From Orsa to Stanchfield

History and Genealogy of the Stanchfield (MN) Baptist Church


This project is a joint effort between Dave Marshall, the former sexton of the Stanchfield Baptist Cemetery and Lynn Fergusson, granddaughter of a Baptist immigrant from Orsa, Sweden. To date, over 1000 of the persons buried in Stanchfield have been identified, their families researched, and their connections to others in the cemetery documented. The resulting community tree has over 11,000 names, all connected in some way to each other. Many of the families have been traced back to the late 17th and early 18th centuries.

The purpose of this website is threefold: This website is, and will remain, a work in progress. Feel free to ask questions and offer feedback, suggestions, etc, or pass on information to be included. We want this to be your site as much as ours!

Short History of the Stanchfield Baptist Church

main imageIn June 1862, shortly after the signing of the Homestead Act, a group of thirty-five men, women and children left Orsa bound for Minnesota. Among them were 3 Baptist families, seeking not only land but a chance to practice their faith in peace. They set up their homesteads in young Isanti County, and in the following years were joined by more arrivals from Orsa, many of them also Baptists. In 1866 the Stanchfield Baptist Church was officially founded, with 25 charter members.

Against all odds, and despite many setbacks, the fledgling church survived and thrived, and by the mid-1880s had become one of the most active, and certainly most homogenous, Swedish Baptist communities in Minnesota. According to author Robert Ostergren, over 80 percent of Stanchfield households in 1885 were immigrants from Orsa and nearly 60 percent of those were members of the Stanchfield Baptist Church. The SBC was, in effect, another Orsa parish.

In the fall of 2021 the church will proudly celebrate its 155th anniversary.


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Early SBC Immigrants

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Peter Sund Family

Among the first to emigrate from Orsa to Stanchfield in 1862

Lost 4 of their children in the 1882 smallpox epidemic and their son Edward became blind

Peter Erickson Family
Known as Stobis Peter

Known as Stobis Peter

Emigrated with his wife Christine and child in 1862

Peter fought in the Civil War; his wife Christine broke under the strain of pioneer life and died in a mental institution.

M. A .Peterson Family
Masser Anders Peterson

Masser Anders Peterson

Arrived with his family in 1866 and was instrumental in the founding of the church.

Persecuted for his faith in Sweden, Anders spent 28 days in prison on bread and water.

Lars Dahlman Family
Spennar Lars Dahlman

Spennar Lars Dahlman

Arrived with his family in 1866 and was instrumental in the founding of the church.

He served as pastor from 1867-68

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