[Source: "History of Winona and Olmsted Counties:together with biographical matter, statistics, etc., gathered from matter furnished by interviews with old settlers, county, township and other records, and extracts from files of papers, pamphlets, and such other sources as have been available." Chicago: H.H. Hill and Co., 1883 - KT - Sub by FoFG]
Presbyterian Church.- The First Presbyterian Society of Winona was organized July 15, 1856, and its articles of association will be found recorded on page 198, book F, office of register of deeds. The original board of trustees were Henry Day, D. C. Patterson, M.D., J. T. Smith, Daniel Wells and Samuel Moss. Of these, Mr. Day removed to Elkhart, Indiana, in 1861, and died there some years later; Mr. Wells removed to La Crosse in 1859; Dr. Patterson has been a resident of Washington, D.C., for many years, and J. T. Smith has long since removed to Port Byron, New York, his present residence. Mr. Samuel Moss died in Winona, September 5, 1865. The church organization was effected about six weeks after the formation of the society, August 31, 1856, and numbered fifteen members. Rev. Daniel Ames was at that time supplying the pulpit of the recently formed society, and he was assisted in the church organization by Rev. Jacob E. Conrad, of Rochester, Minnesota. Of the original (fifteen) members who constituted the church at the time of its organization there is not one now residing in this city. The officers elected at the organization of the church were : Henry Day, Samuel Moss and John Morrison, elders; Henry Day, deacon. The only surviving member of the original board of officers is Mr. John Morrison, now residing in St. Charles, in this county. This church was organized under the auspices of the New School branch of the Presbyterian church, and was upon its organization attached to the Blue Earth presbytery. The first pastor of the church was Rev. Daniel Ames, whose pastorate extended from July, 1856, to April, 1858. The first communion of the church was celebrated September 6, 1856. The first baptism was that of Samuel Dean Moss, son of Samuel and Augusta B. Moss, September 6, 1856. The oldest resident members of the church are Mrs. Calista Balcombe, Mr. Dingman Spelman and Mrs. Amelia Spelman, admitted by letter January 18, 1857. The Rev. Daniel Ames having resigned the pulpit of the society in April, 1858, the church was without a regular minister until December of that year, when Rev. D. C. Lyon was called to the pastorate, accepted, entered upon his duties, and maintained his connection with the church until June, 1867, when he resigned to accept the post of synodical missionary. This position he still fills with great acceptability to the church throughout the entire state, by whom he is sincerely beloved and revered. His residence since his removal from Winona has been at St. Paul. Important changes transpired in the condition and relations of the church during Rev. Lyon's administration, who was familiarly known as "Father Lyon," - a sobriquet well deserved, as he was literally as well as officially "father of the church." Soon after his acceptance of the pastorate the church severed its connection with the New School branch of Presbyterianism, and transferring its allegiance to the Old School branch united with the presbytery of Winnebago, Wisconsin. The first place of worship of the little church was a small rude frame building erected in 1856, on Fourth street, between the old Congregational church and the residence of the late Wm. Richardson. This building was materially altered, enlarged and improved soon after Father Lyons assumed charge of the church, and in that condition was occupied by the society until the completion of then- present church edifice on the comer of Main and Fifth streets, fronting the park. The new church was taken possession of in the fall of 1866, at which time the old building was sold to the Unitarian society, by whom it was sold to V. Simson, Esq., and by him converted into dwellings. The new building was erected mainly through the efforts of Father Lyon. The building committee were Messrs. A. F. Hodgins, Wm. Richardson and Hon. Wm. Mitchell. The church edifice, which at the date of its erection was the finest house for religious worship in the city, is of brick, fronting forty feet on Main street; has a total depth of sixty-two feet, and the audience-room proper a seating capacity of 300. To this structure, costing with grounds about $14,000, has since been added a brick lecture-room facing twenty-six and one-half feet on Fifth street, with a total depth of fifty-two feet, and having additional accommodations for 150 persons. The lecture-room is connected with the main auditorium by folding doors, and as occasion demands the whole can be utilized at once, affording accommodation for 450 people.
The pulpit remained vacant after the resignation of Father Lyon, in the summer of 1867, until July 30, 1868, when a call was extended to the Rev. Joseph M. McNulty, who filled the pulpit until his resignation in March, 1871. The church was without a regular pastor until November of that year, when Rev. Rockwood McQuestin (now of Minneapolis) accepted a call as pastor and maintained his connection with the church until September, 1877, when he accepted a call to the Presbyterian church of Waterloo, Iowa, and severed his connection with the society here. The same fall Rev. W. D. Thomas was called to the church and continued as its pastor until December 15, 1880, when he resigned to accept a call extended him by the Presbyterian church of La Crosse, Wisconsin. During Rev. Thomas' administration the lecture-room and infant class-rooms for Sunday-school work were added at a cost of $3,000, and a fine organ placed in the auditorium at an additional expense of $2,400. The church was again without a pastor after the departure of Rev. Thomas until December 1, 1881, when Rev. F. W. Flint, the present incumbent, having accepted the call extended him, entered upon his duties.
The financial condition of the society is good. The maxim of the church management has always been "pay as you go," and with the exception of a small balance still due on the organ the society is without debt.
The present session of the church is composed as follows: Rev. F. W. Flint (ex-officio moderator); P.P. Hubbell, F.F. St. John, J.W. Thomas W.R. Williams and C.O. Goss. The present board of trustees is as follows: A. F. Hodgins, Wm. Mitchell, J.W. Thomas, W.R. Williams, A.M. Dixon. Of these, W. R. Williams is treasurer and C. O. Goss, clerk. The number of members now upon the church rolls is 166, and the total revenue of the church for 1882, including benevolent contributions and Sunday school offerings, was $3,486.47. There have been 103 baptisms since the organization of the church.
