesota, Wisonsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana and even from New York state, with not a few direct from the Netherlands. Today we count in this Holland colony five organized churches, one of them the Reformed church at Orange City, numbering nearly 300 members, and the one at East Orange nearly 100 members. Twenty-one school houses are located in this colony and the county seat is situated in the center of Orange City. Three newspapers are published here in two different languages, namely: THE SIOUX COUNTY HERALD and DE VOLKVRIEND at Orange City and the INDEPENDENT at East Orange. All this where ten years ago not a trace of a white man could be found. Now we see here everywhere large and beautiful groves, with rich and beautiful improved farms, the equal to which we can scarcely find anywhere in the great northwest.

When we tell our visitors that ten years ago this was a vast prairie wilderness, where not a single house could be found, nor a tree or shrub, save along the Floyd river, they are amazed and it is beyond their comprehension. The people that knew how to rescue and save a land from the water of the great ocean in the Netherlands, knew equally well how to make the “desert blossom as the rose.” Economy, management, industry and faithful toil always, anywhere, especially in a country of deep, rich soil, reap rich reward, bring abundant fruits. It is owing to this fact to which we point with pride that the county pays in cash for what it receives. Her warrants of all kinds bring cash, 100 cents for every dollar. The old Dutch proverb is not forgotten here, “honesty is the best policy.”

In presenting this history of Sioux County and the Holland colony here we have not dealt in speculations and fancies but have given simple facts. What may be the result of the vast accumulation of people, and of the necessary increase of wealth and luxury attending it, we cannot know. Our responsibilities are great, even as our blessings and privileges. We can only do our duty in our day and generation and leave the future to Him who doeth all things well, with the earnest prayer that to us and our children, and our children's children, this goodly land may be an inheritance forever, and that righteousness and peace may ever characterize them.

If there be anything in the history of this county and of this Holland colony and its wonderful development to excite a just pride, the localities and villages whence these people came may justly claim a share in it. Mother Pella need not be ashamed of her oldest daughter in the Northwest. Such as we are the emigration from Pella and other places has made us. Our free labor, free schools, free speech, free press, free worship, free men and free women were their free gift and contribution. Our county and colony here is simply the legitimate offspring of a civilization that has attained its highest expression in the building up of other towns, and places and counties. This colony is not planted by the oppression of the parent government, but was the outgrowth of the natural vitality and enterprise of the people, begotten in obedience to the divine command to multiply and replenish for which the Holland people are noted, and need not be ashamed.

This wonderful exhibition of growth and increase is but the evidence of the existence and character of the people that have produced it, an undeniable proof of the truth: “Righteousness exalts a nation .” What this Holland colony is today she owes largely, if not altogether to the influence of the Reformed churches located here, and to the fact that these churches have been sustained by the Reformed Church East. The Secretary of the Domestic Mission, Rev. Jacob West, D. D., visited this colony soon after it was located here. In all that we are the Reformed church has a full large, double share. Through her support and sympathy two pastors have already been installed, the third is to be installed in a few weeks, and the fourth one, perhaps, within a few months. The saying of the worthy secretary Dr. West, “I regard Sioux County as the largest and most promising mission field we have.” was not an idle prediction, but is fast being realized.

Sioux County Herald, June 19, 1879

By Rev. J. W. Warnshuis



However fertile the soil, or however industrious the toiler, the trials, hardships and difficulties of the first settlers in any country are many. Here the Holland proverb always proves true: “Alle beginsel zijn moeijelijk.”

The first cause of their trials was the poverty of the people. Many had nothing to begin with save their health and courage and those family jewels that are the “pledges of love” and the “consumers of bread.” Here they came in a vast rich and beautiful prairie country, but where not a house or store could anywhere be seen or found, where not a piece of bread could anywhere be obtained, or the flour to make it. The nearest market place of any consequence was at Sioux City, a distance of 45 miles. Crossing a trackless prairie for 45 miles for a sack of flour or a letter can hardly be called “excellent facilities.” In such a new country flour and feed is dear. A year and a half the first settlers have to live from “hand to mouth.” After the prairie is broken it has to lie idle one year for the sod to rot. The next season it is ready to be sown. For a poor people to work for a year and a half with out receiving remuneration or reaping any fruits of their labor is very trying and difficult, to say the least. With the severest economy and the most patient toil there was no way during the first year and a half of the settlement to earn a cent of money.

Many lived for weeks and months in their covered wagon boxes. There was no time to build houses. The prairie must be broken in order that they may be able to sow and plant something the following year. One man informed the writer that he had plowed the first year for three weeks without seeing a human being save the members of his own household who lived in this wagon box. From morning to night he saw nothing but his oxen and the vast expanse of prairie.

After the “breaking season” was over, which lasts until July, they then made ready to build houses, which was by no means an easy task in a country where there is no building material. All the lumber, nails, etc, had to be hauled from Le Mars, a distance of 20 miles, or from Sioux City. Many had only an ox team to do this work. Building under such circumstances is hard and very difficult work. Of course the houses built were most of them small and inconvenient. It can easily be imagined (it could not be otherwise) the trials, difficulties and privations of those early days of frontier life must have been many. But this band of hardy pioneers had the energy, faith and spirit of endurance to pave the way and create a heritage of wealth, prosperity and happiness for those who came after them. It is always a great thing to stand at the front of any good and noble undertaking. The idea of standing at the front in an age of progress inspired the founders of the colony with energy and hope. It is a grand thing to lay foundations and feel that you grow as the country advances.

