Wisconsin Historical Society

Historical Essay

Clausen, Claus Lauritz 1820 - 1892

Clausen, Claus Lauritz 1820 - 1892 | Wisconsin Historical Society

Lutheran clergyman, b. Aero, Denmark. He migrated to the U.S. and Wisconsin in 1843 to become religious instructor at the Norwegian settlement at Muskego. During the same year, he was ordained a Lutheran minister, and served as pastor at Muskego (1843-1845), Koshkonong (1845-1846), and Rock Prairie (1846-1853). He was one of the founders and editor of the church monthly publication Maanedstidende (1851), and a founder and first editor (Jan.-Aug., 1852) of the secular newspaper, Emigranten, published originally at Inmansville, Rock County. He was one of three pastors who organized the Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (1851), serving as president (1851-1852). In 1853 he left the state and thereafter served in Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota. He was vice-president of the Norwegian Synod (1855-1856), and president of the Norwegian-Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (1870-1872). During the early part of the Civil War, he served as chaplain with the 15th Wisconsin Regiment (1861-1862), and after 1861 was the leader of a synod faction declaring slavery to be a sin. Although this division within the Norwegian Synod was largely a theological and dogmatic debate, it resulted in a great deal of bitterness and ultimately led to Clausen's resignation from the synod. Clausen was the author of Gjenmaele mod Kirkeraadet (1869), and Prof. Georg Sverdrup's Angreb (1881). Dict. Amer. Biog.; H. F. Swansen, Founder of St. Ansgar (Blair, Neb., 1949); T. C. Blegen, Norwegian Migration to Amer. . . . Transition (Northfield, Minn., 1940); WPA MS.

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[Source: Dictionary of Wisconsin biography]