100th ANNIVERSARY 1907 – 2007

(Click to enlarge)

St. John's Church, Riplinger, (above) was first built north of town in 1907, then moved to its current location in 1923.


A Brief History of our Congregation 

Friedens Gemeinde, Town of Unity, Wisconsin, was organized in 1882. In 1907, a new church was built which was located 1 ½ miles north of Riplinger until it was moved to its present location in 1923. At this time the congregation of Friedens Gemeinde renamed the church to Saint John’s Congregation. 

The following is a list of pastors, past and present, who have served the congregation.



Years Served



Rev. J. Meissner

1882 - 1890

Rev. Ruel

1890 - 1903

Rev. William Lange

1903 - 1910

Rev. Emil Kemena

1910 - 1916

Rev. B. E. Matter

1916 - 1922

Rev. Emil Eske

1922 - 1927

Rev. August Draeger

1927 - 1929

Rev. August Quandt

1930 - 1934

Rev. Werner Gamb

1934 - 1938

Rev. Franklin Albrecht

1938 - 1941

Rev. Gerhard Reiff

1941 - 1943

Rev. James Behrens

1943 - 1944

Rev. August Quandt

1945 - 1949

Rev. T.S.F. Pagels

1949 - 1951

Rev. Paul Mall

1951 - 1959

Rev. E. F. Matter

1959 - 1963

Rev. M. L. Yonker

1963 - 1968

Rev. David J. Ault

1969 - 1999

Rev. Johnson

1999 - 2001

Rev. Gjerde

2001 - 2003

Rev. Lowell Bolstad (interim)

2003 - 2004

Rev. Rebekah Tarras

2004 - present


Pastor Rebekah Tarras


A Story of the Church

(History compiled from research of old records and recollections of Mr. Reuben Rex)

 The first church group met at the Peter Fritz Store (Corner store) located in the Town of Unity, Section 7, on County Trunk K, where it crosses the railroad and the Poplar River. 

How often they met is somewhat vague (two times a month). The pastor’s salary was $87.75 for the first year, plus oats and hay for the horse. Loose offering, otherwise known as Klingbeutel Geld, was $8.47. One of the members built a pulpit in one corner and gave it a good 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 council president on record. The chairs purchased in Unity are in use today.

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

In 1907, the new church was built; Frank Meyer (98) and his brother George were the main carpenters. As the construction on the tower was underway, a tornado shifted it, and had to be pulled plumb by block and tackle with horses. The carpenter’s bill for this was $196.00. The shingles made by Riemer Bros. Brights Mill, west of Atwood, were hauled by wagons by William Domer Sr. and George Miller and the cost of the mason bill was $25.00. The bell was purchased from Sears, Roebuck, and was hauled by sleigh from Unity by George Miller. The lumber was purchased from the Peter Fritz and Ed Perschke Mills in Unity. Perschke made the wainscoting, flooring, etc. and, I believe, the pews ($210.00). The cornerstone cost $2.85. The Dedication (Einveiung) on Septmeber 30, 1907 netted $29.50. 

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

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 Riplinger’s for $200.00. Lynn Pickett and Otto Schulz built the north addition (Altar) in 1943. Ten members of the congregation donated ten stained glass windows. In 1945, the first school, built in 1915 in Riplinger, was purchased from the District for $1,000.00 and was remodeled into a parsonage for Rev. August Quandt (1945 – 1949). 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). Rueben and Olga Rex purchased the parsonage in 1964.

 In 1963, we merged with the North Spencer (Missouri) Congregation. In 1977, the well was drilled for the church. In 1978, construction on the new front addition began in November and was dedicated April 20, 1980. 


(Click to enlarge)

St. John's Lutheran Church

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


Church was built 

Chancel was purchased 

Peter Fritz provided chairs



Peter Fritz provided pews



Church moved to Riplinger  



New constitution for church written in English 

All meeting minutes written in English



Reed organ purchased ($400 - $550) 

Circulated petition to close local taverns on Sunday  


(Click to enlarge)

The church altar area (above) was added in 1943.


Stained glass windows purchased and installed 

Chancel addition (north side)  



Wood graining and varnishing completed 

Parsonage purchased from Riplinger



Well was drilled (86 feet at $3.00 a foot) 



Basement painted 

Floors sanded


Shingled church roof



Painted church 

Church carpeted (blue and grey color)



Communion set purchased 



Purchased electric organ 



Purchased oil furnace



Fluorescent lighting in basement installed 

Installed electrical stove in basement



Voting age lowered to 18 

Interior of church painted 

Ceiling blocks in basement installed 

Outside light installed



Re-cemented basement floor 

Exterior of church painted 

New cupboards installed in kitchen



Basement painted



Installed second stove in kitchen 

New carpet installed (tan / brown) 

New front doors installed 

Hymn board donated by Harold Block



Painted basement floor 

Installed storm windows 

Installed water heater / wiring 

Drilled another well for church  


Purchased new church pews 

Front steps removed 

Entrance to church and restrooms built  



Storm door installed on northeast side (basement)



75th Anniversary 

Outside basement wall painted 

Ceiling fan donated by Duane and Dorothy Neuman 


Painted exterior of church 

Church roof re-shingled 

A painting of church donated by Jean Hebert


Church left the Missouri Synod 

Joined the American Lutheran


Church congregation deleted from the constitution “Women vote only on issues pertaining to local congregation”



Exterior light on the east side of building donated by Harold Block 

New ceiling lights installed

Church cornerstone re-engraved



New entryway doors installed 



Dorothy Neuman first woman president of Saint John’s 

American Lutheran and Evangelical Lutheran merge forming ELCA 

The Minnie Newman memorial was used to purchase speakers for the church 



Painted the east and west sides of the new edition  



Due to a lightning strike, repairs to the electrical system, organ, and PA system were done



Repairs on roof due to lightning strike 

Bell tower painted by Hetchler



Church re-sided by Yanke construction 

Church members removed old siding from building  


Painting of interior of the church was completed by Bossway Painting 

Judine Block donated 50 new hymnals to the church 

New carpeting throughout the church, entryway and stairs was installed 

Keith Porter family removed and remounted rain gutters and down spouts on the eaves 




Article I Name: 

The name of the society shall be: Saint John’s Lutheran Ladies Aid. 

