Shortly after the leader Mr. Scholte had left for the State of Iowa with several fellow countrymen, the writer of this was sent to Arnhem by his father, to gain inquiries about the settlement form Mr. Brummelkamp. The kind gentleman received me in his inimitable gracious way, and led me to his study, where he showed me a map of North America which covered one of the walls completely. Only the Atlantic states were colored and scattered with towns, but the interior showed an immeasurable, uninhabited wilderness, which monotony was only broken by a labyrinth of rivers.
“Brother Scholte settled there with his people,”
the dignified minister of the Word spoke, pointing to the middle of the wilderness with his index finger, and area seemingly hundreds of miles from the nearest inhabited town.
After long hesitation and many years of deliberation the great step was undertaken, and in the spring of 1854 we, and some fellow travelers, found ourselves in Iowa . We were using the ten existing means of transportation, and were plodding slowly over the picturesque prairies from the shores of the Mississippi to the Promised Land.
We found the Great West not really so deserted as we were led to believe by the map of Mr. Brummelkamp, and met many farms on our way, and now the then a prospective town; but yet our trip led us over interminable fields, which were still covered with the luscious growth that had been sown there by nature.
We found in Pella one of those prospective towns and soon found out that further west up to the Missouri , the prairie (with only few exceptions) was still untouched. West of that water began the Great American Wilderness.
Pella and her surroundings already showed many signs of prosperity yet many extensive fields there had never been broken by a plough. Even with the imagination of a Munchausen, people would not have dared make the prediction that within 15 years (by the American way of calculation) the land would not be able to support the people, and that the beehive would be ready to swarm out.
In Pella this writer met a young man, about his age, with steel-gray eyes and a bold crown, whose quiet demeanor and winning speech betrayed the born diplomat. “The young Hospers” lived then in his new house on East Market Square . He had just settled as a land agent, and did his business in a fantastic little office, built in the form of an old castle on the corner of his lot. “The young Hospers” understood the art of advertising. We discovered we had many things in common right away, and enjoyed being in each other's company. Many an agreeable hour the writer of this spent under the hospitable roof of his generous friend.
Whatever we might have had in common, in one way Hendrik Hospers was way ahead of me: he had acquired invaluable experience in the wild West, when it was still wild, first as chain-man, and after that as surveyor. This experience can not be obtained anymore. He had also witnessed the establishment of a colony, and was acquainted with all hardships of such.
It is no surprise then that he was singled out when the move to the Northwest was undertaken. The glorious outcome is due to a large extent the to the experience which he and those with him had gained in those first years of stress and need.
Yet, if the Lord will not build the house, the laborers work on it in vain. That this is realized by the celebrators, is one of the many blessing -- and not the least – which they may enjoy.
Thankful for the help from above who gave the leader wisdom and guidance, and who gave this followers determination and strength, they can apply to motto of Washington to themselves: Exitus Acta Prbet: or in just as succinct Dutch: Het Einde Kroont Het Werk (The end crowns the work). To the Glory of God Alone!
This is the translation of the words that appeared on the cover page.
To praise, or honor, is a higher virtue that to give thanks, and to give thanks is again higher that just praying.
This praying, giving thanks and praising is our call and our privilege.
Who strives to forget God, instead of praying to Him, thanking Him and praising Him, is far from home. Fortunately such people are rare amongst us, if any at all. And God's mercy for men is so incomprehensibly great that also for the greatest sinner the door of grace is always open, so that he may become from a persecutor a man who prays to God, who thanks Him and who adores Him.
To the glory of God alone! Amen! says to the farmer, the laborer, the merchant, the pensioner – almost anyone in our settlement. For these are people with a day of prayer in the spring and a day of thanksgiving in the fall; a people who like to erect an Ebenezer in thankfulness for the Fatherly leading.
It is true; much struggle went on. But that suffering cannot be compared with the enjoyments of the present.
And all that which we experienced had to be to make us steadfast as a people that acknowledged God. And there fore thanksgiving and praise be to God, because He led this way, and no other way. Through prison to the throne; through the lion's den and the oven of fire to glory, and through the dessert to Canaan .