All the trials and hardships of those early days are now past. A few acres of improved land, for the sake of accommodating the new owner, can not be rented almost anywhere for one year. The railroad company and real estate agents, as well as large land owners, have a number of acres broken on every section, so that the new comers can commence to sow and plant immediately and raise a good crop of wheat and corn the first year. Lumber, too, can now be had very cheap right here at the station in East Orange, where there are two large lumber yards. And as for stores, these are found at nearly every street corner and filled with choicest goods. Only one thing is very much needed, the want of which is felt every day and is felt more and more as the colony grows and the resources of our rich and fertile soil are being developed, and that is, a steam flouring mill, to make into flour the thousands of bushels of wheat that we raise here every year. Such a mill would pay for itself in a few years.

In 1871, from the land that had been broken the previous year, a rich and bountiful harvest was raised, which gave full proof of the fertility of the soil, the yield being from 20-30 bushels of wheat to the acre. The number of acres of course was small, averaging perhaps about 15 acres to a farm.

The following year, 1872, a large amount of land having been broken the previous year, was a very fruitful season, and an abundant harvest was the reward the pioneer received for his toil, patience and trials.

During this year the Sioux City and St. Paul railroad was completed, running from south to north through the colony. This road opened up the great lumber markets of Minnesota and Wisconsin and the coal fields of Iowa, and gave us a good home market for our wheat and every kind of produce.

Following the wake of the settler was the army of money usurers, who stood ready to take advantage of the necessities of the poor and industrious people, which became another source of trials and difficulties. With these usurers came the host of agents for different agricultural implements. But the people were poor and had no money to buy. But the agents must sell – they sell on time, at 10 percent interest. Notes are given, secured by chattel mortgage. Nearly all get in debt and ignorant of law, are the more easily led astray. These notes and the debt thereby created has been the greatest source of all the trials and difficulties of the early settlers. These agents were smooth-tongued and know how to trap the innocent farmer. They would speak eloquently of the rich prairie soil the greater number of acres they would be able to cultivate with the very best machinery which they sold as cheap.

They would talk of the bountiful and abundant harvest with great prices for all farm produce. One harvest would more than pay twice over for all the machinery absolutely needed here on these prairies. “You can't work here as they do in the east where a man tries to make a living on a sand or gravel hill. You must have more machinery here. Everyone had them. You don't want to be less than your neighbor.” And the poor farmer buys and buys more that he absolutely needs. He makes a leap where he should go step by step carefully, buying one thing this year and pay for it, and then next year another thing and so on until he has what he needs.

The following harvest did not turn out as the agent had figured it would. The farmer was glad he had enough left for bread and seed and feed for his team and cattle. Now comes the struggle to pay the notes. These were indeed “the times that tries men's souls.” But these men and women were the sons and daughters of the fathers who fought for 80 years in the Netherlands for religious and civil liberty. The spirit of the fathers is in their children. They have the courage and faith to endure every trial and difficulty and to become the founders of a great and large settlement. And it deserves mention that Mr. Hospers, the leader and founder of the Holland colony, has always been found to be a worthy counselor and in numerous ways and many instances has saved many out of the great trouble. He has stood faithfully by his people in their darkest days, giving advise and courage and material aid. When every avenue of relief seemed cut off he would find a way of help. Whoever came to him for advise or help, always went away, not only encouraged, but in some way or other delivered from his troubles. Now these early struggles, with many trials and disadvantages, on account of their poverty, more than realize the fruition of their hopes and the -reward of their self-denial.

Many of them, who came here eight years ago with nothing but a yoke of oxen, a wagon and a plow, a bed and a stove, would not today sell our for four thousand dollars! Not an improved farm can be bought here anywhere, a fact that proves that the people, even under the greatest disadvantages of poverty and trials that attend every new settlement, did accumulate wealth. Now that these early trials and difficulties are over come, and having now the commercial facilities given us by the various railroads that run through the county east and west, north and south, this colony and county offers inducements to new settlers and capitalists to invest their money, such as few counties east or west of us cannot offer.

Amid all the disadvantages and trial of a poor people, this colony has grown, advanced and improved in the nine years of its history to the wonder of every one who comes here, whether to visit or make her his home. Looking at the beautiful groves and improved farms that can be seen in every direction, one can hardly believe that all this, nine years ago, was one vast direction, one can hardly believe that all this, nine years ago, was on vast prairie. I have again and again been forced to ask myself “can it be possible that all this improvement has been brought about in that many years?” Let a stranger come here and tell him 10 years age, as far as the eye can reach, not a tree could be seen nor an acre of plowed land, nor a house anywhere. “Is it possible? Have all these groves been planted in the past nine years, and are these trees the growth of only nine years?” Only of nine years. “Have all these improvements been made, in the past nine years, and that by a people most of whom came penniless. “This is a grand, rich country.” The Rev. O. J. Squires, state agent for the American Bible Society, who travels all over the state, when here this last May, said to the writer: “You have here the best of Iowa. For beauty of location and richness of soil, I know no place to equal this.”

