Marilyn McGriff, a woman of many talents, will be at the Grass Lake Church at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 6, for a free, annaul event hosted by the Friends of Grass Lake Church.
Some of her accomplishments and talents include a historian, author, musician and impersonated to bring history to life. On Oct. 6 she will be doing an impersonation of an early Swedish woman pioneer to this area and demonstrating her Nykelharpa.
Originally from Braham, McGriff has researched and written several books and articles. With Vernon Bergstrom, she wrote “Isanti County, Minnesota - an illustrated history” in 1985. She is a former director of Isanti County Historical Society and edited and published the Isanti County Traveler, an annual tourism newspaper from 1986-2000, with a compilation in 1995 called “Isanti County Collage.”
She wrote histories of two local churches, the Siloa Lutheran Church in 1991 and Cambridge Lutheran Church in 2014. In 2007 she wrote “Isanti County - Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow,” a commemorative book for the county’s 150th anniversary. For the Minnesota Historical Society magazine she wrote,”Minnesota Swedes Raising Cane,” which tells of Swedish Immigrants to Minnesota leaving for Cuba and establishing farms and a Swedish-American settlement.
In addition to doing the impersonation, McGriff will demonstrate her Nykelharpa, a stringed instrument dating from the Middle Ages. She also plays that instrument in two bands.
Recently she wrote her first fiction book using actual stories from this area, changing names of people and places, but which are probably familiar to many. It is “Caught in the Lye” which refers to the method of preparation of Lutefish, so popular, or not, to many in this area. She will have some of the “Lye” books available to purchase at the presentation.
Currently, McGriff has been researching and writing about Swedes who emigrated and settled in an area of St Paul called Swede Hollow. Her book on Swede Hollow will be available shortly. She did a presentation on Swede Hollow on Wednesday, Sept. 11, during an afternoon talk at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis.
The Kanabec County History Center is very pleased to have McGriff at the Historic Grass Lake Church for this free presentation. Refreshments provided. Free will donations appreciated to maintain the church.