This is God's leading. This was the way it was with this settlement in general, and with individual in particular.
DE VOLKSVRIEND experienced this too. She shared in the times of stress; but she may also rejoice in a share of the prosperity.
And my three predecessors agree with me when it comes to: To the glory of God alone! This comes from the heart.
But also our good friends have a right to appreciation.
We are happy to mention Father Van Driele here. For 8 years this revered old man (who was a friend of the family, brother in Christ and brother-in-arms of my deceased parents, and other relatives) has shown in his work with The Christian Herald and the De Volksvriend that he is indeed a herald and a friend of the people. His contributions are so incisive, when it concerns our relationship to God and our fellow-man. There is so much in it that witnesses to the love of God to man, and how a believer should behave, in order to fulfill his call as a city set upon a hill, or as a candle in a holder. Our heart- felt thanks, my venerable gentleman! We pray that the Lord will spare you for many years, so that you can be a support to me in the struggle against so many destructive influences, and a source of information, encouragement, strength and steadfastness to the people here, to keep close to the infallible Word.
And you, my true friend X, who stood at my side so faithfully - - as co-worker on my beloved Christian Herald as well as your support to DE VOLKSVRIEND - - also you I would like to thank. I dreaded the task which I took up at the beginning. My predecessors were capable men; they were older men and were far ahead of me in the political questions of the day. But I counted on the support which you had promised me. Your masterful pen has written about diverse subjects; my readers have appreciated your labor; and you have been of invaluable help to me especially when it concerned government questions. No other Dutch paper in the Union could give such instructive observations. It is no surprise then, despite all possible opposition, that the Dutch settlement of Sioux County brings out a larger number of votes for the Republication party than ever before. We hope that this will encourage you to keep up the good work, for your fellow-countrymen here in Pella . Our heart felt thanks!
Also, the Rev. Fles has been a help, in the past and still is, His contributions are gladly read. It is too bad that he, although younger than the previously mentioned, is less skillful in writing. If he would know, however, how much his pieces are appreciated, he would write more. I would appreciate additional contributions.
Many others I could name, who have co-labored to make my paper a true friend of the people. Heartfelt Thanks!
I also feel grateful to all my reporters; grateful to those faithful members who make my paper so popular with the people and who contribute so much, so that, despite all competition, my subscribers increase steadily.
For the edition of this week, many have taken up their pens, and also for their efforts I give my thanks. It has cost you a lot of work. But your labor has added to the importance of this anniversary number, and this labor is appreciated by me and surely by all the people.
And since the 21 st birthday of DE VOLKSVRIEND is coming shortly, I hope and trust that she has not lived in vain. Many shortcoming and wrongs have been part of her (not the least during the last few years) but it has always been my intent to deliver a paper to you that will do you good, in mind and heart. I intend, with the Lord's help, to keep it that way. As newspaper reporter I avoid as much as possible all sensational articles and emphasize only the most important events. In the area of religion my motto is: “Who believes in the Son, has eternal life.” Of denominational conflicts I will have no part. Religious names have no meaning for me: The Paul, Apollos, and Cephas bias is against the Holy Writ. Let everyone live in his own house - - but in good terms with his fellow believers.
Those who would like to help me in this work, I would like to thank in advance. You might derive profit from it, also for eternity.
Those who would like to recommend this paper to others (who would give me new subscribers) I would compensate liberally.
I feel grateful for the kindly disposed readers, and for their prompt payment. Except for relatively minor exceptions DEVOLKSVRIEND is paid in advance in Sioux County .
It is possible to say many more things about this anniversary edition - - the more so since others wrote in it – but it is as if I hear you say: “good ware sells itself.”
Therefore, my readers and friends. I shake you hands in spirit. And where we are all ready to close the 21 st volume, and to begin the 22 nd , we give our one and others affairs into His hands, Who has led us this far so kindly, Who kept us so mercifully and Who blessed us so abundantly.
To the glory of God alone!
H. P. Oggel, Publisher and Editor