MARATHON COUNTY WISCONSIN CHURCHES
Churches of Berlin Township
Marathon County Wisconsin Churches - Cassel
History of Sacred Heart Catholic Church
Church of Christ
Church of Latter Day Saints
Mount View Baptist Church
Our Savior's Lutheran
Rib Mountain Lutheran
Seventh Day Adventists
A History of St. John’s Lutheran Church of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession 1878 – 2003
PASTORS AND OTHERS WHO HAVE SERVED AT ST. JOHN’S LUTHERAN
Spencer Churches – St. John’s Lutheran Church
Trinity Lutheran Church - History (Spencer)
(Church Records) includes vital records for birth, marriage and death
St. John's Lutheran Church Records Index
St. John's Lutheran Church Records [A-C]
St. John's Lutheran Church Records [D-G]
St. John's Lutheran Church Records [H-J]
St. John's Lutheran Church Records [K-L]
St. John's Lutheran Church Records [M-N]
St. John's Lutheran Church Records [O-R]
St. John's Lutheran Church Records [S]
St. John's Lutheran Church Records [T-Z]
Trinity Lutheran Church Records Index
Trinity Lutheran Church Records [A-C]
Trinity Lutheran Church Records [D-G]
Trinity Lutheran Church Records [H-J]
Trinity Lutheran Church Records [K-L]
Trinity Lutheran Church Records [M-N]
Trinity Lutheran Church Records [O-R]
Trinity Lutheran Church Records [S]
Trinity Lutheran Church Records [T-Z]
Trinity Lutheran Church
History of Immanuel Lutheran Church
History of St. Matthew's Catholic Church
History of Wausau Churches (1913)
Christian Science Church
Evangelical Reformed Church
First Baptist Church
First Presbyterian Church
First Universalist Church
German Baptist Church
German Methodist Episcopal Church
Immanuel Lutheran (Norwegian) Church
Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church
St. James Catholic Church
St. John's Episcopal Church
St. Mary's Catholic Church
St. Michael's Catholic Church
St. Paul's Evangelical Church
St. Stephan's Evangelical Lutheran Church
Swedish Methodist Episcopal Church
Trinity Evangelist Lutheran Church
Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
Spencer – Baptist Church History
Source: Spencer Centennial Booklet (Spencer, Marathon County, Wis.) 1874 – 1974, page 37
Religious services were held in Spencer as early as 1875 when Rev. Patch, a Presbyterian minister from Stevens Point, held services in the downstairs of the yet unfinished school.
Reuben and Isaac Ring and C. Wirt were instrumental in organizing the Baptist Church which began with a membership of eight members in June 1878. The church was erected on Clark Street in 1879, the site of the present Trinity Lutheran Church. Some of the pastors were Rev. P. Green, Rev. Stearns, Rev. Mrs. Pitcher of Unity, and Rev. Sweet. They also had student pastors for several years. It was a struggle to keep going and the congregation finally disbanded, selling their furniture to other churches. The building was later sold to John Neidlein who tore it down and built a farm implement shop across the street.
A Free Will Baptist Congregation held services for a time in the Methodist Church every other Sunday and a Union Sunday School there each Sunday. The Robinsons, Damons, Kennedys and Williams were members. Rev. W. D. Dennett was one of the first pastors in 1879. Rev. and Mrs. Dennett were parents of Dr. Tyler Dennett, born in Spencer, June 13, 1883. He was president of Williams College, Williamstown, Mass., and advisor to President Wilson during World War I. In 1924 he was appointed Chief of the Division of Publications of the State Department of the Federal Government, resigning in 1931 to become Professor of International Law at Princeton University. In 1933 Dr. Dennett won the Pulitzer prize for his biography The Life of John Hay.
Christ the King Parish (Spencer)
Source: Spencer Centennial Booklet (Spencer, Marathon County, Wis.) 1874 – 1974
With the influx of the lumberman and the building of the Wisconsin Central Railroad northwest of Stevens Point in the 1870’s came the first missionaries and priests to this area. The first of these to care for the spiritual needs of our people was Father Nicholas July who was the pastor of St. Stephen’s, Stevens Point. Following this time priests from Medford, Hewitt, and St. John’s, Marshfield administered to the people of this area, who were people of Irish, German and French nationalities.
Father Ignatius Schaller was assigned by Bishop Flasch of the LaCrosse Diocese to St. John’s, services in Prentice Hall at 9:00 A.M. on May 12, 1882 to survey the potential for a Mission to be established here. The first meeting was held to organize a church in Prentice Hall on July 14, 1882. Land was purchased from the Wisconsin Central Railroad on the east side of Spencer, close to where Kerksieck Apartments now stand. Ground breaking ceremonies were held on August 8, 1881. It was finished in the spring of 1873. It was a good sized building set up on stilts. No name was given the church – except Catholic Church.
The first Mass and combined mission was held on June 10, 1883 and the following week three services each day and in the evening.
The church was damaged on October 9, 1883, by a small cyclone, with a resultant $500.00 damage.
The census report for Marathon County shows there were about one thousand seven hundred forty-two people in Spencer in the early 1880’s.
Fires were a constant threat in woods and lumber towns and Spencer was no exception. A devastating fire on August 8, 1886 destroyed the new church.
An attempt was made to build a second church with the purchase of a plot of land on Main Street, lot 4, Plot of Irene. A building was erected and completed in the fall of 1888 again with no name. Financial trouble forced Bishop Schwebach to sell the property to Joseph Frane on October 31, 1895. Priests served the area until about the beginning of World War I. From that time until 1937 people were left to attend neighboring parishes.
Father Graf, C.P.P.S., was appointed a chaplain at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield. He met with the people in this circuit on July 19, 1938. There were about twenty Catholic families here at the time.
Bishop McGavick appointed Father Graf as first pastor here August 1, 1938 with permission to build a new church which was to be named Christ the King Church. The building committee selected for this building were William E. Weis, Peter Goeler, Robert Orgish, Raymond Tack and Melvin Tremmel. Land purchased was that owned by Mary Hanson at the corner of Wendell and Nason Streets.
The officers of the new congregation were Bishop McGavick – President; Very Reverend Paschal Hirt, V.G. – Vice President; Rev. Joseph Graf – Pastor; Peter Goeler – Treasurer; Wilmer Straub – Secretary.
