Presbyterians Celebrate 100 Years

Solarski, Janie. "Presbyterians Celebrate 100 Years." Courant, 26 June 1984.

The Presbyterian and Methodist congregations in Bottineau united in 1969 and now operate as the United Parish. With one pastor-in-charge, services have been alternating between the two churches for spiritual, financial and pastoral advantages.

The Rev. Stanley Caine previously served the United Methodist Church for many years. For the past few months he has been acting as interim pastor until a permanent pastor is secured.

Although operating together, both churches have a separate history dating back to the 1880s.

The Presbyterians began their activities in the summer of 1884 in Old Bottineau. Rev. F.M. Wood, superintendent of missions for the Presbyterians in Dakota Territory, assigned Rev. D. McGregor to serve in Bottineau. McGregor preached his first sermon in a tent set-up in McBain's Grove.

On Oct. 19, 1884, Woods turned to Bottineau to organize the group of 13 Presbyterians as the Presbyterian Church of Bottineau.

After woods performed services in the hayloft of J.B. Sinclair's barn, a meeting was held and J.G. Couthard and David Miller were elected as elders.

The congregation grew quickly and a Sunday School was organized immediately.

In May 1885, Rev. Alexander Burr was appointed as the first resident minister of the church, holding his first service on May 15 at the home of a church member. He retired in 1886 and Rev. James Osmonde replaced him.

In September, the Presbyterians began to hold their services in the new schoolhouse in Old Bottineau, as did the Baptists and Methodists. When the railroad came through, the Presbyterians moved with the rest of Bottineau to the present site in 1887.

They continued to hold services in private homes through the summer, and they decided that fall to build their own church. They began constructing their church about a week before the Baptists began building a church in Bottineau.

A race was on to see which denomination could finish their church first. And although the Presbyterians had a one-week head start, the Baptist Church was completed first and dedicated one week before the Presbyterian Church.

The Presbyterian Church was a frame construction 28 feet by 44 feet and was formerly dedicated Dec. 18, 1887.

The Methodists in Bottineau had a later start than the Presbyterians. Their first services were held by elder D.C. Plunette on June 12, 1887, in the schoolhouse at Old Bottineau.

In the new site of Bottineau they also held their services in the schoolhouse, until their stone church was completed and dedicated on Nov. 17, 1898. A Sunday School was organized in May 1889.

On Sept, 25, 1903, the church and its entire contents were destroyed by fire. Services were then held in the Central School building and occasionally in other churches.

In December 1904 a frame building, 30 feet by 51 feet, was built on the corner of Eighth and Main Streets, with a large cathedral-type stained glass window in the west end of the church.

A 2280 pound bell was installed in the Belfry in 1906. It is now sitting on the church grounds. An annex was added to the north side of the church in 1908.

Because the building was in need of extensive repairs, it was torn down in 1961 and a new church was completed in December of that year.

The combined membership of Presbyterians and Methodists in the United Parish today is about 250 families.

The Methodist Church in Bottineau in 1907. Photo courtesy of Carol Charbonneau.

Reprinted with permission of the Courant.

Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller