| CHICKASAW COUNTY
Another IAGenWeb Project
The history of many Norwegian families in Chickasaw County is commingled with the history of four Lutheran Churches, namely Saude Evangelical Lutheran Church, Immanuel Lutheran Church (Crane Creek), Jerico Evangelical Lutheran Church, and Immanuel Lutheran Church (Saude).
The following is an attempt to chronicle a few of the significant events of this Norwegian Community, from the perspective of a descendant of the BORLAUG, FAABERG, FRETLAND, KVAALE (QUALLEY) and YLVISAKER families.
Norwegian emigration to America began on 4 July 1825. On that date, 52 Norwegians boarded a small sailing vessel, a sloop called the "Restoration", and made their way to America. Unlike their brothers and sisters who came later, these were religious dissenters, Haugeans (followers of Hans Nielson Hauge)and Quakers. The group was met in New York City on 9 October 1825, by their leader Cleng PEERSON (1782-1865).
After a sojourn in Kendall, New York, in 1834 they migrated west to the Fox River area of Illinois. By the 1840s, Norwegian immigrants had made their way to Wisconsin. The 1850s marked the beginning of Norwegian settlements in Iowa and Minnesota, and by the 1860s they were moving into South Dakota.
We must admire these early immigrants. Oftentimes, after they had reached the port of embarkation, they had to wait one, two or even three weeks for repairs to the vessel on which they had engaged passage. Once underway, their trans-Atlantic voyage would last an average of seven weeks. With unfavorable sailing weather, this might stretch out to ten or twelve weeks. A passenger was usually required to have a supply of food for twelve weeks. Then followed the long and expensive journey inland to Chicago and Milwaukee. All in all, in the early years of immigration, the duration of the journey from Norway to the settlement which was the immigrants ultimate destination, was rarely made in less than nine weeks; often it consumed as much as five months.
The Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, commonly called the Norwegian Synod, began its work in Iowa in 1851. In the summer of that year Reverend Claus Lauritz CLAUSEN (1820-1892), one of the original founders of the Norwegian Synod, visited some of the Norwegian settlements in northeastern Iowa and preached there, being the first Lutheran minister to preach a sermon in the Norse language in northeastern Iowa. In February 1853, the Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church Synod was created.
In 1854, a Norwegian settlement had been established in Utica Township, Chickasaw County, at what was then known as the Little Turkey River Settlement, and is now Saude. They came to this area in ox-drawn prairie schooners. Most of the settlers were born in Telemarken, Norway. Under the leadership of Reverend Ulrik Vilhelm KOREN, the first service was conducted in 1855. A congregation was organized at Little Turkey in 1857. Services were held in homes in those early days, and later in a log church. It was these services in the Saude vicinity that the first Crane Creek settlers attended.
The first Norwegian settlers arrived at the Crane Creek Settlement in Chickasaw County in 1863. These immigrants had settled first near Stoughton, Wisconsin. From Wisconsin, they journeyed to land near Vermillion, South Dakota, where they established homesteads. The Civil War had broken out and there was unrest and disturbances in the air all over. The bloody Indian outbreaks at Spirit Lake, New Ulm, Willmar and other places occurred. The new settlements in South Dakota were fearful of a like fate, but were at that time unmolested. The day came, however, a year or two later, when they too fled for their lives.
Another move was undertaken, this time to Chickasaw County Iowa, more particularly to the Crane Creek area. The old covered wagons, sunbaked and rickety, were hurridly loaded, the oxen hitched and the flight, at a snails pace, was on. The ten families who comprised the original settlement were: Ole Anderson MJOLVER, Thor Halvorson FAABERG, Soren Torbjornson FAABERG, Hans and Otto Olson NIGARD, Kristian Olson STEINBAKKEN, Mikkel Monson RONNEI, Halvor Nilson LYSNE, Jetmund Knudson BJERKE, Helge MATHIESON, and Mikkel SKARE. The next year found fellow countrymen arriving at this settlement directly from the Jostedal Valley, on the Sogn Fjord, in Norway.
In 1864, Reverend KOREN began to conduct services in the Crane Creek area. Many of the Lutheran congregations of northeast Iowa look to Pastor KOREN as their founder, and he is gratefully acknowledged as the one who planted the church in this community. Early records indicate that at the beginning he visited several families and later conducted services in a schoolhouse located on the Andrew ANDERSON farm 1 1/2 miles northeast of Jerico. At first, these services occurred only every six weeks. Occasionally services were also held in the Somerville schoolhouse.
A division occurred in the Crane Creek congregation in 1889, at which time the church property was divided. The majority of the congregation continued its affiliation with the Norwegian Synod, and constructed a new church building in Jerico. The minority of the congregation became a member of the Anti-Missouri Brotherhood, and continued to use the existing church building.
The SAUDE LUTHERAN CONGREGATION was organized by Reverend Ulrik Vilhelm KOREN (1826-1910) in the spring of 1857, at Little Turkey, as the Dale Norsk Evangeliske Menighed. It was organized by eleven families. A log church was built as their house of worship. Records show that burials were made in a plot of ground in Howard County about 1.5 miles north of the present site as early as 1855, before the congregation was organized.
Those who were buried there were moved to the present cemetery, "near the old oak tree with the usual commitment service on 19 May 1862."
Among the settlers who were in the area when the Congregation was organized were:
In 1860, a 1.5 acre plot of ground in Section 20-97-11, Utica Township, was purchased. On this plot the first church, made of logs, was erected. This log church was replaced by a frame structure in 1875. That frame structure was struck by lightening and burned. The Altar painting, by the famous Norwegian - American artist Herbjorn GAUSTA, was saved from the fire. The painting adorns the present building erected in 1903. The Norwegian words on the Altar say, "Den Gode Hyrde" (The Good Shepherd).
Except for the addition of more land, this is still the location of the church and cemetery. The church was located 11 miles north of Lawler. Besides being called the Dale Congregation, it has been known as the Little Turkey Congregation, The Norwegian Lutheran Church at Howard and Chickasaw Counties and since 1922, as the Saude Lutheran Congregation. It has and is known as the "Synod" church, presently affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Synod. It is the oldest congregation in the Synod with a continous affiliation with the Evangelical Lutheran Synod. The name 'Dale Congregation' was last used in 1870.
