McLeod Co., Hutchinson, Park by the river Map
Find it today: The camp ground was in a grove of trees beside the river - it was not stated which side of the river.
HUTCHINSON, MINN., Camp-ground. Eld. Canright and I arrived at this place Wednesday P. M., June 12. We were somewhat surprised to find eleven tents pitched and some fifty or sixty brethren and sisters in camp, intending to have the benefit of the whole meeting. The ground is that occupied last year. It is in a beautiful grove close to the town, five minutes’ walk from the post-office. Just back of the grove runs a nice little river in which so many were baptized last year.
Bro. Battin gave the first discourse last evening in the hall used by our brethren in the village. Today we have held two meetings, in each of which Eld. Canright has spoken an hour to the ministers, giving them very practical instruction, and a second hour was used by the brethren in expressing opinions, asking questions, and discussing points suggested in the lecture. Tonight there are nineteen ministers in camp, and nineteen tents are pitched. The weather is fine, and all expect a pleasant and profitable meeting.
C. W. STONE – Review and Herald, June 20, 1878
MINNESOTA CAMP-MEETING. We have just closed one of the most successful camp-meetings I have ever attended. We enjoyed a very pleasant time in our school. Tuesday and Wednesday the brethren arrived at camp in large numbers, so that most all were present at the commencement of the regular camp-meeting. It was cheering to see them come, load after load, some coming from fifty to two hundred miles. Others came twenty miles with ox teams, Bro. Harlow, seventy-six years old, drove his team three hundred miles, from some place in Dakota. This shows a commendable zeal. There were eighty-one tents on the ground, and a count showed that there were nearly eight hundred persons encamped. This was the largest meeting that I have attended outside of Michigan.
Having the business well out of the way, we began our religious meetings early in the week, and kept them well ahead. Friday morning over a hundred came forward to seek the Lord. Sabbath morning was entirely devoted to this work, and one hundred and forty-five made a start in the Christian life. We then enjoyed a very interesting season in hearing them speak. After preaching upon baptism, a large number signified their desire to be baptized. Their names were recorded and their cases examined; then a day having been given in which to present objections, if any existed, one hundred and thirty-three were accepted as candidates for baptism. Sunday afternoon we repaired to the river, a short distance from the camp, where these were baptized by Elds. Grant, Dimmick, Curtis, and Ells. A large mill-dam above, a bridge just below, and rising banks on each side afforded the crowd a good view, and they were all well lined with spectators. It was estimated that there were twenty-five hundred people present. Everything passed off in good order. A sister who has been confined to her bed twenty-seven years, a cripple, was taken by the four brethren, and carried into the water, and baptized. It was a very affecting scene. This was the largest and most affecting baptism I have ever witnessed. In several cases the ministers would lead mother and son, husband and wife, or sometimes husband, wife, and children into the water together. Eld. Babcock's twin daughters, about eleven years of age, were baptized together. It was a scene never to be forgotten.
The preaching was done by Elds. Curtis, Dimmick, Ells, Hill, Battin, Moore, Babcock, Bro. Stone and myself. Brn. Jasperson, Nelson, and Norstrom preached to the Scandinavians, of whom there were about seventy-five on the ground. The preaching was largely doctrinal, as it should be on the camp-ground. Our social meetings were excellent. On Sunday we had a fair attendance, perhaps fifteen hundred. Hutchinson is situated in a new and thinly settled country. Nearly all the brethren came with teams; hence we could not expect a large outside attendance. Our camp-meetings ought to be located near some large city, if at all consistent. It gives them greater dignity and importance, and we can report more fully in the papers. However, several of our brethren wrote reports to different papers over the country. But our mail facilities were so poor that we did not get the papers containing these reports till the meeting was about over. Sr. Olive, of Prescott, Wis., wrote lengthy reports of all the meetings for the leading paper of the Northwest – the St. Paul Pioneer Press. They were published in full, and were the most readable of any reports of our camp-meetings that I have ever seen. They were evidently appreciated by the Press. This and our Wisconsin meeting have been fully reported in all the large papers of the Northwest.
