Le Sueur County, Minnesota

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Churches and Religious Organizations
Source: History of Nicollet & LeSueur Counties Minnesota; Volume I, Illustrated; Hon. William G. Gresham editor (1916) Chapter XV; transcribed by Larry Lakey

In 1915 LeSueur county had fifty churches, with denominations as follows: Catholic, United Brethren, Baptist (German, English and Welsh), Methodist Episcopal (German and English), Christian, Lutheran, Episcopal and Evangelical. The Roman Catholic and Lutherans predominate largely.

As early as 1881 there was forty different church organizations in this county. These included thirteen different denominations. It will be seen from this showing that the hardy pioneer band who first braved the wilds of this county did not leave their spiritual interests behind but kept the faith of their fathers and mothers and as soon as they were permitted to do so formed themselves into church societies. The beginning of religious life in the county was in 1855 when both the Methodist and Catholics formed churches. In this chapter the various churches will be treated, under separate headings as to denomination, and as much information given as could be secured by the compilers of this volume. Information has been sought, but in several instances was not forthcoming, but the principal churches are herein represented.

Catholic Churches.

From 1855 to 1858 sermons were preached at LeSueur by C. C. Kidder in charge of the Red Wing district of the Methodist Episcopal church; also by the Benedictine fathers of the Catholic church missions. No regular Catholic church was formed until 1862, when St. Ann's Catholic church was organized with twenty-six families, in LeSueur township, at LeSueur. A small brick structure was erected during that year and services have always been held regularly there since. Through the kindness of Father R. Cahill, the following account of this church and congregation is given:

There were a few scattered Catholic families in and around LeSueur as early as 1854. The Indians were still on the land and the government survey was not completed when the venerable Father Somereisen from Mankato rode into the village ande held services at the home of Mrs. Cantwell. Visits were very irregular for some years until 1859, when plans for a church building were discussed. Fathers Fisher and McMannus urged the good work forward, but they were busy elsewhere. The people were poor and most of their subscriptions were in labor and material. The Civil War came on and it was not until 1864, under Father Venn, that the substantial brick building was completed. The name was not really settled for some time until a voting contest at a bazaar showed that half the parish favored St. Joseph, the other half St. Patrick. The present Archbishop of St. Paul was present by accident, having just returned from the Civil War, and he suggested a compromise, St. Ann. The people all agreed and the excitement came to an end.

A list of the subscribers to the new building was made on January 1, 1865, and reads as follows: (Thes evidently constituted about all of the charter members of this church, with others): Charles Schwartz, James Murphy, Richard Duran, John Schaske, John A. Pfarr, Richard Foley, Michael Foley, Patrick McGrath, Nicholas Schamle, Theodore Termath, James Maloney, Patrick Lynch, Morris O'Connor, John Doley, Nicholas Cantwell, Michael Mahoney, Timothy Hanlon, Terence Dobbins, William O'Donnell, Michael O'Connor, Mrs. Anna Hamilton, John Dorsan, John Zimmer, Peter Sten, Sebastian Groshans, Patrick Barrett, William Corbett, John Connelly, Martin Conlin, Timothy Downey, Michael Doran, Patrick Hennessy, Patrick Cantwell, Mathew Ronan, Patrick Ryan, Michael Feeney, Michael Lynch, James Nash, Paul Hubert, William Welsh, Henry Aschenmacher, James Linnan and Martin Dunn. The total cost, not including the labor donated, was $3,132.22, a princely sum for those days. Some of the amounts given were small, but there was a very friendly spirit shown. Non-Catholic and all gave freely as circumstances would admit.

Father Venn resigned his charge about January, 1871, when Rev. G. C. Kennedy, from Belleplaine, attended when possible from his many missions. He resigned in mid-summer, 1873. The following years under Rev. Alvis Stecher, who attended from Henderson, were years of rapid growth. The town, however, drifted away south for some strange reason, and the building remained almost alone like something stranded, which injured both its dignity and convenience. Towards 1880 the parish felt strong enough to care for a resident priest. Then Rev. Maxmillian Wurst, recently ordained, was placed in charge. A large program of improvements awaited his attention. The church needing to be enlarged, this was accomplished at a cost of nearly seven thousand dollars. A school was needed and was built quite substantially and cost about eight thousand dollars, and a pastor's residence was built at about the same figure. A cemetery ground, nearer and larger than the old one, was purchased at two thousand dollars, and opened and dedicated on January 1, 1884.

