• Source: 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 Reineking 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.


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