On 17 August 1875, the cornerstone of the second frame church building was dedicated by Reverend John MOSES. The masonry was done by Ola Anderson SJOBAKKEN, and the carpentry by Lars MOEN of Calmar. The church was 60 feet in length, 40 feet in width, and 20 feet in height. The steeple was 14 feet square at the base and about 100 feet in height. The Chancel was 14 feet long and 20 feet wide. The Trustees at the time this new church was built, were Ole P. DYBEVIK, Halvor HALVORSON and Nils H. OFFERDAL. This second frame church building was struck by lightening and burned to the ground on 8 July 1903.
The cornerstone of the present church was laid on 24 June 1904. Martin JOHNSON of Cresco was the building contractor. The cost of construction was over $6,000. The plans called for a seating capacity of 500. Of the original organizers, only Gregor Olson VAALA was present for this dedication. The Trustees were K.K. STEENSLAND, Muns MUNSON and Iver S. GRINDE. The Pastor was Reverend Jacob G. RUGLAND (1867-1947).
The CRANE CREEK LUTHERAN CONGREGATION was organized in 1867, by Reverend Ulrik Vilhelm KOREN, and sixty Norwegian pioneers. It was first known as the Crowe Creek Congregation. The name Crowe Creek was not used after the year 1874, when the congregation was renamed the Crane Creek Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation. The Crane Creek congregation was affiliated with the Norwegian Synod, but did not officially join the Synod until 1877.
Due to the continued influx of immigrants from Norway, by 1869 the communicant membership grew to one hundred. It was in that same year that Reverend John Christian Tordenskjold MOSES became shepherd of the Crane Creek flock. He served in that capacity for twenty years. Under his leadership, the congregation was incorporated in 1871. In 1875 an 'American' named Sommerville donated land for construction of a church building. Johannes BJORK laid the foundation as a gift. It was also due to the efforts of Johannes BJORK, that the church received a bell, soon after it was constructed. The building site was located one mile east and two miles south of Jerico. The present church building stands on that first plot of land.
For various reasons, this building was not completed and dedicated until 1891. Although unfinished for nearly 17 years, the building was used for services during that time, and a joint confirmation service for Little Turkey Congregation (now Saude) and Crane Creek was conducted in 1875. The church was the center of the Norwegian community. Services were not held in the church every week. On Sundays when there were no services, the men would hold devotions in their homes for their own families. When services were held, they were attended with great devotion.
The Crane Creek Congregation was reorganized, by Reverend MOSES, on 16 May 1877, at which time, the constitution recommended by the Norwegian Synod was adopted. The officers of the congregation elected in that year were: Jetmund KNUTSON, Bernt SONDVOLD and E.E. SLINDE, Trustees; Helge MATISON and Halvor NELSON, Deacons; Bernt SONDVOL, Secretary; and Endre Endreson GORDON, Treasurer. Having applied for membership, the congregation was admitted as a member of the Norwegian Synod at their District Convention held at Story City, Iowa, on 9 - 17 June 1877. Lars HELGEGAARD represented the Crane Creek Congregation, as Delegate.
The 1880s were years of doctrinal controversy for the Norwegian Synod, and the Chickasaw County congregations did not remain unscathed by it. Its basis was "... whether sinful man can in any measure contribute towards his salvation by his faith, OR whether faith itself is wholly a divine gift." The later was the viewpoint of the Norwegian Synod. The congregation became irreparably divided and virtual religious war developed, with guns, pitch forks, axes, and property damage.
For a while, both congregations conducted services in the same church building. This proved an unsatisfactory arrangement. Eventually, the majority group still affiliated with the Norwegian Synod (present day Jerico), made an offer to sell their portion of the property for $600. The minority group withdrew from the Norwegian Synod. They joined the "Anti-Missouri Brotherhood" and have continued to use the existing church building to this day.
At a meeting held 27 October 1889, the congregation was reorganized and a new constitution adopted. The Presiding Officer was Reverend M.F. LUNDE; Attle ATTLESON, Vice President; Gunnar HALVORSON, Secretary; and Andrew GORDON, Treasurer.
Members of the Crane Creek congregation were (original spellings preserved): Endre E. GORDEN, John E. GORDEN, Gutorm OTTESON, Tollev J. ELLESTAD, Peder J. ELLESTAD, Atle ATLESON, Johannes ATLESEN, Jens ATLESEN, Thorkel ATLESEN, Ingeborg NIELSEN, Niels NIELSEN, Hans NIELSEN, Anders THOMPSON, Thosten A. THOMPSON, Ole I. GJELHUUS, Frederik CHRISTENSEN, Otte OTTESEN, Anders H. RONNEI, Ole O. FLATEGJORD, Ole O. HAUGEN, Jetmund ANDERSON, Severin GJELHUUS, Anders I. ASPEVIK, Ingebrekt OLSEN, Mikkel IVERSEN (NJOS), Ole IVERSEN (NJOS), G. HALVORSEN, Jacob GJERDE, Knut SNETHUN, Ole Knutsen OLSEN (OVREGAARD), Ole JACOBSEN, Ole SPERLA, Rasmus BASTESEN, Hans KAASA, Gudmund HILDAHL, Johannes HILDAHL, Otte G. NIGAARD, Thorbjorn SJURSEN, Anne PEDERSEN, Jens NORTHNES, and Jens JOHNSON [Grandfather of the author of this history].
On Friday, the 13th of June 1890 Crane Creek became a part of the United Norwegian Church in America. For two years they were without a regularly called pastor and were served by Reverend M.F. LUNDE and by Reverend Jørg L. SVENØE.
In 1891, Crane Creek, together with Immanuel Church, Saude; First Church, Cresco; and Ridgeway, called Reverend Martin Paulson DOMMERSNAES. Rev. DOMMERSNAES was installed on 28 June 1891, by Dr. F.A. SCHMIDT. Rev. DOMMERSNAES served this four-point parish for ten years, during which time, he lived in Cresco and made regular trips out to conduct services at Crane Creek.
