The Restored Home of Rev. Elling Eielsen
On the parsonage grounds, adjacent to Heg Memorial Park, stands another pioneer memorial of interest to all who are familiar with the great names of Norwegian-American history. The old home of Rev. Elling Eielsen was moved to this location from its original site at Jefferson Prairie, Wisconsin, in 1933, by a committee from the Norway-Muskego congregation. Through the courtesy of Rev. Eielsen’s daughter, Mrs. Ellen S. Runden of North Cape, Wisconsin, the restored home is furnished with the identical furniture once used by the famous evangelist and his wife, Sigrid Tufte Eielsen.
Also on display at the old Elling Eielsen home may be seen a copy of the first book published in America by a Norwegian. It is an English translation of Dr. Martin Luthers Small Catchism for Children. It was printed in 1841, and Rev. Eielsen walked the entire distance to New York and return in order to make the arrangements which supplied this religious help for the pioneer settlements.
From 1839 until October 3, 1843, Rev. Eielsen ministered to the scattered Norwegian settlements throughout Wisconsin and Illinois as a lay preacher. On that date he was ordained in Chicago by Rev. Hoffman, just nine days before Rev. Claus L. Clausen, first pastor of the Muskego Lutheran church was ordained by Rev. L. F. Krause of the Buffalo synod.
Thus history accords Rev. Eielsen the honor of being the first ordained minister of the gospel among the Norwegians in the United States.