My Mother's Church:
Rosendal Kirke

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The last time I attended Rosendal Lutheran Church near Reynolds, North Dakota, was in February, 1984, for my grandmother's funeral. Her name was Margit Hegland Quammen, Hegland being her maiden name. Her daughter was my mother, Ina Elvira Quammen, born August 27, 1911, and died December 3, 1985. Ina Quammen Knudson is the great-grandmother of my own grandchildren, Brayden and Jakob Buchanan, and Sofia and Mickie Wilkinson. This page is about Rosendal Kirke, my mother's church.

On this page I am going to talk about Rosendal and tell some stories my mother told me about her experiences at Rosendal. If you have attended Rosendal or know about the church please feel free to contact me with details.

In the files of my parents I found the photo on the right in a very old, brown cardboard frame. The frame itself is a sign that this is a treasured item. Kirke is the Norwegian word for church. Rosendal was very important in my mother's personal history.

Ed Knudson - 3/16/2013

The Confirmation of Ina Quammen

Here is a photo of my mother in 1926 at the time of her confirmation at Rosendal. This is from a larger photo, presented below, of her confirmation class of twelve persons.

This photo actually does not seem a good representation of my mother. Maybe it is the glasses, and the severe hair style, and the somber look on her face. But all the young people in the complete photo have somber looks. And all the girls have these long flowing dresses. Anyway, this is my mother in 1926, age fifteen.

By this time I believe she was living at the main farm we know as a family, the farm of Lars Quammen and Margit Quammen. For more on this farm and the location of Rosendal Church in Bentru Township, Grand Forks County, North Dakota, see the page on this site called Homesteading in Bentru Township.

Ina was an only child; she often said she had wanted brothers and sisters. She seemed to get along better with her father than her mother. In fact, she absolutely adored her father, Lars. Her mother, Margit, was a more severe woman, not as warm and accepting as Lars, and feigned illness to gain attention. At least that is what some of us grandchildren believe. It is important to realize that life on the farm was not at all easy. People lived without the modern conveniences we take for granted today.

There was no running water in the home in which Ina grew up. I am old enough to remember that farm. I remember using the bathroom, which was an outhouse in the woods behind the main house. The toilet paper was literally pages torn out of the Sears Roebuck catalog. There was a slop pail under the kitchen sink which was taken out every day and given to the the pigs. A large wood stove in the kitchen heated the water and warmed the house as well as cooked the food. Chickens provided the eggs, cows provided the milk, a large garden provided vegetables. I remember gathering the eggs and milking the cows. Especially fun for me as an early teen-ager was driving around the farm yard in my grandfather's black 1949 two-door Ford.

They didn't have electricity until the Rural Electrification Administration was established in 1935 as part of the New Deal of the Franklin Roosevelt administration, years after 1926 and my mother's confirmation. She must have studied her confirmation materials with candles or kerosene lamps. It must have been quite a big day for my mother to have gotten dressed up to take this picture with her pastor.

On the back of this photo is written in my mother's hand writing "Rosendal Confirmation Class - 1927" but then the "7" is overwritten with a "6". And the town is stated as Reynolds, North Dakota. Reynolds is quite some miles east of the church, located right next to the Red River of the North, but it is the nearest town. I will talk about Reynolds and the Lutheran church there below. (Click on the photo for a larger version, or click here for a very large version which can be copied to your own computer.)

Then the people in the photo are listed with notes after their names:

    Boys
  • Grant Gunderson - died
  • Norman Bakken - at Reunion 1981
  • Clarence Hanson - died 1979
  • _____ Erickson - died
  • Knut Lageson - at Reunion 1981

    Girls

  • Alice Sollom, married Norwood - at Reunion 1981
  • Gertie Gunderson - married, died 1975
  • Blanche Danielson - married, died 1973
  • Sig Grundeyson - married Art Dutt, at Reunion 1981
  • Rosella Bentru - not married
  • Gladyce Peterson - married, died 1979
  • Ina E. Quammen - married Knudson, at Reunion 1981 (my father has added a note here: "died 12/5/1985")
  • Rev. Ludwig Pederson - who married Clarence and Ina E. Knudson
Let's look at this list and think about it. There was a reunion of the class in 1981, five members attended this reunion. Of these twelve persons, half of them had already died. I have always thought my mother died too early (in 1985 at 74) but by the time of this reunion in 1981 six of her confirmation classmates had already died. Rosella Bentru (from the family who gave its name to Bentru Township) was not at the reunion and died in 2010 at ninety-eight years old (see a note on her elsewhere on this page).

