Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

October 2, 1996, Page 36

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 

Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI 

By Dee Zimmerman


The Neillsville Press


September 1936


St. John’s Lutheran Celebrates Golden Jubilee


On Jan. 10, 1886, at Neillsville, a little flock of six families received the Rev. Ad. Hoyer of Princeton, Wis. into it’s midst to administer the means of grace.  The Christians readily followed the plan suggested to engage a student (to) teach school and conduct services.  Mr. H. H. Ebert of the Theological Seminary at Milwaukee was the first student to serve.  Rev. Ebert is now pastor of Saron Lutheran Church of Milwaukee, writing a letter regarding the Golden Jubilee: “I am willing to serve on the occasion mentioned and to preach the English Jubilee sermon on Sept. 6th.  I was sent by the faculty in the middle of Jan. 1886.  Mr. H. North met me at the depot and on the way to his home introduced me to Mr. B. Dangers.  With North’s I had my quarters until mid April.  On Sunday, I preached my sermon and opened the Christian Day School on Monday morning.  The entire curriculum of the Public School was adopted in the church school and also the text books used.  For religious training and German the text books of our Synod were used.  Services were conducted regularly every Sunday afternoon in the local Presbyterian Church and school held in the small office on a side street in the heart of the city.  Between 18 and 20 pupils were enrolled the first day and when I left, the enrollment had passed the 30 mark.  On Saturday afternoon the Bible Class was attended by the pupils of the 8th and 9th grades.  Mrs. Clara Dangers, who later became the wife of Rev. Eppling, played the organ in the divine services.  Before I left, a larger room for our Day School was secured across the river.  On account of a stubborn sore throat, I was compelled to leave.”


Mr. F. J. Eppling then took charge of the little struggling flock, delivering his first sermon on Apr. 20, 1886.  The next months characterized a growing feeling among the local Christians to unite into a congregation.  Sept. 6, 1886, Prof. August Graebner of the Theological Seminary at Milwaukee, conducted divine services with the celebration of Holy Communion, and organized a Lutheran congregation.


The document of organization was signed by: H. Meyer, H. W. Meyer, H. A. North, C. F. Schultz, R. Knoop, Ad Radke, H. Blum, Aug. Wesenberg, Ad Madersohn, F. Glascow, H. Miller, H. Saupe, E. Lustig, Wm. Rabenow, H. Klann, F. Karstens, and John Karstens.  On Nov. 10, 1886, these men, with Fr. Knoop, S. Reineke, Carl Kuhlman and C. Schultz, chose their newly organized congregation the name: St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Congregation.


The first resident pastor called was Student F. Eppling.  Ordination and installation services were held on the Festival of Easter 1887.


The committee of B. Dangers, H. A. North, and Simon Reeniking found suitable property for church and school which was purchased for $250.00.  It was located in the so-called “Hewett Block” now 5th and Oak Street.


St. John’s Lutheran Church first worship structure built on the corner of Oak and 5th Streets in 1886.  The new church and school buildings were erected in 1968, three blocks west of the 1886 structure.


On June 12, 1887, the corner stone was laid for the new church.  The chronicles of the congregation enumerate the following articles that were placed in the cornerstone: “Bible, Luther’s Catechism, School Journal, Gemeindeblatt, the Germania, the Milwaukee Sentinel, the Local times, the local German paper, a history of the congregation with the Constitution of the Wisconsin Synod.” 


The church was erected at the cost of $3,390.  On Oct. 8, 1887, the congregation gathered at the Presbyterian Church, which they had been using for house of worship.  It must have been a grand spectacle, as they left the Presbyterian Church, walked down the slope advancing westward in procession, toward the nearby new church, their new place of worship.


Rev. Eppling served until Mar. 1890 when he accepted another call.  Rev. Christian A. F. Doehler was the next pastor.  On Nov. 30 the decision was made to build a school house, 23’ x 34’ on the church property north of the church building.  All labor was freely given in building the school, materials cost was $300 and the Ladies Aid purchased the benches.  The school was dedicated in the spring of 1891.  A new bell was placed in the church tower the following year.  The bell had a golden inscription “Come for all things are now ready.” Luke 14:19.


On Oct. 30, 1892, Rev. F. Thrun was installed after Doehler’s departure.  A meeting of Jan. 1, 1893, the congregation decided to build a parsonage.  The Ladies Aid purchased a lot on Fourth and Oak Streets for $200.  The parsonage was erected for $1.053.  In 1904, discussions were held in regard to purchasing land for a church cemetery.  The idea was finally dropped.