Presbyterian Sunday School.-The Sunday school, as first sustained by the church was a union school, and so continued until 1866, when the formal organization of a Sunday school under the immediate direction of the church was perfected. The school had at that time about sixty or seventy scholars, but so imperfect are the records that no specific data can be given. In October of that year, 1866, F. F. St. John assumed charge of the school, and was its superintendent until 1882, when C. O. Goss was elected to that position. This school now numbers about 175, including teachers, and is officered as follows: O.C. Goss, superintendent; W. H. St. John, secretary; H. Thompson, treasurer; Thomas A. Richardson, librarian; F. F. St. John, assistant librarian: Rev. F. W. Flint, present pastor of the church, is a native of the State of New York. He pursued his classical studies at Union College, Schenectady, in his native state, graduating from that institution in the class of 1856. Entering Auburn Theological Seminary, he completed his course of study there, graduating in 1859, and entered upon the work of the ministry immediately afterward. His first pastorate was in Silver Creek, New York. He first came to Minnesota about ten years since, and was in St. Paul prior to coming to this city. Rev. Flint is married, has two children attending school in Winona and one son in Princeton College, New Jersey.
German Presbyterian Church.- On February 10, 1864, according to the desire of the presbytery at St. Charles, Rev. D. C. Lyon and Jacob Kolb were appointed to organize the congregation at Winona.
For a year previous to this time, however, meetings under Mr. J. Kolb, who came as a missionary from Iowa, were held in a hall in Winona. Mr. Kolb's duty and desire was to collect and form a congregation, which he succeeded in doing, with the aid of Rev. D. C. Lyon, in 1864.
Jacob Kolb, the first minister, remained with the congregation from 1863 until 1869. A church was erected at the corner of Fifth and Franklin streets in 1864. The building was a frame structure forty feet long and twenty-eight feet wide. It cost $1,800. Among the prominent members, some of which are residents in Winona to-day, may be mentioned J. Straub, Jacob Kissling, H. Wychgram, Fredrick Moebus, Julius Geise, C. Rohwerder, J. Wettenberg, Edward Pelzer, Michael Kissinger, Conrad Bohn, George Bohn, Christina Bohn, Anna Pelzer and Margaret Wychgram. From 1869 until 1870 the church was without a pastor. In 1870 Augustus Busch took up the work and continued it until 1872. From 1872 until 1875 Earnest Schuette had charge of the congregation. The church was once more without a minister for a period of one year. In 1876 J. Leierer came and remained until 1879. In 1879 Augustus Busch, the present pastor, was called the second time. The congregation at the present writing numbers seventy-five persons. The interior of the church was improved in 1881, at a cost of $250. There is a Sabbath school connected with the church, with an average attendance of sixty-five pupils. Rev. Augustus Busch, the pastor, is the superintendent. He is assisted by ten teachers.
It might be of interest to mention, in connection with this, that this church and another small one situated at Frank Hill, ten miles southeast of Winona, are the only German Presbyterian associations in the state.
The First Congregational church of Winona was organized December 10, 1854. It was the first church formed in Winona, and, so far as is known, in southern Minnesota. It was the Third Congregational church in the state prior to its formation, and as early as the summer of 1852, when there were not more than twenty children on the prairie, a union Sabbath school was held in the house, of Mrs. A. B. Smith. This school was more fully organized in 1853, with Beecher Gore for superintendent. Congregationalists, Baptists and Methodists supported it. Its sessions were held in a little schoolhouse situated on the south side of Second street, between Walnut and Lafayette streets. Here the Congregational church was organized with eighteen members. Rev. H. S. Hamilton, who was in Winona for his health, and who was engaged in secular business, was influential in organizing the church, and both before and after its formation preached as occasion required. The population of Winona at this time was small; its religious life was feeble. The church migrated from house to house, moving from the schoolhouse to a building on the levee, thence to Davidson's Hall, nearly opposite, thence to Hubbard's Hall on Second street, afterward to a room in what was called the bank building, at the corner of Lafayette and Front streets. Its first house of worship was erected in 1856 on the southeast corner of Second and Franklin streets.
The first minister of the church was Rev. H. S. Hamilton, who preached at intervals until 1858. The second minister was Rev. T. T. Waterman, who supplied the church from August, 1856, to October, 1857. The third minister was Rev. David Burt, who commenced his labors May 1, 1858, and continued until August 23, 1866. Rev. J. F. Dudley succeeded him at once, and remained with the church until May 1, 1869. The church was without a regular minister until December 8, 1870, when Rev. H. M. Tenney was installed as its pastor. He resigned May 8, 1875. After an intermission of a year and a half, during which the church was supplied by various ministers, Rev. John H. Morley began his ministry, November 15, 1876, and was installed as pastor March 1, 1877. Of its ministers the first three are dead, and the church remembers gratefully the labors and the sacrifices of these ministers who served them during their weakness. Special mention should be made of the work of Rev. David Burt, under whose ministry the church was unified and took a commanding position in the community.
There have been connected with the church since its formation about six hundred members; of these over two hundred and sixty were admitted upon confession of faith. The present membership is two hundred and sixty-seven. The church is supported by weekly offerings, secured by pledges made at the beginning of the year. Pews are free, but, for the sake of the home feeling, are assigned to those who desire them, that each family may have a home in the Lord's house. The benevolent contributions are also made in weekly offerings secured by a pledge.