Ground breaking ceremonies were held September 5, 1938 and by October 30 the corner stone was laid. When the mission styled church was finished, the financial report showed a total cost of $16,393.02.
On December 6, 1938 the church was blessed and the stone altar consecrated by Father H. J. Untraut of St. John’s, Marshfield. The solemn dedication was celebrated by Bishop Griffin on Pentecost Sunday in 1939.
Organizations instrumental in the development of the parish were Christian Mothers Society established February 5, 1939 with 34 charter members. The officers of the group were President – Mrs. Victor Fischer; Vice President - Mrs. William E. Weis; Secretary – Mrs. H. T. Callahan; Treasurer – Mrs. Ervin Drews; Consultors – Mrs. Raymond Tack, Mrs. Hugh Doherty, Mrs. John Fritsch.
The Holy Name Society was organized in January of 1939. There were forty-eight charter members listed. Officers were President – William E. Weis; Vice President - Hugh Doherty; Secretary – Henry Rust; Treasurer – Raymond Tack; Consultors – Albert Chamberland and Fred LaBarge.
In 1945 a house was purchased from George Kolb on the corner of Wendell Street south of the church. The house received extensive renovation by Father Bernard Henry. He became the first resident pastor to live in this house.
In November 1951 the Schulmerich Bell System was installed under the supervision of Rev. Father Pitzenberger.
Two parking lots were purchased – one west of the church and the other south of the rectory. These were acquired from Peter Goeler and Raymond Tack.
The clergy who were appointed successively to the parish are:
Father Joseph Graf – June 1938 to November 1945
Father Bernard Henry – November 1945 to November 16, 1949
Father Arthur Cramer – November 16, 1949 to May 24, 1951
Father Leo Novitt – May 24, 1951 to July 2, 1951 (Interim Pastor)
Father Paul Pitzenberger – July 2, 1951 to June 1, 1953
Father John McMahon – June 1, 1953 to February 17, 1954
Father Eugene Comiskey – Febraury 17, 1954 to June 30, 1954
Father James Sheridan – June 30, 1954 to May 29, 1956
Father Carl Wohlmuth – May 29, 1956 to December 17, 1959
Father Andrew Bofenkamp – December 17, 1959 to the present time.
History and 50th Anniversary of St. John’s Lutheran
Church, Brighton Twp.
Source: Marshfield News (Marshfield, Wood County, Wis.) Tuesday, 2 Oct. 1928
JUBILEE OBSERVANCE RECALLS HISTORY OF BRIGHTON CHURCH
Spencer, Oct. 2. – Among the flourishing congregations in this section of the state which had their inception in the days of the forest primeval and the log hut is that of St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran church, located in the town of Brighton, two miles north of Spencer on Highway 13, which was called into existence as a church body nearly half a century ago. Although the formal organization was not effected until Oct. 27, 1878, services were first conducted several years prior to that time by the Rev. W. C. Schilling of the Missouri Synod, who was assigned in 1873 as resident pastor of St. Peter’s congregation at Stevens Point, and who soon thereafter established preaching stations at Junction City, Auburndale, Spencer, Colby, Dorchester, Greenleaf, Medford, Butternut, and Ashland. In common with other pioneers, the home missionaries of that day faced severe hardships in order to serve the families who were wrestling with nature for a living for themselves and their posterity, and only those who have seen similar conditions can fully appreciate the work done by these early church workers.
At the formal organization, which took place in an old log school house on the present Naatz farm, the Rev. H. Erck of the town of Wien was called to serve the group and to preach every fifth Sunday, when possible, and to instruct the children. At the first congregational meeting the following officers were elected: chairman, the Rev. H. Erck; secretary, August Bruesewitz; elders, Carl Stoltenow, Herman Boeder, Gustav Matter. The other founders of the congregation included Ernest Bruesewitz, Christoph Voth, August Luepke, Carl Luepke, Frank Neuman, Wilhelm Mellenthin, Sr., Wilhelm Mellenthin, Jr., Frank Krause, Wilhelm Schwantes, Wilhelm Brummer, Frank Frankfurth, August Voelker, Wilhelm Schwartz, George Schacht, Ferdinand Boeder, Wilhelm Marten, Henry Schumann, Ferdinand and August Kobs, and Carl Bruss. All but five of these have passed from time to eternity, and only one, August Kobs, is still and always has been a member of the congregation. The other four, Carl Stoltenow, Frank Neumann, August Voelker, and Wilhelm Schwartz are affiliated with sister congregations.
Built Church in 1881
At a congregational meeting held Feb. 16, 1870, it was decided to buy a building site for a house of worship. No further action was taken, however, until on Christmas day, 1880, when it was definitely decided to begin building preparations. Logs were cut during the winter and taken to a mill at Romeo, where they were sawed into lumber. The following summer the first church was built by a Mr. Parker for the sum of $200. This structure is still in existence, being now used as the town hall.
Meanwhile, on Sept. 5, 1879, a call had been extended to the Rev. Mr. Schuette, who became the first resident pastor at Spencer. May 21, 1882, Trinity Lutheran congregation formed at Spencer, and the Rev. Mr. Schuette served both churches as a joint parish until early in 1884. The Rev. F. Siebrandt was called May 25, 1884, and served until July, 1893, when he accepted the call sent him by Trinity church at Merrill. He was succeeded by the Rev. J. Todt, who served six years in church and school, leaving the same year the Rev. A. F. Imm was installed as pastor, and remained 10 years. His successor was the Rev. K. E. J. Schmidt, now located at Pittsville, under whose pastorate the present church was built and dedicated to the service of God in January, 1911. It is a frame structure, brick veneered, 32 by 72 feet in dimension, and has since been improved by the addition of a bell, and repairs, all in 1919, at a total cost of $1,500. In 1923 the new Hinners pipe organ was installed. The school and parsonage were built in 1912.
During the pastorate of the Rev. Mr. Schmidt the two congregations resolved to form two separate parishes, the St. John’s congregation being served by the Rev. Mr. Schmidt until Nov. 4, 1912, when he installed the present pastor, the Rev. A. F. Ziehlsdorff, who was formerly stationed at Swansville, Minn. Although the congregation has not felt able to call a teacher, the school has not been neglected, the pastor teaching from eight to nine months each year, besides attending to his other pastoral duties.