Father Wurst was sent to Wabasha in September, 1887, and was later appointed "Domestre Prelate" and came near being bishop of the Wicona diocese. He was succeeded at LeSueur by Rev. Hugo Victor, who was only temporary, as he remained only until September, 1888. The next pastor was Rev. P. M. Young. Debts for the above named improvements faced Father Young and he faced them with the result that towards the end of his pastorate, September, 1897, they were overcome. Rev. Joseph F. Busch, present bishop of St. Cloud, was pastor until August, 1902, when he resigned to become leader of the well-known Diocesan Missionary Band. Rev. James A. Duffy, present bishop of Kearney, Nebraska, took charge when the Sisters of Notre Dame, resigned and care of the parish school fell upon him. The change was so good that at Father Duffy's departure in June, 1994, school and parish needed larger quarters. Rev. George Arctander, Rev. Mathew Sampson, Rev. F. F. Bouska served a few months each in temporary charge. Rev. R. Cahill was appointed regular pastor, September, 1905.

A decent home for the Sisters was begun at once and was soon well-known as St. Ann's Convent. Its cost was twenty thousand dollars. Besides the Sisters, who generally number about eleven, there is room for about seventy boarders. There are also several rooms or small parlors each containing a piano for the teaching of music. The pupils are quite comfortable, which explains why they are usually quite numerous. The old school-the mustard seed-was soon swallowed up in a find modern building, plain outside, but the interior fittings are second to none; this building is valued at thirty-two thousand dollars. A regular high school follows the grades, a high school that received nearly three hundred state certificates lat year (June, 1915), and about two hundred of them were marked "Passed Plus." There is also a commercial department which has had regular singular success. Its pupils easily compete with those from great colleges and costly tutors. At last December (1915) it has been fairly well decided that the old church which was a triumph in 1864 is no longer large enough for the masses and the location, a grievance of long standing, will be changed towards the center of the city. The church belongs there and not to the suburbs, be they ever so fashionable. Owing to the advantages of material, cement, brick, etc., a very fine building should be had for about forty thousand dollars.


St. John the Evangelist Catholic church at Union Hill, four miles west of New Prague, south from the Scott county line, was organized in 1865, by Rev. P. Maly, with thirty-five families. Among the charter members may be recalled Reverend Fathers Raymond, Joseph Witt, Matt Giers, Herm Weicos and Frank Hauer. The membership in December, 1915, was sixty-eight families counting up to three hundred and ninety-five souls.

At first the congregation built a church building thirty by fifty feet in size and in 1874 a school was erected nearby the church. In 1883 a brick church was built which building was thirty-five by one hundred and five feet in size, costing twelve thousand dollars. In 1895 a new school building was erected. This is a two-story structure, costing thirty-five hundred dollars. In 1902, a pastor's residence was built, two stories high, thirty-two feet square, costing seventeen hundred dollars. Again in 1912 another pastor's house was erected costing two thousand dollars.

The names of pastors here are as follow: Reverend Fathers Bruno, Cornelius, Maly, Alex Breyhold and Rudolph Deuterman. Next came as pastors, Franciscan Fathers Sebastian, Rufiuas, Alois Wiever, Breda, Fabian, Othmar, Mazarias, Otho, Coelesbin, Heribert and Raymond. The school in connection with this church has two instructors and eighty pupils in eight grades.


St. Wenceslaus Catholic church at New Prague (congregation living in both Scott and LeSueur counties) is one of the strongest churches of this denomination in this locality. Its church and school buildings, completed in 1907 and 1914, respectively, are valued in total at over one hundred and ten thousand dollars. These are among the magnificent church structures and schools in Minnesota, aside from the larger cities. St. Wenceslaus church was formed about fifty years ago out in the great timbered section of south central Minnesota.

The new church dedicated in 1907, costing eighty thousand dollars, is ninety by two hundred feet in size. The foundation, entrances and walls are of Kasota building stone. It was dedicated by Archbishop Ireland, July 7, 1907. Within this is placed a twenty-two-hundred-stop pipe organ.

The first parochial school building here was erected in 1878, while Reverend Father Lang was pastor, and this was torn down in May, 1914, and the corner-stone for the present magnificent structure was laid on June 11, of that year, and the building was completed in November, 1914, and dedicated on September 28, 1915. Twin City pressed brick form its massive walls. It stands eighty by ninety feet and is well proportioned and divided. It cost in excess of twenty-seven thousand dollars, besides much work not counted, as it was donated. The faculty is composed of eight Sisters of St. Francis and there is an enrollment of three hundred and fifty pupils.


