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History of the Bethany Lutheran Church

Julius Lukkarila

Ashtabula Harbor, Ohio is located on the south shore of Lake Erie about 60 miles east of Cleveland, Ohio. Its first known white settler, by the name of Thomas Hamilton, built a cabin at the mouth of Ashtabula River in 1801. The name "Ashtabula" is Indian and means "River of Fishes". Ashtabula Township was formed in 1808 and comprised of what is now known as Ashtabula, Plymouth, Kingsville, and Sheffield Townships.

In the early days, shipbuilding was the important industry and the potential of the Harbor was recognized by the Federal Government already in 1826 when it began its first dredging operations and allotted a grant of money for the improvements of the port. This enabled larger ships to enter, and commerce with other ports began. However, it was not until the discovery of iron ore fields in Michigan and Minnesota that Ashtabula Harbor really grew. Docks and railroads were built, and for a long time, Ashtabula Harbor was the leading iron ore port in the world. It still holds third place in this respect. The history of Ashtabula Harbor is most colorful in its many aspects of a growing lake port town. It was not a life for the weak, for drinking and fighting was the usual pastime. It took some time for the better elements of life to eliminate much of this rough and undesirable portion in the lives of the people and purpose of this article is to tell the part that the Church played in reshaping the lives of the Finnish people who had settled here.

The first Finns to appear in Ashtabula came here in 1872 to work in laying the tracks for the Pennsylvania Railroad. This group was headed by a man named Andrew Bloom. He also brought his twelve year old son, John Bloom, with him. Others mentioned are Joseph Porkola and Matt Kortesmaki. The cook for this group was a Liisa Kaukonen whose husband, Jacob, came here later. This "Gang" as these work groups were called, stayed to work on the Hanna docks. From this time on, the Finnish population grew rapidly. The first Finnish child born here was John Hakala in 1876. His parents were Kusti and Sanna Hakala. By 1884, there were many hundred Finnish people in the Harbor. The housing situation was very bad and totally inadequate. Families were crowded into small spaces and almost every family kept boarders. The lot of the women was hard. Raising families, feeding boarders, washing their clothing, was all they could look forward to. With the men, drinking was the chief diversion. As the men were paid by the gang bosses in the saloons, it was not to be wondered that many spent most of their money before going home with it. It is hard to visualize now, what life was under such circumstances with no uplifting influences to help overcome such conditions. Even though people remembered what religious training they had in the old country, their inability to speak the language of the new land precluded them from partaking in anyway with American church influences. No doubt, there was a longing for better things but the initiative to act was lacking. This had to come from the outside. In the year 1881 a Finnish pastor visited Ashtabula. He was Pastor Alfred E. Backman, enroute to his parishes in northern Michigan after making a visit to Finland. Pastor Backman was the first Finnish pastor to ever serve in this country having come here in 1876 to preach to the Finns in northern Michigan and Minnesota. He stayed in Ashtabula four days, confirmed two young people, preached, and served Holy Communion. The services were held upstairs of the Nettleton Bldg., later known as the Cheney Store. This visit awakened a desire in many people to have spiritual guidance and training such as they had in the old country. They did not have long to wait for just at this time, the Swedes had organized The Capernaum congregation (1882) and had requested of their Augustana Synod to send them a pastor who could speak Finnish also. It so happened that at the Augustana Seminary there was a student from Finland named J. J. Hoikka who spoke Swedish fluently. He agreed to come to Ashtabula for a summer vacation period. Services were held at the aforementioned Cheney store building. He was paid $25.00 per month by the Swedish congregation and a like amount by the Finnish group, which had not yet organized a congregation. C. J. Stenroos, who to this time had belonged to the Capernaum church, took up the leadership of the Finnish people. He collected the funds for the pastor's salary and taught Sunday School in the Capernaum Church. His ability to use both languages made him very useful to the Finns in their relations with the Augustana Synod and the Capernaum Church. Another person who was very influential in the welfare of the Finnish people was Nils Johan Carlson, a Swedish foreman at the docks. He had learned to speak Finnish very well from the Finnish dock workers and was well known by them as "Finn Carlson". Carlson and Stenroos for many years worked hand in hand among their respective peoples to awaken their countrymen spiritually. Though Hoikka stayed only a few months on his first visit, he did return during the Christmas vacation of 1882 and on being ordained was asked to become pastor at Ashtabula. He, however, preferred to go to Astoria, Oregon instead. It is a matter of conjecture as to what would have been the result, had he come here, in relation to the spiritual life and organization among the Swedes and Finns, if Pastor Hoikka would have come to Ashtabula for it had been planned to form a single congregation of Swedes and Finns. When Pastor Hoikka declined to come here, the Augustana Synod sent, at the request of the Capernaum Church, Pastor Alex Malmstrom to Ashtabula to serve the Swedish congregation and to do mission work among the Finns. Pastor Malmstrom had been born in Finland, ordained in Hannover, Germany and served as a missionary in Africa. He arrived at Easter time in 1883 and preached to the Swedes but felt that due to his inability to speak Finnish well, and to other causes, that he could not serve adequately in Ashtabula. This, again, left the Capernaum Church without a pastor, as well as the Finns without any religious leadership.