The name Sig Grundeyson is significant for K-Family members because she was a life-long friend of my mother's. She married Art Dutt so was known to us as "Sig Dutt". As I boy I remember visiting their lake cottage on a lake not far from Bemidji where my parents had a cottage too. My mother loved that cottage; when her children were young she packed up the car the day after school was out and headed for the cottage. We didn't return until the day before school started in the fall. But I have not known before that Sig's maiden name was "Grundeyson" so this is an area for further research. And I had not known that Sig was in the same confirmation class.

Update: Since this was written my sister, Diane Aakhus Easton, sent me an email explaining more about Sig Dutt. She was our mother's cousin. "Sig's mother was Gma Quammen's sister, who lived about a mile north down the road from the Hegland Farm. Auntie Asbjor we called her. She married a Grundeyson."

Then Diane told an interesting story about my father and Sig Dutt. "This is how my mother and dad met each other. My mother and Sig were good friends and cousins. They had a blind double date together. My dad was with Sig and my mother with another fellow. After this date, my dad called Mother for another date. And then they eventually got married. So Jean and I would talk about wondering what we would look like if Dad had married Sig instead of my mother."

Then Diane also says she talked with the best man at our parent's marriage. This was at their 50th anniversary party at United Lutheran Church in Grand Forks. "He said that Lars and Margit (Ina's parents) did not want their daughter to get married. They thought she was too young. (Mother was 19.)" That explains why, as mentioned below, my father had said they just went off to get married.

Notice in the list of names on the confirmation picture that we also find the name of the pastor who married my father and mother, Ludwig Pederson, my mother's confirmation pastor. She had enough confidence in him, and knew him well enough to have him marry the two of them. In my father's memories of his early life he says the two of them just went off to get married, no big wedding. Yet here we see that they were married by my mother's pastor, not some cheap wedding chapel somewhere.

Having taught many confirmation classes myself as a Lutheran pastor I wonder, of course, what it was more specifically that my mother was taught by her pastor. I know that the Norwegians in the area were influenced by a lay movement in Norway led by Hans Nielson Hauge which opposed the formalism of the state church there. This movement is called "pietism" because it sought to engender an internal or subjective authentic expression of Christian faith as well as an external behavior in keeping with strict codes of conduct. These codes disapproved of card playing, attending movies, dancing (for fear of sexual contact). It encouraged a life-style of more simplicity and obedience.

There is much to say for the pietist movement. It led Lutherans to build hospitals and social service centers which still serve the needs of all in the community. It offered people a strong sense of themselves as Lutherans dedicated to carrying out their vocation in the community whether inside or outside the church itself, making life possible for others. But for latter generations the discipline codes felt like a "legalism," a set of narrow rules imposed on them by arbitrary authority. When rules are enforced by strict authority, rather than the loving spirit which intends the best for people, then people tend to reject the rules.

My adult daughter, Sonja Knudson, happened to be visiting as I am writing this. She looked at the photo of Pastor Pederson and thought he had a twinkle in his eye reflecting a gentle but engaging spirit. I hope that is true and it seems my mother did, indeed, have a warm relationship with him. She was animated by the same loving spirit, even though some of us children also experienced the fierceness with which she promoted her codes of conduct. Concerning alcohol, for example, she had little tolerance, but that was also because she had experienced within her extended family so many whose lives were or were nearly destroyed by over-use of alcohol.

