Lisa has taught Sunday School at Zion, served as a confirmation guide, in the nursery, and delivered Meals on Wheels.
Lisa grew up on the Mattson family farm that looked across the field to Zion’s historic Marysville Church near Waverly. She is a lifelong member of Zion, has been married to her husband Don for 30 years, and has three sons, Eric (and his wife Caitlin), Mitchell and Brett.
Lisa co-owns The Travel Gallery in Buffalo and has been a professional travel consultant for over 33 years. She enjoys reading, spending time with her kids and heading “up north” to their family cabin.
Lisa’s great-grandfather, along with other Swedish immigrants in the Marysville area, was a founding member of Swedesburg Evangelical Lutheran Church in Marysville Township in 1873. The Swedesburg or Marysville Church was served by Pastor John S. Nelson, who also served Carlslund Evangelical Lutheran Church (which later became Zion Lutheran Church). Lisa’s great grandfather, grandfather, and father all attended the church at Marysville and even attended the country school that was located there.
The current building that we know as the Marysville church was built in 1891-1893 with brick donated by J. M Peterson and Carl Kingsted on a lot given by Andrew Gust Peterson. The original building of hewn logs from 1874 was sold for $30 and removed in 1893.
One story that my Grandmother told was that when she married my Grandfather and first came to Marysville the men and women sat on opposite sides of the church, but my Grandmother sat next to my Grandpa and turned a few heads!
In June of 1950, the members of Swedesburg voted to disband and join with the congregation at Buffalo. It was resolved at Zion’s January 9, 1951 annual meeting that they recognize that Swedesburg Congregation had been dissolved and its members affiliated with Zion Lutheran Church at Buffalo.
The Marysville church building then fell into disrepair after and became the target of vandals for many years.
In the 1960s or 70s Lisa’s grandparents, Clinton and Alice Mattson, along with many of the other original Marysville descendants and neighbors in the area, began the Marysville Preservation fund by selling commemorative plates and taking individual donations. The original restoration of the Marysville Church also involved countless volunteer hours and was completed in time for the celebration of the centennial of the Swedesburg congregation in 1973. A noted guest at the centennial celebration was Hubert H. Humphrey, who attended in his Model T Ford.
When her grandmother, Alice, became too ill to continue as treasurer of the Marysville Preservation Fund, Lisa took over her duties, keeping track of project payments and coordinating the annual Marysville clean-up.
Lisa’s father Richard Mattson has served as the regular usher for Monday evening worship services at Marysville for many years. Services are held at 7pm on Monday evenings during June, July, and August.
Lisa has always loved the ice cream socials at Marysville, and is grateful to Zion’s church council for helping reinstate the tradition a few years ago. This event attracts both Zion members and local residents.
When I visit Marysville alone and sit in silence I think about the many people that have passed through her doors, the births, deaths and marriages, and how God has been with us through it all.
Many of those baptisms and marriages have been within Lisa’s family. Two of her sons baptisms, two of her nephew’s sons baptisms, a niece’s and a cousin’s weddings were all celebrated at Marysville.
My hope for Marysville church is that we can continue to preserve our building for many generations of Zion members and the community, and I want to express my gratitude for all the time and donations that so many have given towards that goal.
The Marysville preservation has been almost wholly funded by private donations and designated offerings along with services and materials from many generous donors. Donations to the Marysville Preservation Fund can be made at any time using a Zion pew envelope marked ‘Marysville Preservation Fund.’
Photo provided by Lisa Mills: (L-R) Richard & Renee Mattson, Lisa (with Eric) & Don Mills, pictured at Eric’s baptism at Marysville in 1986