During the decade of 1880-1890 most of the
area surrounding Baldwin, in fact all of
Many of the men who worked here cutting lumber through this
region later purchased land from the lumber companies, cleared the
stumps and developed farms. Homes,
farm buildings, and eventually schools were built.
Many places have changed hands several times since then, but many
descendants of those original loggers are still living here and farming
the family places.
At that time this settlement in
Following is a resume’ of the religious activity at that time
by Mrs. Albert Peterson, who was a girl here at that time:
“In 1907, Rev. Shaw was
director of the Sunday School held in the school house located on
Section 9. Mr. Cornelius
Kosten was also Sunday School Superintendent there, and also conducted
church services. Rev. Shaw
was followed by Mr. Pomeroy, and American Sunday School missionary,
Mr. Pomeroy worked in
this locality for years. Many
of the neighbors can remember his bicycling around on his circuit during
the earlier years. He would
stop at various homes for meals and overnight, and always contended that
he was very well taken care of during his visits here.
Sunday School would be held rather intermittently – sometimes
for a few weeks in succession, but with lapses in between.
Rev. Shaw worked here for several years, but had services only
about once a month or less often. For
about a year around 1910, a Mr. Snyder lived at Branch and drove a team
and buggy out here every Sunday to conduct services in the schoolhouse.
He baptized several children during that time.
It is very difficult to get accurate data about this period.
The people who were interested at that time are no more on this
earth except those who were quite young at the time.
They have only vague memories of names, dates, etc..
Several men conducted religious services from time to time.
Most of them, as was quite common at that time, felt called to
preach and did so without much training.
The local people tried to keep up the Sunday School for the good
of the children growing up. Mr.
Cornelius Kosten, a Dutch Reformed laymen, helped out by acting as
Sunday School Superintendent and holding Christian services.
In the year 1912 all the rural school in
At this time regular services were being conducted at the Carr
Christian church with Rev. Fred Stewart as pastor.
He lived at Batchellor, fifteen miles away – quite a trip by
horse and buggy. Revival
services were held, a number became active Christians, and the church
was organized under the Christian denomination.
At that time the Luman Cole family lived in
The Ladies’ Aid officers at this time were:
President, Mrs. Luman (Jana) Cole; Secretary, Mrs. George (Anna)
Mac Dougall; Treasurer, Mrs. Edwin (Ella) Corey.
They were the main ones who instigated and achieved the Evergreen
They must have been discussing and longing, -and undoubtedly
praying, for it for some time when they heard of a possible solution.
Marlboro, south of
Mrs. George Mac Dougall and Miss Blanch Cole, daughter of Mr. and
Mrs. Luman Cole and now Mrs. Arlow Bluhm, canvassed the neighborhood
with a horse and buggy for donations.
$125.00 was raised and committee appointed to purchase and build
the church. This committee
was composed of Mr. Edwin Corey, Mr. Elmer Hines, and Mr. Peter Kosten.
Just after the lumber was moved Mr. Kosten left the community to
work on the railroad, and Mr. Edgar Carlson took his place on the
A large house was purchased and plans were now made for moving
it. A special day was set
and the neighbors with their teams and sleighs, and also their wives,
set out for Marlboro early one winter morning to work all day like
beavers – tearing down the building and hauling it home.
At noon hot coffee was made at one of the Marlboro homes, and a
generous dinner served by the ladies.
We do not have records concerning the men who helped that day but
every one consulted agrees that it was a glorious bee.
The following were probably there:
Edwin Corey, Jesse Bradford, Luman Cole, Ed and George Carlson,
Henry Baumgartner, Arthur Sellon Sr., George Moore, Nels Johnson, Peter
Kosten, Findley Robertson, Elmer Hines, Tom and Clyde Wann, George Mac
Dougall, and probably others with their teams and sleighs.
Some had to make a second trip to get all the lumber home.
Definite plans were now made for a site.
