Saturday, April 28, 2012

St. Ann's Memories

First communion at St. Ann's Catholic Church June 14, 1959
[Courtesy Rustad Family Photo Collection]
Finally, I have found more photos of St. Ann's Catholic Church.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

An Arduous Journey

I've been reading this book about Enos Stutsman titled Attorney for the Frontier. Ever since I came across "Stuts", as his contemporary friends called him, I've been fascinated by the man.  To my knowledge,  Attorney for the Frontier is the only book ever written about him, and it includes an entire chapter about his time in Pembina, his last home base.

Below is a letter he wrote to his supervisors.  As a past federal government employee myself, I am well-acquainted with the paperwork involved whenever you go away from the office.  Reports must be filed!  Read below on what this particular early government employee went through just to get from Point A to Point B; you'll note he has a pretty wry sense of humor, which I guess you had to have when encountering such difficulties.  All in all, if you take the time, you'll discover it's quite illuminating, and an enjoyable read...

Saturday, April 14, 2012

In Memorium: Marjorie Defrance

I was sad to hear recently that the last link to an old St. Vincent family had passed away.  I'm very thankful that I was able to get to know her a little bit a few years ago.  Marjorie DeFrance and I had some telephone conversations, and we met a couple of times in person.  She was very generous, opening her home and her memories to me...


St. Vincent, Minn. - Marjorie Oakes Baker, 102, St. Vincent, Minn. died at Kittson Memorial Healthcare Center in Hallock, March 29, 2012.

Marjorie DeFrance was born at St. Vincent, Minn. to Roy and Eva (Sheldon) DeFrance May 31, 1909.

She graduated from St. Vincent High School in 1926 and went on to attend St. Cloud Teachers College, graduating in 1928. Marjorie taught at McArthur School her first year and then taught in several Kittson County country schools.

In 1935, she married Harvey Oakes and moved into a log cabin six miles south of Pembina. They later purchased a home in Pembina and moved there in 1944. Harvey died in 1972.

Marjorie was very active in the Methodist Church, Ladies Aid and the WSCS. She served as District and Conference officer through the years and was a former Dean of Methodist School Missions. She was also county president of the Homemakers, a Past Worthy Matron of the Eastern Star and a member of the American Legion Auxiliary.

In 1975, she married Frank Baker at Pembina. Frank died in 1996. Marjorie spent six months in Florida each year for over 35 years.

Family survivors include a son, Lawrence Oakes, Hemit, Calif.; a daughter, Linda Oakes, Albuquerque, N.M.; grandchildren, Jon, Lance and Brad Oakes, Patricia Ristvedt; six great grandchildren, and a sister-in-law, Amy Oakes, Drayton.

She was preceded in death by her parents; sisters, Gladys and Ione; and brothers, Melvin, Ralph, Ray, Norton and Delbert.

Funeral services were held April 2, 2012 at Pioneer United Methodist Church at Pembina, N.D. Interment was in St. Vincent Cemetery. Rev. Gary Johnson, presided...

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Evolution of a Church

This is the story of how a church came to be.

Churches are sometimes founded; they may begin as missions or outreaches. Others evolve.

The Humboldt Methodist Church and the St. Vincent Methodist Church (whose official name was actually the St. Vincent Community Church1, of the Methodist Episcopal denomination) were small congregations, so often shared ministers when the need arose.

The church was in the block directly south of the St. Vincent school, towards its northwest
 corner; Beth Lapp, who was a member, remembers the windows had stained glass in them.
[Image Courtesy:  Marcy Johnson]

Once upon a year, a minister named Reverend Everett Hanson came to the Humboldt Methodist Church. Rev. Hanson eventually instituted a split in the Humboldt and St. Vincent churches in 1949. He took 39 people with him and formed a new church in St. Vincent. People that followed were called "Hansonites". This new church was named Valley Community Church (nondenominational).  The St. Vincent Community Church closed and some of the congregants joined this new church, while others chose to merge with the Pembina Methodist Church.  Several years later, Valley Community Church joined the Evangelical Free Church of America.  In 1969, St. Vincent EFC moved to Pembina, selling the church building (which was the old Green store; it was moved to Hallock to be used as the Masonic Lodge for many years, and is still in-use to this day...)

Rev. Clara Wagner & Rev. Alice Engelbretson, the last ministers of the Community Church...

1 - From the 1936 WPA Survey of the churches in St. Vincent, comes this description of the St. Vincent Community Church, part of what eventually became the St. Vincent Evangelical Free Church:

Name of church:  Community Church.
Location:  St. Vincent, Minnesoa.
Denomination:  Methodist Episcopal.
Date of establishment:  The church was started in 1899.
Charter Members:  Nelson E. Green, John Bernath, and Thomas Ash
Places of meeting:  For about two years after the founding of the church, meetings were held in the different homes.  In 1900, the present church was erected.
Church buildings:  In 1900, the present church was erected and the same year a parsonage was built two blocks south of the track (the same one used for the Free Church pastors many years later...)
First officers:  There are no records showing the early history of the church so the names of the first officers cannot be given.  Present officers:  Mrs. Thomas Ash, president, Mrs. John Monro, treasurer; Mrs. Roy DeFrance, secretary; trustees, Waldo Clow, Clifford Clow, Mrs. R. DeFrance, Mrs. J. Monro, and Mrs. Esther Ash.
Pastors:  Reverend A.A. Meyers, Reverend George Swinnerton, Reverend Charles Flesher, Reverend Benjamin Collins, Reverend John Finscke, Reverend George Powell, Reverend Eli Slifer, Reverend Edwin Trigg, Reverend James, Reverend E.R. Ingram, Reverend Stanley McGuire, Reverend Clara Wagner, and Reverend Alice Engelbretson.
Organizations within the Church:  Ladies' Aid was organized in 1916.  No dates can be found in connection with organization of the Sunday School.
Remarks:  There are no records of the early history of the church available so a complete list of the charter members and pastors cannot be given.

(Compiled by Cyril Cannon, September 1936)

NOTE:  The North Star Church was an associated church for many years.  The North Star Church began as a Presbyterian Church, later having Covenant ministers serving it.  Eventually it was served by ministers from the Valley Community/Free Church.
[Source:  Reynold and Carolyn Ward]

Friday, April 06, 2012

Then & Now: Downtown Hallock

Blended 1910/2012 shot of downtown Hallock, looking west...
[Photo Montage by Megan Sugden]

In this blended shot, on the right is what was once known as
the Farmer's Store;  sadly, it was torn down in recent years...

[Photo Montage by Megan Sugden]