First Presbyterian Church

The Fargo Presbytery met in the Congregational Church in Cooperstown September 11, 1923 in response to a petition signed by a number of members of the Congregational and Methodist Churches of Cooperstown requesting the Presbytery of Fargo to organize them into a Presbyterian Church.  At a meeting October 4, 1923 the organization was completed by electing E.M. Culver, W.H. Butler, E.S. Hamilton, and Dr. M.D. Westley as elders.  They were ordained and installed into their offices by Dr. D.T. Robertson.

C.E. Curtis was the first pastor, 1924 to 1926.  Other pastors that have served this church are:

J.R. Kirby

LeRoy C. Cooley

Charles C. Converse

W. Ray Radliff

W.J. Henderson

Harvey Senecal

Robert Schurr

Robert Maharry

James R. and Faye A. Fedlam

Harvey Bullard-Bates

Bill Shields - at present

 

The last eight are still living and still in the ministry.

The present church building was the Methodist Church and after the merger was used as the Presbyterian social hall until 1939.  It was remodeled in 1941.  At that time a basement was put in and a new hot air heating system was installed and is still in use.  The Methodist Manse was the first building to the east of the church and was rented for years until it was sold in 1952.

The Congregational Church stood in the northeast corner of Block 81 where the Edgar Multer residence now stands.  This building was used as the Presbyterian Church until 1939 when it was sold to the Roman Catholic Church of Jessie.  The Catholics were using the social hall for services Saturday afternoon and Sunday mornings for a charge of $3.00 per week.  The Congregational Manse was in the southeast corner of Block 71 and was used as a Presbyterian Manse until 1969 when it was sold to Alvin Eslinger.  In 1924 the Hannaford church joined the parish.  Sharon joined later.  Hannaford officially closed in 197:3.  Sharon is still a part of the parish.  The Courtenay church was part of the parish from 1975 to 1978.

Dr. M.D. Westley was the first clerk of session, 1923-1924.  Other persons that have served as clerk of session are:

E.S. Hamilton

A.B. Detwiller

L.A. Sayer

Bertha Langford

Claire Johnston

Frank Smith

Willis Nilson

James Sott

Rita Jungels - the present clerk.

Because of the condition of the steeple, it was taken down and the bell was given to the Historical Society and was set in front of one of their buildings.

In 1953 the church entered into a moneymaking business deal of buying 125 sheep at $25 and putting them out on shares.  After two years they were sold and sheep raising was left to the farmers.

The present organ was purchased in 1957.  The sanctuary was remodeled and new pews installed.  In 1964 the basement was remodeled by redoing the kitchen, tiling floors and ceiling and new light fixtures.

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

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