The grasshopper scourge has passed away, and Minnesota crops begin to look up. However, as the Conference had a large list of ministers to pay, we found our S. B. fund short. Evidently the brethren have not been doing their duty in paying their tithes. A rising vote showed that one-fourth of those present were paying nothing at all on S. B. Doubtless many more were paying far less than they should. Bro. Stone preached a sermon on S. B., after which nearly every one present voted to pay tithes honestly this year.
Monday morning we stated to the brethren that we wished to raise $260 to pay for the new tent, $50 for camp-meeting expenses, $100 for the poor, and perhaps $200 to help out the ministers. Then followed one of the most interesting scenes I have witnessed in a long time. Beginning with $25 and running down to $5, with scarcely more than a statement of the case, the brethren and sisters arose to make their pledges. Frequently there were twenty on their feet at once. Each one seemed anxious to make his pledge first. Some of the brethren pledged for themselves, then their wives pledged, then the older children pledged, and finally they held up their little babes, and pledged five dollars apiece for them! That is a good example. We stopped when many more were ready to pledge. We refused to let them go below $5. Then, giving a chance for a donation of small change, nearly $50 were thrown into the hat. Counting up, we found that $1,500 were pledged, and enough more was paid in to make $1,700. About $300 of the pledges was also paid down. This relieved the embarrassment of the Conference. Some two hundred dollars' worth of books were sold. An expression made by rising showed that about one-fifth of those present had embraced the truth the past year. With more than one-fourth of the audience this was their first camp-meeting.
This Conference now has fifteen ordained ministers, and twenty-two licentiates. Several were licensed for the first time at this meeting. At our last session, three brethren were ordained to the work of the ministry – Samuel Fulton, J. P. Jasperson, and John W. Moore. Bro. Jasperson comes to the State to have the oversight of the Scandinavian work. There are three or four preachers in the Conference who labor among the Scandinavians. A special effort will be made for that people this year.
I was deeply impressed with the fact that this is becoming a very large Conference. When I came to this state six years ago, there was not a minister laboring in the State. There were only about two hundred Sabbath-keepers in the Conference, and their S. B. was $350. Now they have about fifty churches, thirty-seven, ministers, and twelve or fourteen hundred Sabbath-keepers, and their S. B. is over $3000. And all this has been done by men raised up in their midst. Truly the Lord has blessed Minnesota. It is probably one of the richest fields in the cause. But with prosperity and increasing numbers, I can see a chance for many dangers. It is difficult to educate so rapidly these new converts soundly into the principles of this message. There is great danger that some of them will endeavor to bring in new ideas and ways of their own, which will work evil to the cause. Where there are so many laborers, there is also danger of ambition and rivalry among ministering brethren. This should be promptly discountenanced by every one. It has come to be a great responsibility for the president to oversee the entire work of the Conference. Bro. Grant has been very successful in this position in the past. He still needs the hearty cooperation of all his brethren successfully to carry on the work. This we believe he has.
Personally, it was a great pleasure to me to attend this Conference, and see so many of my old brethren. This is the spot where I first began to realize success in Minnesota. We began with a small handful of about twenty-five. From that day to this the church here has steadily grown, till now it has eighty members, and is the largest church in the Conference. Twenty-five from this place were baptized at this meeting. These will be added to the church at its next quarterly meeting.
It was specially gratifying to us to find that the brethren here have the respect and confidence of the community in so large a degree. Everybody was friendly to us, and showed us all the favors possible. The hotel-keeper made a free dinner for a goodly number of our ministers. Our old landlord of former years visited us frequently, bringing food and hearty greeting. The county paper gave us the following unsolicited commendation: “Whatever may be thought of some of the peculiar tenets of this denomination of Christians, it is generally admitted that the system makes its followers honest, and wiser and better people.”
Sunday it was with great difficulty that I could speak on account of, hoarseness. After that I had to give it up entirely. Bro. Stone took my place, and rendered valuable assistance. At this date, it is entirely uncertain what we shall do this summer.
D. M. CANRIGHT, June 26 (date of letter), Reported Review and Herald, July 4, 1878.