On 14 August 1900, the first church building was struck by lightning and burned to the ground. This was a tremendous blow to the congregation. Within a week a congregational meeting was held, and it was decided that a new building should be erected on the same site, as soon as possible. John A. GORDON, George OTTESON, Thomas ATTLESON, Ole THRONDSON, Mikkel I. NJOS, Ole I. NJOS and Otte OTTESON were elected as the building committee. Construction was delayed until the following spring. Total cost of the new structure was $3,600 including $332 for the bell. During the eleven months between the burning of the church and the dedication of the new, services were held in several schoolhouses in the neighborhood. The new house of worship was dedicated by Reverend G. HOYME, President of the United Norwegian Lutheran Church on 28 July 1901. Earlier in that same month, the cornerstone of the church had been laid on the Fourth of July by Reverend J.O. HAUGEN of Decorah.
Pastor Lars Wilhelm BOE was then installed as pastor of the congregation in August of 1901. Before Pastor BOE was called, the Cresco and Ridgeway congregations separated from Saude and Crane Creek and formed their own parish. Thus, Reverend BOE became the first resident pastor of Crane Creek since 1889.
In 1903 a parsonage was built on the present site. The contractor for construction of the parsonage was Ole I. Olson, a member of the congregation. It was during Pastor BOE's ministry that English services were first conducted.
In 1912, the need for a more suitable meeting place for the Ladies Aid and Luther League and for Christian instruction motivated the congregation to build a parish hall next to the parsonage. This building was constructed in 1913 by Ole I. OLSON as contractor, assisted by members of the congregation.
The parish hall was remodeled in 1953, including the addition of a large kitchen to the west and an entry way to the east. About this time, the parish hall was given the name Bethany Hall.
Up until around 1954, Crane Creek had shared its pastor with other congregation, i.e. Immanuel Lutheran Church in Saude and St. Olaf in New Hampton. It was at this time when Crane Creek began having services every Sunday for the first time in its history.
The IMMANUEL LUTHERAN CONGREGATION in Saude, was organized on 11 May 1889. Reverend M.F. LUNDE of Decorah, served as the first pastor. It was decided that the name of the congregation should be the "Immanuel Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation." The Reverend LUNDE was elected President, and William SANDERSON was elected Secretary. Ole O. BORLAUG and Hans JACOBSON were elected Trustees.
A committee consisting of Hans JACOBSON, Ole SANDERSON, and Nils O. BORLAUG was appointed to draft a constitution. Ole K. HAUGEN and Stener ELLEFSON were received as advisory members of the congregation.
The "charter families" of the congregation in 1889, were: Ole B. BERGE, Nils O. BORLAUG, Ole O. BORLAUG, Hans JACOBSON, Lars SANDERSON, Ole L. SANDERSON, and William SANDERSON.
The following families joined the congregation soon afterwards in 1889: Stener ELLEFSON, Ole K. Olson HAUGEN, John T. BJONDALEN, John J. SIME, John J. LANDSWERK, Anders P. LANDSWERK, Amund HANSEN, Thorkeld J. BJONDALEN, Baard S. VIKDAL brothers and sisters, Rolf ELLEFSON, and Sondre S. LEE.
The Immanuel Ladies Aid was organized during the first part of January 1889 by a small group of pioneer women. In 1906, the charter members drew up a constitution, with the following signing: Mrs. Cecilia VIKDAL, Mrs. Henrietta NERISON, Mrs. Aagot GILBERT, Mrs. Lena HAUGEN, Mrs. Clara ARNOLD, Miss Lena SANDERSON, and Mrs. Aasta ELLEFSON. The following ladies belonged to the Aid, but did not sign the constitution; Mrs. John HAUGEN, Mrs. John SIME, Mrs. Ole HEREID, Mrs. Oaf LEE, Mrs. John RINDE and Mrs. John VIKDAL. These ladies met once a month in their homes during the winter months and twice the rest of the year. They held devotions in the Norwegian language until 1937, when Reverend Hans FINSTAD began using the English language.
The first annual meeting was held 9 November 1889 at the Saude Schoolhouse. The following officers were elected: William SANDERSON, Secretary; Rollef ELLEFSON, Treasurer, Ole O. BORLAUG and Hans JACOBSON, Trustees.
At a meeting held 14 December 1889, it was decided that a church should be built and the dimensions of the building were stipulated. The church was built on land provided by Ole Haugen in the northeast corner of Section 29-97-11 of Utica Township. Services were first held in the new structure in the latter part of 1890.
In 1911, the church was remodeled. The Sacristy, bell tower and steeple were built, and the bell installed. In 1924 the balcony was remodeled and the basement was built. In 1935, acoustical paneling was placed on the interior walls and ceiling to improve appearances and acoustics. The floor of the Sanctuary was tiled in 1950. The sacristy was remodeled in 1951, and a new organ was purchased in 1954.
For many years the Norwegian language used in the service and for business meeting. As the Norwegian language became less familiar to the congregation it was replaced by the English language. In 1930 it was decided that all of the business meetings should be conducted in English. The constitution was translated into English in 1932. Immanuel Lutheran Congregation was incorporated under the laws of the State of Iowa in 1961.
From its organization, Immanuel was a congregation of the United Church which merged with the Norwegian Synod and the Hauge's Synod in 1917, forming the Norwegian Lutheran Church in America, which later became the Evangelical Lutheran Church. In 1961 the Evangelical Lutheran Church merged with the American Lutheran Church and the United Evangelical Lutheran Church to form the American Lutheran Church.
The last service was held in 1974. The burial site lies just west of the Saude Lutheran Cemetery, one-half mile north and one-half mile west of Saude, Iowa.
The JERICO LUTHERAN CHURCH was organized in 1867, by Reverend Ulrik Vilhelm KOREN, and sixty Norwegian pioneers. It was first known as the Crowe Creek Congregation, and after 1872 as Crane Creek Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation. The official name of the church continued to be Crane Creek Lutheran Church until 1923, when they became the Jerico Lutheran Synod Church or the Jerico Evangelical Lutheran Church. They continue to operate under the Articles of Incorporation dated 16 May 1877.
