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Rev Paul Gjermundsen Ostby
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Birth: Aug. 12, 1836, Norway
Death: Jun. 15, 1917
Freeborn County
Minnesota, USA

Rev. P. G. Ostby Gone to His Reward After Long Life of Service for God.

Rev. P. G. Ostby was born in Trysil, Norway, August 12, 1836. He attended the common school and when he attained the age of twelve years his teacher insisted the boy had learned all there was to learn in this school. This closed his school work and study until he was about twenty years old when he accepted a position as instructor in a school at Vaalor, in Solor and here he continued until 1859 when he entered Asker Seminary, studying two years and demitting with a deportment of excellent character and highly complimented on the aptness shown in his study of religion and history. He resumed his position as teacher at Vaalor until the year 1868, when on strong persuasion of his friends he decided to leave for the United States and study for the ministry. His first course of study in his new line was at a school at Paxton Ill. and he later graduated from the Theological Seminary at Marshall, Wis., in November, 1870. Rev. C. L. Clausen, of St. Ansgar, tendered the young pastor a call as chaplain. During his first year's service Rev. Clausen's call, which consisted at the time of several congregations, was divided in two, giving Rev. Ostby the congregation at Little Cedar, Austin, Red Oak Grove, and Blooming Prairie, Minn. He began his service as pastor of these congregations on New Year's day, 1872, with his residence at Austin, Minn. Aside from these, Rev. Ostby had some time previous organized a congregation at Mason City, and a little later also became pastor for a small congregation at Albert Lea.

In this early day preachers were few and their duties in caring for the religious welfare of the rapidly settling community gave opportunity for a young enthusiastic pastor of Rev. Ostby's type to occupy his entire time. He saw the need of organizing congregations in the new Scandinavian settle-ments in upper Iowa and south Minnesota and set about organizing at Hartland, Straight River, Grand Meadow, in Minnesota; Clear Lake, Hampton, Ackley, Aurdia, in Iowa. From his home in Austin Minnesota to Aurdia, Iowa was a distance of 200 miles and scarcely any railroad facilities, but nevertheless he served them all to the best of his ability until the time came when more pastors were available and today we find large congre-gations of Lutherans, owning fine church building, progressing and self-supporting.

Rev. Ostby has also served as pastor in Ridgeway, Iowa River and Clairmont, Iowa; Housten and Loamy Valley, Minn., and Bastwick, Valley, Wis. During all his early years he served ten and twelve congregations at one time which necessitated traveling from place to place all the time. This continued until 1877 when it became evident that this strenuous life could not be continued, furthermore his congregations enlarged and needed better service than he could give them with so much work on his hands. On redesigning his duties as above mentioned, Rev. Ostby was called as pastor of the Lime Creek and Lake Mills congregations, taking charge on New Year's day, 1878. He then removed to his farm home near Emmons, Minn. and has made it his home until the time of his death. Later on he served again as pastor at Austin, Minn., Albert Lea, Oakland, and Round Prairie congregations.

At the time of organizing districts in the conference, Rev. Ostby was elected as district president and was re-elected for a number of times until he resigned. When the conference voted favoring "Visitasordningen" and divided the territory into four "Visa-tats" districts, Rev. Ostby was elected vistator for the southwest district which included all Lutheran congregations west of the Mississippi river and south of the Winona and St. Peter Railroad, making his travels extend clear out to the James river and Yank-ton, S. D. and south again as far as Adams county Iowa. As such he served the confer-ence five years and was re-elected by the United church as visatator for the St. Ansgar district which he faithfully and conscien-tiously performed until the time of his resignation, his last visit being made to the Lake Mills congregation, Sunday May 17, 1908, closing his 12th year of work by his visit here or seventeen years continuous service as visatator.

As busy as his life may seem to have been from the above sketch, yet he found opportunity to make several trips as home missionary. As such he organized a Dane congregation in Park county, Wis. one in Douglas county, Minn., and two in the western part of Ottertail county crossing into Becker county, where he preached at the various places, officiating at baptisms, etc. (This was the year the Northern Pacific railway built its grade through Becker County.) His trip continued through clay county to Buffalo River, crossing the Red river to Georgetown and stopping to organize a congregation a few miles south on the Dakota side. This was the first congregation to be organized in the Red River Valley and Rev. Ostby was the first pastor to pay a visit to this territory. If all the experiences and hardships endured in all these trips could be written it would be more suitable for book form than a newspaper description. But the - the salary of a man fulfilling the duties such as related of Rev. Ostby must have been amply renumerative. Yes the salary. The church treasury in those days was empty. Rev Ostby labored and looked forward to his pay "When the Roll is Called Up Yonder" and now he has gone to receive and to hear his Savior say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."

Rev. Ostby had been in poor health the last two or three years but he had been active in attending church meetings in this neighborhood, not until just the few last moments was he taken sick so that he was confined to his bed.

The arduous work and the weight of years began to tell and in 1915 he retired from active work as a pastor, being succeeded here by Rev. R. M. Fjeldstad.

Married first to Goro Thornby. To this union nine children were born, four of whom have died. The mother died in 1908. He later married Ranvei Gavle, who died in 1912.

The surviving relatives are one brother and one sister in Norway; five sons, George, of Forest City, Iowa, Bernhard and Selmer of St. Paul, Minn., James of Crane Oregon and Paul of Emmons. There are also 22 grand-children.

Death came Friday noon, June 15, 1917 and the funeral services were held at the Lime Creek church Tuesday afternoon, June 19. Rev N. C. Brun, of Lake Mills, preached the funeral sermon. Rev. Brun was a classmate at Paxton with the deceased. Several other visiting pastors were present and made short talks but we were unable to get the names of all. Interment was made in the cemetery adjacent to the church.

It was one of the largest, if not the largest funeral in point of attendance, ever held at this church. The capacity of the church did not begin to meet the demands on it this day. People came from far and near to pay their last respect to one who had labored faithfully and well in the Lord's vinyard and they had learned to love him for his unselfish labor.
Family links: 
  Goro Bergersdatter Thornby Ostby (1848 - 1908)
  Ranveig Torgjersdatter Morkve Ostby (1847 - 1911)*
  John George Ostby (1872 - 1956)*
  Bernhard Imanuel Ostby (1875 - 1941)*
  Otto G Ostby (1886 - 1915)*
*Calculated relationship
Lime Creek Cemetery
Freeborn County
Minnesota, USA
Maintained by: sweetjuno
Originally Created by: K. Pike
Record added: Jan 07, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 32738872
Rev Paul Gjermundsen Ostby
Added by: Gary Jacobson
Rev Paul Gjermundsen Ostby
Added by: Sandra
Rev Paul Gjermundsen Ostby
Added by: Sandra
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Pastor at Little Cedar Lutheran Church in Adams
- Janet Stephenson
 Added: Mar. 4, 2016

- sweetjuno
 Added: Apr. 2, 2013

- sweetjuno
 Added: Aug. 19, 2009
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