Edgar and George Carlson, brothers, deeded the acre of land for
one dollar. The ladies of
the Aid, especially Mrs. Cole and MacDougall, who attended to the
drawing up of the deed, had the following stipulation inserted:
“The condition of this deed is such that the within premises
are to be used for church purposes only, and shall revert to said first
parties or their assigns when the premises shall have ceased to be used
for church purposes.” This
reverent clause was to insure that it should never be used for
The deed was drawn up January 29, 1921, and the moving done
sometime that winter. After
the moving was completed, Mr. Delbert Whitney, who had been a building
contractor in Chicago before moving to this neighborhood for his health,
offered to act as overseer and did so although his health was so bad at
that time that many times he lay on the floor and directed – too ill
to stand. He passed away
before it was entirely done and his was the first funeral to be
conducted from the new church. Most
of the men mentioned above helped some, but the ones who did most of the
carpentering were Luman Cole, Elmer Hines and Nels Peterson.
George and Edwin Carlson did the plastering.
In order to complete the building, more money was needed, of
course – so Mr. Ewin Corey, Mr. Jesse Bradford and Mr. Luman Cole
borrowed $100.00, giving their personal notes as a security.
Later the Ladies; Aid raised money in various ways and repaid
We have no records and will only mention a few items drawn from
various memories: The pews
were hand made of wide pine boards.
Several men offered to make one or more, using the same pattern.
Some of them were especially nice.
(We have been using chairs for the last few years, some of the
pews have been used for lumber for other chapel furnishings, others will
be.) Findley Robertson gave
a generous donation to start the fund;
Mrs. Geo. MacDougall purchased the first coleman Gasoline lamp
for the chapel just before moving to
And so the chapel was built and used for services and Sunday
School. The Ladies; Aid was
very active at that time and raised
money in ,many ways. They
nade and sold quilts, tied them when asked to for money, besides making
and giving away several when fire or other misfortune struck a
neighbor’s family. They
had ice cream socials, oyster suppers, bazaars, and many other
activities to raise money.
Following is, I hope, a fairly complete list of the women who
worked at this time: Mrs.
Luman Cole, Mrs. George MacDougall, Mrs. Edwin Corey, Mrs. Thomas Wann,
Mrs. Nels Johnson, Mrs. Clyde Wann, Mrs. Henry Baumgartner, Mrs. C.P.
(Mary) Carlson, Mrs. Jack Gibson, Mrs. Josie Kosten, Mrs. Albert
Peterson, Mrs. Elmer Hines, Mrs. Arthur Sellon Sr., Mrs. Jesse Bradford,
Mrs. Findley Rosertson, Mrs. Nels Peterson, now Mrs. Byron Masten, Mrs.
Arnold Misteli, Sr., Niver a member, but a loyal friend.
Mr. Pomeroy continued to help, the Sunday School was enrolled
under the American Sunday School Union.
There was no regular pastor but several different men came, much
more frequently now that there was a chapel.
Rev. Fred Stewart preached a number of times.
About 1929-1930, Rev. Lemmon, a retired Methodist minister living
in Ludington, came out regularly. It
was inconvenient for him as he would usually come to Branch by train.
Soon after that four young men from
Several different people were Sunday School Superintendents:
Mrs. Luman Cole for several years, Mrs. Norval Whiteny, Mrs.
Findley Robertson and others. Several
teachers in the
And then somehow, a number of contributing factors seemed to
converge to shut the work down. The
Ladies’ Aid seemed to lose their unity after the note was repaid, the
MacDougall and Baumgartner families left the community, and finally the
Aid disbanded. There were a
number of extra families and therefore an unusual number of small
children living in the Settlement during the depression years but money
was very scarce, the families felt temporary, and probably most
important, no vigorous leadership developed.
At any rate, about 1934 the Sunday School ceased to operate for
several years. For one thing
there were very few children living in the Evergreen neighborhood of
Protestant faith. I believe
at one time only Nels Peterson and Joseph Vanas families had children of
grade school age to attend. During
this period and following there were a number of the older ones who
passed away. Most of the
people mentioned up to this time have passed away.