During the existence of St. John’s congregation, according to the records, 515 children and adults were baptized; 412 were confirmed in the doctrine of the church; Holy Communion was partaken of 11,461 times, with private administration 185 times; 115 couples were joined in wedlock; 140 burial services were conducted. At present the congregation numbers 314 souls, including 70 voting members, six contributing members, and 195 communicants.
Owing to the uncertain condition of the late October weather, a formal celebration of the Golden Jubilee was held Sept. 9 in the church, at which time two former pastors, the Rev. Mr. Todt of Manistee, Mich., and the Rev. Mr. Schmidt of Pittsville, assisted in the observance of the joyous occasion. The latter preached in German at the morning service, basing his remarks on Phil. 1:3-6. The venerable Praesis Diab of Merrill addressed the audience at the afternoon service, choosing as his text Psalm 118, verses 24 and 25. The evening sermon, in English, was delivered by the Rev. Mr. Todt, who spoke on the fiftieth Psalm, verses 14 and 15. The church was fittingly decorated with flowers and with a banner made by several women of the congregation. A plate luncheon and other refreshments were served at the dinner and supper hours, and a social time was enjoyed between services. All contributed to make the occasion one long to be remembered by those who participated in the joyful event.
Hope Chapel – Spencer Church History
Source: Spencer Centennial Booklet (Spencer, Marathon County, Wis.) 1874 – 1974,
Hope Chapel, a little country church located north and west of Spencer and sometimes referred to as the Church in the Vale, was built sometime in the 1890’s by a group of Methodists who had previously held their services in the Schofield School, later called the Groveside School. Mrs. Sarah Pickett and Mrs. Ellen Parrette were instrumental in raising funds for the building. Men of the congregation and other friends helped with the labor.
This was a small but active, close knit, living, happy group, with a fine Sunday School, a thriving Ladies Aid Society and, at one time, a Hope Chapel Band, directed by a musician from Riplinger. Their pastors and ministers from either the Spencer or Unity Methodist churches. Church families began to move away and were replaced by families of other denominations until, finally, the few remaining families decided to disband and unite with neighboring Methodist Churches.
Consequently, in 1948, the building was sold and torn down.
G. E. Vandercook, one of our editors who left here shortly after the fire of 1886, returned to Spencer as guest speaker at a soldiers’ reunion. The Marshfield Times of June 1897 give this account of the event:
“Amid speeches, songs, music – with streets and buildings gaily decorated with flags and buntings, the soldier element held their sixth annual reunion at Spencer on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. G. E. Vandercook, Assistant Secretary of State, delivered a masterly address on Wednesday replete with loyalty and blessings of old comrades. The speech was well prepared for the occasion and more than once during his remarks the silent tear unforbidden flowed from the beginning to the end. The reunion was a success and that success was due to the hospitality and energetic work of the people of Spencer. On Wednesday the crowd was estimated at 1,000.
Spencer – United Methodist Church
Source: Spencer Centennial Booklet (Spencer, Marathon County, Wis.) 1874 – 1974
There is no record of the organizing of the church body but it must have been done prior to the construction of the first church building which is believed to have been done about 1879, near the site of the former Charles Haslow residence, now the John Kilty residence.
When the Marshfield church was established in 1881, it became part of the Spencer charge and was served by Spencer pastors until the fire of 1886 when the Spencer church was destroyed. Thereafter the Spencer congregation was served by Marshfield pastors until 1889 when Spencer became a part of the Unity charge, where they remained until 1896. During this interim services were held either in the Baptist church or in a building on Clark Street where the Hartfords and later George Farrington operated a general store.
A new church, built in 1895 during the pastorate of Rev. D. P. Olin, was located on the corner of Main and Pacific and was dedicated February 23, 1896. Early pastors of the church held services in the Cole School west and south of town and in the Schofield School north and west of town, until that congregation built Hope Chapel. Ministers also served the Unity church during one or two intervals and from 1916 to 1928 conducted services in the Veefkind Presbyterian Church.
At the beginning of the depression in 1930 Spencer was again placed on the Marshfield charge where it remained until 1952, when the Spencer, Unity and Colby charge was formed and Spencer again had resident pastors.
In 1969 the new church, located north of town on E. Burnett Street, was built. This was during the pastorate of Rev. R. James Hagen. Ground breaking took place June 1, 1969, and the congregation moved into the new building in time for the New Year’s Communion service on January 4, 1970. The Consecration service was held March 1, 1970.
The old church on Main and Pacific Streets is now serving as a house of worship for the Mennonite Congregation, having been sold to them upon the completion of the new church. The present membership is 166.
Since writing the above, there has been a change in the parish ministry. As of June 15, 1974, Rev. Bervie Scott will become pastor of the Lowell-Juneau Parish near Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.
Rev. Keith Schworlucke will become pastor of the Spencer-Colby Parish. Rev. Schworlucke, who is the son of a minister of Lexington, Ky., will graduate from the Garrett School of Theology at Evanston, Ill., on May 31.
Source: History of Marathon County Wisconsin and Representative Citizens (1913) written by Louis Marchetti, pages 352-366 (Transcribed by Marla Zwakman)
THE METHODIST CONGREGATION
It seems that the Methodists were the first of all religious denominations to hold regular church service; they had visiting ministers regularly as early as 1853, and even earlier, a Reverend Greenleaf of Stevens Point coming up from Stevens Point and holding meetings; then Rev. M. D. Warner organized a class with the assistance of Judge Kennedy, and somewhat later M. H. Barnum was called upon by the people to fill the pulpit, which he did for about one year. On the 12th day of May, 1858, at the conference in Beloit, Bishop Morris made Wausau a regular appointment, sending Rev. R. S. Hayward as the first regularly stationed pastor, and in 1859 a church and parsonage were completed on corner of Second and Grant streets. Rev. W. J. Olmstead was assigned to the post and had a successful year. In 1861 Rev. C. Baldock had charge of Wausau and Mosinee. In 1862 Reverend Olmstead was returned, remaining until 1865, when Reverend Bassett came. In 1866 Rev. William Willard was here until 1868; the parsonage burned in 1866, the pastor losing all his goods; from 1868 to 1869, the year the church burned, Rev. J. T. Gaskell was the pastor.
