Origins of Leut

All Hutterites migrated from Europe (Ukraine) to the United States in the 1870s.  Of the 1200 Hutterites that arrived on North America soil, one-third established colonies in the Dakotas (Today South Dakota) under the direction of their leaders. Most of them remained with their old-world congregation when they arrived in North America. These 3 distinct congregations became the seed for the 3 Leut, Schmiedeleut, Dariusleut and Lehrerleut.

Two-thirds of the Hutterites who migrated never entered the communal lifestyle. They went into private ownership upon arrival in North America, most of them by taking advantage of the Homestead Act of 1862 which allowed families up to 160 acres of free land, providing they developed their plots. These non-communal Hutterites were called Prairieleut, because they settled on the prairies of South Dakota.

Original limestone house in Bonhomme Colony, SD.


Schmiedeleut: The Schmiedeleut, under the eldership of Rev. Michael Waldner, established the first Hutterite Colony (Bon Homme) on North American soil in 1874. Rev. Michael Waldner was a Schmied (or blacksmith) hence the name, Schmiedeleut.

Bon homme Colony is located near Yankton SD, on the banks of the Missouri River, and is still inhabited today.

Dariusleut: The Dariusleut established Wolfcreek Colony near Olivet SD in 1875. The leader of the group was named Darius Walter. Hence, they are called Dariusleut. Originally however, the Schmiedeleut and the Dariusleut elected a single elder, Schmied Micheal. Later the two groups separated.

The original Wolf Creek colony was sold in 1930 when the Dariusleut migrated to Alberta, Canada. In 1963 the colony site was purchased by Tschetter Colony and rebuilt nearby. The colony name remained Wolf Creek.

Lehrerleut: The Lehrerleut established Elm Spring Colony in 1877. The leader of the Lehrerleut was a teacher (Lehrer), hence their name, Lehrerleut.

After selling this colony site in 1929, the Lehrerleut migrated to Canada, settling in Alberta. The original colony site was purchased in 1936 by a Schmiedeleut colony (Maxwell Col, MB) and renamed New Elm Spring.