The Sabbath school has always been large and flourishing. A large number of children not connected with the families of the church have uniformly been identified with the school. It commonly has a library of about seven hundred volumes. It makes a weekly offering for its own expenses or for benevolent work. The superintendents of the school have been Messrs. H. C. Bolcom, J. C. Laird, W. H. Laird, Wm. Taylor, Wm. Bone, Franklin Staples, M.D., James G. Nind and Irwin Shepard, the latter of whom still continues in office.
Connected with the church and managing its secular affairs there is an ecclesiastical society, organized in 1857. This body is incorporated according to the laws of the state, and owns the church property. The women of the church have a woman's board of missions, devoted to foreign missions, and a ladies' benevolent society which cares for home missions and for the poor of the congregation. The young people have a society called the Gleaners, which is interested in home and foreign missions. In addition, there are the various ladies' meetings without special organization.
The first house of worship, a frame building, was dedicated December 21, 1856. It cost, including lots, $4,000. In the summer of 1863 it was moved to the southeast corner of Lafayette and Fourth streets, and was repaired. In 1868 it was enlarged by lengthening. In 1870 a vestry was built in the rear. In 1882 it was sold and devoted to secular uses. In 1875 a site was selected on the corner of Broadway and Johnson street for a new church. In the autumn of 1879 a subscription was started for building; in the spring of 1880 ground was broken; August 19, the corner-stone was laid with appropriate ceremonies. The building was completed in 1882, and October 8 was formally dedicated to the worship of Almighty God.
Prof. F. W. Fisk, D.D., of Chicago Theological Seminary, preached the sermon, and the pastor offered the prayer of consecration. The church, which was fully paid for prior to the day of dedication, cost, with the lots and furnishing, excluding organ, $38,000. The cost of the building alone was $30,000. It is built of a whitish limestone, trimmed with red sandstone. It has an auditorium seating six hundred and fifty, a chapel for the use of the Sabbath school, holding over five hundred, and various other conveniences. A much larger number can be accommodated, both in the auditorium and the chapel, if occasion requires. The style of architecture is composite. The chapel has a semi-circular room lighted by a dome, with class-rooms surrounding, all of which can be thrown together. For beauty and convenience, as well as for thoroughness of work, the house is believed to be one of the finest in the Northwest. Mr. W. H. Wilcox, of Chicago, is the architect.
This church, in common with other Congregational churches, lives in fellowship with the churches of its order, both accepting and giving advice; but it is independent of all ecclesiastical control, acknowledging only the supreme authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is democratic in government, all its affairs being controlled by the adult membership. It believes in evangelical religion, and requires of those seeking to enter its communion credible evidence of conversion and Christian character. In promoting the religious life of the community, and so building society in temperance, righteousness, patriotism and education; in securing the religious nurture of the young, both in its own families and in neglected households; in practical interest in missionary operations at home and abroad, this church is doing good work.
St. Paul's Protestant Episcopal Church.-This parish was organized pursuant to the territorial laws of Minnesota, under the direction of Rev. J. S. Van Lugen, secretary of the Protestant Episcopal church for Minnesota, May 13, 1856, as St. Paul's church in the city of Winona. At this time there was not a male communicant to participate in the organization, nor had any of the officers or incorporators made a personal profession of religion. The Rev. E. P. Gray was the first missionary of the new parish and continued his services here nearly one year, when upon the advice of the bishop, Rev. B. Evans, living at that time upon his farm in Rolling Stone township, officiated at morning services as his health would permit. In February, 1862, Rev. J. H. Waterbury was sent by Bishop Whipple to look after the interests of the parish, at which time there were two male and three female communicants. The following month Mr. Waterbury assumed charge of the parish as its rector, upon invitation of the vestry, and his salary was fixed at $600 per annum. The society had been worshiping since its organization in the hall of the Huff house, then in the Lamberton warehouse, and finally in a hall over Wheeler's store on Centre street, which latter place was burned in the great fire of July, 1862, entailing a loss of $500 upon the parish. During that summer afternoon services were held in the Presbyterian and Baptist churches, until at Christmas time the society took possession of a building they had inclosed on the corner of Fifth and Lafayette streets, upon a lot donated them by Asa Forsyth, Esq. This building was completed and consecrated June 10 of that year (1863), the total cost of building being about $2,500. The church continued its services here until the fall of 1870, when the building was removed to the corner of Fifth and Broadway streets, and the lot it had occupied was sold. In the new location the removed building was refitted for worship, and occupied by the church until they took possession of their present beautiful and commodious edifice, Christmas day, 1874. For this new structure ground was broken in the summer of 1873, the corner-stone laid September 25 of that year, and the whole completed as it now stands, and occupied as above stated, December 25, 1874. The extreme length of the structure is 115 feet, main 80x48 feet, chancel 26x25 feet, width of nave 44 feet, seating capacity (500). The walls are of dressed stone, the porch and tower floors are handsomely tiled and the inside finished in white ash and black walnut woods. There are eighteen beautiful memorial windows, the richest of which is that at the south end of the building, opposite the chancel, commemorative of the pastorate of the Rev. T. M. Riley, rector of the parish from July, 1869, to October, 1872. The entire cost of building and furnishing, including the bell and a superb organ,
costing $3,500, has been about $35,000.
The successive rectors of St. Paul's have been Rev. Theodore Holcomb (Rev. Waterbury's successor), from April, 1865, to April, 1869; Rev. T. M. Riley, from July, 1869, to October, 1872; Rev. R. M. Laurie, from December, 1872, to June 30, 1877, when his resignation was rendered imperative on account of failing health; Rev. Charles W. Ward, from December, 1877, until April, 1879, and the present incumbent, Rev. E. J. Purdy, who became rector in June, 1879.
