Pequot Lakes Area Historical Society: In search of a country church

The church is no longer there to draw a wanderer to the place, and the Kedron congregation was disbanded in the late 1950s. Kedron's services were conducted in Norwegian until 1924, when they began the official transition to English.

The entrance to Kedron Cemetery.

For roughly 60 years, Kedron Lutheran Church stood on a small hill west of Pequot, on what is now Cass County Road 17.

At the beginning, that road ran north out of Pequot, past the town dump, around the end of Sibley Lake and then mostly west, through a collection of family farms and pine groves. It was around five miles, total.

It then ended (and still does) at Elwell Road, which runs north and south between Pillager and Pine River (among others).

Driving along country roads to see what you might see is a pleasant use of an afternoon that can become habit forming. A bit of “map talk” is essential for figuring out where you are and how you might get to somewhere else.

To this day, if you take CR 17 southwest out of Pequot, you’ll drive directly past Kedron Lutheran Cemetery . It’s on the north side of the road, on a rise of land known locally as Church Hill.


The red dot indicates the approximate location of the Kedron Lutheran Cemetery, 4.8 miles west on Co. Rd. 17SW from Pequot Lakes.

The church is no longer there to draw a wanderer to the place. The Kedron congregation was disbanded in the late 1950s and the members joined with Our Savior’s in town or with the rural Maple Hill Church, which still has an active congregation in their original church building, which in design and simplicity is very similar to the old Kedron.

A church did not exist in the township neighborhood until 1902, when a congregation was organized with 17 members who met at the nearby Loon Lake School in lieu of an actual church.

Although the intention was to build a church as soon as possible, we see a gap of eight years before they had the wherewithal to reorganize and construct a church building of their own. Such are the unforeseeable forces that interfere with progress at every turn.

During its lifetime, Kedron was affiliated with various Lutheran districts and synods. In the early 1920s, they joined the Free Lutheran Synod and remained with that grouping until 1957. The small congregation did not support a full-time pastor of their own, and instead was served in conjunction with the Our Savior’s congregation.

From inception in 1896 to dissolution in 1957, 11 pastors served Kedron Lutheran Church for varying lengths of time. The longest serving was the Rev. JB Michaelson, a patient and kind man who guided the congregation from 1924-1955. For 31 years, he traveled from his home church in Brainerd to conduct monthly services and special celebrations at his secondary calling in rural Pequot.

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See the file for Kendron Cemetery in the USGenWeb Archives with a list of burials and photographs of many of the tombstones.

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Like immigrants from countries all over the world, these Norwegian folks held strong ties to The Old Country, as proven by customs they observed and the language they kept. These attachments brought sadness and comfort, together.

The original settlers couldn’t discard tradition without betraying loved ones back home. Before time healed the pain of separation, Kedron services were conducted in Norwegian until 1924, when they began the official transition to English, which was accomplished by 1935.

We don’t know what it was like, do we, to leave everybody behind like that?

Ken and Betty Hanson wrote a brief history of Kedron Church for the centennial celebration of Our Savior’s in 1994. I depend on them for accuracy and tone, and thank them for caring.

Karen Bye is president of the Pequot Lakes Area Historical Society.


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