On these pages you will find a summary of the history of
our village and its inhabitants. Furthermore you will find a description of the arms of
the former community of Midwolda. On the website DTB
Midwolda of Jan F. Boven, who was born and grew up in Midwolda,
genealogists can find a treasure trove of information about the DTB
(Christening-Marriage-Death) Books of Midwolda 1698-1811 plus 1811-1820 and the DTB
books Oostwold 1700-1811. In addition, all births from 1800 to 1879, mariages
between 1801 and 1875, and deaths between 1801 and 1889 in
the entire municipality of Midwolda can be found on this website.
Many centuries ago Midwolda was situated at the shore of the
sea. In those days the sea was still flooding the Oldambt, as there were no sea dikes
yet. Midwolda was located 2 km. north of its present position. At present the farmhouse
Kerke" is located at this position. Near farmhouse "Ol kerke" one can still find two enormous waterpits
in the former dike of 1665. These waterpits probably orginate from the notorious "St.
Maarten's" floodings of 1686. Since 1994 the archeological department of the
University of Groningen has been involved in an excavation of the area. These excavations
have exposed the remainders of the old cruciform church. The first communications
about Midwolda are dated from 1413. Although the reports are somewhat contradictory, it
seems that in the year 1413, the daughter of a mighty dean from Emden, Remske, ordered the
construction of a cruciform church with four towers. The reports of that time speak
about a village with 180 houses. In those days Midwolda was the most important village
in the Oldambt. The inhabitants of those days were continuously fighting a battle against
the destructive forces of the sea. In 1708 long-lasting floods were the cause of
the movement of the village to a sandy-hill 2 km away. This date can still be found above
the door of the church tower that was built in the new village. Thirty years later,
in 1738, the building of the present church was also completed. This church
contains a beautiful Hinsz-organ that was built in 1772
by the organ-builder Albertus Anthoni Hinsz. The church, including its organ and tower,
was completely renovated between 1965 and 1972. A big bell
hangs in the church tower. This bell was cast in 1807 by the founder Andries Heeres van
Bergen. The Van Bergens had a bell foundry in Midwolda between 1795 and
1956. The Van Bergens also made clocks. The front of the Edens' shop on the main street
still shows its origin as a bell-foundry. Slowly the inhabitants conquered land from the
sea. Due to high water-levels, people in the 17th and 18th century were living mainly on
cattle breeding. Agriculture was found only near the farmhouses and on higher sandy soils.
On these places people grew all kinds of grains. In 1635 the Koediep channel was
dug. This enabled transport of the grain to Groningen. In those days roads were nearly
impassable. In 1717, from 1744-1746 and later from 1766-1773, farmers were hit by the
plague. This often made farmers lose most of their cattle. They therefore decided to
make dryer grounds out of the wetlands. In 1819 67% of the land was already drained.
Farmers switched more and more to agriculture. In those days the big farmhouses
with beautiful entrances and large gardens were built. The natural drainage of the water
to the sea at low tide caused the formation of large lakes on the grasslands during fall
and winter. During the 19th century people started using primitive watermills to
drain the land. Nowadays,
in Scheemda mills are still restaurated and manufactured by the millmaker
Molema. At the end of the
19th century the water board districts were founded. In 1878 the import of cheap American
corn caused an agricultural crisis in Europe including Midwolda and its surrounding
villages. The farmers cut labour expenses enormously and mechanization of agriculture
started. This caused high unemployment rates and poverty among the farmhands. In
wintertime, when people were suffering the most, unemployment processions were
held. The large gap between the rich and the poor caused a lot of commotion in the
population in 1892. Soldiers from surrounding villages had to be called to restore peace.
