Contributed by Dorene Newman



St. John's Lutheran Church

(one mile north of Riplinger, WI before it was moved into Riplinger) 


A Brief History of St. John's Lutheran Church Riplinger WI

Compiled from research of old records and recollections by Mr. Reuben Rex

Transcribed by Ken Wood.


The first church group met at the Peter Fritz Store (Corner Store) located in the Town of Unity, Section 6, on County Trunk K, where it crosses the railroad and the Poplar River and was located between the river and the now existing town road going west on K. (Pine Lane) Fritz saw mill was located (north) cross the road.


How often they met is somewhat vague (two times a month). $87.75 for the first year salary, plus oats and hay for the horse.  Loose offering (Klingbeutel Geld) was $8.47. One of the members built a pulpit in one corner and gave it a nice coat of red paint.  When the preacher put his hands on the lower rim, he had a nice smear on them.  Julius Luchterhand was the first president on record. Chairs that are in use today were bought in Unity.


It was decided to build a new church and land was bought from August Lemke for $60.00 where our present cemetery is located today on County K & Q and was named Friedens Gemeinde.  All services were in the German language until 1919 when it was half and at times 3 to 1.


In 1907 the church was built.  Frank Meyer (98) and his brother George were the main carpenters.  As the tower was built, a tornado shifted it and it had to be pulled plumb by block and tackle with horses.  That's why it is double nailed.  $196.00 was the carpenter bill.  $25.00 was the mason bill for Riemer Bros.  Bright's Mill, west of Atwood, made the shingles which were hauled by wagon by William Domer Sr. and George Miller.  The bell was bought from ears Roebuck and was hailed by sleigh from Unity by George Miller.  As was the custom those days everybody that was able helped build the church.  Lumber was bought from the Peter Fritz and Ed Pershke Mills at Unity.  Pershke made the wainscoting, flooring, etc. and I believe the pews.  ($210.00) Cornerstone was $2.85.  The Dedication (Einveiung) netted $29.50 on September 30, 1907.


At the Poplar River, singing was led by the minister by voice or violin.  Mrs. George (Jennie) Miller was the first organist in the new church.  The Domer boys were the janitors during the early years.  There were other donations of hardwood lumber for flooring, sand and gravel.



The church as it was being move to this location.

Photo provided by Helen Vater Blaha


In 1923 the church was moved to Riplinger by steam engine by Arthur Wisnosky and others.  A mover from Spencer started to move it and a mover from Neillsville finished the job.  Land for the new location was purchased from the Riplingers for $200.00.  The north addition was built in 1943.  Lynn Pickett and Otto Schulz were the carpenters.  Ten stained glass windows were donated by ten members of the congregation.  In 1945 the first school, built in 1915 in Riplinger, was bought from the District for $1,000.00 and was remodled into a parsonage for rev. August Quandt (1945-1949).  He worked hard with other volunteers.  In 1950, during Rev. Pagels stay, the small church which served as Sunday School and was located on the southwest corner of the present church property, was moved to its present location at the parsonage for a garage.  (I rode the roof to clear the wires.) The parsonage was sold to Reuben & Olga Rex in 1964.


In 1963 we merged with North Spencer (Missouri) congregation.  In 1977 a well was drilled at the church.  In 1979 a new front addition was started in November and was dedicated April 20, 1980.  Source: Reuben Rex.



St. John's Lutheran Church, Riplinger, WI, October 2013

Photo provided by Helen Vater Blaha


Friedens Gemeinde or Peace Congregation, town of Unity, Wisconsin, was organized in 1892 by Herman Hardrath Sr., Mr. Kiessig, and Louis Boettcher.

These men bought an old store from Pete Fritz located on the.  Popple River, west of the railroad track on what is now County Trunk K.

In 1907 the new church was built 11/2 miles north of Riplinger and was moved to its present site in the village in 1923. They joined together with the congregation in the village, who met in what is Reuben Rex's garage, and became St. John's Congregation.

The following pastors served: Pastor Wm. Reul, 1890, from Loyal, Wis. Pastor Emil Eske, 1922 - 1927. Pastor August Deaeger, 1927- 1929. Pastor August Quandt, 1930 - 1934. Pastor Werner Gamb, 1934 1938. Pastor Franklin Albrecht, 1938 - 1941. Pastor Gerhart Reiff, 1941 - 1943, served out of Marshfield. Pastor James Behrens, 1943 - 1945, Marshfield. Pastor August Quandt, 1945 - 1949, Riplinger. Pastor T. S. F. Pagels, 1949 - 1951. Pastor Paul Mail, 1951 - 1959. Pastor B. F. Matter, 1959 - 1963, Marshfield. Pastor M. L. Yonker, 1963 - 1968, Spencer. Pastor David Ault, 1969.

The Ladies Aid was organized in 1904 with eleven ladies on the membership list. The Lutheran Women Missionary League was organized by Mrs. H. W. Hardrath through Mrs. Ferne, Marshfield, Wis. in 1930. On Sept. 18, 1932, the church celebrated its 25th anniversary. Two active charter members were William Dommer Sr., and Henry Hardrath. On Sept. 22, 1957, the church celebrated its 50th anniversary. The only member of the local congregation to enter the ministry was Immanuel H. Kuester who gave the anniversary address.

In 1946 the first South Grove School was made into a parsonage for Pastor A. Quandt. In May of 1964 Mr. and Mrs. Reuben Rex bought this property.  Source: excerpt from the Unity Centennial Newspaper, 1974.




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