In November, 1907, a meeting was held at Frank Kilburg's house at Ottawa, to consider the purchase of the old and long-forsaken Episcopalian church. A corporation was formed and the building was bought with the adjoining lots for seventy-five dollars. It was not used until 1913, after it had been thoroughly repaired. About six hundred dollars in labor and cash were expended on the old ruin, but the results were most pleasing. The charter members of this church organization were as follow: Frank Kilburg, treasurer; Martin Schwartz, secretary; Frank Wurst, Raymond V. Schwartz, Thomas Lang, Louis Robert, Henry Zeiher, John Germscheid, Charles Mauder, Frank Smith, X. R. Gadwa, Charles Fay, Mathew Blatzheim, Mrs. Jeseph Gadwa, Miss Katie Roche, James Hayes, Frank Barker, Charles Barker, Matt Dentsch and Charles Roche.


The Catholics were the first to organize a church in Cleveland township. It was in 1862 that they organized and erected a church. Father Somersein awakened much interest and formed a church of about sixty families, who at once proceeded to build a church home. They are now served by the pastor at Marysburg.

In Kilkenny township a Catholic society was formed in 1858 with thirty families. Services were held at private homes until 1867, during which year a small frame church was erected. In 1880 this was succeeded by a large brick edifice, costing about four thousand dollars, with an average of one hundred and fifty families as members.


In 1882 there were two Catholic churches in the township of Montgomery-one situated in section 26, known as St. Michael's and another in section 7. The nearby villages now care for the families which belonged to these congregations.

At the city of Montgomery there is a large Catholic congregation. The same was established in 1881 and during that year a good church built at a cost of three thousand dollars, which has been replaced by a large modern brick edifice. It may be stated that the church and Catholic school at this point is among the strong ones within LeSueur county.


The Catholic congregation at LeSueur Center was organized by Rev. Patrick Carey in May, 1899, under the name of Church of St. Mary. The first trustees were Frank Moudry and Thomas Dewire, whele the first advisory committee was composed of the following gentlemen: Nicholas Weber, Joseph Spaetgens, Aug. Traxler, John Butler, Engelbert Tax, Charles C. Kolars, Stephen Foldesi, James O'Meara, John Mach and C. T. Hobday. The first church building; a frame structure, was erected in 1899, and cost, with contents, fifteen thousand dollars. Three years later, in 1902, a splendid parish house was erected at a cost of seven thousand dollars. In 1914 two splendid buildings were erected, the parochial school and the convent, both of brick, the former costing seventeen thousand five hundred dollars and the latter eight thousand five hundred dollars. The attendance at the parochial school averages about one hundred and seventy-five, the pupils being taught by Sisters of St. Joseph. The total value of the church property here is approximately fifty thousand dollars. The congregation numbers one hundred and seventy families and is in a prosperous condition.

The pastors who have served the Church of St. Mary sine its organization have been as follow: Rev. Patrick Carey, May, 1899, to January, 1902; Rev. Francis J. Hovorka, January, 1902, to January 1903; Rev. J. B. Arnolis, February, 1903, to May, 1903; Rev. John J. O'Brien, May 1903, to September, 1904: Rev. William Colbert, September, 1904, to September, 1908; Rev. J. J. Woods, September, 1908, to the present time.


The German Methodist church at LeSueur was organized in 1856, though work was really commenced there by the denomination in 1855 by Rev. John Scnell, a missionary minister from St. Paul. He traveled over hundreds of miles on his pioneer journeys. The first quarterly conference was held in 1856, with G. Sebrasse, pastor and Rev. H. Roth, presiding elder. The first trustees were Frederick Schuetter, J. A. Antonsen, Henry Boettcher, C. Wassman, Frederick Vasterling, Charles Boettcher.

The appointments were then LeSueur, Rush River, Henderson and Schlagel's Settlement. The early membership of this church emigrated from Missouri. The first house of worship was a log meeting house at Sharon. In 1858 the first church was built at Schlagel's Settlement.

At LeSueur the first church was a small frame building, which a few years later was converted into a parsonage. The second church was erected in 1883-a fine, solid brick edifice which is still doing good service. It is twenty-six by forty feet. It stands on Second street, near Church street. The present parsonage was built under charge of Rev. Philip Funk, in 1874. There are appointments on this charge now at LeSueur-Schlagel's Settlement and Sharon. The present membership in all the appointments is two hundred and thirty, and the valuation of all property is eight thousand dollars, including the parsonage at LeSueur valued at two thousand dollars. At Sharon, the church is built of brick; at Schlagel's Settlement it is an old frame church building. There are no other German Methodist churches within LeSueur county. At Sharon the Sunday school members one hundred and thirty. At LeSueur there is a Sunday school, Epworth League, Standard Bearers, King's Heralds, Ladies' Foreign and Home Missionary Societies and Ladies' Aid Society.

