Histories of the Churches of Lincoln County
Source: Early History of Lincoln County, Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake Benton News Print (1936), transcribed by Mary Saggio.
In attempting to write the history of the various churches of Lincoln county we find it difficult to obtain full and accurate, detailed data of all of them, and as a consequence we are obliged to record such information only as is available. In some cases the data is quite complete, in others somewhat meager and doubtless there will be some church organizations of which we have no data whatsoever and consequently, must be omitted from this history.
Gilbert I. Larson describes the First Church Organization in Lincoln county on Page 38 of this history; the First Catholic Services on Page 39; the first Catholic edifice in Lincoln county on Page 40; the organization of the Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church of America on Page 41; the First German Lutheran church in Shaokatan township on Page 42; the organization of a German Lutheran church in Verdi township on Page 42 and the organization of a Norwegian church in the vicinity of Hendricks on Page 42.
Hon. John Hanson describes the organization of the Norwegian Lutheran church in Hansonville township in his history of that township, and Hon. Hiram B. Danielson also describes the organization of the Norwegian Lutheran church in Hendricks township in his history of that sub-division of Lincoln county.
FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH, LAKE BENTON
(Lake Benton News, December 16, 1903)
The Congregational church of Lake Benton was organized in June 1880, and duly recognized by an ecclesiastical council called for that purpose July 19, 1880. Eight people entered into covenant relations as members of the church. Of that number none are residents of Lake Benton at the present time. The first pastor * * * was Rev. Wm. Wilson. He perished in a blizzard in Wyoming in the winter of 1880 and his body was not recovered until the melting of the snow in the spring. * * *
But little appears on the record respecting the building of the church, but the building was the first church edifice erected in the village. (As will be seen in a succeeding article, it was the first religious edifice dedicated in the county). It was dedicated March 5th, 1882, and was rated as worth $2,000. The late Rev. M. W. Montgomery preached the dedicatory sermon. (Note - An account of the dedication related in the Lake Benton News of March 7th, 1882 states that the Rev. Fairbanks preached the dedicatory sermon). The church was remodeled and a bell tower erected at a later date. * * *
The large ten-room parsonage and barn were built in 1885. The records show simply this: "To funds received for parsonage as per memorandum, $1,471.74". These funds were secured largely by the activity of the second pastor, Rev. A. W. Warren. * * * The church has (to the date hereof) had eleven pastors: Wm. Wilson, Albert W. Warren, F. C. Emerson, Henry W. Parsons, E. E. Day, Evan P. Hughes, Geo. S. Evans, Wm. Lodwick, R. G. Jones, W. H. Klose, M. J. P. Thing, William M. Jenkins, and D. T. Jenkins.
First Church Edifice Dedicated in Lincoln County
The First Congregational church edifice was the first to be dedicated in Lincoln county. The dedicatory services were held at the church in Lake Benton on Sunday, March 5th, 1882 and it being the first house of worship to be dedicated within the county, we deem the services as published in the Lake Benton News on Tuesday, March 7, 1882, worthy of being recorded in the history of the county.
"In the presence of a considerable audience the First Congregational church of this city was dedicated by Reverends Fairbanks, Simmons, Drake and the pastor, Rev. William Wilson.
"The order of exercise was as follows: Voluntary anthem, dedicatory invocation, music, scriptural reading, prayer, sermon by the Rev. Fairbanks, a comprehensive review of the Church work in Lincoln county, by the Rev. Simmons, missionary for this district; a brief statement of the financial condition of the Church, by the pastor, Rev. Wm. Wilson, and prayer of dedication, the services concluding with a finely rendered anthem and the benediction.
"While the services were in all particulars, impressive and interesting, the music is especially worthy of note, the voluntary and anthems having all of that peculiar power incident to well rendered religious music.
"The church itself, being the first religious edifice erected in this county, is deserving of more than passing note. It is a frame, Gothic building, finished and decorated in a chaste and becoming manner, having a seating capacity of over two hundred, and being sub-divided into a main audience room, accommodating vestibule and two anterooms for the use of the library and infant class.
"The church is handsomely carpeted, well heated, finely painted and well lighted from a large Finch reflector. The pulpit is of black walnut of a handsome design, manufactured by Paines of Boston, Mass. The most excellent choir is assisted by a large Mason & Hamlin chapel organ.
"The church is (a rare and most pleasing feature) entirely out of debt, save for a small sum due on the organ, to be raised by the voluntary act of the ladies.
"The lot, valued at $200, was donated by the generosity of the town proprietors. The building erected at an expense of $1,500.00, paid for largely by the friends from abroad, liberal contributions having been received from the American Congregational Union; from ladies in Hartford, Ct.; Hatfield, Mass.; Davenport, Iowa; the Ladies Society of Portsmouth, N. H.; the Ladies Society from Warren, Mass., and from gentlemen in Chicago, Evansville, Ind.; from the following church organizations: Plymouth, S. S., St. Paul; 'The Busy Gleaners', of the same church; Plymouth S. S., Minneapolis, and the Kennebankport, Me., Congregational church.
"It will be seen by referring to the above that eight states are represented by the donors, who have made these liberal contributions solely to aid the cause of Christianity in the west, being ever mindful of the rich heritage given to him that "lendeth to the Lord."
Note - This church edifice still stands and is now owned and occupied by the St. John's Lutheran congregation.
LAKE BENTON M. E. SUNDAY SCHOOL ORGANIZED
Lake Benton News, April 4, 1882: "On Sunday the Methodist Society commenced their Sabbath school. They have obtained a very fine library of one hundred and fifty volumes, thirty singing books, the Berean Lesson Quarterly, also a fine supply of Sunday School Advocates, reward tickets, etc. The Bible Society has sent them a fine supply of Testaments and Bibles and, in fact, a complete outfit for the Sunday school work has been procured. Thus, with J. C. Green as superintendent, and Miss Fletcher as assistant, supported by an efficient corps of teachers, we predict that success will follow. The Sunday school will meet every Sunday immediately after morning services." And, in another column of the same paper: "On Sunday, April 9th at 11:00 o'clock a. m. and 7:30 p. m., and every Sabbath until further notice, services will be held at Morse's Hall; Sabbath school immediately after the morning service. Next Sabbath preaching by Rev. N. B. Foot. Sermon in the evening to the young people; subject 'Rescued from the Brick-kiln'. A cordial invitation is extended to all."
FIRST METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH, LAKE BENTON
During the year 1873 a Methodist preacher by the name of Sutton, came over from Pipestone and preached in and about Lake Benton. Another Methodist itinerant by the name of Weymouth, preached in and around Lake Benton in 1886. Religious services were held intermittently.
The organization of the First Methodist Episcopal church occurred sometime before the annual conference in 1879. Lake Benton was a part of what was then known as the Marshfield Circuit. It included a large part of Lincoln county. The Rev. J. H. Snell was appointed pastor at Lake Benton by a Methodist Bishop at the annual conference October 6, 1879. Rev. Snell served this charge one year.
The places in which the early religious meetings were held were as strange as the religious meetings were to the hearers. One meeting was held in the railway camp, another in a saloon, also another, and for a period of time, in the dining room of a hotel.
The first articles of incorporation of the Lake Benton Methodist Episcopal church were adopted at a meeting conducted by Presiding Elder Martin in 1880, in an upstairs room of a building owned and occupied by the Taylor sisters. Religious services were then held in the school house. In 1883 the trustees rented Morse's hall, which they occupied until the church was built. The Methodist Sunday School was organized in 1882.
In the year 1883 the North Western railway company donated lots 28 and 29, block 6, to the Methodist Episcopal church as a site. The M. E. Society then bought from Brown, Morse & Snyder lot 27 and part of lot 26, block 6. The Methodist parsonage was built in the spring of 1884, through the efforts of Rev. N. B. Foot, who was then pastor. In 1885 the Rev. Stockdell, then pastor, took measures to build the M. E. church. The Church Extension Society of the Methodist Episcopal church, donated $250 and made a loan of $250. Through the untiring efforts of Rev. Stockdell and the good people of Lake Benton, the present Methodist Episcopal church building was erected at a cost of about $1650.00. The church building was built by Cummings & Taylor, with Mr. E. M. Kimball doing the mason work and Mr. J. B. Davidson, the painting. Through the efforts of Rev. Leazer the money was raised to pay the Church Extension Society its loan of $250, and at a Harvest Home meeting in the fall of 1899 Mother Stites, the oldest member of the church, burned the bond.
The following is a chronological record of pastors: Rev. I. H. Snell, 1879; Rev. N. B. Foot, 1880-1-2; Rev. F. D. Goodrich, 1883; Rev. W. F. Stockdell, 1884-5; Rev. A. Matson, 1886-7; Rev. D. P. Olin, 1888-9 and 90; Rev. D. E. Vernon, 1891; Rev. West Webster, 1892-3; Rev. J. S. White, 1894; Rev. J. A. Hovis, 1895; Rev. W. H. Stone, 1896; Rev. F. E. Leaser, 1898-9; Rev. S. N. Brown, 1900-1; Rev. Pharo, 1902-3; Hubert Greaves, W. E. Hawley, L. D. Williams, F. Gooch, F. P. Hanaman, James Raines, Theo. S. Mondale, Thomas Carson, C. H. Chader, G. H. Harvey, R. J. Potter, R. E. Galer, Ralph Hendricks, Irwin R. Stephens, and Reverend Immanuel Nielsen.
The Ivanhoe Times of June 1st, 1923 gives the following: "The Methodist Episcopal church at Lake Benton was originally organized at a meeting at Marshfield, Lincoln county, about 1876. Upon platting of Lake Benton the organization was moved from Marshfield to the new town and Lake Benton became the charge as of the Mankato district. The annual conference of 1879 appointed Rev. I. H. Snell to the charge. Upon his arrival he found a railroad construction crew busy, and a wild and lively lot of people they were.
"The first religious services in the new place were held in a saloon run by Louis LaVaque, the people being seated on planks supported by beer kegs. The selling at the bar was dispensed with so long as the religious services lasted.
"Work on the Methodist church edifice at Lake Benton was commenced in about the year 1884 and the church was dedicated September 6, 1885. The structure cost $1450.85, all being paid excepting the amount received from the Church Extension Association. The Methodists had long felt the want of a proper place to hold services, and when Rev. Stockdell took charge he at once began the agitation of building and never relaxed his energies until the structure was ready for occupancy."
IVANHOE M. E. CHURCH
Ivanhoe Times, June 1, 1923: The Ivanhoe Methodist Episcopal church was incorporated at the first election of trustees, held November 21, 1902. District Superintendent I. M. Bull, of Marshal District of the Methodist Episcopal conference of Minnesota, presiding, assisted by Rev. Wm. Wolley who had been serving the charge until the summer of 1904, when a student from Hamline University held services until the fall. The first board of trustees was Wm. Wolley, Robert Faulds, Henry G. Tweet, J. T. Burlingame, Ed G. Boemmels, Archibald McMillan and R. H. Andrews. The charger members of the organization were Wm. Wolley, Robert Faulds, Mrs. Robert Faulds, Hugh P. Faulds, J. T. Burlingame, Mrs. Burlingame, and Mrs. Ada Owens.
The church services were first held in the local opera house until the fall of 1904, Rev. Wm. Wolley acting as pastor until the summer, when Rev. Donaldson, college student, succeeded him. During the summer a church building was started and in the latter part of 1904 it was dedicated by the Rev. Frank Doran, District Superintendent, assisted by Rev. C. D. Nicholson, who had been called by the Protestant people of Ivanhoe at the fall conference. Mrs. W. O. Gilruth, as organist and singer, was ably assisted by a mixed choir who gave a splendid musical program.
The Ladies Aid Society was organized in 1902 with Mrs. Owens as president, Mrs. Boemmels, secretary and Mrs. Walter F. Miller, treas. This organization has done very effective work with many changes of officers up to the present time, each one doing her part conscientiously and faithfully in furthering the good work of Christian service to the end that the church would stand out as a beacon light to all, regardless of creed. During the year 1922, a movement was started to improve the property, with the result that today the church has been raised, a full basement put underneath, furnace and electric lights installed, and it is being used as a place for social functions for the young people of the church, and for Sunday School.
ST. JOHN CANTIUS CHURCH OF WILNO
Ivanhoe Times, June 1, 1923: Rev. Frank Grabowski came to Wilno in 1883 and after the first church building was finished he left. Rev. Damianus Koziolek came to Wilno in April 1883 and left the place in July 1884; Rev. H. Jazdzewski served from July 1884 to June 1892; Rev. A. Zalewski, 1892-1896; Rev. A. Tyszka, 1896-1897; Rev. Frank Roemer, 1897; Rev. H. Andrzewski, Oct. 1897 to 1902; Rev. J. Cieminski, 1902-1907; Rev. A. Kryjewski, 1907-1911; Rev. A. Szczukowski, July to October 1911; Rev. S. Dobrenski, vice pastor till July 1912; Rev. Frank Matz, 1912-1913; Rev. S. Dobrenski, vice pastor till Sept. 1914; Rev. Frank Rakowski, 1914-19; Rev. Stephen Zdechlik, Sept. 1919 - the present pastor.
The new church, a brick building, was erected in 1901. The old church was changed into a school after the new one was finished. The parish had layteachers for many years, then the Sisters of Notre Dame (from Mankato) came in 1917.
The first child baptized in the parish was John Kwasigroch, born on January 31, 1884, and baptized on April 6, 1884. The sponsors were Jacob Gorecki and Maria Gladys.
The first trustees were Jacob Gorecki and Michael Felcyn. The organizer of the parish was Anton Club, a real estate man, who came here from Chicago, Ill.
SS. PETER AND PAUL CATHOLIC CHURCH, IVANHOE
The parish of SS. Peter and Paul, Ivanhoe, was organized August 6, 1901 by Rev. John Andrzejewski, then the resident pastor at Wilno. Father Andrzejewski was the pastor of this organization for two years. In 1903, Rev. Joseph Ciminski, then pastor of the Wilno congregation, administered to the spiritual needs of the faithful until October 17, 1907, when Rev. Peter Roy was appointed as its first resident pastor, and he continued to serve this congregation as pastor until March 15, 1911.
On July 14, 1911, Rev. S. F. Dobrenski was appointed its second resident pastor.
In 1900 the first Catholic services were held in Ivanhoe, though there had been no formal organization of the Ivanhoe Catholic church body. This first service was held in the home of Mr. and Mrs. George Graff, and for eighteen months the church services were held in that home. The present very substantial and commodious church building was erected in 1902. In 1913, the present Catholic parsonage was erected. In March, 1918, the welcome announcement was made that the parish was cleared of debt.
There are about one hundred ten families in SS. Peter and Paul parish at Ivanhoe.
ELIM LUTHERAN CHURCH, ASH LAKE
The Elim congregation of which Mr. and Mrs. John Nelson and family were charter members, was organized in November 1885. Other charter members were Hans Lavesson, Gustaf Lovestrand, Andrew Erickson, Charles Lundberg, Aron Brynelson and their families. Rev. A. P. Satter was the first minister. The site selected by the majority of the members for the location of the church and cemetery was in the northeast corner of section 8, Ash Lake township. The cemetery was incorporated in the Augustana Lutheran Synod of America in the fall of 1887. The building of the church, however, was delayed; hence the minority of the members (John Nelson was one of these) built a church, in 1888, on their selected site in section 5 on John Nelson's farm, or one mile west of the other site. This church became known as the West Elim church.
In 1889 the majority group erected a church on their site (the northeast corner of section 8) and this became known as the East Elim church. Before the completion of the churches, worship services were held in the various homes, but mostly at John Nelson's. Thereafter, the services were held alternately in the two churches. The Swedish language was used exclusively.
DANISH LUTHERAN CHURCH, "DANEBOD", TYLER
Lake Benton News, June 19, 1895: The Danish Lutheran church, "Danebod", Tyler, was dedicated on Sunday, June 16, 1895. The attendance was estimated to have been between 1,000 and 1,500. Services were opened by an address of welcome by Rev. H. J. Pedersen, resident pastor and through whose efforts the Danish colony in Lincoln county was founded and who inspired and directed the erection of the splendid church edifice. Following, Rev. P. Kjolhede gave an address, congratulating the congregation on the erection of so fine a building to be dedicated to the service of God.
"The idea of such a magnificent structure as was here beheld did not enter the mind of even the most enthusiastic among the small but devoted band of the sons of Denmark who held the first meeting in Lincoln county about eight years ago (1887). The first meeting was held in what the poet has called God's first temple - a grove - on the beautiful island in Lake Benton. The resident minister was present at the initial meeting and to him the speaker said, too much credit would not be given for the untiring zeal and great ability which he displayed from the day he landed in the county; and now that his efforts were to be crowned by magnificent success, well might he be entitled to the hearty congratulations of everyone. * * *"
The building is a magnificent structure in the form of a Greek cross. It is an exact copy of the celebrated Cross church at Vallekilde, Denmark. The church cost about $6,000 and is free from all incumbrance. The regular attendance will be nearly 700, and the average number present at every meeting will probably not be far from 400.
FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH, LAKE BENTON
Lake Benton News, December 16, 1903: In the year 1888 Rev. W. H. Beeby was sent to this place to look up the Baptist cause in Lake Benton and vicinity. Meetings were held in the Congregational church and a number of people were converted. A little Baptist church was organized in the rooms above J. W. Bush's store, June 13, 1888, consisting of eight members, viz: J. W. Bush, Mrs. A. Carpenter, Mr. and Mrs. H. D. Worden, Mrs. G. H. Bradley, Mrs. A. Wakefield, Miss Hannah Pierson and Mrs. T. Thompson. Prayer meetings were held at the homes of the members while public services were held in the old opera house.
In 1889 Rev. W. H. Beeby was chosen the first pastor. The services were now held in the M. E. church, which was kindly offered free of charge for alternate Sabbaths. After one year's pastorate Mr. Beeby was succeeded by Rev. R. P. Jones, who remained about one year. A student from Chicago University, W. Eyles, then spent a short time with the church, and was followed by Rev. Calahand, who served the church about two years. A preaching point was established at Verdi in connection with the work here. This was continued for two years.
In 1892 a store building on the present church lot was bought of Mr. Minzer and services were held in same for a time. In 1894 Rev. J. T. Green became pastor and under his energetic leadership the present church building was planned and built. On August 25, 1896 the church was dedicated to God. Dr. Conley, then of St. Paul, preached the sermon. In this same year the North branch was called to the church. This pastorate was a period of ceaseless, aggressive work, not only in town, but outside in the surrounding country. Large accessions in members were realized by the church during this period.
Following Mr. Green a student from Chicago University by the name of Walter Carlson supplied the church for six months. In 1897 Rev. T. Broomfield was chosen church pastor. Under his leadership the work was pushed with energy. The main part of the parsonage was built during his stay, and the church work generally prospered. Rev. Woodward followed with a brief pastorate. He was followed by Rev. W. G. Hoover, who remained one year and six months, during this time he raised the church debt of $800. Rev. J. E. Abramson located in June following Rev. Hoover.
The church, beginning with eight members, had in fifteen years time received about two hundred into fellowship and had at the time this sketch was written, a resident membership of sixty-four. At one time it had a resident membership of one hundred. Besides preaching services in town, three out-stations were regularly supplied by the pastor, and three Sunday schools were superintended in school houses by deacons of the church.
Record of pastor, First Baptist church: Rev. W. H. Beeby, Nov. 1, 1888; Rev. J. T. Greene; Rev. R. W. Carlson; Rev. Broomfield; Rev. Woodruff; Rev. Hoover; Rev. Abramson; Rev. Musser; Rev. Day Rev. Shelley Robinson; Rev. J. J. Hulme; Rev. Edith French; Rev. J. Ray Spiller, and Rev. John G. Hein. The big window in the north end of the church building was installed as a memorial to Reverend William H. Beeby, the first pastor.
ST. JOHN'S LUTHERAN CHURCH, LAKE BENTON
By Rev. Paul W. Spaude, B. A., B. D., S. T. M., M. A.
The St. John's Evangelical Lutheran church was organized March 8, 1891 by Rev. Chr. Albrecht, pastor of the Lutheran church of Elkton, S. D., wo presided at the meeting. Charter members, twelve in number, were H. Nansen, Henry Berger, Sr., Theo. Nordmeyer, C. Zimmerman, Wm. Schmidt, Sr., Wm. Klump, Rein Lueneburg, F. Lueneburg, H. Lueneburg, G. Otto, Joachim Krueger and Wm. Scharphorst. As the first trustees, H. Nansen, Theo. Nordmeyer and H. Lueneburg were elected. By resolution, the name of 'St. John's Evangelical Lutheran church of Lake Benton', was unanimously adopted.
Since the congregation had no church building of its own the divine services conducted by Rev. Albrecht were first held every other Sunday in the Nordmeyer house and later on in the city hall. Thereafter the Congregational church was secured for worship.
In 1892 the Rev. Albrecht accepted a call to the Lutheran church in Hutchinson, Minn. He preached his farewell sermon on Easter Day. Rev. G. H. Schoemperlen was then called to Trinity Lutheran church of Elkton, and he also took charge of this congregation which together with the Lutheran congregations of Elkton and Ward, formed one parish. Pastor Schoemperlen served the congregation from 1892 to 1895. During that time St. John's Lutheran lost two of its charter members, William Klum and G. Otto having moved to Estelline, S. D.
In 1895 Pastor Schoemperlen was succeeded by Rev. Jul. Dammann who began his work here Sept. 1 in connection with Elkton and Ward. In 1896, the St. John's church together with the Immanuel Lutheran congregation of Verdi township and the Lutheran congregation of Holland, Minn. formed a new parish. In the meeting of Dec. 29, 1897, this parish called Rev. Dammann as its pastor. In 1898 the congregation in Drammen township joined the new parish.
Up to that time a house was rented as a parsonage. Since at that time no suitable vacant residence could be procured as a parsonage, the St. John's congregation was compelled to build a parsonage. In the summer of 1899, therefore, a suitable building was erected on a lot on Bluff street which Mr. H. Nansen had donated to the church. In September of the same year the house was ready for occupancy.
In 1900 the Rev. Dammann accepted a call to the Lutheran church of Jordan, Minn. On Easter Day he delivered his farewell sermon to the congregation. The Rev. G. A. Kuhn soon succeeded as pastor of the parish. In the same year the father Pastor Kuhn, the Rev. A. Kuhn, was called as assistant pastor of the congregation. Both of these men served from August 1900 to the beginning of May 1907.
On June 16, 1907, the Rev. Theo. Engel was installed as pastor of the parish. He saw the importance of a new church home for the congregation and labored tirelessly towards that goal. On Jan. 18, 1912, through the instrumentality of Rev. and Mrs. Engel, the Ladies Aid Society was organized to help the good cause of securing a church building for the congregation. The first officers of the Society were Mrs. T. Engel, president; Mrs. Carl Bradtke, vice-pres.; Mrs. Herman Schmidt, secretary, and Mrs. Minnie Springer, treasurer.
At the January meeting of 1913, a committee was appointed to secure subscriptions for the purpose of a church building. On the second Easter Day, at the congregation meeting, the building of a church was discussed, but no constructive results were realized. It was voted not to build. But the Lord soon heard the prayers and petitions of the faithful ones. Since the Congregational church disbanded, it offered to the St. John's congregation its church building. In the October meeting of 1913, the congregation decided to continue the negotiations with the Congregationalists and in the January session of 1914, the congregation resolved to purchase the Congregational church property. The building was renovated, the Ladies Aid Society providing for the interior furnishings of the church, ie., altar, pulpit, etc. On August 2, 1914 the newly acquired church edifice was dedicated to the Triune God. On that day the Rev. Engel officiated at the services, assisted by the pastors, the Rev. Julius Engel of Elkton, the Rev. Alb. Winter of Mankato, and the Rev. Prof. Adolph Ackermann of Dr. Martin Luther College, New Ulm.
As soon as the congregation had its own church home, English divine services were held, at first every other Sunday and then later once a month, on the last Sunday of the month, because of certain dissatisfaction. The language problem caused quite a little disturbance, which by this time, has now subsided.
On May 28, 1916, Pastor Engel delivered his farewell sermon, having accepted a call to the Lutheran church in town Dexter, Austin, Minn. The Rev. A. Werr accepted the call extended to him and was installed here on the first Sunday of August, 1916 by the Rev. J. P. Scherf of Balaton, Minn.
On October 15, 1916, the St. John's congregation celebrated the 25th anniversary of its existence, in two divine services, in which the Rev. Prof. Adolph Ackermann of New Ulm and the Rev. J. Chr. Albrecht of Hutchinson, Minn., the founder of the congregation, preached the jubilee sermons. Beginning with 1917, the congregation began the celebrations of the various anniversaries of the church that took place in the Lutheran church throughout the world and commanded world-wide attention. On November 4, 1917, St. John's observed the 400th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. The Rev. Julius Engel of Elkton delivered the festival sermon. Pastor Werr did not remain long in service. In 1922, he went to Wisconsin, following a call extended to him.
On July 30, 1922, the Rev. Paul W. Spaude, pastor of the Bethlehem Lutheran church, Mason City, Iowa, was installed by the Rev. Fred Manteufel, Balaton. Under Pastor leadership and direction, the whole parish consisting of St. John's and Immanuel congregations was entirely reconstructed. In August, 1922, the Sunday school was organized and its instruction systemized according to the standards of the church. Before this time there was no Sunday school worthy of the name. The first superintendent elected was A. L. Schlekau. The other officers were Mrs. Rudolph Sprink, secretary; Miss Emma Bradtke (Syndergaard), treasurer; Miss Anna Bradtke (Cooley), librarian; Mrs. Paul W. Spaude, Cradle Roll superintendent, and Rev. Spaude, Home Dept. superintendent. The Walther League, a young people's society within the Synodical conference came into existence on August 31, 1922. The League immediately joined the International League.
Since the necessity of an all-English women's society within the congregation was sorely felt, Pastor Spaude organized on April 6, 1923, the Dorcas Society. The first officers of this society were Mrs. Chas. Meyer, Sr., pres.; Mrs. Jos. Sprink, vice-pres.; Mrs. Geo. Paquin, secy., and Mrs. Ed Gehrts, treas. The fifteenth anniversary of the existence of the Ladies Aid Society was celebrated with a divine service at the church on January 18, 1927. After the worship a short program of entertainment was staged, followed with lunch served to all present. The Walther League celebrated with fifth anniversary of its existence October 23, 1927, with a special divine service at the church. The Rev. Martin Hauser of Luverne, Minn. delivered the anniversary sermon.