The church was soon rebuilt and the following named ministers attended to the religious wants of the congregation: 1870, Rev. E. T. Briggs; 1871, Rev. H. B. Crandall; 1872-75, Thomas Walker. Then there were Revs. G. Fallows. Jesse Coles, J. T. Chynoweth, W. W. Stevens and Benjamin Sanford, who was pastor from 1880 to 1882, followed by C. L. Logan, 1882-83; F. L. Wharton, 1883-86; J. S. Davies, 1886-89; George Vader, 1889-94; Enoch Perry, 1894-97; B. T. Sanford, 1897-99; Frank Pease, 1899-1903; G. C. Carmichael, 1903-05; F. H. Brigham, 1905-12; Richard Evans, 1912.
The church built at corner of Second and Grant streets was sold to the Catholic St. James congregation after the new First Methodist Episcopal church on Third and Franklin streets was completed and occupied. This church is one of the largest and finest edifices in the city. It was completed in 1905 at a cost of about forty thousand dollars. The cornerstone was laid by Bishop H. C. McCabe, August 12, 1904, with appropriate ceremonies, Mayor Zimmermann taking part therein. While this church building seemed very large when built, it does not more than comfortably seat the present congregation, which is constantly growing.
ST. JOHN'S EPISCOPAL CHURCH
On March 12, 1854, the first services of the Episcopal church were held at Wausau in the assembly room of the "Forest House," Rev. Thomas Green conducting the service. There was no resident pastor at that time in Wausau, Reverend Green being stationed at Stevens Point, and he for some time afterwards visited this city and held church services.
In 1858 a permanent organization was effected legally and canonically, with him as resident rector. A lot was purchased and the erection of a church edifice begun, but not completed. It stood in this unfinished state until blown down by a storm in 1863.
Reverend Green had moved away from Wausau in 1861, serving as pastor in the army, and did not return until 1869. After his return the work of building a church was begun again and in due time completed and the church was consecrated. Reverend Green remained as pastor until 1873, when he resigned, and Rev. Philip McKim succeeded him and remained until 1876; he was followed by Rev. J. A. Davenport, he being followed by Rev. W. C. Armstrong. Rev. Thomas Green was here all that time, but being superintendent of public schools, gave his time to his official work, only taking the place of pastor when the resident pastor was absent or during an interregnum. Rev. William E. Wright was installed as pastor in 1881 and remained in charge until 1891. During his incumbency a pastorage was built on the lot adjoining the church, and other improvements made. He was succeeded by Rev. George E. Jenner, who remained until 1893. Then came Rev. J. A. Carr, who remained until 1898, and Rev. W. J. Cordick, from 1898 until May 1, 1901, followed by Rev. George Hirst, who resigned on March 24, 1904, and was succeeded by Rev. Edgar Thompson, until his resignation, December 22, 1907, to become archdeacon of Stevens Point. Rev. W. Everett Johnson had charge of the congregation from September 5, 1908, to February 15, 1912, and he was succeeded by Rev. Laurence H. Grant, the present pastor.
A beautiful organ was recently installed and the membership is growing. The present list of communicants embraces 125 members.
Connected with the parish is the St. Martha's Guild, which has proven itself a very efficient auxiliary to the parish and vestry.
Reverend Johnson was the moving spirit in the establishment of the "Infirmary," which is doing excellent work for children, looking after their physical welfare.
EVANGELICAL ST. PAUL'S CHURCH CONGREGATION
This church was organized in 1863 by the German people of Wausau. It was the first Protestant church founded by the German-American citizens, who felt the need of spiritual guidance, and who could not consistently join any of the existing churches holding their services in the English language, even though had they fully understood the language, which they did not. The German element was not very strong at that time, and there were just families enough to found a church and secure the service of a pastor by all joining together. Consequently the difference in the doctrines of Luther and Calvin were not emphasized and all joined in the worship of the Evangelical church. The first church was built in 1863 and the congregation held uninterrupted service, only interrupted for a week or two during a change of ministers.
The first resident minister was Pastor Waldmann, who was followed by Pastor Stoeffier, until about 1866, when Pastor Albert took charge, who in turn was relieved by Pastor Kern in 1869. Pastor Kern, resigning his pastorate, was followed by Rev. F. Reinecke until 1881, when he resigned, organizing the St. Stephan's congregation. After his resignation Reverend Kern returned, but resigned after a short time, and a missionary held divine service until the arrival of Rev. C. Schaer. Rev. C. Schaer was succeeded by his brother, Pastor Fr. W. Schaer, under whose patronage the present edifice was built in 1886. At the time it was built it was the finest and largest in Wausau. Under Pastor F. W. Schaer many families joined the church, and among the many improvements made during his term must be mentioned the large organ installed in the year 1890. Pastor Schaer resigned in 1909, accepting a call from some Illinois congregation very close to Chicago. Rev. E. Grauer, who succeeded him, arrived in May, 1909, and has since been in charge of the congregation.
Owing to the growth of the city and the organizing of more congregations, some members have withdrawn, joining some congregations nearer to their residence, or because a little closer to their ideas of religious doctrines, but new members have come and the church retains its large influence as a factor in religious life in German-American circles and German thought and tolerance.
In 1912 a new pastorage was built at a cost of $7,200; it has a ladies' aid association with 136 members, a sewing circle with 35 members, a young men's association with 76 members, three choirs and a juvenile band, and the congregation consists of 390 families.
On February 15, 1913, it celebrated its semi-centennial anniversary with great ceremony and a great outpouring of people, the religious and social festivities continuing during the week following, until the next Sunday.
THE ST. MARY'S CATHOLIC CHURCH
The Catholics were probably the first that held services in Wausau, for there is a record which shows that mass was held by Reverend Dale at the house of W. D. McIndoe as early as 1849. Afterwards Reverend Itchmann held services in the residence of Mr. M. Stafford, and later there was mass service from time to time held in the store of W. D. McIndoe. Reverend Pollock came to Wausau from Stevens Point from time to time to attend to the religious wants of the Catholics in this vicinity. After the church in Marathon City was built the priest that had charge of that parish visited Wausau and held services regularly every four weeks in the hall of Levy Gennett, on corner of Forest and Fifth streets, where there is now a bakery.
