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Chaska Obscura: Margin notes in the church book
Mar 13, 2010 | 305 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
Peter CarlsonWriter: The Rev. Peter Carlson (or Pehr Carlsson)

Year: Between 1858 and 1880

Published: Carlson kept all of the church minutes. His writing must have made an impression on the authors of “Memory Book of Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran East Union Congregation: Fifty Year Festival.” It includes examples of his notes, written in the margins of church records. The church history is a barn-burner of a book, which includes many of the gritty details of pioneer life. It was originally published in Swedish in 1908, and then translated by Carolyn Spargo for the church’s 150th anniversary in 2008.

Who was he: Carlson served as pastor of East Union Lutheran Church from 1858 to 1880, and apparently was the sort of tough, uncompromising pastor needed to carve out a pioneer parish in the wilderness. Carlson “didn’t think of the congregation’s boundaries, when it became a question of to fight the violation of God’s kingdom. He was always in full armor wherever he walked and stood,” noted the 1908 history book.

Context: Some of the notes’ meanings have been lost to time, although many appear to refer to congregation members who angered the church at one point or another.

By the Rev. Peter Carlson

“Exclusions for those who had severally murdered their illegitimate children.”

“Died in the still hope.”

“Dead to the Lutheran church through new baptism.”

“Drowned in the Minnesota River through intoxicated condition.”

“Crossed out for free thinking”

“Became formally crossed out of the congregation it ___ for a chain of ungodliness together with the last murder. ___”

“The man to the widow died on the sea during the travel to America in 1861.”

“Became during work, buried in a sand mass that poured over him, also he became dead during a conversation of God’s word, and hopefully he died in belief.”

“Gone out to the Norwegian congregation without further reason than for language sake.”

“Crossed out for drunkenness.”

“Became shot of the Indians under the uprising in New Ulm in 1862.”

“Diverted quietly in belief.”

“Crossed out for wickedness.”

“The family had gone out free willingly, but during my absence received a beautiful affirmation, although at least the wife was excluded from Communion according to the church vestry decision. The leaving occurred in 1871.”

“Died when he got his thigh caught in a reaping machine.”

“As declining members had their families, then it became seriously addressed, desired to go out as the will ___.”

“He had pursued fornication, became spoken to; then he desired to leave as it happened, etc.”

“Accidentally drowned.”

“Under the influence of drink he cut his throat. Had for a time been excluded from the Lord’s communion.”

“Desired to leave, then he pursued fornication of church vestry for being a bar keeper.”

“Left with all holiness therefore an offering and subscription to the mission case in the church together with the preaching that one shall be blessed with grace.”

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