The congregation is also mindful of its duty of hospitality. On Oct. 12, 1927, the New Ulm Delegate Conference, to which the church belongs, met here upon the invitation of the congregation. Sixty-five delegates and pastors were registered, and the women of the congregation served dinner and supper to the guests in the church basement.
On January 25, 1929, the congregation honored its treasurer, Carl Bradtke, for his twenty-five years of faithful service. A divine service, held in both the German and English tongues, was conducted. The Pastor delivered the sermons, emphasizing the value of God's gift of an upright and devoted servant in the Lord's vineyard. The service was well attended, in spite of a very cold night. After the worship, the people were entertained in the church parlors. Every organization of the congregation was represented, the Church Council, Sunday school, Walther League, Choral Club, Ladies Aid Society and Dorcas Society. A purse of silver was presented to Mr. Bradtke by a member of the Church Council, as a gift from the congregation and in recognition of his long service in the Lord's kingdom.
In September, 1929, the congregation took part in the celebration of the 400th anniversary of the publication of Dr. Martin Luther's Small Catechism, with fourteen other Lutheran congregations in the neighborhood. The jubilee services were held in the opera house and speakers of the day were Rev. Prof. E. Bliefernicht and Rev. Prof. Carl Schweppe, both of Dr. Martin Luther College, New Ulm. In October, 1930, the St. John's church participated in the 400th anniversary of the publication of the Augsburg Confession, at Tyler. Worship services were conducted forenoon and afternoon while in the evening a sacred concert was given by Prof. Ed Rechlin of New York, at the Danebod Lutheran church. The speakers at this festival were the Rev. Prof. E. H. Sauer and the Rev. Prof. Rich. Janke, both of Dr. Martin Luther College. The Walther League again celebrated an anniversary, the tenth of its existence, on September 4, 1932, with a divine service. The Pastor conducted the jubilee service in which the League chorus rendered a special anthem of praise and thanksgiving. The Dorcas Society also celebrated its tenth anniversary on April 26, 1933, the pastor conducting the anniversary service. After the service, the usual entertainment took place.
In 1934, at the Danebod Lutheran church, Tyler, the St. John's congregation joined with the neighboring Lutheran churches in observing the 400th jubilee of the translation of the Bible into the German tongue by Dr. Martin Luther. Pastor Spaude officiated at the altar, while the Rev. Rein. Schierenbeck of Sanborn, Minn., and Rev. Martin Hauser of Luverne, Minn. delivered the festival sermons.
The congregation has been mindful of its duty to help their pastor in need and to show its appreciation for the service he renders in their midst. In 1935, in conjunction with the Immanuel Lutheran church, of Verdi, the St. John's congregation purchased and presented a new clerical robe or gown of Henrietta fabric, for the pastor's use in the services at church. Likewise, the congregation, through its Ladies Aid Society with that of the Immanuel church, donated a clerical robe to the Rev. Fred Foard, Lutheran colored missionary in the South, when he lectured here some years ago on Negro missions. Before Rev. Spaude came here, the congregations bought the Rev. Werr an automobile for his use in serving the churches. There are many things worthy of mention, but suffice it to say that the various organizations within the congregation have been a great boon and aid to the upbuilding of the Lord's work here in Lake Benton.
It will not e out of place to mention the numerical strength of the congregation at the present time: Baptized members 245, communicant members 172, voting members 48, Sunday school pupils 77, Sunday School teachers and officers 16, Church Council 9, Church ushers 2.
IMMANUEL LUTHERAN CHURCH, VERDI TWP.
By Rev. Paul W. Spaude, B. A., B. D., E. T. M., M. A.
The first divine services were conducted in the Dist. 22 school in the year 1884 by Rev. Chr. Boettcher. Soon thereafter the Rev. R. Polzin took charge of the services when he was called to the parish of Ward, S. D. On June 29, 1885 the congregation was organized and incorporated as the Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran church, in the town of Verdi, Lincoln county, Minn. The charter members were J. Enke, C. Garmatz, H. Stolz, A. Rutzen, H. Miller, D. Lortscher, F. Ude, F. Feske, J. Krueger and Wm. Stolz. Prof. Otto Hoyer of Dr. Martin Luther College, New Ulm, was the chairman of the meeting and also furnished the constitution for the congregation, which is still in use.
Until the year 1898 services were held in the Dist. 25 school. In this year the congregation decided to build its own church. Several years before the C. & N. W. railroad had donated the congregation 40 acres of land for church purposes. Since four acres of land were given the congregation by Carl Garmatz and J. Krause, the forty acres were sold, and the money realized from the sale of the land and the subscriptions on the part of the members made it possible to build the new church, free of all debts. The new edifice was dedicated the same year.
The Rev. Chr. Boettcher of Marshall served this congregation at first. As the parish of Elkton and Ward, S. D. had called the Rev. R. Polzin in 1885 and had organized into a self-supporting parish, the new pastor supplied the Immanuel church also until 1890, when he was called to another field. Pastor J. Chr. Albrecht followed him and served until 1892 when the pulpit was filled by the Rev. Julius Dammann. In 1896 the whole field was divided and Pastor Dammann moved to Lake Benton. Under his direction the parsonage in Lake Benton was erected and the new church in Verdi built and dedicated. Rev. Dammann was succeeded by the Rev. Gut Kuhn and the Rev. A. Kuhn as assistant pastor. In 1907 Pastor G. Kuhn left for another territory. The parish then comprised the town of Verdi, Lake Benton and Holland. The Rev. Theo. Engel was called, who served from 1907 to 1916 with great faithfulness and diligence. The Rev. A. Werr was the next pastor, serving until 1922. The Ladies Aid Society was organized by Pastor Werr on March 21st, 1918 at the home of Mrs. Alvin Trautman. The Society began with 11 members. Since July 30, 1922 the congregation has been shepherded by Rev. Paul W. Spaude.
Under Pastor Spaude's guidance several new ideas were introduced and carried out for the welfare of the congregation. In 1923 the first Graded Sunday school with regular teachers' meetings and graded lesson from the Beginners' class to the Senior class was organized. Besides this a teacher training unit for the future teachers of the school was instituted, the present Choral Club came into existence. On Sunday, September 20, 1925 the new church was dedicated, which is now free of all indebtedness. Lutherans and friends of Immanuel congregation from ten surrounding congregations joined in celebration of this joyous event. The Rev. Spaude officiated at the dedicatory ceremony. Twice during the day the new church was filled to its full capacity and many had to remain outside. The Rev. R. Polzin of Alma City, Minn. preached in German. His message was very inspiring, all the more since he was the first pastor of the charge, having served from 1885 to 1890. In the afternoon the English service was conducted by Rev. Juluis Buelow of Holland, Minn. and Rev. Otto Klett of Watertown, S. D. The choral Club assisted in the services. The altar, the chancel chair for the pastor, the hymn boards, the pulpit, the pews with bookracks, the baptismal font, the offering plates, the brass crucifix, the brass candelabras of five lights each, the contribution box for the monthly mission offerings, the statue of the blessing Christ by Hoffman, the cork carpet for the center and side aisles, the carpet for the chancel, pulpit and vestry, the altar drape of red plush, the altar linen, the antepedium of red plush with a gold cross insertion, the gold fringes and tassels on the altar and pulpit cloths, the cork bulletin board, the English altar Bible and pulpit Bible, several English hymnals and other incidentals were donated by the Ladies Aid Society. The bell purchased in 1910 was placed in the tower of the new church. Much work in and about the new church was done by the members of the congregation, gratis. Some of the old furniture of the old church was donated to needy congregations in Hokah, Minn. and Tolstoy, S. D. In the evening of the same day of the dedication, the fortieth anniversary of the existence of the congregation was observed, the Rev. R. Polzin and Rev. Carl Schmidt of Boyd, Minn. preaching.
On Easter Monday, April 9, 1928, the tenth anniversary of the existence of the Ladies Aid Society was celebrated with a divine service at the church. After the service a short program was given by members of the Society and refreshments were served.
Let us take a look into the congregation life for a moment. We have on record the following items of interest: Baptized members 143, communicant or confirmed members 99, voting members 28, Sunday school pupils 38, catechumens or confirmands 10, Sunday school teachers and officers 7, assistant Sunday school teachers 6, congregational officers 8, Choral club 20, Ladies Aid Society 15, organists 2, Altar Guild 4.
The Walther League, a young people's society, is carried on in connection with St. John's Lutheran church of Lake Benton.
Thirteen years ago there were exactly twenty families, according to the church record. Today there are twenty-nine families, an increase of 45 percent. The language of the church is largely English. Since several years ago the Ladies Aid Society has conducted its meetings in English only, and the congregation is almost entirely English in all its services, instructions - Sunday school and confirmation - and rites.
ST. JOHN'S EPISCOPAL CHURCH, LAKE BENTON
Lake Benton News, December 16, 1903: St. John's Episcopal church and parish owes its existence to the late J. D. Green, formerly of Faribault, Minn., who came to Lake Benton in 1887 or 1888, and purchased the mill property. About the time of Mr. Green's arrival the new school building was erected, and the old school house and site were offered for sale. Mr. Green had been a member of the Cathedral congregation at Faribault, and upon his recommendation to Bishop Whipple, and largely through his own efforts, the school house and site were bought for the use of the Episcopal church, and the building was consecrated May 12, 1897 by Bishop Gilbert. The little congregation was too small for a time to support a rector, and Mr. Green acted as a lay reader for a number of years.
Occasional visitations were made by ministers of the Church, and in the year 1898 the parish received its first resident rector, the Rev. Chas. E. Farrar, a half-brother of the noted Archdeacon Farrar of London, England. Mr. Farrar remained three years, and was succeeded by the Rev. W. H. Pond, who before he had been a year in residence, was called away by Bishop Edsall to be Principal of the Church school at Wilder. Rev. L. P. Holmes came to the parish January 10, 1903.
METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH, HENDRICKS
Very little data is obtainable regarding the history of the Methodist Episcopal church of Hendricks, owing to the fact that the early records were lost some years ago. The first pastor sent to the field was an itinerant by the name of Beal, who served only during the summer of 1900. The first services held in the field were conducted upon a foundation prepared for the erection of a hardware store for Mr. Carl Johnson, and were in charge of Rev. F. E. Leazer, pastor of the Methodist Episcopal church at Lake Benton at the time, who preached the sermon. The church was built in 1901.
The first trustees were A. C. Edwards, H. B. Danielson, H. C. Hansen and Fred Joint. Of the original first members only two, Mr. and Mrs. H. C. Hansen now remain, the others having moved or passed away since the organization.
At present, and for some years past, the charge is connected with that of Lake Benton and Ivanhoe and is served by the Rev. Immanuel Nielsen, who resides at Lake Benton.
DIAMOND LAKE DANISH LUTHERAN CHURCH
Upon the settlement of the Danish colonies at Tyler and Diamond Lake in 1886, next to their first purpose of establishing homes for themselves and families was that of organizing a church society and the erection of a church edifice wherein they might worship, and thus carry out the traditions of their divinely religious race.
On September 19 of the year 1886 the Diamond Lake congregation was organized at the home of Eiler Thomsen in Diamond Lake township by a few Danish families and young, unmarried men of the community. The first members of the organization were Eiler Thomsen, president; Hans Ries, secretary; Hans Jensen, treasurer; Peter Christensen and John Cornelsen, trustees; Andrew Cornelsen, Andrew J. Nielsen, Soren M. Meyer, Mathias Andersen and the families of such as were married men.
The first divine service was held at the home of Eiler Thomsen on May 12, 1887, Rev. J. J. Nylund of Cedar Falls, Iowa, officiating. At this service Laura Thomsen, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Eiler Thomsen, was baptized, thus being the first child or person to receive the baptismal rites in the newly organized congregation. Several religious services were held during the summer of 1887, led by either the Rev. Madsen of Sleepy Eye, Minn. or Rev. Hansen, Danville, S. D. Rev. H. J. Pedersen came to Tyler in 1888 and became the pastor of the Diamond Lake congregation as well as that of the Danebod congregation. The first service in charge of Rev. Pedersen was held in the school house in Dist. No. 4. Later meetings previous to the erection of a church edifice were held in the homes of the various members, but more often in the home of Eiler Thomsen, as his residence was the largest in the community. In the fall of 1888 Mr. Carl Hansen came to Tyler and became a teacher in the Danebod high school, after which he and Rev. Pedersen alternately took charge of the Diamond Lake congregation services for some time.
Rev. N. C. Strandskov was the first resident pastor to serve the congregation. A residence on the farm adjacent to the present church property on the east, being vacant, Rev. Strandakov and family occupied same and it was here that Rev. Holger Strandskov, the present pastor of the Danebod congregation, was born. Rev. Strandskov took charge of the pastorate of the congregation in 1891 and relinquished same in 1893. For sometime after 1893 the congregation was served by Rev. Pedersen of Danebod and Rev. Helland of South Dakota. In 1896 Rev. N. P. Hald became pastor and served until 1900. From 1900 the congregation was served by Rev. Bobjerg of Tyler and a Norwegian minister from Lake Benton, for a period of about two years. In 1902 Rev. N. Henningson became pastor and served until 1905. During the pastorate of Rev. Hald the Danish congregation at White became affiliated with the Diamond Lake charge and has remained so affiliated to the present time, having shared the same minister during that time.