In the 1880s, when the congregation numbered nearly five hundred souls, a doctrinal controversy developed throughout the Norwegian Synod. After much strife in both words and actions, a majority of the congregation decided to maintain their membership in the Norwegian Synod, and sell their interest in the Crane Church property to the minority group.
At a congregational meeting on 16 June 1890, the congregation decided to build a new church. The congregation purchased, from Tollef and Peter JOHNSON for $100.00, a tract of land in Section 27-97-12, Jacksonville Township, just east of the village of Jerico. The cornerstone was laid on 19 October 1890. On Thursday, 9 July 1891 the congregation marched in procession to the new church where the Dedication Service took place. The building was erected at a cost of $1,700. Because it was physicaly located in the village of Jerico, it was commonly call the Jerico Lutheran Church. This first church building burned in 1891. Eleven months later, on 16 June 1892, the church steeple was struck by lightning and the church burned to the ground. A new church was built within five months, to the east of the former building. The cost was $1,800.00. This church building was dedicated on 20 November 1892.
The congregation soon outgrew this second church building. On festival occasions the men would have to go outside in order to give the women and children a place to sit. In the spring of 1913, a building committee consisting of M.K. BLEKEN, H.J. KNUTSON, A.W. OLSON, A. BRAHAM, and Lars AASEN was elected. This new church building was constructed upon the same site as the old. Construction was begun in early June and was completed sufficiently so that the first service was held in the basement on 9 November 1913. The cornerstone was laid on 27 November 1913, and the building was dedicated on 24 May 1914. The total cost of construction was $12,000.
The Ladies Aid held their first meeting on 18 October 1905, at the home of Mrs. Nils ANDERSON. Those in attendance at the first meeting were Mrs. Andrew ELLINGSON, Miss Ida ELLINGSON, Mrs. Nils ELLINGSON, Mrs. Louie GROVE, Miss Carrie SLINDEE, Mrs. Erik SLINDEE, Mrs. J.G. RUGLAND and Mrs. E. ATTLESON (a visitor).
Services were conducted in the Norwegian language until January of 1929. Services were conducted twice monthly until 1941, when every Sunday services began in both the Jerico and Saude congregations. The regular use of Norwegian in the services continued until 1945.
In 1943, children from Jerico congregation began to attend Christian day school at Saude. In 1947, the Jerico congregation began a Christian Day School in a building that was moved from Elma to its present location. In 1968 the Jerico and Saude schools began to operate jointly with grades 1-4 at Jerico and grades 5-8 at Saude. The two schools were combined at Jerico in 1979.
In 1951 a four-rank pipe organ was installed. The basement was remodelled and rest rooms added in 1960. The church was re-sided, in 1975, at a cost of $12,400.
The following is a chronology of the significant events of the
1837 - The first Norwegian settlers in Northeastern Iowa were two bachelors who came from Wisconsin to Fort Atkinson, 13 miles northeast of Lawler, about 15 miles south of Decorah. They were hired by the US Government to "teach the Indians how to farm (European style)". These two Norwegians plowed the first land in the Decorah area.
1851 - Reverend Claus Lauritz CLAUSEN was the first Lutheran Minister to preach a sermon in the Norse language on Iowa soil. He visited the Norwegian settlements of Painted Creek (north of Decorah), Turkey River, and Little Iowa, around the present Clermont, 37 miles southeast of Lawler. Rev. CLAUSEN was born and educated in Denmark. As he reached maturity he decided to dedicate his life in the service of the church, choosing missionary work as his special field.
1852 - Reverend Nils BRANDT met with the residents of the three settlements for the purpose of calling a pastor from Norway. The Letter of Call was issued through the Norwegian Lutheran congregation in Wisconsin, who authorized church officials in Norway to select a candidate. Reverend Ulrick Vilhelm KOREN, a recent graduate of the University at Oslo, received the call in the summer of 1853. Rev. KOREN preached his first sermon on Christmas Day at Washington Prairie, the mother church of all the churches that grew out of the Little Iowa Congregation. During all those years Rev. KOREN resided at the parsonage located near the Washington Prairie church.
1853 - The Synod of the Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, commonly called the Norwegian Synod, was formally organized.
1854 - The first settlers in the district known as Little Turkey, were: Ole G. VAALA, John Johnson LANDSVERK, John Svennungston BOLAAGER, Knut Olsen KULTAN, Kittle HAUGEN, Ole TOSTENSON, Jetmund KITTLESON, Aslag THORVILDSON.
Rev. Claus Lauritz CLAUSEN held the first baptismal ceremony, (perhaps in 1859) at which time he baptized Birgit THORVILDSON and Gunild HAUGEN (Mrs. John TREIDEN).
Summer 1855 - Ministerial records show that the first death in the area was that of Martha JOHANSDOTTER, wife of Aslag NELSON. Martha and her husband, along with three small children lived in a "shanty". No one in the area at that time had cooking or heating ovens. They made a so-called chimney or fireplace on bare ground inside the shanty. Here they would cook their food, and keep warm. It is easy to understand what a fire hazard this would be. One day, when Aslag was away from home, the fire burned out of control. Martha saved her children but she herself was burned badly and died shortly thereafter. There was no doctor to relieve her suffering, or no pastor to comfort her.
1855 - Records indicate that Norwegians burials were made in a plot of ground located in Howard County, about 1-1/2 miles north of the present site of the Saude Lutheran Church. A commitment service was held at Saude on 19 May 1862, to re-inter the remains near the old oak tree. These early burials are recorded as: Martha JOHANSDATTER, d. 1855 (braendt tildode) Leif LEIFSON, d. Oct 1855, age 35 years, birthplace: Hitterdal Ola Olson VINDEDAL, d. 9 Aug 1856, age 28, birthplace: Leirdal Gjermund KETILSON, d. Sept 1856, age 41, birthplace: Maeland, Telemark Sander KITTLESON, d. 1857, age 3, birthplace: Rock Prairie, Wisconsin Ola Gregerson VAALA, d. May 1858, age 51, birthplace: Sovde Tobias TOLLEFSON, d. 1859, age 5, birthplace: Wisconsin Ola HALVORSON, d. 1860, age 4 mo, birthplace: Chickasaw County, Iowa Severina HENRICKSON, d. Feb 1861, birthplace: Chickasaw County, Iowa Francis Ann SAHLS, d. April 1861, age 2, birthplace: Chickasaw County, Iowa Charles Adam SAHLS, d. Dec 1861, birthplace: Chickasaw County, Iowa Kari TOLLEFSDOTTER, age 15, birthplace: Hvidseid, Norge
26 Nov 1856 - Rev. KOREN conducted worship services in the home of Gregor Olson VAALA. Twenty-four people partook in the Sacrament of Holy Communion. Anton, son of Andreas Olson SARINGEN and Eli SARINGEN was baptized. (Some of the ministerial acts performed by Pastor KOREN are recorded in the first record book at the Washington Prairie congregation.)
