Minnehaha County, South Dakota
Source: HISTORY OF Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Growth, Sioux City Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881
transcribed by Karen Seeman
THE CHURCHES OF SIOUX FALLS
With the first immigration to Sioux Falls came the Missionaries of the Church. Men, who, in the spirit of the disciples of old, who left all that they might follow Christ, accepted all the discomforts of the frontier, the hardships that naturally follow in the wake of pioneer life, and the privations incident to the settlement of a new country, that on the extreme limits of civilization, they might be instrumental in establishing the outposts of the Kingdom, and in the name of King Immanuel, might take possession of this goodly land. They came with strong arms, willing hands and warm hearts, ready to do the work to be accomplished.
The Northwest Iowa Conference of the M. E. Church was among the first to recognize the importance of occupying this particular field. In the year 1871, that body sent the Rev. Thomas Cuthbert to organize the work of that denomination in this part of the Territory, and to lay the foundation of a Methodist Episcopal Church in Sioux Falls. He found the members few in numbers and weak financially. He was followed, in 1872, by the Rev. G. M. Curl, who divided his labors between Sioux Falls and other adjacent appointments, preaching first in the old barracks, afterward in the Episcopal Church. Near the close of the Conference Year, in 1873, he had succeeded in the erection of a building, 18 by 26 feet, on Fourth Avenue, near Coats Street, which was used by the society for its public worship until January 1st, 1878, when they occupied the basement of their church on Main Street. Mr. Curl was succeeded by the Rev. J. W. Rigby, who in the fall of 1874, was in turn succeeded by the Rev. G. D. Hook. During Mr. Hook's ministration the society was incorporated under the territorial laws as “The First Methodist Episcopal Church of Sioux Falls," the incorporation being effected August 31st, 1875. The trustees were: A. W. Manning; C. W. McDonald, Mrs. L. E. Gale, H J. Whipple and James Morrison. The Rev. B. B. Scott was the appointee of the Conference in 1875. He was succeeded in 1876 by the Rev. W. Fielder. During Mr. Fielder's ministration the society was exceptionally prosperous. His ability, sterling integrity and manly worth, together with his zeal for the Master, increased the membership, and attracted such audiences, that the little room was no longer large enough for their accommodation, and the Society took steps for the erection of a more commodious building in which to hold services. September 10th, 1877, two lots on the corner of Main and Eleventh Streets were purchased for the Society, and the project for building a church was so far matured that on the 18th of September, the Rev. W. Fielder. R. C. Hawkins and C. W. McDonald were elected a Building Committee and charged with the erection of a church building to cost not less than 13,000. The plans were furnished by A. V. Lambert, of Fort Dodge, Iowa, and the contract for the carpenter work taken by Messrs. Weston & Petterson, of this City. The basement is built of stone; is 32 feet, 10 inches, by 50 feet, 10 inches, and nine feet between floor and ceiling. The audience room is 32 by 50 feet, side walls 18 feet in height, center of ceiling 24 feet from floor. The bell tower is 5 ½ by 11 feet at the ground floor, and 8 feet square above the ceiling of audience room, and 57 feet high. The doors and windows are gothic. The audience room is finished in solid ash and walnut. The total cost of the building when dedicated in August, 1879, was $4,616.40. In 1879 the Rev. S. P. Marsh was assigned to Sioux Falls, and was succeeded in 18S0, by Rev. L. Hartsough. Early in the present year the society built a parsonage on the lot adjoining the church, 20 by 30 feet, one and one-half stories above the basement.
The Congregationalists were among the first of the denominations to occupy Sioux Falls, establishing an ecclesiastical organization here July 1st. 1872, with the Rev. J. A. Palmer as pastor. The church accommodations were of a very limited nature, the Society at first using the old barracks for its public worship. At the completion of Allen's Hall, the church found a new home, and again changed its place of holding service at the completion of Phillips' Hall. Mr. Palmer's pastorate ended in 1874. He was succeeded, in 1875. by the Rev. A. D. Adams, who continued as pastor until 1878. He was in turn succeeded by the Rev. J. N. McLoney, who is the present pastor. On the 6th of March, 1879, the Society was incorporated as the "First Congregational Church of Sioux Falls," with Dr. J. L. Phillips, A. Gale and O. Q. Holman as Trustees. Early in the year, 1879, Messrs. E. A. Sherman, J. B. Young and R. J. Wells were elected a Building Committee and charged with the erection of a church, 36 by 58 feet, with a lecture room, 16 by 27 feet. A contract was made with S. McCormack, and the church was completed in August 1879. The church is situated on the west side of Dakota Avenue, between Eleventh and Coats streets. Present membership of the church, eighty-five.