The following have served as pastors on this charge, in the order noted: Revs. Gotlieb Siebrasse, 1856-57; Henry Singenstrue, 1857-58; William Rotert, 1858-59; Henry Speckmann, 1859-61; Charles Hallmann, 1861-63; John Horst, 1863-66; John G. Bauer, 1866-67; Frederick Uland, 1867-70: Ferdinand Fischer, 1870-72; William Pagenhart, 1872-73; Philip Funk, 1873-76; Johan Hausen, 1876-77; A. H. Koerner, 1877-80; Adolph Dulitz, 1880-82; Henry Boettcher, 1882-85; G. E. Hiller, 1885-86; H. Schnitker, 1886-89; H. E. Young, 1889-91; H. J. Hobart, 1891-96; John Houck, 1896-1901; G. Dosdall, 1901-07; H. A. Pottkoff, 1907-14; Jacob Berger, 1914 and present pastor.


Of the Christian denomination there is an organization at LeSueur Center, which was organized as "Memorial Church," in 1899, by Reverend Koontz. The list of faithful pastors who have had charge here is as follows: Reverends Koontz, Callighan, Vine, Garrison, Vaughn, Watts, Hoke, Andrews and present pastor, Rev. Dr. Countermine.

The present total membership is forty-two. A church edifice was erected in 1900, costing about three thousand dollars. There are churches of this sect at Cordova and Waterville. At LeSueur Center the church has connected with it a Sunday school numbering about fifty scholars, as well as a Young People's Society.


The Methodist Episcopal church at LeSueur Center was organized about 1896, and how has a membership of one hundred. A good frame edifice was erected in 1899 which is still used, and by its side a few years ago was built a fine frame parsonage. LeSueur Center and Cleveland are served by the same pastor at this date. The pastors who have served in LeSueur Center since the formation of the church there have been in the following order: Revs. D. H. Carmichael, 1897; R. D. Philips, 1898; W. W. Kenney, 1902; R. R. McKaig, 1904; C. B. Wyatt, 1905; C. A. Cresey, 1907; W. D. Best, 1908; Lew Lutz, 1909, he died the same fall of his appointment and January following came M. D. Wood; W. H. Greenow, 1911; W. L. Langrell, 1912; W. J. Davidson, 1913; R. J. Rice, September, 1915. The estimated value of the church is seven thousand dollars; of the parsonage, three thousand dollars.

At Cleveland a Methodist Episcopal church was organized in 1869. Its present membership is small, but in good working condition. This is on a circuit in which LeSueur Center is situated and attended by the pastor from that village. A good building was dedicated at Cleveland on November 4, 1900. The pastors who have faithfully served at Cleveland are as follow, as shown by the records: Revs. C. E. Hawkin, 1894; C. H. Norton, 1895; D. H. Carmichael, 1897; R. D. Philips, 1898; W. E. Thompson, 1902; from 1904 to 1910 this church was supplied from St. Peter; M. D. Wood, 1910; W. H. Greenon, 1911; W. L. Langrell, 1912; W. J. Davidson, 1913, to September, 1915, when came Reverend Rice, pastor at LeSueur Center.

The Elysian Methodist Episcopal church was organized in 1880, by J. C. Swain and members as follow: Ira Myrick, J. C. Swain, Mrs. John Chase and Samuel Clark. The membership is now ninety-two, with a Sunday school membership of ninety. There are now three churches on this charge-Madison Lake, Elysian and Bethel. The church and parsonage are valued at thirty-five hundred dollars. The list of pastors here is as follow: Reverends Holy, Blackbund, Haley, Moore, Wilki, Stone, Westhaver, Bean, Langrell and Fred Skewes.

The First Methodist Episcopal church at Waterville was organized in 1865, and now has a membership of sixty-five. The same year a church building was erected, the first in the community of Waterville. Owing to shortage of funds the structure was not fully completed till 1870. It was built almost solely by the hands of "Father" Rardin and William Greene, who went into the woods and got out the timbers for the building.

The list of pastors at this point has been: Reverends T. McCleary, W. W. Satteriee, George W. Richardson, 1866-7; Levi Gleason, W. Barkaloo, E. Follinsbee, Coffin, E. S. Bowdish, G. Way, S. B. Smith, Hickman, A. G. Perkins, E. S. Gardiner, A. Cressey, T. M. Gossard, L. Tower, J. F. Cowling, Butterman, E. W. Hawley, Jabez Blackhurst, C. H. Sweat, S. W. Simmons, Gillilan, John Lowe, Thomas Billing and A. F. Butt.