Meanwhile several new families were started, new families moved
and returned, and in 1943 the community was quite different than in
CHAPEL LOOKS BACK OVER TEN YEARS
Early in the spring of 1943, Rev. B.J. Pomeroy – American
Sunday School Union Missionary in the district at that time – was
visiting several of the churches and pastors in northwest
Mr. Pomeroy made a series of calls around the Evergreen
neighborhood as he had done many times before, this time announcing at
each home that services would be held that evening with Rev. Carlson
speaking. Be cause services
were so irregular, they were advertised in this way, by personal calls,
or friendly telephone calls. That
evening there was a group of about 20 or 25 there.
The Rev. Carlson was given a vision of the work which needed to
be done for the Lord in these rural sections, and soon offered to try to
get a young man from from his denomination to stay for a few weeks in
the summer if the neighbors would provide board and room for him.
And so, the last of June, Clarence Winstedt arrived, a young man
of 20, very tall, 6’ 5”, very energetic and very likable.
His father was a successful pastor, so he was fortunate in being
able to call upon him for advice. But
the Holy Spirit was clearly with him that summer as we look back with
what he accomplished.
He arrived in an old 1932 Ford which one of his classmates at
North Park Seminary had given him – an asset provided he could make it
run. After a few days
tinkering, it ran and served for several weeks.
He boarded around in several homes that summer, made many friends
and did a fine piece of work. He
started in visiting, organizing, established regular services every
Sunday evening, and Sunday School every Sunday morning.
The church building needed a great deal of repairs.
A new roof had been purchased by contributions and put on by the
labor of the neighbors just before Winstedt came.
He appointed a building committee, “one member from the eight
most interested families”, he said, “Four ladies and four men”.
This first committee was; Frank Peterson, Peter Kosten, Sid
Moore, Alvin Corey, Mrs. Findley Robertson, Mrs. Luman Cole, Mrs. Graham
McDougall, Mrs. Clarence H. (Mabel) Cole.
(This Committee, with replacements when one moved away, served as
church board as well as building committee for four years.)
Considerable repairs were made on the building that summer.
The pulpit platform and front doors were moved to make the
interior more symmetrical, and that called for new flooring, new door
casings, and doors. Some of
the windows were replaced and some frames repaired.
Wallboard and plaster were repaired, some of the outside siding
was replaced, and then the whole was painted, inside and out.
Services were held just before Clarence left about Labor Day to
go back and resume his seminary training.
The Chapel was rededicated to the work of the Lord and since then
it has been used nearly every Sunday.
As a gift, he left the picture “Head of Christ” by Sallman
which has since hung in the front of the Church.
Due to his work here, and his increased interest in Home
Missions, the Rev. Arthur C. Carlson was soon appointed by his
denomination as Superintendent of Home Missions for
Before Clarence left he organized the Sunday School with a staff
of teachers and officers. We
continued with Sunday School that winter, sometimes with a very small
attendance. The next summer
Courtney Johnson came up from
Since then two weeks of
The winter of 1944-45 Clarence Winstedit came and spent his
Melbourne Metcalf was here the summer of 1945 and Daniel Ericsson
the summer 1946. Both young
men were engaged to be married the summers they were here and were
married a few weeks after leaving. Both
are foreign missionaries now, the Rev. Metcalf and his family in
During this period we kept the Sunday School going, and much of
the time during the winter months, Rev. Carlson would try to have
someone to conduct preaching services about twice a month.
He often came, also Rev. Fred Stewart, Mr. Pomeroy, as well as
laymen. Our chief trouble
with Sunday School was teachers. Someone
was always moving away, getting sick, or having a new baby.
But somehow we always found replacements, even when it seemed
impossible. Some of our
teachers were and are: Mmrs.
Graham MacDougall, Mrs. Frank Peterson, Mrs. Laslie Larson, Mrs. George
Jackson, Mrs. Alvin Corey, Mrs. Adrian Dagen, Mrs. Frank Mohler, Mrs.