Whatever trials and privations the people have been obliged to endure, they have always had enough to eat and to spare. In 1877, which was a grasshopper year, 140,000 bushels of No. 1 were sold here at East Orange, which was not more that half the number of bushels of wheat raised in the colony, as those living in the south and southwest haul their wheat to Seney and LeMars, and those living north go to Sheldon. In that grasshopper year at least 280,000 bushels of wheat were raised in this colony, and the amount of corn that was raised we will not attempt to state, nor that of flax seed, rye and oats.

Last year was the worst of any since the settlement of the colony. The wheat, not only here but nearly throughout the whole west, was blighted by the copious rains that followed the intense heat so that it was damaged for the market. Yet this “rejected” wheat made excellent flour, so that there was an abundance of bread. Of course the farmer having no wheat, or only a little for the market, was in great want of money, but perhaps not more so here than people in other and even older places.

This we wish to impress upon the mind of the reader, who perhaps has heard of us, that under every trial and in the darkest days, even in grasshopper years, this people have had bread in abundance and wheat to sell. What would it have been if there had been no grasshoppers.

Sioux County Herald, June 26, 1879

By Rev. J. W. Warnshuis



Another great source of trial and troubles, and that at times tried the courage of many, was the grasshopper plague, that and its first appearance here in the summer of 1873.

Grasshoppers has been and still is with many the great scare crow and bug bear that keeps many away from the northwest of Iowa. It is the one and only argument that can be used against this country. And true “no one who has not witnessed the ravaging power of this Rocky Mountain grasshopper can fully conceive of or appreciate it. Its organization and habit admirably fit it for ravenous work. Muscular, gregarious, with powerful jaws and ample digestive and reproductive systems, strong of wing and assisted in flight by numerous air-sacs that buoy-all these traits conspire to make it the terrible engine of destruction. Insignificantly individually but mighty collectively the grasshoppers fall upon a country like a plague. Falling upon a cornfield they convert in a few hours the green and promising acres into a desolate stretch of bare, spindling stalks and stubs. They sweep clean a field quicker that would a whole herd of hungry steers.”

Admitting fully the destructive power of this insect and the dreadful desolation it effected in ‘73-74' in the country west of the Mississippi, yet people need not go or stay away from this country on account of the grasshopper. The hessian fly, the wheat moth, the weevil and the chinch bug are insects far more to be dreaded that the grasshopper. The chinch bug is an annual and increasing trouble; the grasshopper only a periodical one. Every objection on account of the grasshoppers against northwestern Iowa is removed when the history and habits of this insect are fully understood. The ravages committed by the grasshoppers in '73 – '74 could not have been repeated had the people known how to defend themselves and protect their crops. People have been kept in ignorance about the grasshoppers. The local papers did not dare to say a word about grasshoppers for fear it would keep away emigration. Many today know not how to protect their crops against the grasshoppers and how to destroy their eggs. The true way always is not to conceal or by silence to ignore an evil, but to reveal it fully and then point out the remedy.

The writer proposes to give a full and complete history of the Rocky Mountain grasshopper and the remedies for destruction of the same. He proposes to fully and completely remove the bug bear and scare crow from the northwest. The facts that are given and the statements made in regard to the history and habits of the grasshopper are taken from the report of the United States Entomological Commission, to which the writer adds his own observation and experience. Hence what is given is not fancy and theory, but facts authenticated and that can be relied upon.

It is perhaps generally known that the young grasshopper has no wings and does not acquire wings until the latter part of June, some six or eight weeks after they are hatched. While the destruction of the winged grasshopper is often sudden and complete the little unfledged grasshopper is still more effectual, though more slowly. They will denude a country of vegetation as bare and desolate in midsummer as it is in the Mississippi Valley in midwinter. The little creatures are often so numerous, soon after hatching that they blacken everything.

WHERE THE EGGS ARE LAID – “The eggs are laid in newly broken sward, in bare land, which is tolerable compact and not loose, and in road tracks. As a rule, the soils and locations preferred by the female in ovipositing will be those in which the young will most freely hatch, namely, in compact knolls, with a south or southeast exposure. Old plowed land is not liked for ovipositing it presents too loose a surface. In abnormal or unhealthy conditions of the grasshopper the eggs may be laid in exposed places, without any hole, in which case they doubtless never give birth to young.”

MANNER IN WHICH THE EGGS ARE LAID – “The female when about to lay her eggs forces a hole in the ground. When the hole is drilled she exudes from her body a frothy mucous matter which fills up the bottom of the hole. She then deposits her eggs to the number from 20 to 35. The mucous matter binds all the eggs in a mass the last is laid the mother devotes some time to filling up the somewhat narrow neck of the burrow with a compact and cellulose mass of the same material. When fresh the mass is soft and moist, but it soon acquires a firm consistency and forms a perfect protection and is water proof.” It is for this reason that the eggs are deposited in compact ground such as “new breaking” and roadsides, in which a hole can be drilled which cannot be done in old and loose land. “In loose and shifting soil the eggs would perish. The egg mass seldom reaches more than an inch below the surface.

THE HATCHING PROCESS – “The outer covering of the egg mass is easily ruptured and rendered all the more fragile by freezing: but the inner covering is so tough that a very strong pressure between one's thumb and finger is required to burst it. How then will the embryo, which fills it so completely that there is scarcely room for motion, succeed in escaping from such a prison? The rigid bird's egg is easily cracked by the beak of its tenant. But our young grasshopper is deprived of all such contrivance, and must have another mode of exit from its tough and sub-elastic prison. By the muscular efforts of the nascent locust against the sides of the hole it crowds its way out. From this account of the hatching process we can easily understand why the female is ovipositing prefers compact, hard soil to that which is loose. The harder and less yielding the walls of the hole the easier the young crows its way out. In loose soil the young fail to make their escape and generally perish at birth.”