Rev. J. J. Nylund became pastor of the charge in 1905 and died the following year, his remains being interred in the cemetery adjacent to the church.
When the colony first established the North Western Railway Company donated 100 acres of land, situated on the banks of the lake after which the township was named, viz., Diamond Lake, to be used for church purposes. This land was afterwards sold to Peter Linnet for the sum of $500 and the proceeds devoted to the erection of a church edifice.
Mr. Jorgen Jorgensen of Dwight, Illinois, had donated three acres of land to the congregation whereon was built the present church structure in the year 1890. P. C. Pedersen, who owned the farm adjoining the church on the east, donated two acres of land adjoining the church grounds and the cemetery on the south, and hereon was built a church hall. Later, in 1897, a parsonage was erected upon the same plot of ground just west of the hall. Rev. and Mrs. N.P. Hald, but recently married, first occupied the parsonage.
In addition to the pastors previously mentioned, Rev. Johanes Jensen served as pastor from 1906 to 1909; Rev. Aage Moller, 1910-1913; Rev. E. N. Nielsen 1914-1917; Rev. N. P. Pedersen of Tyler, 1917-1918. Later in 1918 Rev. Henrik Plambeck became pastor and served until 1924; Rev. Thorvald Kjaer served from 1925 to 1929, and Rev. K. Jensen Hansen from 1929 to 1934.
FIRST ICELANDIC SERVICES HELD IN COUNTY
The first Icelandic religious services in Lincoln county were held in September, 1878, when the Icelanders who that year had settled here, were visited by the Rev. Jon Bjarnason, who conducted the same. He later located at Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He was for twenty years president of the Icelandic Lutheran Synod of America.
In 1879 the colony was visited by Rev. Paul Tharlackson. Again in the year 1880 Rev. Bjarnason visited the settlement. In 1879 a formal church organization was effected. The first regular pastor was Rev. H. Briem who came to the congregation in April, 1881 and served one year. The next regular pastor was Rev. N. S. Tharlackson, who served from 1887 to 1894. After the close of Rev. Tharlackson's pastorate, Reverend B. B. Jonsson became pastor.
ENGLISH EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH, LAKE BENTON
The Scandanavian Evangelical Lutheran church of Lake Benton was organized May 1, 1886 by Cand. Theol. Jens Grevstad. Rev. Berndt Askevold of Tracy served as pastor from August 22, 1886 until July 1st, 1887 when his successor, Rev. N. Magelson was installed.
On December 27, 1900 the congregation was re-organized and a new constitution was adopted, the new name being Lake Benton Evangelical Lutheran congregation. Members present were Knute Anderson, A. C. Kirkeeng, Ole Thompson, M. Olmem, C. Bostad, Charles Chester, John Thompson, M. Jorgensen, Ole Fjelstad, P. N. Nilsen, Martin Nyhuse, H. P. Solberg and A. E. Haadtvedt. It was decided to support the United Lutheran church from which pastors served during various vacancies.
The present church was built in 1901, the building committee being Ole Fjelstad, M. Jorgensen and Chas. Chester. In the year 1903 a new constitution was adopted changing the name to the present: The English Evangelical Lutheran church of Lake Benton. Mr. and Mrs. Knute Anderson are the only charter members in the church at this time. Mr. Anderson has served as secretary of the church since January 28th, 1908, an unusual record of twenty-eight consecutive years.
The present parsonage was purchased in the year 1925. The church has the following active organizations at this time - Sunday School, Ladies Aid Society, Luther League and Tuesday Club.
Since the year 1886 the following have served as regular pastors, not including temporary service during vacancies: the Revs. Berndt Askevold, H. K. Older, O. C. Myhre, J. F. Swenson, P. Skartvedt, Otto Gerhardt, T. A. Goodmonson and since, September 1926, the present pastor, Rev. O. J. Nesheim.
ST. GENEVIEVE'S PARISH, LAKE BENTON
(By a Member of the Parish)
As we, the younger generation, look back upon our student days, we recall the study of the valiant pioneers who braved the wilds of the frontier. These socalled "heroes of history" took up homesteads that their children might have the privileges granted to all homemakers of the unbroken prairies.
Today we live in a modern age, in which we work with equipment provided for us by others. We see none of the hardships endured in laying the cornerstone to various necessities of life. And thus, we little realized the debt we owe our pioneer parishioners who strove to keep their faith, strengthen it, and bring up their children in the love and fear of God. Means were crude and circumstances meager, yet they were not thwarted in their ambition to establish the Catholic religion in the little village of Lake Benton.
Following is a summary of the heroic deeds accomplished in bringing about St. Genevieve's Parish:
The first Catholics to settle here came from Wabasha county, Minnesota. The settlers consisted of James Gilronan, Sr., who came in 1869; Patrick McCaffrey, Sr., in 1870 and John Kelly, Sr., in 1872. German Catholics came sometime later and made a settlement near Tyler, among whom were the Cliffords and Henslers. In the year 1879 Patrick Hurney and family came through and settled near where Aurora, S. D. is now. Of course, we bear in mind that Elkton, Tyler and Lake Benton at that time each consisted of one merchandise store, for these people were among the first to break the prairie.
The only means of transportation were by ox cart and horse and buggy, so attending mass regularly and frequently was out of the question; yet these people journeyed to Wilno, Tracy and other points where churches had been erected.
As soon as it became known that there existed a Catholic settlement near Lake Benton priests were sent out on mission calls to various points within the parish limits. These priests were transported from place to place among their parishioners by means of team and buggy. Bros. Peter and Thomas Kelley often conveyed them on their missions.
It has been pretty well established that Father John Tori, appointed assistant pastor of New Ulm in 1877, said the first mass in Lincoln county at the John Kelley, Sr., home in 1878. He made one or two other visits at intervals of six months. And the Rev. Alexander Berghold, pastor of New Ulm, paid one or two visits to Lincoln county before 1880.
It is agreed that Father Hanley said the first mass in the village of Lake Benton, coming here from Woodstock, in Pipestone county. This first service was held in the then newly constructed North Western railroad depot.
Later, Mrs. John Donovan, Sr. offered the use of her home for divine services. Here mass was said at intervals of every few months during the summer. Among the priests conducting these services were the Rev. James Trobec of New Ulm, later Bishop of St. Cloud, and Father Rohlinger of Springfield. Among those baptized in the Donovan home was Katherine McCaffrey in 1881.
As the congregation increased, more spacious quarters were needed, and the kind offer of Mr. Skartum for the use of the hall above the drug store was gladly accepted. Father Dyjeski of Wilno made regular visits for several years. But in 1894 the Lake Benton parish was definitely attached to Tracy with the coming of Father Joseph Darche. He built the church at Tyler in 1896, and under his supervision St. Genevieve's was built at Lake Benton in 1898. Father Smalian replaced him in February of 1899, continuing until 1902. Father John Gleason, his successor in Tracy, attend the Lake Benton and Tyler missions until September 1903.
Father Coyle then was appointed as the first resident pastor with Tyler and Russell as missions. And St. Genevieve's began its independent life.
In the year 1898 a movement was set forth to organize parishes in the vicinity of Lake Benton. This was made official through the Articles of Incorporation signed by Archbishop John Ireland, John Stariha, who later became Bishop of Leads, and Joseph Drachi, pastor of Tracy.
Early in 1898 a land grant was given to John S. Tucker and his wife, Etta Norton-Tucker at the sum of $50.00, for the purpose of erecting a church. The contract for building the church was entered into on the 22nd of July, 1898, between the church officials and Charles Rein of Tyler, a builder and contractor, who agreed to furnish all materials, including the foundation, and erect same for the sum of $1,575. Among the signers of the contract were John Kelley, Sr., James Gilronan, Sr. and John C. Donovan.
The church was then erected during the summer of 1898, the building committee consisting of Patrick McCaffrey, James Gilronan, Sr., John Kelley, Sr. and Peter Kelley. Subscription lists tend to prove to us that the sum required to pay for the material was readily acquired through the ever abiding spirit of non-Catholic brethren as well as the Catholics.
Father Darche, our pastor, carved the altar and was assisted in erecting it by the Kelley brothers. This altar served until the year 1933 when the sacturary was remodeled. The Kelley brothers also aided Reuben Taylor in setting up the pews. The first confessional was curtained off and served until 1915 when Monsignor Sheehan of Elkton, donated the present confessional. When the church was completed Father Darche christened it "St. Genevieve's", and the church at Tyler, built in 1896, "St. Dionysius". Katherine Marti, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. B. B. Marti, and Edward McCaffrey, son of Mr. and Mrs. P. H. McCaffrey, were the first babies baptized in St. Genevieve's.
The Altar Society was organized also by Father Darche. The first officers of this organization were: Mrs. J. B. Sullivan, president; Mrs. Peter Kelley, secretary; Mrs. T. M. Kelley, treasurer. The Altar Society retained its name until 1932 when it was formed into the "Rosary Society". In 1898 Mrs. B. B. Marti became an officer of the Altar Society and through her loyalty and tact she served until the year 1926.
Father Smalian was Tracy's next pastor, coming in February, 1899 and continuing until 1902. Father Gleason, his successor in Tracy, attended the Lake Benton and Tyler missions until September, 1903. During Father Gleasons mission here the Altar Society sponsored a number of socials to maintain a fund to be used in purchasing altar linens and other accessories. As we understand, Father Gleason is still living and makes his home in Minneapolis.
In 1903 Father Coyle came as our first resident pastor. As there was no rectory he roomed at the Loy residence. Subscriptions were again listed to provide a fund for furnishing the home.
Prior to 1903 records had not been preserved. Since 1903 to the present time, June 1934, we find there has been 225 baptisms. The first two on record are Tina Mary Dolson, daughter of James Dolson and Laura Mason-Dolson, and Peter Joseph Kelley, son of Peter Kelley and Mary Murphy-Kelley.
On March 20, 1905 a contract was drawn up with the Taylor Bros. contracting firm of Lake Benton, at the sum of $2,000, for the purpose of erecting a rectory. This contract was signed by Michael Biever and Benedict Determan, the trustees. By July, 1905 the residence had been completed. Funds had been secured for its erection through donations from Protestants and parishioners alike. We needs must say that without the able assistance of our Protestant fiends our people could not have accomplished the remarkable work we commend them for today.
Father Coyle now set to work in earnest to improve the immediate surroundings of the church and rectory. He purchased and planted the evergreen and apple trees, in addition to laying out a garden. Sidewalks were laid and in a comparatively short time the beauty of our parish lots had been greatly enhanced.
In 1908 Oliver Roscoe, Sr. and John F. Kelley were appointed as trustees by Father Coyle. The former served until the time of his death in 1919, when Charles Zimmer was appointed in his stead. Mr. Zimmer and Mr. Kelley have since continued as the Parish trustees.
In the year 1910 funds were obtained by socials and other entertainments to provide an organ for the church. Previously there had been no choir, but since we have never been without one.
The first missionaries to come to us were Fathers Bush and Archander. They held services in approximately the year 1912. Two years later, in 1914, Father Coyle was transferred to Jesserland, near Belle Plaine. There he remained until his death in 1924. It remains to be said that with his earnest efforts the cornerstone was laid to St. Genevieve's Parish.
The present cemetery lot was donated to the Parish by Michael Biever in 1915. Evergreens and shrubs have since been planted to establish a peaceful resting place for our faithful departed.
During the trying years which followed, the Parish struggled to retain financial respectability; yet expenses had been so excessive that undoubtedly distressing conditions faced the new pastor, Rev. Father Doyle. How fortunate to secure such an able steward in time of need! Shortly, rapid flourishes were made toward clearing the deficit in the treasury through various means of public entertainment. With splendid co-operation and diligent work of the ladies of the parish, these entertainments were made highly successful. The Society officers, Mrs. Marti and Mrs. Roscoe, strove earnestly and efficiently to insure success in their undertakings.
Besides becoming financially independent the parish contributed to the Archbishop Ireland Educational fund which originated in Lake Benton in about 1910. Another was the Cathedral fund, to which the last contribution, made November 4, 1915, was a sum of $384. Father Doyle instigated the annual financial report, which made the payment of pew rent official. Formerly collections were taken up to pay pew rent and meet other disbursements. By the financial statement, all could ascertain the necessity of unity and co-operation.
A mission was conducted by Father Carlin about the year 1915. Every few years a mission or devotional service was held under the direction of Father Doyle, with the assistance of Father Carlin of Marshall, or Father Cahill of Tracy.
Father Doyle, who was well known in Lake Benton and all the neighboring parishes, left hosts of friends, both Catholic and non-Catholic, when he was transferred to Green Isle, Minnesota, Nov. 15, 1923.
Miss Ann Powers served as housekeeper for Father Doyle for several years until her marriage to George McCaffrey. She donated her services in painting and varnishing all the woodwork and floors in the rectory.
Father O'Sullivan arrived in December, 1923 and continued as our pastor for eight years. Shortly after his arrival he arranged for a mission to be conducted by Rev. Fr. Dominic. This mission took place in the spring of 1924. Other devotional meetings were held at various intervals.
