HISTORICAL SKETCH OF THE
EVANGELICAL FREE CHURCH
Georgetown, Texas - - - narrative #1
In the late years of the
1800's many immigrants from Sweden who were not happy
with the rules and regulations of the State Church came
to this country seeking religious freedom and to worship
God according to the "dictates of their conscience" and
according to their interpretation of the Bible.
In the fall of 1883 some
believers in Chicago sent out an invitation to Pastors
and Christian friends to come to that city for a meeting
to discuss matters concerning the Christian Church. This
meeting was held in a place, at that time, called Bush
Hall on Chicago Avenue. J. G. Princell was elected as
chairman of this group, and Alfred Zandell and Hjalmar
Anderson were elected secretaries. On October 14-19,
1884, the first conference of this group of believers
was held in the Boone, Iowa church called "The Swedish
Mission Church", later called "The Christian Mutual
Organization", and still later the name was changed to
"The Swedish Evangelical Free Church". Various doctrinal
subjects were discussed, and it was decided to meet in
Rockford, Illinois in1885.
Some of these early Swedish
immigrants landed in Williamson County Texas. In 1884
these settlers began to meet together in homes for Bible
study and prayer. These early believers in Texas were
called "Readers". (2) Four of these early Christian
leaders were C. 0. Youngbloom, Oscar Johnson, Ed Frezen
and Kristin Forsvall. (3) This small group of believers
grew in number. The organization and adoption of a geo
constitution took place in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Sven
Petersonion of Georgetown Texas July 7, 1891. Present at
this meeting and those becoming charter members were: C.
0. Youngbloom, J. J. Lawson, Mr. and Mrs. Hans Bostrom,
Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Sandberg, Mr. and Mrs. S. A. Johnson,
Mr. and Mrs. C. E. Anderson, Mr. and Mrs. Carl Bjork,
Mr. and Mrs. Sven Peterson, John Brogren, C. H.
Gustafson, G. F. Johnson, Mr. and Mrs. Carl Anderson,
and Mr. and Mrs. John Lax. (4) Thus the first
Evangelical Free Church in Texas was organized in the
"Brushy Evangelical Free Church".
In 1892 a church building was
erected on a tract of land in the Bell Community four
and a half miles southeast of Georgetown. This land was
donated to the church by Mr. C. J. Gustafson and was
called "The Mission House". (5) This "Mission House"
served as a meeting place for this congregation until
1924, when a new church building was constructed at the
cost of $7,000.
The first Sunday school was
organized in 1894 with C. H. Gustafson as
superintendent, with about six or seven children in
attendance. On December 5, 1905, a Ladies Aid Society
was begun. On July 23, 1907, a young people's society
was organized, called "The Army of Hope", and an
organization for younger women called "Earnest Workers"
was started in January, 1921. These two groups were
later merged into one group under the name of "The
Women's Missionary Society". Later on, a Free Church
Youth Fellowship and a Men's Brotherhood were organized.
During the ministry of Rev.
H. A. Gustin, (1912-1915), services were conducted in
the Berry's Creek and Jonah communities, and during the
ministry of Rev. E. H. Lindquist in 1915 a chapel was
built in Berry's Creek and a Sunday school was organized
In 1951, during the ministry
of Rev. Morris Rosene, a portion of the Bell School was
purchased and remodeled into a building called the
"Chapel", where Sunday school, Women's Missionary
meetings and youth services were held. At this time all
services were conducted in the English languange, a
movement that was started many years before, during the
ministry of Rev. E. W. Frohman. (7)
About this time the name of
the church was changed from the "Brushy Evangelical Free
Church" to the "Evangelical Free Church, Georgetown,
Texas". During the ministry of Pastor Bertil Thorne,
discussions took place regarding the possibility and
wisdom of securing a lot in the city of Georgetown with
a view to building a new church in that city. A lot at
the corner of Hutto Road and University Avenue was up
for sale, and after much discussion and prayer the
church voted to purchase this lot on February 15, 1960.
During this period the congregation voted to build a new
Parsonage at 1806 Louise Street in Georgetown. On
January 23, 1962, the congregation voted to build a new
church building on this newly acquired lot as soon as
finances were available to start this project.8 The
construction of this new, air-conditioned building was
begun in April, 1963, and completed and dedicated in
August of this same year.
Pastors who have served
the church are: (9)
C. V. Peterson, 1888 - 1889
Edward Thorell, 1889 with C.
