After leaving Franklin and the Fort Ridgely and Dale Church in 1899, the Cormontan family moved to several different towns over the next decade. In each new town they joined a Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church. However, while they belonged to a Norwegian Synod church at Fort Ridgely and Dale, the subsequent churches where they became members were all part of the United Church (Den Forenede Kirke). This Church formed in 1890 after disagreement over doctrinal issues compelled a portion of the Norwegian Synod congregations to leave and join with the Augustana Norwegian Synod and the Norwegian-Danish Conference. It is my sense that the Norwegian Synod favored a more strict and narrow interpretation of issues like conversion and predestination, while the United Church (more formally, the United Norwegian Lutheran Church of America) adopted a broader, more flexible viewpoint on doctrine in general. These two bodies, along with the Hauge Synod, merged in 1917 to form the Norwegian Lutheran Church of America. The information below provides a brief history of the churches the Cormontans attended after leaving Fort Ridgely and Dale, as well as information on the men who served as pastors while the Cormontan family were members. It appears the Cormontan family was less active in these churches than at Fort Ridgely and Dale, perhaps because of advancing age. It may also be that the churches records are less detailed and reported less of the Cormontan involvement. Still, it is documented that Theodora Cormontan served as a choir director at the Madelia church, as an organist at the St. James church, and almost certainly as a church musician in Hanska as well.
Norsk lutherske prester i Amerika, 1843-1913 ... By Olaf Morgan Norlie, Knut Seehuus, Mons Olson Wee, Arnliot Mattias Arntzen, Amund Larson Wiek, Lars Lillehei.
Norsk Lutherske Menigheter I America, 1843-1916 by Pastor O.M. Norlie and others.
Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church (informally known as Madelia West early in the 20th century) was organized on October 28, 1870. It belonged to the Norwegian Synod from 1870-1887, was Anti Missouri from 1887-90, and belonged to the United Church from 1890-1917. Reverend Lars Engebtetsen Green was born in Christiania (now Oslo) on April 20, 1841, the son of Engebret Olsen Grinkelsrud and Barbra (Nilson Svangerud). He attended the Augustana Seminary from 1866-69 and was ordained in 1869. He subsequently attended Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, in 1873. He pastored at Forest City, Iowa, from 1869-1873, and Madelia, MN from 1875-1909. He also served at Lake Hanska from 1873-1900 and again in 1910-11. He married Jennie Jensen in 1869. Members of the Cormontan family worshiped at the Madelia church for a few years beginning in 1899 and again from 1905-1908. He died on June 9, 1930, and is buried in Trinity Lutheran Cemetery in Madelia.
The Lake Hanska Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church (now the Lake Hanska Lutheran Church) organized on November 9, 1869. It belonged to the Norwegian Synod from 1869-1887; Anti Missouri from 1887-1890; and United Church from 1890-1917. Rev. Lars Green, pastor at Trinity Lutheran during the time the Cormontans were members, also served this church from 1873-1900 and again in 1910-1911. The church was remodeled in 1901 and rededicated in 1904. The Cormontan family joined this church in 1903. Reverend G. O. Skaret pastored the church from 1900-1907.
The United Norwegian Lutheran Church in St. James (now the First Lutheran Church) organized on June 19, 1893 after two United St. James churches unified. The church belonged to the United Church from 1893-1917. The church building was built in 1900, and the parsonage was erected in 1905.
Reverend Lars Paulsen Thorkveen (1857-1923) served the church as pastor between 1909-1910, the year Theodora, Eivinda, and C.G.V. joined. The Cormontan family may have been attracted to Thorkveen's interest in music. He acted at various times as secretary, president, and director of the Norwegian Lutheran Singer Association (sangerforbunds) for over twenty years beginning in 1895. He also served as editor in the publication of several sacred songbooks in the first decade of the 20th century, including one for mixed choir. A 1930 NAHA article by Sigurd Hakstad reports that Thorkveen also composed music. He attended Luther College and Luther Seminary in the 1880’s and, beginning in 1888, he served as pastor at a number of United Norwegian Lutheran churches, including Butterfield, MN (near St. James) beginning in 1896.
Reverend Marcus Kristian Hartmann was born in Benson, MN on April 3, 1878 and died in California on October 7, 1964. He attended St. Olaf College and graduated from U. C. Seminary in 1903. He pastored in Portland, Maine from 1903-04 and Cresco, IA from 1904-10 before coming to St. James in 1910. He married Thusnelda Bøckman in 1905. The Cormontan family worshiped in St. James from 1908-1917.
It is probable that Rev. Hartmann was responsible for directing Theodora and Eivinda Cormontan to the Aase Haugen Home near Decorah, Iowa in 1917 after their older brother C.G.V. passed away. During the time he ministered at the United Lutheran Church in Cresco, Iowa, it appears that Hartmann got to know Rev. Otto Schmidt of Decorah Lutheran Church. Schmidt became the first administrator of the Aase Haugen Home in 1915. The May 28, 1920 edition of the Cresco Plain Dealer reported that Rev. Hartmann was visiting Rev. Schmidt and family at the Aase Haugen Home. Though not reported, one would trust he also visited Theodora and Eivinda.