Buena Vista County, IA
USGenWeb Project

The Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church

One of the very first cares of any community is the religious welfare of its members.  Wherever man goes, the church is sure to follow.  And whenever there becomes a sufficient number of persons of any one religious inclination, they will feel profoundly their religious ties and the organization of a church will follow. And so it was that on the 14th of April, 1873, a company of twelve families assembled at the home of D. A. Danielson, a house twelve by twelve, situated one mile west of the present site of Albert City, and there organized themselves into the "Ljunghed Congregation" of the Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church.  The members constituted the families of Andreas Pantzar (Ponsor), August Anderson, Andrew Munson, Carl E. Anderson, C. J. Pantzer (Ponsor), C. A. Eckman, Neils Benna, D. A. Danielson, F. T. Bergling, John Peterson, Olaf Johnson, O. B. Anderson, A. G. Englund, and C. F. Erickson. John Pederson, a theological student stationed at Pomeroy, organized the society, and was president of the meeting.


Of the twelve who organized the society, these are still living in the community:  Mrs. A. Pantzer, Mrs. August Anderson, Mr. and Mrs. A. Munson, Mr. and Mrs. C. E. Anderson, Mr. and Mrs. C. J. Ponsor, Mr. and Mrs. C. A. Eckman, Mrs. Neils Benna, Mrs. F. T. Bergling.


Up to 1887 the society held its services in private homes and the schoolhouse situated then about one-half mile from town as it is now.  D. A. Danielson and C. E. Anderson were the first deacons, and August Anderson, Neils Benna and C. A. Eckman constituted the first board of trustees.


The first church building was erected in 1887, a building thirty-two by fifty, costing two thousand dollars.  A parsonage had been built in 1883; a second one, which is the present parsonage, was built in 1898.  In 1905 the church building was torn down and the present one erected, which was dedicated October 8th of that year.  The number of communicants had grown from one hundred and twenty when the first church was erected, to three hundred and forty-four when the second building was dedicated.  There are at present three hundred and sixty-six communicants in the church society.  The present church building is valued at fourteen thousand dollars.  The society also owns twenty acres of land surrounding the church and parsonage, which brings the total value of the church property close to twenty thousand dollars.


A layman, A. G. Eigil, served as leader of the church until 1877.  From that time the ministers who have served are: N. G. N. Bergenskold, J. S. Benson, J. E. Holtz, G. A. Ostergren, and the present pastor C. E. Olsson, who has been connected with the church since June, 1904. 


Of the present officers of the society the following are the deacons: C. E. Anderson, C. J. Blomberg, Andrew Swenson, C. A. Anderson, A. L. Johnson, and E. E. Carlson.  The board of trustees consists of Gustave Johnson, Fritz G. Anderson, Hans Johnson, Frank G. Johnson, C. W. Harald and A. T. Peterson.


The Sunday school has an enrollment of seventy-five children, besides two Bible classes, one for the older members and one for the younger.  The pastor, Rev. C. E. Olsson, is the superintendent, and Oscar Farb is secretary.


The pastor is also president of the Young People's Society; Emily Anderson is secretary.  This supports a native boy in school in India, and the support for a native missionary in that country is provided for by the Sunday school.


The ladies of the church have a Sewing Society, of which Mrs. A. Malmberg is president and Ida Anderson secretary.


The Foreign Missionary Society is composed of three divisions, holding three separate meetings a month, embracing the north, south and west parts of the community in which the members live.



Extracted from:  Wegerslev, C. H. and Thomas Walpole.  Past and Present of Buena Vista County, Iowa.  Chicago:  S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1909, p. 115-16.