The original officers of the church were: Noah L. Smith, warden; Thomas E. Bennett, treasurer; R. H. Bingham, clerk. Their nomination was made at the Easter meeting of the society in 1857, and their appointment, which was duly made by J. W. Van Lugen, D.D., then secretary of the Protestant Episcopal church in Minnesota, bears date April 27, 1857.
The present parish officers are: W. H. Yale, senior warden; W. H. Hulburt, junior warden; W. J. Whipple, clerk, and Wm. Cunningham, treasurer. Messrs. W. J. Whipple, O. M. Wheeler, Charles Horton, L. B. Frost and Wm. Cunningham compose the vestry. The present number of communicants at St. Paul's is 175, and there are 105 families included in the parish. Since the organization of the parish in 1856 there have been 477 baptisms and 271 confirmations.
The first record of the Sabbath school connected with the parish bears date 1862, but there are no authentic minutes of its organization. The number of persons at that time connected with the Sabbath school was about 60, present number nearly 200. The officers of the school are: Rev. E. J. Purdy, rector; Wm. A. Cunningham, superintendent; E. S. Gregory, treasurer, and Harry Raymond, secretary and librarian.
Rev. E. P. Purdy, rector of St. Paul's, is a native of Connecticut and a graduate of Phillips Academy, Exeter, New Hampshire, class of 1853. Four years later, 1857, he took his degree from Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, and when entered the Theological Seminary of New York, from which he graduated in 1860. That same year he was invested with deacons' orders in Trinity, New York, and two years later was ordained priest in Louisville, Kentucky. His first parish was Washington, Arkansas, over which he was settled in 1860, and which he was still serving when the war broke out, was arrested as a military spy at Memphis on his way north, and released through the representations of Military Bishop Pope. November 25, 1862, Rev. Purdy was commissioned chaplain in the regular army, and served until the close of the war. Since then he has been constantly engaged in pastoral work. He was at New Albany and Logansport, Indiana, prior to coming to Minnesota in 1869. He has three children, two in school in this city and one son in college at Fairibault in this state.
The First Methodist Episcopal Church of Winona was organized, April 22, 1855, by Rev. David Brooks, presiding elder of Minnesota district Wisconsin conference. Its first members were Joel Smith and wife, William T. Luark and wife, and Mrs. Mary Stockton. Rev. A. J. Nelson, F. A. Conwell and Esdras Smith, in the order named, were temporary pastors (supplies) for a few months each, by appointment of the presiding elder, from April, 1855, until August, 1856, when J. W. Stogdill was appointed, who served for two years. The first Sunday school was organized in March, 1856, and D. M. Evans and Thomas Simpson were appointed to superintend and procure money for a library. This year the first church building was erected, and dedicated November 16, 1856. It was a plain, substantial wooden house, dimensions 44x60 feet, and located just north of the site of the present building, corner of Lafayette and Fifth streets. The second session of the Minnesota annual conference was held in this house in August, 1857, Bishop E. R. Ames presiding.
The following ministers have filled the office of pastor in this church at the times and in the order named: Geo. A. Phoebus, 1858-9; John Quigley, 1859-60; Jabez Brooks, D.D., 1860-61; Lias Bolles, 1861-62; J. S. Peregrine, 1862-64; Edward Eggleston, 1864-66; William McKinley, 1866-69; Chauncey Hobart, D.D.; 1869-70; Earl Cranston, 1870-71; Cyrus Brooks, D.D., 1871-74; William McKinley, 1874-77; Isaac Crook, D.D., 1877-80; William McKinley, 1880-82.
In 1872 the present church was built and dedicated at a cost (including ground) of about $20,000. In 1874 Olive Branch mission was organized, and the chapel built by the Young Men's Christian Association, purchased for its use. Rev. L. Wright was its first pastor, 1877-8, followed by Rev. Wm. Soule, 1878-9, under whose pastorate Wesley mission, in the east end of the city, was organized. These two missions constitute one charge, now under care of Rev. James Door, who followed Mr. Soule. A good substantial church was built at the east end in 1881, at a cost of $4,500, and an equally good one in 1882, at the west end, at about the same cost.
The membership of first church has been reduced by numerous removals, and by transfers to the east and west missions. Its present membership is 250; mission churches, 120; German Methodist Episcopal church, 75; total Methodist membership, 445; First church Sunday school, 300; Mission church Sunday school, 250; German Methodist Episcopal church Sunday school, 150; total Sunday schools, 700.
German Methodist Episcopal church.-This congregation, organized in October, 1860, grew out of the English Methodist Episcopal church. The church building was erected on the corner of Fifth and Liberty streets in 1859, at a cost of $3,000. The first pastor was John Westerfeld, who remained until 1860. After Rev. Westerfeld came a line of twelve ministers; they are as follows : Herman Richter, 1860-61; W. Traeger, 1861-62; Wm. Fiegenbaum, 1862-65; Wm. Schreimer, 1865-66; Geo. Hoerger, 1866-67; Edward Schuette, 1867-69; Fredrich Rinder, 1869-70; August Lamprechd, 1870-72; John Hansen, 1872-74; J. L. Schaefer, 1874-77; Geo. Hoerger, 1877-80; Wm. Koerner, the present minister, 1880-82-83.
In 1878 the church was remodeled and improved by the addition of a spire. There are now 75 members, some of whom reside in the country. A Sabbath school was organized with the church; it has 150 pupils, 28 teachers and a library of 220 volumes.
