About sixty-five years ago a few Catholic families settled at Sheboygan and in the surrounding neighborhood. These were found by the Rev. Father Rehrl in his journeyings along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, during the summer of 1845. On the 24th of August of that year, Father Rehrl celebrated mass for the first time in Sheboygan, in the home of Alban Kent. The table used as an altar by him at that time was later presented by Mr. Kent to Holy Name congregation, and it is now kept in the sanctuary of the church as a lasting remembrance of the pioneer and missionary days.
Father Rehrl soon encouraged his people to erect a church, a small frame building, 30x20 feet, which was dedicated in honor of St. Magdalene. From that time, 1845, until 1850, Father Rehrl visited this place once every three months, besides which the people were attended occasionally by Rev. P. Fabian. According to the records still extant of this Catholic community, thirty-two children were baptized during the five years of Father Rehrl's administration.
In 1850 Rev. F. X. Etschmann became the first resident pastor. However, he remained but six months, then he took charge of the Catholic congregation at Madison, his successor in Sheboygan being Rev. Mathew Gernbauer. For some months prior to this change of pastors, a number of small congregations had been established in the neighborhood, among them being those at Wilson, Plymouth, Mitchell, Lyndon, Rhine and Mosel, all of which were given in charge to the rector of St. Magdalene's congregation at Sheboygan. Under the judicious administration of its several priests, the mother parish rapidly increased in strength and numbers.
During the pastorate of Father Gernbauer, which extended over a period of eighteen months, 124 children were baptized. It soon became evident that the original church was entirely inadequate to accommodate the members, and accordingly an addition 46x30 feet was built to the main structure. In 1851 a mission was held at St. Magdalene's by the celebrated Jesuit Father F. X. Weninger, who also erected a mission cross in the new cemetery, land for which was purchased during his visits here.
In May, 1852, Father Gernbauer was transferred to another parish, his successor being Rev. Fusseder, who remained until September, 1853. Among numerous improvements accomplished by this pastor was the erection of a building and establishment of a parochial school, which was placed in charge of Mr. Berger, a lay teacher. He also built a steeple on the church and purchased a bell for the same. Father Fusseder left Sheboygan in September, 1853, to assume a pastorate at Beaver Dam. Later he met with a terrible affliction, becoming totally blind. He remained at Beaver Dam for a number of years after, and finally died there in 1885.
From 1853 until 1858 Father De Berge was rector of St. Magdalene's, and during this period several of the missions were erected into parishes, among them being those of Lyndon and Herman. During his pastorate the first parsonage was also built, which was done by separating the original church from the addition and remodeling the latter into a dwelling house. It was also at the same time that 843 children were baptized. In the fall of 1858 Father De Berge was appointed a professor in the Ecclesiastical Seminary at St. Francis, near Milwaukee. He died at Elm Grove in the simimer of 1882. He was succeeded in Sheboygan by Rev. Benedict Smedding, who remained until i860. He built a new schoolhouse and remodeled the old building into a residence for the sisters. This school has been in charge of sisters from the Convent of Notre Dame since 1859.
Father Smedding died September 4, 1881, at Paris, Kenosha county, where he was buried. The next rector of the parish was Rev. F. X. Schraudenbach, who remained eighteen months. His successor was Rev. Michael Haider, who took charge in the spring of 1862. Under his administration all debts were liquidated and a magnificent stone church erected. The plans and specifications for this building were drawn by Father Haider. A block of land 360 by 318 feet was purchased for $2,200, in the center of which the structure was placed. This was built of stone obtained from a quarry which had been bought for that purpose by the parish. It was during the same year that Father Weninger held his second mission at Sheboygan.
The foundation of the church was built in 1867, the corner stone being laid on the 21st of June that year, by Rt. Rev. Bishop Henni, and on the 10th of November, 1872, the church was dedicated by him, he being assisted by Dr. Joseph Salzmann, now deceased. Revs. Joseph Rainer, F. X. Etschmann and Father Schleyer. Four years later the steeples were finished. The dimensions of the church when completed were: length, 180 feet; width across aisles, 98 feet; and in the center, 58 feet; height, 70 feet; steeples, each 170 feet. The building is lighted throughout with electricity and gas, the former being put in by the present rector at his own expense, while the gas chandeliers were presented to the congregation by Messrs. A. Hammes, Nicholas Heil and Joseph Lutz. The Stations of the cross erected in 1874, were the gift of George Brickner, of Sheboygan Falls. In 1879 an organ was installed and in 1883 a bell was presented to the congregation by Thomas M. Blackstock, a non-Catholic. About the same time three additional bells were ordered from a foundry in Baltimore, Maryland.