From these facts it will be seen that in a country where the land is under cultivation there the grasshoppers do not deposit eggs, therefore, in such a country there are no grasshoppers, at least of any account. History proves this fact. Time has been when the grasshoppers were feared in Illinois. But as emigration moved westward and the land became cultivated the grasshoppers disappeared, so that today they are not found 50 miles east of us. They are only found in new breaking for the reason given. When there is no breaking there is no ovipositing and hence no grasshoppers. This a conclusion based upon fact which are proven by history.

This settles effectively the grasshopper question. When these prairies are once under cultivation there will be no more grasshoppers to do any damage. We are now already on the eastern line of the temporary region of the grasshoppers. Five miles from us they are not found any more. Therefore the grasshoppers need not deter any from settling in Sioux County nor need give any apprehension in the minds of those who have already made their homes here.

HABITS OF THE YOUNG, ORUNFLEDGED GRASSHOPPERS – “The habits of the young insects as they occur in the temporary region are as follows: Although possessed of remarkably active power from the moment they leave the egg, yet so long as provision suffices from them on their hatching grounds the young remain almost stationary and create but little apprehension. As soon, however, as the supply of food in these situations is exhausted they commence to migrate in a body devouring all grain and garden produce in their path. While young and yet small, or in the first, second and third stages, they hide at night, and during unfavorable weather at day also. When very vigorous and numerous they gradually move across a field of small grain and cut it off clean to the ground as they go. When the weather is cold and wet, that is beneficial to the grain and prejudicial to the hoppers as the grain grows so rank and rapidly that they can make little impression upon it.”

It is when they are abundant and vigorous enough to bare the ground, and do so principally after they are half grown, that the habit of migrating in large bodies is developed. The power for injury increases with growth. At first devouring the vegetation. In particular fields in the vicinity of their birthplaces, they gradually widen the arch of their devastation. When they have devastated a country, they are forced to feed upon one another and perish in immense numbers from debility and starvation. This increase in death continues until they have undergone their larval molts and attained the pupa state. From this time on they begin to decrease in numbers. They die rapidly from disease and from the attacks of natural enemies, while a large number fall to pray. Those that acquire wings rise in the air during the warmer parts of the day and wend their way so far as the wind will permit them from their native home in the northwest. They mostly carry with them the germs of disease or are parasitized, and wherever they settle do comparatively little damage.

REMEDIES AND DEVICES FOR DESTRUCTION – “The means to be employed for the destruction of this pest are, first: DESTRUCTION OF THE EGGS. This can be done by harrowing and plowing.

1. Harrowing in the autumn. “The breaking up of the egg-mass and exposure of the individual eggs to the desicating effects of the atmosphere effectively destroys them. We hence see at once the importance of this mode of coping with this evil. Harrowing in the autumn and in early winter will prove one of the most effectual means of destroying the eggs and preventing future injury. The object should be to pulverize the soil, as much as possible, to the depth of about an inch. Where a cultivator is used, it would be well to pass over the ground again with a drag or brush harrow.” From the mode of hatching and from the manner in which the eggs are laid, given above, it will be seen, that “every egg-mass that is broken or brought to the top is used up and will not hatch.” The harrowing should be done most thoroughly. A farmer living three miles north from East Orange had a piece of new breaking last fall, which he harrowed again and again. This spring he sowed it with wheat, first using a seeder, sowing one bushel to the acre, then he went over it again with the seeder, sowing one half bushel to acre, then the harrow was put on with which he went over it several times. The result now stands that the wheat is good, and no ‘hoppers'. This shows the benefit of thorough harrowing, both in autumn and in the spring. By a few days of extra work on new breaking the eggs can be destroyed. The roads and all uncultivated places should be harrowed thoroughly in autumn. It ought to be enforced by law.

2. “Plowing – next to harrowing is another mode of destroying grasshopper eggs.” The plowing should be about six inches deep, and then dragged and rolled. “A plowing in the spring of four or six inches deep will prove more effectual, if the ground be subsequently HARROWED and ROLLED, for if the eggs do hatch, the young will not be able to reach the surface.

DESTRUCTION OF THE YOUNG GRASSHOPPERS – “It is with some degree of pride that we can point to the fact that this part of the locust question is solved,” is the language of the United States Entomological Commissioner. “The experience of 1877 had firmly established the fact that with proper means, effort and cooperation the farmer can successfully cope with the grasshoppers, that he can with less labor and expense protect his crops against the ‘hoppers than against weeds. Farmers themselves have been surprised at what can be done by well directed, intelligent effort. It was the almost universal testimony that there need be, in the future, no serious fear of the young grasshopper, especially where effort had been made to destroy the eggs as has been indicated. The means used to destroy young grasshoppers is:

1. – BURNING. This method can easily be brought into operation in prairie and wheat growing regions. In such regions there is an abundance of straw and hay, which may be scattered over or around the field in bunches or windrows, and into which the little hoppers can be driven and burned. During cold or damp weather they congregate of themselves, without being under such shelter and they can then be destroyed by burning without the necessity of drying. We have said that it is the habit of the young grasshopper to seek shelter by night. Scatter over the field little heaps of straw, also in windrows, and in this the insects will seek shelter at night and can easily be destroyed by burning. Much has been said against burning the prairie in the fall and early spring. It should be forbidden by stringent law. If the burning of the prairie was postponed until the bulk of the grasshoppers have hatched, then all those that have gone onto the prairie for shelter and those along the cultivated fields and along the roadsides could be destroyed by prairie fires. If a farmer's crop is destroyed by little hoppers, it is his own fault. He can with less labor and expense destroy the grasshoppers than he can weeds in his field. Save your straw to kill ‘hoppers'!

