In April of 1849, a year after Wisconsin achieved statehood, a twenty-six-year-old divinity student set sail from Stavanger, Norway, en route to America. Andreas (Andrew) Iverson and his young wife, Laura, emigrated to Milwaukee to begin a new life. In 1850, Andrew was ordained a Moravian minister and charged with spreading the gospel among the many Scandinavian immigrants who had recently arrived in northeastern Wisconsin.
Thus began an unusual evangelistic ministry that saw Iverson leave his spiritual mark on thousands of immigrant settlers in Milwaukee, the Fort Howard section of Green Bay, and later the Door County peninsula. In this remote and heavily forested wilderness, Iverson established a Moravian colony called Ephraim, which was later destined to become one of the most beautiful small resort communities in America.
This book is the story of Iverson’s travels and adventures as a frontier evangelist in a remote part of the Midwest in the middle 1800s. Iverson was charismatic, mystical, fearless, and driven. This is his colorful story, much of which is told in his own words.
Reviews of Ephraim’s Founding Father
Goodwin Berquist in VOYAGEUR magazine: “the Burtons produced an excellent biography, a handsomly printed, readable book, with copious visuals both relevant and clear. [They] told about the past as if we were actually there.”
Hal Grutzmacher in The Door County Advocate: “It’s seldom that I can recommend a book as highly as I can Paul and Fran Burton’s Ephraim’s Founding Father: The Story of Reverend A.M. Iverson. The book is, first, a fascinating recounting of the life and times of a remarkable man; and second, a notable contribution to local history, the history from which general history springs.”
This book received a “Merit Award” in 1997 from the Wisconsin State Historical Society, with the award presented by the president of the society at its annual award dinner.