William Kirke, Miss Evelyn Payne, Mrs. Sid Moore, Mrs. Merrill Maddox,
Mrs. E.G.Croft, Mrs. George Schrink, Mr. Eugene Bostrom, Miss Lily
Wiltshire, Mrs. Roy Lasley, besides any of the men who were serving as
pastor. Of this group
usually we had about four teaching at one time, although now we have a
regular staff of eight teachers.
Every Christmas, Easter, and Mother’s Day, we would have
special services, usually including programs by the children, and always
had very good crowds. Rev.
Fred Stewart came and preaches our Easter morning message for several
years, although he was in poor health part of this time.
Several continually gave us help and encouragement, although they
could not teach. Mrs. Luman
Cole was one of these. She
attended quite regularly, and used to help so much with the prayers.
She would lead us in prayer while we teachers were still quite
shy about praying in public. Sometimes
it seemed that only prayer kept us going.
Miss Arville Cole and Miss Lorraine Peterson were teenagers at
that time, and attended very regularly and helped a great deal with
their music. Both girls have
lovely voices, Arville acted as pianist and both would pitch hit as
teachers or secretary. Both
are now married and live away. Clarence
and net Cole helped a lot too. They
acted as custodians of the Chapel. Clarence
built fires, supplied and split kindling, and Nettie was a wonderful
cleaner, she was always first there and last to go on cleaning days.
The Ladies’ Aid continued to grow, both in numbers and
experience. At times we have
had 25 active members, besides several more who help with many things.
Here too, the membership changes.
They have raised a great deal of money and helped a great many
worthy causes. They have
made and tied innumerable quilts; put on ice cream socials, oyster,
chili, chicken, fish, and turkey suppers; a Smorgasbord; several bazaars
and bake sales; have sold jello and thousands of greeting and Christmas
cards – besides many other smaller projects.
The winter of 1946-47, Wallace Lanchester was at Mears and also
in Carr Settlement for his intern year.
Between the two Churches here, however, and being stationed at
Mears, he was unable to do much more than hold preaching services about
twice a month. He did
organize a Young People’s group which has since been continued and
divided into a Junior and Senior group.
The following spring something new was tried by the Covenant.
For several years they had been working in both the Evergreen
Chapel and the Carr Christian Church, with the idea of somehow combining
them and eventually having one unified congregation and church.
The Covenant put Roger Danielson here with the understanding that
they would pay his wages if it were possible to furnish him and his wife
a place to live and $30.00 a month to cover his gasoline and car
expense. Mr. and Mrs. Hobart
Striker offered to let them use an apartment which they fixed in their
home, provided that the churches would pay for his fuel, one half of the
telephone bill and one half of the electricity bill.
This was very reasonable, and the expenses were divided between
the two churches equally. Danielsons’
first son was born while here, Christian Kay.
With Rev. Danielson and his wife here all year, and only in this
locality, they could do more intensive work.
However, in the spring of 1948, the
This, however, left us in the position of trying to provide
$15.00 per week to board a man in our little community, and it looked
like a very big undertaking. We
were most fortunate in the choice of a man who came in at this time,
Maynard Anderson. He had
been a farm boy from
Since he was here full time, he began to brand out a bit and
began to seriously contact the Branch people.
There was neither church nor Sunday School there at that time for
miles around; so he began to run a personal “bus route” with his car
every Sunday morning, bringing boys and girls to Sunday School. He
also started working at Walhalla, and the second year went to Tallman
regularly for Sunday School, church and Young People’s meetings every
From time to time various improvements and changes have been made
on the chapel. Much more
Sunday School equipment was added, some bought, some handmade and some
gifts. Maps, blackboard, and
library books. A number of
chairs, large and small, were donated by the Grand Rapids Covenant
Church, a good organ was donated by the Kosten Brothers, later replaced
by a piano and the organ donated to the Whitehall Church.
Folding screens were built by the Kostens, flying squirrels,
honey bees and wasps were all extracted from the siding and attic of the
chapel, the chimney was rebuilt, signs were made, the large upright one
by Al Corey, and the interior redecorated in 1949.
But now a new problem developed.