Catholic Churches.- The Catholic church as an organized body began its mission in Winona county in 1856. Previous to this time priests had traversed with zeal the entire county; but beyond a few emblems of the great mysteries of the Holy Trinity, incarnation and redemption found on the remains of early Catholic voyagers buried on the banks of the Mississippi, there are but slight traces of their zeal. As early as April, 1841, the Rev. A. Ravoux, now the vicar-general of the diocese of St. Paul, made the site of Winona a resting-place on one of his journeys from St. Paul to Prairie du Chien. In 1856 the Rev. Joseph Cretin, the first bishop of Minnesota and Dakota, visited Winona and organized the few Catholics into a parish, and in 1857 he appointed Rev. Thomas Murray to visit and attend the wants of the new religious settlement. Father Murray selected two lots in what is now the southwestern corner of the first ward as likely to be the very center of a thriving city. He prepared to put up a frame building, suitable for church use and future residence or school purposes. The church received the name of "St. Thomas." Rev. A. Oster, then on mission duty throughout Minnesota, made occasional visits to the little congregation, and in 1857 succeeded in completing the church. In July, 1858, the Rev. Michael Prendergast succeeded him, and became the first resident Catholic pastor of Winona. His first work was to organize into an energetic band the Catholics about the country. Through his energy a parochial school was established and placed under the Sisters of St. Bridget. The purchase of three lots on Centre and Wabasha streets, and the removal of the church from its distant position to its present site on Centre and Wabasha streets were accomplished. Father Prendergast attended all the Catholics in Wabasha, Olmsted, Houston, Fillmore, Steele and Mower counties. In August, 1862, Rev. Theodore Venn was sent to assist him. Father Venn was given charge of the Germans, Bohemians and Poles. He organized the St. Joseph parish, built the frame church, and administered to the wants of the remainder of the flock throughout the county by visiting them and holding service from house to house. He remained until December, 1863. On the departure of Father Prendergast, early in 1864, Father Morris attended the above missions until the appointment of Rev. Wm. Lette as pastor in April of the same year. Father Lette had all the Catholics of the county under his charge until June, 1868. In his time, the present church buildings of St. Charles and Hart were begun, and the foundation of St. Thomas' church of Winona built. Rev. Alois Plut succeeded him in 1868. During his time the church of the Immaculate Conception in Wilson, of St. Aloysius in Elba, and the fine stone church of the Holy Trinity in Rolling Stone were built and dedicated. Besides this, St. Stanislaus' church of Winona was begun, portions of the St. Thomas' church of Winona completed, St. Charles' church of St. Charles built, and St. Joseph's church of Winona was enlarged.
A parochial school was built and maintained by him with excellent success in St. Joseph's parish. In the fall of 1871 this was placed under the Sisters of Notre Dame. During the year 1869 he was aided by Rev. C. Koeberl and Rev. M. Sturenberg. Father Sturenberg took charge of the Ridgway mission, where he built a neat chapel in 1874. Rev. W. Reirdon attended the St. Charles mission during part of the years 1870-71. In June, 1871, Father Pint received much needed relief by the coming of Rev. J. B. Cotter, who had been assigned charge of the English-speaking Catholics of Winona county. The latter has remained in charge until the present day. During his administration some harassing debts have been removed.
The churches of St. Thomas, of Winona, of St. Charles, in St. Charles, and of SS. Peter and Paul, of Hart, have been sufficiently advanced and furnished to fit them for dedication and use. By the generosity of Peter Peters, of Lewiston, a property of four acres for church and cemetery purposes was secured. In 1876 the church of St. Rosa, of Lima, was built upon this ground. In 1873 two lots and a two-story house were purchased by the St. Thomas parish, which then possessed an entire half block of property with ample room for the parish house, school-buildings and hall, which were erected in 1877. The parochial schools of St. Thomas were established by Rev. J. B. Cotter, in 1874, and were immediately placed under the Sisters of Notre Dame. Each school has had since its organization an annual roll of 200 pupils, with an average attendance of about 130. The St. Thomas has a reputation for its work in the cause of temperance, through its Father Mathew T. A. and B. Society, organized January 28, 1872, and having branches in Hart and St. Charles, it has exercised a powerful influence in the morals of the people. In 1875 the church at Hart was enlarged and the altar replaced by one of an elegant design and finish. A wing addition 20x30 feet was also added for the use of the school and society. Since then an annual summer school is held. Rev. J. B. Cotter assumed charge of St. Patrick's church at Ridgway, in January, 1877. He provided it with an altar and furniture. En 1878 he resigned it to Rev. P. Pernin, the present pastor. During a part of the years 1879-80 Rev. J. B. Cotter was assisted in the charge of St. Thomas, of Winona, St. Charles, of St. Charles, and SS. Peter and Paul, by Revs. E. Pagan and D. A. Reilley.
St Joseph (German), and Missions attached. - After the departure of Rev. A. Plut, in the spring of 1876, the parish of St. Joseph, Winona, was assigned to Rev. R. Byzewski, who attended it in connection with Rev. Cotter until the appointment of Rev. F. C. Walters as pastor in May, 1876. During Rev. Walters' administration the church and parish house were renovated, and the latter enlarged. A much needed school building was also added before his departure in December, 1877. Rolling Stone and Wilson churches were also erected by him. The parish was attended until February, 1878, by Revs. J. B. Cotter and P. J. Gallagher. On February 11, 1878, the present pastor, Rev. Aloysius Heller, entered into charge of St. Joseph, in Winona, and the church of the Immaculate Conception, of Wilson. His first work in the St. Joseph parish was the removal of all debts, the purchase of the lot between the parish house and the convent, and the raising of a fund for the building of a new church. In the spring of 1881 the parish house and church were each moved one lot westward, and the foundation for the new church was erected on the site of the old, at the corner of Fifth and Lafayette streets. The corner-stone was laid on April 30, 1882, in the presence of innumerable people.