In the following year a comfortable residence was built for the sisters, then in charge of the parochial school. Father Haider died in 1884, the vacancy thus created being filled by Rev. Father Schwaiger, who soon after his arrival built a new brick parsonage at a cost of $3,000. It was at about the same time that a clock costing $700 was bought and placed in one of the steeples. Many improvements were also made to the interior furnishings of the structure and a memorial chapel was erected over the grave of Father Haider, toward which Mr. Blackstock donated $400.
The congregation of Holy Name had now assumed such proportions that it was deemed advisable to establish another parish. This change was effected January 6, 1886, when a congregation was organized by the Catholics living south of the Sheboygan river. The corner stone of the new church built by this congregation was laid by Mons. L. Batz, on the feast of St. John the Baptist, 1888. The structure was of brick, two stories high, the first floor being arranged for school purposes and the second as a church. The building was dedicated October 14, 1888, by Archbishop Michael Heiss, in honor of St. Peter Claver, and the Rev. J. B. Van Treeck was appointed the first rector of the new parish. In December, 1889, Father Schwaiger exchanged pastorates with Rev. Nicholas A. Thill, rector of St. Lawrence congregation in Washington county. Under Father Thill's administration the church was furnished, new altars, new pews, a pulpit and floors being provided. The interior was also handsomely decorated with fresco paintings by Liebig and cathedral glass put in all of the win- dows. In addition to this a sacristy was added to the sanctuary and an elegant brick schoolhouse erected at a cost of $15,500.
In the fall of 1892 Rev. Thill exchanged pastorates with his brother. Rev. Dominic F. Thill, rector at Jefferson, and formerly for eleven years pastor of St. Mary's congregation at Milwaukee. Under his administration the parish has made most satisfactory progress and many improvements have been made. The parochial school connected with Holy Name congregation was made a graded school by Father Thill and is considered one of the very best in the diocese. The Revs. Gottlieb Beau and M. M. Gerend, the latter now rector of the Deaf and Dumb Institute at St. Francis, were offsprings of this congregation.
St. Nicholas Hospital, which is conducted by Sisters of St. Francis, was established in this parish in the spring of 1890. There are a number of Catholic organizations to which the members of Holy Name congregation belong, among them being: St. Boniface Aid Society, St. George's Catholic Knights, St. John's Young Men's Society, Holy Name Boys' Society, St. Ann's Mothers' Society, St. Mary's Sodality of the Immaculate Conception, Children of Mary Society, Catholic Knights of Wisconsin, and Catholic Order of Foresters.
Holy Name congregation is of a polyglot character, although those who are either German by birth or descent, predominate. The congregation now consists of 700 families and there are 858 pupils in the school.
ST. PETER CLAVER CHURCH
St. Peter Claver church organization came into existence February 7, 1888, and the first services were conducted by Rev. J. P. Van Treeck, October 14th of that year. When the church was organized, the membership numbered ninety families but that number has increased from three to four fold. The school was organized in November, 1888, with about eighty pupils and two teachers, but the number has increased in proportion to that of the church. The first church edifice was used both for religious services and school purposes and stood on the corner of Clara avenue and Cedar street, where the parish owned several valuable lots. About 1907 a splendid new building was erected, near which is the priest's house, school building and a hall for the use of the Leo Hall Association and other societies connected with the church. The new building stands on the corner of Clara avenue and South Eleventh street. Rev. J. P. Van Treeck has been the pastor from the beginning. He is a native of Sheboygan county, born in the town of Wilson, March 9, 1855. His father, Peter J. Van Treeck, was a native of Geldern, Rhine province, Prussia. In 1849 the grandfather, Gerhard Van Treeck, with his wife and their four children, emigrated to America, coming directly to Sheboygan.
Father Van Treeck obtained his primary education in the district schools of the town of Wilson. He graduated from St. Francis Seminary near Milwaukee, in 1880, and was ordained to the ministry. His first church was at Centerville, Manitowoc county. From there he went to Theresa, Dodge county, and afterwards to Alverno, Manitowoc county. In 1888, as before stated, he assumed his present charge.