12 May 1857 - The first Baptism was held at Saude. The following were baptized: Ole ANDREAS, parents Sivert OLSON and wife; Gjori ENGEBRIGHTSDOTTER; Eli OLSDOTTER, parents Anders OLSON and wife Eli; Johan HEREMIOR, parents Jetmund KITTLESON and wife Johanna OLSDOTTER.
12 May 1858 - A congregation called the "Dale Congregation", and/or "Little Turkey Congregation", was organized by eleven families. The Pastoral record book refers to "Little Turkey and annexed congregations". Among the organizers were: John Johnson LANDSVERK, Tollef Olsen HAUGEN, Aslag THORVILDSON, Knut Olsen KULTAN, Kittle Kittleson STORDALEN (Stardabu), Halvor EIVINDSON, Ola TOSTENSON, all from Upper Telemark. John Svenungson BOLAGER, and the brothers Alf Olsen VAALA & Gregor Olsen VAALA, from Lower Telemark; Knut Tostenson (Jorgenson) EINANG from Slidre, Valders.
1 Jun 1858 - A pastoral Call letter from the Little Turkey Congregation was delivered to Rev. KOREN of Washington Prairie. The letter was signed by: John SWENMUNGSON, Tobias JACOBSON, Ole THORSTENSON, Kittle OLSON, Tollef OLSON, John JOHNSON, Kittle KITTLESON, Knud OLSON, Aslag THORVALDSON, Anders LARSON, Seivert OLSON, John SALL (SAHL), Anders OLSON, Svenung SVENUNGSON, Ole KITTLESON, Gregor OLSON, Alf OLSON, widow Anna LARSDOTTER, widow Ragnild JONSDOTTER, widow Johanna OLSDOTTER (Mrs. Johanna HALVORSON). This Letter of Call, dated 1 June 1858, becomes the date of the founding of the Immanuel Lutheran Church at Saude.
1860 - The Saude Lutheran Congregation purchased from Andreas & Cornelia LARSON, 1.5 acre plot of ground, located in Section 20-97-11 of Utica Township. The location was then known as Little Turkey. Besides being called the Dale Congregation, it has been known as the Little Turkey Congregation, The Norwegian Lutheran Church at Howard & Chickasaw Counties, and in 1922 as the Saude Lutheran Congregation. The congregation built a log church, 30' x 20', at its present location. On 19 May 1862, the old cemetery was moved to the site of the new church building.
1863-64 - Twelve Norwegian families arrived at the Crane Creek Settlement:
1864 - Rev. KOREN, who had served Little Turkey, as well as other congregations since 1857, began conducting services in the homes and schools of the Crane Creek area.
15 Mar 1864 - Andrew (ANDERSON) was born, and was in all probability, baptized by the young Rev. KOREN on his visit to the settlement in 1864.
1865 - Neil ELLINGSON and Lars Robinson HELGEGAARD arrived in 1865.
2 Sep 1866 - Christopher J. (O) NATVIG and Kristina HOFFLAND were the first couple married in the church at Saude.
14 Jul 1867 - Pastor KOREN officially organized a congregation consisting of sixty members. There is no known record of the names of these sixty founding members. It was first known as the Crowe Creek congregation. This name was used only for a few years, and the congregation was named: Crane Creek Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation.
The Record Book of "Little Turkey and annexed congregations" recorded:
First Confirmation - 14 July 1867, the class of 13 included Kristi Nilsdotter ELLINGSON (1848-1890)and Mrs. Knute K. STEENSLAND and Miss. Emma MUNSON, both members of the Little Turkey Congregation; Anders ROBINSON, member of the Crane Creek Congregation.
First Marriage - 1867, Hans JORGENSON & Sigrid ASLAGSDATTER.
First Burial - 1867, Ola JETMUNDSEN.
22 Apr 1868 - Ingeborg Jensdotter YLVISAKER (1828-1868), wife of Johannes Johnson FRETLAND (1827-1903), was buried by Reverend KOREN. [Great grandmother of the author of this paper.]
1869 - Membership of the Saude Lutheran Church had grown to 100. Prior to this time, Rev. KOREN would come from the Washington Prairie Lutheran Church, a rural church about 6 miles southeast of Decorah, to conduct services at the four "annexes". Now each of these four congregations called their own pastor, they were no longer "annexed" to Washington Prairie. Crane Creek and Saude "called" Reverend John Christian Tordenskjold MOSES as their first resident Pastor.
Apr 1869 - Ola Olsen KVAALE (1849-1916) and Martha Halvorsdotter FAABERG (1842-1869) were married by Rev. KOREN.
4 Sep 1869 - Martha Halvorsdotter KVAALE (1842-1869) was buried by Rev. MOSES.
20 Oct 1869 - The first Confirmation Service was held at Saude.
1870 - A parsonage was built near the present site of the Saude Lutheran Church.
1871 - The Crane Creek Congregation was incorporated.
1872 - The first property was purchased for the present Crane Creek Church.
1874 - No further reference to the "Crowe Creek Congregation" found. By this time the name "Crane Creek Norsk Evangelisk Luthersk Menighed" was more commonly in use.
1875 - Construction began on the Crane Creek church building. It was located one mile east and two miles south of Jerico. The land was donated to the Congregation by the "American, Sommerville". Johannes BJORK, the first one who had emigrated from Jostedalen to America, built the foundation for this church for FREE. It was sold, fifteen years later, to a minority of the Congregation. Completion and dedication of the building was delayed until 1892.