The church now nearly ready for service is a Gothic structure of red brick faced with white stone, with a massive tower and beautiful spire. Preparations are being made to put a large four-dial clock in the tower. The proportions of the church are 114x48 feet; nave 41 feet high and spire 172 feet high. The parish of St. Rosa of Lima, Lewiston, has been attached as a mission to St. Joseph's church since 1878, and in 1880 Rev. A. Heller improved the church by finishing it with brick veneering.
St Stanislaus' Church.-The charge of the growing parish of St. Stanislaus, organized in 1872, for the Catholic Poles of Winona, by Rev. A. Plut, was given in 1873 to Rev. Joseph Juskiewicz. He remained until 1873, built the parish residence and completed the church. Rev. Romuald Byzewski succeeded in 1875. In the interval the Poles attended the churches of St. Thomas and St. Joseph. Father Byzewski has purchased an additional lot, erected a substantial two-story school building, maintained a school, enlarged the church to double its former size and paid all debts.
Catholic Societies of St. Stanislaus' Church.-St. Stanislaus Kostka Society was organized in 1870 with a membership of thirty. The following officers were elected: President Nicolaus Triba; secretary, Martin Bambenek; treasurer, Tiefel Sikorski. The society was chartered in 1874, with a membership of forty. The officers at present are: President, Jos. Milanowski; secretary, John Anglewicz; treasurer, Andreas Jaszdziewski. There are at present a membership of 104 persons. The society pays a weekly benefit of $3 in case of sickness, and in case of death $5 per month to the widow as long as she remains a widow.
St. Casimir's Society, organized in 1873 with a membership of twenty-live, and the following officers elected: President, Alexander Prochowicz; secretary, Theodore Wysocki; treasurer, Andreas Yezeswski. In 1878 the society was chartered with a membership of thirty-seven persons. The present officers are: President, John Bambenek; vice-president, Wm. Bambenek; secretary, Stanislaus Wyganowski; assistant-secretary, Robert Zuborowski; treasurer, Alexander Prochowicz. The society has a present membership of eighty-six persons. It pays a weekly benefit of $3 in case of sickness; if death results, the widow or heirs receives $2 per week.
Catholic Societies of St. Thomas' Church.-Father Mathew Total Abstinence and Benevolent Society was organized January 28, 1872, by Rev. J. B. Cotter, Wm. Noonan, R. Cavenaugh, J. McCrummish, Wm. Keyes, E. H. Condon, Jas. Flynn, John Rowe, N. White and J. Flynn. The first officers were: President, Rev. J. B. Cotter; vice-president, W. Keyes; second vice-president, J. McCrummish; treasurer, P. J. Kelley; recording secretary, R. Cavenaugh; financial secretary, W. Noonan; corresponding secretary, J. B. Rowe; board of managers, J. Morgan, J. Rowe, T. Burns, J. Cronin, and E. McDonnell; board of auditors were C. Harrigan, E. H. Condon and M. Gallagher. The president officers are: President, Rev. J. B. Cotter; vice-president, Wm. Keyes; recording secretary, John Flavin; financial secretary, Thomas Hunt; corresponding secretary, J. T. Rowan; treasurer, C. Harrigan; librarian, J. Rowan.
St. Thomas Benevolent Society, organized May 10, 1880. The officers were: President, C. Harrigan; vice-president, John Murphy; secretary, James O'Brien; treasurer, Tim Burns; chairman and sick committee, P. English; spiritual adviser, Rev. J. B. Cotter. But one change has been made since then in the officers, namely, in place of P. English is J. Rowan. This society pays a weekly benefit to its members in sickness, and $50 to the heirs in case of death.
Catholic Knights of America, organized October 16, 1882, with a membership of fourteen. The first officers were: President, C. Harrigan; vice-president, T. Slaven; recording secretary, J. O'Brien; financial secretary, W. Keyes; treasurer, P. English; spiritual adviser, Father Cotter. Present officers: President, C. Harrigan; vice-president, T. Slaven; recording secretary, J. O'Brien; financial secretary, W. Keyes; treasurer, J. Keenan; spiritual adviser, Rev. J. B. Cotter. This association is a branch of the C. K. of A., a mutual insurance society, which insures its members for either $1,000 or $2,000.
German Catholic Church.-In the year 1862 Father Theodor Venn came to Winona and founded the German St. Joseph congregation, which before that time had belonged to the Irish congregation. He built the St. Joseph church, on the corner of Fifth and Walnut streets. In the year 1864 Rev. W. Lette came to Winona and took charge of the church until 1868. In 1868 Rev. Alois Plut came to the St. Joseph congregation. During his administration the wooden church was enlarged, the School Sisters of Notre Dame introduced, and the churches of Phillipp Ridge, of Rolling Stone, and the new St. Thomas church were built. The above-named three pastors had charge of all Winona county and all the German, Irish and Polish people; but in the last years of their administration, that is during Father Plut's term, the Polish St. Stanislaus and the Irish St. Thomas church were built, and both got their own pastors. St. Stanislaus secured the services of Rev. R. Byzewski-and St. Thomas, of Rev. J. B. Cotter. In the year 1876 the Rev. F. C. Walter came to the St. Joseph congregation and remained until 1877. During his administration a new schoolhouse was built. On February 11 the Rev. A. Heller took possession of this congregation. His first labor was to pay off the debt of the church, which amounted to $2,000. After having been successful in this respect a new lot was bought from Mr. Maas, and on it were placed the priest's house and the Sisters house. The St. Joseph congregation was incorporated in the year 1879. On April 8, 1881, a meeting was held in the church, and it was resolved that as the old wooden building had become too small a fine new brick church should be built. This building is now in a state of erection. In the spring of 1881 the moving of the old church was commenced. The priest's house was moved to the new lot and the church to the old site of the priest's house, in order to make way for the new church. C. G. Maybury & Son were chosen to act as superintendent and architect. The size of the church is 48x114 feet, with a tower 170 feet high, containing the first tower clock ever placed in Winona. The building committee were: T.B. Kouh, Joseph Schlingerman, C. M. Gerner, John Winkels, J. Braendle, Jacob Mawry and John Ludwig. In the summer of 1881 the contract for the foundation was given to Kratz & Co., who finished their work in the fall of 1881. In January, 1882, the contract for the main building was given out. The brickwork was given to Kratz & Co., and the carpenter-work to Koonan & Stellwager. On April 31, Right Rev. John Treland came to lay the corner-stone. The ceremonies were conducted with great solemnity, and were held in the presence of a large concourse of people. All the Catholic societies of the city were in attendance and paraded on the occasion. The procession was a large and imposing one.