To destroy grasshoppers in the garden the following method can be employed: Take a long wire or iron, say about 40 feet long, to this rod or wire tie a bundle of rags or tow and then soak the rags thoroughly in coal. A small wire is wound around the rags to keep them in place, and a rope is attached to the long rod. Let two men carry this rope, after setting fire to the rags, to and froth across the garden until the fuel is exhausted. Even a large field of grain can be saved this way. The effect is that of a miniature prairie fire. Or dig a ditch around the garden and it is safe.

Sioux County Herald, July 3, 1879

By Rev. J. W. Warnshuis



2.- DITCHING – This is another mode of destroying young grasshoppers. A simple ditch two feet wide and two feet deep, with perpendicular sides, offers an effective barrier to the young insects. They tumble into such a ditch and die at the bottom in large quantities. It is the habit of the little insects to travel in a body. Throw a ditch across their path or around your field and your grain is safe. Then the little ones are in the ditch scatter a little straw in the ditch and set fire to it and gone are the ‘hopper'. The direction of the apprehended approach of the insects being known from their hatching locality, ditching one or two sides next to such locality is sufficient, and when farmers unite they can construct a long ditch which will protect many farms. The efficiency of the ditch depends not so much on the inability of the little ‘hoppers' to jump or scale it, as on their tendency not to do so. In the bottom of the ditch they become demoralized, crippled and enfeebled by constant efforts, and the tramping and crowding upon one another. The ditches must be kept in order – the sides must not harden and must be kept perpendicular. Ditching, next to burning is the most effectual way of killing the young ‘hoppers' but it is often too expensive in a new country, where many poor men must fight single handed. The best way is to destroy the eggs by harrowing and then there will be no young grasshoppers!

3. – COAL-OIL AND COAL-TAR - Coal is a cheap and sure agent to destroy young grasshoppers. “The toxic power of coal oil on these insects is very remarkable, a single drop destroying a large number. Take a common board 12 or 15 feet long for the foundation or bed piece. Make a tin trough 4 inches deep and 6 inches wide. Divide the trough by partitions, about a foot apart thus avoiding the spilling of oil. Back of this place a strip of tin 16 inches wide and as long as the tough. Under all this place three wooden runners 3 feet long, for the tough to ride upon. Fill the pan half full of water and then add a small quantity of kerosene, sufficient to cover the water. Fasten a rope to the side runners and hitch a horse to it. The lightness of the machine will allow its being used on any crop. The little hoppers will hop in and out of this trough as it is drawn across the field, and in one or two minutes after being oiled they are dead. A boy and horse with this coal oil machine can save a piece of grain in a few days, by going over the field until the hoppers are gone. From this it will appear that ‘hoppers' can be more easily destroyed than weeds. By systematic, united and persistent effort all the little ‘hoppers' can be destroyed in a short time that may be found in any section of the country. The grasshopper does not begin to be an evil like the weevil, the Heesian fly or the chintz bug, which are not found here.

DESTRUCTION OF WINGED GRASSHOPPERS - “The destruction of the winged grasshoppers, when they swoop down upon a country in prodigious swarms, is impossible. Man is powerless before the mighty host. The only method of saving a field of grain from the winged insects is by diverting the swarms by means of smoke.

In the wheat growing region like this in Sioux County straw is abundant. Let the straw be stacked in small heaps in different parts of the field and at every field corner, and there let it remain until the ‘hoppers' are descending upon the country. Then when the swarm comes let the farmers in the township or a county simultaneously set fire to the straw, using straw to slacken combustion and increase the smoke, and the combined fumigation will entirely drive the insects away. By co-operative and systematic plans and effort much can be done to divert the course of a swarm of ‘hopper'. Too much stress cannot be laid on the advantage of co-operation and concert of action and legislation should be made to both induce and oblige action. In every community there are those who persist in doing nothing to prevent injury. These indifferent ones frequently bring ruin upon themselves and upon their more persevering neighbors. There should be a law to oblige every able bodied man to work one or more days, either in the fall to destroy eggs, or in the spring to kill the young insect. These remedies for the destruction of the grasshopper eggs and the young insects are such as recommend themselves to every intelligent mind. These remedies have all been tested and proven by experiments on a large scale in different localities and have given complete success.

We cannot lay too much stress on the importance of destroying the eggs by thorough plowing and harrowing. It should be enforced by law. To all that has been said we add.


