Findings in 1896 Lawsuit

ImageThe envelope containing the three 1895 newspaper clippings we posted about earlier also includes a number of legal papers pertaining to the lawsuit brought against Rev. N. V. Holm et al. by “The First Scandinavian Evang. Luth. congregation, Jens Peterson et al.

We don’t imagine that many are interested in reading the entire six-page judgment, but here are pertinent excerpts for those wanting to know how the lawsuit was settled.



First Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran congregation of Racine, a corporation, and Jens Peterson, Ove Fischer, Chris. Svenvig, Martin Lange, Nicolai Hansen, on their own behalf and on behalf of other persons similarly interested, Plaintiffs, vs.

Viggo Holm, Jorgen Lamp, Mads C. Hansen, Lars Mogenson, Peter Lenestran, and others similarly interested, Defendants.

The above entitled cause having come on for trial at the November Term, 1895, of this Court, before the Court without a jury, and upon hearing the evidence of both parties and the arguments of the attorneys and counsel of the respective parties herein, and after due consideration thereof, the Court now finds, as matters of fact:

That The First Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran congregation of the City of Racine was on the 22nd day of August, 1851, duly incorporated under the laws of Wisconsin as a religious society, and existed as such at the commencement of this action, and that it has successively elected trustees and other officers to manage its temporal affairs and maintained a place of worship and engaged the services of ministers for the preaching of the gospel in accordance with the Evangelical Lutheran Church or denomination. …

That at the time of the commencement of this action the defendants, Peter Lenestran, and Lars Mogenson, and one Johan Jensen (who is not named as a defendant or plaintiff), were the duly elected trustees of said corporation and in full possession of their offices and of the temporalities of said corporation; that the defendants, Jorgen Lamp and Mads C. Hanson, were officers, respectively President and Secretary, of said corporation, and the defendant Viggo Holm was the pastor thereof.

That said corporation was and is the owner in fee of the real estate described in the complaint.

That soon after the adoption of the new constitution by the conference of the Danish Lutheran Church in America in 1893, its officers received from the Danish Mission Committee a communication requiring them to adopt and carry out certain measures if they, the said officers and Church, desired to maintain connection with said Mission Committee any longer and to secure its assistance in the church work…

That, however, about a year later, a new Mission Committee was called into existence in Denmark, which entered into correspondence with the officers of the Danish Ev. Lutheran Church in America, and remitted to them the bounties of the Danish government and the voluntary contribution received by them for missionary work in America. …

That the defendants have accorded to the plaintiffs the same privileges in the enjoyment and use of the property of the congregation as to all other members and that plaintiffs were not hindered or prevented by defendants from the enjoyment of any right which they had as members of said corporation, nor did the defendants in any manner threaten to deprive the plaintiffs of any right or to expel them from the corporation; that neither the First Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of Racine nor its trustees ever authorized the commencement of this action.

And as conclusions of law the Court finds:

1. That the First Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of Racine is improperly made a plaintiff in this action.

2. That said congregation had a right to sever its connection with was expelled from the Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

3. That by the dissolution of its connection with expulsion of said congregation from the Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church in America the relation of said congregation to the Church of Denmark was not affected or changed.

4. That the plaintiffs are not entitled to any equitable relief.

WHEREFORE: it is now here adjudged and decreed, that the plaintiffs’ complaint be dismissed and that the defendants recover of the plaintiffs Jens Peterson, Ove Fischer, Chris. Svenvig, Martin Lange and Nicolai Hansen, their costs and disbursements in this action, taxed at ____________ dollars.

Dated February __, 1896.

By the Court, Frank W. Fish Judge.

Recorded in Judgment Book “I” page 201.


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