The Methodist church in LeSueur came about by the preaching of Reverend Kidder, of Red Wing, who held meetings in the village between 1855 and 1858. He became the mission pastor of a church organized in 1856. A handsome church was erected in conjunction with the German Methodists. The conference minutes for 1915 show that there was at that date one hundred and eighteen members-eighteen being non-residents. The church and parsonage were at that date valued at forty-seven hundred dollars.


This denomination was quite early in the field in both LeSueur and Nicollet counties. Especially in this county the denomination has founded numerous churches which are still doing a good work St. Andrew's Episcopal church at Waterville was organized in 1858. Lewis Stowe and others formed this church, but the organization was not really perfected until 1870, when sixteen members constituted the church. Reverend J. Lloyd Breck was the first Episcopal minister here in 1858. A church edifice was started in 1870 and completed in 1874. In 1882 Reverend E. G. Hunter was the rector and the parish contained twenty-six members. The church above named cost the society twenty-seven hundred dollars. In 1888 a rectory was built and in 1913 enlarged, and is now valued at thirty-five hundred dollars. The church owns a full block-No. 14 in West Waterville.

St. Paul's Episcopal church in Lexington township came about through the efforts of Reverend D. B. Knickerbacker, who held services in the "English Settlement," in this township, about 1866, at the farm house of William Fickling. From that date on services were held from time to time by Reverends T. E. Dicker, F. C. Coolbaugh, Richard Wainwright and S. K. Miller, who were all located at LeSueur. In 1890 a building was begun by the following farmers in the "English Settlement": William Fickling, Jr., John Thurston, Thomas Hobday and Jesse Ely, assisted by Richard Kendall, William Fickling, Sr., William Kendall, Henry Jeucocks and Absalom Case. It was consecrated by Bishop Gilbert, May 31, 1891, and the Mission organized. Services were held by Rev. C. M. Pullen, of LeSueur; Roger Tuson, a veteran lay-reader; Arthur Chard, Rev. A. Kingsley Glover and Rev. Own F. Jones, who held the last service of St. Paul's church while located in the country in Lexington township. The date was October 4, 1898. The church building was removed to the village of LeSueur Center in November, 1898, from which time the history of the church at the "English Settlement" is merged with that of LeSueur Center.

St. Paul's Episcopal church at LeSueur Center was founded as a Mission church by Bishop Gilbert, January 2, 1899. But Bishop Whipple reports a visit to LeSueur Center Council of 1880. Services were held from time to time in the village by Rev. S. K. Miller, St. John Crickmor, Arthur Chard, William Tuson and Roger Tuson.

From 1894 the church was cared for by Rev. Arthur Chard, of Waterville; Rev. Kingsley Glover and O. T. Jones, of LeSueur, while Rev. Owen T. Jones was in charge. Following Rev. Owen T. Jones, the mission was cared for by Rev. Reginald A. Crickmer, of Waterville, assisted by H. E. Henriques and by Rev. W. D. Stires, D. D. (1907-13), from St. Peter.

The corner-stone of the new St. Paul's church was laid at LeSueur Center by Reverends Stires, Knowlton, Edwards and Crickmer. An address was made by Governor Eberhart. The church was opened with a benediction, September 14, 1911. From April 13, 1913, the Mission has been under the charge of Reverend A. G. White, of Minneapolis.

The present church building is constructed of Kasota stone and is a good example of Early English-Gothic architecture, sometimes called "Simple Gothic." The simple, square headed windows, the square tower, the simple stone altar and all the furniture are of the early English style. The finish given to the wood is known as Early English Oak. The design and the finish altogether form a harmonious whole and a very good example of the thirteenth-century architecture. The present value of the church building and property is eleven thousand dollars. The older building is retained in connection with the new building as a guild hall. The present total membership of this church is one hundred.

The cross upon the altar of this church was donated by the members of St. Paul's Sunday school in memory of Mrs. Fannie S. Aitkens, for many years its superintendent. The bell is from the old church at Ottawa, the building being sold to the Catholic people a few years since. Above the altar is the large stained window placed in memory of Bishops Whipple and Gilbert.

St. John's Episcopal church at LeSueur was organized on October 15, 1866. The first vestry was composed of William Plowman and Samuel B. Ormsbee, wardens, and Henry Plowman, George Plowman, George D. Snow, Henry C. Smith and Edson R. Smith, vestrymen. Rev. Edward Livermore was the rector. The present estimated value of the church property is four thousand dollars.

