Walsh County, North Dakota
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HOFF LUTHERAN CHURCH — Norton Township

“Walsh Heritage,” Vol 2, pg 1061-1062

LOCATION: 122nd Ave. NE, Adams, ND 58210

“A group of 22 Scandinavian families living just south of Adams met early in 1893 for the purpose of organizing a Lutheran church. The name chosen was Hoff Lutheran Church. Meetings were first held in local schoolhouses and homes. Rev. M. C. Holseth was the first pastor and conducted all services in the Norwegian language. The cemetery was organized in 1893, and the site chosen was on land donated by Herman Hoff. On Novmber 20, 1899, members met and decided to build the church on this site. Intent on getting this project going, these pioneers started to raise and solicit money. Not wanting to go into debt, by 1899 they had raised $1,200, the estimated cost of the building.

Work on the church started in 1900 and was completed in 1906 at the cost of $1,281. This left only $81 to be raised. Dedication of the church was on July 8, 1906. It was in 1906 that Hoff joined the Adams Lutheran parish. As there was no organ or piano in the church at first, music was furnished by the “klokker prestin,” Per Vikhagen. He played a stringed instrument and led and furnished accompaniment for all singing. His pay was fifty cents a year from each member of the congregation.

There were burials in the cemetery from the beginning, but surveying of lots was not until 1911. A basement and other improvements on the church were made in 1925. Much of the work in this construction was volunteer. Excavation of dirt was by horses and scrapers, and all gravel was hauled by team and wagon from a pit north of Highway 17. Other changes and improvements have since been made as necessary.

 

The Hoff Ladies’ Aid Society

A group of 12 ladies met on August 9, 1893, and organized the Hoff Ladies’ Aid. Each member paid 15 cents at the time of joining and 10 cents a meeting dues each month, whether present or not, as a means of raising money to carry on the necessary work. Meetings were held at homes and local schoolhouses. Members either walked to meetings or came by team and lumber wagons. Very few had buggies – they were considered quite a luxury. Money was raised by holding auction sales of handmade articles members donated, by suppers, church picnics, basket socials and cash donations. The aim was to get money to build and furnish the church. The Ladies had $400, the price of putting the tin on the walls and ceiling of the church. The Ladies’ Aid also raised money to build a barn on the church grounds to house the horses during church activities.

Educating the young people in Christian growth has been a main objective since early times. Bible School has been sponsored from as early as 1897 to the present time (1976). Many Bible School terms were as long as two months, but at that time there was no Sunday School. The Hoff Ladies’ Aid, changed to the Hoff A.L.C.W. with the merger in 1961, is still active. We not only work to keep up our church, but also donate to home and foreign missions, support our church school and Bible camps, and in general try to do the will of the Lord in a way in which our forefathers would have been proud.

The 51st anniversary of the church was celebrated in 1944, and the 75th anniversary in 1968. In 1961, Hoff merged with the American Lutheran Church. Hoff is still an active congregation with a membership of 73 (1976), many of whom are descendants of the pioneers who had the dream and desire to keep God’s word alive for generations to come.

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