The First Baptist Church of Winona was organized September 20, 1855, at which time the Rev. Samuel Combs commenced his ministerial labors with that society. He continued his ministry here until the early part of 1858, and it was during his pastorate that the church was built, 1857. It is a frame structure, 43x60 feet, standing upon the southeast corner of Center and Fourth streets, one block from what is now the principal business corner of the city, the lot fronting 60 feet on Fourth street, with a depth of 140 on Center street. Cost of original structure not known. In 1870 a lecture-room was added with an entrance on Center street, and the society has now a very comfortable house of worship, heated with furnaces, provided with good Sabbath-school room and furnished with an excellent pipe-organ. The seating capacity of the auditorium is 250, lecture-room 125. The present number of communicants is 117. The church officers are: Trustees, Messrs. Alonzo Holland, F. A. Robertson and A. C. Dixon, the latter of whom is church clerk. The deacons are Messrs. Curtiss Leary, W. G. McCutchen and N. C. Gault.
The church has not been noted for lengthy pastorates, and the succession has been as follows: Rev. Samuel Combs, whose pastorate commenced in 1855, terminating in January, 1858; Rev. O. O. Stearns from November, 1869, to January, 1863; L. B. Teft from January, 1863, to February, 1867; Rev. Geo. W. Stone, D.D., from August, 1867, to April, 1870; Rev. D. Read, D.D., from April, 1870, to October, 1872; Rev. J. F. Rowley from April, 1874, to October, 1877; Rev. Thomas G. Field from February, 1879, to December, 1881, and Rev. E. T. Hiscox, the present pastor, who assumed charge of the church March 1, 1882. The congregations are not large, but are steadily growing under the ministerial conduct of Rev. Hiscox, who is an earnest worker and as fearless a speaker within the sphere of his own convictions as can be found in any pulpit of the city.
The Sabbath school in connection with the church was formally organized about April 1, 1856, but the society had been maintaining a union Sabbath school in connection with the congregational and Methodist people since 1853. The present membership of the school is about 150. The officers are: Superintendent, H. W. Kingsbury; assistant superintendent, F. A. Robinson; secretary and treasurer, Cyrus Crosgrove; librarian, Mrs. A. Holland; yearly Sabbath school collections, $100.
E. T. Hiscox, pastor of Baptist church, Winona, is a native of Norwich, Connecticut, a graduate of the college of the city of New York, class of 1869, and of the theological seminary at Rochester, New York, class of 1872. Was first settled over a parish in Massachusetts and remained there until 1876, when he removed to Iowa city, Iowa, having accepted a call to the pulpit of the Baptist church in that collegiate city. Commenced his labors with the Winona Baptist church in the early summer of 1882. Mr. Hiscox is married, has four children, two of them attending the city schools.
St. Martin's First Evangelical Lutheran Church.-This church was organized in the year 1856, it being the first Lutheran church in the county. The prominent members were: John Barthels, Tobias Leeb, Nicholis Wenk and C. Henning. L. F. E. Krause was the first minister officiating. Mr. Krause remained with the congregation from its organization in 1856 until the year 1859, when he was called away. From 1859 until 1861 the congregation were without a pastor. Rev. Krause returned to the church in 1861, where he remained until 1864. From 1864 until 1866 the church was again deserted, excepting that occasional visits were made by other ministers. Among these may be mentioned Rev. A. Brand, F. J. Mueller and G. Wollaeger. In June, 1866, Rev. Philip Von Rohr, the present pastor, took charge of the church.
The first church was dedicated in December, 1856. It was a small frame structure, 18x30 feet. In 1866, when Rev. Philip Von Rohr made his appearance, the congregation consisted of nine members or families. In 1867 the building was enlarged by adding to it twenty feet and improving the inside. In 1870 the present church, a substantial brick structure, standing on the corner of Broadway and Liberty streets, was erected. The building is 40x70 feet. It has a spire ninety feet high, projecting ten feet from the main building. The congregation at present numbers about 225 members. A Sabbath school was organized in 1870, and is now in a prosperous condition. At present it consists of about 350 pupils, with 25 teachers. They possess a library of nearly 1,000 volumes.
German Lutheran School.-In connection with the church, a parochial school was established in 1866. It was taught the first four years by the present pastor, Rev. Von Rohr, the average number of attending pupils being 100. In 1880 the congregation bought two lots on Fifth street and erected a new school building, 50x60 feet, with a projecting tower fifty feet high. Two classes have been arranged, with two male teachers.
