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Marsh River Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran
Shelly, Minnesota

This information comes from the booklets "75th Anniversary of the Marsh River Congregation" and  "100th Anniversary of the Former Marsh River Congregation", printed for the July 16, 1972 centennial celebration.

The Marsh River Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation was organized Aug. 13, 1872, by Rev. B. Hagboe at the home of Engel Lausnes.  Some of the settlers were a little doubtful as to the advisability of such an organization at that time, due to the fact that they had not yet fully established their homes and were uncertain of remaining here. But Rev. Hagboe encouraged them and the congregation was then organized by electing Rev. Hagboe, President; O.P. Oien, Secretary; P.A. Oien, Treasurer; Engel Lausnes, John Grothe, John T. Johnson (Redland), and S.B. Rognlie, Trustees; also S.B. (Bertinius) Roglie as Precantor. A constitution was written and adopted.  Twenty-six signed as charter members and the total membership amounted to fifty-two.

The following were charter members:  John Grothe, Engel Lausnes, Ingebrigt O. Serum, Peter A. Oien, S.B. Rognlie, Jacob Hesby, John T. Johnson (Redland), Ole Paulson, Peter Vigen, Hans Gordon, Peter Rognlie, Zephenias Rognlie, Ole P. Oien, Laurits Houske, L. B. Larson, Ole J. Rognlie, Arne Knutson, Ole Halvorson, Ole Halstad, Paul Paulson, Sivert Paulson, Anders Paulson, Anders Gordon, Anders Thompson, Cornelius Jacobson, and Ole Tronnes.

According to the Ministerial Record there were 8 babies baptized August 13, 1872, namely: Julia Kate Gordon, Karoline Gordon, Bernt Olaf Halstad, Robert Olaus Haga, Berte Malene Herberg, Jacob Edwin Jacobson, Anne Kamelia Lausnes, and Melissa Severine Hauske.

Rev. B. Hagboe was then engaged to serve this congregation for a year at a salary of one dollar from each voting member. 

On July 3, 1873, the congregation at a meeting in Andrew Thompsonís home, passed the following resolutions:

  1.  To engage B. Hagboe as their pastor for another year at a salary of $1.50 from each voting member.

  2. That each voting member pay 25 cents to Bertinius Rognlie as salary for serving as precentor (Klokker).

On November 2, 1873, a business meeting was held at the home of John T. Redland. At this time it was decided to enter into parish connections with Sand Hill Congregation, five miles west of Eldred, Polk County, MN and Aal Congregation, eight miles northwest of Hillsboro, ND.  Rev. Hagboe organized these two congregations.

The salary of the pastor was set at $300 per year, to be allotted equally among the voting members of the three congregations, unless otherwise decided. Each congregation was to have 15 services during the year and as many more as the pastor should be able to conduct. They then extended a call to Rev. Hagboe to serve for a period of 5 years.  He must have accepted, as the records do not state otherwise.

Shortly after the congregation was organized it was found necessary to provide a cemetery.  Prior to 1872, we learn that an infant daughter of Engel Lausnes was buried on their home place. This was the first burial in the Town of Halstad, and perhaps in Norman County.  Two or three are buried on the J.T. Redland farm, the Ole Halstad farm, and on the northeast quarter, of Section 24, Shelly fraction town.

At a meeting Oct. 13, 1872, called for the purpose of selecting a burial place, the first site considered was the southeast corner of the southwest quarter, Section 6, Town of Halstad, across the road from the school house in District 9, but this did not seem satisfactory.  A second site, one-half mile to the north in Section 31, Shelly Township was chosen, but this was not approved either, so a third location on the southeast quarter of Section 30 was considered, but by this time the congregation had applied to the railroad company for the purchase of the southeast quarter of the southeast quarter, Section 31, which is the present location of the church and cemetery.  The application to buy this land was filed with the railroad company on Jan. 15, 1875, by Andrew Thompson.

The first burial recorded at the present cemetery is that of Mads Peterson Oien in January 1876.

On the 8th day of November 1875, the congregation took legal steps to incorporate under the laws of Minnesota, as a religious corporation.  It was now necessary to elect deacons according to certain requirements of the law, and so Jacob Hesby and John Grothe were elected as elders or deacons, and as such signed the Article of Incorporation.

Other officers elected at this same meeting were: Engel Lausnes, Trustee, one year. Ole Halstad, Trustee, two years. P.A. Oien, Trustee, three years. P.A. Oien, Treasurer, one year. A.O. Serum, Secretary, one year.

The first meetinghouse was built in 1875.  The building was 20x30x12 feet, with the entrance to the south and with four windows.  It was made of logs, and it was requested that those who could donate logs should bring them hewn and ready for use.  Most of the labor too was donated.  Andrew O. Paulson, assisted by N. Haga, was hired to supervise the building at a salary of $1.50 per day. The cash contributed to the building fund was $94.