The priest who regularly visited Wausau was Rev. Ch. Hengen. In July, 1867, the cornerstone of the St. Mary's church was laid with proper ceremony, but the church itself was not completed until 1871. From that time Rev. L. Cornelis and Rev. L. Spitzelberger attended to the religious wants of the congregation until 1874, when the first resident priest was sent to Wausau. It was Rev. W. Gundelach, whose stay at Wausau was of short duration, although a house was then being built for the residence of the priest. For a while there was no priest here until Rev. Theo. J. Richards arrived in the spring of 1875 and took charge of the congregation. Dissension of a personal character had broken out among the congregation during the pastorage of Reverend Gundelach, and when Reverend Richards arrived to take charge of the congregation he found it divided in factions, and it was only by the exercise of utmost tact and patience that he succeeded in again uniting the congregation. Reverend Richards remained here from 1875 to 1894, and in that time the church congregation grew largely and there was harmony in all their proceedings. The present St. Mary's church, a fine brick building, was erected and afterwards the parochial school, which is a very good building, and has since that time been conducted as a parochial school. At the request of the bishop of the diocese, Reverend Richards left Wausau to take charge of the much larger congregation at Marinette, Wisconsin; but his departure was deeply regretted, not only by his congregation, but also by the people at large, who had learned to respect and love him. Immediately thereafter, on August 17, 1894, Rev. P. L. Gasper arrived here and took charge of the St. Mary's congregation, and no better selection could have been made. In a very short time the members of his church saw in him not only their priest and spiritual adviser, but their real personal friend as well; he strengthened the ties which bound them together and united them in working to a common goal in the spirit of the gospel.
When he arrived here the congregation was encumbered with a heavy indebtedness, caused by the building of the church and the parish school, which bore a high rate of interest. His first endeavor was to wipe out the debt, and he began by refunding it at a much lower rate of interest, and by good, business-like management succeeded in time in wiping it out entirely. In 1898 the present residence for the school sisters was built, the sanitary condition of the schoolhouse brought up to modern demands, and an organ purchased for the church. In 1902 the church was ornamented with fresco paintings and gas and electric lights installed. In 1904 the parsonage was built at a cost of about ten thousand dollars, and a steam heat plant put in for church and school. These are only the improvements involving large expenses, not to mention the smaller expenditures occurring for repairs and keeping up the property every year. In this year (1912). there was installed a new organ, the largest in the city, played with pneumatic action, a new patented device for the relief of the organist. The cost of this organ was about three thousand and two hundred dollars. In later years the congregation had grown so large that it was thought advisable to build a new church for the needs of the steadily growing Catholic population of this city and the surrounding county, and in 1905, one hundred and ten families separated from the St. Mary's and organized the St. James congregation. Since that time all parochial indebtedness contracted for all these improvements made during Rev. P. L. Gasper's pastorage, and the old church debt, has been fully paid up.
All these improvements paid for, a congregation maintaining a school where 350 pupils, up to and equal to the eighth and ninth grades in the common school, taught by seven sisters of the order of "Our Lady" (Notre Dame) of Milwaukee, all going smoothly and harmoniously, is the highest evidence of the worth and high regard in which Rev. P. L. Gasper is held by his congregation.
ST. MICHAEL'S CATHOLIC CHURCH
A large proportion of the people who came to Wausau in the latter part of the seventies and years following were of Polish extraction, and they, of course, desired the services of a priest with whom they could communicate in their mother tongue. The St. Mary's church, where they worshipped, was at that time in charge of Reverend Richards, and he procured for them a Polish priest to hold mass and a sermon every four weeks, until they could build a church of their own. Reverend Gara, from Poniatowski, was the first missionary priest who visited Wausau and collected the Polish families together into an organization. Later other Polish priests held service, until in 1885-86 the organization became strong enough to undertake the building of a church edifice, which was completed in 1886. It was consecrated by Right Rev. Bishop Katzer of Green Bay. The first resident priest was Reverend Livietzki, who was followed by Reverend Malkowski, during whose pastorate in 1895 the church burned down. It was winter when the church burned, and with the first approach of the milder season a new edifice was erected and completed in the year 1896.
The congregation owns five lots surrounding the church, enough to place a good-sized schoolhouse thereon, which no doubt will be done when the debt created by the building is paid. The church itself is a large, commodious and solid brick building, with fine inside finishings. On account of the burning of the records with the building it is not possible now to obtain the names of all the resident priests who served the congregation, but among those who are well remembered are the following: Reverend Livietzki, Reverend Malkowski, Rev. N. Kolasinski and Rev. W. Slicz, who was succeeded in 1912 by the present pastor, Reverend Wojak. There is a powerful organ in the church, installed in 1912.
The congregation consists of between 175 and 200 families.
THE ST. JAMES CATHOLIC CHURCH
This church was built in 1911-12, and is at this time the finest and most beautiful church edifice in the city and county. The congregation was organized in July, 1905. Most of its members had been members of the St. Mary's congregation, whose membership had grown so large as to make the building of a new church a necessity. Between 135 and 140 families organized a new congregation, and Rev. J. J. Brennan was sent by the bishop of the diocese to take charge of it. For a church they secured the vacant Methodist church building and parsonage for $6,500 and made some improvements at once. The church stood on the corner of Second and Grant streets and was unused, because the Methodist congregation was occupying at that time their new
and much larger church on Third street.
Under the charge of Reverend Brennan the congregation grew so rapidly that in a few years the church could not hold the worshipers, and a new edifice was contemplated. Without losing time, Reverend Brennan and the trustees secured the lots on corner of Second and McClellan streets and plans for a new church were obtained and building begun in 191I and completed in 1912, large for years yet to come; at least that was the intention of the founders. If the congregation continues to grow in the future as in the past, it will not be very long, however, when another church will become a necessity again.
The church was dedicated by Right Rev. Bishop James A. Schwebach, bishop of La Crosse, in whose diocese it is, on the 17th day of December, 1912, with impressive ceremonies.
The total cost of the building is $47,500, not including the high altar, which was taken over from the old church; nor the organ, which was donated by the young ladies of the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin, which will come to $3,500. The value of the property, including the real estate owned by the congregation, is fully seventy thousand dollars; the edifice stands in the very heart of the city, though not exactly in the business portion. At the present the congregation numbers three hundred families, and over fifteen hundred communicants.
