SHSND Home > Archives > Archives Holdings > Archives & Manuscripts > Religion > 10077
To schedule an appointment, please contact us at 701.328.2091 or

OCLC WorldCat Logo

SHSND Photobook - Digitized images from State Archives

Digital Horizons

2019-2021 Blue Book Cover

Federal Depository Library Program

Chronicling America

Manuscripts by Subject - Religion - #10077

Title: First Baptist Church (Bathgate, ND) Records


Collection Number:
  MSS 10077

.5 feet

Records consist of a minute book (1881-1889), two financial ledgers (1882-1923) and a ledger (1882-1917) with minutes, membership, and church records.

The records were donated to the State Historical Society of North Dakota by Catherine M. (Houston) Hocking on June 10, 1963. This inventory was prepared by Emily Schultz in January 2013.

Property Rights:
The State Historical Society of North Dakota owns the property rights to this collection.

Copyrights to materials in this collection remain with the donor, publisher, author, or author's heirs.  Researcher should consult the 1976 Copyright Act, Public Law 94‑553, Title 17 U.S. Code and an archivist at this repository if clarification of copyright requirements is needed.

This collection is open under the rules and regulations of the State Historical Society of North Dakota.

Researchers are requested to cite the collection title, collection number, and the State Historical Society of North Dakota in all footnote and bibliographic references.       


“History of Bathgate, North Dakota” by Shirley Hart
Heritage ’76: Pembina County, North Dakota, Then and Now, p. 20
(compiled by the Bicentennial Book Committee, 1975)

Bathgate, our city, was once thriving and bustling like many other small cities in the state, and is still the center of a wealthy farming area. Its population has declined due to the advent of faster and more convenient transportation and the loss by several disastrous fires. Bathgate is located in township 162, Range 52; southwest quarter of Section 3, a narrow strip of land in Section 10, from the Tongue River east to and beyond the railroad track, and divided by what is now county Highway #1. This community was settled in the late 1870's and was first given the name "Bayfield" when founded. Two years later, renamed "Bathgate" by A. W. Ewing, for his former home in Scotland.

In 1871, the late I.J. Foster filed claim on what is now the town site of Bathgate. In 1881, he sold the land to the proprietors of the town site and it was historically located as a town August 15, 1882. "Boom-time" came for the town August 10, 1882, when "The St. Paul, Minneapolis & Manitoba R.R." (later became the "Great Northern R.R.") built a road from Grand Forks, ND to Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Rapid development occurred and by 1900, the community had seven elevators; four hotels; four general stores; two butcher shops; four hardware stores; four machine depots; two drug stores; two doctors; two furniture stores; six livery, feed, and sales stables; four attorneys. There were also two banks; a millinery shop; flour mill; harness shop; cheese factory; public school; boiler shop; cigar factory; watch maker; photography studio; two blacksmith shops; two ice-skating rinks; shoe repair shop; newspaper; bowling alley and five churches. Bathgate was incorporated as a city in 1907 with a mayor-city council form of government.

In 1908, Bathgate became the school for the Blind and remained so until 1961 when it was moved to Grand Forks. Since then the buildings have been made into a "Rest Home" for approximately 60 residents.

The churches had their place in religious training and growth of our city. The first church built in our area was the Baptist Church, August 1882, but other denominations met there for services, as well and the building is still in existence. In October of the same year, the Roman Catholic Church was built, still located on the present site, west of the Tongue River, and contains five original religious scenes, painted by a French artist. Soon a group of Presbyterian families organized in August of 1882 and held services in various locations until the first church was built in 1883, north of the Catholic Church. In 1908, the church was moved across the river to its present location. Margaret Brown was the first person to be baptized in the new church. The Sovereign Grace Baptist Church, formerly the Lutheran Church, originally a Methodist Church, was built and organized in 1886. The Episcopal Church of Redeemer was erected in 1887, but in 1958, the building was moved to Walhalla and is now known as "St. Peter's Episcopal Church".

The Bathgate Public School District #25 organized May 13, 1882. The first school was in Miss Taylor's Claim Shanty, on what is now Joe Martindale's farm, about 1/2 mile west of town. The same year the first school was built west of the Presbyterian Church, the building was later moved and in 1892, a brick structure was erected, it was for both elementary and secondary classes. In the winter of 1913, the building was destroyed by fire and in 1914 a new wood structure was built. In 1959, through reorganization, Bathgate School became a part of the Neche School and grades 7-12 were bussed to Neche. In 1965, the Bathgate School closed and the remaining grades were moved to Neche. The school has since been dismantled and made into a public park.

Several local men became interested in Masonic work and became a part of Pembina Lodge and in 1885 they were granted a charter to form Bathgate Lodge #80, now #23 with 13 charter members.  In 1948, a new Temple was constructed, built by voluntary help and donations from Bathgate & Neche Lodge members. It is still a very active organization in Bathgate.

In January 1913, a chapter of the order of the Eastern Star was organized. The first annual Strawberry Festival was started in 1915 and still one of the social events of the year. Gertrude Brown served as organist for over 30 years, Alice Messecar as secretary for 23 years. The organization will celebrate their 75th Anniversary in 1988.

The Bathgate Study Club was organized in 1911. The club, through the years, sponsored many worthy projects, the main one being the Bathgate Free Library. In 1988, we have nine active members.

The U.S. Post Office was established at Bathgate November 2, 1881, with William Foster as the Postmaster, Everett DeMars is the present postmaster.