Article II Object: 

The general object of this society shall be to become more active in fulfilling our duties as Christians and as members of this congregation. Special objects shall be: 


  1. A prayerful study of missions


  1. Active mission work in our own congregation and surroundings


  1. Comforting and helping the sick and needy in our own midst and elsewhere


  1. To work for a true Christian sociability among the members of our congregation and others.

  2. To gather funds to be used according to the vote of the society. No money should be raised by raffles or other objectionable methods.

Article III Membership: 

Active membership shall be granted to any female communicant member of Saint John’s Church. Others are heartily welcomed as associate members. All members shall sign this constitution. Associate members shall have all the rights, privileges and duties of the society, except that of holding office. 

Article IV Officers: 

Officers of this society shall be:


  1. A president


  1. A secretary


  1. A treasurer


  1. A vice president


Elections of officers shall be by ballot


Article V Meetings:


One regular meeting shall be held every month. The annual business meeting shall be held in January. Special meetings may be held whenever necessary.


Article VI Dues:


All members shall pay a regular monthly fee of not less than 15 cents


Article VII:


This constitution may be changed at any time by a 2/3 vote of the members present at any regular or special meeting


Meetings shall be held according to the following order:


  1. Open with song, scripture lesson and prayer


  1. Roll call by secretary


  1. Secretary’s report


  1. Treasurer’s report


  1. Committee’s report


  1. Election of officers, receive new members


  1. Business


  1. Dues


  1. Adjournment


  1. Lunch

There was no year mentioned when this was written, however, according to secretary’s reports, on February 3, 1927, a motion was made and seconded that Reverend Eske draw up a constitution written in English. Old secretary reports state that the name has changed over time, from the Ladies Aid to Saint John’s Mission Aid, St. John’s Lutheran Aid Society – American Lutheran Church Women, to Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America or WECLA. It has always followed through that the society be ever mindful of the mission work to be done here, at home, and around the world, as Christians to members of our congregation, and community. In the place of dues, we contribute what we are able to give to our local unit and gifts to help sponsor any synod needs. We give special items and gifts to the Sunday school teachers, the confirmation students, graduates, baptismal members, service members, elderly, the sick and unfortunate. We continue with the tradition of years ago and have started our own traditions as well. 

Although the name of the Ladies Aid has changed over the years, what we stand for has not.


In 2004, church members found out they were missing a part of their church’s history. An antique signature quilt, dated 1907, was unknown to the members until it became a part of a quilt collector’s exhibit at the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky. The quilt had no known history and the owner had no idea who had previously owned the quilt. Through vigorous research, the museum’s curator traced it back to Riplinger through a descendant from the quilt. 

The history of the quilt begins during the winter of 1907, when a group of neighborhood women living in the immediate area of Riplinger, Town of Unity, joined to make an embroidered signature quilt. This was a fundraising project that was popular in its time. 

Individuals traditionally purchased space on a quilt for a small sum, usually a quarter, to place their signature or have their name embroidered on a fundraising quilt. Typically the quilt was raffled off to the highest bidder or won through some similar event.  

This particular quilt project was undertaken to raise funds for the building of the new church, which was to be built during the summer of 1907. There is no mention of the quilt in the church records, but records indicate that the Lutheran Women’s Circle donated $30 from a fundraising project. Saint John’s Church is the only known church built in the area in 1907. In addition, the vast majority of signers either joined or had relatives or neighbors who joined the church. 

To date, about half of the 80 legible signatures have been identified. Many of the names were traced to relatives who still reside in Clark County of adjoining counties. The quilt will be on display for the Centennial Celebration. 



September 30, 2007 

Church Service 11 A.M. 

Dinner 12:30 P.M. 

Music Program 1:30 P.M. 

Social Hour 2:15 P.M.

Menu for the day: Hot beef and chicken sandwiches, potato and noodle salads, beans, cheese and pickles, Anniversary cake, fruit punch and coffee served also.

 Congregational Photo


(Click to enlarge)

[Left Side] [Right Side]

Front row left to right: Duane and Ila Meacham, John, Jennifer, and Jane Meacham, Mary Gaetz, Lois Block, Audris and Ralph Gaetz, Lance, Iva, Elsa, Mary and Olivia Schuette, Brenda and David Newman.

Second row left to right: Wayne Hendrickson, Sasha and Nichole Otero, Amanda Parker, Joan Miller, Jody and Skylor Riehle, Sharon, Jenna, and Larry Hamus, Dorene and Donald Newman, Lavilla Schilling, Kathryn and LeRoy Dommer.

Back row left to right: Scott, Deana, Sean, and Cody Parker, Matthew and Candi Mertins, Robert and Gail Burns, Pastor Rebekah Tarras, Woodrow and Sherry Schmutlzer, Trish, Payton, Britny, and Keith Porter, Doris and Dennis Seefeld, and Harold Boyer.



© Every submission is protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998.


Show your appreciation of this freely provided information by not copying it to any other site without our permission.


Become a Clark County History Buff


Report Broken Links

A site created and maintained by the Clark County History Buffs
and supported by your generous donations.


Webmasters: Leon Konieczny, Tanya Paschke,

Janet & Stan Schwarze, James W. Sternitzky,

Crystal Wendt & Al Wessel