Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Michael Hofer - Amana Bound

            It’s time to write about the other Amana – Hutterite connection. (If you missed my first Amana post, click here.)  This one is not only fascinating, but very unique as well. To add to this fascination, I’ve come in contact with some interesting people, who have helped me piece together this story, which few Hutterites know about. But more on that later

            As stated in my previous Amana post, when the Hutterites struggled financially in their early years in America, they asked Amana for help, which they kindly agreed to. Bon Homme Colony in South Dakota, in particular had a lot of contact with the Inspirationists.

Michael Hofer
- photo courtesy of Susan Sevig
Upon arrival to America from Russia between 1874 and 1879 the Hutterites settled in South Dakota. Among them was Michael Hofer, about 20 years old at the time. He was the son of Johann ‘Jana’ and his second wife, Susanna Hofer of the Bon Homme Colony. Shortly after settling in their new home, Michael’s eyes were severely damaged during a dust storm. Since they found no one in South Dakota who could help heal his eyes, the community opted to send him to Amana, where they had their own doctors. This found him on a train, bound for Amana, where he would work in the community to pay for his eye treatment. Under the excellent care of the doctors, his eyes were soon restored to good health. However, interestingly enough, he did not return home. In 1880 he chose to stay and made Amana his home, thus leaving one Christian community for another one.

Through our ‘Hutterites Record Book’, I learned that Michael Hofer had a niece, Maria Hofer here at my Hutterite colony where three of her sons, Zack, Rueben and Ike still live. This fact fueled my interest in Amana even more. Therefore I kept searching till I found a few more pieces of this fascinating story.
 
(The rest of this story will be posted at a later date. Of course, if you have anything to add to it, I'd love to hear from you!)

7 comments:

Shelly said...

I love history and this is fascinating to me. I look forward to your next installment~

Linda said...

Thanks Shelly! He's the only Hutterite to join the Amana communities.

The imPerfect Housewife said...

This is really interesting. I wonder what his motivation was to stay there instead of returning to South Dakota? Knowing some of his family, you should have some good resources at your fingertips - I'd be interested in that, too. Actually sounds kind of fun.

Linda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Linda said...

Thing is though, his relatives don't know much, besides the fact that he joined Amana. You're right Imperfect Housewife, it is fun trying to learn more about this.

Susan said...

Linda, thank you so much for posting this family history of my great grandfather. I wish I could have known him. Susan

Linda said...

You're welcome, Susan! It was an interesting project to work on, and I'm glad you're enjoying it. I'm also grateful that I got to know you in the process!