Rev. Christian T. Saugstad

Posted on: January 16th, 2013 by admin 1 Comment

This website was established to remember the pioneers who founded Trysil Lutheran Church in Holmes City township, Douglas Co MN, tilled the land, lived their lives and raised their families here. Now those names that filled the ministerial records with baptisms, confirmations, marriages and deaths lie in the ground where the church once stood. Many of their descendants still own parts of the ancestral farms and the stories still abound along with many pictures and diaries that give us glimpses into the past.

Of course, much of the history of Trysil church also involves its pastors throughout the years. The first pastor called as minister to Trysil was Rev. Christian Tollefson Saugstad born in Ringsaker, Hedmark, Norway 13 Jun 1838. He immigrated to America in 1858 and took up studies to become a “prest”. When called to Trysil congregation in July 1872, he was still a student and though counseled by his superiors not to accept the pastorate, he did.  The congregation settled on a salary of $100.

Services were in the school house until the church was built and dedicated in August 1875. Described as a very “joyful day”, pastors and people were present from all the neighboring congregations “ and the church could not seat them all but the weather was pleasant and the people sat on the church lawn and listened to the word of God through the windows. Dinner was served in a lean to by the church.”

Rev. Saugstad helped the parish through its early steps, began a reading society, often filled the pulpit in other congregations and was part of the fabric of the community along with his  wife Randienne and large family. Randienne died giving birth to twins in April 1877. The deaths of his wife and one of his children can be found on this website.

A year later, Christian married a local woman, Gunil Myhr at Trysil church. March 10, 1888 Rev. Saugstad tendered his resignation. He had faithfully served the congregation for eight years. “He had with rare capability served for 8 years and I don’t wonder that he would like to try a change. In daily rounds and conversations one learned to love Saugstad. He was never strict unless maybe to his horse. In the pulpit he spoke with authority.”

In the early days of  church congregations there were many troubles due to doctrinal disagreements resulting in splits, the Synod and the Conference. Saugstad affiliated with the Conference.

The next few years Saugstad served congregations in Neby and Crookston, MN before his friend, the railroad man, Jim Hill invited him to establish a colony on the Pacific in British Columbia. In 1894, Saugstad assembled a party and headed west to begin the colony of Bella Coola.


Trysil Church


New information

Posted on: January 16th, 2013 by admin No Comments

New information added. Find information on the families of Peter Larson, Halvor Pedersen Tøraasen ( Thorson), Gulbranson and Bergesveen. Just type in your choice in the “search” area and read away.

Trysil Church History

Posted on: March 10th, 2011 by sonjafroyen No Comments

Ran across this little newspaper article that adds to the history of Trysil Church, Holmes City. The detailed, flowery language of the old news report is additionally interesting.

Alexandria Post, 30 Jan 1902

The Trysil Norwegian Lutheran church near Holmes City, received a most welcome gift at its annual meeting. Mr Peter A. Aasen of Oakes, N.D., through his father, Mr. John Aasen, gave to the church a handsome Packard organ. No one knew of the gift until it was announced that it was at the Lowry depot if the church would accept it. The members were surprised and delighted. The gift shows the love for his church and home community that a young man takes with him into his business life and that forms the anchor for his moral safety and happiness. The church has also decided to next summer build a parochial school and to expend some $600 in improvements to the church, getting new furniture, a furnace, etc.

~To our knowledge, the parochial building was never built.

Can you fill in the missing blanks?

Posted on: November 28th, 2010 by admin No Comments

ca. early 1890s
Back row, L>R: Martha Persdtr Nordby; Peter Sogaarden; ____; _____; _____; ____; Halvor Persen Nordby; Olaf Persen Nordby
Middle, L>R: ____ ; Olaus Grambo; Ole Grambo; ____; _____; John Grambo
Front, L>R: ____; Petra Persdtr Nordby (twin to Martha); possibly Marie Martinsdtr Strandvold; Ida Persdtr Nordby; ____