17 Aug 1875 - Reverend MOSES laid the cornerstone for the frame church at Saude. Included in the cornerstone was a document drawn up by Rev. MOSES, "This area in which we dwell is called Little Turkey Settlement in Utica Township, Chickasaw County, Iowa". Since its organization in 1857, three men had served as teachers in the religious school; Knud Tostenson EIVANG, Knud Svendson FEDT and Sjur Baardson VIKDAL.
15 Aug 1875 - Reverend John MOSES dedicated the first frame church of the Saude Lutheran Church at Saude, Utica Township. This frame church building, 40' x 80' x 100', cost $4,000 to erect. $200 was spent for the gold guilding on the altar and pulpit. Trustees were: Ole P. DYBEVIK, Halvor HALVORSON, and Nils H. OFFERDAL.
1875 - A joint Confirmation Service was conducted for the Saude and Crane Creek congregations.
25 Oct 1876 - Jens Johnson FRETLAND (1862-1931) was confirmed by Rev. MOSES. [Grandfather of the author of this paper.]
8 February 1877 - A meeting was held at Little Turkey to discuss the formation of a Norwegian parochial School. It was suggested that in view of the fact, that the congregation was so recently established and was so heavily burdened financially, that it would be most difficult to support a fulltime teacher, although everyone was in accord with the view that this would be the right thing to do.
16 May 1877 - "The Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church on Crane Creek" was incorporated, as a part of the Norwegian Synod. This act made Crane Creek a parish in its own right, as opposed to being an "annex" under the direction of Little Turkey. Lars HELGEGAARD represented the congregation at the Norwegian Synod, District Convention held at Story City, Iowa. The Trustees were: Jetmund KNUTSON, Bernt J. SUNVOLD, Erik Erikson SLINDEE. Members of the Council were Helge MATHISSON, Halvor NELSON, and Endre Endreson GORDON (1827-1906).
22 May 1877 - The Crane Creek Articles of Incorporation were filed in the District Court of Chickasaw County.
25 Oct 1877 - Ragnhild Olsdotter FAABERG (1865-1936) was confirmed by Rev. MOSES (aka Nellie JOHNSON) and Mrs. Jens JOHNSON. [Grandmother of the author of this paper.]
Between 1862 and 1878 the following families had arrived from Norway:
In the 1880s a doctrinal controversy arose in the Norwegian Synod, of which both Little Turkey and Crane Creek were members. The first reference to the controversy was made in 1882. This controversy was referred to as the "Election Controversy" and/or the "Predestination Controversy". Its basis was "...whether sinful man can in any measure contribute towards his salvation by his faith or whether faith itself is wholly a divine gift." It would eventually split the congregation, and develop into a civil war. These two groups fought, not only with words, but also with actions.
For a while, both factions conducted services in the same church building, and both continued to be known as the Crane Creek Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation. This proved an unsatisfactory solution. Eventually, the minority group paid the majority group, $600 for all rights to the Crane Creek Church property.
When it was over, one-third of the congregations and pastors had withdrawn from the Norwegian Synod.
23 Mar 1887 - John Ingvald JOHNSON (1887-1956), son of Jens & Nellie JOHNSON, was baptized by Rev. MOSES. Atle JENSEN (1819-1889), Ola O. FLATEJORD (1825-1910), Kari JENSEN (1844-1923), and Elen FLATEJORD (1871-1942) were his sponsors.
May 1887 - The Crane Creek Ladies Aid Society was organized at the home of Gunnar and Kari HALVORSON. Those present were: Kari HALVORSON, Kari OTTESON, Ingeborg NELSON, Kari ATTLESON, Kari Ellestad JOHNSON, Martha Ellestad JOHNSON, Betsy GORDON, Sonneva I. OLSON. These ladies were all from families who would later withdrew from the Norwegian Synod, and form the Crane Creek Congregation (Anti-Missouri Synod).
Jan 1889 - The Immanuel Ladies Aid was organized by a small group of pioneer women. The Charter members were; Cecilia VIKDAL, Henrietta NERISON, Mrs. Aagot GILBERT, Lena HAUGEN, Clara ARNOLD, Lena SANDERSON, and Aasta ELLEFSON. The following ladies belonged to the aid, but did not sign the constitution; Mrs. John HAUGEN, Mrs. John SIME, Mrs. Ole HEREID, Mrs. Olaf LEE, Mrs. John RINDE, and Mrs. John VIKDAL.
29 Jan 1889 - The "Anti-Missourians" (present day Crane Creek) motion to withdraw from the Norwegian Synod, passed by a vote of 23 to 20.
7 Mar 1889 - Little Turkey voted to call a new Pastor, with a request that Rev. MOSES "continue to serve as pastor until the new Pastor takes charge". The controversy referred to as the "election controversy" was settled at Little Turkey, in this manner, "in the future, the election controversy shall not be discussed at any meeting of the Saude congregation".
11 May 1889 - The Immanuel Lutheran Congregation at Saude was organized by seven families (98 souls).
22 May 1889 - The trustees of the Crane Creek congregation were removed from office, for opening the building to "sectarian pastors" (Reverend M.F. LUNDE). The division of church property was discussed, with no decision reached.
24 May 1889 - Pastor MOSES offered his resignation. The Crane Creek congregation refused to accept his resignation.
21 Jun 1889 - Jerico agrees to call a pastor jointly with Saude.
29 Sep 1889 - Reverend Johannes G. NESS was installed a pastor of Saude and Jerico. Although the division of the two factions at Crane Creek was inevitable, a second congregation had not been formed at the time Rev. NESS was installed as Pastor.
27 Oct 1889 - A minority of the Crane Creek Lutheran Church, approximately 190 members, joined the "Anti-Missouri Brotherhood." At a meeting held 27 October 1889, the congregation was reorganized and a new constitution adopted. The Council included; Attle ATTLESON, Gunnar HALVORSON & Andrew GORDON. The membership included: Endre E. (1827-1906) & John E. GORDON (1861-1904), Tollev & Peter ELLESTAD, Atle JOHANNES, Jens & Thorkeld ATTLESON, Ole O. FLATJORD, Ole O. HAUGEN (1825-1910), Jetmund ANDERSON, Mikkel & Ole IVERSON (NJOS), Jens NORTHNESS, and Jens JOHNSON (1862-1931). Reverend M.F. LUNDE was called as Pastor.