The history of Midwolda and the Oldambt was mainly defined by the 19th century and this
can still be seen in today's political and religious relationships. In 1899 the "Stichting
Coöperatieve Strokartonfabriek" (foundation of cooperative straw-board
factories) was founded. About a hundred farmers participated in this and took care of the
supply of straw. It was decided to buy some land near the Winschoterdiep to build a
strawboard-factory. The accessability of the area was an important factor in this
decision. The strawboard-factory "De Toekomst" (The Future) was put into
operation on January the 31st 1901. Whereas in
1901 the more than 100 members supplied about 8 million kilo's of straw, six years later
this was already twice as much. Once again some land was bought on wich a second complex
arose. On February the 7th 1909, this complex was also put into operation. In the period
1918-1948 a tram, owned by the tramservice "Oost-Groningen" drove through
the Oldambt. This tram also took care of the supply of coal for "De Toekomst".
In these days a tram line also went through Midwolda. Everywhere along the streets one
could see electricity poles with overhead wires. The streets were still very bad and sandy
and only reasonably hardened in the middle part. The farmer straw-board factory "De
Toekomst" was closed in 1968. The city council of Oldambt is going to restore the old factory and will find it a new purpose.
In 1924 the diking of the
Coenraadpolder" was started. Many people from Midwolda and its surrounding areas
have helped with the construction of the present Dollard dike. The Second
World War has also affected the inhabitants of Midwolda. From april the 1st
1944, major A. Hovinga, who was coöperating with the germans, carried out a
true reign of terror in Midwolda. The major is co-responsible for the
deportation of Wychert Baas, Meinto Edens and the town clerk Hindrik Boven to
the concentrationcamps Neuengamme and Buchenwald (Dld.). All three men
perished from exhaustion. Major Hovinga was convicted for his criminal behavior
in 1947 by the Groningen Chamber of the Special Court in Leeuwarden. He was
convicted to 15 years imprisonment, but, for unknown reasons, was released again
after serving only two years. The increase in
mechanization of the farmers after the second world war caused the loss of more and more
jobs. At present the larger part of our community is employed outside our village and
works in industry, trade, service industries or health care. The last decennium
of the last century was centered around the plans for the megaproject De
Blauwe Stad. The land between Midwolda, Oostwold, Beerta and
Winschoten will be flooded again and changed into a habitational, work and
recreational area. This project should give an enormous impulse to the area and
positively improve the negative image of this region.
The description below originates from the site with Dutch
community arms. In 1990 the communities of Midwolda and Scheemda are unionized. In the
new arms of Scheemda some elements from the arms of Midwolda can still be found.
Middenwalda in leaded lights
|Arms of former community of "Midwolda"
Discontinuance : 1990 Scheemda
I : 22nd May 1894
"In silver a church with 4 towers and a bird on a corner of the roof above the
choir, everything in red, standing on a rising ground made in green. This accompanied by 5
golden stars above, in rows of 3 and 2."
The church is the church of Midwolda and the stars are supposed to represent The Great
Bear (according to Mr. Sierksma).
Midwolda used to be the capital of the Oldambt. The church played an important role in
the governing body, as in the church the freeholders and notabilities came together to
decide about justice and government. The church was a Roman cruciform church. The church
is shown on the seal of the Oldambt, which was used from 1347 onwards. This church was
also copied into the community coat of arms, with 5 stars added and the blue roofs drawn
Literature: Sierksma, 1962; de Boo, 1993
wieze: "Ernst mien jong", oet operette "de
Woar het laand 'n hail èn
gait het veen en de klaaie in.
Van Zuudwenden noar Oosteren,
strekt ons olle loug zok hen.
't Loug op gaie Oldambster grond,
slim bekend ja, wied en't rond.
Da's Midwoll' ons loug en laand,
't laifste stee in't voaderlaand.
Midwoll' loug mit 't mooiste bos,
dat ik ooit te vinden wos.
Midwoll' mit de Enn'moabörg,
doe bist 't loug van aal mien zörg.
Kikkerpolder of Naisjesoord,
is het stee van mien geboort.
In Midwoll' ons loug en laand,
't laifste stee in 't voaderlaand
Midwoll' as dien klokke zingt,
dat mie 't daip in 't haarte dringt.
Midwoll' den vuil ik mie,
zo gelukkig ja mit die.
As'k hier vot mos, as'k dat wos,
waai'k da'k aalweg snokken mos.
Om Midwoll' ons loug en laand,
't laifste stee in't voaderlaand.
Text: D.S. Hovinga