Pastor Thrun served pastoral duties for nearly 12 years.  On Aug. 4, 1904, news was received that Pastor H. Brandt of Naugart, Wis. had accepted the call.  During his pastorate the congregation enlarged both church and school.  In 1906 the old school house was given a new location on the lot north of the church property, sixth and Oak Street with an addition of 38 x 40 feet.  Members who had charge of the work were: H. Bieneck, H. Bartell, L. Duge, E. Wiedenhoeft, and Wm. Rindfleisch.  In 1912 it became necessary to increase the seating capacity of the church.  In the May meeting the church council made plans to build 12 x 24 ft. additions on both sides of the old church building.  The church took on the shape of a large cross and was constructed of brick veneer.  A Silver Jubilee celebration was held in Dec. 1912 rededicating the remodeled church building.  The committee consisted of Frank Hemp, A. Radke, H. Berger and B. Dangers.


The congregation dedicated a Reuter organ for the cost of $3,350.  That committee consisted of Aug. Marg, Fred Hemp, Albert Ott, Ernest Grottke, and Henry Naedler.  In 1926 the congregation accepted the recommendation of the committee of W. C. Thoma, Harry Wilsman, and Henry Naedler to purchase the A. F. Radke residence bordering on the west side of the church property for the sum of $3,800.  It was to be used as a teacher’s home.


Rev. Brandt served as the pastor for 24 years, leaving in 1928.  There were 400 communicant members at that time.


Pastor Wm. A. Baumann of Elk Mound, Wis., accepted the call and was installed on Sept. 2, 1928, by Rev. V. Keiper of Mapleworks.


Rev. William A. Baumann was pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church during its 50th Anniversary in 1936.



On Nov. 3, 1915 plans for the Golden Jubilee were made, the following year, Sept. 6, 1936, special services were held for the 50th anniversary.


Members who served on the committee were: Wm. Duge, Herbert Borde, Paul Bartell, Emil Schoenfeld, Frank Knoop, and F. W. Kluhsman (Kluhsmann?).  The congregation also decided to make three commitments: Remodel the school house, re-shingle the church and paint the interior and to create a Golden Jubilee Fund for a new church building.  (Their new church building was built in 1968 at another site three blocks west of the first church building.)


50th Anniversary Planning Committee of the St. John’s Lutheran Church were: Sitting: Left to Right, Emil Schoenfeld, Frank Knoop, Herbert Borde, William Duge  Second Row: left to right, Paul Bartell, Martin Bohn, F. W. Kluhsmann


 June 1936


Sherwood Church Dedication held on Sunday, June 7.


A large congregation gathered in attendance at the new Community Church in the Town of Sherwood on Sunday.  There were more people than could find entrance into the church building.  Rev. G. W. Longenecker of Neillsville preached the dedicatory sermon, speaking on Church Unity.  Rev. Dawson of Nasonville gave the scripture reading and also read a history of the movement which led to the erection of the building.


Rev. O’Neill, pastor of the Congregational Church at Pittsville offered the opening prayer and pronounced the benediction.


The movement to build a church at Sherwood corner began back in 1922, about 14 years ago.  The idea originated with Mrs. Geo. Pedman (Redman?) who with her husband had come from Chicago and settled on a farm in the Town of Sherwood.  The matter was talked over among a group of women in the neighborhood, and on Nov. 8, 1922, a meeting was held and an organization affected.


 Mrs. Redman (Pedman?) was elected president, Mrs. D. A. Sheeler, vice president, Mrs. F. J. Marcus, secretary; and Mrs. C. W. Lawson as treasurer.  Besides these officers the following joined as charter members: Mrs. E. Ziemendorf, Mrs. J. Coulthard, Mrs. R. Lawson, Mrs. A. Gall, and Mrs. P. L. Riese. 


They named the organization “The Community Club” and declared its purpose to be the building of a Community Church at some future time or to pay a minister to come and preach to us as we desire or see fit.


Plans were laid for raising money by suppers, socials, sales, etc.  Each year in the fall a big chicken pie supper was served, these soon became so natural that patrons came from far and near to partake and praise these remarkable meals.  Slowly funds were collected until the ladies felt safe in starting work on the building which was dedicated last Sunday.


It is full paid for as far as it has gone but some funds are still needed to fully equip the interior.  These will be secured as time goes on and contributions for this purpose will be thankfully received.


It is a beautiful little church with a sufficient seating capacity for the needs of the neighborhood, has a neat and commodious basement where suppers can be served – in fact it exactly fits the needs of the community.  (Art Carl, of Neillsville, was the carpenter who with other workers put up the structure.)


Besides the four charter members, Mr. and Mrs. A. M. Blakely, Mrs. Ralph Schultz, Mrs. O. Brinkmeier, Mrs. Geo. Fluegel, Mrs. A. Sparks, Mrs. A. Falk, Mrs. H. Florence, Mrs. F. Jues, Mrs. J. Coulthard, Mrs. A. Gerke, and Mrs. Mosier are active members.


Correction on last week’s 128th Infantry photo, two names that should have been Sheridan T. Bracken and Thomas A. Flynn



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