Walsh County, North Dakota

Fordville Presbyterian Church — rural Fordville, ND

“Walsh Heritage”, Vol 2, pg 743

LOCATION: 12785 County Rd. 19A, Fordville, ND 58231-9207

     The present church body is a result of the union of several smaller groups who, as means of travel improved, decided to combine. Those earlier groups included the Elkmount Presbyterian Church (Belleville) and the First Presbyterian Church of School District No. 9 (Medford Township).

     Records are meager regarding the first church activities in School District No. 9, 3-1/2 miles west of the present site of Fordville. However, by the initiative of Daniel McKeith, Sr., sometime during the 1880’s a few church members of several denominations succeeded in having regular services in the schoolhouse of the district. In the fall of 1894, the First Presbyterian Church of that district was organized with the Rev. J.B. Ferguson as pastor.

     Regular Sabbath services and Sunday School were held every summer for some years. Services in winter could not be held because it was impossible much of the time for the minister to travel from his home church to this outlying pastorate.

     Quoting from an account by Mrs. David Robertson, Sr., “The schoolhouse in District No. 9 where the services were held was usually full. Some five or six denominations were represented, and I am sure there is a warm feeling in more than one heart for those young men (ie the pastors) who worked so hard for the Master those years.”

     With the village of Medford, now Fordville, growing so rapidly it seemed expedient to formally organize a congregation there. On Sept. 13, 1905, the congregation from District No. 9 united with the residents of Medford and the surrounding community.  During the next two years, services were held in the hall above the original Medford Mercantile building and in the schoolhouse.

     The church building proper was built in the year 1907 by James Henry and his sons, and others at a cost of $3,000. Older members of the congregation can remember it as it was built. The pulpit was on the south side and the choir sang in the loft on the north side. The choir at that time was made up of young married couples for the most part. In addition to the choir loft on the north side, there was another room for use when the main auditorium was filled. The Rev. W. Gleason was pastor.

     There are several charter members living in this community and taking active part in church affairs. In addition many of the children and grandchildren of the earliest members now continue the work started a half century ago.

     The Fordville Church has been served by several ministers until 1943. At that time different arrangements were made, and since then the resident minister of the Federated Church of Park River has served as the pastor of the Fordville Presbyterian Church.  Approximately twenty pastors served the congregation during the first fifty years. (Taken from the 50th anniversary booklet of the Fordville First Presbyterian Church.)

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