Sonja knows the loving spirit of her grandmother. When my wife, Linda, and I lived in Bemidji, Minnesota, in 1970-74, when my parents also lived there and Linda was working at the Beltrami County Welfare Department, my mother cared for Sonja Monday through Friday during the day. She loved children and was marvelous with kids. During that time she had an especially close relationship with the children of my sister, Diane Aakhus Easton, who lived a few houses away. I have come to believe that it is that loving spirit that makes all the difference in the world, and in the church. In Lutheran theology this emphasis is known as "gospel" rather than "law". It is the power of loving spirit that makes following the law possible. My mother must have learned some of that in her confirmation classes.

I have written about my mother's feelings about bankers and "God and country religion" in other sections of this page. These express distinctive "Lutheran" positions on these matters. She learned well what Lutherans believe. But it is also interesting that the name Rosendal Church does not include the word Lutheran. Churches without the denominational name sometimes seek to be community churches, where the emphasis is on inviting everyone in the surrounding community no matter their past religious affiliation. Rosendal Church indeed may have functioned in that way. But it must be remembered that in that community in the early days almost everyone was from Norway, in fact from a particular place in Norway, the Hallingdal or Setesdal areas.

And in those days there were a lot more people in that area than there is today. Nearly every square mile had at least one small grove of trees with a house, a barn, a granary and toolshed. Even in the years I was growing up I remember the farmsteads active with residents. But as the years have gone by farming has become more and more industrialized, larger and larger machines are used, many farmers have bought more and more land and become big farmers who hire labor. Or, agricultural businesses have bought up land and run the company like an industrial enterprize rather than a family farm. This is high quality land, rich, black earth, deposited from frequent floods of the Red River of the North. Such productive land is valuable to large business.

But fewer family farms exist now, to such an extent that there are too few people living in the area to support a local congregation. So Rosendal Church had to be intentionally burned down in the mid-1990s. It remains in the memories of those of us who remember it and I hope this webpage will aid in the memory also of others.

History of Rosendal Kirke

My mother's maiden name was Quammen. She liked to let people know that it was her grandfather, Sven Quammen, who donated the land for use by the Rosendal Kirke and cemetery. In this photo taken about 1913 is my mother, with the teddy bear, and her cousin, Adeline Quammen, with her grandfather, Sven. On the back of this photo is written this text by my mother.

Sven Quammen was born in 1851 in Norway and died in 1920 at the age of sixty-nine years. My mother would have been nine years old when he died. He was the eighth of ten children. He married Ingeborg Larsgaard on April 1, 1872 in Hol, Hallingdal, Norway, and left for America on their wedding day. Their farm in Bentru Township was near the church, on the Red River of the North.

If you click on this photo you will see the area around the church. The river is beyond the trees in the background. The Sven Quammen farm was to the left of the church. I have never explored this farm since it was owned by somebody else during my lifetime. The cemetery where Sven and Ingeborg are buried is to the right. That is where Lars and Margit Quammen, my mother's parents, are also buried.

In 1966 the Rosendal congregation produced a 75th anniversary plate (see image to right). On the front it reads "Rosendal Lutheran Church, Reynolds, North Dakota, 1891 - 1966". On the back it reads: "The Rosendal Lutheran Congregation was organized March 1, 1891. The present church was erected in 1903-04. The Ladies Aid was organized in 1891, and the Sunday School in 1897. Pastors serving: Revs. S.O. Braaten 1891-1924; Ludwig Pederson 1924-37; Louis Olson 1937-51; Carl J. Carlson 1951-52; R.S. Aanestad 1953 --." So here we see that several pastors served Rosendal for lengthy pastorates and we see a reference to Sunday School.

Here is a photo of my mother at age twelve in 1923. This is how she appeared when attending Sunday School classes at Rosendal. I don't know if this was a common hair style of the day, or whether it is a sort of uniform she is wearing. I am hoping other family members may remember something about this photo which I can add here.

