1853-First Settlers and Baptism

The earliest record of Mitchell and Worth County Lutheran history is dated 1853, when Pastor Clausen led a caravan of Norwegian immigrants to the banks of the Cedar River, which is presently St. Ansgar.  As more farm sites were claimed, scouts located another river and woodland  known as the Shell Rock River, presently the site of Northwood.  Gulbrand and Karian Mellem were the first white settlers of Worth County. Their first son was born in November 1853 and later baptized by Pastor Clausen. 

1854 -First Burial recorded was Andrew P. Nelson. His burial site was near the place where the North Shell Rock Cemetery was later established and dedicated in 1860.

1859- twenty-seven men signed the papers of the organization of Shell Rock congregation.

Pastor T. A. Torgerson was installed as pastor.

1869- the Congregation split over the issue of slavery, becoming North Shell Rock Church (Synod) and South Shell Rock Church (United).  Many other congregations formed. 

1917 - the Norwegian Synod Congregation was formed and Trinity United and Northwood Congregation formed in Northwood.

1923-South Shell Rock (Synod) and South Shell Rock United merge to form one Congregation in county.  Shell Rock Churches and Northwood Church later become one parish.

1946-Congregations merged to form First Lutheran Church.

1952-Began work on new church located at 309 9th Street North, Northwood - where First Lutheran is currently located.

If you are interested in more history and interesting details, the First Lutheran Church Dedication booklet

and 125th Anniversary booklet

are available in our library or church office.


First Lutheran Church History