Ringsaker Lutheran Church

Ringsaker Church was founded in the late 1800's to serve a group of settlers who had traveled to Romness Township from Winneshiek County, Iowa.  Early services were held in homes of the settlers and the worshipers were served by mission pastors named Vaage, Harstad, and Lundeby.  Many of the early services were held in the home of Andrew Knutson, as his home was larger than most because he had a store and the post office known as Lybeck, a Norwegian word meaning "a quiet stream."

Prior to actual organization of the congregation, two children, Anton C. Olson and Elmer Mathison were baptized by Rev. Vaage in the summer of 1881 during services conducted at the home of Anders Nelson.

The congregation was officially organized February 9, 1882 after services conducted by Mission Pastor, I.L. Lundeby in the Knutson home.  The following were the first members: Anders Nelson, Syver Syverson Solei, Ole Olson Bjornstad, Gilbert Olson, Han P. Pramhus, and Carl A. Flisaram.  Syver S. Solei was elected secretary.  Herman Ludvig Johnson was baptized on this day and John Peter Johnson and Anna Marie (Olson) Hilstad were baptized during the following year.

In the years 1882 and 1883 the following people joined the congregation: Martin Johnson, John Johnson, Mrs. Anna Nelson, Bernt Olson, Erick Johnson Vestern and family and Andrew Anderson Hovelsrud and family.

The little flock was reminded how uncertain life is when on November 8, 1881, Anna Nelson Svartberget, only 48 years old, died.  In the fall of 1882, five children died during a diphtheria epidemic.  Thus, it became necessary to obtain land for a place of burial.  Ole Olson Bjornstad was appointed to contact Carl A. Flisaram who agreed to donate an acre of land from his property in Section 22 for a cemetery.  Due to some error, ownership was not recorded as transferred to the church.  The land was then sold to some company and then bought by Ole Pederson Overby.

According to church minutes dated from 1885-1891, it was quite a struggle to acquire title to the land.  Times were hard and the pioneer Overbys could not give title to the land until they had actually acquired title.

According to minutes of the January 4, 1894 meeting, the cemetery committee had completed its work and the land was "over-deeded" to Carl A. Flisaram as trustee of the Ringsaker Church.  The deed was for two acres of land at a total price of $25.00.

During 1883, Syver S. Solei organized the Sunday School and in December of that year, records show that the minister's annual salary was $28.00.  February 9, 1884, it was ordered that a yearly salary of $100.00 be paid.

The first couple to be married were Paul J. Nelson and Helen Vestern on May 24, 1884.  The first three confirmands were Magnus Lynner, Augusta Vestern and Thea Sletten, May 25, 1884.

Discussions began January 4, 1896 regarding a church building.  Pastor O.K. Kvamme, P.P. Idsvoog, and Gilbert Olson were on the committee to investigate the cost of building a church in the dimensions of 30 x 40 feet.  From records of the January 6, 1897 meeting, it was decided to build a church that summer on the cemetery grounds.

Originally, carpenters were to be hired by the day with the congregation helping in the work.  But in May of 1897, it was decided to hire a contractor to furnish all materials.  The contract was let to M.M. Lee and the church was built at a cost of $1,380.45.  It was paid for in the first year with donations raised by the Ladies Aid and the Ringsaker Church Society.  A bell donated by the Young Peoples Society was installed in 1899.  The church was dedicated in July of 1902 by Professor Oftedahl from Augsburg Seminary, Minneapolis, who made the trip from Minneapolis by train.  A copy of a narrative written by him on the trip and during his stay in Romness was found in a scrapbook owned by Amanda Skramstad.  He states that Pastors Quamme, Quanbeck, and Swenson also took part in the dedication.

In it he further states: "The church is an unusually attractive building, quite roomy and practically constructed.  It was on this occasion decorated with bouquets of redtops in an original and appealing manner.

"After services, the Ladies Aid served dinner for all in attendance, and thus, after dinner the people could gather again to listen to 'the testimonies of the ministers and laymen and satisfy their souls with God's heavenly manna."

"Monday and Tuesday we had discussional meetings and thus there was time to become familiar with the beautiful Romness Valley."

He spent the first evening of his stay at the home of Rev. O.K. Quamme in Cooperstown and the following days he spent enjoying the hospitality of Marthinius H. Skramstad on his homestead to the southwest of the church site.

The cemetery association was organized in 1938 with constitution and by-laws drawn up the following year.  Electricity was installed in 1946.  The 60th and 75th anniversary celebrations were held in 1942 and 1957, respectively.

A total of eighteen pastors, 7 student pastors, and several visiting pastors have served the church in the years 1882 to the present.

Source: Cooperstown, North Dakota 1882-1982 Centennial Page 157

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