History of Little Cedar Settlement and Congregation. Published for the 50th Anniversary Jubilee of the Congregation by Hans Jacob Hanson, Secretary of the Congregation, Adams, Minnesota. Minneapolis. Augsburg Publishing House Press, 1909. Irene Marguerite Hanson McMurchie had this Translated from Norwegian by Dr. H. M. Blegen, Augustana College, 1970. Norwegian original is in the SO library at St. Olaf College.
Part IV – The congregation’s decline in growth and economics.
As already mentioned the church did not progress but rather receded both economically and numerically. Especially during the period 1880-86 there was a marked exodus. Many of the old settlers moved away because of heavy debts incurred during the course of years aggravated by exorbitant rates of interest which were as high as 25 to 35 percent.
Seeing no way out, they were forced to leave their homes which were taken over by loan sharks and bankers. Others left for places where they could obtain free lands by homesteading in Northwestern Minnesota and the Dakotas. Consequently the value of land in this area was relatively cheap compared to the prices of today. Almost no one bought land, however, those who could find a buyer, sold and moved away. Such were the conditions for some time, and this is why the new church stood unfinished without interior equipment for about a decade. The unpaid remainder of the pledges, $1259.55 was left unpaid and remained unpaid.
Yes, indeed we were deeply mired in debts, in both secular and ecclesiastical affairs, and in every way we had to skimp in order to get by.