Former Lutheran Churches of Maskell, which were predacessors to what is now  FAITH LUTHERAN CHURCH
Submitted by Sharon Hagler and compiled by Donna Maskell




LIME CREEK LUTHERAN CHURCH

Lime Creek Lutheran Church was organized September 25, 1873, as a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod. It was located about 1/2 mile south of the area known as Lime Grove. Lime Grove is 2 or 3 miles south of the Village of Maskell. Rev. Emil Christensen served as the first pastor on a part-time basis (approximately four services a year) as he also served 12 parishes in the Dakota Territory. Until 1876 he was assisted by Rev. Gulbrand Christensen who was succeeded by Rev. N.G. Tvedt. In 1879 Rev. Tvedt married Lena Nelson, a member of the Lime Creek Church, and became the resident pastor. (Lena was the daughter of Marcus Nelson and Inger Gunderson-Nelson). Rev. Tvedt served at Lime Creek as well as several other congregations in Nebraska and the Dakota Territory until 1908. Beginning in 1907 Rev. A.J. Nervig served the congregation. Rev. Nervig lived in Hartington and also served congregations in Hartington and the Paragon parish until 1918.

The charter members of the church were Mr. and Mrs. Nels Erickson, Mr. and Mrs. Aad Evenson, Mr. and Mrs. Nels Gran, Mr. and Mrs. Andreas Gran, Mr. and Mrs. Christian Johnson, Mr. and Mrs. Nels Johnson, Mr. and Mrs. Casper Johnson, Mr. and Mrs. George Johnson, Mr. and Mrs. Marcus Nelson and Mr. and Mrs. Anders Nelson. Four children were baptized at the first service at Lime Creek in 1873; they were Oscar Gran, Bette Johnson, Elmer Nelson and Nels Nelson. The first couple to be married at Lime Creek were Peter Wiger and Josephine Munson on January 4, 1878. The first funeral was that of Olena Munson (mother of Josephine Munson) on July 3, 1877. Olena Munson was the sister of Martha Maskell, who was also an early member of the Lime Creek Church. The confirmands in 1877 were Hans and Martha Wiger and Thorine Gunderson.

The first church building was actually constructed in 1884. That church was tipped over by a tornado on April 30, 1898, but most of the material was salvaged and was used again to construct a second church at the same location.


BETHANY (LIME GROVE) LUTHERAN CHURCH

Bethany (Lime Grove) Lutheran Church was organized in about 1877 as a member of the United Norwegian Lutheran Synod. Their first church and parsonage were built at Lime Grove in 1892/1893. The church was dedicated on September 24, 1893. Rev. Iver Andreason was the first pastor and served on a part-time basis from 1877 to 1880. In 1880 Rev. E.T. Quam became the first resident pastor. Succeeding pastors were Rev. O.T. Nelson (1891/1892), Rev. Paul Tetlie (1892/1897), Rev. M.M. Londahl (1898/1900), Rev. E.L. Selsoe (1900/1901), Rev. Oscar Rorem (1902/1907), Rev. Joseph Lewis (1907/1911), and Rev. Albert Anders (1913/1916). The church was without a pastor between 1911 and 1913). (Rev. Oscar Rorem married Ida Johnson, the daughter of Casper Johnson and Marian Gunderson-Johnson. Rev. Joseph Lewis married Ida Johnson, the daughter of Nels C. Johnson and Thorine Gunderson-Johnson. The two Idas were first cousins and members of the Bethany Church.