In the summer of 1884, there appeared on the scene a man by the name of John Wilhelm Lähde. He had very recently left Sweden and on the advice of the Swedish pastor, Nelsenius, of Brocton, New York, came to serve the needs of the Swedish and Finnish people of Ashtabula Harbor. Lahde had studied in Finland and Germany and taught Latin and German at Orebross, Sweden. On the day of his arrival at the Harbor, he announced a service to be held in Finnish at the Asser Anson building on the corner of Bridge (now West Fifth) and Franklin Street. The attendance must have been good, for the collection amounted to $18.00 which was a sizeable amount in those days. At this gathering, Lahde made the suggestion that a Finnish congregation be formed and Stenroos made a list of all desiring to become members. Thus was born the first Finnish congregation, named Bethlehem, in the year 1884. The congregation was affiliated with the Augustana Synod. No records remain of this congregation except that it was carried on the books of the Augustana Synod through the year 1889. The Church records were given into the custody of Rev. Williamson in later years but were destroyed in a fire in 1910. In 1885 Lahde was ordained by the Augustana Synod and served simultaneously as pastor of the Capernaum and Bethlehem congregations. He also made trips to Burton, Ohio where he organized a Finnish congregation. This was affiliated with the Augustana Synod and their statistics mention this congregation for the years of 1884 and 1885. From the beginning of Pastor Lahde's arrival, he had conducted some sort of a children's school, where he taught religion and Finnish language. He also maintained a Sunday School for a short period. Lahde lived in a house owned by N. J. Carlson on Walnut Street but later on Franklin St. between what is now West Third and West Fifth St. Pastor Lahde was considered a gifted speaker but in the latter part of his stay in Ashtabula, was addicted to drinking. In the fall of 1885, Pastor Lahde moved to New York and was listed as a pastor for only a few more years in the statistics of the Augustana Synod for he took up a newspaper career and published the "Uusi Kotimaa" at New York Mills, Minnesota.

One of the most stalwart and dependable assistants to the pastor was Carl J. Stenroos. He was the pillar on which everything depended. Stenroos had been born in Finland in 1838, came to America in 1873 to Erie, Pa., and in 1875 to Ashtabula Harbor. His work was a very valuable asset in the religious and temperance work among the Finns. Stenroos lived to a ripe old age and contributed much to the benefit of the Finnish people in Ashtabula. After Pastor Lahde left, the religious work was carried on by August Edwards, a publisher of the Finnish newspaper "United States News". Since the Swedish congregation was without a pastor, August Edwards also preached to them as his mother tongue was Swedish. With the help of Stenroos, Edwards organized a Sunday School for children and continued this work up to 1890. Classes were held in the Asser Hall on Bridge Street, where also the church services were conducted.

During the summer of 1887, there appeared on the scene a preacher by name of Frans Erik Ohde. He had just been ordained by the Augustana Synod and offered himself to the Finns to serve as their pastor. He was accepted, but due to his eccentricities and drinking, remained only a short time. In 1888 Pastor Emil Panelius of the Finnish Seamen's Mission visited here and preached. He made an attempt to get a permanent pastor but did not succeed. Pastor Hoikka visited Ashtabula Harbor for the third time in 1889 and spent a few weeks here. He was quite concerned about conditions here and on meeting a Finnish pastor, ordained by the Norwegian Synod, by name of William Williamson, had encouraged him to come to Ashtabula Harbor. Others had also been concerned, especially the pastor of the Congregational Church of Ashtabula by name of Davidson. He had arranged to have two seminarians named J. Lundell and Andrew Groop to spend a summer in Ashtabula. Their inability to speak Finnish hampered their work considerably. Therefore, Pastor Davidson took steps to get a pastor from Finland to serve here. He succeeded in this effort and on Sept. 11, 1889 a preacher arrived from Finland by name of Frans Karl Lehtinen.

