New Sweden, the congregation which became Lebanon Lutheran Church and later Peace Lutheran Church of New London, was organized August 22, 1859. The Rev. Peter Carlson, the organizer, served a large frontier area as a circuit-riding pastor. The congregation grew so large and covered such an extensive area that parish units were organized: Nest Lake, Eagle Lake, Norway Lake and Lake Prairie, but all a part of New Sweden.
Andrew Jackson, who had come to the Eagle Lake settlements as a teacher, was elected one of the deacons. He served so well that Pastor Carlson persuaded him to go to the seminary for a year. He was ordained a Lutheran pastor at the meeting of the Augustana Synod at Galesburg, Illinois, in 1861. He returned to New Sweden congregation, as its pastor, and served these people for 14 months, when the settlers were dispersed by the U.S. Dakota War of 1862. One of his services was interrupted by the warning of what was to become the West Lake Massacre. Rev. Jackson, disregarding personal safety, rode to warn all of his parishioners of impending attacks. He later led rescue and burial parties into the area.
Eighteen members of Jackson’s New Sweden congregation were killed in the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. Many left the area during the outbreak and did not return. The congregation was reorganized in 1865 and the cabin of Andrew Holes was purchased and converted into the first church in what is now Kandiyohi County. The congregation used this cabin until 1866 when the congregation decided to build a church and locate a cemetery on a two-acre tract two mile west of New London. A new church was built in New London in 1873. The church was known as Nest Lake and retained that designation until Lebanon was chosen as a congregational name in 1896.
Where: This marker is located at the corner of County Road 25 and 15th St. NE by Eagle Lake Lutheran Cemetery. The marker is 1.3 miles south of the actual site of the First Church.
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