It is a great mistake to depend upon one kind of farm produce for the support of the family. There should be a diversification of crops. There is too great a passion for immense tracts and great wheat farms. A wiser course it to look to many sources for profit rather than to one. There is no better country that Sioux County for the raising of stock. Good water and grazing is in abundance. Disease of any kind among cattle in unknown here. Our climate has healthy and invigorating influence upon cattle and upon all live stock generally. Our wool, beef, butter and cheese are unsurpassed. At the Inter State Fair, held in Minneapolis, Northwestern Iowa was awarded the premium for its dairy products. At the Centennial Exposition Iowa took the first premium on its dairy products. There is no reason why every farmer should not have from 50 – 100 head of cattle. Pasturage costs nothing. Hay costs only the expense of cutting and stacking. The immense quantity of corn should be fed to hogs. Hog cholera has never been known here. The advantage of growing more stock must be obvious to all. For then if the wheat crop failed, there would be no sweeping disaster – it would not be felt. Diversified agriculture is the most sure and profitable, not only from the grasshopper standpoint but in every respect and at all times. It must follow, that the more extensively any given crop is cultivated, to the exclusion of other crops, the more often will it met with disappointment and failure, and will eventually exhaust the soil of the constituents for its profitable growth.


1. – Grasshoppers do not, as a rule, deposit their eggs in loose and cultivated soil. When our prairie is all broken and under cultivation, then the grasshopper plague will be a thing of the past. The grasshoppers move westward before the westward moving emigration. We are already on the eastern boundary line. Two miles east of East Orange the grasshoppers are no longer found.

2. – Grasshopper eggs can easily be destroyed by thorough harrowing autumn to the depth of one inch, or by deep plowing.

3. – Young insects can easily be destroyed with very little effort and expense by burying, ditching, or with kerosene. The winged swarms can be kept off by smudging and smoking.

4. – Diversified agriculture and the keeping of stock is the wisest and most profitable farming.

5. – Grasshoppers are not as great an evil as other insects, such as the weevil, which are not found in Sioux county. The grasshopper is a periodical one, and can now be easily managed and controlled. Of course the first settlers have suffered severely from the grasshoppers, having come here the first of June 1873. They in a few hours destroyed all the corn and oats and did much damage to the wheat. Just as the first settlers were about to realize something from their patience and hard labor in breaking the prairie, the grasshoppers came and took all the corn and oats and destroyed about half the wheat. This was a severe trial, especially upon those who had bought their team and plow and other farming implements on trust. These grasshoppers were in Sioux County until about July of 1877, doing every year more or less damage, yet not to that extent that is supposed by people in the East. When the writer visited this county in 1877, he expected to find an impoverished and grasshopper stricken people. Imagine his surprise when he found no such people or country. Of course some farm suffered more than others, but they always raised enough to eat and seed to sow. He was surprised to see the vast improvement made in less than sever years – three of which had been grasshopper years and one a wet harvest season. More wheat was damaged that year, 1875, be rain, than was ever destroyed by the grasshoppers. That year, 1875-1876 was the darkest in the history of Sioux County.

In September, 1878, the grasshoppers came again but did no damage other than filling the new breaking with their eggs. These have now hatched and the wheat in many places is destroyed. This is a severe trial for the new beginners who came here last year and have nothing but breaking. The damage is however, not so much due to grasshoppers as to the drought that has been general throughout the country, at least in the Western States, this spring. Wheat did not ‘come up' for want of rain, and when the rain came the wheat began to grow, the little grasshoppers were there too. Had the wheat commenced to grow as in the other years soon after it was sown, then the few little ‘hoppers' that are here would not have been able to do much damage, if any. Wheat on old land promised a rich and abundant harvest, and those who destroyed the grasshopper eggs last fall in the breaking have the best wheat on the breaking.

The great trouble has been, people have been ignorant of the means of the mode of destroying the eggs and the young insects. If this paper shall have the effect of impressing upon the minds of the people here and elsewhere, that the young hoppers can, with little effort and expense, be destroyed, it will prove one of the greatest benefits that has ever come to Sioux County. We advise every one who reads it to carefully preserve it, and see that every one gets a copy. Every local paper throughout the west should copy this article. Let the people have light and knowledge upon this important question. Let them know that grasshoppers can be more controlled than weeds and that East Orange, Sioux County , Iowa, is already the eastern boundary of the Temporary Grasshopper Region, and that perhaps after this year we shall never see the grasshoppers here again.

P. S. – Since the above was written a large number of grasshopper eggs have hatched and the little insects are quite numerous, and in many places have done considerable damage. What the result will be as to the coming harvest cannot now be predicted.

The places where the eggs now hatch and the habits of the little insects this year seem to contradict, somewhat, the statements that have been made. In explanation the following is offered.

The past season and year cannot be taken as a year to go by or to draw conclusions from. This season has been very dry. From October last till May 11 th was had very little rain, and during the winter scarcely any snow. We can hardly say that it rained during all those months. The grasshoppers that deposited their eggs here last fall came very late in September. On account of the failure, to a great extent, of the wheat crop last year, for reasons that have been given, old land became quite bare and compact in many places. This accounts for finding eggs this year in old land and their hatching there. As a rule eggs are deposited in hard and compact ground, and not in loose and cultivated land. This sure, that when the country is once settled, there will be no more grasshoppers. No one doubts it.

