Reverend Hoel & wife, Mary Lund Hoel, and daughter Nella
In 1903, and anncouncement in the Canby News began an era of 55 years of Hoel ownership. J.G. Lund sold his beautiful green residence to his sister, Mary Lund, and her husband, the Rev Olaf Hoel of the Norwegian Lutheran Church. The price was $10,000.
The Rev. Hoel had 8 children who were all born near or in Canby. However, none of the Hoel children were born in the house--even Omer, the baby of the family, born 9 years before the 1903 purchase.
Rev Hoel was the area's pioneer pastor, first living in a log house near Porter, MN. Through his considerable efforts, several religious groups were organized. Eventually his circuit ministry included 11 churches. As the only minister for miles around, Rev. Hoel was called upon to perform pastoral duties among Norwegian settlers scattered over a wide area. His first Canby congregation included only 23 families as members. By the time of his death in 1930, this one congregation had sub-divided into seven congregations. He served the churches at Wood Lake (the lake, not the town), Lake Benton, Porter, Hansonville, Our Saviour's in Fortier, and Bethlehem in Burr. In South Dakota he organized 5 congregations, in Clark County, Watertown, Toronto, Holland, and Brandt. In total, he served 11 congregations in 7-8 counties which encompassed a radius of 70 miles. By his recollection, "There were no roads, but by aid of a compass, we were able to find our way over the prairies. By starting at daybreak, we often did not reach our destination until the middle of the night."
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