Grace Episcopal church at Elysian was organized in the nineties and one of the prime movers was Reverend Chittenden. It now has a membership of thirty-one. Its edifice is a frame structure built about 1898, costing thirty-five hundred dollars.

In this county there was an Episcopal church formed at Ottawa in 1861, by Reverend Livermore, of St. Peter, with only one communicant, the settlers aiding in building a neat stone church building, which in later years was sold to the Catholic people for their use, the bell being sent to LeSueur Center and is there in use today.

Cordova also has a church of this denomination.


The Presbyterian church at LeSueur was organized on February 24, 1866, by Reverens Goodale and Rulifson. The carter members were inclusive of these: Jonas Pettijohn, Fannie H. Pettijohn, Laurie E. Pettijohn, John Radcliff, Mary Radcliff, Benjamin F. Cosson, Catherine Cosson, Julia A. Bigelow, Elizabeth Sanders, Mattie P. Smith, Sophia Haire, Isadore G. Taylor, Lucy E. Damon, Emily E. Jones, George Risedorph, Elizabeth Risedorph, Mathew Tobias, Mary Tobias, Harriet C. Snow, William Roberts, Susannah Roberts, Henrietta Bridenhall. The present total membership is one hundred. A brick church was built in 1871, and the present frame structure built in 1883 is the comfortable manse. There is a fund accumulated with which a line of modern improvements will be made in the near future. The fiftieth anniversary of this church is to be held during this year. Some long elderships are found here-John R. S. Cosgrove having served almost twenty-four years; Evan T. Jones, almost twenty years; W. C. Snow, eighteen years; E. R. Smith, almost eighteen years; Hon. C. N. Pinney, fifteen years. Mrs. Harriet C. Snow, one of the charter members, still attends when possible.

The pastors have been: Reverends Rockwood McQuesten, Thomas Campbell, 1872-90; Samuel Kennedy, 1891-94; John Cuerer, 1894-95; Herman A. Noyes, 1896-1907; Leon L. Smythe, 1907, and still serving the church as its pastor.

There was a Presbyterian church at Montgomery, but it no longer holds services. New Prague also has a Presbyterian church.

The First Presbyterian church of Kasota was organized on May 16, 1875. It grew out of an extensive revival of religion at St. Peter, the leader of which was Reverend Welton. About forty persons who had been converted under his preaching, and who had lived at Kasota and vicinity, became the charter members of this organization. Among the most active of those were the Turrittin brothers and their families. These men of Scotch-Irish birth continued its most active supporters throughout their lives. Upwards of twenty-eight members of those families have been found on its rolls, thirteen of the first still living.

For the first eleven years services were held in the village school house. In 1885-6 the present substantial brick structure was erected at a cost of twenty-seven hundred dollars, and dedicated on September 5, 1886.

During the first ten years the church was served by the Presbyterian church at St. Peter, as a mission of that church. In July, 1886, the Rev. Franklin C. Bailey, who had served the church as a student during the preceding summer, became its first pastor, remaining with them nearly three years, and besides him there have been pastors as follow: Reverends Marion C. Moore, 1889-91; John McArthur, 1891-94; R. C. Mitchell, 1895-97; James F. Record, 1898-1903; Nathan Flather, 1904-06; Fraser Cocks, 1906-07; Ralph Clark, 1908-10; Franklin C. Bailey, 1912, and present pastor. The membership of this church is about one hundred and the Sabbath school about one hundred and fifty.

At Ottawa, this county, the first religious organization was the Welsh Presbyterian society, which in 1859 erected a good church building in the southeastern portion of that township. It is sometimes called the "Elm Church." It is still in existence, having a good membership and supports a pastor. Many of the pioneer band belonged to this church, which was organized as a strict denominational society.

Another Welsh church was formed in 1880 in Cleveland township; a neat building was erected.

In 1874 a regular Presbyterian church was formed in Cleveland township with twenty members, and they built a good frame building in which to worship. As villages sprung up these country churches were abandoned.


