|Death: ||Mar. 14, 1887|
As a clergyman he moved about a great deal living in southern Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and northern Illinois. Rasmus Hill was a Lutheran minister who served in his home church as one of his pastorates. His name is on the marriage certificate of Peter O. Elias O., as well as other relatives married during this period.
He was one of the founding members of the Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church (now Calvery Lutheran Church) Rural Lee, Illinois. The following is a brief history of the church taken from a 1970 publication for the centennial celebration of the church:
Church work was started in the community by Rev. Elling Eielsen as early as 1814 and by 1868 he had a large class of 18 boys and 4 girls. His work did much to shape the thinking of the people in the community, who later turned away from the formalism of the State Church and became members of the Hauge Lutheran Synod, when it was formed.
There was another group of Norwegians near Lee who had moved north from the Fox River settlement some years earlier. These people had organized a congregation and built a church west of the village of Lee, Illinois. They were followers of the State Church of Norway. Since this was the period during and immediately following the Civil War, the question of slavery was rife. There was strong disagreement between the two groups about the morality of slavery. Thos who leaned toward the Hauge belief asserted that slavery was wrong and should be condemned by the church. Those who favored the State Church maintained this was not necessary. As a consequence, the people divided into two groups - for or against the condemning of slavery by the church. It is said that some members left the established church and allied themselves with those who actively apposed slavery. Now since Hauge followers did not wish to follow the formalism of the State Church, and since they did wish to condemn slavery, they decided to organize a new congregation. So was born "Den Norsk Evangeliske Lutherske Menighed ved" Creston, Illinois. (The Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation near Creaston, Illinois.)
It was on June 15, 1870 that a small group met and organized a Norwegian Lutheran Congregation. The following signed the adopted constitution: Rasmus O. Hill and wife, (Rasmus married Martha Govig, a sister of Peter Govig.) Peter O. Hill, Mikkel Knutson, Peter O. Espe, Conrad Knutson, Peter O. Traveland, Elias O. Espe, Ole O. Hill, Knut B. Uhr, Lars J. Govig, Neils Akse, and Gleng Osmundson.
The follwoing officers were elected:
Deacons: Mikkel Knutson, Rasmus Hill and Ole O. Hill
Trustees: Peter O. Espe, Elias O. Espe and Peter O. Hill
On November 26, 1870 Rev, J.S. Torgerson of Chicago was called as the first pastor. He accepted and came in service in January of 1871. However, due to failing health, he stayed only a few months. The Rasmus Hill, who was still attending school for the ministry, was asked to take charge of religious meetings. When he finished training he was ordained by Pastor Eilson. The congregation continued to grow until it became necessary to consider the building of a church. Originally Peter J. Govig had donated land for the site but there was some dissatisfaction so votes were taken. Another offer by Elias Espe for land near the cemetery was finally accepted. The building was started in 1872 and completed in 1874. It was dedicated on Pentecost Sunday of that year by Rev, Osten Hanson. That first year the Hauge Lutheran Synod held its Annual Convention in the new church. The new church showed its Hauge influence from the first. It was a singing church. Pastor Hill loved to sing and upon arriving at church would lead the early comers in singing until time for service to begin. They kept the ritual simple and included laymen in the service. Much emphasis was placed on prayer meetings, on evangelism and on the teaching of the young. Rasmus served the congregation until 1886.
On September 14, 1914 the church was struck by lightning and was totally destroyed. The present church site was originally a Norwegian Methodist Church built in 1880. The Methodist's graciously offered the use of their church on alternate Sundays. The people in the two congregations were neighbors and friends, many of them interrelated. The Methodists were few in number and found it difficult to support the church; so they decided to disband and give their church and land to the Lutherans. They asked in turn, for the use of the church for some services and for special occasions, such as funerals. The offer was accepted and the two congregations lived together in harmony.
After his death a beautiful memorial shaft was erected by his parishioners at his grave site. He was called "The Clergyman"
Created by: Patty Cummings-Beran
Record added: Jul 12, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 54871450