The success of building up this congregation and edifice in so short time is the highest testimonial of the confidence the congregation bears to their beloved pastor, the Rev. J. J. Brennan, in his worth as a priest as well as in his business capacity.
THE FIRST UNIVERSALIST CHURCH
A society was organized December 10, 1870, probably known as the "People's Church," or the "Liberal Religion Society." The early records of this society have been lost, but among those who were interested in this movement may be mentioned the names of B. G. Plumer, R. P. Manson, D. B. Willard, Mrs. Mary Scholfield, James McCrossen, William Gouldsbury, Nathaniel T. Kelly, William P. Kelly and M. D. Corey, then the leading business men in Marathon county. A substantial church was built in 1871 on the northeast corner of Fifth and McClellan streets. This church was afterwards, in 1881, sold to the St. Stephan's Evangelical Lutheran church.
The first minister, Rev. B. F. Schultz, came soon after the church was finished in 1872, and also conducted a private school, which was well patronized. He departed from Wausau about the year 1874, and was succeeded by Rev. J. S. Fall, who remained about two years.
After the church was sold there was for some time no regular meeting place for this society, but a reorganization was effected in 1886 and the society incorporated under the laws of the state as "The First Universalist Church of Wausau." During the same year a church building was erected on a lot donated by Mrs. Mary Scholfield on northwest comer of Fifth and McClellan streets. A parsonage was built in 1889. The preamble to the constitution of the congregation reads: "We, whose names are herewith annexed, believing that sound morality constitutes the basis of true life, hereby associate ourselves together in society relations. The objects of this society shall be to promote the welfare of the society by stimulating the acquisition and diffusion of knowledge, the cultivation of virtue and honor, to unite the members into a close friendship, and encourage them to lead a life consistent with morality and sound reason."
For many years the late Judge T. C. Ryan served the church either as moderator or clerk. The following have served as pastors of the church since 1886: Revs. B. F. Rogers, J. L. Andrews, - Schindler, W. S. Williams, B. F. Snook, B. B. Gibbs, and T. B. Fischer.
The present pastor, Rev. William H. Gould, took charge January 1, 1912. The church is in a strong and prosperous condition, having a membership of ninety-four; having a well organized Sunday school, a society of young people's union, boy scouts, missionary society, ladies' aid, and a strong men's club.
THE FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CONGREGATION
The First Presbyterian congregation traces its beginning to June 3, 1858, when it was organized by Rev. Charles F. Halsey, evidently a missionary member, with five charter members, the first members being Richard H. Libbey, John Dobbie, Mrs. Elizabeth Gouldsbury, Mrs. Jane Hobart, Mrs. Clarissa Calkins, Mrs. Mary Poor, Mrs. Adeline Green, and Mrs. Sylvia Anne Halsey.
The membership slowly increased, but was not large enough to build a house of worship, and the first meetings were held in a dwelling located about 211 Forest street, though the actual organization was begun over the workshop of Mr. Corey, across from the courthouse square, which was afterwards a shingle mill, which burnt in 1866.
There seems to have been no regular service after Reverend Halsey left in 1863, until a reorganization was effected in 1868.
The general assembly reports for 1870-71-72 show eight members, and no report is given for 1873; and from 1870, 1872 and 1874 the church is shown as vacant.
Divine services commenced again in a schoolhouse by Mr. Farewell, a licentiate from Lane Seminary, acting as pastor at request, and religious meetings were held at the courthouse, the Universalist church, and schoolhouse. Mr. Farewell remained about one year, until the end of 1875.
Early in 1876, Rev. J. W. Hageman was called as pastor, the congregation having been much strengthened in the previous years, especially by the accession of the families of J. M. Smith, M. A. Hurley, and the Armstrongs. A Sunday school was organized, and under his pastorage, the first church, now the garage of T. H. Jacob, was built and dedicated in the fall of 1881. In the following year provisions were made for the purchase of a house
and lot for a parsonage. On July 15, 1882, on a call issued to Rev. William R. Stewart, he took charge of the congregation and served most acceptably until his death, June 14, 1885.
From February 9, 1886, to May 27, 1888, Rev. Thomas G. Smith, D. D., was the resident pastor, and was succeeded by Rev. W. O. Carrier, who was pastor until his resignation, in August, 1900. Under the pastorage of Reverend Carrier the congregation had largely grown in numbers; the present fine church, costing about thirty thousand dollars, was built and dedicated February 21, 1897; a number of chapels were established in the county, which gave evidence of the earnest work of the congregation under his charge.
He was succeeded by Rev. S. N. Wilson, D. D., who resigned in August, 1908, whose field of labor was enlarged by the founding of missions in Edgar, Stratford, and Fenwood. The present pastor is Rev. James M. Duer, who took charge of the congregation April 1, 1909.
The church of the First Presbyterian congregation is one of the many fine edifices which certify to the Christian spirit of the people of Wausau, with a steadily growing congregation. It celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary in 1903. There are no debts, the last having been paid in 1901, and the congregation can and does assist smaller, struggling missions in the teachings of the gospel of Christ.
ST. STEPHAN'S EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CONGREGATION
St. Stephan's Evangelical Lutheran congregation was organized November 6, 1881, by Rev. F. G. Reinicke, who had been pastor of the St. Paul's congregation, and who was pastor of this congregation until 1898, when sickness and old age made retirement convenient.
When the congregation organized it purchased the church building of the Universalist congregation on Fifth street. After Reverend Reinicke's retirement Rev. F. Werhahn was called to the pastorage, which he filled until 1910, when Rev. William Spiegel was chosen his successor.
The congregation had a sound growth from its beginning, but under Reverend Werhahn its growth was much more rapid and almost marvelous The church soon proved too small to hold the worshiping mass of people. and a new and larger one became a necessity. A magnificent church building was erected in 1910 at a cost of about sixty thousand dollars, the largest church edifice at the time in Wausau. The building was completed and the church dedicated under Pastor Werhahn's pastorage.
The membership numbers now 450 families, with 1,500 communicants. On January 6, 1907, the congregation amended its constitution, adopting all confessionals of the Evangelical Lutheran church, hence its confessional standpoint is strictly Lutheran. The congregation has its parochial school, presided over by teachers C. Giese and O. H. Blase. The service is conducted in the German language, excepting monthly English evening services, which were introduced in January, 1911.