As Lehtinen was not yet an ordained minister, he was ordained by the Congregational Mission Board and was the first Finnish pastor to be ordained into this Church in America. On his arrival of Ashtabula Harbor, Pastor Davidson took Frans Lehtinen to C. J. Stenroos and this was the beginning of a long period of friendship and work between these two men. Pastor Lehtinen began preaching to the Finns immediately, but, as his audience was primarily Lutheran some demurred a little to having a Congregational pastor preaching to them. However, no matter how much they studied his preaching, they could not find anything to conflict with their own Lutheran beliefs. Notwithstanding this, they still insisted on having a Lutheran pastor and since Pastor Williamson had appeared on the scene, many who were pleased with Williamson's preaching, asked him to remain here. Pastor Lehtinen had found a most staunch supporter in C. J. Stenroos and had converted him into a true believer. With Stenroos and other followers, Pastor Lehtinen organized the Finnish Congregational Church on Jan. 7, 1891. In the meantime, Williamson had declined to remain here because he wanted to stay in Duluth, Minn. Therefore, to preserve the Lutheran conregation in Ashtabula Harbor, Pastor Hoikka had sent a message to Jacob Karhu to organize a Lutheran congregation here. January 6, 1890 was the date of this meeting and the Harbor Finnish Lutheran Congregation was formed. At this meeting, it was ordered that every Finn working on the docks would have 10 cents a week deducted from his pay from April 1st to December 1st and the married men 25 cents per month, if their wives lived here. It is interesting to note that the committee to draw up the Constitution and bylaws for the Congregation contained many of the names of those who about a year later organized the Bethany Church. The members of the first Board of Trustees were as follows: Chas. Rosenberg, president; Jacob Karhu, vicepresident; trustees: Matt Kamppinen, J. Johnson, Matt Hyyppa, Matt Myllykoski, Matt Hakundi, John Klemola, Matt Tuuri, J. Keto, J. Back and I. Havunen. Matt Mononen was the sexton and the treasurer was Gust Ollila. The Charter was issued in Columbus, Ohio, Feb. 10, 1890. Pastor Williamson changed his mind and on April 6, 1890 arrived in Ashtabula to accept the call of the newly formed congregation. In the beginning, Pastor Williamson was well liked and drew large audiences. A desire grew to build a church and steps were taken to realize this desire. The church was completed in 1891 and was built under the direction of Jacob Karhu. All the property of the extinct Bethlehem congregation was turned over to this new one. Williamson was a fearless, outspoken minister and directed his most severe criticism and attack on the saloon life in the community. He was especially bitter about the celebration of weddings in the saloons whereby considerable sums of money were raised for the benefit of the newly-weds. He also insisted that before communion, each communicant was to be examined by him before taking communion. He was forced to deny communion to several whom he did not think fit. Williamson's firm actions caused people to make closer examination of their lives and what was required of them to be good Christians. Others were offended and objected to Williamson's highhanded measures, and also his very uncompromising stand for he was very critical of anyone who did not agree with him. On top of this so-called dissatisfaction with Pastor Williamson on the part of many, was the fact that he had not received very much schooling. This fault was played up by the editor of the Finnish newspaper by the name of Raphael Reinius. At his instigation, charges were preferred against Pastor Williamson and several meetings called to give him a hearing. The accusations were brought forth but in the light of Scriptures Pastor Williamson was proved right. The meeting was a most stormy one and divided the congregation in two. Those who were dissatisfied with Pastor Williamson withdrew and immediately planned on organizing a new congregation. A meeting was called at the Asser Hall on June 21, 1891. The same man who conducted the meeting of the earlier conregation, Chas. Rosenberg, presided at this meeting. The name of the congregation was given as Ashtabula Harbor New Independent Finnish Lutheran Evangelic Congregation. In 1922, this was changed officially to The Bethany Evangelic Lutheran Church. The Board of Trustees elected were as follows: president, Chas. Rosenberg; vice president, Raphael Reinius; treasurer, Andrew Kangas and trustees: Elias Kantola, A. Anson, Matt Myllykoski, Fred Eklund, Henry Makinen, and Matt Wiita. Steps were taken also to obtain a pastor from Finland. In 1891 Abel Kivioja accepted the call to serve this newly formed congregation and arrived with his wife during November of the same year. On his arrival, a new Board of Trustees was elected: president, Pastor Kivioja; vice president Raphael Reinius; treasurer, Andrew Kangas; trustees: H. Makinen, J. Porkola, J. Almi, I. Hietikko, M. Kananen, J. Siipola, Chas. Hukari, F. Lilja, M. Myllykoski, and M. Peura. Services were held, for a time, in Asser Hall but later at the Capernaum Church. In Sept. of 1892 a building committee was elected for the purpose of planning a church building. This consisted of the following: Pastor Kivioja, Gust Hakala, Jos. Siipola, Andrew Kangas, Frans Lilja, Matt Johnson, J. Ronberg, M. Kananen, M. Kamppinen, M. Ladvala, Chas Hukari, J. Wirtanen, Jacob Nyppeli, Matt Suonpera, Enoch Hamalainen, R. Reinius, Isaac Hietikko, and John Marsyla. Plans for the church were drawn by Matt Kananen, who was also builder. His pay was designated to be 20 cents per hour. Other help was to be paid $1.25 per day. Plastering was done by Jonas Edixon for 8c per square foot. The dedication day of the church was July 23, 1893. Guest speaker was Pastor W. K. Durchman of the Seamens Mission in New York. The pews were made by Henry Pankari for $2.00 per pew. Total cost of the church was $3257.00 and was paid for in five years. The church bell was purchased in 1895, costing $135.00. The first bell ringer was August Herttua. Waterlines into the church were installed in 1898. Lighting was by kerosene lamps until 1900, when electricity was obtained. With the increasing activity in the congregation, it became necessary to have more room, so it was decided to put in a basement which was completed in 1901 at a cost of $2500.00. In 1903 an altar picture was contracted for with a local painter by the name of Toivonen. His painting was not satisfactory and was not accepted, so he sold it to the Finnish National Church across the street. It was not until 1908 that the church actually got a new picture which is still there. It cost $116.00 and was painted by the Swedish artist August Klagstadt. During the entire stay of Pastor Kivioja, he lived in rented quarters on Bridge Street. His successor, Pastor Huotari lived on Pine Street (West 4th) and it was during his stay that the first parsonage was purchased at 28 Market St. (West 6th) for the sum of $1740. In 1921 this was sold and the present one was built for a cost of $8,000.00. The present pipe organ in the old church was purchased through the efforts of the Men's Handicraft Club in 1918. This organization was formed in 1910 and probably is the first men's group in our Synod. The organ cost about $1800.00 and has done yeomen service to the present day although in recent years it has developed obstinate streaks in which it refuses to perform.