My mother once gave my wife and I a very precious item which has had an honored place in our home ever since. On the right is a photo of the baptismal bowl and pitcher used for the baptism of my mother, Ina Elvira Quammen, in 1911. The baptism was done at the home where she was living at the time. On a piece of paper inside the pitcher my mother had written: "This bowl and pitcher was used for Ina's baptism in 1911 by Rev. S. O. Braaten, Rosendal Church pastor." Then in another ink at the top of this piece of paper was written "October 9, 1980" and to the side "For Ed and Linda". That is when she gave us this set. Below is written further: "The towel with the wrinkles still in was used to dry the head - bought by my Grandpa, S. O. Quammen, on a trip to Norway." Notice that towel under the bowl in the photo.

For Lutherans baptism is the ritual designating the time when a person becomes a member of the church. It is associated with the naming of the child, so that the most important identity of a person comes from the fact that she(he) is a child of God, a member of the church, a "saint" in the communion of saints. It is at confirmation that a person "confirms" the faith that led the parents and sponsors to have the child baptized in the first place. In baptism a person is "marked with the cross of Christ forever." Baptism is something that is done to you because it is an act of God's love, nothing you ever do or choose can separate you from the love of God as experienced in baptism. My mother was baptized into this faith and took it seriously, see the section below on her favorite hymn.

Notice from my mother's writing on that piece of paper that we learn the pastor's name at the time in Rosendal, who baptized her, S.O. Braaten. Also notice that we learn that Sven Quammen had made a trip back to Norway where he bought the baptismal cloth. It would be most interesting to learn more about Sven, that trip, and more about him and his family. Maybe another family member would want to do more research on this. Some Norwegians at the time did, indeed, travel back to Norway for visits.

My mother's father was Lars Quammen (1885-1959), the eighth of Sven and Ingeborg Quammen's nine children. He married Margit Hegland (1885-1984), maybe at Rosendal Kirke. Both are buried in the cemetery there.

I recall as a boy being taken to Rosendal for worship services and coffee hours in the basement. But when I spent time working on the Quammen farm I do not remember going to church every Sunday. I do not know how active my grandparents were in the church.

Here is a photo of Lars and Margit in their later years.

Neither do I know how active the Heglands were, Margit's family, though they lived on a farm not far north of the church. I plan to visit the cemetery this coming summer to see if the Hegland's are buried there also.

There is much more that could be added here about the history of Rosendal, its pastors and people. I am hoping people who see this may send me more information.

At the webpage of St. Matthew's Lutheran Church we learn that in 1980 St. Matthew's in Thompson, North Dakota, "became part of a joint parish with Rosendal which lasted until Rosendal closed in 1991." After that the church building was burned down. My brother, Curt, was there for that event. In fact, earlier an auction was held to sell the furnishings of the church. My brother at that time bought me one of the gold-plated offering plates used at the church.

On the back of the old Kirke photo at the top of the page my mother has written: "Where I was confirmed, mother and dad were baptized." Then my wife, Linda, has written "built in the late 1880s, near Reynolds, North Dakota, on Sven Quammen's land." It says the church had to be burned down because there was "no congregation left to support church." This was from a conversation my wife had with my brother, Curt.

So these are some basic facts about Rosendal's history. I will be looking for more information on the church.

I am not sure why the name "Rosendal" was chosen for the church. Web searches do not provide much information. There is a small area in Norway called Rosendal, where there is a hotel named Rosendal located on a fjord with majestic mountains, a gorgeous location. But I don't know if there is any connection between that area and the church name.

My Mother's Favorite Hymn

One time my mother, Ina Quammen Knudson, told me that her favorite hymn was "Who Is This Host Arrayed in White". She loved singing that hymn at her church at Rosendal. It was sung at her funeral at United Lutheran in Grand Forks.

Since then whenever I have been in worship services when this hymn is sung I have trouble keeping tears from my eyes. This is because I can just imagine in my mind my little mother (she was not very tall) as a young teenager, a second-generation Norwegian immigrant living on a farm in North Dakota, standing up in church singing her heart out these particular words.

It takes immigrants several generations, often, before they are able to feel that they can raise their heads up in the new world, before they are able to understand and affirm that they belong in the larger community. But when you read the words of this hymn there is a strong sense of belonging to "this host arrayed in white." I believe my mother had this sense of herself the rest of her life, this sense that she beonged to the communion of saints and nothing else was more important than that. Such faith grounds the identity of a person.