Under the pastorate of Rev. Wm. Spiegel the congregation is in a most flourishing condition, and the large church is filled with devoted worshipers every Sunday and Holyday.
THE EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN ZION'S CONGREGATION
This congregation was organized by Rev. W. L. Rosenwinkle, A. D. 1874, with eight members. The first church and parsonage were located on Seymour street near Frenzel street. In 1876 Reverend Rosenwinkel was succeeded by Rev. W. Weber, who served the congregation as a filial charge while he resided in town Wausau, till April, 1882. In April, 1882, the Rev. H. Erck was called. Under Reverend Erck the present church building on corner Fifth and Scott streets was built, the same being dedicated October 19, 1884. It cost $3,600. The congregation then numbered sixty members. In June, 1889, when Rev. H. Erck was succeeded by Rev. C. A. Bretscher, the congregation numbered one hundred and five voting members. Under Rev. C. A. Bretscher the church building was enlarged and remodeled at an additional cost of $7,000. This was in 1903. In 1908 all members living on the west side of the river (eighty) were branched off and organized the Evangelical Lutheran Trinity congregation. The mother congregation aided them to the extent of $6,000 and the building site. When Reverend Bretscher resigned, January, 1911, the congregation numbered 194 voting members. The present pastor, Rev. George C. Schroedel, was installed in May, 1911.
Zion congregation maintained a parochial school since 1876. The present school building, corner Fifth and McClellan streets, was built in 1892. Under the able leadership of Prof. W. Wetzel, assisted by Prof. W. Haas and Miss Ida Braun, Zion's school ranks second to none in the schools of Wausau.
Zion congregation now numbers 207 voting members, about 1,000 souls, and has 160 children in its school.
The property, church, school, parsonage, and teacher's dwelling are valued at about thirty thousand dollars.
IMMANUEL NORWEGIAN LUTHERAN CHURCH
The Immanuel Norwegian Lutheran church was organized during the early part of the year 1884 by the Rev. N. Foerde (Fdrde). In August of the same year the church was dedicated. The congregation is affiliated with the Norwegian Lutheran Synod of the United States. For a number of years services have been conducted both in the English and Norwegian languages in this church.
The following pastors have served the congregation: N. Fdrde, Paul Koren, I. G. Monson, T. Norseth, B. J. Larson, A. O. Dolven, J. Grevstad, O. Skatteboe, A. W. Hirstendahl, L. O. Qien, G. C. Ulen and O. T. Boe. The church is situated on McClellan street.
The German Baptist congregation of Wausau was organized August 23, 1880, and the church edifice erected in 1886. Rev. W. M. Kroesch was the first minister and served from July, 1880, until May, 1883. From June, 1883, to September, 1883, the services were conducted by Charles Rocho, a student, and a resident minister in the person of Rev. C. Jung took charge of the congregation from August, 1884, to February, 1886; he was succeeded by Rev. M. Dornke, who served from September, 1886, to May, 1891. From
September, 1891, Rev. J. F. Matzick was the resident minister until May, 1895, when he was succeeded by Rev. H. Schroeder, who served from August, 1895, to August, 1898; from November, 1898, to April, 1900, Rev. J. Schlipf was the resident minister, and from that time to May, 1906, Rev. A. L. Tilgner, when Rev. H. Schmidt attended to the wants of the congregation until June, 1911. The present resident minister, Rev. F. W. Socolofski, came in October, 1911.
The congregation consists of 43 families, with a church membership of 139.
The church is situated on corner of Sixth and Steuben streets.
FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH
The congregation organized in the spring of 1884. The foundation of the church on the corner of Grant and Fourth streets, now used for worship, was laid in the fall of 1886, and the building dedicated January 8, 1888. Rev. G. S. Martin, the first pastor of the church, closed his labors the next September.
The succeeding pastorates have been as follows: Rev. J. H. Sampson, from 1888 to 1890; Rev. D. R. McGregor, from 1890 to 1892; Rev. K. N. Morrill, from 1892 to 1894; Rev. A. J. Morris, from 1894 to 1895; Rev. W. I. Coburn, from June, 1896, to September, 1897; Rev. F. C. R. Jackson, from 1897 to 1898; Rev. Adam Fawcett, from 1899 to 1903; Rev. E. A. Patch, from 1903 to 1906; Rev. Frederick H. Donovan, from 1907 to 1908; Rev. Guy C. Crippen, 1908 to 1911 ; Rev. O. D. Briggs is the present pastor.
Societies connected with the church are: The Ladies' Aid Society; Graded Sunday School, Woman's Missionary Society, Young People's Christian Endeavor, Boys' Club.
EVANGELICAL REFORMED CHURCH
The Evangelical Reformed congregation was organized December 25, 1886, with the following charter members: Peter C. Peterson, William Kienemann, Rudolph Wiesman, Henry Mannecke, Sr., Adolph Storch, William Nagel, Daniel Fischer, E. H. Kohnhorst, and William Hagen.
About the year 1887, a number of immigrants from Westphalia, Germany, settled in Wausau; they were members of the Reformed church while in Germany, and naturally desired to worship in that faith in the new home. Fortunately, they found a Reformed minister, who was also from Germany, in the person of Rev. H. W. Stienecker, with whom they were personally acquainted, and who at that time was pastor of a Reformed congregation in Dale, Wisconsin. He conducted their religious services from time to time
in private houses and school buildings. Thus the people were kept together until they were ready to unite in a congregation. A prominent member of this small church was H. Mannecke, Sr., who spared neither time nor effort to promote the good cause. He was an active member and officer of the congregation until his death a few years ago. For his efficient work and sacrifices brought for the welfare of the church he will always be gratefully remembered.
The congregation was organized by Rev. O. Muehlmeier, who was also its first pastor. In the beginning services were held in a small Norwegian church on Clark's Island; later the congregation convened in the Presbyterian chapel on Third avenue north. In the year 1888 the congregation erected a church edifice of its own on Jefferson street, but when a few years later the west side became more densely settled, it was found necessary to relocate to Third avenue south, where the congregation has its church and parsonage today. During the subsequent years the congregation progressed and has grown, so that today it has a membership of one hundred and twenty-five families. The following are the names of the ministers who in time have served the congregation: Rev. O. Muehlmeier, 1886-90; Rev. L. Bruegger, 1890-91; Rev. T. C. Schneller, 1892-1901; Rev. E. A. Fuenfstueck, 1901-10. Since February, 1910, the congregation's first minister, Rev. O. Muehlmeier, has resumed his work as pastor of this field.
