Wisconsin Genealogy Trails
Green County, Wisconsin
Church Histories

Albany Churches
Source: History of Green County, Wisconsin, Illustrated (1884) Chapter XXVIII; transcribed by Jan Grant

At an early day a Methodist Episcopal class was organized at the school house on section 35, by Elder Hussey. The following were among the first members: Jeremiah Brewer and wife, B. Davenport and wife, John Ash and wife, and Thomas Ash and wife; John Ash was the first class leader. Among the preachers who at different times filled the pulpit for this class were: Revs. White, Hazeltine, Wheeler, Bradley, Ferguson and Allen. As nearly all of the members of this class have moved away, the organization has been abandoned.

In 1852 a United Brethren class was organized at the school house on section 35, by Rev. William Haskin. Among the first members were: S. L. Eldred and wife and two children; Washington Adams and wife, father, mother and two daughters; William Murray and wife; Alexander Murray and wife; William Webb and wife, and Mrs. Cyrus Phillips. S. L. Eldred was the first class leader. Among the pastors who preached for the class were: Revs. S. L. Eldred, James Johnson, Elisha Bovee, S.A. Potts and W. Reed. This class has long since been discontinued.

The first meetings of this denomination were held in Syver Gothompson’s log house in 1850, by Rev. Clauson, from Rock county. The Norwegian element met at the same place, and, during pleasant weather, under the shade of a burr oak tree near by, until the log school house was erected, when that building was used as a place of worship. In 1864 a neat stone church was erected on section 8. Rev. Derrickson was the second preacher. He was succeeded by Rev. Magelsen, who was pastor for twenty-one years. Succeeding him, came Rev. Thorvildsen, the present preacher. There are now (1884) nineteen families belonging to this Church, besides several individual members. Meetings are held once a week. The present officers of the Church are: C. Jensvald, deacon; Ole Gilbertson Sr., secretary; Andrew Gothompson and Ole Gilbertson, trustees.

Albany Village

Source: History of Green County, Wisconsin, Illustrated (1884) Chapter XXVIII; transcribed by Jan Grant
There were no ministers of the gospel among the early settlers, but through the untiring efforts of Chloe Pond, Louisa M. Nichols and Maria I. Pond,* who canvassed every family in the neighborhood, a Sabbath school was organized in 1846. The meetings were at first held in a log school house west of the village. But when cold weather set in they met in the village. The people all took an active interest, and by prompt attendance, a wide-awake and instructive Sabbath school was continued for several years.


*Chloe is now the wife of R. H. Hewitt; Louisa M. Nichols is now the wife of Dr. J. H. Warren; Maria I. Pond is now the wife of C. S. Tibbetts.

Rev. J. D. Stevens was the first Congregational preacher to hold services at Albany. He came here first in 1853. Elder G. R. Patton, a Baptist preacher from near Juda, was the first minister of the gospel to preach west of the river in Albany. He held services in the little log school house in 1847. Rev. Church, a Presbyterian, preached the first sermon in the village of Albany proper, in 1848, in a small frame building located where J. B. Perry’s office now stands. This was his only visit to this place.

The Methodist Episcopal Church of Albany was organized at the stone school house in 1855. Among the first members of the class were: Mrs. Ann Eliza Jobes, V. H. Vancuren and wife, D. S. Smith and wife, Ashael Hills and wife, and Henry Dickinson and wife. Among the preachers who have filled the pulpit for this class are the following: Revs. Cauley, Ferguson, Wheeler, Coleman, Budlong, Butler, Wilde, Hammond, [The last named served during the war as chaplain of the 5th Wisconsin regiment. He is now post chaplain in the U. S. Army.] Russell, Smith, Allen, Benedict, Haskins, Lewis, J. J. Walker, Pengilly, Clifton, Evans, Briggs, Tull, Allen and Rev. Mr. Tyacke. The last named is the present pastor, The class met for worship in the congregational church until 1883, when they erected a frame church building, valued at $2,000. Francis Atkinson is the present class leader.

Francis Atkinson was born in Yorkshire, England, May 28, 1837. He is a son of Richard and Mary (Nelson) Atkinson, pioneers of Green county. In 1842 they emigrated to America and located in Champaign Co., Ohio. In 1846 they removed to Wisconsin, locating in the town of Albany, this county. Francis helped his father and older brothers fence and clear a farm; working on the farm in the summer and attending school in the winter, until the winter of 1859-60, when he commenced work for himself. He was married in the spring of 1860 to Sarah, daughter of John and Sarah (Wilding) Jones. He rented a farm in the town of Decatur, and at the end of one year, purchased the same farm. In 1871 he bought 145 acres more. He followed teaching in the winter time for five years. In 1882 he purchased 170 acres in the town of Albany, adjoining his old farm, and moved thereon, and in 1883 erected a new barn. He is engaged in raising grain and stock. Mr. and Mrs. Atkinson were both converted in early life, and joined the Church. He joined the United Brethren Church, when meetings were held in the old log school house. He served as class steward for a number of years. In 1877 he joined the M. E. Church, and has since been appointed class-leader. Mr. and Mrs. Atkinson are the parents of eight children—Owen O., William F., Russell B., Mary A., Annie M., Lillian M., Nellie W. and Ettie May.