The Chapel was proving to be too small, at least several times a
year. The Sunday School
became larger with the increased territory being covered, and at least
one and sometimes two classes would meet outside when the weather
permitted, to allow more quite inside.
Whenever there were programs, many of the parents would stay at
home because there was not comfortable seating space.
Clearly there was needed more room, and plans were begun for an
addition on the south side of the chapel.
But upon looking the building over, it was apparent that the
building would not be worth adding onto, as the floor sills were badly
rotted, and the whole structure was settling badly at the southwest
So plans were started for building a new church.
The Ladies’ Aid redoubled all their efforts to swell the
“Building Fund”. Quite a
sum of money was donated by the local people.
The Sunday School raised over a hundred dollars with dime
folders. Toward the end of
Maynard’s second year he had a marvelous surprise, as a total stranger
gave him a check for $1,000.00 towards the new building, because he had
heard of the excellent work Maynard had been doing in the community,
especially with the young people and children.
Plans continued to grow and expand.
The church had had a regular “Church Board”, annual meetings,
etc., since 1948 when Roger Danielson had helped establish more
businesslike rules and elections in all the church organizations, so now
a new Building Committee was elected, composed of Sid Moore, Peter
Kosten, Frank Mohler, Mrs. Graham MacDougall and Mrs. Emil Peterson.
It was decided to construct the building of cinder blocks.
Now a new problem came. The
original deed had not been recorded in the
Meanwhile Maynard was busy strengthening the human church in
several ways. He and Rev.
Sampson had continued to work with the Carr-Evergreen Youth groups as
one unit, both gathering them together in their cars and both directing
the meetings. This was
logical since most of them attend the same schools.
He also started Family Nights, held about once a month, in
various places and with various programs.
He also held the first Holy Communion services in the Chapel.
Another project that will likely show up more in future years
than now is his planting of the seedling pines around the chapel yard.
If there is any one thing the Evergreen Ladies’ Aid might be
said to be noted for, it is their willingness to try anything at least
once, and usually more often. Now
there were new and enthusiastic member, Mrs. E.G. Croft (J0) and Mrs.
Merrill Maddox (Ann) from Bass and
Truit Nordstrom took over the parish the fall of 1950 and the men
seemed to be ready to begin to build.
A one story building had been planned and, with Frank Mohler to
do the main directing, the trench was dug and the foundation begun.
However a severe and early winter stopped the work.
During the winter it was decided to build a basement below of
cement blocks. This
necessitated changing plans again. For
a year and half no direct work was done, but the building fund was
steadily growing and being used to gather materials.
The cinder blocks were purchased and delivered.
Roofing and door hardware were purchased from a Covenant lumber
dealer in Cadillac who kindly offered to sell any materials at cost.
Hauling expenses would be high, however from so far away.
Some materials were scarce and hard to obtain due to so much
building being done all over the State. Window
frames were purchased and later the amber glass.
Finally in the spring of 1952 the basement was bulldozed out.
As I look back, I think Truit’ Nordstrom’s greatest
contribution here was his regularity and faithfulness in following out
the program which had been developed, and his work with music.
Mrs. George Schrick was living near Branch the year of 1950-51,
and between the two of them they worked with the children and young
people, taught a great many new hymns and choruses, had some choir work,
and above all got them to sing. The
largest and most successful hunters’ supers were given the fall of
1950 and 1951, one featuring chicken, the other turkey.
There was marvelous cooperation with both of these from the
Truit stayed at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Emil Peterson, as
Maynard had, and during these four years the Peterson home became a
veritable parsonage. Gertie
always knew about any question, or would be glad to have the pastor call
you back. She not only
looked after all the Aid belongings, cups, etc., made beautiful cakes
for every occasion, but was almost invariably on the informal “cleanup
committees” for every gathering.
Truit also had the honor of performing the first wedding ceremony
conducted in the chapel, the marriage of Olga Jean and Arthur Vanas,
just before Arthur joined the U.S. Marine Corps.
He continued the weekly Bible studies which had been started by
Roger Danielson, the Family Nights, etc..
