Ovid LDS Church
A former LDS Church building, now privately
owned. Peter Jensen was the first branch president in Ovid in 1873 later
becoming the first Bishop. Ovid Ward was organized 26 Aug 1877. This
building was built in 1896 at a cost of $3000. On July 2, 1967 the Ovid Ward merged with the Liberty Ward and
the building was closed.
An article by Mrs. Lorenzo J Shurtliff in
The Little Ovid Church closed its doors July 2, 1967, but fond memories still linger. In March 1864, Brigham Young called John F. Carlsen, Thomas Gassman and Robert Williams from Paris and Rasmus Jorgensen, Thomas Peterson, Niels Christian Edlefesen, Peter Jensen, Jens Hansen and Henry Peterson from Brigham City, to settle "North Creek", later named Ovid by Joseph C. Rich, after a roman poet. Joseph C. Rich laid out the town site in 10 acre squares, so as to give each family four acres. They were unable to obtain title to this land until 1871, when it was officially surveyed.
Ovid is centrally located, so is a little colder than the other towns. The pioneers experienced much difficulty in maturing crops. The first land plowed in Bear Lake county was in Ovid by Robert Williams.
In 1866 there was an Indian scare and the people fled to Paris, but they soon carne back. Ovid had good pastures and plenty of good wild hay in the lower lands. Dairying, cattle raising and farming were engaged in. John Kunz started the first cheese factory in Ovid, he later moved it to Bern. Jorgen Jorgensen ran the first mill, Erastus Petersen made nearly all of the first furniture, Nick Wilson was the first blacksmith, Thomas Petersen was the first carpenter, and Peter Jensen made the wooden shoes with brass toes.
There were four presiding elders: Robert Williams, Henry Gassman, Niels Christian Edlefesen and Peter Jensen. The ward was organized August 26, 1877, with Peter Nielsen, Philemon Lindsay, Lars Peter Nielsen, James Clarence Lindsay, John T. Petersen, Oliver L. Peterson, James Olsen, Russell Sorenson, Don K. Jensen and Wayne D. Johnson.
The Meeting House now standing was built in 1896 at the cost of $3000. The Church gave $500 toward it. It was built under the direction of Philemon Lindsay and dedicated by President William Budge. The carpenters were Joseph Olsen, Lars Jensen and James McCurty. They received $2.00 a day for their labors and the members who donated their labors were allowed $.75 a day for their work. Horses, pigs, cows and chickens were given as donations.
After the church was finished, dances were given every Saturday to help finish paying for it. Lars Peter Nielsen was the floor manager and had charge of these dances. He and his family took care of the building, taking the benches in and out, and keeping the lamps in shape and polished. There was a great deal of drinking in those days, but Brother Nielsen was pretty husky, so he didn't have much trouble. One night however, there came a large group of tough cowboys, led by a big bully. They made it their business to breakup dances. No one had been able to handle this fellow. There was a nice quiet fellow, pretty good-sized, he stepped up to Brother Nielsen and said "Let me handle this". He walked over and invited the leader outdoors and there was a terrific fight. There was blood all over the walks for a long time. That fellow had enough and never bothered the dances again.
These were the good old days, calico at $.08 a yard; gingham $.10 a yard; eggs, $.10 a dozen, and shoes, nice high buttons, at $.90 a pair. Thomas Passey ran a store between Montpelier and Ovid. Ovid traded with him and sold their milk to him. He skimmed the cream and measured it with a ruler and paid accordingly. Isaac Tunks was the first school teacher. Sam Tunks, his son was the first college graduate from Ovid.
The Ovid dance hall belongs to the history of Ovid. It was built by the Olsen Brothers, who were very prominent people in Ovid. People came from far and wide to attend these dances. Sometimes the big new dance hall in Paris and the one in Montpelier were empty. It was called "The Den of Iniquity". The Stake President, who lived in Paris informed the Bishop in Ovid, he should do something about it. So the good Bishop attended some of the dances, and he couldn't see much wrong. He conferred with the Olsen Brothers, and they told him to choose a floor manager of his choice. This he did, he chose Clarence Lindsay-. The dances were still well attended until it was finally burned down.
Ovid was outstanding for its social life and hospitality. Of course this was built around the church. They were a musical ward, they loved to sing, and they had a lot of talent. There were whole families of musicians. The Chris Sorenson family were all good singers and could play instruments too. Chris was one of the oldest choristers. The Charles F. Carlsen family were-all musicians and Charley was a genius, he could do anything. He could repair anything from a plow to a car. When he was chorister, President J.R. Shepherd said it was the finest chair he had ever heard. He had all kinds of male quartets, women's quartets. One of these ladies' quartets helped campaign for one of the governors. Other musical families were the Andrew Johnson family, Niels Johnson family, Olsen family, Mathesen family, John Myers family and many more.
The Relief Society was extra, they didn't just make quilts, they made prize winners. Ladies had to watch their stitches if they quilted on these quilts. Some of these fine quilters were Nellie Olsen, Agnes Nelson, Hazel Peterson, Mandy Myers, Hannah Petersen, Maggie Jensen. When Ovid put on a supper, it was something. They had the best cooks; Marintha Lindsay, Lila Humphreys, Mary Liza Sorenson, Maria Nielsen, Maggie Jensen and Agnes Nelson.
They had one of the finest Scout Leaders, Lorenzo J. Shurtliff, he was a real boy's man. At one time they had 14 Eagle Scouts and a winning baseball team. Nine of these boys are college graduates. When a missionary was called, although Ovid was small, they made up for it in their generosity. When a new baby was born to a family, the kitchen table of that family was heaped high with choice dishes brought by friends and neighbors. People who moved away missed this closeness.
A new generation has grown up and new ones have moved in, by marriage, and there is still that love goodwill and fine quality. Lucky Liberty!