The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 32, July 1928 - April, 1929 Page: 68
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
which organizeed separate associations or synods. Both were
straining their efforts to win adherents and to organize and con-
solidate their interests. In this, a favorite method was to collect
their followers in rural settlements mostlly in the northern and
western states. But only the Grundtvigians4 turned toward Texas.
The leader of the Grundtvigians in the United States from 1883
to 1900 was Reverend F. L. Grundtvig, son of Bishop Grundtvig.
After his graduation from the University of Copenhagen he mar-
ried, and the newly-weds went-to spend their honeymoon-to the
wildwoods of Wisconsin. There Grundtvig became interested in
the spiritual welfare of his immigrated countrymen and resolved to
do what he could to raise the spiritual level of their lives. Becom-
ing a minister seemed the best way of doing this. But as he had
not studied theology at the university, he had to go through a
brief theological course before he could accept the call from the
Danish congregation at Clinton, Iowa, where he remained during
the following seventeen years, preaching, writing, lecturing, and
entertaining friends in his hospitable home.
Grundtvig imbued the Danish immigrants with a stronger de-
sire to perpetuate and develop not only their religious life, but
also their social (folkelig) life so far as that would harmonize with
the duties of American citizenship. Such a religious-social pro-
gram Grundtvig proposed to realize through the church and through
the Danish People's Society (Dansk Folkesamfund) which he and
his friends organized in 1887.
The People's Society and the Grundtvigian Church (also called
for short the Danish Church) both established settlements, and
the first venture of the People's Society was Danevang (meaning
Danish field), Wharton County, Texas, though Grundtvig at first
personally disliked the idea of going to Texas, but other influences
prevailed. The land committee (Landudvalget) of the People's
Society was authorized to investigate Texas land in 1894. They
looked over the country near Port Lavaca, but feared it was too
dry and sandy, though the coastline had "the most beautiful beach,
like the shores of Denmark." In the neighborhood of El Campo,
Wharton County, they found a different country with small creeks
and grass so tall that it touched the bottom of the wagon box.
'Named after the originator of its special doctrines, Bishop N. F. S.
Grundtvig, Danish poet, preacher, and patriot, who died 1872.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 32, July 1928 - April, 1929, periodical, 1929; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101089/m1/72/: accessed June 25, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.