Of the organizations within the church, the Sunday School is the oldest, having been started during the first year of the congregation's existence. One of our oldest living members, Frans Holmstrom, began teaching in the Sunday School in 1895 and continued almost a half century. It is also interesting to note that at one time there were about 400 children in Sunday School. The 1918 minutes disclose that the membership consisted of 194 married men, 196 married women, 8 widowers, 24 widows, 38 single men, 43 maiden ladies, 301 male children, and 308 female children, for a total of 1112 with 381 having voting rights.

Summer school was first field in 1900 with seminarian Solomon Ilmonen teaching. School was generally held for two months during the summer. The second oldest organization was the Ladies Aid having been organzied by Mrs. Kivoja in 1892. The Young People's Society was formed in 1903. As articles will be written on all the organizations working within the church, mention will be very limited in this sketch. The men's handicraft club, mentioned previously as having been organized in 1910, had a life span of about 15 years before it ceased to function. At the present time, many of the old members still are active in the Finnish or Senior Brotherhood. In the early twenties, the language question began to be more acute and in 1923 the Bethany Sisters group was formed with English as the official language used. The men organized a brotherhood in 1928, also using the English language in their meetings. Of more recent date the Mother-Teacher Guild has functioned with the Sunday School and Summer School as their chief interest. It is interesting to note that the Bethany Church has had many firsts in Church work in our Synod, namely the first sisterhood, brotherhood, Mother-Teacher Guild, first to use the envelope system, first to use nominating ballots for election of officers, and now leads the way in a new outlook for a church building program. It should be also noted that the Ashtabula congregation has been the mother of all Ohio and Pennsylvania Suomi Synod congregations, Fairport, Conneaut, Erie, Monessen, Burton, New Castle, and Warren received their first spiritual services from the Ashtabula Harbor pastors. It is said that Pastor Huotari in around 1900, had about 30 preaching stations. We will present to you the names of those who have served in office since the congregation was born. First, we shall name the pastors and then the other officers.

Pastors and time of service

Abel Kivioja

1891-1897

Kaarlo Huotari

1897-1901

Juho Kallen

1901-1905

Victor Tiitola

1905-1907

F. V. Kava

1907-1912

K. Mannerkorpi

1912-1917

J. F. Saarinen

1917-1912

Y. Jauhiainen

1925-1929

Y. Joki

1925-1935

O. E. Maki

1935-1943

E. W. Lehto

1943-1951

D. J. Halttunen

1952-

Temporary pastors serving are the following: Pastors Salovaara, Haapanen, Luttinen, and Ilmonen.

Organists: Mrs. Kivioja to 1895; Franz Holmstrom from 1895 to 1941; Mrs. Mame Luoma from 1941 to present day.

Presidents of Congregation

Chas. Rosenberg

1891

A. Kivioja

1891-1893

A. Kangas

1894

Matt L. Johnson

1895-1899

Jacob Tuuri

1900

Oscar Holmstrom

1901-1903

Oscar Kaihlanen

1904

Matt L. Johnson

1905-1907

Oscar Holmstrom

1908

John Kinnunen

1909-1916

Oscar Kaihlanen

1917-1919

Kalle Waris

1920-1921

Frans Holmstrom

1922-1923

Oscar Kaihlanen

1924-1927

Daniel Taanila

1928-1930

Frans Holmstrom

1931

S. Saarikoski

1932-1933

Oscar Holmstrom

1934

Alex Toukonen

1935

Russell Koski

1936

J. Lukkarila

1937-1939

A. Toukonen

1940-1941

Frans Holmstrom

1942

O. E. Maki }1943-1944
Jalmer Peura
A. Toukonen

Russell Koski

1945-1946

J. Lukkarila

1947

John Lintala

1948

Matt Toukonen

1949

John Lintala

1950

G. E. Taano

1951

John Lintala

1952

J. Lukkarila

1953-54-55

Vice Presidents

Rafael Reinius

1891-1893

Robert Nyman

1894-1902

John Kinnunen

1903-1906

Matt Ladvala

1907-1908

Jos. Siipola

1909-1910

O. Kaihlanen

1911- 1916

Matt L. Johnson

1917

Frans Holmstrom

1918 -1921

Kalle Waris

1922

David Kantonen

1923

Kalle Waris

1924

Frans Holmstrom

1925-1927

H. Kuivinen

1928

O. Kaihlanen

1929-1930

D. Taanila

1931

O. Kaihlanen

1932

D. Taanila

1933

Matt L. Johnson

1934

O. Kaihlanen

1935

A. Toukonen

1936

S. Saarikoski

1937

A. Toukonen

1938-1939

S. Saarikoski

1940-1941

D. Taanila

1942

A. Toukonen

1943

J. Lukkarila

1944

Wm. Narhi

1945

J. Lukkarila

1946

J. Lintala

1947

A. Toukonen

1948

E. Roivas

1949

S. Saarikoski

1950

A. Hanhilammi

1952

D. Taanila

1953-1954

Ray Koski

1955

Secretaries

Chas. Rosenberg

1891

A. Kivioja

1892-1897

O. Holmstrom

1897-1898

C. Hukari

1899-1901

Matt L. Johnson

1902-1904

John E. Pakkala

1905-1908

Matt Klemola

1909-1910

E. Saastamoinen

1911-1912

K. Waris

1913-1918

Matti Makela

1919-1920

D. Taanila

1921-1923

W. Keskinen

1924-1927

E. Rintala

1928-1936

E. Kahelin

1937-1941

Arvo Johnson

1942

Laina Dieffenbacher

1943

E. Rintala

1944

Ethel Nordgren

1945-1947

Matt L. Johnson, Jr.

