I have visited the Finnish Apostolic Lutheran church in Franklin twice. This church is located a couple of miles East of Franklin, on the 660th Avenue. The congregation also had a cemetery which is appr. one mile east of the church on the same Street. This old church, standing between huge corn and wheat fields, is built in 1880. It seems to be quite seldom used nowadays.
I found an excerpt of the congregation's history below mainly from History of Renville County compiled by Franklin Curtiss - Wedge and Fairfax centennial 1882-1982:
Many of the early settlers in Bandon and Camp townships were Finnish Immigrants or Swedish and Norwegian immigrants with Finnish or Sami background. About 100 families lived in the community around 1900. Most of these people were of the Finnish Apostolic Lutheran faith, which was founded by pastor Lars Levi Laestadius in northernmost Sweden. One of pastor Laestadius’ daughters, Charlotta, was married to Michael Jokela. Jokela's lived in Bandon township. Charlotta is buried in the Finnish Cemetery. Early services in the Faith were held at the home of Mathias Johnson sr by Jacob Wuollet of Cokato. The Congregation was formed in 1874. Some of the early members were Mathias Johnson sr, Mathias Mickelson, Abraham Jussila, Abraham Bogema, John Salo, Andrew Anderson, Nels Folk, Nels Helppie, John P.Marttala, Sacharias Ericson, Oscar Isaacson, Isaac Sakari, Peter Stonelake, Herman Johnson, Benjamin Holm, and Peter Lahti. Before a House of Worship was built, religious services were held at various homes. As the distance between North Bandon and Ft Ridgely was too great, the ministers would conduct services in three areas of the community. Church records show that all of the above names appeared as signers on a note #150,00 for the purpose of building a church. This action took place in February 1884. A one-half acre lot was purchased from Sacharias Erickson in section 5, Camp township. A church building was erected in 1885. This building was 32 feet long, 20 feet wide and 12 feet high. An addition was built for the altar and the podium in 1905. An entry was added later.
Some early births in the congregation were Hilda Lahti's 1870, Margaret Anderson's 1870, Emma Johnson's 1870, Henry Heikka's 1872 and Maria Pelto's 1872. First marriages were between Michel Heikka and Mary Johnson, Mathias Johnson and Albertina Friska, Abraham Bogema and Riikka Kyro. Early deaths were Andrew Anderson's 1868, Matti Maunu's 1870, Eva M. Bogema's, Regina Johson's 1877 and Gustav Friska's 1873.
|Finnish (Apostolic Lutheran) Cemetery between Franklin and Fairfax, Minnesota|
Elders that have served the congregation have been Sacharias Erickson, Isaac Rovainen,1910-1915, John Oscar Isaacson 1915-1924, Louis Savela 1924-1942, Isaac Kiiskila 1942-1957, Matt Savela from 1957 until his death in January 1980. Resident pastors have been Andrew Raketti 1880-1883 and John P. Marttala (1837 - 1910) for many years. John Oscar Isaacson (1851 - 1938) and Frank Isaacson have served as lay preachers for many years. Also visiting pastors have conducted services twice monthly for several years. Andrew Mickelsen of Minneapolis conducted services twice monthly for several years and John Paana has been visiting the for past 44 years (situation from the year 1982). He has driven from Golden Valley to conduct services once a month.
|Hedwig Charlotta (Laestadius) Jokela's headstone at the Finnish Cemetery near Franklin, Minnesota|
The cemetery lot was purchased from Andrew Anderson in 1868. The Dale Congregation shared the cemetery until they united with the Fort Ridgely congregation to form Fort Ridgely and Dale Cemetery Association. The Finnish Cemetery Association was deeded the land from the Dale Congregation. The cemetery is located one mile east of the church.