By 1877, virtually all of the Hutterian Brethren had migrated to the Dakota Territory, eventually settling near the present town of Yankton(Fleming.1). Only about а third of the Hutterites had been following the communal practices of their ancestors when they left theUkraine. This division between the communal and noncommunal Hutterites continued in theDakota Territory. Only 403 of the newly arrived immigrants elected to continue their communal practices(Hutterites 1-4).
The communal Hutterites established three initial colonies of 120 to 150 people each. One colony, Bon Homme, led by Michael Waldner, was established in 1874 on the banks of theMissouri Riverabout nineteen miles west of Yankton(Ingoldsby 1). The people of this colony came to be known as the Schmiedeleut (the “People of the Smith,” in recognition of their leader’s profession). Another group, led by Darius Walter and also established in 1874, was located on the James River about nineteen miles northwest of Yankton atWolfCreek(Graber 1-3). This group came to be known as the Dariusleut. In 1877, а third colony, Elmspring, was also established on the James River about 10 miles north ofWolfCreek(Others Among Us, 1-6).
All three groups came from the same communities in theUkraine. They shared а common set of beliefs and were for the most part close genealogical relatives. They spoke а common dialect that was а mixture of the Tirolian and Carinthian-based Austrian-German dialects.