1948

John Luoma

1949

Agda Keskinen

1949-1955

Vice Secretaries

Office created in 1930. Vice Secretary to act as Secretary of Church Council

Ida Laitinen

1930

R. J. Koski

1933

F. Keskinen

1934

E. Kahelin

1935

M. Kolehmainen

1936

Matt L. Johnson

1938

Arvo Johnson

1940-1941

E. Kahelin

1942

Agda Keskinen

1943

Matt L. Johnson, Jr.

1944

T. J. Holso

1945

E. Kinnunen

1946

D. Taanila

1948

G. Kaihlanen

1949-1951

Siiri Knapp

1952-1955

Financial Secretaries

Werner Keskinen

1926-1928

T. J. Holmstrom

1929-1930

Ida Laitinen

1931

Isbelle Taanila

1932-1933

Aino Hakundy

1934-1936

Russell Koski

1937-1940

Hilda Lintala

1941-1942

Mary Gustafson

1943-1947

Chas. Pakkala

1948

Mary Gustafson

1949

M. J. Hakala

1950-1955

Church Sextons

(After 1927, also Chairman of Bldg. Maintenance Committee)

M. E. Ladvala

1896-1903

Kalle Langheid

1904

M. E. Ladvala

1905-1907

John Hjerpe

1908-1917

Oscar Holmstrom

1918

Mrs. Ida Kinnunen

1919

Oscar Holmstrom

1920

John Hjerpe

1921

J. Lukkarila

1922-1926

O. Holmstrom

1927-1928

W. Pihlajamaa

1929

Anselm Huttunen

1930-1941

O. Kaihlanen

1942

S. Saarikoski

1943

Anselm Huttunen

1944-1946

John Lahti

1947-1948

Sulo Immonen

1949

T. Skinnari

1950-1955

Random Statistics of Membership During 65 Years of Activity

Year

Adults

Children

Total

1903

530

500

1030

1908

646

606

1232

1913

498

669

1167

1919

519

609

1128

1924

720

380

1100

1931

743

305

1048

1939

451

65?

516

1944

644

103

747

1947

746

211

957

1951

807

248

1055

1954

903

399

1302

Regular English service began in 1943.

Trustees and Church Council members who have served and are still living at this writing are:

 

First year elected

Frans Holmstrom

1894

Jacob Hjerpe

1896

William Pihlajamaa

1902

Alex Toukonen

1906

Kalle Waris

1913

Eric Tuomala

1913

John Tenhonen

1917

S. Saarikoski

1917

Eric Rintala

1918

Matt Johnson, Jr.

1918

Sandra Johnson

1918

Ida Kinnunen

1918

Maria Holmstrom

1919

John Glantz

1924

J. Lukkarila

1924

Matt Rajala

1924

D. Taanila

1925

(After 1928 two year terms)

 

John Kontas

1928

Russell Koski

1928

A. Huttunen

1930

Toivo Holmstrom

1931

Wm. Westerberg

1932

Matt Kolehmainen

1935

Andy Alpine

1936

Mrs. J. Luhtasaari

1938

Noah Potti

1939

T. J. Holso

1939

Jalmer Peura

1939

Ida Laitinen

1940

Matt Toukonen

1941

Urho Alanko

1942

Adolph Johnson

1943

John Pulkkinen

1945

Stella Hjerpe

1945

N. H. Nieminen

1946

Edw. Taano

1947

Wm. Cooper

1947

Jack Hjerpe

1947

Ray Koski

1948

Nielo Johnson

1948

John Lintala

1949

John Laahanen

1949

Toivo Skinnari

1949

Vernie Braski

1949

John Lahti

1949

Bernard Nordgren

1950

Arvo Toukonen

1950

Laina Dieffenbacher

1950

Mrs. Fred Hill

1951

Armas Suvanto

1951

Mrs. Geo. Haapala

1952

Martin Tuomala

1952

E. V. Kinnunen

1953

Ina Kallio

1954

Heimo Lehtinen

1954

Jake Karhu

1954

Theo. Dieffenbacher

1955

All officers were members of the board also and some might have served on the board in this capacity even before elected as council members.

This sketch brings us up to the present day when we are moving into a new church and are beginning a new era. Bethany has now reached the age of 65 and we hope that the experience of an eventful faithful past will still guide us on to greater heights than ever before. The early pioneers had to have a tenacity and a firmness of purpose to accomplish what they did in a strange land with so little to work with. Would that we could show the same stick-to-itiveness in the days ahead. May God give us the courage and strength to carry on the work of His Kingdom.

