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)
3 3988 1004 1287 0 ...... .. Remembrances. From a Lf Me mbership. 1903 1993 at Norway Lutheran Church 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 today. 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 old. 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 1914. 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 game! - 1 -an
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