STS. CYRIL AND METHODIUS CHURCH
The arrival of Rev. James Cherne in Sheboygan was in March, 1910, and his mission here was to found a Slavonic Catholic church, in which he was successful. He organized the church with a large congregation and built a beautiful stone edifice for religious purposes on New Jersey avenue, near South Eighth street, which was dedicated by Bishop Kodelka, of Milwaukee, on November 26, 191 1. He still presides over the spiritual destinies of Sts. Cyril and Methodius church parish.
CHURCH OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
The Church of the Immaculate Conception was organized by Lithuanians of the Catholic faith, in the year 1903, by Rev. Casimir Ambrozaitis, with 70 families as the initial membership. The next pastor to preside here was Rev. M. Jodyszius, who was followed by Rev. A. Balinska. After a two years' stay Rev. Stanislaus Dysza succeeded him but only remained a few months, when Father John A. Gadeikis was sent to this charge and has remained up to the present time. Since the organization of the church the membership has constantly grown in numbers and is now 160 families. The church building is located on the corner of Erie avenue and Ninth street.
GRACE EPISCOPAL CHURCH
So far as can be learned, the first services of the church were held in Sheboygan in 1845, by the Rev. S. K. Miller, then in deacon's orders, who visited this place and held service on one Sunday and it was "his representations of the good congregations he had, and of the strong desire among the people to have a minister" that led Bishop Kemper to send the Rev. William Homman to establish the church here.
Rev. Homman arrived in Sheboygan, August 31, 1845, and on that day held service in a building used for school purposes, as well as for all religious and literary meetings. In the autumn of the same year a room was secured over the store of Carrington & Brown on Eighth street, a few doors north of Jefferson avenue and fitted up and used exclusively for the services of the church. Rev. Homman remained in Sheboygan for eight months, during which time he maintained regular services here, besides officiating occasionally at the Dye and Gibbs settlements, some ten miles south and west of Sheboygan, and also at Fond du Lac, Taycheedah and Sheboygan Falls.
After Rev. Homman's departure in April, 1846, there were no regular services until February, 1847, when the Rev. L. W. Davis, then in deacon's orders, took charge of the mission. During the summer and fall of the same year the parish was organized and a frame church building was erected on the site of thepresent church. The lot was donated by Daniel Whitney, of Green Bay, and the building, including the furnishings, cost $600. The edifice was used for the first time on Christmas day, 1847, and was consecrated by Bishop Kemper, February 12, 1848.
Rev. Davis remained in charge until the summer of 1851, when he removed to the diocese of Mississippi. He returned and resumed the care of the parish in 1852. After his resignation in 1854 the parish was deprived of regular ministrations until June, 1856, when Rev. John B. Pradt became rector. During his pastorate the church building was enlarged. Rev. Pradt remained until July, 1858, when he resigned in order to devote his time to missionary work, with headquarters at Plymouth. He, however, supplied the Sheboygan parish with a service every Sunday evening until the spring of 1859.
In July of that year Rev, James W. Coe assumed charge and continued with the church until 1861, when he was succeeded by Rev. A. B. Peabody, who in turn was succeeded by Rev. Robert W. Blow, a young man not long graduated from the seminary at Nashotah. Twenty-eight years of patient, untiring service, all that he had of worldly goods, were given to the church he loved so well. But better than these was the kindly interest and love he bestowed upon every one, whether a member of the parish or not. His whole life was the exemplification of the Lord's command to "love thy neighbor as thyself," and in return he was firmly fixed in the affections of the entire community. The present church, which was built in 1871, at a cost of $7,752, most of which amount was gathered by Rev. Blow's own efforts, stands as a monument to his piety, zeal and self-denial.
Rev. Blow died February 12, 1890, and was succeeded by Rev. F. R. Sanford, who remained less than two years, being followed by Rev. F. W. Merrill, who in turn was succeeded by Rev. L. D. Hopkins in 1894. The latter remained until 1901, and during his rectorship the parish attained the highest degree of prosperity in its history. He resigned, leaving a communicant list of 200, with church and rectory renovated and free from debt.
