First, "Thank You" to the History Committee (Elizabeth Anderson, Lucille Gudmundson, Cecil Hofteig and Joseph A. Josefson) for their encouragement and assistance in gathering information and proof-reading for this history, and also to Frank Josephson, Chairman of the Centennial Committee for his support for and confidence in those chosen for this task.
Many thanks to the members and former members of St. Paul's, their families and friends who contributed information. This material was given primary weight in considering conflicting information, unless several other printed or recorded materials agreed otherwise. Contemporary records or reports can sometimes be more accurate than our own knowledge of people or situations.
The contributions of Dora Harvey and K. Valdimar Bjornson were especially helpful in sorting out who was really who in cases of names without information (or identical names; i.e., the eighteen John/Jon Johnsons/Jonssons). And a special "Thank You" to Lloyd Christianson of Winnipeg, who called late one evening when I thought I would NEVER finish: Your enthusiasm and eagerness to help encouraged me immeasurably.
The most valuable written source was "Ninety Years at St. Paul's," edited by Dr. Charles Vandersluis; chiefly, the Appendix. Also very valuable was the record book containing the "Sofnudur," or "Baptisms," for St. Paul's, Lincoln, Westerheim, Marshall and Various Places, the Marriages and the Burials (the latter two not divided by church). The Minneota Mascot, primarily 1891 to 1898, provided information on the daily lives of St. Paul's early members, as well as activities in the church. The official records of St. Paul's Cemetery clarified birthplaces, dates, relatives and causes of death. Other church records were: Child Member Roll (late 1950's to early 1960's); the mail-in postcards for updating the church records used in the late 1960's; St. Paul's Annual Reports (1976-1984)) St. Paul's "Epistle" (1978-1985); the Sunday bulletins (1977-1984); and St. Paul's Eightieth Anniversary History (all sources used with permission).
Other helpful sources were "Minneota - A Centennial History - 1881-1981", by Ralph Larson; CF. Case's and A.P. Rose's histories of Lyon County; "Firsts in Minnesota Lutheranism" (containing a short history of the Lincoln County Church); the Wisconsin State Genealogical Society for information concerning Icelandic settlements in that state; the Appleton (Wisconsin) District Branch Genealogical Library (Mormon) for information concerning St. Paul's altar; and "Sogupatter Landpostanna", biographies collected and edited by Helgi Valtysson, published in Iceland in 1942 (copies received from Raymond Olafson).
For the years when no official membership lists were available, some editing was necessary for brevity's sake: it cannot be assumed that because a name appears in the records, that person was a member. Former Child Members not active in the church after reaching adulthood were included in their parents' biography; those who were active after marriage and several children were included as members. Only Charter Members were included if only their name is known; all other "single occurrences" were omitted. In no case was "hearsay" inserted as a contribution~ all personal contributions (including the editor's) are attested to by name of sources, unless the contributor is a member of the family under consideration.
Icelandic spellings of names for those who emigrated as adults, or the earliest spelling of a name as it appears in the church records was chosen, primarily because that spelling is the original, birth-name; but also because it helps us to see the gradual assimilation of people who changed their own names and chose American names for their childcen. Any changes in spelling, or nicknames, are noted by "..." when first used, or by (AKA...).
There are only a few regrets: That more extensive use of the Lincoln County, Marshall, and Westerheim church records and contributions could not be made. Also, the contribution NOT received which would have made this history more complete and meaningful, both to those who worked on it and those who will read it.
Many long hours have been spent, many pages of information searched since the fall of 1984 So that this history (though incomplete) might be as accurate as possible, yet without sacrificing kindness. The world's history is not king; but this is the history of a church called to be an example to all the world of the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Cathy A. Flood, Editor
"….to take Christ seriously today means what it has always meant: to love God and our neighbor, to visit the prisoner, to feed the hungry, to heal the sick, to comfort the distressed, to cleanse wounds, to mend breaks, to gently caress sad and lonely people, to be a people of peace, and to be a family of love."