Here are the words of the hymn which I ask the reader to read slowly and carefully, pondering the meaning of the words:

Who is this host arrayed in white
Like thousand snow-clad mountains bright,
That stands with palms and sings its psalms
Before the throne of light?
These are the saints who kept God's Word,
They are the honored of the Lord,
He is their prince who drowned their sins,
So they were cleansed, restored.
They now serve God both day and night;
They sing their songs in endless light.
Their anthems ring when they all sing
With angels shining bright.

On earth their work was not thought wise,
But see them now in heaven's eyes;
Before God's throne of precious stone
They shout their victory cries.
On earth they wept through bitter years;
Now God has wiped away their tears,
Transformed their strife to heavenly life,
And freed them from their fears.
For now they have the best at last;
They keep their sweet eternal feast.
At God's right hand our Lord commands;
He is both host and guest.

O blessed saints, now take your rest;
A thousand times shall you be blest
For keeping faith firm unto death
And scorning worldly trust.
For now you live at home with God
And harvest seeds once cast abroad
In tears and sighs.
See with new eyes
The pattern in the seed.
The myriad angels raise their song.
O saints, sing with that happy throng;
Lift up one voice, let heaven rejoice
In our Redeemer's song!

Many folks in the contemporary world consider such words antiquated, without meaning. Those same folks can have a lot of trouble actually defining clearly who they are and the purpose of their lives. They live without meaning, without strong identity, without a real core set of beliefs, so they are pushed to and fro by the winds of the world through television and consumer fads. For myself, my mother's faith, as expressed through words such as this, provide a grounding for life which is especially satisfying and meaningful.

Donate to Cemetery

I would like to encourage readers to donate to the Rosendal Cemetery Association. Though the church itself no longer stands, the cemetery requires an income for maintenance. Many of the K-Family forbears on the Knudson-Quammen side are buried in this cemetery, as described in this page.

Send donations to:

Rosendal Cemetery Association
545 1st Avenue NE
Reynolds, ND 58275

Should the Banker Be Allowed to Communion?

During the time I was attending Luther Theological Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, that was 1963-1965, I would return home for holidays. During those visits I would spend long hours talking with my parents. During one such visit I asked my mother what the issues had been in her time growing up and attending Rosendal Church. There were two issues she mentioned.

The first one had to do with the local banker. The issue was whether the banker should be allowed to communion to have his sins forgiven. For his sins were evident and great, he was foreclosing on farms in the neighborhood, taking away the livelihoods of the farmer families. How could such a man be forgiven such great sins?

It struck me then as it strikes me now as a very good question. Of course, in the larger scheme of things, the sacrifice of Jesus is great enough to cover the sins of the whole world. But on a practical level why should a person be forgiven when he or she goes out and sins again and again?

In contemporary times some Catholic bishops withhold communion for politicians who do not accept the strict teaching of the Catholic Church on abortion. I do not myself agree with this at all. The Lutheran view of abortion is more moderate and realistic. Some religious groups today use abortion as a highly emotional issue to raise money for political purposes and fund their own organizations. My mother' church taught her to reject commercialization in the church. I remember hearing an earthy presentation on abortion by a seasoned farmer from northern Minnesota which confirmed by own views on the topic. Abortion is an important moral issue, but it should not be politicized so much today.

But bankers? We now know that bankers, and financial managers of all types, can do some very terrible things causing great economic damage as happened in the 2008 financial crash. Should such folks just be able to go to communion to have their sins forgiven only to go out and do the same thing again? Even today, years after the crash, none of the big bankers responsible have gone to jail.

At the time when this was an issue at Rosendal, my mother, born in 1911, confirmed in 1926, would have been eighteen years old in 1929 when the stock market crash occurred and the Great Depression began. Many people lost their farms during that time.

But even before that farmers were forced to auction off their farms to pay back the mortgage at the bank. One of my favorite economists, a Norwegian named Thorstein Veblen, professionally active in the first decades of the 20th century, experienced his father losing two farms to the "Yankees" in town, the bankers and the lawyers who took advantage of the immigrant Norwegian farmers. For more information about this see Thorstein Veblen and His America by Joseph Dorfman.