The present officers of the church are: Richard Flatter, president; Albert Michler, secretary; Albert Rapraeger, treasurer.
The Sunday school is in a prosperous condition, having as many as one hundred and forty scholars. During the summer months a parochial school is conducted by the minister, the object being to teach the children the fundamental truths of the Christian religion in the German language, thus training them to become faithful and loyal church members in later years.
A Young People's Society has been organized and holds its meetings once a month. The work of this society is not exclusively of a religious nature; much attention is paid to literary entertainments.
Two years ago the congregation celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary. It had the privilege at that time to look over a quarter century of prosperity and blessing. The congregation is without debt, which is due mostly to the efficient work of the Ladies' Aid Society. This society has an enrollment of sixty-five members and is active in every respect.
The former preachers of the congregation are all living, with the exception of Rev. L. Bruegger, who died several years ago. Rev. F. C. Schneller holds a pastorate in Tillamook, Oregon, and Reverend Fuenfstueck, who has retired from the active ministry, lives at Wausau.
First Church of Christ Scientist of Wausau was organized in 1894, with Miss Margaret Scholfield first reader and Mrs. W. S. Williams second reader. There were ten families in the congregation at that time, and services were held in the Myer's building; later the services were held in the Universalist church. In 1906 the old Presbyterian church on McClellan street was purchased and services held there until the spring of 1912, when the property was sold and the "Log Cabin" (printing office of the Philosopher) property at the park of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad depot was purchased and remodeled, where the services are held now. The congregation comprises now over twenty families. The present first reader is J. B. Hall; second reader, Mrs. Elmer Miller.
SWEDISH METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
A congregation was organized December 13, 1895, by Rev. John O. Borjeson as pastor and Mikal Forsmo, Gustaf Rylander and Andrew T. Pearson as trustees. They purchased the old Presbyterian church on Scott street and there held their service for some years. In 1905 they sold this property and under the pastorage of Rev. Louis Johnson built a church on Main street in the same year. It is a neat frame building, large enough for the congregation for some years to come. The Swedish population is not very strong in Wausau, but this congregation numbers twenty families. The following named pastors served the congregation at different times, to wit: Revs. John O. Borjeson, Klas Okerman, Victor Swift, Andrew Fedrikson, Louis Johnson, Alex Sjoding, Theo. Livingston, Elmer F. Lund, A. G. Olson, who is the present resident pastor.
THE EVANGELIST LUTHERAN TRINITY CONGREGATION
This congregation was founded by those members of the Evangelical Lutheran Zion congregation who lived on the west side of the Wisconsin river in the summer of 1908. A church was built with a parochial school in the basement at a cost of $19,750. Rev. J. T. Destinon of Gleason, Wisconsin, accepted the call as minister, and Prof. E. Ritzmann as teacher of the school. Both were installed on November 1, 1908, the day the church was dedicated. Two years later Professor Ritzmann went to Milwaukee, and Prof. A. T. Landsmann took his place. A second teacher was deemed necessary, and on the 2d of September, 1912, Prof. W. Meyer took charge of the lower grades.
The congregation has enjoyed a steady and healthy growth. The charter members numbered 97, while now-the lists show I75 families. In 1912 they built a beautiful parsonage at a cost of $3,725.
GERMAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
Different preachers held services in private homes during the years of 1870-74. Rev. A. H. Kopplin was the first pastor holding meetings at a regular time. He lived in the town of Main. Under his successful leadership it was decided to buy a suitable building lot and to build a church. A suitable location was found, being the corner of Jefferson and Sixth streets (southeast corner). The church was built in 1874, a very modest building, 24 x 34 feet, the building committee being Rev. A. H. Kopplin, Aug. Wilde, Ferdinand Boemke. First trustees of the organized society were Aug. Wilde, Charles Wilde, John Nass, and F. Lemke. The first parsonage was built in 1881, during the pastorate of Rev. John Beinert, who resided in the town of Main. Rev. Gustav Magdsick was the first German Methodist Episcopal church pastor who resided here in the city of Wausau, having been sent here in the fall of 1881. Services were held regularly in the city of Wausau, town of Wausau, and town of Texas. The present church edifice was erected in 1900, Rev. H. F. Mueller being the pastor from 1897 to 1902. The present parsonage, a modern and commodious dwelling, was built in 1906, during the pastorate of Rev. A. M. Wieting. The present membership is one hundred and forty (counting individual members, not by families).
List of German Methodist pastors to the congregation of Wausau: Rev. A. H. Kopplin, 1871-74; Rev. Aug. Karnopp, 1874-75; Rev. George Killing, 1875-77; Rev. Ferd. Kamopp, 1877-80; Rev. John Beinert, 1881; Rev. G. Magdsick, 1881-82, first pastor residing in Wausau, followed by Rev. M. Entzminger, 1882-83; Rev. A. C. Berg, 1883-85; Rev. H. F. Schmidt, 1885-88; Rev. E. Werner, 1888-89; Rev. John Beinert, 1889-91; Rev. R. Dresher, 1891-93; Rev. A. Held, 1893-97; Rev. H. F. Mueller, 1897-1902; Rev. A. M. Wieting, 1902-08; Rev. G. H. Elske, 1908-12; Rev. J. L. Menzner, 1912.
EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN SALEMS CONGREGATION
The Evangelical Lutheran Salems congregation was organized by Rev. Johannes Karrer on the 28th day of September, 1908, with eighteen charter members. The church was built in the same year and dedicated December 20, 1908. The congregation is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Wisconsin and other states. It enjoyed a rapid growth and at present has over one hundred families constituting the congregation. It conducts a parochial school, and owns also its parsonage building. The property at a fair valuation is $10,000. It is situated on Bridge street, on the north side of the city.
Wisconsin Genealogy Trails Home Page
To contribute or report broken links email County Host
Copyright © Genealogy Trails
All data on this website is Copyright by Genealogy Trails with full rights reserved for original submitters.