work at Trade River Evangelical Free Church had its beginning in 1887.
Bible study and Cottage prayer meetings were held in the homes. Sunday
School work was begun at the home of Carl and Augusta Peterson. The
first Sunday four boys enrolled, but attendance kept increasing. Several
Christian families moved into the area and regular services were conducted
in various homes. In 1890, plans were made to construct a church
building. Farmers cut timber and brought it to C.E. Peterson’s sawmill.
The church was to be constructed on land donated by C.E. Peterson. The
church building was started in 1891; they could not finish it the first
year. They only built as they could afford it. All the wood for the building
was cut by local people who also provided labor for the project. Wooden
planks were provided for seating. The first recorded meeting was July 3,
1892, Issac Nelson chaired the meeting. November 15 and 16, 1893 saw Trade
River Mission House’s first recorded missions meeting. Trade Rivers first
Sunday School Superintendent was P.E. Danielson (1895). Jan. 22, 1898 Trade
River Church was officially incorporated as the “Trade River Mission Church”.
The Charter members are as follows:
Carl E. and Augusta Peterson , Esther and Anna
Berg (former missionary to Africa) was called to be the first pastor. He
was paid $60 for the year and stayed in the summer kitchen of a rented
house near the church. The first missionary offering was taken Dec. 7,
1899; $9.00 was given for the field of Canton, China.
Sv. Andrew and Anna L. Peterson
B.. Andrew and Beda Peterson
C.A. and Ida Granquist
Miss Tillie Granquist
Andrew and Augusta Hedberg
Peter E. and Johannah Ramstrom
P.E. and Sophie Danielson
Axel and Beda Jevert
Widek and Wilhelmina Fors
C.M. and Hannah Wallin
Frederic and Anna Lindgren
Peter E. and Marie Isaacson
Eric Axel Jevert
1901 a decision was made to purchase ½ acre land for a cemetery.
In 1902 Andrew Hedberg was voted to be the Trade River Police and the church
would buy him a star. He was to patrol outside the church. During
the early 1900’s the church was served by traveling ministers and Home
mission missionary ladies. In 1911 the congregation voted to build
a parsonage. In 1932 a decision was made to build on due to the large Sunday
School which numbered 160. 1933 marks the first mention of the Ladies Aid
Society (Free Church Women’s Ministries). A branch Sunday School
was started at Pleasant Prairie as well with 40 students taught by
Joseph and Freda Peterson. The year 1936 marked the first time the church
records were to be written in English instead of Swedish and for the first
time there would be one service a month in English instead of Swedish.
In 1939 it was decided to hold only one Swedish service a month and one
Swedish mid-week service per month. In 1940 Swedish was discontinued. In
1950 Trade River voted to merge with the Evangelical Free Church Association
and the Evangelical Free Church of America. The name of the Church was
changed to Trade River Evangelical Free Church. In 1964 a decision was
made to remodel and add on to the sanctuary to the south. In 1998
it was apparent that a larger facility was needed and a decision was made
to break ground on for a new church building located north of the original
structure. In 1999 the first service was held in the new building.
More of the history of the Trade River Evangelical Free Church can be found
in "The 100 Anniversary" centennial book.