Sheyenne Valley Congregation

The Sheyenne Valley Congregation celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1981.  It is located in the western part of Steele County but this portion of Steele County was included in Griggs County in the early 1880's.  At the time Cooperstown was designated as the county seat of Griggs County, the boundary lines were changed and the land on which the Sheyenne Valley Church is located is now part of Steele County.  Several of the members are from the Sheyenne River Valley area and are residents of Griggs County.

In the years 1879-1880, early settlers came to the Sheyenne River Valley.  Omund Nelson Opheim was the first permanent settler.  "Pioneer Nelson" Opheim and his family were the only people living in the area during the winter of 1879-1880.  In the year 1880, John Quale, Iver Seim and John Johnson Hanson arrived with John Arneson and Evan Monson Joining the community a year or so later.  In 1880 and 1881 Pastor Bjug A. Harstad from Goose River visited the settlement and conducted several services, which were held in the log houses.

The 1881-82 treasurer's book lists the following names as contributing towards the pastor's salary, some of them charter members:

Iver Seim

John Hanson

John Arneson

Evan Monson

John Qualey

Mikkel Aga

Johan Mustad

Mattias Hilstad

Gustav Olson

Omund Opheim

Ole Halvorson

Syver Halvorson

Andreas Larson

Sven Knutson Norgard

Peter Hanson

Johannes Dronen

Peter J. Hanson

At a congregational meeting held February 2, 1885, a constitution, compiled by Pastor O.C. Gronvold, Omund Opheim and Ole Halvorson, was read, considered and unanimously adopted.  Worship services were conducted in the homes and later in the Mardell schoolhouse located in the townsite of Mardell.

The new church building was completed in the fall of 1898, located on the "SE corner of the Opheim Tree Claim".

June 19, 1961, tragedy struck the congregation.  The church and all its furnishings were completely destroyed by fire.  It was being renovated and repaired in preparation for the congregation's eightieth anniversary to be observed in September.  Worship services were conducted in the Oak Grove schoolhouse located approximately two miles southwest of the church site.  At a congregation meeting held there November 1, 1961, it was voted to build a new church.  Construction was started April 23, 1962 and the first service was held in the new church November 25, 1962.

Pastors who have served the congregation are as follows:


Bjug A. Harstad 1880-1881
Carl John Gronlid 1882
Rolf Fjelstad 1883
O.C. Gronvold 1883-1887
T.H. Larson 1887-1892
Henry H. Eliassen 1892-1900
E.T. Silness 1900-1906
Henrick Voldahl 1906-1909
E.C. Tollefson 1909-1916
V.E. Boe 1909 and 1917-40
E.T. Fyrand 1941-1948
O.A. Jordahl 1948-1966
Ernest Stadum 1966 to the present.


The church has a membership of approximately 100 confirmed members.

Source: Cooperstown, North Dakota 1882-1982 Centennial Page 161 

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