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Johnson, Melvin J. / Remembrances from a life membership, 1903-1993, at Norway Luthern Church

Remembrances. . . from a life membership 1903-1993 at Norway Lutheran Church,   pp. 1-9 PDF (4.7 MB)

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                 ......                ..  Remembrances.
                     From a Lf Me mbership. 1903  1993 at Norway Lutheran
                                             byMelVin IJohnson,
Oh how thankful I am that the Lord has given me so many years of good physical
body and mind to enjoy the
memories of my years of life. I was born on a farm on the southeast shore
of Wind Lake, Town of Norway, Racine
County, on August 28, 1903.
My parents, Ole and Lena Johnson, together with my father's parents, four
brothers and one sister immigrated from
Norway, Europe to settle among friends in this community in 1880. In 1884,
my father and two uncles purchased
the only three farms on the southeast shore of Wind Lake. I still live in
my home on this land today, 1993.
This land must have been a great place for the Indians, next to the lake,
as we found an abundance of Indian
arrows, axes, knives and grinders; and I have some of these items in my possession
My parents were very active in the Norway Lutheran Church. To not attend
church on Sunday would be because of
sickness or stormy weather. The children also attended Sunday School, always
walking the 2-1/2 miles. Sunday
School was every Sunday, and Elmer Jacobson was Superintendent and his son
Clarence Jacobson was assistant.
Both the English and Norwegian languages were used in Sunday School and church.
This was quite common as
the people, like my folks, had no knowledge of the English language until
they came to America. Gradually,
though, the English language prevailed.
Norway Church has been blessed with many pastors who served its people well,
and they were active in community
affairs. I think of one pastor in particular who served Norway Congregation
from 1901-1908. He was Rev. Otto E.
Schmidt. During the time Rev. Schmidt was here, the only means of transportation
was by horseback, or horse and
buggy. He was very much interested in getting better communication between
his parishioners. He invited Dr.
Charles Flett of Waterford and seven other citizens from around Norway to
a meeting on March 7, 1902. The
purpose was to organize a Wind Lake Telephone Company.
The second meeting was held at the Jacobson school house on March 10, 1902
for the purpose of electing officers.
Rev. Otto E. Schmidt was elected President and Dr. Charles Flett was elected
Vice President. J. E. Jacobson was
elected Secretary and Hans Finholth was elected Treasurer. The central office
and switchboard was to be in the
Finholth Store (now the Sparkle City Restaurant). A Stock Company was organized,
and at the first meeting nine
members purchased 12 shares each at $5.00 per share.
Pastor Otto Schmidt wasn't a pastor who you only saw on Sunday in the pulpit
preaching the Gospel. He lived
with his people. They tell me he dug post holes, set poles, stretched wire
and succeeded in promoting the welfare
of the community. I don't remember Rev. Schmidt; I wish I did. He left here
in 1908 when I was only five years
Rev. T. H. Bakke and his wife, Thonette, came here in 1908. I remember Pastor
Bakke preaching in the
Norwegian language. I remember his wife at our home counting the flowers
on my mothers Christmas Cactus.
His wife died in 1910. He later married my mother's sister, my Aunt Thora,
and they moved from here in 1911.
Rev. Osmand Johnson accepted a Call to Norway in 1912. 1 remember his wife,
three daughters, and one son quite
well. The children were Mabel, Borgual, (I don't remember the third girl's
name) and the boy, Paul. They had a
problem living in the country without city conveniences. So they left in
Memories come alive to the time when Rev. John L. Kildahi accepted a Call
to come to Norway Congregation in
191!4. He came here as a graduate of our seminary at St. Paul, Minnesota.
He was a single man, and he stayed at
different homes until he married his wonderful wife, Edith. They then moved
into the parsonage.
Rev. Kidahl was a dynamic preacher of the Word of God. He believed it, he
lived it and he witnessed it to his
people. He was the choir director and loved music. He cared for the young
people and organized a Boy Scout
troop. He was a great baseball player and would never miss a good baseball
- 1 -an

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