V. Peterson Nels Saabye, following Thorell
C. 0. Sahlstrom, 1891 - 1892
Alex Klint, 1897 and 1903 -
Gustaf F. Johnson, summer of
August Modig, 1899
W. N. Nelson, no record
Carl G. Athell, fall of 1905,
spring of 1908 Edwin Cederberg, 1907 interim pastor Carl
J. E. Nelson, 1908 - 1910
Oscar Zahr, 1910 - 1911,
interim pastor H. A. Gustin, 1911 - 1915
E. H. Lindquist, 1915 - 1920
John Udd, 1920 - 1922
Alfred Stone, 1922 - 1925
Carl Malme, 1925 - 1930
E. W. Frohman, 1931 - 1934 N.
3. Christensen, 1934 - 1940 Morris Rosene, 1940 - 1951
Arthur Anderson, 1951 - 1956 Bertil Thorne, 1956 - 1965
E. L. Pearson, 1965 interim
pastor Walter Osborn, 1965 - 1967 Richard Mittanck, 1967
- 1972 Larry Larson, 1973 - 1975 Raymond Wegner, 1975 -
1982 Darryl Walling, 1983 ---
Rev. Bertil Thorne
1206 Peachtree Lane
Georgetown, Texas 78626
I - "Minnesskrift",
1914, pages 9-11
2 - "Diamond Jubilee
Commemoration Book", July 7, 1966, page 1
3 - "Golden Jubilee Book",
1934, page 181
4 - "Ninetieth Anniversary
Commemoration", July 7, 1981, pages 1-2
5 - " Ninetieth Anniversary
Commemoration", 1981, page 2
6 - "Ninetieth Anniversary
Commemoration", 1981, page 2 7"Ninetieth Anniversary
Commemoration", 1981, page 3 8"Ninetieth Anniversary
Commemoration", 1981, page 4
9 - "Ninetieth Anniversary
Commemoration", 1981, and "Dedication Services", 1963
publication, 1914 "Swedes in Texas", Volumes I and II,
1918 "Golden Jubilee", 1934
"Dedication Services", 1963
Commemoration", 1966 "Ninetieth Anniversary
- - - narrative #2
Transalation from Swedish Volume I
By Thelma Borg, Nov. 1987 Pages 112 - 115
"Swedes in Texas"
THE SWEDISH EVANGELICAL FREE CHURCH IN BRUSHY,
In the fall of 1884 four young people from Jonkopings
Land, Smaland, Sweden came to Round Rock, Texas. They
were Oscar Johnson, C.O. Youngbloom, Ed Frizen and
Christina Forsvall. They found work in and around
One summer afternoon in 1885 they, together with several
other young people, gathered in Miss Forsvall's home in
Georgetown. They read the Scriptures and sanga few
songs, then Oscar Johnson and C.O. Youngbloom witnessed
to them about what the Lord had done. This, so far as we
know, was the first meeting of what became the Free
Church work in Texas. After this these young people
gathered quite often to hear Gor's Word and sing as well
as witness. During the winter of 1888 Pastor C.W.
Peterson came to Texas and preached to the group. Later
Pastor N. Saaby came and his work brought much blessing.
In the winter of 1891 - 1892 Pastor Sahlstrom was in
this and other areas of Texas and he helped the little
group in many ways. The group grew and many came to be
saved under his preaching . A t this time regular
meetings were started in the homes in the area. A.
Sandberg's. Swen Peterson's and S.A. Johnson's were
homes that were always open for the meetings.
In the spring of 1891 they organized "The Swedish
Evangelical Free Church in Brushy". There were twenty
members whose names are: C.O. Youngbloom, J.J. Lawson,
Mr. and Mrs. Hans Bostrom, Mr. and Mrs. J.A. Sandberg,
Mr. and Mrs. S.A. Johnson, Mr. and Mrs. C.E. Anderson,
Mr. and Mrs. Carl Bjork, Mr. and Mrs. Swen Peterson,
John Brogren, C.H. Gustafson, G.F. Johnson, Mr. and Mrs.
Carl Anderson, Mr. and Mrs. J.A. Eklund and Mr. and Mrs.
John Lax. A constitution was approved and the officers
were elected: C.O. Youngbloom, chairman; Hans Bostrom,
secretary and J.J. Lawson treasurer. Incorporation
papers were taken out on the seventh of July 1891.
This was the first Free Church organized in Texas.
A t the time the church was organized Mr. C.J.
