North Loup, Nebraska Seventh Day Baptist Church History

Our church Historian, Bonnie Severance, has passed away. Please contact our Church Clerk,

Helen Goodrich, with any questions regarding the history of the North Loup Seventh Day Baptist Church.

You may send your request to:

nl7church AT gmail DOT com (take out spaces and replace the AT with @ and the DOT with .)

The North Loup Seventh Day Baptist Church follows a long line of folks from England across the ocean to Newport, Rhode Island. They formed the first Seventh Day Baptist Church in America, a church which had to struggle to serve their Lord in a way they chose. They were fleeing from a government that dictated how they could worship and when. Since the Seventh Day Baptists follow the Bible in keeping Saturday as the Sabbath of the Lord and following his example of baptism by immersion, they looked for a place where that would be possible.

As is usual, in most churches, there came differences of opinion, and the opening up of the western United States encouraged men to look for a place where they could worship in peace. The first settlement for those who came to the area that was to become North Loup, Nebraska was from Dakota, Wisconsin. When word came that the railroad had moved west, folks began to talk about pulling up stakes and finding a more fertile ground to farm. They were really just looking for a place where they could provide for their families and worship their God as they chose.

An expedition was sent to the North Loup River area with orders to see what the county could provide. As the group came to Sugar Loaf Hill the man with the team and wagon reported that he was returning home to Dakota. However, one man in the group said he wanted to walk to the top of the hill and see what was beyond. Almost at the place where the sign today says, "Welcome to the beautiful North Loup Valley”, he paused to take stock of the magnificent panorama that lay in front of him.

Arriving back in Wisconsin, his report resulted in another scout group to the area. They were so excited that they staked their claims. This group even staked a claim for a man who could not come on that trip. Keeping in contact with the settlers at Humbolt, Nebraska, they arrived at the upper camp a day before the Wisconsin folks arrived at the lower camp.

Thankful for their new found homes, the two groups united for their first service in May of 1872 by the river's edge. The Rev. Oscar Babcock borrowed a high back wooden rocker to use as his pupit. It is thought that the rocker in the historical room of the present day church is the same one used on that memorable day.

Now, over 140 years later, heirs of some of those first settlers, along with new members, still worship in the church at North Loup, Nebraska (USA). They are well known for their talent in music, instrumental as well as voice, cooking, hospitality, and operating Camp Riverview, the summer church Bible camp.

The late Bonnie Severance

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Settlers that gathered by the river in May, 1872 to worship.

The Rev. Oscar Babcock is the third person from the left.

The rocking chair used as the pulpit at the first service by the river.