Pioneer Pastors

Reverend Vaage, from the Goose River settlement, came into the Sheyenne River valley in the summer of 1880.  The first meeting was held at the home of Mrs. Anna Nelson, who had just built a small log house.  The sermon preached by him at that place was probably the first religious sermon ever delivered in what is now Griggs County.

In the fall of 1881 Reverend O. H. Aaberg, Reverend B. Harstad and three laymen traveled from the Goose River to the Mouse River.  On September 28, 1881 they came to the Sheyenne River valley and held services at the home of John Qualey on September 29.  Other pastors mentioned as having come over from the Goose River settlement were Reverend Gronlie, and Reverend O. C. Gronvold.

The first English language services of Griggs County were held in the farm home of R. C. Cooper in 1881, and were conducted by Frank M. Rockwell, a cousin of Mr. Cooper.  In the summer of 1881 the services were conducted by Reverend Rockwell in a large tent loaned by Mr. Cooper.  William Gimblett was another preacher at these meetings.  Other early Congregational pastors were Thomas Sims, Horace Payne James, George Frost, Edwin Shaw, Reverend During Charles Evans and Edward Keedy.

Reverend Omann held the first Methodist service at Mardell in 1882.  Other Methodist pastors were: 

W. Fisher

William Green

T. D. Collins

B. A. Burns

W. L. Bennett

Oscar D. Purinton was ordained to the ministry in the Baptist Church.  He came to Dakota in 1882 and to Cooperstown in 1886, serving as pastor here for two years.  Reverend Purinton conducted the first service in the Hannaford Presbyterian Church in 1886.

Reverend I. L. Lundeby was a home missionary for the Lutheran Church, west of the Red River from 1882 to 1884.  He was instrumental in organizing a number of Lutheran congregations in Griggs County.

Reverend O. K. Quamme (or Kvamme) served as a Lutheran pastor in Cooperstown from 1886 to 1895.  He also served a number of other congregations in Griggs County.  Reverend E. T. Silness served the Lutheran congregation in Cooperstown from 1895-1904.

P. A. Thoreson was a Lutheran pastor at Hannaford from 1888 to 1921.

Source: Griggs County History 1879 - 1976 page 7

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