Patrons

Mrs. Ellen McCullough & Family Mrs.
Mrs. Maria Niemi
Mr. & Mrs. Ramon Peet
Mr. & Mrs. Carl Sippola
Mr. & Mrs. G. Edward Taano
Mr. & Mrs. George W. Bloom & Family
Mr. & Mrs. Robert L. Harvey & Son
Mr. & Mrs. Elmer C. Peaspanen & Family
Mr. & Mrs. Rolland W. Pierce
Mr. & Mrs. Howard Joki
Mr. & Mrs. Gus Laakso
Mr. & Mrs. Frans Holmstrom
Mrs. Ina Ruse
Mrs. Ingrid Kihlstrom
Robert Kihlstrom
Mr. & Mrs. Wayne J. Laitinen
Sally Laitinen
Mrs. Ida Lohva
Mr. & Mrs. Alex Toukonen
Mr. & Mrs. Paul Piipponen & Family
Mr. & Mrs. B. J. Nordgren
Mrs. Matt L. Johnson, Sr.
Dr. & Mrs. W. M. Orqvist & Family
Mr. & Mrs. Wilhard Wuorimaki
Mr. & Mrs. Clayton Knudsen & Karen
Mrs. Theodore Tienvieri
The Hakomaki (Mackey) Family
Mr. & Mrs. Andrew Porkola
Hilda & Vaino Westerberg
Mr. & Mrs. Albert Tuhkio & Family
Mr. Arvo Toukonen & Family
Pastor David Halttunen & Family
Mr. & Mrs. Herman Maki
Mr. & Mrs. Kusti Hill
Mrs. Julius Kinnunen
Mr. & Mrs. John Kinnunen
Mr. & Mrs. Jalmer Kantola
Miss Aina Kallio
Mr. & Mrs. George Haapala
Mr. & Mrs. Waino Masalin
Mr. & Mrs. John Masalin
Mr. & Mrs. John Michelson
Mr. & Mrs. Arvo Luoma
Mrs. Signe Rimpela
Mrs. Edward Stenroos
Mr. & Mrs. Kalle Waris
Mr. & Mrs. Daniel Taanila
Mrs. Maria Eskelin
Mrs. Hilma Hill
Mrs. Justina Herttua
Mr. & Mrs. Arthur Tiito
Mr. & Mrs. Lindsay McNutt
Mrs. Hilda Toivola
Mr. & Mrs. Matti Kunelius
Mr. & Mrs. Robert McCullough & Alice
Mr. & Mrs. Eino Pulkkinen
Mr. & Mrs. Oliver Hyyppa
Roger & John Hyyppa
Mrs. Helmi Kauppinen
Miss Elma Kauppinen
Mr. & Mrs. Charles J. Laaksonen
Mrs. Miilia Hakundy & Aileen
Mr. & Mrs. Hugo Jokela
Mr. & Mrs. Niles Arkilander
Mr. & Mrs. Arne Pasanen
Mrs. Barbara Furman
John K. & Lydia E. Lahti
August & Helmi Rautio
Arvid & Mary Karsikas
Reino A. Karsikas
Walde & Lilja Lehtimaki
Matti & Maria Farman
George Farman
Mary E. Maki
Herman Sjogren
Mr. & Mrs. Wayne Ritari & Son
Mrs. Milton Welch
Mr. & Mrs. Eugene Jokilehto & Dennis
Miss Selma Altonen
Mr. & Mrs. Harry Gaines, Brian & Harry
Mr. & Mrs. M. Estok & Gail
John E. & Sophia Wiitanen & Son
Jack & Emilia Wiitanen & Sons
Mrs. Wilma Jokinen
Mr. & Mrs. Arvi Paananen
Mr. & Mrs. Arnold Ollila
Theodore Warren & M. H. Young
Frank Yocum
Mrs. William Minken, Sr.
Mr. & Mrs. M. E. Toppari
Mr. & Mrs. Wm. Toppari
Mr. & Mrs. Isaac Lintala
Mr. & Mrs. Charles Aho
Mrs. Hedvig Salo
Mrs. Liisa Kangas
Mrs. Mathilda Finnila & Lillian
Mrs. Olga Guerra
Mr. & Mrs. Herman Tabrosky
Mr. & Mrs. Walter Beckwith & Cathleen
Mr. & Mrs. D. Dotty & Family
Mrs. Hilda Cain & Ronald
Mr. & Mrs. Elmer Tracy
Mrs. Wanda Hammer
Mr. & Mrs. William Bihlajama, Jr.
Mr. & Mrs. Walter V. Sarell
Mr. & Mrs. Albert D. Allen & Daughter
Mr. & Mrs. Victor Anderson & Family
Mr. & Mrs. Herbert Beaver & Family
Mr. & Mrs. Herbert Gill & Family
Mr. & Mrs. William Gustafson
Mr. & Mrs. Paul Hindmarsh & Family
Mr. & Mrs. Otto Huttunen
Mrs. Elli Into, Ellen & William
Mr. & Mrs. Harry W. Johnson & Family
Mr. & Mrs. John A. Johnson
Mr. & Mrs. Oscar Jokilehto
Mrs. Margaret Jokiniemi
Mr. & Mrs. Werner E. Keskinen
Mr. & Mrs. Russell J. Koski
Miss Janet E. Laatu
Mr. & Mrs. Mauri Laituri & Andy