On the 11th of June, 1854, a Congregational society was organized by Rev. J. D. Stevens in the old stone school house. Among the first members were: Everett Dodge and wife, John Flint and wife, Thomas Flint and wife, Mrs. Julia Nichols, Ms. Dr. Fayette, Mrs. Chloe Baxter, Mrs. John Burt and E. S. Gillies and wife. The first deacons were Everett Dodge and John Flint. For a number of years the society met at the school house, and then a frame church was built. This church was erected by the people as a union church and was to be open to all denominations. Rev. J. D. Stevens was the first pastor of the Congregational Church. After him came Revs. James Jameson, Mr. Webb, Mr. Foot and Mr. Jameson. As most of the members have left, this organization has been abandoned.

A union Sunday school was organized at about the same time that the Congregational society was organized. Chauncy Hurlburt was the first superintendent. This Sunday school is still in existence and is in a flourishing condition. The following named have acted as superintendent: Chauncey Hurlburt, James Barnes, Thomas Flint, Marshall Kellogg, Thomas Flint, G. W. Roberts and Thomas Flint. The latter is the present superintendent.

Brodhead Churches
Source: History of Green County, Wisconsin, Illustrated; Chapter 33 (1881) Transcribed by: Frances Cooley

The religious organizations of Brodhead are the Congregational, Methodist Episcopal, Presbyterian, Baptist, Advent, Catholic and Episcopal.

The first services of this denomination were held by Rev. James Jamison, at the house of Henry Clinton, in the summer of 1856. The Church was organized by the same minister on the 28th of February, 1857, services being held in the dining hall of the Clinton Hotel. The society was designated the "First Congregational Church of Brodhead." The first members were as follows: E. D. Clinton, Amanda Clinton, James T. Sherman, Abby T. Sherman, John L. McNair, Caroline P. McNair, J. W. Thayer, Anna E Thayer, John C. Wingate, Eliza Wingate, Milo L. Burnham, Ellen D. Burnham, lchabod Dimick, Catharine Dimick, George Frary, Harriet Frary, Martha Love, Mary J. Wingate, Nancy Foster, Harriet M. Foster, Martha A. Sherman, Ella H. Clinton, Electa Sexton, Friphena Taft, I. F. Mack, Frances D. Mack and Charles M. Griswold. The first officers were: Deacons, E. D. Clinton, I. W. Thayer and John C. Wingate; clerk, I. F. Mack; treasurer, John L. McNair; trustees, I. W. Thayer, R. E. Taft, M. L. Burnham, E. C. Clinton, H. P. Clinton and R. Love. Services were held at the Clinton House until the erection of the school house, which was then used by the society as a place of worship until 1861 when the church edifice was built. It is a neat frame building, 36x60 feet in size, with a seating capacity of about 300, and cost about $2,000. It was dedicated Dec. 17, 1861. The Rev. James Jamison, who organized the Church, was a missionary. The first pastor was Rev. Hiram Foote, who came in October, 1858, and remained one year. In September, 1859, Rev. W. Cochran became pastor, remaining until succeeded by Rev. James Strong, in October, 1862. He remained two years and was followed by Rev. Ottman, who only staid a few months. After this the Church was without a pastor until the fall of 1865, when Rev. William Bernard was called to the pastoral charge, and remained one year. Then came Rev. Edward Morris. In the fall of 1868 Rev. D. W. Webb took charge, and remained until the fall of 1870. In April, 1871, Rev. Hiram Foote became pastor and served for four years. In the fall of 1875 the Congregational and Presbyterian Churches united for worship. Rev. Edward Dickinson, a Presbyterian clergyman, preached for both societies for three years, services being held at the different churches alternately. After this time there was no pastor until the spring of 1879, when Rev. Wallace Bruce accepted a call, and remained one year. He was followed by Rev. William Cutler, who staid one year. In July, 1881, Rev. H. S. Sanford took pastoral charge and remained until the time of his death in July, 1882. In 1883, Rev. Francis Wrigley became pastor, and is still in charge. The present membership of the Church is thirty-eight, only five of whom are males, thirty-three being women. In 1884 the deacons were: E. D. Clinton, C. Matter, George Frary and J. T. Sherman. The trustees are E. D. Clinton, Deacon Matter, George Spaulding and Edwin Charlton. A Sabbath school has always been sustained, and is now in good condition.