9 Nov 1889 - The Immanuel Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation held its first annual meeting at the Saude Schoolhouse. The following families were received as members: Steinar ELLEFSON, Ole K. Olson HAUGEN, John T. BJONDALEN, John J. SIME, John J. LANDSWERK, Anders P. LANDSWERK, Amund HANSON, Thorkeld J. BJONDALEN, Baard S. VIKDAL brothers and sisters, Rollef ELLEFSON and Sondre S. LEE.
14 Dec 1889 - The Immanuel Norwegian Evangelical Congregation decided that a church should be built and the dimensions of the building were stipulated. Services were first held in the new structure in the latter part of 1890.
1890 - The "Anti-Missouri Brotherhood" helped form the "United Norwegian Lutheran Church" (Forende Kirke).
11 Feb 1890 - A meeting was held to discuss the division of the property at Crane Creek. The "Anti-Missouri" group had refused to sell their share of the property for $300. An offer of $500 was made by the Norwegian Synod majority to purchase the property.
16 Feb 1890 - The "Anti-Missouri" group refused the $500 offer and $700 was offered.
31 Mar 1890 - Ole A. ANDERSON, Iver O. DALLEN & Lewis ROBINSON, acting as Trustees of the Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church of Crane Creek, in consideration of the sum of $600.00 paid by Attle ATTLESON (1819-1889), Tollef J. ELLESTAD & Ole I. OLESON, Trustees of the Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church of Crane Creek (This is not an error, both parties used the same name.) sold by Quit Claim, all rights, title, and interest in the Crane Creek Church property.
13 Jun 1890 - Crane Creek Lutheran Church became a part of the United Norwegian Lutheran Church in America.
16 Jun 1890 - The Jerico congregation voted to build a new church.
Jul 1890 - The Little Turkey congregation purchased land in the village of Saude for ten dollars. A church was built on this site.
27 Aug 1890 - The Jerico congregation purchased land near the village of Jerico, for $100. The official name of this congregation remained: Crane Creek Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation. However, due to its location it soon became known as the Jerico Lutheran Church.
19 Oct 1890 - Cornerstone of the Jerico church was laid.
9 Jul 1891 - The Jerico church building was dedicated by Rev. NESS. The cost of construction was $1,700.
28 Jun 1891 - Crane Creek and Immanuel Church called Reverend Martin Paulsen DOMMERSNAES as Pastor.
6 Sep 1891 - The Crane Creek Church building, started in 1875, was dedicated. Mildred Bertina JOHNSON (1891-1980) daughter of Jens and Ragnhilda JOHNSON, was baptized by Reverend Martin Paulsen DOMMERSNAES.
16 Jun 1892 - The Jerico Church steeple was struck by a bolt of lightening and the church burned to the ground.
20 Nov 1892 - The Jerico Church was dedicated by Prof. Lauitz LARSEN, Luther College's first president. This new building was located to the east of the former building. The cost was $1,800. The church bell was donated by Mr. John NILSON, not a small gift for one man.
Feb 1895 - Pastor Johannes G. NESS passed away. Rev. Ejvind BROCH served as interim Pastor of the Saude Lutheran Church.
Sep 1895 - Rev. Karl XAVIER became Pastor of the Saude Lutheran Church & the Jerico Lutheran Church.
1 Jan 1899 - A new 1,000 lb. bell rang over the Crane Creek Church.
29 Oct 1899 - Harold Edward JOHNSON (1899-1970) was baptized by Rev. DOMMERSNAES, at Crane Creek. [Father of the author of this paper.]
14 Aug 1900 - The first Crane Creek Church was struck by lightning and consumed by fire. John A. GORDON, George OTTESON, Thomas ATTLESON, Ole THRONDSON, Mikkel I. NJOS, Ole I. NJOS and Otte OTTESON were elected as the building committee.
25 Nov 1900 - The Little Turkey River Congregation (Saude Lutheran Church) celebrated the 25th anniversary of the dedication of its church building. ELS President T. A. TORGERSON gave the anniversary sermon.
14 Jul 1901 - Rev. DOMMERSNAES resigned as pastor of Crane Creek.
28 Jul 1901 - The present Crane Creek Church was dedicated. The Trustees were: G. OTTESON, K. SNETHUN and M. NJOS. Secretary: Thomas ATTLESON; Treasurer: Attle ATTLESON.
4 Aug 1901 - Rev. Lars Wilhelm BOE became Pastor of Crane Creek.
2 Oct 1901 - The Crane Creek Ladies Aid Society was reorganized. Those present were: Mrs. George OTTESON (1854-1931), Mrs. Peter ELLESTAD, Mrs. Tollef ELLESTAD, Mrs. Albert HERMAN (1875-1920+), Mrs. Martin (Ellen) NELSON (1871-1942), Mrs. Torkel ATTLESON, Mrs. Jens ATTLESON (1823-1907), Mrs. Otto O. OTTESON, Mrs. John GORDON, Mrs. Anna H. PETERSON, Mrs. James Nellie) JOHNSON (1865-1936), and Mrs. Fred CHRISTENSON.
1902 - The present site of the Crane Creek parsonage was purchased and a residence built.
Summer 1903 - Rev. Karl XAVIER (1869-1924) resigned as Pastor of Saude Lutheran Church & Jerico. Reverend Jacob G. RUGLAND (1867-1947) was Called.
8 Jul 1903 - The Saude Lutheran Church was struck by lightning and burned to the ground.
1904 - The Crane Creek Luther League was officially organized.
24 Jun 1904 - The cornerstone was laid for the Saude Lutheran Church, Rev. RUGLAND was Pastor. The Trustees were: K.K. STEENSLAND, Muns MUNSON, and Iver S. GRINDE.
