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Mason County Memories

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david k petersen

Spring Clean up days Dave Petersen History Column We are in the middle of the spring-cleaning season of pick-up days it is one of my favorite holidays and like the hundreds of others from around the area I go out and do a little scavenging myself. Amongst the old LP records, school yearbooks and canning jars I pick up I usually can count on finding a number of things of historical interest that inspire a few history columns and this year so far has been no exception. There was a small pile of postcards, some of which were of Ludington scenes that I did not have which were added to the scrapbook, a 1918 edition of the Ludington Daily News celebrating the end of WWI and a copy of the 1973 Ludington Centennial Newspaper. There were a few other odds and end copies of old newspapers and a copy of the 1985 History of the Trinity Lutheran Church out in Victory Township. In reading through that history I learned that my Great Grandfather Andrew Peterson was one of the original incorporators of that church on October 20th 1910 and the last of the incorporators to pass away (1967) Andrew's father Rasmus Rasmusson emigrated from Denmark, the Island of Fyn and settled in Victory Township. He had four children, Hans, Andrew, Mary, and John. Now for anyone with Scandinavian and Danish ancestry they know how much fun it can be to work on the family genealogy when they were changing their surnames around every generation. According to family lore, Rasmus didn't think his name sounded American enough so he became Robert, and since his father's name was Peter, he of course became Robert Peterson. In this history of the church it refers to a Danish newspaper published in Omaha, Nebraska called the "Danish Pioneer" that extolled the virtues of the farmland available in Mason County and influenced the Danish migration to Victory Township and what would become known locally as the Danish Settlement. The history credits Doris Anderson, Audrey Thompson, and Iola Rosenow as the ladies of the Church that compiled the history that we quote from. "In 1896 a group of women formed a Ladies Aid Society with their hearts set on helping to build a church in which to worship. The Reverend R.H. Raven who served the Bethany Lutheran Church in Ludington from 1897 to 1899 came out to the homes occasionally to administer the sacraments. "In 1901 the Reverend Mr. Ole Gregersen who was the next Pastor in Ludington helped these ladies officially draw up a charter for their aid society and was the Pastor of the first church which was built in 1903. Old settlers donated time and labor to build the church and Pastor Gregorsen obtained a store counter which he made into an alter and pulpit. The alter was covered with red flannel and a large white cross was placed in the center. "In 1909 the church was struck by lightening and burned to the ground. The church was insured for one thousand dollars and the congregation received 985.00. So they immediately proceeded to build again. But another misfortune overtook this small group of people striving to build a church. The walls were raised in the fall and by spring they had caved in. Now with the money gone they had to start all over. "Finally after much work and many hardships they again had a church. Much of the work on the building was donated and contributions were collected from the community and Ludington. Benches, and some of the furnishings were donated by Ludington churches. A reed organ, pulpit, and natural birch chairs were purchased in 1912. Mrs. Henry Millwood was the first organist. The music added much to the services. The pulpit was built by Oscar Widmark of Ludington and the Baptismal font was built by Robert Jacobson. The bell was put in place under the supervision of Otto Hansen." The longest serving Pastor was the late John Christenson who served from 1938 to 1943 and again from 1945 to 1971. Recently several people have called to say they have had difficulty in mailing items to me. For years I have been fighting with the various phonebooks to get my address listed correctly as it seems we lose a lot of mail that is addressed to us in Scottville when we are in fact on the Ludington mail route. Whether it is true or not as was explained to me recently that the continued error is the fault of 911 supplying a list to the phone companies that incorrectly lists me as being in Scottville if you have tried to send something to me in the past it would be best to send in care of the Ludington Daily News. If you have stories or photos to share you can also contact me via email at davep@blackcreekpress.com or at 757-3240.

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