Though the fact remained that his people had no great debts, neither had they funds with which to pay expenses incurred during the year. Many devices were tried out as a fitting means of providing a budget, among which were dinners, bazaars, bake sales, ice cream socials, card parties, dances and plays. Each in turn was successful and many improvements were effected as a result. Some of the most apparent were the cementing of the church basement, new furnace, glassed-in porch at the rectory, interior painting, redecorating of the church and exterior painting of the rectory.
Miss Janey Kelley, who acted as housekeeper for a number of years, donated her work willingly to all undertakings. Miss Roache, her successor, did equally as well and must also be commended on her pride in promoting floral beauty about the parish lots.
In September, 1931 Father O'Sullivan received word that he was to be removed to Redwood Falls. All his parishioners and Protestant associates felt they were parting with a valued friend as well as a spiritual guide, who was sincere and humble in his vocation.
Father Bastyr, who succeeded Father O'Sullivan, had been assistant pastor in Olivia, Minn. before his transfer to Lake Benton. The succeeding autumn he provided for a Japanese party at the pavilion. During his pastorate other card parties, dances and dinners were tendered in addition to numerous collections which were used to reimburse the treasury.
Despite the fact that depression had cast its spell over those three years, many worthwhile attractions were effected. The sanctuary was redecorated and remodeled and the statues repainted in the year 1933. This work was financd chiefly through donations. Father Bastyr, though here but a few years, brought about many modernistic changes in our house of worship. Several missionary services were conducted under his direction, namely, those of Fr. McCann in March, 1932, and Father Mark Hoskins in November, 1933. He also held the Forty Hours Devotion in 1932, at which time Fr. Dobrenski of Ivanhoe, Fr. O'Sullivan of Redwood Falls and Fr. O'Donnell of Minneota, assisted. In the summer of 1933, Archbishop Murray was called to administer confirmation to a class of fifty.
In February, 1934 Father Bastyr was called to Rush City, Minnesota.
Miss Haubrick, the housekeeper, was also a willing assistant in all church activities.
In the history of our parish there are some who have become significant because of their loyal contributions, namely, Oliver Roscoe, Sr. and Nick Peter, church bell; Mrs. P. H. McCaffrey, holy water fount; Mr. and Mrs. F. Fennessey, baptismal fount (Lawrence Biever was the first baby baptized with its facilities); Mr. and Mrs. N. A. Peter, Blessed Virgin statue; Mrs. T. M. Kelley, funds for varnishing pews; Mrs. John Kelley, Jr. and Mrs. Jas. Gilronan, Jr., funds for paint and painting of rectory; Chas. Grubich, sanctuary bell; John F. Kelley, funds for gilding cross; Miss Mae McCaffrey, tabernacle and ostentorium; Miss Kate McCaffrey, velour draperies; Mr. and Mrs. F. L. Brady, crucifix for altar; Mrs. P. H. McCaffrey, ton of coal; Mr. Henry DeWitt, wood for furnace; Mr. Fred Meyer, wood for furnace. Other liberal contributors were Oliver Roscoe, James Gilronan, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Kelley, Mr. and Mrs. P. H. Kelley, Mr. and Mrs. Guy Presby, Mr. and Mrs. D. C. Freiberg, Mr. and Mrs. John F. Kelley.
Those who deserve special mention as church workers are Mesdames James Gilronan, Sr., John Kelley, Sr., Benedict Determan, Oliver Roscoe, Sr., Frank Biever, John Sperka, F. A. Blake, Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Donovan, Mr. and Mrs. B. B. Marti, Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Zimmer also served many years as a Society officer. She deserves much credit in her work of sponsoring card parties and dinners.
In April, 1934 the Rosary Society held a meeting for the purpose of electing officers. Those elected were Mrs. Charles Enke, president; Mrs. Peter Warner, treasurer; Mrs. Thomas Stewart, secretary. It was agreed upon that date that the Society meet once a month at the various homes for social purposes and also to discuss business matters.
At this period in our history we witness the trend of affairs to revert to the hands of the younger generation. We trust that with the earnest co-operation of all concerned, we too, may offer until advantages to our successors.
Father James L. Guinney became our pastor in February, 1934 and continues in the service, as did his predecessors. He has already won the esteem of his congregation and we firmly anticipate the parish will attain to greater heights under his able guidance.
ST. DIONYSIUS PARISH, TYLER, MINNESOTA
Scattered Catholic families moving into southwestern Minnesota began to take up homesteads in the eastern part of what is now known as Lincoln county in the middle seventies. Among these were the Patrick Cronin, Peter Daley, Patrick Clifford, Sr., and Bernard McLaughlin families of Irish descent, and the Mathew Dressen, Peter Jacobs and Peter Krall families of Germany ancestry.
The dauntless spirit of the pioneer had urged them to cast aside the ties of their old homes, and to risk their fortunes on the free lands of the unbroken prairies. Physical handicaps and privations were many, but these they had steeled themselves to endure. But, they missed most of all the consolation of religion. It was a disquieting thought that they had cut themselves aloof from the religious practices of their fathers.
Means of travel were limited. The settlers were poor, few in number, unorganized, and the nearest Catholic churches were at Elkton, South Dakota, Marshall and Minnesota.
Yet these handicaps did not daunt the enthusiasts in this group. In the early summer of 1880, John Dressen was sent to Minnesota, and brought back Father Hanley to the Mathew Dressen home where the first mass was offered up in the presence of a group that thronged the small household.
At this inaugural meeting, arrangements were made for regular visits of the priest. So in subsequent years, at intervals of several months in the summer, Father Hanley kept the little group together by offering up mass at the Patrick Cronin home, at McLaughlins, at Cliffords, at John Proms and the Dressen homestead.
In the middle eighties, Father Dyjeski of Wilno took over the supervision of the congregation and made regular visits to hold services in the homes of the pioneers. But the establishment of a permanent pastor at Tracy made it easier for him to attend the missions along the North Western railroad. And Father Peters took charge of the territory to the South Dakota border. He gathered the Catholics in Tyler for services where a room in the public school was placed at their disposal.
Father Joseph Darche, appointed pastor of Tracy in 1894, took an intense interest in the missions of Tyler and Lake Benton. The Catholics had long cherished the ideal of having a church of their own. But their lack of numbers and limited means seemed unsurmountable obstacles.
However, under the inspired leadership of Father Darche the movement for a new church was launched in 1896. At the outset it received a splendid impetus from the non-Catholic citizens of Tyler who contributed the sum of $335.00 to the cause within a year the entire financial problem was solved.
Three lots in Tyler were purchased from the land department of the Winona & St. Peter Railroad company for the sum of $100.00. The purchase was made in the names of Patrick Cronin, Ed. Boardman, Bernard McLaughlin and Mathew Dressen as trustees of the congregations. These same representatives on Sept. 5, 1896 entered into a contract with Mr. Charles Rein of Tyler for the erection of a church building. The contract specified that the edifice be completed by October 31st of the same year. The consideration for work and material was fifteen hundred dollars.
The church was dedicated on November 22, 1896, being the second Catholic church in Lincoln county. The solemn ceremonies were described in the current issue of the Tyler Journal. Father Darche, the pastor, said the mass, assisted by Rev. Zalwesek of Wilno, and Father Rollinger of Springfield. The sermon was preached by Father McNally of Elkton.
Two days previous the parish had been formally incorporated by Archbishop Ireland under the title of "The Church of St. Dionysius of Tyler". And the articles of incorporation note that Patrick Cronin and Peter Jacobs were the first lay trustees.
Father Darche, a man of tremendous energy, continued to look after the interests of the parish until the early part of 1899. He was a skilled wood-worker and the present high altar is a memento to his labors to embellish the House of God.
In February 1899 Father Smalian succeeded Joseph Darche as pastor of Tracy and its missions, and in June of the same year, the records show that Peter Jacobs and his wife Louise Jacobs donated a three-acre tract on the outskirts of Tyler for a parish cemetery. It filled a long-felt need.
Rev. John Gleason succeeded to the pastorate in 1902, and remained until September, 1903. Rev. Adam Coyle, then, was appointed the first residential pastor of the two parishes of Lake Benton and Tyler. His proximity to Tyler permitted more frequent services and closer attention of the pastor to the various details of parish activities, and this redounded to the spiritual and material life of the congregation.
Rt. Rev. John J. Lawler, then Auxiliary Bishop of St. Paul, was the first bishop to visit the parish. He administered the sacrament of confirmation at St. Dionysius in 1910.
Father Andrew Doyle came to Lake Benton in 1913. He was interested in civic as well as religious affairs and was beloved by all. The parish made steady progress under his regime.
Rev. Geoffrey O'Sullivan was assigned to Lake Benton and Tyler in 1923. The increased numbers made it necessary for Father O'Sullivan to enlarge the church. And this was facilitated by a bequest to the parish in the will of Theo. Dressen.
It was with sincere regret the people of the parish bade farewell to Father O'Sullivan on his transfer to Redwood Falls in 1931. Rev. Robt. Bastyr of Olivia succeeded him. Under Father Bastyr's administration mass was said every Sunday in both parishes. He quickened the religious life of the parish through classes in Christian Doctrine and the missions preached by Father McCann and later by Rev. Mark Hoskins of the Passionist Order.
In February 1934 Father Bastyr was transferred to Rush City and he was succeeded by the Rev. Jas. L. Guinney, the present pastor. Again the congregation is faced with the problems of finding room to house increasing numbers. The church serves a wide area from Balaton to Ruthton and Arco to Russell.
FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH, TYLER
Formerly First Congregational Church of Christ, Marshfield
Mr. Gilbert I. Larson, on page 38 of this history, describes the organization of the First Congregational Church of Christ, the first church to be organized in Lincoln county, which was established at Marshfield in 1878. Regarding previous religious services held in the county the official minutes taken from the records of the church at Marshfield recount as follows:
"Previous to the organization of the church at Marshfield there had been preaching a few times by the Rev. Mr. Arden of Marshall, and his successor, the Rev. H. C. Simmons. In November, 1874 the American Home Missionary Society commissioned Rev. W. A. Stallcop to labor at Marshfield and Lake Benton. During his ministry the church at Marshfield was organized and one communion service held, conducted by the Rev. Simmons of Marshall, August 15, 1875. Rev. Stallcop preached alternate Sabbaths at Marshfield and Lake Benton, and occasionally at the school house on the south side of the lake. After about nine months labor he died, August 16, 1875.
"After an interval of two years Wm. Carl came among us from Blue Earth City and accepted the field for about one year. During his ministry six united with the church, three by profession and three by letter. The first meeting for the election of officers was held at the home of Wm. Carl on January 8, 1879. The following named persons were elected to fill the offices of the First Congregational Church of Marshfield: H. D. Worden and J. W. Fields, deacons; Frank Wood, clerk; Frank Applebee, treasurer."
The first membership roll is given in Mr. Larson's history as noted above, on page 38.
At a meeting held at the school house in Marshfield, May 22nd, 1880 the name of the church was changed to that of the First Congregational Church of Tyler and the organization subsequently moved to the last named village where it is in existence at the present date.
In the spring of 1879 Rev. Wm. Wilson accepted a call to the church at Marshfield and was its pastor for eighteen months, and was acting in that capacity at the time of its transfer to Tyler.
On January 30, 1881 a meeting of the church was held in the school house in Tyler. According to the records this must have been the first meeting held after the transfer of the church to the village, although at the last meeting held in Marshfield an adjournment was taken to the school house in Tyler for a meeting to be held June 6, 1880. At the meeting held January 30, 1881 Rev. A. J. Dake presided, and had charge of the field until April 1st of the same year. The roads being blocked Rev. Dake continued his pastorate until May 1st when he returned to his home at Dolge Center and again returned to Tyler about June 1st, when he was commissioned to labor with the church at Tyler and Lake Stay until April 1, 1882. However, according to the records Rev. Dake continued is pastorate until July 17, 1882. During the summer following the above date Mr. McCollom, a Yale Theological student, accepted the field for a few months only.
On June 1, 1883 Rev. F. L. Stevens was commissioned to take charge which he did, remaining until September 1st, when he returned to Yale Theological Seminary. During his stay a church was partially built and material procured and paid for to complete same. Also, during his stay the church was legally incorporated.
Rev. Henry Fairbanks of Yale Theological Seminary supplied the pulpit during the summer of 1884, until June 1st only, the Rev. Albert Warren of Lake Benton, having supplied during the interim just preceding. On June 1st Rev. Fairbanks was commissioned to the charge. The church was dedicated July 27, 1884, Rev. J. B. Fairbanks of Marshall, preaching the dedicatory sermon. At this time the church was finished and free from debt.
H. M. Herrick of Yale Theological Seminary, supplied the church during the summer of 1885. Rev. Josiah Kidder served sometime during the year 1885.
On November 18, 1885 a Congregational Ecclesiastical Council was held at the church in Tyler for the examination and ordination of D. D. Kidd to the ministry. The Council was composed of the following ministers and lay members: Rev. J. J. Morley, St. Paul; Rev. Albert Warren, Lake Benton; Rev. Josiah Kidder, pastor Cong. Church, Tyler; Mrs. A. G. Young, Etna, Minn.; O. B. Johnson, Springfield, Minnesota, and Isaac Starr, Tyler, Minnesota.