Gustafson gave the church one and one half acre of land
which is located five miles southeast of the city of
Georgetown. In 1907 Mr. Gustafson gave an additional
three and a half acres of land. This made it possible to
build both a church and a parsonage with plenty of room
for the cemetery. At once they started collecting to
build the church which was finished in the summer of
During the first years the congregation was not able to
support a pastor full time. They held meetings on a
regular basis with the most qualified members reading
scripture and speaking. Offen there were visiting
preachers and missionaries that would speak or preach to
At the time the church was organized there were not any
children old enough for a Sunday school. In the summer
of 1894 the Sunday school was organized with one class
for the children and a Bible class for the adults. From
this small beginning the Sunday school has grown to the
size it is today.
In 1895 Rev. A. Klint served the congregation for a
time. During 1896 and 1897 they were fortunate to have
G. Johnson and J. Berner which resulted in a good
revival and a number of members were added to the
church. From 1897 to 1905 these pastors served at
various times: A. Klint, Aug. Modig, Wm. Nilson and L.M.
Ekman. A steady and healthy outreach and growth occured
during this period.
In 1905 Pastor C.G. Anderson came and served the
congregation until 1908. The church kept growing in
numbers. It was decided to start work in other
locations. A Sunday school building was built at Berry's
Creek in 1905. The church building was added on to so
they had more room. A woman's society was organized to
work among the women as well as work for missions and
other Christian work. This still continues. The young
people started their society "Hoppets
June 23, 1907 with 30 members. In 1907 Pastor Anderson
traveled to Sweden. Pastor E. Cederberg took his place.
In 1908 Pastor C.J.E. Nelson came to serve. At this
time the Parsonage was built. After two years Pastor
Nelson left because of poor health. Afterwards Pastor O.
Zahr served for a short time. From 1911 until March 1915
Pastor A.E. Gusten served the congregation. Besides the
regular pastorly duties Pastor Gusten held meetings in
Jonah and Berry's Creek. He won the people's respect and
love because of his untiring work among them. In 1915
Pastor E.H. Lindquist came. All the church was
strengthed spiritually and members were added with the
result that the work grew. In December of 1916 a nice
chapel was built at Berry's Creek. Sunday school was
held each Sunday with close to 25 children and young
people at ending. A preaching service was held once a
week for the church members and other Swedes living near
by. Regular meetings were also held in Jonah. During the
twenty seven years since the congregation was organized
it steadily grew and is still growing and expanding. The
church has not only worked here in the area but has
extended its support to both home and overseas missions.
Two young men from the congregation have become pastors
and are serving churches in the U.S. These two are
Gustaf F. Johnson who is pastoring the Swedish Mission
Tabernacle in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Ernest Johnson,
pastor of the Swedish Free Church in Keene, Nebraska.
Also one missionary, F.O. Bergstrom, who has worked for
twenty years in Japan. At present he is the state
missionary in California where he preaches in English
and Swedish and Japanese.
The congregation now has 110 members. The Sunday school
has an average of 130, counting the young people's
classes. Together with Berry's Creek the attendance
average in 155. The young people's Society has 79
members. The congregation has property valued $4,000.
The building is getting crowded as there is not enough
room for either the Sunday school or the people that
come to meetings. A bigger and more modern church
building is being planned.
The first church building was built in 1892 and served
purpose well for about 33 years. It ccst $650. All labor
A new church building was erected in 1924 at a cost of
$7,135. There were 140 days of donated labor consisting
of hauling etc. Total value was about $10,000. Mr. R.
Rosene was the contractor.
There were summer tent meetings held in the middle of
the summer for many years. Pastors from other
congregations would preach. These meetings drew good
crowds and souls were saved.
There was a cheese making day each spring. The ladies
milk to the Parsonage and the ladies made sheese for the
Pastor and family.
Every fall around Thanksgiving during the time that most
of the members lived in the country - a bale of cotton
was donated to the pastor and his family.
A young people's society was organized in July 1907 and
was very active through 1966 and still exists under
The Women's Ladies Aid was organized in the early days
of the church and have all along taken an actives part
in the work, helping in any way they could.
"Swedes in Texas" by Ernest Severin aided by Dr. Alfred
1. Scott, Pastor T.J. Westerberg and J.M. Ojerholm.
("Swedes in Texas" in word and deed 1918, Volume 1,
Pages 112 - 115)
Brushy Evangelical Free Church Minutes (unpublished)
1918 - 1987
Williamsnn County Deed Records, volumnes, C unty clerk,
Williamson county, Texas. Williamson County courthouse