A.O. Serum served as treasurer for the building project.  The total cash expenditure in erecting this log church, including shingles, door and windows, nails, and labor, was $138.63, leaving a deficit of $44.63, which was liquidated by obtaining a loan from John Grothe.  When this was repaid, Mr. Grothe very generously would accept no interest. 

The altar for the log church was constructed and installed by A. Thompson and Lars Mauritson, and at a meeting January 30, 1878, was accepted by the congregation with thanks to these two men.

On November 30, 1878, Lars Mauritson was instructed by the congregation to furnish a baptismal font, and Jacob Hetland presented the congregation with this, for which he received two dollars.  This font was used in the old church and also in the new church until another was bought.

After a period of twelve years, it was found necessary to build a larger church, and on Nov. 21, 1887, this was decided upon. A building committee of seven was appointed, namely: K.J. Skavdahl, B.M. Oien, M.A. Opgrand, J.A. Opgrand, Peter Vigen, Jacob Sharpe, and Ludvig Torkelson, with B.M. Oien as treasurer.  By the time they were ready to build, enough cash, notes, and pledges were subscribed to pay for the building.

The committee met several times to discuss the project and engaged K.J. Skavdahl to plan the structure. Together with J.M. Malme and Knute Strand, these three built the church in about 75 days.  Each man was paid two dollars per day.  These men boarded at the Megrund home at $2.50 per week for each person, paid out of the building fund.

The painting of the church was done by Torger Lausnes, for which he received $82. The bell was purchased Dec. 30, 1890, at a cost of $187.  The pews were bought Apr. 8, 1891, at a cost of $200 and freight $19.80, making a total of $219.80. The total cost of the church including material, labor, bell and pews, was approximately $1,943.45.

In the annual report of 1892 of the United Norwegian Lutheran Church, President G. Hoyme reported that the new Marsh River Church was dedicated on November 15, 1891. According to the Ministerial Record, communion services were held that day.

On Feb. 7, 1952, fire broke out in the church and due greatly to inadequate water supply the church burned to the ground, a total loss.  The members continued to meet as a congregation with Shelly and the Ladies Aid also continued to function. After several meetings of the congregation, it was decided not to rebuild.

At the annual meeting held Jan. 2, 1953, by a vote of 17 to 1 it was decided to merge with Shelly, if acceptable.  On January 6, 1953, the merger was consummated and the two congregations became one, to be named Shelly-Marsh River Congregation.

Confirmands
1873-1920

1873 Oluf Peter Rognlie
1875
Henrik Olson
Sam Jacobson Hesby
Christian J. Grothe
Karen Johnston Grothe

1878

Svend Svendson
Elisabeth Hasby

1879
Thore Andreas Nilsen
Jonas Mikal Jacobson
Thrine Jorgine Nilsen
Sina Josephine Hasby

1881

Ranghild Oien
Theodore K. Jacobson

1882

Elling J. Aarestad
Tonnes Olson
Josefine Langhus
Oline Ueland
Alette Ueland
Margerthe I. Grande
Ingeborg Hauske
Karoline Hauske

1883

Kristine Nelson
Ole K. Jacobson

1885

Joseph Hesby

1886

Christian Ubo
1888

Peder Johan Hestad
Ludvig Langhus
Andreas Lavold
Tollef Thompson
Anna Camilia Lovsnes
Rachel Hasby

1889 Sivert Olaus Lovsnes
1890

Arndt Opgrand
Johan Lovsnes
Olaus Hasby
Kristian Stigen
Juliane Sophie Paulson
Anna Lovise Nelson

1892

Thore Anthonius Opgrand
Elias Heskestad
Tilda Amanda Torkelson
Gjertine Sophia Oien

1893

Oscar Lovsnes
Paul Almer Tonder
Elias Aanenson
Marius Berg
Amalia Rognlie
Emma Josephine Paulson

1894

Olga Marie Lyngstad
Anna Marie Opgrand
Hanna Petrine Oien
Peter M. Brevig
Kornelius Gilbertson

1895

Olaf George Rognlie
Gustav Gilbertson
Johannes Lyngstad
Johan H. Stigen
Julia P. Oien
Ellen M. Lovsnes
Regina Sophia Gilbertson
Olava S. Loraas

