by Lloyd Nielson

The Marshall Icelandic Church

The Marshall Church was formed in October, 1887. Icelanders who settled in Marshall had been meeting in private homes since the late 1870's, and were served by visiting pastors Rev. Pal Thorlaksson (three visits) and Rev. Jon Bjarnason (two visits). Early services used "Jon' s-postilla", sermons written by Bishop Jon Vidalmn who lived from 1666 to 1720. The first church building was constructed in the summer of 1890 and stood west of the Great Northern railroad tracks and north of where Highway 68 enters Marshall.

The next year, a stone foundation was put under the building, and a cornerstone was laid on November 15, 1891. Rev. Thorlaksson officiated at the ceremonies. As in Minneota, the Ladies' Aid held socials to raise funds for the building expenses.

"The Hail Storm with Wind Accompaniment"

August 8, 1892

The most destructive hail storm - or rather two of them - that ever visited these parts occurred Sunday night. The first, about 8 o'clock, swept a strip of country about 3 miles wide by 20 miles long, extending to within 6 miles of town on the north, causing almost a total destruction of crops, and a loss of about one-fourth to one-half of the crops for about 3 miles more in width. The second storm occurred about 4 A.M.., reaching to within 5 miles of town on the South, and extending from Watertown, South Dakota to near Tracy, a distance of 80 miles, with a width of about 5 miles, carrying total destruction to crops of all kinds, and even grass not escaping. Many other parts of the state were visited with the terrible scourge the same night; but the loss inLyon County is greater than anywhere else and is estimated at half a million dollars. The portions of the county in the neighborhood of Minneota and Tracy suffered the least, with Ghent and Marshall as the greatest sufferers, the latter town seeming to be in the very path of the great storm. In that village, the loss to buildings alone, is placed at $8,000. The Icelandic Church, completed last year, was overturned and shattered to pieces.

The church was rebuilt, and held services, with dwindling attendance, until 1910 or 1911. After the church disbanded, the building became a private residence, and is still used for that purpose today.

The families who were most active in this church were the Davidssons, Svanlogssons, Sigvaldssons, Gudmundssons, Vopnfjords, Seversons, Gudjon Jonssons, and Adlers (Signdur Adler was a favorite babysitter of Dora Harvey, and a friend of her mother).