On September 7, 1876 Nicolaus Gustafson, a recent immigrant from Sweden, was fatally shot by Cole Younger during the notorious Jesse James Gang's aborted raid on the Northfield bank. Gustafson had ridden into town that morning with Peter Youngquist who lived next to the present church and owned the only span of mules in the Swedish community. After the shooting, the Swedish immigrants met in Youngquist's house and agreed to establish the Christdala church at this site. The criminals escaped through Dundas and Millersburg along the road in front of the church and were captured two weeks later near Madelia. Cole Younger and his brothers pled guilty to four indictments, including the murder of Nicolaus Gustafson, and were sentenced to life terms in the state penitentiary. John Olson, Christdala's carpenter, witnessed the shooting and testified against the Youngers. Nicolaus Gustafson was buried in the Northfield Cemetery and his brother Peter, along with Peter Youngquist, became founding members of Christdala.