History of
Jerusalem Lutheran
Ladies’ Aid of Lunds
Shawano, Wisconsin
~ Organized Year 1869 ~

(copied from 100th Anniversary of the Founding
of the Jerusalem Lutheran Church of Lunds)

And our THANKS to Linda Emerson 
   Among our early settlers was Mrs. Grethe Paulson who came from Winneconne, Wisconsin in 1883.  Having been a member of the Ladies’ Aid Society in that vicinity, she related how much she missed that organization and suggested to her neighbor ladies that a similar organization be started in our congregation.  So, with the assistance of Pastor E.T. Sherping, this Jerusalem Lutheran Ladies’ Aid of Lunds was organized in 1889, at the home of Mrs. Thrine Hanson.

   This Ladies’ Aid was called “Syforeningen” (Sewing Society) and the meetings were conducted in the Norwegian language.

   Meetings were held twice a month.  After devotion and hymn singing the afternoon was spent with spinning, knitting, sewing, or making quilts, which were later sold to make money for mission or other church needs.  Stockings were sold for about forty cents a pair, children’s dresses, etc. Were made.  Articles were handstitched, since machines were uncommon at that time; however, considerable amounts of money were made through the sale of these handmade items.

   Tables were set family style but as membership increased, cafeteria style became the more practical means of serving.  Refreshments consisted of bread and butter, sauce, cake and coffee, the latter being very important among good Norwegians!  In those days money was scarce but yarn, wool or cloth would be donated.  There was no charge for the lunch.  Authoritative sources have informed us that some of the first proceeds were contributed toward the construction of the church steeple.

   The women wore a full-length skirt which required about six or seven yards of material.  It had a lining, stiffening, and binding at the bottom.  A deep pocket was usually sewn in the seam on the right side.  The tight basque waist was trimmed with buttons or lace; sleeves were full and wrist length; skirts were long and touched the floor.  Shawls served the purpose of a coat.

   These pioneer families lived in two or three room cabins.  The walls were whitewashed, and windows were curtained with while muslin, or newspapers cut in fancy designs.  Homes were lighted mostly with homemade candles.  Later, some had lamps, however these were usually saved for “company.”  Mrs. Sam Peterson (daughter of a charter member) has related she recalled when they were short of candles, improvised ones were made from a tin can, with tallow and a cloth over the edge.  It gave a little light but smoked badly.  She also remembers one day her mother stopped Mr. Al Hammond, Sr. As he was passing by and gave him an empty bottle, hoping he might understand that she desired kerosene.  She could not speak English and Mr. Hammond was not Norwegian; however, he pulled the cork from the bottle and said something she did not understand.  When he came back, however, the bottle was filled with kerosene.

   Mrs. Celia Cornelius, another daughter of a charter member, recalls her mother using a stave churn with a dash handle sticking through the top.  She recalls also her mother and other neighbor ladies carrying a basket of eggs or homemade butter to Shawano, walking both ways -- a distance of sixteen miles round trip.  On one of these occasions she asked a neighbor girl, Georgia Olson, if she cared to go along to town.  Georgia answered she had no particular reason for going but would go along “just for a walk.”

   These pioneer women usually wore their hair parted in the center or combed straight back and pinned up in a “pug” in the nape of the neck.

   These women often walked several miles to attend their meetings, as the men used the oxen in the fields.  As they walked along, more women would join them and there would be quite a number when they reached their destination.  Because the homes were small and families rather large, “trundle beds” which were shoved under the big bed during the day were used as space savers.  Occasionally, furniture had to be moved out for the day because the mistress was going to entertain “Syforeningen” (Sewing Society).

   There were no modern devices to lessen the work of these pioneer women.  Large family washings were done by using a “scrubbing board” as there were no washing machines.  Floors were scrubbed by hand as there was no linoleum which made cleaning easier.  Bread was homemade as there were no bakeries.


Mrs. Grethe Paulson, President
Mrs. Rackel Olson
Mrs. Karen Larsen
Mrs. Thrine Hanson
Mrs. Jacobine Pedersen

(Mrs. Paulson and Mrs. Pedersen were sisters, as were Mrs. Olson and Mrs. Larsen, while Mrs. Hanson was their sister-in-law.)


  UPDATED 28 MAR  2001