Author: Brian W Beltman
This narrative describes the transoceanic and internal migration pattern and resulting settlements across the Midwestern grasslands by Dutch immigrants in the nineteenth century. The transplantation process involved repeated pioneering and community formation that exhibited persistent culture transfer and ethnic identity, even as necessary adaptations occurred because of environmental imperatives and contextual change. The Dutch settlers maintained highly recognizable enclaves in Marion and Sioux counties in Iowa and in Douglas and Bon Homme counties in South Dakota. This study retells their history with fresh insights into precise configurations of the colonies with demographic specificity and discussion of economic pursuits and social attributes. Special attention focuses on agricultural developments in the emerging Corn Belt. The book includes two biographical accounts of individual immigrants that provide concrete examples to flesh out the larger portrait of the migration and resettlement experience.
Brian W. Beltman, the youngest of three sons of William and Alys Beltman, was born in Orange City, Iowa, on October 5, 1945. He received his BA from Northwestern College in 1967 and completed his MA the next year at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Military duty intervened, and he served in the artillery with the 101st Air-Mobile Division in Viet Nam. In 1970 he resumed graduate studies at UW to obtain his PhD in 1974. For five years he taught full-time, including postings at Dartmouth College, Arizona State University, and the University of South Carolina. In 1980 he changed careers from education to the energy industry and worked for thirty-one years as a regulatory specialist for SCANA Corp. He remained teaching at USC as an adjunct professor of American history for three decades. He is the author of Dutch Farmer in the Missouri Valley: The Life and Letters of Ulbe Eringa, 1866– 1950 as well as other publications in professional journals. Now retired, Dr. Beltman and his wife, Darlene, have two children.