What happened was this. A farmer would homestead land, or buy land from the railroad or someone else, maybe with a small loan from a bank. The farmer would work hard to build the buildings needed, remove the trees if needed, plow and cultivate the land making it ready for seeding and harvest. All this would take years of work to improve the property. But in the process if a bad year wiped out a crop or there was little rain, a farmer could get behind in payments on the loans. The bank could take back the improved property and the farmer had to leave and start over someplace else. This happened to Veblen's father twice. He later studied the process and saw that the rules (and the lawyers) were rigged in favor of the banks. And, to tell the truth as I understand it from study of economic practices today, that process still continues today in a much more complex but unjust way. Martin Luther was scathing in his criticism of unjust economic practices by large institutions (see Luther's Large Catechism on "Thou shalt not steal.")

My mother was not so wrong, from a practical perspective, about wondering if bankers should be allowed to communion. For her, money was not the most important thing in the world.

I very clearly remember an event in my mid-childhood. I was old enough to be expected to help change a tire on the car if necessary, maybe eleven or twelve or so. We were in the 1952 blue Pontiac when a tire went flat and my father pulled the car to the side of the road and told me to go out and open the trunk to get the spare tire ready. For reasons I don't know my mother followed me to the rear of the car and there said to me angrily, "Your father only thinks about money." They had apparently been arguing about something and my mother thought I had been listening in the car but I had no idea what she was talking about. But what she said was shocking to me because she never criticized my father in front of the children. I didn't know what to make of the comment at the time. And these years later I know the comment is untrue. Money was important to my father but not absolute. He had many other things which were more important, including his wife and children, his extended family and his Christian faith.

But the comment does reveal something about my mother and her values. She especially did not want financial calculation to be the only factor in making decisions about how to live one's life. Yes, money is important, but if it comes to dominate one's mind then it becomes a problem. From this incident I know I learned something from my mother which has stayed with me, money is not the most important thing in the world. She must have learned that at least partially in her confirmation class at Rosendal Church, and maybe also from her father, Lars Quammen.

I worked on the Quammen farm for a couple weeks every summer when I was old enough to be able to do such work. My grandfather Lars and I were on separate tractors one time plowing a field. At one point I saw him get off his tractor, walk over to the freshly plowed earth; he bent down and slowly picked up the rich, black soil in his hands and let it fall through his fingers back to earth. The image of my grandfather doing this is still so clear in my mind. It seemed to me that he was caressing the earth, lovingly finding joy from the feeling of the soil dropping through his fingers. I thought this because of the way both my grandfather and father, who had bought land next to my grandfather's farm, talked about this rich, fertile land. They had a relationship with this land which was more than economic.

Yes, I realize now that my grandfather was probably trying to feel the moisture content of the soil, planning what may be best to plant in the future. Farming is full of money calculations. But it is more than that. It is the sense of relationship with the land, land that one does not quite "own" as if to have complete control over it, land which comes from a larger giver. There is also the sense that in working this land one is engaged in a vocation which is doing good for others, providing the food human beings need for sustenance and survival. Money is important as a means of calculating relations with others involved in the food production process, but if it becomes the only factor considered important then one's work is debased and lost of larger meaning.

The sense that the land is a gift of God, that this gift can be used to enhance the lives of others, these larger meanings are really what are most important in the long run. My mother didn't want people to think that "money is most important," she had a set of core values that included these other matters.

I don't think she was probably so different from others in that Norwegian farm community. They attended that Rosendal Church, they heard the message preached there. And I think such a message has become even more important in our day when society and culture is so completely dominated by the single obsession to make more money, more and more money, as if care for the earth and the larger vocation of human beings are not important.

Against "God and Country" Religion

A second issue my mother told me about that was discussed in her days at Rosendal had to do with the presence of traveling preachers who would set up "tent meetings" in the area. These apparently happened frequent enough that my mother's pastor warned his congregants not to attend these tent meetings.