It appears that the newly ordained minister, Rev. D. D. Kidd, served the church as pastor shortly or immediately after his ordination up to about Sept. 1, 1886. Rev. F. C. Emerson then became pastor and served until January 1, 1888. During the summer of 1888 the pulpit was supplied by a student from Carleton College, C. J. Swain. Rev. H. Parsons of Lake Benton, seems to have preached occasionally for a period thereafter. During the summer of 1889 C. J. Swain of Northfield, again served the church as pastor for a period of six months. On April 13th, 1890 Rev. J. H. Moodey was sent to the charge. In January, 1891 Rev. J. L. Martin was called to the field and remained fifteen months. In November 1892 Rev. Even P. Hughes was called and remained fifteen months. Rev. Geo. S. Evans was sent to the field Sept. 16, 1894 and remained as pastor until April 1st, 1895.
September 1st, 1895 Rev. Wm. Lodwick was called to the pastorate and served until July 18, 1897. On January 2nd, 1898 Rev. R. G. Jones succeeded to the pastorate. On December 24, 1899 Rev. W. H. Klose was called to the pastorate and served until Sept. 1, 1900. In November 1900 Rev. John H. Hjetland was called to the pastorate on trial for two months and on January 20, 1901 he was called as the permanent pastor and remained until November 1, 1905. On February 23rd, 1906 J. P. Killen was elected to the pastorate, but the record does not indicate whether or not he accepted the call, but he evidently did not as on Mar. 21st following Rev. S. T. Beatty was called and served about one year. In April, 1907 Joseph Johnson was called to the pastorate for a period of three months.
On January 10th, 1907 Rev. D. T. Jenkins was called and served as pastor until August 10, 1912. At a meeting held February 8th, 1915 a Christian Endeavor Society was organized and officers elected. Rev. John Imlay was given a call to the pastorate at a meeting held in June, 1915, but it does not appear whether or not he accepted. Rev. Lindsley served the church during the years 1916-17-18-19-20.
During the cyclone in the late summer of 1918 the church was totally destroyed and in the summer of 1922 a new, brick church was erected and dedicated October 8th of that year. For a time thereafter Revs. J. H. Hjetland, Wheeler and Griffith filled the pulpit as supplies. Rev. R. E. Roberts was called to the pastorate at a meeting held November 5th, 1922. On December 16, 1923 Rev. J. J. Dalton was given a call to the pastorate which he accepted and served until Dec. 1st, 1925. On October 18, 1925 Rev. C. A. Blanchette was called to the pulpit for a period of five and one-half months, at the end of which he was re-hired for a period of six months and at a meeting held April 26, 1926 was called for an indefinite period, serving until about December 15, 1926.
After the last foregoing date no record is available. However, we are informed that the organization is still intact.
DANISH EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH OF AMERICA
An account of the organization of the Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, at Danebod, Tyler, is given by Gilbert I. Larson in his history of Lincoln County on Page 41 of this History. The following is an account of the dedication of the splendid church edifice erected by the congregation in 1895, under the direction of Rev. H. J. Pedersen, founder of the church organization, and taken from the files of the Lake Benton News for June 19, 1895:
Danish Lutheran Church Dedicated
It was an immense congregation of people, variously estimated at from 1,000 to 1,500, which gathered to witness the dedication of the Danish Lutheran church half a mile south of Tyler, Sunday, June 16th. From early morn until noon people came from all directions. Indeed, not a few who came from long distances arrived the evening previous. Many came from South Dakota, some from as far as Aberdeen, even far off eastern Minnesota and southern Iowa furnished a fair quota of visitors.
The dedicatory ceremonies were begun by a prayer and a short address of welcome to the visiting ministers and all assembled, by Rev. H. J. Pedersen, the resident minister. A hymn was sung and then Rev. P. Kjolhede of Alden, Minn., gave an address and congratulated the people upon the evidence of prosperity and the zeal with which they had prosecuted the work of constructing this magnificent building which was about to be dedicated to the service of God. The idea of such an imposing structure as was here beheld did not enter the mind of even the most enthusiastic among the small but devoted band of the sons of Denmark who held the first meeting in Lincoln county about eight years previous. The first meeting was held in what the poet called God's first temple - a grove - on the beautiful island in Lake Benton. The resident minister was present at the initial meeting and to him the speaker said, too much credit could not be given for the untiring zeal and great ability which he displayed from the day he landed in the county; and now that his efforts were to be crowned with magnificent success, well might he be entitled to the hearty congratulations of everyone.
After singing of another hymn the dedicatory ceremonies proper were begun. Rev. A. S. Nelson of Whithe, Wis. preached the dedicatory sermon. The church was then dedicated by him, assisted by the other ministers. Rev. A. Faber of Erwin, S. D., then ascended into the pulpit and preached a sermon appropriate to the occasion. Two children were christened and the exercises closed until 4 o'clock.
At the opening of the afternoon exercises, Rev. R. Hansen of Hetland, S. D., preached a sermon preparatory to the communion which immediately followed. A short sermon by Rev. Gravengaard of Iowa, concluded the dedicatory ceremonies.
It will probably be well to give a short history of the church and this can be easily written. The foundation was laid in 1893 but a hall storm soon after destroyed the crops of the greater portion of the farmers, so nothing more was accomplished that year. In 1894 the frame was put up and 1895 witnessed the completion.
The building is a magnificent structure in the form of a Greek cross. It is an exact copy of the celebrated Cross church at Vallekilde, Denmark. Everything from the floor to the ceiling, and from altar to gallery is simply perfection in workmanship and design. And everything from wall to spire has been done by home talent. There are three entrances - west, south and north. The main entrance is from the west. All woodwork in the interior is hardwood - floors, seats, pillars, ceiling, etc. The seats are solid oak. The seating capacity is 400 on the first floor and 200 in the gallery. The general supervision of the work of building the church was in the hands of a committee consisting of A. C. Nielsen, Nis Wogensen, Chris H. Duus and Hans Laursen, and the structure eloquently testifies to their ability for filling their positions.
Niels Jensen had charge of the carpenter work, and Hans Laursen showed that he was an expert in the use of the brush. So perfect is everything done that it seems impossible to say that any one part of the building is more entitled to praise than any other portion. And to say as we have, that everything in general and in particular is apparently as perfect as perfection itself, would seem to be sufficient to cover the subject. But the pulpit, the altar and the baptismal fount were especially admired by us as well as everyone else. The pulpit and altar were constructed by Prof. Waldemar Peterson, teacher in the Danish college. Mr. Peterson gives instruction in carving (slojd) to a class of scholars. The pulpit and the altar were hand carved with inlaid and raised figures, and the skill and ingenuity displayed caused everyone to stop and examine them. The substitution of carving and statuary for the altar paintings ordinarily seen is a departure which reflects credit upon the originator of the designs as well as upon the workman. The baptismal fount is made of marble, and it is carved in a very artistic manner by Christian H. Duus.
The church cost about $6,000, and is free of all incumbrance. The regular attendants will probably be nearly 700, and the average number present at every meeting will probably not be far from 400.
THE BAPTIST WORK AT TYLER
By Rev. J. R. Brygger
The first missionary work on this field by Danish Baptists was begun by Missionary N. L. Christiansen who came to this county for the first time in 1894 and held a series of meetings. This work was continued by Rev. Markus Hansen and others.
Those who were converted united with the Baptist church at Lake Benton until 1899 when it was decided to organize a church in Tyler. The Danish Baptist church of that place was organized July 31st, 1899 with nine charter members.
In the fall of 1899 the church dedicated a house of worship located in the village of Tyler and in 1900, through the co-operation of the Minnesota Baptist State Convention they were able to have a full-time pastor. This pastor was Rev. J. P. Nielsen who rendered a great service until 1904, when failing health compelled him to retire. In October, 1905, the church called Rev. B. Jacobsen to be their pastor, the church at this time reporting a membership of fifty-five. Rev. Jacobsen served the church until November 1908. He was followed by Rev. J. E. Christiansen from February 1909 to October 1913, when Rev. Chris Petersen began his work and served the church until the fall of 1917. During his Christmas vacation in 1917, J. R. Brygger, then a student at Des Moines College, visited the church, and shortly after received a call to become its pastor, and on June 12th he began his work at Tyler. He was ordained to the gospel ministry on July 21st, 1918.
The work was well begun, but not without difficulties, as well-known and remembered by many Lincoln county citizens that on August 21st, 1918, a terrible cyclone swept over Tyler and among the many buildings destroyed was the Danish Baptist church. However, none of the members lost their lives, and with great courage the little flock began planning a new church building which was completed the following year at a cost of $6,624.45 and dedicated November 9, 1919, with all bills paid. This was made possible by the sacrificial giving of the members, as well as liberal gifts from Danish Baptist churches in other places, amounting to over $3,000, a grant of $1,500 from Tyler Relief Fund, besides several gifts from friends round about Tyler, and thus the work had a new beginning. The following year the residence then belonging to W. P. Stork was bought for a parsonage and moved across the street and placed beside the church.
After serving the church about seven years and a half, Rev. J. R. Brygger accepted a call to Iowa and left Tyler January 1st, 1926. At the same time Rev. H. H. Sorensen, coming from Montana, began his work at Tyler and served the church until August 1930, when the church extended a call to its former pastor, J. R. Brygger, who at present is serving the church.
As time has gone on many changes have taken place, so also in the church work. The work that was thus begun in the Danish language has, for the past nine years, been entirely changed so that all services now are conducted in the English language.
IMMANUEL EV. LUTHERAN CHURCH, TYLER, MINN.
Compiled by Rev. A. Martens, Feb. 29, 1936
Before compiling the history of the Ev. Lutheran church of Tyler, it may be well to note that it is impossible to give the history of this parish separately, because the Tyler parish has so far never been served separately, but always together with some neighboring congregation. In order, therefore, to give as complete a history as possible of the Immanuel Lutheran church, and to get a better insight into the difficulties and obstacles confronting the early pioneer Lutherans of these western counties, it will be well first to mention something of its historical background. The writer of these lines has endeavored as accurately as possible to compile this brief history. If certain facts set forth should not be perfectly accurate it is due to the absence of official records.
The beginning of the Immanuel Lutheran church is closely linked to the German immigration movement besetting the younger generation of Germany after the Franco-Prussian war. Every major warfare will inevitably draw a period of depression in its wake involving both engaging parties, the vanquished as well as the victorious nation or nations. Though Germany had won the Franco-Prussian war the labor and housing problems natural to a period of depression became extremely acute. One mark a day (24 cents) was in many parts considered very good wages. In some communities wages ranged as low as 40 to 50 pfennigs (9 to 12 cents per day). But even under such conditions it was very difficult for many to obtain work or a permanent position. Under such prevailing circumstances, American homesteads, low priced farm lands, and unbounded opportunities were very desirable objects for German emigrants. In some parts of Germany to marry automatically meant to emigrate to America. Thousands of newlyweds sought American hospitality as the only possibility of establishing a carefree and promising home. What the depression did not accomplish was done by Germany's compulsory military training, which robbed the young men of three years' valuable time to establish themselves, which inconvenience a young man could best escape by migrating to America. Thus the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian war brought a number of German families of the Lutheran faith into this part of Minnesota.
While the earlier German Lutheran settlers of St. Paul and surrounding counties were already enjoying the advantages of well organized congregations and Christian schools as early as 1860 under the guidance of synodical supervision, their fellow Christians of the western counties were chiefly dependent upon the kindness of some self-made preacher who would visit the homes to baptize the children and to administer unto the sick. A certain Pastor Vetter would in such capacity occasionally visit the western counties.
In 1876 the Ev. Lutheran Minnesota Synod, established since 1860 in St. Paul, offered some spiritual relief to the pioneer Lutherans of the western counties by stationing the Rev. J. J. Hunziker in Posen township, near Wood Lake. Pastor Hunziker canvassed several of these western counties and established several preaching places. In 1879 the Minnesota Synod granted Pastor Hunziker an assistant in the person of the Rev. Christian Boettcher who located at Minneota, Minn. Pastor Boetther's great missionary zeal and marvelous physical strength enabled him to open twenty-seven preaching stations, nineteen in Minnesota and eight in South Dakota. Such rigorous labor under pioneer conditions will, however, mar the health of the most robust person. Pastor Boettcher also experienced this. Whereupon he concentrated his efforts chiefly upon what became known as the Balaton field, consisting of Balaton, Tyler, Minneota, Marshall, Amiret, Tracy, Walnut Grove, Island Lake, and Arco. The year 1884 marked the beginning of regular services and systematic instruction of the young under the care of Pastor Boettcher. Unfortunately Pastor Boettcher's health broke down completely in the year 1885, forcing him to retire from the ministry. The resulting vacancy of about three years, until October 4, 1888, proved rather harmful, inasmuch as it considerably reduced the number of souls of the above mentioned fields. No records of Pastor Boettcher's ministerial acts are extant.
The Rev. Reinhold Poethke, a graduate of Dr. Martin Luther College, after October 4, 1888, became the successor to Pastor Boettcher's field of activities, serving, however, only Balaton, Tyler, Island Lake, Amiret and temporarily, Fountain Prairie. In the year 1900, Pastor Poethke by reason of "insidious throat trouble" was forced to retire from the ministry. He retired to Marshall and is now residing at St. Peter. His successor was the Rev. R. Fehlau. He served Balaton and Tyler during the days of January 1, 1901 to June, 1904. Pastor Fehlau resigned to accept a call into the Missouri Synod. His last charge was that of Jewish and Polish mission work in Newark, N. J., and New York City. During the vacancy which ensued Prof. John Meyer of New Ulm served Balaton and Tyler with the means of grace. The charter members of the Tyler parish at this time were the following: John Brandt, Charles Fink, Wm. Hagedorn, Charles Rein, Ed. Schnell, Wm. Schnell, Fred Strieker, Fred Schulz, Julius Abraham, Henry Ritz, Louis Heil and Christian Cupp. Only Ed. Schnell and Christian Cupp are still living.
