Friesland Failed: The Rise and Fall of Pine County, Minnesota's
Dutch Colony, 1896-1921
Most of the Dutch American colonies started in Minnesota
during the period 1870-1920 developed into remarkably durable
agricultural communities. Both their farmland and their Reformed
churches were passed along for several generations. There was
one exception to this pattern, a colony founded in Pine County
in 1896 known as Friesland, Minnesota. What can we learn about
the process of ethnic agricultural community development by studying
a "lost" colony rather than looking at conspicuously successful
and visible colonies? That is the question behind Robert Schoone-Jongen's
reconstruction of life in Friesland through an analysis of tax
records, contemporary newspaper accounts, census data, church
membership roles, land contracts, memoirs, and geographical information.
After twenty-six years as a history teacher at Southwest Minnesota
Christian High School in Edgerton, Schoone-Jongen pursued his
doctorate in 18th and 19th century United States history at the
University of Delaware.
Robert's work produced three things, all of which
were tied together. He produced a manuscript on the history of
Friesland, wrote a seminar paper at the University of Delaware,
and used the story of Friesland as part of his doctoral dissertation
on the work of Theodore F. Koch, the colony's promoter.
Public presentation on June 7, 2001 at 11 A.M.
For more information, please visit the newspaper
review of this project by Nancy Torner, which can be found at
Journalism Home Page in the article entitled: "Fellow
Seeks Answers to Failed Minnesota Colony".