The Early Presbyterian Church

One can only speculate as to the origin of the early Presbyterian Church of Marion Junction. There are no available church records; no former members (as far as we know) and no one who was aware that such a church even existed until an Abstract of the Title of Lots 5 and 6 of Mack’s Addition to the City of Marion supplied the information. Further research has uncovered the following information.

As early as 1880, a Reverend T. A. Shaver was preaching at Bridgewater and circuit preaching at Salem, Marion and Cameron, a small community near Canistota. On April 28, 1882 the church of Marion organized with four members, three of whom were received on Certificate of Transfer and one on profession of faith. The church was then in the charge of a Reverend John A. Smith. The church statistics later showed an increased enrollment of eight.

On August 17, 1882, J. A. Smith and A. E. Ashoroft initiated Incorporation papers and these were filed August 22, 1882. Information found in the abstract states that Ernest Reiff deeded Lots 5 and 6 to the Presbyterian Church of Marion Junction on September 12, 1882. The trustees were W. W. Nutting, C. H. Flowers, and J. A. Smith. This same Ernest Reiff was a charter member of the Emmanuel Presbyterian Church in 1889.

On December 2, 1882 they borrowed $667 from the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church. It is assumed that it was to pay for the property and to build a church. From one source we quote, “Very few churches were fortunate enough to have a minister like J. A. Smith. Bro Smith …. was architect and general manager of the Marion and Bridgewater churches, both of which he also built…” From an article found in the Parker New Era dated November 14, 1885, in a write-up about the town of Marion, “The Presbyterian building is one of the prettiest churches in the country…”

In 1883 General Assembly statistics indicated there was a membership of 11. In 1886 Ludwig Figge served the Marion Church as well as the First German Church at Lennox. In 1888 the membership was down to three.

On April 5, 1888 the clerk of the church was instructed to sell “for at least a sufficient amount to satisfy the claims of the Board of Church Erection (of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church)… and to disband the church.

Finally on October 23, 1888 “John A. Smith, President of Board of Trustees of the Presbyterian Church of Marion Junction, Griffith Evans and Wm. J. Hill, Trustees to Methodist Episcopal Church of Marion Junction, Turner County, Dakota Territory sold the church for $300.00.” The building had been sold to the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Six months later the organization of Emmanuel German Presbyterian Church began.

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