The only United Brethren church in the county of which the author has any knowledge is the one organized at Waterville, in 1893, by V. A. Cook. The charter members were as follow: Mrs. A. C. Davis, Glenna Davis, Mr. and Mrs. Lukes, Doctor and Mrs. Umphrey, Mr. and Mrs. Broadbent, J. D. Buell and Eugene Rugbee. This church is on the same charge with the one at Gishville and Greenland. The last named was formed in 1876 and the former in 1882. The membership in all three appointments is one hundred and one. The church building at Waterville was started in the spring of 1891 and completed and dedicated in 1893. Its cost was three thousand dollars. A parsonage is part of the church holdings and this is valued at fifteen hundred dollars. The only Sunday school maintained is at Waterville, where there are about seventy-five enrolled. The subjoined list shows the various pastors' names: Reverends W. A. Cook, Brafford, Fennell, Eideth Gates, Mr. and Mrs. Todd, Harding, E. Reed, I. E. Meise, J. Bly, Calahan, G. Arnold, H. Dierdorf, W. Wiltse, H. Varse, W. Inman, B. F. Roe, S. B. Andrus, Marble Stone and Hayes.

Mission services were held in a school house in Cordova township from 1859 to 1879, when two societies were formed-the Disciples of Christ and the United Brethren; neither society built a church until 1881. The United Brethren had the first regular pastor in the person of Rev. Uriah Cook.


A church of this denomination was organized at LeSueur, March 6, 1883, by Rev. J. G. Lagerstrom, and it now enjoys a membership of sixty-three. At first this congregation worshipped in the German Lutheran church. The first building was erected in 1886-7, a frame structure costing two thousand dollars, located at the top of the hill, east from the railroad depot. The church property is now valued at three thousand dollars. The list of pastors is as follow: Reverends J. G. Lagerstrom, 1883-85; G. S. Olson, 1885-88; J. A. Gustavison, 1888-90; A. Gunberg, 1890-92; F. Nordquist, 1892-94; M. Mahlstrom, 1894-1904; K. A. Kilander, 1904-05; E. O. Chelgren, 1905-06; P. A. Mattson, 1906-11; Conrad Peterson, 1911-16.

The Ladies' Aid Society of this congregation has done much toward raising funds for side-walk building, electric lights, painting, etc.


A church of this denomination was formed seven miles west of Waterville, in Elysian township, about 1860, but had no resident pastor until 1867. This was formed by the efforts of missionaries-W. H. Sprengler and H. Schulze, the first pastor being the former named.

The first point in LeSueur county where this people ever worshipped was in a small log church, a mile south from the village of Cleveland. The same site is now occupied by a neat frame church edifice.

The station at Waterville was formed in 1909, with charter members inclusive of these-F. G. Quiram, H. Schlosin, John Fahning. Among the first members in Elysian township were-Messrs. Hakenstein, Callies, Sasse, Zellmer, Morsching, Tolzmann, Werth, Rosenau, Quiram and three brothers named Roemhildt. All are now represented by large numbers of descendants except Hakenstein.

As to the membership in these different charges it may be stated that at Waterville station there are sixteen male voting members; in Elysian township church there are ninety male members of the voting class.

The pastors who have served are as follow: Rev. C. Albrect, Waterville Mission; Elysian township church, Reverends H. Sprengel, A. Sippel, Zahn, Johl, John List, Carl Albrecht.

The congregations in Waterville station and Elysian hold services in leased quarters. The congregation in Elysian township maintains a parochial school, with salaried teacher in charge, who gives his entire time to the work. At present the instructor is Prof. William Christopher. Sunday school and religious instruction are given where there is no regular parochial school.

There are congregations of this denomination in LeSueur county at these places (all having buildings): LeSueur Center, Dresserville, New Prague, Montgomery, Beaver Dam, Saber Lake, Elysian township, and Cleveland.


Freidens Evangelical Lutheran church was organized in Lanesburg township fifty-five or more years ago. The early records having been lost, the date cannot be fixed. Among the first members were J. H. Eilers and H. H. Meyer. The present total membership is eighty-one. The houses of worship have been-first a log, second a frame and the present a pressed Twin-City brick structure, costing about seventeen thousand dollars. These three church buildings have all stood on Lanesburg Corner. The pastors of theis congregation have been: Reverends Jul, Wolf, Hauer, Fachtmann, Algers, W. Dreher, C. Hauser, Theodore Schroeder, W. Fettinger, and from 2908 to present date (1916), Reverend Gruber.


This denomination is represented in the county at four points, all under one pastor. These are at LeSueur, Sharon township, Tyrone township, and Cleveland township. The society was formed in 1870 and has had pastors as follows: Reverends P. G. Factmann, Sprangler, C. A. Hauck, G. M. Eyrich, G. Sturm and present pastor (second time), Rev. G. M. Eyrich.

At LeSueur the church is called Zion and the building cost six thousand dollars; at Sharon it is known as St. Paulus, with a two thousand dollar church; at Tyrone township it is Salem, and the church cost seven hundred dollars; at the point in Cleveland township, the church is known as the Evangelical church, costing three hundred dollars.

