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!)