In 1901 Rev. E. M. Frank became rector and after eighteen months service was succeeded by Rev. F. M. Ray, who resigned in 1905, and the church extended a call to Rev. W. A. Grier. During his rectorship, the rectory, a brick dwelling at 629 Ontario avenue, which had been erected by Rev. Blow for his own home and had been left by him at his death to the church, was traded for the property adjoining the church on the east and the interior of the church was renovated for the second time. He accepted a call to Philadelphia in October, 1907, and on the ist of November following Rev. James Boyd Coxe assumed charge. Shortly after his arrival work was commenced on an annex to the church. Rev. Coxe remained two years and was succeeded by the present rector, Rev. A. P. Curtis, who assumed charge December 1, 1909.
The addition to the church, to which reference has been made, is a beautiful hall, annexed to the north end and, in its architectural lines, is in harmony with the main edifice. In grateful memory of a former rector and beloved pastor, R. W. Blow, the hall was named and dedicated by Bishop C. C. Grafton, November 16, 191 1. The purposes of the hall are of a social nature. Here the Boy Scouts, Girls' Friendly Society and Young Men's Club meet weekly to engage in athletics and other exercises. The hall is also devoted to other parochial activities, entertainments, lectures, socials, dances, etc. The annex, of cream-colored brick, cost $8,000. To the guilds of the church which meet here, a great share of the credit is due for the existence of Blow Hall. It was through their determined and indefatigable efforts that a large part of the building fund was obtained.
FIRST METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
Sheboygan first appears in Methodist records in the year 1837, when Rev. H. W. Frink, pastor at Sheboygan Falls established a preaching place here, at that time a very small settlement. For a few years services were irregularly maintained but no regular organization was effected.
In 1842 it became a part of the Manitowoc Mission and Rev. David Lewis was appointed pastor. In order to reach his appointment it was necessary to make a journey of 250 miles through dense forests and across swollen rivers, camping by night under the trees where he could hear the cries of wolves and bears. He reached Sheboygan in September and immediately organized a class which has since been maintained as an organization. In 1845 the large Mission field was divided and Sheboygan became a separate appointment with Rev. Joseph Lewis as pastor. In 1847 a church building was erected on the corner of Wisconsin avenue and Eighth street, which was occupied by the congregation until 1880, when the building was removed to the corner of Ontario avenue and Seventh street. Ehiring this period the records of the church were very inaccurately kept and it is impossible to secure data of events and progress. During this period, or until 1888, the following pastors served the church: Rev. F. A. Pease, John N. Elliott, George E. Fellows, Wm. Turrel, and E. E. Carpenter.
In 1888 Rev. W. J. Patton was appointed pastor and served the church for a period of five years, during which time the membership very rapidly increased in numbers and from the work done by this very diligent and effective pastor a larger life has come to the organization. From this date the records of the church are more complete and fully preserved. The following ministers have served the church as pastor: Revs. W. J. Patton, 1888-93; T. W. North, 1893-95; James Church, 1895-98; G. W. White, 1898-1901; W. A. Newing, 1901-1906; John Reynolds, 1906-07; F. W. Nimmits, 1907-11. During the pastorate of Rev. W. A. Newing a new impulse was given the growing church, the membership was largely increased and the new brick building now occupied by the congregation was built at a cost of about $17,000. The church is in a very flourishing condition, with a membership of a little over 400, and a very prosperous Sabbath school. A mission Sunday school is supported by the church on Union avenue, with an enrollment of about 100 members. The trustees of the church have just given a contract for a fine new parsonage, to be built at a cost of $5,000, and the church building will be entirely renovated and improved. Rev. W. H. Vance is the present pastor, having been appointed in September, 1911.
GERMAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
The beginning of this mission dates back to the year 1848, when Rev. William Madlung took up Sheboygan on his circuit. The circuit was from Brillion to Charleston, Plymouth, Green Bay road settlement, Sauk trail and Sheboygan. On account of the length of the circuit the field was supplied in the absence of the missionary by local preachers who conducted the services. Many of these charges have now become independent and others have ceased to exist on account of the removal of their members. At the present time the Plymouth charge on the "town line" is still affiliated with Sheboygan congregation. The latter has never become a very strong congregation, owing to the fact that it did not have a resident pastor for so many years. In the Plymouth charge there still resides H. C. Edler, who at the age of ninety-five, is the patriarch of the institution. The Sheboygan congregation has for many years been a supply for the congregations west, all of which have come here and settled for a time, then after some years have gone farther west and started other churches. On account of this exodus this church has never been a strong one but it has furnished many members for the English congregation. Charter members of this congregation who are still living are: H. C. Edler, Jacob Kempf, Wilhelmina Vemeberg, Henry Muenstermann, James Clausen, Robert Schmidt. Rev. William Hoehle, a super annuated member of the German conference of the Methodist Episcopal church, resides here.