What was especially interesting to me was the language my mother used telling me about this. Why should you stay away from tent meetings? Because "all they preach there is God and Country".

"God and Country" is an important catch-phrase in theology and religious practice. It means to associate God and God's favor with one's own country over against others. Today it is promoted with the phrase that the United States is an "exceptional nation" because God favors it among others. All of a sudden we are not talking about the God of all nations as expressed in the bible, but a particular national God, an American God, a God who favors this nation over against other nations, such as in war and commerce. To associate the universal God who created all the earth with one's own country is a heresy and against the biblical witness. That is what my mother learned from her Lutheran pastor at the Rosendal Church. You should not go to those "God and Country" tent meetings.

And what an important lesson it is today, because what was happening in those tent meetings has become, in the last several decades, the primary expression of what people claim is "Christian" faith today. The tent meeting preachers found a new means of getting out their God and Country message through television which they began to use extensively in the 1980s. I watched some of those preachers in those years to learn what they were saying. It was all God and Country. The flag of the United States was a more dominant symbol than the cross of Jesus Christ. During the Cold War the message was "believe in Jesus" and right after that it was "kill a Commie for Christ." Religion was used in the Cold War to justify nuclear destruction of another country, just because they had some beliefs different from this country.

I have referenced my mother's beliefs in several articles I have written on this topic over the years. It is striking to me that this small woman, an unassuming and humble person from an immigrant farm community, had such clear, core beliefs which she maintained throughout her life. She was not one to push her views on others. She was not one to use the language of a false form of "evangelical" religion claiming "the Lord" has revealed everything to her. This sort of thing comes from the pentecostal forms of religion such as the Assemblies of God, which has its roots in Southern states, and which sponsors many of the television preachers.

She was also not a "bible thumper" like so many Southern Baptists from whose ranks also come so many television preachers. It is especially Southern culture and religion which is the source of the most blatant forms of God and Country talk. The South is a highly militarized and violent culture and dominates much of politics today through what is called the "religious right" composed mainly of the Assemblies of God and Southern Baptists. These denominations have influenced others and spread their false preaching to other areas of the country now as well. It is more important today than ever to remember the lessons my mother learned at Rosendal Church in North Dakota. Don't mix God and country. To believe in God may at any point in time mean to question the policies and actions of one's country because the country is not God.

Other Churches My Mother Attended

Rosendal was not the only church my mother attended. On April 20, 1931, she married Clarence E. Knudson (see her wedding photo on right) who himself taught school in Bentru Township. But his family lived on a farm near Manvel, North Dakota and attended the Middlegrove Church in an open rural area east of Manvel which is north of Grand Forks (Bentru Township is south of Grand Forks about twenty miles). It is in that cemetery that are buried his parents and several of his ten siblings. I remember going there to place flowers on the graves.

I also remember as a boy being at a worship service at Middlegrove. I guess I must have been fidgeting around, making noise during the service. Because my father asked me to look at a gunny sack (used for potatoes) which was lying on the top of the piano. He told me that if I didn't quiet down the pastor would come and put me in that gunny sack. That did, in fact, work; I was horrified at the prospect of being put into that gunny sack and made no more noise at all.

Except for a brief time in Ironwood, Michigan, my mother and family lived at 1402 Chestnut Street in Grand Forks, North Dakota and attended there the United Lutheran Church. Wickipedia says of it:

It was built during 1931-1932 and was a daring enterprise, in terms of its modern architecture and in terms of the economic times. The building is built of North Dakota brick. The top portion of the tower was added in 1941. It was designed and/or built by the father and son architectural firm of Joseph Bell DeRemer and Samuel Teel DeRemer.
I was baptized at United along with my siblings, my older sisters, Jean and Diane, and my younger brother, Curt. I remember sitting in the pews wondering what the pastor did the other days of the week. I also remember my mother going to Sunday evening biblical movies; the other kids and I rough-housed in the Sunday School room during those movies. My mother also went to open houses at the pastor's home. The pastor then was John P. Gaardsmoe (1901-1970) who later wrote a book, It All Depends on What You Want.

