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The 'American Experience' of immigration unfolds with a stroll through Butler cemetery

The village of Butler observed its 125th anniversary in 2008.

That places Butler's founding in 1888, a full 22 years before the Burlington rail car full of Hollanders arrived in 1910. The timeline suggests that there were forms of life in Butler before the Dutch came along and swamped the place. Evidence of these prehistoric arrivals is scant, but take a walk through the Butler Holy Cross Cemetery, and there are a couple peculiar names etched on"Olson."

Amid the Mintens the Dykhoffs, the Sweeres, the Braukmanns, and the Schiks, there are a scattered few non-Netherlandic names on the grave markers--a Pikula, a Bjelland and even an unexpected surname of French derivation, Jacques.

The Scholte grave plots essentially summarize the immigrant history of Butler.

There is the marker for Henricus Theodries Scholte--born in Amsterdam, Holland, in 1879; died in Butler, 1964.

Next is Caroline Hendrica Theodora Roes Scholte--born at The Hague, Netherlands, in 1890; died in Butler, 1997.

Then, a grave marker that in only a few words, tells not only the story of the settlement of Butler, but reflects the entire American Experience:

William Gerardus Scholte

Born: Butler, Minn.

Jan. 30, 1916

Died: Butler, Minn.

May 14, 1997

A member of the first generation after the Hollanders arrived in 1910; William Scholte was born, bred and buried a Butlerite--and an American.