The eggs can be destroyed in the manner that has been given, if the work is faithfully and thoroughly done. The young, too, can be destroyed by burning, by ditching, and by kerosene. It is useless to say nothing can be done. Everything can be done by those who have a heart to work. By systematic and persistent efforts crops can be protected more easily against grasshoppers, and with less expense, than weeds. The great damage that the crops have thus far sustained is not as much from the grasshoppers as from the drought which has been quite general throughout the west. The harvest may yet turn out better than is anticipated, better even than in other places where the army worm and chintz bug are committing great ravages. Corn never looked better that is does now.

From the fact that an immense emigration is almost constantly moving into Dakota, it can almost with certainty be expected that this year will be the last of the grasshoppers in Iowa. If history proves anything, it is safe to conclude that we have seen the most of this locust plague.

Sioux County Herald, July 10, 1879

By Rev. J. W. Warnshuis



When we speak only of the Reformed churches under this head, we do not thereby intend to make an invidious distinction, or to ignore other churches that are found in Sioux County, but we simply do so because the writer is better acquainted with the Reformed churches, and because this church is more directly identified with the settlement of the Holland colony.


Is the oldest church on this western continent and one of the oldest churches in the world. “The Reformed church arose in the Netherlands amid the storms of persecution and political revolution. Like the rest of Europe this country in the fifteenth century was lying in the darkness and under the curse of popery.

God's word was hidden, the traditions of men followed, the cardinal doctrines of the Gospel were hidden. When a faint light appeared it was speedily quenched. But in due time light came that could not be quenched. Two young men, natives of Groningen, John Wessel and Rudolf Agricola, who lived 50 years before Luther, morning stars of the Reformation, studied the Scriptures and came to the knowledge of the doctrines of justification by faith in Jesus Christ. The seed sown by these men was quickened into life by the Reformation. The gospel was preached and the Bible was preached as the only rule of life and faith. For many years the Christians worshipped privately and called themselves “The churches of the Netherlands under the Cross.”

In 1562 a confession of faith was published and was called the Belgic confession, because its author, Guido de Bre, was a native of Belgium. It is the same confession that is rewarded today by the Reformed church in this country.

The Heidelberg Catechism was received about the same time by the church in the Netherlands. This confession and catechism, with the canons of the Synod of Dordt, constitute the doctrinal standards of the Reformed Church. To these standards great importance is attached. Not that these could be of authority in themselves, but only so far as they exhibit the truth of God. The Scriptures are received as the infallible word of God. In the establishment of truth we always appeal to the word of God. “Thus saith the Lord” settles every question of doctrine with us.

With such standards the Reformed church of Holland sent her children to the new world and all have been retained by the Reformed church of American without alteration.

The Reformed church in the Netherlands suffered severely under Charles V. and still more under his son Philip, who sent an army of 10,000 men, headed by that monster of cruelty, the Duke of Alva, to crush out the Reformation in Holland. The “Council of Tumult” and the “Council of Blood” were established and the “Spanish Inquisition” was put in full force. The truths the Reformed church professes have stood persecution and oppression. In upholding these truths martyrs have died triumphantly. God has set his seal to these truths by accompanying them with marvelous power. These truths have been preached by such men as Whitefield, and Venn, and Hervery, and Berridge, and Romaine, and Edwards, and Davies.

This church has been established in this country, a church without a bishop and state without a king. To Holland belongs the glory of being the first of modern nations to establish the right of conscience, and to proclaim and maintain civil and religious liberty.

The government of the Reformed church is Presbyterian or representative. The officers (elders and deacons) are chosen by the people for a term of two years.

THE REFORMED CHURCH IN AMERICA – was established not long after the discovery by Hudson. A colony of Hollanders was planted along the Hudson River and Mohawk Valley, on Long Island, in New Jersey and in Pennsylvania. These colonies remained under the Dutch government until 1664, when the British took possession of New York. At this time New York as called New Amsterdam, Brooklyn, Brenkelen, and Albany, Fort Orange, and the whole settlement was called the New Netherlands.

The Hollanders, as is their usual custom, with great care and zeal for the church, soon made provision for the public worship of God according to the custom of the Fatherland. They met on Sunday in an upper room above a horse mill. This was the beginning of public worship in what is now New York City. From good documents it can be stated that a considerable church was organized in New York City as early as 1619. Hence there was a Reformed church in New York a year before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock. Our Calvinistic confession came to the shores of this country 20 years before the Westminster confession was ever written. The Reformed church in America is not of recent origin. The ancient names of her ecclesiastical assemblies also shows the venerable age of the church- consistory, Classis, Synod – names that correspond to Session, Presbytery, and General Assembly, of here younger sister, the Presbyterian Church.

The Reformed churches in America were at first in the care of or in connection with the classis of Amsterdam in Holland. In 1771 articles of union were adopted and the Reformed church in America entered upon an Independent existence in this country.

After the surrender of New York to the British (1664), there was very little immigration from Holland, hence the Reformed church predominates only in those states where the Dutch began to settle in 1609-1664, were: New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. In 1845 immigration from Holland was again revived and settlements were made in western New York.

In 1847 colonies were planted in Michigan, Wisconsin, and in Iowa. So that today are found Reformed churches as far west as Kansas, and within the last few days a mission station has been formed in the Territory of Dakota.

In 1794 the minutes of the General Synod were first kept in the English language. From that year it may be said that English became the language of the Reformed church in this country.

