Six Mile Grove Observes 125th Anniversary

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Thursday, September 13, 1984

Six Mile Grove Observes 125th Anniversary

The Six Mile Grove Lutheran church, rural Lyle, observed its 125th anniversary with special gatherings and services Saturday, September 1 and Sunday, September 2.

An open house Saturday evening attended by 218 persons featured a beef sandwich supper and the message by the Rev. Einar Unseth of Bismarck, N.D, a former pastor of Six Mile Grove.

The Sunday communion service at 10 a.m. was attended by 273 persons. The Rev. Lowell Erdahl of St. Paul, district president of the American Lutheran church, delivered the morning sermon. After service, approximately 400 people lined up for the anniversary picture, which was followed by a ham dinner.

At the afternoon anniversary program attended by 253 at 2:30 p.m. there were readings, the church history, and greetings from former pastors and their families. Six generations of families have been members of Six Mile Grove Lutheran Church.

The Six Mile Grove congregation began 125 years ago. The church got its name from the original forest that was said to have stretched six miles long along Otter Creek in Nevada township. Much of the grove still remains and serves as a living monument to the Pioneers who settled here. Pastor C.L. Clausen organized the congregation and served the parish until 1871 with the exception of 1861-1862 when he served as chaplain in the army. The first business meeting was held November 19,1859 under the "Big Elm" tree on the Trond Kleppo Richardson farm.

The tree had a 35 foot trunk and was said to have shaded over a half acre. Construction of the church began in 1867 and was completed the following year. The building committee consisted of Rev. Clausen, Ole Sampson, Hans C. Anderson and Gunder Knutson. Ole Sampson laid the limestone for the church. His 13 year old daughter, Anne (Mrs. I.K. Everson), the second white child born in Nevada township hauled much of the limestone, with a yoke of oxen over, two miles, that went into the foundation that has stood over a century. In 1937, a historical monument was erected on the farm where the Big Elm once stood. In 1961, the old dining hall was torn down and replaced. In 1973, a front entrance addition was built.

The church is bordered on three sides by the Six Grove Cemetery where many of the original pioneers are buried.

The quasquicentennial committee consisted of Glen Aanonson, chairman; Russell Sampson, Co-Chairman, Lorimer and Sandy Nelson, secretary; Carlton and Ramona Reuter, treasurer.

Church is presently served by the Rev. Gaylord Grant, a graduate of Lyle high school. He grew up in the Austin-Lyle area and farmed for several years. He met his wife, Gloria, while attending the Lutheran Bible Institute in Minneapolis. He is a graduate of the Army Counter Intelligence Corps School and Augsburg College and Luther Theological Seminary in St. Paul. They were missionaries to Brazil for 13 years before coming to Six Mile Grove in 1975. They have five sons. Pastor Grant also serves Mona Lutheran church, a sister congregation of Six Mile Grove.