Mrs. Julia Latvala
Mr. & Mrs. Paul A. Latvala & Charles
Mr. & Mrs. John Laurila
William & Harold Laurila
Mrs. Mary Lind
Mr. & Mrs. John E. Luoma & Family
Mr. & Mrs. John Luomanen
Mrs. Anna Mackey, Karen & Bette
Mr. & Mrs. Arvo Mackynen
Mr. & Mrs. Eugene Mackynen
Gary & Deborah Mackynen
Mr. & Mrs. Arenas Madison & Children
Mrs. Vera Madison
Mr. Andrew Makynen
Mr. & Mrs. Charles Mansika & Joan
Mr. & Mrs. Stanley Michalak
Mr. & Mrs. Maynard Mickelson
Mr. & Mrs. N. H. Nieminen
Mrs. Hannah Nurmela
Mr. & Mrs. Henry T. Nurmela
Mrs. Mary Pakkala
Mr. & Mrs. Emil Pakkala
Mr. & Mrs. Gordon Peterson
Mr. & Mrs. John Purola
Miss Ina Rantala
Mrs. & Mrs. George Salmen
Mr. & Mrs. William Tienvieri
Mr. & Mrs. Erick Tuomala & Donald
Mr. & Mrs. Martin Tuomala
Mr. & Mrs. R. C. Vincent
Minnie, Victor & Oliver Kaura
Maria Karbacka
Mr. & Mrs. John M. Juhola
Mr. & Mrs. Swante E. Juhola
Mr. & Mrs. Ture Backlund
Lola & Linda Backlund
Dr. & Mrs. Evar S. Niemi
Mr. & Mrs. John Waltari & Family
Mr. & Mrs. John Huuskonen
Mrs. Ottilia Lahnanen
Mr. & Mrs. Richard Lahnanen & Family
Mr. & Mrs. J. Koski
Mrs. Aina Tienvieri
Mr. & Mrs. Frank Ballo & Barbara
Mr. & Mrs. John Bihlajama
Mr. & Mrs. Niilo Hietikko
Mrs. John Penttinen & Jimmy
Mrs. Ellen Koponen
Toini Hamalainen
Mr. & Mrs. Isaac Lehtinen
John Hokkanen & Aili
Mr. & Mrs. John Laahanen
Mr. &. Mrs. Gust Ingers
Mr. & Mrs. John E. Renko
Mr. & Mrs. John Turchik & Family
The Edward Jaskela Family
Mrs. Aina Venho
Mrs. Hanna Holso
Mrs. Rosa Tuomela
The Carl Hakala Family
Mr. & Mrs. Charles Haapala
The Robert Fargo Family
Chaplain & Mrs. Thomas Asuma
Mr. & Mrs. John W. Summanen
Mrs. Hilia Kuivinen
Mr. & Mrs. Byron Bollman
Mr. & Mrs. Rav Tredente
The Carl Summanen Family
Mrs. Maria Pohjola
Mrs. Matt Finnila
J. Richard Perskari
Rae Leone Perskari
Mr. & Mrs. Kaarlo Altonen & Family
David E. Kuivinen
Mrs. Elizabeth Beckman
Mr. & Mrs. Niles Jokela
Mr. & Mrs. Leonard Kangas & Family
Mrs. Ida Davis
Mr. & Mrs. V. A. Kontas
Matti & Arvid Rajala
Anselm & Lydia Huttunen
Hilma Kokkonen
Ruusa Rantala
Mr. & Mrs. Eino Polkki & Family
Selma Jokela
Jennia LaRue
Mr. & Mrs. Wm. K. Lehtinen
Edla Jokela
Mr. & Mrs. Edward Pohjola, Sr.
Mr. & Mrs. Edward Pohjola, Jr.
Mr. & Mrs. George L. Jackson
Mr. & Mrs. Victor Syvaluoma
Mr. & Mrs. Einer J. Koykka
Mr. & Mrs. Ernest Wirtala
Mr. & Mrs. W. R. Bollman & Family
Mr. & Mrs. A. J. Haanpaa
Mr. & Mrs. John Kaikkonen
Mr. & Mrs. Charles Masalin
The Tauno Maki Family
The Loren Waltari Family
Capt. & Mrs. James Diamond
Wilho Herttua
Mrs. Verna Sandella
The Robert Evar Family
The Vaino Ivari Family
Mr. & Mrs. John Quinlan
Mr. & Mrs. George Turner
The John S. Summanen Family
Miss Siina Swakko
Mr. & Mrs. William Kantola
The Donald Mackynen Family
Mr. & Mrs. William Walli
Eila & Frank Lampi
The Richard McGriff Family
Miss Lillian Holso
Mr. & Mrs. Arne Kontturi
Mrs. Helmi Lehto
The Arnold Jarvi Family
The William Luoma Family
The Taano Asuma Family
Miss Martha Lilja
Mrs. Ida Kinnunen
Mr. & Mrs. John T. Kayander
Mr. & Mrs. Morley Scott
The Carl Uitto Family
Mr. & Mrs. Matt Evar
Mr. & Mrs. Oscar Herranen
Mr. & Mrs. J. E. Perskari
Boneita L. Perskari
