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Lively Warfare in a Church.

Valley City, Feb. 8: The religious realm in this fair city is in convulsions. This morning, as numerous pious people of this community were preparing for All Saints church, strange scenes were transpiring. Herbert Root, president of the Farmers' and Mechanics' National bank, under cover of a notice in the name of his wife, Harriet c. Root, closed the building before the hour of divine service, and placed a padlock on the door. The notice was tacked on the door stating that it was closed by order of Harriet C. Root, the owner, but as the church was built by the congregation, and as the rector is in charge of the edifice, that gentleman, the Ren. S. H. Woodford, recently of Grand Haven, Mich., did not long permit matters to remain thus. Throwing aside consideration of his sermon he grabbed an ax and repaired in hot haste to the church, where he demolished the padlock and took possession. Finding there two men left in charge by Root, things looked ominous for a moment or two. At this juncture Rooot {sp} appeared, but fortunately read determination in the eye of the man with the ax and passed on without stopping to debate the question. Under counsel from members of the vestry the rector decided not to hold service and vacated the premises, although at first he showed a disposition to hold the fort, by sending home for a shot gun. Later in the day Root and A. P. Peak obtained possession, and a few hours after were dislodged by the rector, members of the vestry, and a party of citizens. The door had again been locked and barricaded from the inside. Root and Peak had placed a ladder against the door, and with their combined weight attempted to resist the pressure from the outside forces, who, however, had secured a battering ram and sent the door flying on its hinges, and those behind it head first into the seats beyond. The attacking party at once took possession, and a muscular vestryman throttled the chief conspirator, who promised if released to depart in peace. Excitement runs high and many people denounce Root's action. Root claims his wife holds the title to certain reservations expressed in the deed of the church property, which is vested in Bishop Walker and the standing committee of the North Dakota Episcopal diocese.

Wahpeton Times, 2/19/1885

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Posted 02/23/2016