Charter members of the church were Mr. and Mrs. Hans P. Tetley, Mr. and Mrs. Nils Johnson, Mr. and Mrs. Rasmuss Knutson, Mr. and Mrs. Nils Erickson, Mr. and Mrs. Sven Anderson, Mrs. and Mrs. Ole Syverson, Mr. and Mrs. Christian Martinson, Mr. and Mrs. Ole O. Lyng., Mrs. and Mrs. Ole Gulbrandson, Mr. and Mrs. Syverin Lyng, Mr. and Mrs. Paul Tetley, Mr. and Mrs. Nels C. Johnson, and Mr. Halvor S. Tesdahl. The first confirmands were Martin and Anna Knutson and Ludvig Tetley. The first marriage was that of Gustaf Olson and Anna Johanna Lyng. The first funeral was that of Pastor Quam's son, Theophilus Reinhart, whom died June 1, 1884. The first baptisms were those of Raymond, son of Mr. and Mrs. Rasmuss Knutson, and Anna Elisa, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Anders Anderson.

The Bethany (Lime Grove) Church was also destroyed by the tornado in 1898, but it was rebuilt at the same location. In 1907 the church building was again destroyed, by fire caused by lighting, but once again the church was rebuilt at the same location was dedicated again on March 21, 1909. In 1907 the Village of Maskell was founded as a supply station for the railroad that was under construction in the area. In 1913, under the guidance of Rev. A.J. Anders, Bethany Church built a new parsonage in Maskell. A year later the church building was dismantled at Lime Grove and rebuilt in the Village of Maskell. The new church at Maskell was dedicated August 15, 1915. Rev. Anders served at Maskell until 1916. After Pastor Anders' resignation, the congregation was without a pastor until 1919. In the interim, N. J. Charlson, a student from the University of South Dakota at Vermillion served as a substitute pastor, Rev. Jacob Hesteness was called in 1919.


OUR SAVIOR'S LUTHERAN CHURCH

Our Savior's Lutheran Church. In 1896 a group of Lutheran's of Danish and German descent who lived in the Village of St. James and the surrounding area in Cedar County began the organization of a Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church. Rev. H.T. Hvid recorded the names of the charter members as follows - Mr. and Mrs. Peter Beyschau, Mr. and Mrs. Chris Schaller, Mr. and Mrs. M. J. Brandrup, Mr. and Mrs. K. P. Jensen, Mr. and Mrs. Jorgen Meng, Mr. and Mrs. George Thompson, Mr. and Mrs. Bereck, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Jurgens, and Mr. and Mrs. Lauritzen. The first services were held at the District No. 33 Schoolhouse. In 1897 Rev. A. J. Hammer and Rev. R. L. Londahl conduted services at the school. However, because of the distance involved and the method of travel at the time, the group decided to divide. One group joined the Presbyterian Church at Village of St. James, while the other group continued to hold services at the District No. 63 Schoolhouse.

On May 17, 1903, the group from the District No. 63 Schoolhouse decided to organize an independent Lutheran congregation with a Sunday School and with services in English and to hold services in English and to hold services that summer in the schoolhouse of District No. 21. By fall this group decided to build a church 3 miles west and 1/2 mile south of the present Village of Obert. The church building was completed in the fall of 1905 and the first service was held on January 1, 1906.

The first members were Mr. and Mrs. Beyschau and family, Mr. and Mrs. Tesdal and family, Mrs. and Mrs. Klanderud and family, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Nygaard and family, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Miller and family, and Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Miller and family. The first pastor was Rev. Oscar Rorem (1902-1907) and services were held every third Sunday. The first baptisms were Mary Margaret, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Fritz Beyschau, and Jens Christian, son of Mr. and Mrs. Severin Aageson. The first confirmands were Christina Mary Jenson and Hannah Beyschau. The first marriage was Margaret Beyschau and Harry Ferber on February 21, 1906. The first funeral was held for Mary Klanderud Faulk and her infant son in 1911.

In 1914 the church was moved from its country location to the Village of Obert. Those members who lived some distance from Obert later organized their own church at Wynot, Nebraska, and named the new church Our Savior's English Lutheran of Wynot.


BETHANY LUTHERAN CHURCH (WYNOT)

Bethany Lutheran Church (Wynot) was organized July 1, 1917. Lloyd Lynde, George Thompson and Chris Schaller were the first trustees; Harry Ferber and Peter Beyschau were the first deancons. Services were held in the Presbyterian Church at Wynot until the congregation secured title to its new property on Janurary 30, 1922. Services were first conducted by Rev. A. J. Anders. Sunday School was first held in January 1923 with Mrs. Bertha Preisler as Superintendent.

