Church: Hoard Norwegian Lutheran (History & Reconstruct - 1978)

Contact: Robert Lipprandt 

Surnames: Dunnow, Forde, Monson, Nielson, Reishus, Saetveit

----Source: The Tribune - Phonograph (Abbotsford, WI) 8/05/2015

Originally published in the Abbotsford Tribune, August 2, 1978

“Curtiss church is born again”

The Norwegian Lutheran Church, west of Curtiss, built by a pioneer congregation consisting of hardy Norsemen, is being restored. The church was built in 1907, after the original church, built in 1897, was destroyed in a cyclone.

To restore the 71 year old church, whose members are now part of St. Paul’s American Lutheran Church, was originally the idea of Henry Dunnow, a retired farmer who lived across the road from the old brick church.

Dunnow, who feels it is a historical marker, brought the subject of restoration up at the annual meeting and reports that the idea received enthusiastic support.

Work is underway. The fir trim on the windows is being painted, doors are being repaired and bricks are being replaced. Dunnow is donating what work he can do and monies needed for repairs are coming out of the newly organized St. Paul’s restoration fund.

Just how extensively the church will be restored depends on how much money is donated according to Dunnow, treasurer of the fund, who states receipts this far total $100. He expects minor repairs will be completed by fall.

The Norwegian congregation had many pastors and each of them seemed to contribute by his own talents what would come to be a lasting heritage.

The first pastor of the pioneer congregation was the Rev. Forde. He was paid $50 a year and held church in school houses from 1881 to 1892.

He was followed by Rev. I G. Monson, who was instrumental in organizing the ladies aid.

The first church was built during the term of the next pastor, the Rev. Saetveit, who served until 1898.

The congregation asked that the next pastor speak English in addition to Norwegian and in 1909, the Rev. H. Nielson began his tenure. He was especially interested in Christian instruction of the young.

A new, younger pastor, the Rev. T. S. Reishus, was minister when the cyclone hit, destroying the uninsured church. He was not discouraged and plans were made at once to rebuild.

Living conditions among the early members of the congregation were described as hard. Early records indicate “every morsel of bread earned by the sweat of the brow, every dollar spent for anything, but sustenance was a real sacrifice.”

In 1900 members of the Kvinde Foerning (ladies aid) paid 10 cents a month dues and with $123.18 earned from all the yearly outdoor public auctions held up to that time, were able to buy the altar, an organ, pulpit, carpets, baptismal font, lamps, curtains and other minor furnishings.



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