The dates and material used in the four localities was-at LeSueur, a frame in 1870 and a brick in 1893; at Sharon, a frame in 1870; in Tyrone, a log in 1870; in Cleveland, a log structure in 1870 and a frame in 1892.

The present total membership of these congregations is: In LeSueur, eighty; in Sharon, thirty-five; in Tyrone, ten; in Cleveland, twenty-five families.


St. Paul's Lutheran church, at LeSueur Center, was formed by Reverend Emmel, of St. Peter, in 1885. Among the first members were: H. Yackel, H. Hienze, Charles Krotchme, L. Tesch and Charles Michaelis. The present building was erected in 1911, of brick, at a cost of fifteen thousand dollars. It stands on the Main street of LeSueur Center. The Ladies' Aid Society donated the five-hundred-dollar bell, the five-hundred-dollar altar; the two-hundred-and-thirty-dollar electric lights and the seven-hundred-and-thirty-dollar pews. The present membership is two hundred communicant members. The church property is valued at eighteen thousand dollars. The pastors here have been: Reverends Emmel, Joel, Estel, Hauser, Gurtzloff, Weigaurd, E. Schultz and present pastor, Reverend F. Teide. Services are held in both German and English languages. Reverend Teide also has charge of the large church at Montgomery, this county.

St. John's Lutheran church, at Montgomery, was organized in 1860 by Rev. J. Wolf and charter members as follow: Christopher Richter, treasurer; F. Richter and Adolph Kaufer, trustees; G. Augst, A. Logefiel, W. Richter and Herman Richter. These have been the pastors who have served in the order here named: Reverends J. Wolf, Alpers, Dreher, Schroeder, Eitel, Hauser, Guetzlaff, Weigand, Schultz and Tiede, the present pastor. The present trustees are: Herman Meyer, August Augst, C. G. Lehman.

The first house of worship was an old school house, bought for twenty-five dollars, standing two miles west from Montgomery; second was a frame church, erected in 1883 at a cost of one thousand dollars; third, the present church edifice erected in 1913 at a cost of sixteen thousand dollars; it is a fine brick structure. In fitting up the last building the following donations were given: Ladies' Aid Society gave pews valued at seven hundred and forty-seven dollars, and altar and pulpit, three hundred and twenty dollars. The Young Ladies' Society gave cash, two hundred and twenty-five dollars; electric light plant, two hundred and twenty dollars, and H. E. Westerman and family gave the bell, valued at five hundred and twenty-five dollars. The church is free of any debts.


The Baptist denomination has never been strong in LeSueur county, which is inhabited by so many settlers of foreign birth. At present there is on society, that at Waterville, organized on September 2, 1860, by Rev. E. S. Smith and charter members as follow: Zoan Rogers, Seth H. Kenney, David Temple, L. Z. Rogers, Mary E. P. Smith, Phoebe Rogers, Julia F. Rogers, Helen S. Rogers, Mary E. Sheldon-Miner. These met at a school house and organized a church society known as the First Baptist Church of Waterville. A building was then built without the aid of a pastor. It cost about three thousand dollars, besides the cost of the lot, which was three hundred dollars. It was erected in 1882-83. A Sunday school was organized on July 4, 1884, in the new church.

There have been twenty-one pastors in this church, as follow: Reverends E. S. Smith, A. O. Williams, William Luce, E. Thompson, G. N. Amies, J. S. Cox, Pierce, N. R. Chapman, C. R. Upton, George E. Rowe, C. O. Reho, S. E. Moon, William Cowdry, J. Callahan, James Hill, Frank Fluner, M. L. Reynolds, Asbery Stockton, J. R. Hall, Joe E. Billman and J. A. Downing.

The church was remodeled in 1913. A basement was placed beneath it, a kitchen provided, a furnace room and store-room made, a dining room made. At first the church was seated with chairs and later with opera seats. The audience room, proper, has memorial windows, and the floor is covered with cork matting. The building above and below is lighted by electricity. Two of the original charter members still survive, S. H. Kenney and Mrs. Mary Sheldon-Miner.

In 1858, the First Baptist church of LeSueur was organized by Rev. E. C. Sanders. A small frame building was erected immediately, but it was soon destroyed by fire, and in 1859 a new and more substantial one was built. Reverend Sanders served up to 1879 as its pastor, most of the time. The society did not flourish much after that date.

This same Baptist minister also organized a church at the old village of Lexington, in 1862; a building was erected in 1868, when there was a membership of about twenty communicants. In 1879 the church went down and the building was converted into a district school house. This was the only church ever erected in the village of Lexington.

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