On October 15, 1936, fire completely destroyed the church building and all its contents. Services were then held in the theater building and later in the parsonage. Dedication services were held on June 2, 1940, for the new church building erected on the site of the former church. At that time the name of the church was officialy changed from Our Savior's English Lutheran to Bethany Lutheran.


ZION LUTHERAN CHURCH

Zion Lutheran Church. The Evangelical and United Lutheran Synods merged in 1917. Under the guidance of Pastor Hesteness, the congregations of Lime Creek and Bethany joined together on April 20, 1920, at the church in Maskell. The meged church was named Zion Lutheran. Pastor Hesteness served until 1921 and was succeeded by Rev. O. C. Harang (1921/1931).

In 1947 or 1948 the tall steeple was removed from the church due to deterioration of the steeple; (the bell was removed during the 1970's) In the 1930's the church building at Lime Creek was dismantled. Remaining are the two cemeteries which were located adjacent to the Lime Creek and Bethany (Lime Grove) churches. When Zion Lutheran was organized, another cemetery was established west of Maskell. In September 1980, an association was formed to oversee the administration of the three cemeteries. This association is now a seprate entity and is not part of the present church.

Consolidated Parish. Beginning in 1931, Rev. Robert L. Falk was called from Wynot to serve the newly consolidated parish, consisting of Zion at Maskell. Our Saviors at Obert and Bethany at Wynot. Rev. Falk then moved to the parsonage at Maskell. Services for the three churches were held each Sunday at 8:00 a.m. at Wynot, 9:30 a.m. at Obert, an 11:00 a.m. at Maskell.

The following pastors served the three congregations through 1978: Rev. Robert Falk (1931-1941); Rev. Olaf J. Engh (1942-1945); Rev. Palmer Loken (1945-1950); Rev. Clifford M. Grindland (1951-1954); Rev. Dale Striker (1955-1957); Rev. Carl Grindberg (1958-1964); Rev. Marvin Ehnen (1965-1969); Rev. J.A. Pietsch (1969-1974); Rev. W. H. Lindquist (1974-1978). From 1978 to 1980 the churches were served by supply pastors from Laurel and Randolph, Nebraska.


FAITH LUTHERAN CHURCH

Faith Lutheran Church was formed in April 1980 with the merger of the three churches, Bethany, Our Saviors and Zion. The church buildings at Obert and Wynot were closed and both buildings were sold. Bethany of Wynot was remolded and converted to a lovely private dwelling. Our Saviors at Obert was sold to the Stolpe Family who maintain the building as a chapel and have renamed it "The Countryside Chapel".

The church members then met together at the church in Maskell, with the name changed from Zion Lutheran to Faith Lutheran. From 1980 through 1984, the church was served by the following interim pastors: Jeff Chubb (1980), Fred Jensen (1981), Doug Gjerset (1982), Nathan Hanson (1983), and Jerry Lannes (1984).

The altar at Faith was hand-carved in the early 1900's by Halvor Lukken and Aad Evenson. The oil painting above the altar is an original painted by Herbjorn Gausta who came to America in the 1800's. A collection of Gausta's paintings are on exhibit at the Norwegian-American Museum at Decorah, Iowa. The bell tower was erected in front of the church in June 1991. The tower contains the bells from the Lime Creek Church and the Bethany (Wynot) Church. When the Lime Creek and Bethany (Lime Grove) Churches merged, the bell from the Lime Creek was installed in the new Zion Lutheran Church and the bell from Bethany (Lime Grove) was given to Our Saviors Lutheran at Obert, where it remains. When the merger took place in 1980, the baptismal font from the Bethany (Wynot) was brought to Faith Lutheran together with the pulpit from Our Saviors (Obert), thus representing the merger of the three churches.

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