Mr. & Mrs. Emil Palo
Mr. & Mrs. Mauri Kuivinen & Family
Mr. & Mrs. John Lintala & Family
Mr. & Mrs. J. J. Karhu & Family
Mr. & Mrs. Charles Potti & Family
Mr. & Mrs. Robert E. Davis
Oscar V. Kontas
Mrs. Serafiija Kivioja
Helga & Herman Annala
Mr. & Mrs. Simon Koski & Family
Wilhelmiina Helstrom
John E. Kontas
Elizabeth Wickman
Mr. & Mrs. John Pulkkinen
Urho & Ilmi Jokela
Mrs. Helia K. Lehtinen
Mr. & Mrs. Onni Sandfield
Mr. & Mrs. William Sandfield & Family
Mr. & Mrs. Ernest Luoma & Family
Mr. & Mrs. Niles Sanfield & Family
Mr. & Mrs. Walter Sanfield
Mr. & Mrs. Helge Sanfield & Family
Mr. & Mrs. Taito Sanfield
Mr. & Mrs. William Davidson & Family
Mr. & Mrs. Elis Haapala & Family
Mr. & Mrs. John Hendrickson
Mr. & Mrs. Emil Kinnunen
Miss Helmi Kinnunen
Mr. & Mrs. Ivar Hyvarinen
Mr. & Mrs. John Mackey
Mr. & Mrs. John Tikkanen
Mr. & Mrs. Edward Ahlquist & Family
Mr. & Mrs. Albert Erickson
Mr. & Mrs. Roy Klein
Mrs. Otto Heino
Mr. & Mrs. Yalmer Sandfield
Mr. & Mrs. William Arkelin
Mrs. Katri Myllymaki
Mr. & Mrs. Niles Esko
Miss Marvis Esko
Mr. & Mrs. Ralph Talvola
Mrs. Alfred Talvola
Mrs. Anna Toikkanen
Mr. & Mrs. Charles Huhta
Mrs. Mary Johnson
Mr. & Mrs. Carl Wagner
Miss Loretta Eyajan
Mrs. Martha Eyajan
Mr. & Mrs. Victor Havunen
Mr. & Mrs. Wayne R. Sironen
Mr. Jerry Miller
Mr. Wilho Koski
Mr. Einar Piispanen
Mr. & Mrs. Henry Piispanen & Family
Mr. & Mrs. MacKenzie Hamilton
Mr. & Mrs. Hugo Hietapelto
Mr. & Mrs. Wayne Lackson
Miss Kathleen Lackson
Leo A. Merilla Family
Mrs. Mari Merila
Arno Merila
Mrs. Ida Tiira
Mrs. Fannie Niemi
Mr. & Mrs. Konsta Komulainen
Mrs. Hilda Kahelin
Mr. & Mrs. Theo. Dieffenbacher
Miss Carolyn Dieffenbacher
Miss Mary Dieffenbacher
Miss Nancy Dieffenbacher
Teddy Dieffenbacher
Mr. Edwin Toppari
Mrs. Ellen Salo
Mr. & Mrs. Victor Mellin
Mr. & Mrs. Urho Alanko
Miss Ruth Alanko
Mr. Paul Alanko
Mr. & Mrs. Martin Walkeapaa
Mr. & Mrs. Carl Mellin
Mr. & Mrs. Kalle Kahelin
Mr. & Mrs. Andy Alpine
Mrs. Matilda Viik
Mrs. Vera Sterjna
Mr. & Mrs. John Tikkanen
Mr. & Mrs. Cleodes Sterjna
Hilma Immonen Family
Lauri Hanel Family
Matt Erickson
Mr. & Mrs. Anselm Makela
Matt Ruuska Family
Mr. & Mrs. John Turja
Charles Alpine Family
Mrs. Lyyti Henderson
Wm. Henderson, Jr.
Mr. & Mrs. George Walkeapaa
Mrs. Carmen Cupido
Mrs. Hilda Heiskanen
Mr. & Mrs. Matt Toukonen
Mr. Sam Laine
Mrs. Anna Visuri
Carl Hanhilammi Family
Mr. Arthur Roivas
Mr. Edwin Roivas
Mr. Reino Roivas
Matt Laaksonen Family
Mr. & Mrs. Armas Halttunen & Family
Mr. & Mrs. Adolph Johnson
Mr. & Mrs. Martin Ruuska
Mr. & Mrs. James Salo
Mr. & Mrs. Vaino Lehtoma
Mr. & Mrs. August Karttunen
Mr. & Mrs. William Pietila
Mr. & Mrs. Onni Honkonen
Victor Karhu & Family
Harry N. Anderson & Family
Elias Sneary and Family
Mr. Matt Kolehmainen
Mrs. Maria M. Koykka
Mrs. Lydia Ylisela
Mrs: Selma Kolehmainen
Ida Harju
Mrs. Aina Koski
Mrs. Alviina Korpi
Mrs. Ida Raitto
Mrs. Tilda Luoma
Miss Ida Laitinen
Miss Mildred Raitto
Miss Eleanor Honkonen

Published in The Dedication Book for Bethany Ev. Lutheran Church, Ashtabula, Ohio. 1955, p. 4-11 & 39-41.

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