Walsh County, North Dakota


“Walsh Heritage,” Vol. 1, pg 402-403

LOCATION: Lat: 48° 23′ 03″N, Lon: 97° 32′ 11″W, Fertile Twp, R54W Sec 25 SE

The congregation was established on October 13, 1879, and with the assistance of Pastor M. J. Waage of Goose River, the Trinity Lutheran Church was organized. Present were John Almen, Ole O. Haugerud, Iver Iverson Ljone, Johannes Coller, Haakon Johnson, Carl Almen, Mons Monson, Henry Hanson, and Andrew L. Ask.

On October 28, 1879, a congregational meeting was held at the home of Ole O. Haugerud, with Pastor Waage presiding. The constitution was adopted and the following, together with the aforementioned, became charter members: John Paulson, Anders Monson Hoghaug, and Jorgen Johnson. The first officers were elected: Secretary, Ole O. Haugerud; Treasurer, Andreas L. Ask, Precentor; Ole O. Haugerud; Trustees, Iver Iverson Ljone, John Almen, and Ole O. Haugerud; Deacons, Johannes Coller, Anders Bergum, and Lars Torblaa. Cemetery Committee: Ole O. Haugerud, John Almen, Johannes Coller, Iver Iverson Ljone, and Anders Monson Hoghaug.

The necessity of Sunday School was stressed, and John Almen was elected Superintendent, assisted by Ole O. Haugerud and Iver Iverson Ljone. No regular services were held during the winter months, but occasionally a visiting pastor would hold services. Besides Pastor Waage were Pastor John Olson of St. Ansgar, Iowa, and Anders Olson Megrund of Halstad, Minnesota.

In 1881 Rev. Jens I. Lonne became the first resident pastor. His salary was to be $200 per year. He conducted the first parochial school, which opened on December 12, 1881, at the home of Ole O. Haugerud. At a meeting at the home of Nels Monsebraaten on March 31, 1883, the name “Trinity Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation in Walsh County, Dakota Territory” was adopted. Pastor Peter A. Nykreim served next. His salary was$250 plus two offerings.

On May 30, 1885, after several congregational meetings had been held, it was decided that the congregation be divided and that the river be the dividing line so that those north of the river adopt the name North Trinity, and those south of the river take the name South Trinity. A site for the church and cemetery was selected, and after much consideration they decided on the southeast corner of Section 25 in Fertile Township, owned by Iver Stransatern.

The following became members of South Trinity: Anders Monson Hoghaug, Iver Iverson Ljone, Gunder N. Midgarden, Mons Monson, Andreas L. Ask, Lars Torblaa, Charley Anderson, Tollef Johnson, I. Birk, John Moe, Andrew Boe, John Knutson, Erik Berger, Kristian Fjeld, Nels Monsebraaten, Ole Monsebraaten, Ole Gangsei, Hans Hanson, Hans Paulson, Amund Johanson, and shortly thereafter Gulbrand Lee, Jorgen Sonderland, Halvor Harris and Arne L. Torblaa. The first officers of South Trinity were: Secretary, I. Birk; Treasurer, Gunder N. Midgarden; Trustees, Mons Monson, Tolef John and Kristian Fjeld; Deacons, Andreas L. Ask, Ole Gangsei and Lars Torblaa.

Up to this time services were held in homes and schoolhouses. This did not prove satisfactory. On January 12, 1886, at a meeting at the home of Lars Torblaa, it was decided to build a church. The sum of $960 had been pledged toward the erection of the new church. The members would do the work with the assistance of a carpenter to supervise. The auditorium was to be 36 x 30 x 14 and the chancel 14 x 20 x 12. The building committee was composed of the following: I. Birk, Gunder N. Midgarden, Lars Torblaa, Anders Monson Hoghaug, and Tollef Johnson.

On November 7, 1886, the annual meeting was held in the new building. The church was complete with the exception of the steeple, which was built in 1895 and the church was dedicated in 1896. In 1880 South Trinity and Concordia congregations consolidated. Pastor K. A. Fjellbu, of Decorah, Iowa, came to this parish in 1891, and besides South Trinity, he also served Concordia, Zion and Park Center churches.

In 1893 Pastor Fjellbu was granted a five-month vacation to study at Minneapolis. During his absence Pastor P. T. Stensaas substituted. In 1898 he was given another vacation, at which time he went to Norway, and during his absence Pastor J. N. Helseth served the congregation. In 1900 Pastor Fjellbu resigned and Pastor K. O. Storli of Portland, Maine, accepted the call and stayed here six years. During his pastorate the Sunday School, the Young Peoples Society, and a choir were organized. A sacristy was added to the church.

