Congregational Church

The first English language church services of Griggs County were held in the farm-home of R.C. Cooper in 1880 and conducted by Frank M. Rockwell, a cousin of R.C. Cooper.  They called themselves the "Union Church."  In the summer of 1881 the services were conducted by Rev. Rockwell in a large tent loaned by Mr. Cooper and set up on the NW 1/4 of Section 31, T. 146, R. 58 in the most central location for the first families: R.C. Cooper, M.F. Washburn, J.N. Brown, S.B. Langford.

Mr. Rockwell often rode to the meetings upon an ox fitted with a special saddle.  William Gimblett, another early preacher also rode this ox.  By 1882, about sixty settlers had come from the neighborhood of St. Clair, Michigan, besides others from other states.  Services of the winter of 1882 and 83 were held in the dining room of the Merriell House, also known as Dakota House, the first hotel and rooming house, now owned by Alph Overby.  Mr. Rockwell also conducted revival services in the summer of 1883 at the home of Mr. and Mrs. J.N. Brown, then known as the Meadow View Farm.  Following the completion of the schoolhouse, the meetings were held there.  Sunday school was organized June 2, 1883.

June 7, 1884, Mr. Rockwell sent a request to the Congregational ministers of Dakota to organize a church June 17, 1884.  This call was signed by:

George W. Barnard

Mrs. George W. Barnard

Belle Rice

Mrs. Emma Cooper

Mrs. Isabella Brown

Mrs. M. Zimmerman

Jack H. Brown

Cora E. Hagarty

Mrs. E.B. Newell

Minnie C. Barnard

Mrs. T.F. Kerr

Theodore F. Kerr

George Calder

A.N. Adams

John N. Glass

Alex J. Glass

Anna E. Glass

Livia P. Barnard

Maria Rankin

Miss Therza Gimblett

Mrs. Martha Newberry

Mr. Edwin Bradley

S.B. Langford

Mrs. S.B. Langford

Laura Langford

Bertie Langford

Olive Langford

Frank M. Rockwell

Mrs. F.M. Rockwell

William Gimblett

Richard A. Horholtz

James Walker

Theodore Nierenberg

William A. Wetherbee

Mrs. S.J. Haskell

Mrs. R.C. Brophy

R.C. Brophy

B.B. Brown

Mrs. B.B. Brown

Mrs. M.A. Baker

Alice M. Jimeson

William C. Jimeson


The following ministers and laymen responded to the call:

Rev. H.C. Simmons

Rev. J.W. Donaldson

Br. David McCullock

Rev. David Wirt

Rev. Joseph Waite

Rev. William Ering

Bro.  L.W. Starbird.


At the first business meeting the following officers were elected: Deacons S.B. Langford and A.N. Adams

Clerk, Mrs. Lucy H. Brown

Treasurer, George W. Barnard

Trustees Jack N. Brown, George Barnard, R.C. Cooper. 

The Articles of Incorporation of the First Congregational Church were filed to begin May 1, 1885, to run for fifty years.  February 23, 1886, the church bought lots 1 and 2 of Block 81 and the church built shortly afterward.  The pastor's house was built in 1906.  Besides F.M. Rockwell, early pastors included:

Thomas Sims

Horace Payne James

George Frost

Edwin Shaw

Rev. Ruring

Charles Evans

Edward Keedy.

In 1939 the Congregational Church building was sold to the St. George Catholic congregation.

Source: Cooperstown, North Dakota 1882-1982 Centennial Page 153

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