We have thus dealt at length upon the history of this church, in order that the new comers to Sioux County may know who we are. Our true characteristic was well set forth last week, by the president of our General Synod,, now in session, in the following words: “One feature of our churches, its determination to have energetic ministers to preach the old doctrines of the cross. We have a great attachment to the truths of the Bible, and no wonder we have passed with them through a baptism of blood. Many of our members have suffered and died for the sake of these truths. The names of many martyrs are found on our church records. The Reformed church has ever faithfully and earnestly contended for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. Her history stands before the world. The reader will mark in it the hand of God.


The First Reformed church in Sioux County was organized in Orange City; May 6, 1871, by a committee appointed by the classis of Illinois, consisting of Rev. N. D. Williams, of Norrex, Ill., and the elder N. J. Gesman, of Pella. The first officers of the church were M. Verheul, G. van de Steeg, and T. J. Heemstra, elders: S. A. Sipma, W. van Rooyen and J. Pelmulder, deacons. This was the first organized church, not only in the Holland colony but in Sioux county.

The first sermon in the Holland colony was preached in Orange City in July, 1870, by Rev. John van der Meulen, who was at that time pastor of the Reformed church of Milwaukee, Wis. Revs. E. Winter and A. Thornpson, of Pella, and Peter de Pree, of Bethel, Iowa, preached in Orange City soon after the settlement of the colony.

August 21, 1871, the church, of Orange City, made a call upon the Rev. Seine Bolks to become their pastor. It could hardly be expected that this call would be accepted as father Bolks was at that time pastor of one of the largest churches in Michigan, the Reformed church of Zeeland. But the earnest prayers of the church at Orange City were answered. The call was accepted. Rev. S. Bolks came to Orange City April 4 th , 1872, and was installed as pastor by Rev. E. Winter of Pella, on the last Sunday of that same month. A better choice of a pastor could not have been made. Rev. Bolks was a man of great experience, especially in the trials and difficulties of a new settlement. In 1847 he himself had started with two vessels of immigrants from Holland and settled with them in the woods of Michigan. Having endured all the hardships and sufferings with colonies in Michigan, and having been associated in the formation of churches and establishment of schools in Michigan with such men as Rev. A. D. van Raalte, D. D., and Rev. C. van der Meulen, Rev. Bolks was the man for the church and colony of northwestern Iowa. The success of this colony and the growth of the church in Orange City is due, under God, to the earnest and faithful labors of this servant of God. He ministered to this people not only in spiritual things but also in temporal things. And neither in time nor in eternity will be forgotten the winter of 1872-1873, when the colony was visited with a glorious and powerful revival.

Father Bolks continued to be the active pastor of the Reformed church of Orange City until August, 1878, when he was, by the classis of Illinois, declared “Emeritus” on account of ill health and old age. Rev. Bolks was the first installed pastor in Sioux county. Since that time until the present that church has been vacant. The Rev. J. W. Warnshuis had preached for them during the past winter and summer, three Sabbath afternoons of each month. The church has now called Rev. A. Buursma, form Illinois, who has accepted the call. He arrived here the last Sabbath in June. The church at present numbers nearly 300 members.

Sioux County Herald , July 17, 1879

By Rev. J. W. Warnshuis


Until 1875 the church worshipped in the school house. When this school house became too small, a building of rough boards was made in the rear wall of the school house, which was closed during the school days. Seats were made of rough boards. A table and chair placed at one end was the pulpit. Such was the building in which this church worshipped until 1875. In this church Dr. M. Cohen Stuart preached in November, 1873. He had been a delegate from Holland to the Evangelical Alliance which met that year in New York. That Sabbath when Dr. Stuart preached in Orange City will not soon be forgotten. It was then announced that a Christian lady of New York had given $4000. to Orange City to build a church.

The building of this church was commenced in 1874. It was the first house of worship built in Sioux county and is a commodious and substantial edifice. It can be seen in almost any direction for a distance of more than ten miles. It is a grand monument to the character of the Christian lady who gave her money to build such a house for a poor people in the distant northwest.


This church was organized May 18, 1877, by a committee appointed by the classis of Illinois, consisting of Rev. S. Bolks, of Orange City, and his elder H. Muilenburg. The church was organized with 27 members. The first officers were B. Smith, Sneller, W. K. Scholten and R. Vos, as Elders: A. M. van den Berge, D. Gleysteen, G. J. Hofmeyer, and H. de Kraay, Deacons.

In August, 1877, a call was made upon Rev. J. W. Warnshuis, who was the pastor of the “Abbe Reformed church” of Clymer Village, New York. He had already been called twice in 1876, to become the assistant pastor of Rev. Bolks in Orange City. The call from East Orange was accepted. He arrived there in the beginning of June 1878, and was installed by the Revs. S. Bolks and J. B. Du Beer, in the following November. Through the aid of the Board of Domestic Missions a neat and comfortable parsonage was built by the church of East Orange in the fall of 1877. It was especially through the Sunday School of the Reformed church of Flatbush, L. I., that this parsonage was built and that the Reformed church of East Orange obtained a pastor. The contributions of this Sunday School are given for the support of the pastor at East Orange. It is now a year that the pastor has been settled at East Orange. In that year the membership has been more than doubled, there being now nearly 100 members, a Sabbath School has been organized which has over 100 scholars on its list, and a prayer meeting has been commended and sustained, holding their meetings every Wednesday evening. On Sabbath the preaching in the forenoon is in Dutch and in the evening in the English language.


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