26 Jun 1904 - The Crane Creek church was dedicated and furnished at a cost of $6,000.
18 Oct 1905 - The Jerico Ladies Aid Society held their first meeting. Those attending were: Mrs. Nils ANDERSON, Mrs. Andrew ELLINGSON (1850-1907), Miss Ida ELLINGSON (1890-1964) Mrs. Nils ELLINGSON, Mrs. Louie GROVE, Miss Carrie SLINDEE, Mrs. Erik SLINDEE, Mrs. J.G. RUGLAND, and Mrs. E. ATTLESON (a visitor).
It should be noted that they still refered to themselves as "The Crane Creek Ladies Aid (C.C.Kvf.).
2 Sep 1906 - Mildred Bertina JOHNSON (1891-1980), daughter of Jens & Nellie JOHNSON, was confirmed.
Sep 1909 - Pastor RUGLAND received a Call to North Dakota; as he favored the proposed merger of the Norwegian Synod, the congregation advised him to accept the Call. Reverend Martinus K. BLEKEN (1865-1922) was called to Saude and Jerico.
1911 - The Immanuel Lutheran Church in Saude, was remodeled; the sacristy was built, the bell tower and steeple were built, and the bell installed.
Jun 1913 - The Jerico congregation had outgrown its church building. The church was dismantled and a new church was constructed.
9 Nov 1913 - First service conducted in the new Jerico Church.
27 Nov 1913 - The Cornerstone of the Jerico Lutheran Church was laid and the building was dedicated on 24 May 1914.
1913 - Crane Creek parish hall was completed.
7 Jun 1914 - Harold Edward JOHNSON (1899-1970), son of Jim & Nellie JOHNSON, was confirmed at Crane Creek, by Rev. HELTNE.
1917 - The Norwegian Synod, The United Church, and Hauge Synod merged to form the Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ALC/ELCA). There was a small group of Norwegian Synod congregations who did not join the 1917 merger. This group included both Saude and Jerico. This small group reorganized the Norwegian Synod in 1918, and today this group is known as the Evangelical Lutheran Synod.
1918 - Prior to 1918, both the Devotion and business meeting of the Saude Lutheran Church Ladies Aid, were conducted in Norwegian. In 1918 the use of English was begun.
Dec 1922 - Pastor M.K. BLEKEN died. The Little Turkey Congregation changed its name to the "Saude Lutheran Congregation". The Saude Congregation, which had been independent since 1917, voted to join the Norwegian Synod of the American Evangelical Lutheran Church-currently the Evangelical Lutheran Synod.
Jan 1923 - At a meeting of the Saude Lutheran Church it was decided that they should join the "reorganized Synod". Rev. Peder C. FORSETH was called to Saude Lutheran Church & Crane Creek, as interim Pastor.
Mar 1923 - Rev. Helge Mathias TJERNAGEL (1871-1940) was installed as Pastor of Saude and Crane Creek.
1924 - In 1924, the Seventh annual convention of the ELS was hosted at Jerico. The Recessed Convention of the ELS again met in Jerico in 1960.
23 Aug 1929 - Harold James JOHNSON was baptized by Reverend Hans H. FINSTAD.
1930 - The majority of the congregations decided that all of the business meetings should be conducted in English.
25 Apr 1931 - Andrew ANDERSON (KLEIVEN) (1864-1931) died. He was the first Norwegian child born in Saude.
1932 - The Constitution of the Immanuel Lutheran Church, Saude was translated into English.
1935 - Immanuel Lutheran Church, Saude, the balcony was remodeled and the basement was built.
1937 - For many years the language used in the services and for business meetings was Norwegian. As the Norwegian language became less familiar to the congregations, it was replaced by the English Language. In 1937, Rev. Hans FINSTAD began using the English language in his services.
1941 - In 1941 the Jerico congregation assisted in establishing a sister-congregation in New Hampton. In time a number of members were transferred from Jerico to Redeemer Lutheran Church.
23 Aug 1941 - Lutheran Daughters of the Reformation was organized at Crane Creek by: Jeanne HALVORSON, Arldine HALVORSON, Anna Mae HALVORSON, Mavis SANDERSON and Charlene GORDON.
21 Jun 1942 - Crane Creek celebrated its 75th Anniversary, those serving on the church council were: Andrew THRONDSON, John J. ATTLESON, Alfred VIKDAL (1907-1991), Halvor FLATJORD (1874-1955), Edward GORDON and Andrew NYSTLE.
1947 - Members of the Jerico Lutheran Church, who had made use of the school at the Saude Lutheran Church, were, in the summer of 1947, moved to establish a Christian Day School of their own. It was in that same year that a joint Jerico-Saude Lutheran Youth Society was formed.
1954 - Immanuel Lutheran Church purchased a new organ.
28 Aug 1956 - Crane Creek Lutheran Church purchased from members of the MARKLE family, a portion of Section 11, Township 96.
1961 - The Evangelical Lutheran Church merged with the American Lutheran Church and the United Evangelical Lutheran Church to form the American Lutheran Church.
13 Jun 1965 - Immanuel Lutheran Church celebrated its Seventy-Fifth Anniversary, 1889-1964. Shortly after this the church was demolished. The bell is still in Saude with a plaque.
26 Jun 1967 - Crane Creek Articles of Incorporation were signed by Joseph JERDEE, Ward KNOLL, Arthur G. LEE, Charles ORVIS, and Lowell J. LARSON.
1968 - A Men's Club was formed at the Jerico Lutheran Church.
18 Nov 1973 - The Jerico Lutheran Church celebrated the Sixtieth Anniversary of the Cornerstone Laying of the present church building.
10 May 1974 - Immanuel Norwegian Lutheran Congregation and the Crane Creek Norwegian Lutheran Congregation were disbanded. Together they formed a new congregation known as Immanuel Lutheran Church, using the Crane Creek church building.
BJORLIE, Leo O. Crane Creek & Immanuel (1948 - 1954)
District Court, Chickasaw County, Iowa; Articles of Incorporation, filed for record 22 May 1877
James H. Johnson has a deep Norwegian heritage of Chickasaw County, Iowa through his father and grandparents. We thank Jim for his efforts in developing this history and for allowing us to share it with you through our IAGenWeb web site. Jim and his wife Joyce are retired and living now in California.
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