Before he left he gave the chapel a gift, the oil reproduction of
Sallman’s inspiring picture, “Christ, Our Pilot”, which he desired
to have hung in the Sunday School Department of the new church.
In August the men got together and built the forms and poured the
footing for the new building. Truit
went back to school and a new man came, Dwight Johnson; Before he left,
Truit had started plans for a fall Sunday School drive.
Dwight threw himself into the work here with much energy and
enthusiasm. The Sunday
School, under his superintendency entered the national contest sponsored
by the “Christian Life” magazine for six weeks.
Although we did not win any prizes, which was not surprising,
since there were 1200 entries, the majority in the small bracket,
During September and October, much progress was made with the
building, Two men were hired to lay the cement blocks for the basement
wall, with two or more local men helping each day “mixing mud”.
The walls were completed, the basement windows installed, the
cement window ledge forms built and cement poured in them, the floor was
poured and floor joints put in place for the main floor.
On November 3rd a special service was held at 4:00
P.M. and Rev. Dwight Johnson laid the cornerstone for the new church.
Rev. Arthur C. Carlson gave the message to a most interested
audience. Several were in
attendance who had worked with the old chapel in its earliest days:
Mrs. Luman Cole and daughter and granddaughter, Mrs. Lucy Murphy
and Mrs. Kitty Goldman from
As wee look back over the almost exactly 10 years, we have gone a
long way. I am sure that
none of us dared hope that we would be truly building such a lovely new
church in 10 years. We did
not even believe that we could really keep the Sunday School going. The
Sunday School enrollment now has very few of the original members.
The boys and girls here now were mostly either living some other
place or were not born. The
Coreys, Donna Lou and Gordon, Douglas and Sandra MacDougall, Patsy and
Robby Peterson, and Jon and Loretta Moore are the only ones, and they
were all in either the Primary or Nursery departments.
We should mention Betty and Bob Peterson, who have grown up with
us, but Betty is working now and Bob is serving his country.
Another original is Richard Jackson, now in
We have many families living here now who, it seems, have always
been here, but have come or established their families here within the
10 years: Leslie Larsons,
Charles Coles, Wallace Madisons, Early Johnsons, Gordon MacDougalls, the
Crofts, the Maddox and Kochs, Frank Vasiceks, Dale Mohlers, Ralph
Petersons; Vaughts, Paynes, and others have come and gone again.
The chapel has seen and neighborhood experienced many very tragic
and shattering experiences during that time.
We have gone through one war and are in the midst of another.
Many of the families mentioned had the men serving someplace
during World War II, and several of the boys who grew up here are
serving now. Memorial
services were held in the chapel for Pfc. John Gibson, nephew of John
and Peter Kosten who lost his life in the
But we have also known ,many, many happy times, and I am sure
they far overshadow the others. The
picnics we have had together, the many happy occasions when children and
babies were baptized, both in public and private services, the skating
party and wiener roast on Perch Lake, the get-togethers at “MacDougals”,
the chapel and at “Gerties’s and Emil’s”, the welcoming and
farewell parties, the birthdays, the pot luck meals we have had at the
chapel while redecorating or working on the buildings have left many
warm memories. There have
been several such occasions every year, and they count up.
There is nothing like working and playing together to knit people
together; we get to feel more and more like one family.
Certainly, I do not think there is any question now but that the
work will continue and grow, one of our most important heritages to our
I think the two darkest periods, at least in my memory, (perhaps
Rev. Carlson would have others), were the fall of 1944 and the spring of
1948. But both times we had
help, divine as well as human. The
Christmas of 1944, Clarence came and gave us a wonderful boost; and in
1948, Maynard came. We have
had so many blessings, and our failures have been mainly due to lack of
faith. As we have endeavored
to teach, we have learned more than our pupils; as we have worked and
built, we have benefited most; but it is a joy to our children growing
up “established in the Lord”.
all the promises of God,
- (signed) Geraldine Moore
* The above material was given, along with permission to print by the Rev. Keith Foisy, (via a Harold Datema) the current pastor of Evergreen Chapel. (webmaster)
©2007-2012 Big Star Lake History,