The first church building was erected in 1850, during the pastorate of Rev. A. Kellner, on the northeast comer of Niagara avenue and Seventh street. The second church was erected on the northwest comer of Erie avenue and Seventh street, during the pastorate of Rev. Becker. This was built in 1866 and in 1892 was replaced by the present edifice, which is a neat brick structure. The congregation also owns a parsonage. There is now a membership of 90, while the Sunday school has a membership of 123, and the Epworth League 35 members. There is also a flourishing Ladies' Aid society, which is a great support to the church and at one time it was instrumental in raising $1,000 to liquidate the debt on the church.
The pastors who have served the church from the date of its organization to the present are: Revs. William Madlung, 1848-49; William Lalk, 1849-50; A. Kellner, 1850-52; Christian HoU, 1852-54; C. Kluckhohn, 1854-55; William Pfaeffle, 1855-56; Theodore Miller, 1856-57; Jacob Haas, 1857-59; C. Buehner, 1859-61; C. Schulz, 1861-63; William Roecker, 1863-65; C. Wenz, 1865-66; C. G. Becker, 1866-68; P. Schaefer, 1868-70; G. Linsemeyer, 1870-72; J. Wolter, 1872-75; G. L. Limper, 1875-78; William Hoehle, 1878-81; G. F. Dilling, 1881-82; F. Kamopp, 1882-85; E. Werner, 1885-86; William Hoehle, 1887-90; and during this time J. F. Romoser and William Feistkom served as assistants; W. Weber, 1890-95; H. Schuckai, 1895-1900; C. Handschin, part of the year 1900; C. F. Neitzel, 1900-1903; Frank Hartl, 1903-1909'; A. R. E. Schreiber, 1909, and the present pastor.
FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH
The First Congregational church of Sheboygan was organized August 17, 1845, embracing members from all parts of the county. A house of worship was built in 1847, the frame being once blown down while building, and was dedicated in November of that year. It was located on Seventh street, near Center. A bell, weighing 925 pounds, was purchased and first rung in September, 1849. In 1852 the church was enlarged by the erection of a new front and tower. In 1867 the building was removed to its present site on Seventh street, between Niagara and Ontario streets. Here extensive repairs and improvements were made and the edifice rededicated December 18, 1867. A small school building was joined to the rear of the church in 1870, to be used for the social meetings of the church and for Sunday school purposes. In 1847 eighteen members were dismissed to form a church at Sheboygan Falls. In 1849 Rev. H. Lyman and three ladies withdrew, and, with others, formed a Presbyterian church, which in 1852 was dissolved, the members again joining the Congregational church.
Rev. Stephen Peet, of the American Home Missionary Society, assisted in the organization of the church and public services were at once began by Rev. H. Lyman. He remained as pastor until October, 1848. Rev. W. S. Blanchard officiated from November, 1848, to November, 1850, when Rev. Thomas H. Rood became pastor, serving until November, 1852. He was succeeded by Rev. C. W. Camp, who began his labors
March 13, 1853. He resigned May 23, 1864, preaching his farewell sermon on the 3rd of July following. From the 1st of January, 1866, until February 28, 1869, Rev. N. A. Millerd had pastoral charge. He was succeeded by Rev. O. C. McCuUoch, who came July 10, 1870, and served until July 18, 1877, his successor being Rev. J. B. Bidwell, who served as pastor from January 18, 1878, until June 1, 1881. The succeeding pastors have been: J. J. Tobias, 1882-83; R. M. Webster, 1884-88; J. D. Reid, 1888-90; Charles H. Fraser, 1890-93; J. T. Chynoweth, 1893-1901; J. W. White, 1901-11; David Thomas, 1912 - .
In 1890 a handsome brick building was erected, at a cost of $18,000, the structure being dedicated on the 19th of June, of that year. The interior of the church is beautifully finished and the windows are of stained glass. A pipe organ has also been installed, and there is also a commodious Sunday school room.