Pastor O. L. Kirkeberg took over the pastorate in 1906 and remained until 1913. Pastor H. O. Shurson served the congregation during this time. Pastor A. Egge served the congregation from 1915-1926. During this time Concordia congregation was dissolved and its members joined South Trinity and Zion. Pastor Egge suggested that the parish be divided, as it was too large, so in 1926 South Trinity, North Trinity and Zion became one parish; Park Center, Hoople and Hvideso the other. Pastor C. O. Grimsrud served the congregation from 1926-1929.

In 1928 the church basement was completed. As 1929 was the fiftieth anniversary of the congregation, plans were made for the occasion. The three congregations in this parish worked together. Committees were selected and arrangements were made. Representing South Trinity were Albert Midgarden and Henry Lee. The festivities were carried out on July 12-14, 1929. The following pastors appeared on the program: District President David Stoeve, H. O. Shurson, J. J. Jacobson, H. A. Helsem, A. Egge, S. J. Strandjord, J. O. Dahle, Arne Herleikson, Olof Olson, G. N. Isolany, J. T. Langemo, J. Eastvold, and C. M. Grimsrud. Others appearing on the program were: Sen. Lynn J. Frazier, Ruth Storli-Reep, Mrs. Oscar Almen, Mrs. Frank Mastre, Mrs. Henry Lee, Miss Ida Midgarden, Miss Marie Gronsrud, John Olson, and A. N. Midgarden.

The following were church officer in 1929: Secretary, I. Birk; Treasurer, Albert Midgarden; Trustees, Henry Lee, Martin Larson and Albert Viger; Deacons, Henry Sander, E. E. Hanson, and Albert Hove. The organist was Mrs. Henry Lee; custodian R. G. Strand; and Cemetery Committee Albert Midgarden, Anton Strand and Medvin Brende.

In November of 1929 Rev. L. O. Helleklev arrived and took up the work of the congregation. He served South Trinity congregation faithfully and conscientiously for 24 years. In 1953, due to ill health, he resigned and retired.

The original church still stands, with the same auditorium, chancel and belfry that the pioneers built themselves back in 1896. Now, in 1975, the church has seen several additions, much remodeling, new furnishings, and several coats of paint, but basically, it’s still the same. Perhaps that’s why so many members of the congregation look at their little old church on south prairie with adoration, devotion and fond memories.

Submitted by Mrs. Earl Anderson



“Walsh Heritage,” Vol. 3, pg 351-352

The history of the South Trinity Lutheran Church continues from “Walsh Heritage,”, Vol. 1, pg 402.

In November of 1919, Rev. L. O. Helleklev arrived and served the congregation faithfully for 24 years, when he resigned in 1853 due to failing health. He became a resident of the Valley Memorial Home in Grand Forks until his death in 1958. Rev. Oliver Johnson accepted a call and was installed in 1953. On July 16, 17 and 18 of 1954, the 75th Anniversary was held. The activities began with a Fellowship Tea on Friday evening. On Saturday evening a banquet was held, and on Sunday morning the anniversary service was held.

In 1959 Rev. Berdell Digerness was installed and served until December of 1964 when Rev. Melvin Peterson came to serve as interim pastor and stayed until Rev. E. M. Sletten was installed on May 9, 1965. He served until his resignation in 1971. During this time the building received a new furnace and glass doors, and a sign was erected by the church.

On Sunday, June 29, 1969, the 90th Anniversary of the church was celebrated with a joint morning worship service held at Zion and a dinner following. In the afternoon a joint service took place at South Trinity Church.

Rev. Clifford Johnson served as pastor from 1972 until his death in 1975. At this time arrangements were made to have Rev. Terance Anderson of Grand Forks serve as interim pastor. On June 20, 1976, the joining congregation voted to sell the parsonage, which had been built in 1891, and build a new one. Rev. Ernest Christensen was installed on September 12, 1976, as pastor of South Trinity and Zion churches and is presently serving as pastor of the parish.

The Centennial, the 100th Anniversary of the founding of this congregation, was held on July 6, 7 and 8 in 1979, with services at North Trinity Church on Friday evening. Saturday morning a breakfast and Norwegian service was held on Friday evening. On Saturday afternoon a tea and get-together at South Trinity Church was followed by a banquet in the evening, with remarks by former pastors. Sunday morning a Centennial Worship Service, then a joint service of the parish at Zion church was held, and again on Sunday afternoon, followed by a tea and an open house of the new parsonage.

We are thankful to the pioneers and the present members of South Trinity who have let their lives shine forth for Jesus to establish a place of worship for over 100 years, and thanks to God for the many rich blessings through the years and for His guidance and protection. “Thanks be to God who giveth us the victory through our Lord, Jesus Christ.” Corinthians 15:57.