Protestant Episcopal Church
Bishop Clarkson, of the Episcopal Church, was early in the field, and secured two lots for thelocation of a church for the Episcopal society, which he established here. A building, 20 by 40 feet, to which has since been added chancel and vestry rooms, was built in the summer of 1872. The Society, under the name of Calvary Episcopal Church, was organized September 30th, 1873, by the election of E. G. Wheeler, Senior Warden: F. D. Cowles, Junior Warden; C. H. Winsor, W. A. Cory, J. A. Hand, J. M. Washburn and Dr. J. Roberta, Vestrymen. The Rev. W. H. H. Ross was the first Rector, and acted in that capacity until May, 1874, when he was succeeded by the Rev. W. W. Fowler. At the close of Mr. Fowler's pastorate, the Rev. Mr. Huntington was Rector for a few months, and was followed by the Rev. W. P. Case. Upon Mr. Case's departure from the city, Rev. T. B. Berry was sent to take charge of the society. Soon after the death of Mrs. Berry, which occurred in the spring of the present year, Mr. Berry resigned his pastorate, and returned to New York State, since which time the church has been without regular services. The present officers are: G. V. Quilliard, Senior Warden: G. W. Lewis, Junior Warden; A. T. Fleetwood, E. G. Wright and R. Fleming, Vestrymen.
Through the efforts of the Rev. A. W. Hilton, the members of the Baptist Church were gathered together, and an organization of the society effected, July 4th, 1875. The society at this time numbered ten members, with the Rev. A. W. Hilton as pastor, who continued to act in that capacity until August 1st, 1878. On the 6th of October, 1877, the society was legally incorporated as the ''First Baptist Church of Sioux Falls," with Messrs. M. T. Hogaboom, F. P. Dobson, and M. W. Boulet as Trustees. September 1st, 1878, the Rev. H. K. Norton accepted the pastorate of the church, which position he held until October 1st, 1881, the society at present being without a pastor. There are now twenty-five members of the church, of whom M. T. Hogaboom, B. F. Roderick and M. W. Boulet are Trustees. Arrangements are about complete for the building of a house of worship, the society in the meantime holding regular services in Sherman's Hall.
The Methodist Church
On the 11th of November, 1878, the Free Methodist Church perfected an organization, A. W. Hays, R. Hanson and E. E. Warren, being elected Trustees. The first pastor was the Rev. S. P. LaDue. Mr. LaDue was succeeded by the Rev. D. W. Cook, the present pastor. The society have a small church building on Fourth Avenue, near Coats street, of which A. W. Hays. C. E. Ulrich and George Hyde are the Trustees.
The Second Adventists effected an organization in Sioux Falls during the summer of 1879, their minister having frequently visited the place during the previous year. They now hold services regularly each week in Sherman's Hall. The Rev. E. B. Whitney is pastor. They are now about to incorporate the society as the "Seventh Day Adventists," the trustees being John Hays, L. W. Jones and W. T. Henton. The society have purchased three lots south of the school house, and are awaiting the arrival of the material, ordered some time since, so that they may erect a church thereon, 24x36 feet.
The Rev. John Visher visited Sioux Falls during the summer of the present year and found members enough to form a Unitarian Society. Their place of holding service is Germania Halt. Pastor, Rev. John Visher.
The "Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of Sioux Falls" was organized January 10th, 1877, with the Rev. O. O. Sando, of the Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Synod of America, as pastor. Mr. Sando remained pastor until August 7th, 1881, when the Rev. A. J. Lee took charge of the congregation at Sioux Falls, Split Rick and Slidre. The Society was incorporated under the general Territorial laws on the 31st of December, 1879, under the title of "The Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of Sioux Falls," with K. Thompson, C. E. Jousberg and J. Henjum as Trustees. The Society has purchased the west one-third of lots 1, 2 and 3 of block 6, Phillips' Sioux Falls, upon which they intend building a church in the near future; at present their services are held in the Methodist Episcopal Church. Present membership of the Society, about fifty.
Swedish Lutheran Church
The Augustanus Synod of the Swedish Lutheran Church effected an organization among the members of that denomination, living in and around Sioux Falls, in the year 1873. They now have on their circuit over one hundred members, and are building a church in township 101, range 47, northwest of Sioux Falls. The pastor is the Rev J. H. Randahl.
St. Michael's Society was organized in April, 1879, by the Rev. Father Knauf, with about thirty members. A church was built in West Sioux Falls, which, together with its contents, was destroyed by fire June 23, 1881; loss, about $2,000. Since the destruction of their church, the society has held its services in VanEps' Hall. The society is not as yet incorporated, though steps have been taken to that end; the acting Trustees are: M. Gerin, P. P. Boylan and John Norton. The plans for a new church edifice have been made and accepted; the new structure is to be of brick, 40 by 75 feet, side walls 21 feet above basement, with sacristy 40 by 20 feet, two towers, one 20 feet, the other 50 feet above side walls. Estimated cost of the building, when complete, $8,500. The pastors since the organization of the society have been the Rev. Father Knauf, Rev. Father Brogan and Rev. Father Wm. M. Maher, the present pastor, who began his labors here last August. The present membership of the society is about two hundred.
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