The history of the congregation actually begins in 1896 where the first known meetings were held by the Finnish Lutherans who had moved into Trout Creek. The main attraction was the timber industry. The Duluth, South Shore and Atlantic Railroad had beer constructed from Nestoria toward Duluth which was to play an important part in transporting pastors into the area.
The actual organization of the congregation was in Agate on October 5, 1897, under the pastoral leadership of the Rev. Kaarle Leonard Tolonen who at the time was serving the Ishpeming church. Pastor Tolonen was the first chairman. The congregation was incorporated with the State of Michigan on October 13, 1897, and on December 8 it was received into the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church of America Suomi Synod.
In the early days services were held every other month at the Agate Cemetery Temperance Hall. After the Temperance Hall burned, services were held in Agate Hall. Plans were made to construct a church in 1914. However, it was not until December 1924 that the new church was used for the first time. The actual building of the church began in 1920.
In the early "pioneering days" the pastors came in by railroad until the advent of the automobile. They came from Ishpeming until August 1916 when they started to be served by pastors from the Republic church.
It was not until 1930 that the first resident pastor had arrived. The formation of a parish was started on January 9,1927, with the organizational meeting being held in Paynesville. The first resident pastor, the Rev. F. W. Kaskinen arrived in December 1930 to serve five congregations which made up the parish. They were Covington, Trout Creek, Paynesville, North Bruces, and Ewen. Since then two of the congregations have withdrawn, namely, Covington and North Bruces.
The first parsonage site was at Trout Creek which remained the home for the pastor from 1930 to 1966 when a new parsonage in Ewen was completed.
The church in the country had been the home of the congregation until 1960 when the church in town was dedicated on June 12th. With the moving of the church also came a new name. Previous to this time the church was simply known as Trout Creek Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church but was renamed Trinity Lutheran Church being cognizant of the symbolism of its new structure.
The parish has been served by 14 resident pastors. A new parish was formed in 1987 with Bethany of Covington and Trinity of Trout Creek and is now being served by Pastor Marlin Snyder.
The following is given by Gerald Hendrickson of Ewen from notes by his father, Rev. John Hendrickson, pastor of Mission Covenant Church at Ironwood 1887 to 1894.
The Wing Lumber Company came here from Wingleton, a small town near Ludington circa 1892. They brought their machinery and men with them, amongst whom were Swedish families. A church was built by the work force, under the direction of C. J. Stalberg, walking boss for the company. It was consecrated December 8, 1892.
Rev. J. Hendrickson visited here at that time as did Rev. O. P. Anderson who was guest speaker at the dedication, a four-day church festival.
The church was later moved to Covington, when the Wing Lumber Company discontinued their operation in Trout Creek, moving out West.
The Presbyterian Church was started in Trout Creek between 1915 and 1916. the lot that the church stands on was donated by Ellen Webb. An $800 grant from the Board of National Missions (which was finally paid off in 1977) was used to construct a large church building in 1915. Some of the workers on the building were Clarence Singleton, Art McMillan, Roland Thompson, and others. this original building burned down on Palm Sunday, 1949. A smaller building was constructed that same year by the Sironen Brothers of Ewen.
On September 11, 1966, the Presbyterian Church celebrated 50 years as the Presbyterian Church of Trout Creek. there has been only one resident pastor, a Rev. Harry Smith, back in the year 1921. Rev. george Gillette, a Presbyterian minister at Ontonagon, was the last minister. Elders have come from the Iron County Presbyterian Church at Iron river, Michigan, to conduct services. Rev. Clayton Parcels, minister of the aforementioned church, has been the Moderator for the past 25 years. After Rev. Gillette left Ontonagon, Rev. Arthur DeVries, a retired Methodist minister, conducted the Sunday services for 13 years, from November, 1956 through May, 1969. since that time the Presbyterian Church of Trout Creek has been yoked with the Methodist churches of the County of Ontonagon and have been served by Methodist ministers.
The names of the Elders of the session at this writing are Clerk of Session Alice thompson, David DeVowe, Joseph Cottenham, Peter Thompson, Lydia Maki, Patricia Coss; Church Treasurer Joanne Cottenham. The present officers of the Ruth Circle are Jennifer Wankel, President; Patricia Coss, Secretary (replacing Hazel Sliger in February, 1987); and Altha Tooley, Treasurer.