The Rev. Paul Scherf was the next pastor to serve Balaton and Tyler, taking charge in January 1905. Besides serving Balaton and Tyler he also served Arco from 1907 to 1920, and temporarily Walnut Grove, 1917 to 1919. Pastor Scherf served Tyler for fifteen years. At this time he has charge of a parish in Roscoe, S. D. In 1920 arrangements for a new parish, consisting of Tyler, Arco and Hendricks, were made. To this field the Rev. A. H. Birner was called and he entered upon his duties the latter part of May, 1920. During his ministry at Tyler services were held in the Catholic church. Pastor Birner, however, after seven years of faithful work, was forced to discontinue his labors at Tyler, because of the great distance between the parish at Hendricks and Tyler, thus incapacitating him to do justice to the great amount of work in these congregations. Pastor Birner served Tyler from 1920 to 1927. He is at present in charge of the parish at Hendricks and Arco. In 1927 he parish arrangements were again changed, now consisting of Burchard and Tyler. The Rev. A. Martens, then a student at Concordia Seminary, in Springfield, Illinois, was called to serve this field. He entered upon his duties October 11, 1927 and continued to serve Tyler and Burchard until July 8, 1928, after which he returned to Concordia Seminary to complete his theological course.
During Rev. Martens' ministry the Tyler congregation chose the name Immanuel Ev. Lutheran Church of Tyler. The work at Tyler and Burchard, after Rev. Martens left, was carried on by the Rev. H. Weichmann, also a student at Concordia Seminary. He served Tyler and Burchard from July 15, 1928 to July 28, 1929, and in September of the same year he returned to Concordia Seminary to complete his theological studies. Rev. Weichmann is at present located at Ellensburg, Wash. Both Rev. Weichmann and Rev. Martens did what was commonly known as supply work. It was customary at the theological Seminary at Springfield, Ill. that a year before the completion of the Seminary course, each student had to do supply work for one year. The purpose for this arrangement was to gain some knowledge of the ministry by personal experience.
After Rev. Martens had completed his theological studies he was called to take charge of Tyler and Burchard as the regular pastor. He was ordained and installed into the holy ministry by the Rev. A. H. Birner of Hendricks, a former pastor of Tyler, on August 4, 19129, thus becoming the first regular pastor of the Tyler and Burchard, but during the year 1931 another parish, the Zion Ev. Lutheran parish, called Reverend Martens as their pastor. This call was accepted and Pastor Martens entered upon his pastoral duties there February 8, 1931. For some time Pastor Martens continued to served these three congregations, Tyler, Burchard and Island Lake, preaching at each place every Sunday, but during the Fall of 1932 Tyler and Burchard were combined to form one parish. So at this writing, Pastor Martens is serving what is now known as the Tyler-Island Lake parish.
Thus under the gracious and divine guidance of God, the work of the Lord, the preaching of His Word has been carried on in Tyler some fifty-seven years, and it can be truthfully said that many have been the blessings that were showered upon this parish at Tyler. May the Lord, the God of all grace and mercy, continue to bless His work in the Tyler parish in the future as He has done in the past. To God alone be all praise and glory.
FIRST ENGLISH EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH, TYLER
Late in January, 1915 Rev. K. G. Hatten, pastor at Astoria, S. Dak., held a service on a week-day evening at the Tyler Congregational church. Although but a few were present at this meeting it was resolved to hold services every third week in the D. B. S. Hall. Under this temporary organization, the first child baptized was Bernice Lange, and the first confirmation class comprised fifteen members.
At a called meeting January 2, 1916 the congregation was organized. The following were present: Theo. S. Paulson, Dr. A. L. Vadheim, S. H. Oxholm, T. P. Hermanson, C. J. Fredericksen, Harvey Swendsen, A. Lange, S. Severson, and Rev. K. G. Hatten. A constitution was adopted and Rev. Hatten was called, preaching his first sermon as pastor of the congregation March 5, 1916. The charter members included Dr. A. L. Vadheim, T. P. Hermanson, John Anderson, H. J. Svendsen, S. Severson, Severt Vadheim, C. J. Fredericksen, Andrew Nelsen, S. H. Oxholm, T. S. Paulson and their families.
Rev. Hatten resigned in 1918 and the vacancy was temporarily supplied by Revs. Rodholm and Sorensen of the Danish Lutheran church until Rev. A. H. Bergh of Ruthton was called in 1919. In April, 1920 the Rev. A. H. Birner of the German Lutheran church was called.
In December the same year the English and the German congregations were united, forming the First English Evangelical Lutheran church of Tyler, Minn. On August 6, 1923 Rev. Birner resigned and Rev. T. A. Goodmonson of Lake Benton continued the service as pastor, beginning August 21st. During the same month the congregation decided to construct a basement for church purposes. John Brandt, Dr. A. L. Vadheim and C. J. Fredericksen were named as a building committee. The contract was let Sept. 9 and on November 14, the same year, it was dedicated. The congregation was incorporated February 16th, 1924. Rev. Goodmonson resigned June 1st, 1926 and the present pastor, Rev. O. J. Nesheim, was called, beginning his service September 5, 1926.
The progress of the congregation soon outgrew the capacity of the basement, especially for the Sunday school. At a regularly called meeting for such purpose, August 8, 1929, it was resolved to build a church. T. P. Hermanson, Christ B. Larsen, P. N. Sandager, Frank Brandt, Mrs. W. P. Stork, and Mrs. Frank Brandt, with the pastor as ex-officio chairman, were elected as a building committee. On April 22, 1930, the congregation unanimously accepted the plan approved by the building committee, authorizing building procedure. The building was completed on October 25, 1930. The following Sunday, October 26, the church was dedicated by Dr. G. M. Bruce, second vice-president of the N. L. C. A., assisted by several pastors of the Luverne Circuit of the Southern Minnesota District of the N. L. C. A., the Synodical church body.
The congregation is progressing with the following active organizations: The Ladies Aid, Sunday School, Luther League and two choirs. All are welcome at the First English Evangelical Church of Tyler, Minn.
"Come with us and we will do thee good."
THE MISSION CHURCH OF TYLER
By Rev. C. S. Matthews
The Open Door Mission of Tyler, Minn. originated from evangelistic services conducted by the Reverend John Croft of Windom, Minn. in January, 1903. There were about one hundred twenty-five converts. For several years the services were conducted in different buildings and homes of the members.
In the year 1919 a lot was purchased in the last block on No. Main street. Here a permanent church building was erected. In the month of August of the same year the church was dedicated and named The Open Door Mission, although it is commonly called and known as the Mission church.
The Mission is independent and undenominational in principle. Its doctrine is based upon the Holy Scriptures.
The pulpit was filled by local preachers for several years. Of late, however, pastors have been called from undenominational societies.
Some of the original members were Marion Overgaard, Nellie Reid, Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Starr, Mr. and Mrs. H. A. Stricker, Mrs. Ella Knapp, Mr. and Mrs. C. S. Stensgaard, Mr. and Mrs. John Phillips, Mr. and Mrs. J. N. Nelson, Soren Nelson, Peter Nelson, Cornelius Nelson, Mr. and Mrs. T. J. Bigham, Mrs. R. H. Sisson, Mr. and Mrs. Ed. Erickson, Mr. and Mrs. E. C. Paul, Mrs. Rudolph Peterson, Mrs. H. P. Christensen, Miss Carrie Christensen, Mr. and Mrs. William Lindermann, and Mrs. Christine Olson.
Few of these remain in the present congregation, and many of them have gone to their heavenly home, while others have moved to different localities.
METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH, VERDI
The Verdi Methodist Episcopal church was organized about 1885 and at that time was part of the Lake Benton charge and had the same pastors. Just when the Altona district was added, the writer does not recall, but Rev. Stone had the three charges.
Following Reverend Stone was Rev. Leazer, a very energetic pastor who canvassed the community and secured pledges sufficient to warrant him to build the present church edifice. He made a trip to Winona and bought the lumber, windows, paint, and furnishings for $1,250.00. The mason work was done by R. C. Mitchell and the contract for carpenter work was awarded Peter Anderson of Lake Benton. This was about 1898.
On the day the church was dedicated a large crowd was in attendance. When the lights were ordered from Montgomery Ward & Co. and mention was made of the new church, they donated carpeting for the pulpit and aisles. Among those who so generously donated towards the building and helped support the church and Sunday school during the following years were: T. H. Reynolds and family, James Ratcliffe, G. W. Lambert, the Heilig family, Milo Milliren, Z. Bailey, Albert Enke, Ed. Dake, Claus Johnsen, Ole Hansen, John Stevens, Frank Robins. T. H. Reynolds, in particular, was always ready and willing to do more than his share to promote the welfare of the activities of the church and held an official position until old age prevented further work, when his sons shouldered the responsibilities. Mr. Reynolds was superintendent of the Sunday school and taught the Bible class for many years. Some of the children of the early settlers still live in the community and carry on the work.
The Sunday school of early days should be mentioned when Claus Johnson, Mr. Lambert, Mr. Ratcliffe, Charles Heilig and Milo Milliren would bring in a wagon or buggy with all the family and together with others, would spend a profitable hour in the study of the Bible with teachers who were always there; the organist, Mrs. Ghering, was always at her post. After the close of the Sunday school the neighbors would spend a short time visiting as this was about the only time the ladies would see one another.
When the church was finished and at the time of the first service, Rev. Leazer organized a Ladies Aid with a membership of nearly every lady in the community. Of the original number who signed, only two still live in the neighborhood, Mrs. Ole Hansen and Mrs. Frank Robinson. Several have passed away; others moved. The president who served the longest term was Mrs. James Ratcliffe. The Aid is still functioning under the guidance of younger members and is a valuable adjunct to the Church. The Aid is more of a community project, as ladies from all denominations attend and some of the best workers have no church affiliations. It is this co-operative spirit that has made it such a social asset to the community.
About 1920, the question of transferring Verdi and Altona to the Ruthton charge so as to open services again at Ruthton, was brought before the members, and a majority voted for the transfer and at the same time Verdi and Altona members voted to purchase a parsonage in Verdi, so the pastor could reside here. It was used only a few years. The first pastor was Harry Illingsworth, followed by Albert Wiuff, William J. Rossiter, Mr. Sanderson, and the present pastor, Reverend W. J. Davidson. Each pastor served two years or more.
Being the only church in Verdi, members of other denominations have attended the Methodist church and Sunday school and have shown a fine co-operative spirit in helping support the church activities. The church is here to serve the spiritual needs of the entire community.
FIRST LUTHERAN CHURCH, HENDRICKS
Compiled by Rev. P. L. Mork
The history of this Church is intimately connected with the first Christian congregation to be organized in this community, namely, the Singsaas Lutheran Church, whose house of worship is located in Brookings county, South Dakota, less than a mile from the state boundary. This congregation was organized October 26, 1874 and its first pastor was the Rev. A. O. Utheim. Synodically, it was affiliated with what was then known as "The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America", a group of Lutheran churches affiliated under the leadership of that pioneer among Norwegian Lutherans in this country, Elling Eielson. Later, many of these churches formed what was known as "Hauges Synod". The Singsaas Parish was a member of Hauges Synod till the year 1917 when a synodical merger brought it into the synod now known as "The Norwegian Lutheran Church of America".
Besides its main church, Singsaas parish has built three others. One of these was the house of worship which now belongs to the First Lutheran church of Hendricks. This small edifice, which the church now would like to replace with a more serviceable building, was built in 1903. It was called the East Church, being situated in the east end of Singsaas parish of which it was part. Services were held interchangeably in the two churches and for several years all of these were conducted in the Norwegian language. Children from this end of the parish would walk to the parsonage which is located by the Singsaas church to receive cathechetical instruction. Confirmation srvices were alternated between the two churches from year to year.
The clergyman who served this parish the longest and who is remembered by many of the present members of the congregation with thanks to God for what he was, and did, and represented, is the late Rev. Jacob J. Eske. He was pastor from 1896 to 1925. He was a man of sturdy and pious qualities, a consecrated Christian, and sincerely devoted to the duties of his calling. He was succeeded in the ministerial office in 1925 by the able and aggressive Rev. Erick E. Espelien who was pastor of the charge till 1930. The church was temporarily served by Rev. B. A. Steverson, then located at Pipestone, Minn. The present pastor, P. Lauritz Mork, began his services in September 1932.
First Lutheran church of Hendricks was formally organized as an independent congregation on February 17, 1930 and the following year obtained title to the church property at Hendricks. The congregation is not a member of any national Lutheran body or synod but is a free church. However, it has annually supported the Missions and the educational and charitable institutions of the Norwegian Lutheran church of America of which it is a child. During 1935 the contributions totaled $575.25. Though no longer a part of Singsaas congregation, it is affiliated with the latter in the joint support of the pastor and together with it constitutes the Singsaas-First Lutheran parish of Hendricks.