1888 Peder Johan Hestad
Ludvig Langhus
Andreas Lavold
Tollef Thompson
Anna Camilia Lovsnes
Rachel Hasby
1889 Sivert Olaus Lovsnes
1890 Arndt Opgrand
Johan Lovsnes
Olaus Hasby
Kristian Stigen
Juliane Sophie Paulson
Anna Lovise Nelson
1892 Thore Anthonius Opgrand
Elias Heskestad
Tilda Amanda Torkelson
Gjertine Sophia Oien
1893 Oscar Lovsnes
Paul Almer Tonder
Elias Aanenson
Marius Berg
Amalia Rognlie
Emma Josephine Paulson
1894 Olga Marie Lyngstad
Anna Marie Opgrand
Hanna Petrine Oien
Peter M. Brevig
Kornelius Gilbertson
1895 Olaf George Rognlie
Gustav Gilbertson
Johannes Lyngstad
Johan H. Stigen
Julia P. Oien
Ellen M. Lovsnes
Regina Sophia Gilbertson
Olava S. Loraas
1896

Ellen Katrine Langaunet
Lise Tomine Torkelson
Hette Lovise Torkelson
Oline Emelia Paulson
Jette Petrine Tonder

1897

John Albert Oien
P. Martin Opgrand
Ole Bernt Bervig
Pauine Gunelia Hovd

1898

Martin Oscar Gilbertson
Henry Olendo Gilbertson
Edward Reinart Stigen
Henry Hasby
Ida Mathea Oien
Julia Rognlie
Clara Otelia Gilbertson
Petra Gunelie Opgrand
Inga Pauline Vigen
Gertrude Oien
Carl Oscar Aanenson

1899

Peder Albert Opgrand
Adolf Bernhard Tonder
Bertha Tonette Hetland
Clara Petra Megrund
Clara Christine Stigen
Emma Berthea Aanenson

1900

Agnes Bendikke Vigen
Ola Rognlie
Marie Lovsnes
Ole Lyngstad

1901

Peter Andreas Oien
Andy Gilbertson
Henry C. Megrund
Oscar S. Torkelson
Clara Lovise Vigen
Clara Mathea Opgrand
Anna Charlotte Olivia Tonder
Albertine Opgrand

1902  

Tillie P. Gilbertson
Henry J. Oien
Rachel Hesby  

1903  

Anna Emelia Torkelson
Johanna Stigen
Emma Lovise Rognlie
Selma Viola Tonder
Pauline Augusta Opgrand
Helmer Lyngstad  

1904  

Peder Elenart Stigen
Marie Oien
Borghild Bjorvik
Anna Gunelia Opgrand
Emma Stigen  

1905  

Laura Josephine Rognlie
Anna Folstad  
Henry Clarence Gilbertson  

1906  

Sigrid Oien
Thora Oien
Anna Christine Lyngstad
Carl Oien
Tubal Harris Torkelson
Selmer Clarence Hasby  

1907

Anna Marie Gilbertson
Selma Augusta Stigen
Olave Helmine Stigen
Lovise Blomseth
Richard C. Rognlie
Anthon L. Blomseth
Ole M. Opgrand
Alfred Haga
Nicolaus Nelson

1908

Louise M. Hetland
Gemanda Gilbertson

1909

Clarence Holte
Edwin Stennes
Clarence Stigen
Mads Oien
Elisabeth Bjelkevig
Charlotte Lyngstad

1910

Olive Helmene Hesby
Theodor August Torkelson

1911

Melvin Vaag
John Nelius Nelson
Carl Odin Opgrand
Clarence Alfred Rognlie
Richard Stigen
Julius Folstad
Selmer Skavdal
Caroline Wolseth
Alice Cecilie Holte
Dina Mathille Oien
Selma Olinda Rusdal
Selma Petrine Stigen
Clara Helmine Stigen

1912

Dora Lillian Holte
Alice Charlotte Vaag
Orpha Theresa Rusdal
Ingeborg Gunelia Sundseth
Josephine Hesby

1914

Selmer Emil Aarestad
James Albert Opgrand
John Andrew Calberg
Henriette Stigen
Jessie Hesby
Esther Leonora Langaunet
Elise Marie Lervold
Inez Rusdal
Alice Benora Sather

1915

Loyd Clifferd Skavdal
Alf Ingemar Blomseth
Lambert Vaag
Helene Clarissa Holte

1917

Manfred C. Folstad
Gerhard Anuel Oien
Carl Axel Martin Nelson
Conrad Joseph Langaunet
Roy E. Stigen
Constance Margrethe Folstad
Ingeborg Malen Pederson
Mabel Hesby
Kalma Mathilde Olson
Eva Rusdal
Agnes Almyra Holte
Gjertrude Lervold

1919

Johannes Skavdahl
Elvind Lervold

1920

Johan Arnt Skavdahl
Russel Olaf Rusdal
Ruth Svanhild Wolseth
Minnie Benor Langaunet

 

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