From 1869 to the early years of the 20th century, over fifty families of Swiss immigrants came to Grundy County, Tennessee with the express purpose of creating a Swiss Colony, a community composed almost entirely of German-speaking Swiss that would preserve their culture in a new land. They gave to the area the inspiring name of Gruetli, the meadow where legend says representatives of three cantons met in 1291 and formed the league which grew, over centuries, into the Swiss confederation. The settlers came for economic reasons, not as political or religious fugitives. They came with high hopes, definite support of their home government, and fervent loyalty to their native land. This book tells their story. They were good record keepers, and we have detailed notes on their meetings, their agricultural endeavors, and church issues. All of these, as well as directly gathered oral history have gone into this volume. Originally written in 1933, it has been expanded in the present edition by newly collected family memories, letters recently found and a more systematic use of county records of land transactions. Although the first winter was dreadfully hard, the Swiss farmers were soon on their feet and boasting of yields on thin mountain soil well in excess of state averages. They understood well the key to their success: a combination of dairying and crop raising with manuring. Today, most physical evidence of the Colony has vanished. Only a few houses, a cemetery and a stone bridge built with community labor in the early days of the Colony survive. In some sense, the demise of the Colony was the result of its success. The colonists educated their children well, and after finishing college, most of those children chose careers that took them away from the farm and into mainstream America. The Colony thus met its economic objectives even as it physically disappeared. The children who had grown up in the Colony carried with them a deep gratitude for their upbringing and their Swiss heritage. This gratitude has been passed onto the younger generations who today form the Grundy County Swiss Historical Society and keep alive and enjoy the memory and traditions of the Colony.
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Book Description CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013. Paperback. Book Condition: Brand New. 164 pages. 9.00x6.00x0.37 inches. This item is printed on demand. Bookseller Inventory # zk1490594604