German Zion (Evangelical) Church.- Traveling ministers were at work some time before any church organizations were made; among these may be mentioned Revs. A. Farnutzer, A. Huelster, W. Stegner and C. Brill. Rev. A. Farnutzer made his appearance in 1858; he held meetings at the residence of Mr. Hesse. He remained until 1860. In 1860 A. Huelster came to Winona and remained one year, holding service in a hall in the town. Next came Mr. W. Stegner, from 1861 until 1862, then C. Brill, from 1862 until 1865. Finally Rev. J. Kuder came, built the church and organized the congregation in the year 1866. Then followed a line of six pastors; they are as follows : Rev. G. Knebel, 1869-70; E. H. Bauman, 1870-71; H. Bunse, 1871-74; A. Knebel, 1874-76; W. Oehler, 1876-79; J. Mantly, 1879-82; J. G. Simmons, the present pastor, 1882. The church is a frame building standing on the corner of Fourth and Franklin streets. The length is forty-four feet, the width twenty-six feet. It has a spire thirty-five feet high. The building was remodeled and enlarged in 1881 at a cost of $800. The present membership is about seventy, part of which reside in the country around Winona. A Sabbath school connected with the church has a membership of seventy-five pupils, twelve teachers and a library of 200 volumes. There also exists a missionary society; the leaders in this are Mr. F. Maas, John Thomsen and J. G. Simmons. The average collection is $100 per year.
The Second Advent Christian Church. - Owing to the records of this church having been removed beyond our reach, or lost track of entirely, it has proven a difficult task to secure complete definite information. The following was furnished by Mrs. Elizabeth Wate, one of the earliest members, who clung to the church through all its vicissitudes. The congregation was organized in 1862, but some time previous to this meetings were held in Pleasant Yalley, and also in the court-house hall and Houseman's hall in Winona. This was before the church was built. The building is a small rough, unpainted frame structure standing on Broadway, between Washington and Winona streets. The members of the first organization are as follows: Warren Rowell, Samuel Bates, Ruth Rowell, Lucy Bates and Elizabeth Wate. Rev. T. K. Allen was the first permanent minister, the congregation having been visited by pastors from abroad before he came. When Rev. Mr. Allen left, the congregation were taken in charge by Mrs. Mansfield, who delivered a series of sermons. After Mrs. Mansfield came Elder Edwin T. Himes; his administration was cut short by his death. From 1879 until 1880 Mrs. Eowell had charge of the church. Since her departure in 1880 until the present writing, the church has been without a minister. The church at present is not in a flourishing condition, and its existence is rather doubtful.
Bohemian Church.- This church was organized from the congregation of the German Catholic church in 1879. The number of members is now about eighty. The congregation have had no meetings or pastor under their new organization as yet. A church building is under course of erection on Broadway. St. John will be the name given to this new church.
St. Joseph's Catholic Benevolent Society.-This society was organized in February, 1866. It was not chartered until February, 1869. The first officers and organizers were: President, N. G. Krieg; vice-president, Joseph Helle; secretary, Franc Tramport; assistant secretary, Wm. Schneider; treasurer, G. N. Schork. The direct object was to aid the members in sickness, and to defray expenses of interment and assist the family in case of death. When a member became unable to work he received from the society $3 per week until his recovery. Since that time, however, this has been increased to $4 per week. The membership fee has always remained the same-25 cents per month. If a member dies his burial expenses are paid and the widow receives $25 in money. The society started out with but 17 members; it has increased since then to 116. The present officers are: President, John Winkels; vice-president, Andrew Seyfried; treasurer, F. P. Schumacher; secretary, Gottfried Strunk; assistant secretary, Alexander Prochowitz. The society is in a prosperous condition. During the year 1881 it distributed among the sick the sum of $272.
German Catholic Benevolent Association of Minnesota.-In connection with the St. Joseph organization there is another society, having more of the aspect of a life insurance association. It is not confined to one locality, but has members all over the state, and includes on the whole twenty-five or twenty-six different branches. This society was organized in 1878. There are in all about 1,100 members. The society receives all persons between the ages of eighteen and forty-five. At the death of a member the widow and orphans receive within sixty days the sum of $1,000 from the society. The assessment upon each member is from $1.10 to $1.30 at every death.
St. John's Catholic (Bohemian) Benevolent Society.-The charter of this society was granted July 2, 1871. This organization in Winona is simply one of a large association throughout the United States. It comprises in all about seventy-two societies. When the branch in Winona was incorporated it numbered about fourteen members, but up to the present time the number has increased to eighty-two. The first officers were: President, Frank Votruba; secretary, Joseph Kasimor; treasurer, Frank Albrecht. Its object is to aid its members in sickness. They receive during their illness $3 per week, and at their death the widow receives $600 from the entire organization. At the present writing the society is in a prosperous condition, having over $1,000 in the treasury. The officers at present are as follows: President, Joseph Kasimor; vice-president, Frank Lejsek; secretary, M. Ridel; assistant-secretary, John Cerny; treasurer, Frank Votruba.
St. Anns Ladies' Society.-This society was founded in July, 1868, by the Rev. Alois Plut. Its object was the decoration of the church altar. It comprises about fifty members. The officers are: President, Mrs. Francesca Scheer; secretary, Mrs. Anna Hitzger; treasurer, Mrs. Johanna Braendle.
St. Rosa's Young Ladies' Society was founded by Rev. Alois Plut in 1869. There are about thirty members. The officers are: President, Miss Louise Hengl; treasurer, Miss Lena Schmidt; secretary, Miss Margaretha Schneider.
[Source: "History of Winona and Olmsted Counties : together with biographical matter, statistics, etc., gathered from matter furnished by interviews with old settlers, county, township and other records, and extracts from files of papers, pamphlets, and such other sources as have been available." Chicago: H.H. Hill and Co., 1883 - KT - Sub by FoFG]
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