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History of the Trade River Evangelical Free Church

Donated by Gary Peterson

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The work at Trade River Evangelical Free Church had its beginning in 1887.  Bible study and Cottage prayer meetings were held in the homes. Sunday School work was begun at the home of Carl and Augusta Peterson.  The first Sunday four boys enrolled, but attendance kept increasing. Several Christian families moved into the area and regular services were conducted in various homes.  In 1890, plans were made to construct a church building. Farmers cut timber and brought it to C.E. Peterson’s sawmill. The church was to be constructed on land donated by C.E. Peterson. The church building was started in 1891; they could not finish it the first year. They only built as they could afford it. All the wood for the building was cut by local people who also provided labor for the project. Wooden planks were provided for seating. The first recorded meeting was July 3, 1892, Issac Nelson chaired the meeting. November 15 and 16, 1893 saw Trade River Mission House’s first recorded missions meeting. Trade Rivers first Sunday School Superintendent was P.E. Danielson (1895). Jan. 22, 1898 Trade River Church was officially incorporated as the “Trade River Mission Church”.  The Charter members are as follows: 

· Carl E. and Augusta Peterson , Esther and Anna 
· Sv. Andrew and Anna L. Peterson 
· B.. Andrew and Beda Peterson
· C.A. and Ida Granquist
· Miss Tillie Granquist
· Andrew and Augusta Hedberg
· Peter E. and Johannah Ramstrom
· P.E. and Sophie Danielson
· Claus Danielson
· Axel and Beda Jevert
· Widek and Wilhelmina Fors
· C.M. and Hannah Wallin
· Frederic and Anna Lindgren
· Peter E. and Marie Isaacson
· August Fandeen
· Edward Borup
· Henry Magnuson
· Lotta Norling
· Eric Axel Jevert
Rev. Peter Berg (former missionary to Africa) was called to be the first pastor. He was paid $60 for the year and stayed in the summer kitchen of a rented house near the church. The first missionary offering was taken Dec. 7, 1899; $9.00 was given for the field of Canton, China.

In 1901 a decision was made to purchase ½ acre land for a cemetery.  In 1902 Andrew Hedberg was voted to be the Trade River Police and the church would buy him a star. He was to patrol outside the church.  During the early 1900’s the church was served by traveling ministers and Home mission missionary ladies.  In 1911 the congregation voted to build a parsonage. In 1932 a decision was made to build on due to the large Sunday  School which numbered 160. 1933 marks the first mention of the Ladies Aid Society (Free Church Women’s Ministries). A branch Sunday  School was started at Pleasant Prairie as well with 40 students taught by  Joseph and Freda Peterson. The year 1936 marked the first time the church records were to be written in English instead of Swedish and for the first time there would be one service a month in English instead of Swedish. In 1939 it was decided to hold only one Swedish service a month and one Swedish mid-week service per month. In 1940 Swedish was discontinued. In 1950 Trade River voted to merge with the Evangelical Free Church Association and the Evangelical Free Church of America. The name of the Church was changed to Trade River Evangelical Free Church. In 1964 a decision was made to remodel and add on to the sanctuary to the south.  In 1998 it was apparent that a larger facility was needed and a decision was made to break ground on for a new church building located north of the original structure. In 1999 the first service was held in the new building.  More of the history of the Trade River Evangelical Free Church can be found in "The 100 Anniversary" centennial book. 

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