This photo is my mother in 1952, about the time we moved to St. Paul, Minnesota, where we lived in the Highland Park neighborhood and attended Immanuel Lutheran Church located on Snelling Avenue. This was when I was in sixth and seventh grades, first attending Horace Mann grade school and then Groveland for seventh grade.

Before moving to St. Paul I had won a duck chickling playing a carnival game. That duck grew up in our backyard in Grand Forks. My father laughed and laughed when that duck reached a life stage when it waddled around the yard and you could hear a high voice "peep, peep, peep" and then in a low voice, "quack, quack, quack."

The duck was butchered before the move to St. Paul but after the move the meat was in the freezer. Finally, my mother cooked it one night when my teacher was invited for dinner. We, the family, couldn't eat it. The teacher enjoyed a bountiful meal that night. Those were the days that teachers were held in high honor, even invited to dinner.

My father then received a promotion from postal inspector to a job as a director for the Post Office for the state of North Dakota and we moved to Fargo. There we attended First Lutheran Church where I was confirmed by Pastor Juel Quello. My mother loved the brand new home we had in Fargo on the north side of town, just past the professional baseball field and fair grounds. During baseball games I would stand outside the fence waiting for home runs so I could retrieve the balls.

My father's father, Edward Knudson, lived with us in Fargo. He would sit in his rocking chair in his room. I would see him as I walked by in the hallway. At dinner one night when he wasn't there I asked my father what he was thinking about as he sat rocking in his chair. My father said he was thinking about the important time of his life when all his children were growing up on the Manvel farm. It revealed to me that my father too considered his own family to be the most important thing in his life.

And the same was true of my mother. She was the organizer of the family. She would get everyone together for the big holidays or birthdays. She would write letters to all of her children. She kept everyone informed about what was happening to various family members. It was not until she died in 1985 that I really came to consciously realize how significant she was as the communication agent for the family.

In 1957 we moved from Fargo to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where we lived at 4315 Longfellow on the south side and where we attended Bethel Lutheran Church. My brother, Curt, and I both graduated from Roosevelt High School there. I graduated in 1959, after attending two years there, the year of the photo on the right. It was at Bethel that a youth director asked me to attend a "Men for the Ministry" conference which started me on the way to considering the ministry as my profession, a direction I know my mother approved. The church was important to her. Every place we moved the church was a big factor in our lives.

There is one congregation we attended all through these years during the summer, First Lutheran Church in Bemidji, Minnesota, where my parents had bought a lake cabin in 1948. My mother loved that cabin and tried to spend as much time there as possible, so on summer Sunday mornings we would often go to worship at First Lutheran.

After moving back to Grand Forks when my father retired from the Post Office, they again attended United Lutheran Church there. The funerals for each of them were held there, my mother in 1985 and my father in 1992. But wherever they were, my mother loved to make quilts. She made quilts for her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. And she joined quilt-making groups. The photo on the right is from the Grand Forks Herald and features the quilting group at United Lutheran which made quilts to be shipped to those who need them overseas through Lutheran World Relief. My mother is at the center, back row.

My own children loved to get warm and cozy in my mother's quilts. They knew they came from the loving hand of a wonderful grandmother.

Other Members of Rosendal

As we learn of members of Rosendal outside the Knudson-Quammen family we will present them here along with stories of their lives. Please send us information to include here.

Rosella Bentru

Rosella was born December 4, 1911, the same year as my mother, and died October 27, 2010. She is pictured in my mother's 1926 confirmation photo (see right). On the back of this photo is written "not married" next to her name. She did not attend the 1981 reunion of the confirmation class.

According to her obituary, Rosella enjoyed playing the piano and organ. She loved music and played the organ at the Rosendal Church in rural Reynolds for many years. Rosella was preceded in death by her parents; brothers, Adolph, Herman and Myron; sister Marie and sister-in-laws, Ruby and Hazel Bentru.

Her parents were Andrew and Christine (Broderson) Bentru. Notice the name "Bentru" is the name of the township in which Rosendal Church is located and which is the township of the Quammens and Heglands in K-Family history.



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