Submitted by Mrs. Marion Lee



“Walsh Heritage,” Vol. 3, pg 352-353

A presentation on a “nervous bride” was given at a bridal shower for Genell Anderson of Grafton at the South Trinity Lutheran Church on Friday, June 13, 1980. She probably wasn’t the only nervous person in attendance before that evening was over. The guests arrived; a program was presented; and then, as the honored guest was opening and viewing her gifts, a storm struck.

Friends and relatives just sat and watched as hail and wind broke windows in the basement of the church where the shower was being held. Hostesses, in addition to their regular duties at a shower, cleaned up the hail-covered floor and even ended up boarding the windows. After it was all over, Miss Anderson expressed her thanks and appreciation to everyone for the gifts and party.




“Walsh Heritage,” Vol. 1, pg 403

The Ladies’ Aid was organized about 1886 while Pastor Nykreim served the congregation. The first meeting was held at the home of Mrs. Gulbrand Lee, where the following ladies organized the Aid: Mrs. I. Birk, Mrs. Iver Iverson Ljone, Mrs. Anders Monson Hoghaug, Mrs. Gunder N. Midgarden, Mrs. Gulbrand Lee, and Mrs. Andreas L. Ask. The first officers were: Mrs. Iver Iverson Ljone, Mrs. Gunder N. Midgarden, and Miss Lena Larson. After a couple of years the meetings were discontinued until Pastor Fjellbu became pastor in 1891, when meetings were again held.

The Ladies’ Aid has been active and contributed a great deal toward missions and the church budget. Throughout the years the Aid assisted with money for several improvements and helped pay for the basement, also for the painting of the church, both inside and out. Most of the money they earned came from having congregational gatherings. Sometimes the public was invited too. As there wasn’t a basement until 1928, everything was held in the homes. One time an oyster stew supper was served at the I. Birk home. This was during the winter, so it was held inside, and the house was full. The children even played in the attic. Picnics were held during the summer or early fall quite often, right after church services on the same day that confirmation was held. The I. Birk place was used again, as was the Ole Halland home. Ice cream socials were held, and the ladies sold lunch at many, many auction sales. All this was a lot of hard work, as everything had to be lugged from home and from the church, but it gave them the chance to be together for fellowship. This was all back in the “Good Old Days.”

Submitted by Mrs. Earl Anderson.



“Walsh Heritage,” Vol. 3, pg 352

This organization of the church was originally called the Ladies’ Aid, and was organized in 1886 at the Gulbrand Lee home. Mrs. Iver Iverson, Mrs. Gunder Midgarden and Miss Lena Larson were the first officers. Meetings were held for a couple of years and then discontinued. In 1891 the Ladies’ Aid reorganized and has continued since, making many contributions to world and home missions. In 1928 a basement was built under the church. This has been used for so many things. Parochial school was held there, social gatherings, later Sunday School and the A.L.C.W. Meetings, to mention a few. Up until this time the church gatherings were held at the I. Birk home and also at Ole Helland’s home.

Over the years the Ladies’ Aid has sponsored many food sales, article sales, basket socials, church suppers, served lunch at auction sales, and had several Harvest Festivals, some of which were held at farm homes. These activities were the Aid’s main money-making projects.

The organization joined the Women’s Missionary Federation in 1953 when Rev. Oliver Johnson came to serve the parish. That required the addition of secretaries to head stewardship, education and cradle roll. The organization was known as the Women’s Missionary Federation.

After the merger of the American Lutheran Church and the United Evangelical Lutheran Church in 1960, the name was changed to the American Lutheran Church Women. In 1979 they helped celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the church. I’m sure almost all the active A.L.C.W. members were on one committee or another. In June of that year we held an Old-Fashioned Ladies’ Aid meeting. The program consisted of a Bible study, a skit, and singing of many favorite hymns. This also included an article sale from a simulated country store. Guests were invited, many who were former South Trinity members. The lunch, of course, consisted of layer cakes, sandwiches, dark bread, cheese, pickles, rhubarb sauce, lemonade and coffee. This meeting was the kick-off to our church celebration.

The A.L.C.W. has helped pay for several projects at the church, the latest being a sign placed along Highway 17 designating the location of the church. Meetings are held once a month and are usually at the church. Besides the business meeting a Bible study is given and an offering is taken for the Cause of the Month as well as one for home use.

The present officers (1981) are: Gladys Hove and Ione Anderson, co-presidents; Margaret Hove, secretary; Nellie Torkelson, treasurer; Eileen Brekke, secretary of stewardship; and Rae Ann Larson, secretary of education.

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