The active organizations and their present presidents are as follows: The Dorcas Ladies Aid, Mrs. J. P. Bogen; Young People's Luther League, Miss Elaine Johnson; The Busy Bee Society, (member of synodical L. D. R.) Carrine Bogen; The Junior L. D. R., Lois Ness; South Lake Hendricks Mission Society, Mrs. G. B. Johnson; The Sunday School, P. P. Sagmoe, Sr., Superintendent.
The membership at present (1936) is a total of 253 souls, or about sixty-five families. Of these about two-thirds dwell in the village of Hendricks. Present congregational officers are as follows: President P. L. Mork; Vice president, Jay P. Bogen; Secretary, Albert P. Sagmoe; Treasurer, Sam Bogen; Board of Deacons, P. P. Sagmoe, Sr., Theodore Thoreson, Haldo Kvernmoe; Board of Trustees, P. P. Sagmoe, Jr., Ole Kvernmoe, Peder Bogen; Organist, Carrine Bogen, and Custodian, Marius Ofstad.
THE MARBLE LUTHERAN CHURCH
By Rev. C. Haugen
The Marble Lutheran Church dates it beginning in common with the St. Stephen's Lutheran church of Canby. That congregation was organized July 10, 1871. The geographical area over which the congregation's members were spread made it advisable to divide the membership into three groups. These groupings were called parishes. The "South Parish" was the present Marble Lutheran church.
In 1879 the group in the "South Parish" decided that distance from Canby, community consciousness of the people, and the need for a church house, pointed them towards their destiny as a distinct congregation. That year they withdrew from membership in the Canby congregation, and formed their own congregation, henceforward known as the Marble Lutheran church. That year, also, they built their first frame church building. It should be emphasized, however, that the best of fraternal relations have always existed between the two congregations. This is evidenced by the fact that the two have made up one parish, though distinct congregational entities, and that they have always received ministerial service from the same pastor. Three pastors have served the Marble Lutheran church: the Reverends Olaf Hoel, 1876 to 1915; Paul Moen, 1915 to 1918 to the present.
In common with most groups of one nationality in America, the native tongue (in this case, Norwegian) was the vehicle for the congregational life and services until well past the turn of the present century. Then the members realized their obligation to the community and to posterity and adopted the English language, which since 1922 has been the exclusive language of the church.
Coincident with that change came a rapid growth in membership. The original church building, which through the years had received two additions, became entirely inadequate to room the numbers who desired to worship there. In 1928 a new, larger church was built, which is the congregation's present house of worship. In 1929 the Golden Jubilee of the congregation was appropriately observed.
The congregation's first officers were: Trustees, Jonas Hansen, S. O. Moen, Anders Anderson; Cantor, Gilbert Olson; Treasurer, Anders Anderson; Auditors, Gilbert Olson, Hans Jensen.
The congregation's present officers are Wm. Christianson, Oscar G. B. Olson and Otto P. Christianson, trustees; Ben G. B. Olson, adviser; Morten H. Nelson, secretary; Martin Nelson, treasurer.
LAKE STAY CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH
By Helen Woodard-Blegen
The history of Lake Stay Congregational church corresponds very closely with that of the Marshfield church, it being organized in 1880. Lake Stay township was then a barren prairie and neighbors were far apart.
A meeting was called for the purpose of organizing a church in April that year. Rev. Simmons of Walnut Grove, and Rev. Wm. Wilson of Lake Benton, were present. Four members comprised this organization, viz.: A. H. Carpenter, M. J. Carpenter, Ella F. Chase and A. F. Chase, the latter having previously been a member of the Marshfield congregation. The constitution, covenant and creed as contained in Roy's Manual, was read and adopted with amendments. Arrangements were made for holding services every two weeks, Rev. Wilson promising to act as pastor. Services were to be held at private homes until a school house could be built in the district. At the close of the meeting the first baptism took place, that of John B. Chase, child of Ella and A. Chase. At the next meeting the four charter members were elected to the offices of clerk, treasurer and two deacons.
For the year 1881 Rev. A. J. Drake was pastor. During the summer of 1882 Student McCollum served the church. T. L. Stevens, also a student, preached during the summer of 1883. The three last named were all from Yale University. During the summer of 1884 Henry Fairbanks acted as pastor. During this time twenty members were received into the church, among them being Mr. and Mrs. Amos Porter, Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Faulds, and Mrs. M. F. Woodard.
In the summer of 1884 a pair of twins arrived within the church circle, being born to Mr. and Mrs. M. F. Woodard, who in later years aided in the work of the society, enjoyed the benefits of its activities and profited by its teachings.
In 1885 Rev. Albert Warren took over the pastorate of the church for six month, Student Derrick also preaching during that summer.
The next pastor was Rev. D. D. Kidd for the summer of 1886, and Rev. Warren then took the field for the next three summers. D. E. Smith then served for six months. During 1891 Rev. J. L. Martin served for a period of one year.
At this point in the records mention is made that a women's organization was effected, and that the people raised funds for the purchase of a tent which was set up near the center of the township, where Sunday school and services were held for two summers, Rev. E. P. Hughes of Lake Benton, supplying the pulpit.
Many social gatherings were held at the homes during the life of the organization, and when no regular pastor was on the field many services were held by the District Superintendent and visiting missionaries. Rev. Ludwick of Lake Benton was hired for one year's service as pastor at a later date. Nearly thirty members were added to the list previously mentioned, among whom where Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Tibbetts and Edward Blegen.
During the summer of 1898 Ernest Toan of Carleton College, held services in four different school houses, two in Lake Stay, one in Ash Lake and one in Shaokatan. There were two and sometimes three Sunday schools maintained within this circle. Mr. Toan boarded at the Woodard home during his stay. A Ladies Aid was organized in the summer of 1889 which afforded the community many enjoyable social activities and the church much financial support. Mrs. Moses Roberts was one of the early and active members of the ladies organization. This society functioned for several years, excepting for short intervals.
Thomas Dyke was hired as pastor for the winter of 1899. Mr. Dyke boarded at the Chase home and did much of his traveling on foot or horseback. Later C. H. Maxwell, a Carleton student, then served the church for three months and boarded at the Julius Christensen home. During the summer of 1900, C. A. Culver served the church, boarding at the Woodard home. During this same summer the village of Arco was organized and Mr. Culver held the first services there in the depot. Later on services were held at the lumber yard during the warm months, and during the winter in the office rooms, Rev. Hjetland of Tyler acting as pastor at this time.
In the year 1901 a church edifice was erected, the organization then becoming the First Congregational Church of Arco. A Christian endeavor Society had been organized in 1899 which was still active, having held its meetings in private homes. This society supplied services when no pastor was available. Several members were added to the church roll from the young people's society, among which were Adolph Peterson, Matthew Faulds, Jr., Julius Christensen and Peter Anderson.
The following pastors then served the church: Rev. Thing of Lake Benton, 1902-3, two years; Rev. Hjetland, one year; Rev. Beatty of Tyler, one year; and Rev. D. T. Jenkins of Lake Benton and Tyler, four years. From 1911 to 1913 there were no regular services held. However, Sunday school was maintained and the charge was often visited by the District Superintendent. In 1913 Rev. Nelson was employed for one year. In 1914 Rev. Conrad of Marshall, preached for six months. The church was then served for a time by John Imly. Rev. Lindsley of Tyler, was then hired for five years. The pulpit was then supplied by Supt. Griffiths and other members of the Conference. Rev. Dalton, Rev. Thompsen and Rev. Blanchette were the last three pastors to serve the church.
All active members, with the exception of Mr. and Mrs. Ed. Blegen, having removed from the community, and no new members being available, the work of Lake Stay Congregational Church was closed about the year 1927 and the church building was sold to Arco Bethany Lutheran church, which is being very ably served by Rev. W. A. Bloom at the time this history is being written.
BETHANY LUTHERAN CHURCH OF ARCO
By Rev. W. A. Bloom
A meeting for the purpose of organizing a Lutheran congregation was held at the Congregational church building in Arco, Saturday evening, March 12, 1927. Dr. P. A. Mattson presided as chairman at this meeting and P. K. Jensen was elected as secretary. A constitution was adopted at this meeting which provided for the election of three deacons and three trustees, Messrs. N. P. Williamsen, Chris Bethke and Ev. V. Johnsen being chosen as deacons, and Messrs. P. K. Jensen, Peter Ostergaard and W. A. Krueger as trustees of the new organization. Other officers were duly elected at this meeting, and it was decided to unite with the Ivanhoe Lutheran congregation in the conduct of the services. It was further decided at this meeting to petition the Minnesota Lutheran church conference of the Augustana Synod for admission into that body.
Charter members of the congregation were as follows: Mr. and Mrs. N. P. Williamsen; Mr. and Mrs. E. V. Johnsen; Mr. and Mrs. John Fredericksen; Mr. and Mrs. Welding Johnson; Prof. H. D. Halvorsen; Mr. and Mrs. Julius Christensen; Mr. and Mrs. Albert Aronson; Mr. and Mrs. Erick Pedersen; Chris Petersen; Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Nyhus; Mr. and Mrs. C. Patterson; Mr. and Mrs. Hans Jorgensen; Mr. and Mrs. Hans P. Pedersen; Mr. and Mrs. A. H. Engkjer; Mrs. Emma Howe, J. Bernal Howe; Mr. and Mrs. Vern Faulds; Mr. and Mrs. Peter Ostergaard; Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Bethke; Mr. and Mrs. A. H. Andersen; Mr. and Mrs. Martin Andersen; Mr. and Mrs. Henry Abraham; Mr. and Mrs. William Krueger; Mr. and Mrs. Chris Bethke; Mr. and Mrs. Carl G. Hansen; Mr. and Mrs. Vern Hansen; Mr. and Mrs. Henry G. Pedersen; Mr. and Mrs. Niels Nielsen.
The congregation has been served by several student pastors, the first permanent pastor to serve the congregation being Rev. L W. Yost, 1929-1935. He was followed by the present pastor, W. A. Bloom in 1936.
BETHANY LUTHERAN CHURCH OF IVANHOE
By Rev. W. A. Bloom
A meeting for the purpose of organizing a Lutheran congregation in the village of Ivanhoe was held in the assembly room of the Court House on October 22, 1925. For a great many years the Augustana Synod had conducted mission work in Lincoln county, previous to the time of organization, but no work had been definitely done within the village of Ivanhoe, until about in 1924, a Sunday school was organized and religious services were conducted in Ivanhoe by pastors S. Udden, C. E. Cesander and student-pastor Emery Johnson and others.
A preliminary meeting to the date of organization was held on October 5, 1925 and conducted by Pastor Paul Gustafson, vice-pastor of Elim, and Dr. P. A. Mattson, at which gathering it was decided to post notices for an organization meeting to be held on the 22nd. Dr. P. A. Mattson presided at the meeting of organization, L. T. Pederson was elected as secretary. A congregation of seventy-six communicants and thirty-nine children adopted the constitution of the new congregation which was to be known at "Bethany Lutheran Church of Ivanhoe". The officers elected at this meeting were Messrs. C. L. Pederson, Jens Olmem and Chris Simonsen, deacons, and Messrs. Chris Larsen, Adolph Lovestrand, and A. E. Anderson, trustees. Mrs. Jens Olmem was elected as superintendent of the Sunday school.
It was decided at this meeting to apply for admission into the Minnesota conference of the Augustana Synod in North America. It was further decided at this meeting to seek a suitable building site for a church edifice and the committee chosen for this purpose included Chris Larsen, Chris Simonsen, E. G. Anderson and A. E. Anderson.
Charter members of the congregation were Mr. and Mrs. Adolph Lovestrand; A. O. Lovestrand; Alma E. Lovestrand; Mr. and Mrs. Chas. L. Pederson; Mr. and Mrs. Edward Nyhus; Carl E. Nyhus; Mr. and Mrs. A. E. Anderson; Ann C. Anderson; Mr. and Mrs. Jens Olmem; Mr. and Mrs. Chris Simonsen; Mr. and Mrs. Chris Larsen, Anita Larsen, Leona Larsen; Mr. and Mrs. L. V. Widmark; Arnie Cliffgaard; Mr. and Mrs. A. G. Nelson; Mr. and Mrs. L. T. Pederson; Mr. and Mrs. Edward W. Pederson; Eric M. Anderson; Eric G. Anderson; John Anderson; Andrew Swenson; Willie Swenson; Alice Swenson; Mr. and Mrs. Roy Widmark; Gustaf Anderson; Clara Anderson; Axel A. Anderson; Mr. and Mrs. Albert C. Widmark; Mr. and Mrs. Walter M. Herschberger; Mr. and Mrs. Albert E. Holmquist; Chester E. Holmquist; Edward Carlson; Mr. and Mrs. Roy Joynt; Mr. and Mrs. F. M. Lekander; B. E. Berg; Ernest Soderlind; Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Soderlind; Mrs. Selma Widmark; Arthur T. Pederson; Mr. and Mrs. Morrel J. Widmar; Clifford Widmark; Mrs. A. G. Anderson; Ellen Alvina Anderson; Anna Marie Anderson; Mr. and Mrs. F. C. Pederson; Mr. and Mrs. Adolph Kock; Oscar A. Lundberg; Mr. and Mrs. T. W. Lundberg; E. W. Lundberg; Elmer Lundberg; Mr. and Mrs. Louis Aronson.
Pastor L. W. Yost, 1929-1935, was the first permanent, or resident pastor of the congregation. He was succeeded by the present pastor, Rev. W. A. Bloom, in 1936.
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