The Hutterian Brethren, or Hutterites, are a religious group. The group started in 1536. They are named after Jacob Hutter, who was killed for his religious beliefs. The Hutterites first lived in Austria. They were forced into Russia because they would not fight in the military. They had farms in Russia for a long time. Then the Russian government wanted them to fight for the military. It wanted them to give up their German language to learn Russian. These things were against their religion. Instead of doing these things, they came to the United States. The government wanted them here because they were goodHutterites farmers. In the United States, they would not have to be in the army. They could start their own German schools if they farmed here. In 1874, three Hutterite groups settled in Dakota Territory. They chose Dakota Territory because it looked similar to the land they farmed in Russia. The Hutterites lived and worked as a large group. These groups are known as colonies. One colony lived along the Missouri River near Springfield. It became known as the Bon Homme Colony. You can see it in the picture. Another colony was the Wolf Creek Colony in Hutchinson County. A third one was the Elm Spring Colony. Today many Hutterites live in such farm colonies in South Dakota.

Photo courtesy of South Dakota State Historical Society