Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Stockbridge Mohicans Choose Lutheranism, Part 3

On page 8 of Christian Religion Among the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians, Thelma Putnam tells of the momentum that the Lutheran presence was gaining among her people:

Rev. Nickel...purchased twenty acres...from Cornelius Aaron... About this time, the Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio, and other States showed an interest in the mission with the result that Rev. Nickel turned it over to them. They soon decided to build a parsonage and call a full-time pastor. They planned that one room of the parsonage would be used for church services. Before the year was out this had all been accomplished. The pastor was Rev. John David Larsen....

The Larsens were warm, friendly folks who mixed with the people like old friends. The congregation grew so rapidly that soon the one room was not large enough for church services, and it spread out into two other rooms.

This image was scanned from Thelma Putnam's book (page 8). The man on the left, William C. Davids, was Thelma Putnam's father. The caption states that the man on the right may be Adam Davids.

The Lutherans started a school in 1902 and by 1908 it had become a boarding school. The Lutheran mission became the center of social activity for the Stockbridge Mohicans and a community sprang up around it.

On page 12 of her book, Thelma Putnam remembered a speech that her father, William C. Davids, gave about "the joy of being a Lutheran" at a social gathering. He told the crowd that twenty-minute Lutheran sermons were more effective than the much longer Calvinist sermons and Lutherans were allowed to "play ball" and enjoy other fun activities on Sundays.

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