Elder N. A. Hitchcock was the first preacher of this denomination to hold services in and near Brodhead. In August, 1867, Rev. Joshua V. Hines, assisted by William Sheldon, held a very successful tent meeting, when it was found that a goodly number of people had formerly, while in the east, held these views and a Church was organized. There where twenty-six members, and the following were the officers: Elders, H. T. Moore and H. Crosby; secretary, H. Kimberley. The following, short, yet comprehensive creed was adopted: "The Bible, as it reads (literally); one, only, rule of faith, and practice and Christian character; one, only, test of fellowship." Rev. William Sheldon settled here, later, and preached for the society. Elder George Thompson, of Monroe, was the first regular pastor. Elder Isaac Adrian, who was a gifted man, was the next. In 1869 the next meetings of note were held—a general Advent conference being held in the Congregational church, at which were present many eminent men from several States. A four days discussion was held between Miles Grant, of Boston, and Rev. Mr. Crawford, a Universalist minister of Brodhead. In 1873 Elder Samuel Thurber held a successful series of revival meetings, eighty persons professing. Elders Preston, Hitchcock, Godfrey, Howard, Wilbur, Warner, Bennett, Button, Phelps and others supplied the pulpit at different times; but the Church declined until November, 1880, when Elder D. S. Clark, of Amboy, Ill., held meetings for eighty consecutive evenings with excellent results, and the Church was rescued from oblivion. Elder Clark was pastor for nearly a year. In November, 1881, Elder George M. Button became pastor on trial of six mouths, and his services have been so satisfactory that he still retains the position. Under his work the interest is healthy and good. The society have rented the Baptist building, one of the finest church edifices in Brodhead. The Church now numbers thirty-five members.

Rev. George M. Button, the pastor of this Church, was born near Juda, Wis., and was reared on a farm one mile south of "old Decatur," and two miles west of Brodhead. His father was H. W. Button. When seventeen years of age he ran away from home and went to Marquette, Mich., but returned in three months and attended the academy in Brodhead three years; the Milton College one year, and the State University one year. Being, as he believed, called to preach, and being counseled and encouraged by Senator H. T. Moore, he commenced his life work near Baraboo, Sauk county, before twenty-one years of age. Later for four years he preached on a circuit in Illinois. In May, 1878, he married Abbie Lee Watson, of De Kalb, Ill. After this for two years he was pastor of a Church at Alton, Ill. He then went to Turner Co., Dak., for his health, and upon his return, became pastor of the Church at Brodhead.

The first class of this denomination was organized in June, 1856. Nathaniel Wheeler was the preacher in charge and William Teal, assistant. The class consisted of eleven members, among whom were: F. Van Curen, Timothy Lewis, Eleanor Lewis, F. Nash, Eliza Nash, B. F. Stevens, Norah Stevens, Sarah Lewis and Almon Lewis, the latter being a local preacher. In 1857 the charge was supplied by Almon Lewis, who still resides here. In 1858 Rev. Henry Coleman, then connected with the seminary at Evansville, was placed in charge, but not being able to close his connection with the school immediately, John L. Williams, a superannuated preacher, supplied this place for a few months. In the fall of 1858 J. P. Dixon, of Janesville, donated to the society two lots, on which the present church was erected. This church edifice was finished and paid for in three months. It cost $2,300. It was dedicated by the Rev. Hooper Crews. A Meneeley bell, weighing 795 pounds, which cost $400, was donated by Edward U. Brodhead, of Milwaukee, on the condition that it should be used only in Brodhead. This class was organized and meetings were held at the county line school house, just across the line in Rock county. Afterward services were held in Brodhead in a hall on Center street, northeast of the present church, which has now been removed. Sometime previous to the erection of the M. E. church, parties in the interest of the Congregational Church made a move toward building, and a subscription of several thousand dollars was raised, but through a slight difference among the heaviest subscribers, the enterprise was abandoned. It was at this time that Mr. Brodhead promised a bell to the first church that should be erected in the village, and the Methodists were successful. Rev. D. H. Budlong was appointed to this charge in the spring of 1859; but during the succeeding winter his health failed and his place was supplied by Jacob Miller, of Cadiz. In 1860 Rev. Nelson Butler became pastor, and in 1861 was succeeded by W. H. Wilson. He was returned in 1862. Soon after, however, the presiding elder placed Rev. A. Callender in charge and removed Mr. Wilson to Madison. In 1863 L. W. Pike appears on the minutes as pastor, but it seems he failed to come, and E. B. Russell, when either a local or a superannuated preacher, was sent as a supply and tilled out the year. In 1864 Rev. H. Chadeayne was appointed to this charge. During this year the parsonage was built at a cost of about $1,200. In 1866 William J. Wilson became pastor and remained two years, when he was succeeded by Rev. Aspinwall, who remained three years. In 1871 Rev. W. H. Kellogg became pastor and remained two years. After this in succession came: Rev. T. M. Fullerton, three years; Rev. Joseph D. Brothers, three years; Rev. John Knipps, one year; Rev. J. E. Irish, one year; Rev. Whitney, eight months; J. I McLaughlin, four months; and Rev. G. W. Nuzem was appointed to this charge in September, 1882, and is the present pastor. During the summer, 1874, two side parlors, each twenty feet square, were added to the church, and other improvements were made costing all together $1,100. The Church numbers considerable over 100 members, and both Church and Sunday school are in good condition.

