Excerpts from Early Life of Eric Norelius, a Lutheran Pioneer, 1833-1862, trans. Emeroy Johnson (Rock Island: Augustana Book Concern, 1934.

“a Norwegian chapel that stood out on the plain on the north side. The service was conducted by a former acquaintance of mine, Mr. Rasmussen, who had been in Columbus. The people who worship here are known as Elling Eielsen’s Friends. 216-17)

“On November 29, in the forenoon, I heard Elling Eielsen himself preach in their chapel. He is a big, tall, strong man, in his best years and seemed to have strength enough for almost anything. I noticed that when he walked across the prairie to the chapel, Rasmussen walked ehind him, stepping exactly in his tracks. It showed due respect and an evident feeling of discipleship. It seemed to me that the service was unusually long. First a hymn of fourteen verses, sung very slowly. Then a passage of Scripture / was read, followed by prayer. Then they sang another long-drawn-out hymn. Then Eielsen read a long sermon by H.N. Hauge, after which he preached a long sermon. Another hymn was sung, and there was a fervent, emotional talk by Rasmussen. Then the service was closed with prayer, benediction and more singing. It was certainly a long service and I marveled at the endurance of the people. There was no restlessness or impatience, and most of the people were perfectly motionless and stared directly at the floor in front of them. Eilsen’s talk was as to contents serious and well-intentioned, but he confused law and gospel, faith and works, in the old pietistical style.” (219-20)


Another description of Swedes singing in Minnesota in the 1850s, also by Eric Norelius:

Oscar N. Olson, The Augustana Lutheran Church in America: Pioneer Period, 1846-1860 (Rock Island: Augustana Book Concern, 1950. 366.

“I sang … in my way according to Dillner’s psalmodikon, the cantor at my side sang in his way, I don’t know according to what chorale A woman at the door sang above everybody and carried some of the neighboring women with her. A man on the other side of the door made music there together with some of his sex and outside of the house I heard singing and endless music, I don’t know of how many kinds. Well, all this put together you may be sure was curious. It were desirable that pastors instruct the people in singing, in order that we might hear better congregational singing in the house of God.”

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