January 1856 – The congregation was organized. Five members delegated by a Reverend James Stirrat presented a petition to the St. Paul Presbytery to establish a church in the Lakeville district. Those members consisted of James Sayers, his wife, two children and Jacob Van Doren. The Presbytery then appointed Reverend J.A. Stirrat and a Reverend J.G. Riheldoffer and Elder Gray to organize the congregation. Thus the foundation was laid for the Vermillion Presbyterian Church and named because of its location in the rich countryside near the Vermillion River.

January 1867 – The church building was constructed. In the years before the church was built, members met in homes and at the District #44 schoolhouse for services. On January 7, 1867 Jacob Van Doren presented a deed to the officers of the congregation conveying a parcel of land upon which to build a church building. Under the supervision of Silas Scofield the present building was erected at an approximate cost of $900. The money was raised by subscription. Some accounts mention that the winter of 1867 was exceptionally cold but that they were determined to have the church done by spring. For many years, the Presbyterians and Methodists used the church on alternate Sundays.

Reverend Stirrat often traveled by foot or horseback from his home near Prescott, Wisconsin to the church near Lakeville in the early years, “a delightful walk of 27 miles.” (Quoted from “History of the Vermillion Church for the NW Presbyterian.”)“

“In 1930, the Vermillion Church entered into a covenant to contribute financially to the Farmington Church and many from there joined the Farmington congregation since regular services were discontinued in Eureka.” (Quoted from the First Presbyterian Centennial Anniversary Booklet, November 28, 1965.)

On August 1 1957 a Quit Claim Deed from the Presbytery of St. Paul, MN transferred the church and property to the Greenwood Cemetery Association. For some years later the building was used for occasional church services, funerals, memorials, etc.

In the interest of the preservation of this pioneer church, the Greenwood Cemetery Association gave the building to the Dakota County Agricultural Society and in 1977 it was moved to Dakota City on the Dakota County Fairgrounds. The building has been restored and original furnishings that were returned include the chandelier, pews and organ. The church is still used for services during the County Fair, special events, and weddings.

The cemetery was built in 2002 and it is not a real cemetery. No one is really buried there. The headstones are real and were donated to Dakota City for use in our cemetery.

Fun Fact!

There are no real dead people buried in the church cemetery.