The first Episcopal services in this town were held at the house of Mr. Kettle, in the winter of 1848-9, by Rev. Mr. Humphrey, of Beloit. There were but few here belonging to this denomination at that time. Services were held at Decatur until after Brodhead was started. Among the earliest Episcopalians were the Kettle family, Mr. Bridgeman and M. B. Edson. Occasional services were held until 1875, when they secured a resident clergyman in the person of Rev. Ross, who resided here for several years, services being held in the halls of the village. The society was organized in 1875. The Church now hold occasional services and support a good Sunday school. They have no church building.

The Presbyterian church at Brodhead was built in 1860. It is a brick building and cost were held Jan. 20, 1867. The building was dedicated Feb. 21, 1867, by Rev. J. W. Dinsmore. The first pastor was Rev. A. R. Day, who was here when the church was erected. He was succeeded by A. A. Joss, and then in turn came Revs. R. G. Thompson, S. I. McKee, A. R. Day, K. Dickinson and J. S. Bingham. In 1884 the Church was without a pastor. The first Presbyterian services held in this town were held at the village of Decatur, in 1849 or 1850, by Rev. Fox. He was a resident of Oregon, Dane county, who preached only occasionally and he effected an organization of this Church at Decatur. The first resident pastor was Rev. Frazer, who preached for about three years. Others who preached at Decatur were Rev. Bachus, Dr. Nichols and Rev. Bascom. The first elders were Alexander Clark, William Oliver and Mr. Kirkpatrick. Originally there were about twenty members; it afterward increased to fifty. When Decatur died, the Baptist and Presbyterian Churches like the rest of the village moved to Brodhead.

The first services of the Catholic denomination were held in 1857 by a priest whose name has been forgotten, for the benefit of the railroad employes. Rev. Conroy was the second priest. Rev. Richard Sullivan, then of Monroe, came here occasionally in 1859 and 1860. The first services were held at private houses. Rev. James J. Kinsella, now at Shullsburg, was the first resident pastor, and remained here about three years, leaving in 1863. He was here when the church and parsonage were erected. The pastors in succession have been: Revs. J. J. Kinsella, N. Stehlehan, M. Wrynn and James Hegerty. Father Hegerty, the present pastor, came here in 1880. He is also pastor of churches at Footville and Albany. The catholic Church building was formerly the public school building of Brodhead. It was purchased by this society in 1867, and converted into a church.

The Baptist Church of Brodhead was organized Feb. 20, 1867, at a meeting held in the Congregational church. Rev. D. Alcott was president of the meeting and B. F. Boderick was clerk. The following is a list of those who became members at that time: Rev. D. Alcott, Hurlburt, Joshua Nauseawn, F. B. Smith, Seth Green, Eliza Green, Maria Harris, James Potter, Nancy Potter, M. D. Warren, Margaret Warren, B. F. Roderick, Ellen W. Roderick, S. Kurtz, George Tayler, O. Dorn, Eliza Dorn, Caleb Nanseawn, Ella Harding, Rosanna Worcester and Alexander Shafer. The first deacons were Julius Hurlburt and F. B. Smith. Only one of the original members is now here, George Taylor. The others are either dead or have removed. Services were held in Gomber's hall for some time and in September, 1867, Cole's hall was leased for one year. The church was erected in the fall of 1872. It is a frame building, vaneered with brick, and cost about $4,000. The pastors in succession were: Revs. Alcott, Robert Smith, George Annis, Joseph Douglass, Joseph Monatain and George Lincoln. At present the Church is without a pastor, and no services are held.


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