“Bathgate History”
Proudly We Speak: a History of Neche, Bathgate, Bruce and Hyde Park, pp. 47-48
(Neche/Bathgate History Book Committee, ca. 1976)

In this year of 1976 it is hard to picture the small, quiet town of Bathgate as a place of much activity, thriving business and lots of social life. Settlers came from eastern Canada, the eastern states and from European countries to start a new life in Dakota Territory. They came first in 1879 and kept coming for some years. They travelled by train, ox cart, horse and wagon and crossed the River by ferry, letting the cattle and horses swim.

William Foster, Sr. and his son "Ike" filed on the land which became the Bathgate town site. There are several stories of how the town came to be called Bathgate. One taken from the diary of Mrs. John Houston, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Campbell states that in July 1880 two men with a team of horses came to the Campbell home, the land now owned by the Thomas and James Martindale families and asked to stay overnight. The men were Comstock and White of the Land Company of Comstock and White, who had purchased the land for a town site from the Fosters. They went on to Winnipeg, locating town sites along the railroad. On their return, they again stayed overnight and Mr. Comstock said that the town site would be named Bathgate after the town in England, where his wife had lived.

A Mr. Ewing was hired to plot the town into lots, streets and avenues. The Railroad brought the Boom. People came, buildings sprang up, businesses were started and the town grew. The St. Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba Railroad was built from Grand Forks to Winnipeg. It reached Bathgate August 10, 1882. Service began in September, the north train arriving in the morning and the south bound train in the late afternoon. In 1890, this railroad became the Great Northern with the well known Jim Hill as President of the Company. The first grain was shipped September 27,1882. The telegraph came to Bathgate late in 1882.

William Foster was the first to build a home, it was built in the north end of town. He built the building which housed the Post Office. Mr. Foster was the first Postmaster. He carried the mail horseback from Hamilton P.O., five miles south of Bathgate and two miles northwest of Hamilton to the Pembina-Cavalier Trail. He performed this service without pay for two years. William Foster was the town's promoter. Church services were held in his house. He donated land for the Cemetery. He and his sons promoted various business ventures.

Among the first buildings to go up were boarding houses and hotels in answer to the need of the people. The first hotel was the Grand Union. Others were the Chevalier Hotel and the Jennings House, which became the Chevalier Hotel when the first Chevalier Hotel burned. Mr. and Mrs. Peter Gariepy were managers of this hotel. There were many boarding houses and saloons in the 80's but Prohibition in 1889 put the saloons out of business.

The first church was the Baptist in August 1882; then the Roman Catholic, late in fall of 1882; the Episcopal and the Methodist Churches in 1886. It was located in the north part of town and moved to the location of 'the present Lutheran Church. The Lutherans purchased the building and are still in the same location now. The Presbyterian church was built in 1883 and part of the original building is part of the present church though in a different location.

Banks and Loan Companies came into existence very rapidly. Interest rates were high. The first bank was the Bathgate State Bank. Other business sprang up. A Grist Mill in 1882, then a Roller Mill in 1893. The first newspaper was the Bathgate Sentinel with T. W. Douglas as Editor, then R. D. Hoskins of Crookston replaced him. The next Editor was F. A. Willson. He was in charge of the Pembina Democrat at Langdon as there was no Cavalier County at that time. He came to Bathgate and published the Pink Paper. Mr. Willson was active in many businesses and also farmed.

The Fire Hall was where the Post Office is now and the City Hall was across the street and a block north. There was a Creamery and a Cheese Factory. Machinery Shops were many. Blacksmith shops, Hardware Stores and Tinsmiths did a huge business. There were Photograph Galleries, milliner shops, dressmaking establishments. Harness making was a lucrative business, even tobacco was grown at Bathgate for a time and there was a Cigar Factory. There was a Wholesale Grocery and Farm Machinery business which supplied settlers as far away as west of Langdon. Many retail stores were in business. The last big retail store being the Hillis and Manning Store, which closed in 1927, after a quarter of a century in business.

Bathgate's History would not be complete without mention of the schools. Bathgate School District No. 25 was organized May 13, 1892.

The first doctor was Dr. Marshal Sutton, 1880. Then Dr. F. N. Burrows, Dr. Herbert James and Dr. J. S. Hamilton.

The population was recorded to be 641 in 1900. Why did Bathgate become a small town? In 1887 the Railroad arrived at Cavalier, Walhalla and Langdon; then to the east of Bathgate, the Northern Pacific came to Pembina. Transportation played a big part in the early growth of Bathgate and transportation and two disastrous fires ended the Boom.


Box 1:
1 Minute and church history ledger, Fuller Regular Baptist Church, Bathgate (ND), 1881-1889
2 Financial ledger, Bathgate Baptist Church, 1882-1883
3 Ledger, First Baptist Church at Bathgate (ND), 1882-1917
Volume consists of minutes (1900-1914), annual summaries of membership (1900), disbursements (1900), Sunday-school statistics (1900), Pastors (1882-1908), clerks (1900-1909), treasurers (1900-1909), deacons (1901-1908), trustees (1897-1909), alphabetical register and index to chronological register, additions and losses to membership with  baptism dates (1900-1909), and statistics (1900-1917)
4 Financial ledger, First Baptist Church, Bathgate (ND), 1900-1923             


612 East Boulevard Ave.
Bismarck, North Dakota 58505
Get Directions

State Museum and Store: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. M-F; Sat. & Sun. 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
We are closed New Year's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.
State Archives: 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. M-F, except state holidays; 2nd Sat. of each month, 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Appointments are recommended. To schedule an appointment, please contact us at 701.328.2091 or
State Historical Society offices: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. M-F, except state holidays.

Contact Us:
phone: 701.328.2666

Social Media:
See all social media accounts