Services were held at the homes until a building was purchased in 1939 for a church.
First officers were: John Rumberg, chairman; Alex Besonen, Jr., secretary; Armi Parkonen, treasurer. Trustees were Jacob Seppanen, Herman Hietamaki, Werner Kallio, and Herman Kangas. The minister was Alex Besonen, Sr.
The church building was recently remodeled. The congregation consists of approximately 10 families. They are served by rotating ministers from Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.
In 1912 there were only six Catholic families in the mission parish at Trout Creek. Under Father Oehlerer's leadership this small group overcame seemingly insurmountable odds and built its own church. the construction was made possible chiefly by means of money-raising projects and donated lumber. The Weidman Lumber Company contributed most of the lumber for the project. the building was completed in 1912 and used in a semi-finished condtion until 1915. At that time beaverboard was purchased and the six men of the parish collaborated in sheeting the interior. Edward Cameron Sr. bought the land and had it deeded to the Church.
Some of the Catholic families that kept the church alive were the Whitesheilds, Currys, Dories, Coyles, Vaughans, Maddens, Gerbers, Haaralas, Nardis, Theberts, Sligers, Camerons, Chapmans, and Warrens.
The following priests served the mission from 1912 to 1965: Rev. Frs. Oehlerer, Ling, Harrington, Anderson, Hennelly, and vincent Savageau, who served from 1940 to 1965. Rev. William Richards replaced him and stayed until 1970. there were four interim priests until Rev. Louis Wren arrived. He was followed by Revs. Arnold Grambow and Gary Jacobs, who was serving the mission when the building was dismantled in 1980. The parishioners were encouraged to attend mass in Ewen. Rev. Fransic Dobrrzenski replaced Jacobs in 1984 and serves both the Sacred Heart Catholic Church and its mission in Sidnaw.
Although the church is gone, some of its contents are still in use by other congregations. Some chairs from St Anthonys are in the Presbyterian Church, the stained glass windows in the Assembly of God Church, and the old reed orgn stands near the entry of the Sacred Heart Church in Ewen. The St. Francis Xavier Mission in Sidnaw received the following items which are still in use today: the vestry cabinet, presider's chair, and vestments.
The Trout Creek Assemblies of God congregation met at the Moffitt home circa 1948. Listed as charter members were Mrs. Sam Bennett and Gordon, Angeline Cronkright, Fred, Clara, Mose, Eini, Wesley, and Everett Carlisle, Paul and Bernice Oberg, Forrest, Fern, Cecil, and Beatrice LaBine, Gilda Russell, Hattie Johnson, and Selma Dutcher. Their first pastor was Howard L. Moody.
A church was built just north of Trout Creek. Other pastors have been Eidsor, Spencer, Washburn, Yeske, Meese, Marsh, Dissimore, Wesley Carlisle, Jr., Brown, Kruger, Morey, Gent, and (presently) Sullivan. The parsonage was bought in 1955. The church was remodeled in 1979.
During its time such groups as Royal Rangers, Missionettes Children's Crusades, and youth groups, as well as Sunday School and mid-week Bible Study have been active. Missionaries are supported by pledges. During the past two years Sunday School rooms have been added. A singspiration is held once a month.
This church was organized formally and is recorded at the Registrar's Office on September 2, 1908, at Ontonagon.
The trustees for the first year were: Andrew Pulkas, John Bessen, Matt Hautamaki, Gust Lehto, and Henry Leinonen. The President was Andrew Pulkas; the clerk, John Besonen; and Matt Hautamaki, the treasurer. The clergyman was Herman Nikulas.
The services were held at homes, most frequently at John Leinonen's, Paul Leinonen's, Edward Besonen's, and Andrew Bessen's. The Reverend Andrew Michelson of Hancock and lay preachers Lars Altonen and Leonard Wiinamaki served the congregation as well as other visiting preachers. In the early sixties the Agate congregation, already small in numbers, affiliated with the Bruce Crossing Apostolic Lutheran Church for regular services.
Return to Table of Contents