The present membership of the church is 273, while the Sunday school has an average attendance of 256. The church also has a Ladies' Missionary society. Christian Endeavor society, Silver Cross Circle of King's Daughters and St. Elizabeth Ten of Kings' Daughters. The church is in a prosperous condition.
FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH
The first Baptist church in the county and state was organized at Sheboygan in 1838, by "Deacon" William S. Trowbridge and Sarah Cole and, upon their removal to Sheboygan Falls, the church practically went with them. To all intents and purposes, however, the First Baptist church of Sheboygan was organized in the fall of 1845 and Rev. Luke Hitchkock was the first pastor. Soon thereafter work was begun on a church edifice, the basement of which was used for services March 25, 1849. The building was dedicated May 20, 1851. On the 12th of August, 1850, the church was reorganized. Rev. Perley Work was the first pastor, remaining until the summer of 1858, when he was succeeded by O. D. Taylor, who remained one year. His successor was Rev. Aaron Potter, who remained for a similar period and was followed for a short period by J. R. Bellamy. Rev. P. Work was again called to the pastorate, his service extending from December 29, 1861, to May 15, 1864, when he resigned. The church was then without a pastor until a call was extended to Rev. Simpson Todd, who remained from September 18, 1866, to 1868.
For a time services were held occasionally and the Germans used the church for their services until in 1876, when the Americans and Germans united in a call to Rev. Carl Jergensen, who came July 3rd of that year. Upon his resignation in 1879, he was succeeded by Rev. A. H. P. Wilson, who came in 1880 and remained to 1884; Lewis A. Knuth, 1887-90; W. J. Ford, who was here three months in the year 1890; Elmer E. Dresser, 1891-95; J. W. Cabeen, 1895-98; J. J. Kett, 1899-1900; E. C. Jenkins, 1900-1901 ; W. F. Allen, 1902-05; Elmer E. Dresser, 1905, and is the present pastor.
The church building was erected and dedicated during Rev. Perley Work's first pastorate, and the greatest improvements were made during the administration of Rev. E. C. Jenkins, and Work Memorial Chapel was built and dedicated during the first pastorate of Rev. Elmer E. Dresser, and since his present pastorate a branch church has been organized in Manitowoc. The church building stands on the north side of Wisconsin avenue between Seventh and Eighth streets.
GERMAN BAPTIST CHURCH
The German Baptist church was organized September 1, 1891, with twenty-nine members. The first pastor was Rev. W. J. Zirbes, who ministered to the spiritual wants of his congregation from 1892 to 1897. His successor was Rev. C. F. Stoeckmann, who served from 1898 till 1902. The third pastor was Rev. E. S. Goergens, who acceptably filled the pulpit from 1903 to 1908. In the year last mentioned Rev. Emil Mueller took charge of the church here. This church has a membership of 51, and in the Sunday school are 60 members. There is a Young People's Society with 22 members, and a Ladies' Missionary Circle of 12 members. The church property is at the northeast corner of Erie avenue and North Tenth street and is valued at $8,000.
EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN TRINITY CHURCH
This society was organized in 1853 with seventeen charter members. The first house of worship owned by this congregation was purchased from the Presbyterian congregation and was located on North Eighth street near Wisconsin avenue. This structure burned to the ground, on the 5th of October, 1868, and the congregation afterward sold the lot and purchased the present property on Ninth and Wisconsin, the comer stone for a new building being laid in 1869. This building has been, in use to the present time, although from time to time improvements have been made. It is a large brick structure, with a seating capacity of 1,200, the lower floor of which is divided into four large rooms and is used for school purposes, and there is also a pipe organ in the church.
In the fall of 1872 the present Evangelical Lutheran Trinity congregation and the Evangelical Lutheran St. John's congregation imitcd, thus making a strong organization, which has since been known under the former name.
The pastors who have served this church to the present time are: Rev. Otto Eisfeldt, who served until immediately prior to his death which occurred on the 28th of June, 1854. His successor was Rev. F. Steinbach, who assumed charge on the 19th of December of that year, and remained until December 28, 1857, when he accepted a call to a church in Milwaukee. Rev. A. D. Stecher was installed as pastor April 25, 1858, and remained in charge until the summer of 1872, when he accepted a call to a church in Calumet county, and was succeeded by Rev. O. Spehr, who remained until 1876, when he took charge of a church in St. Paul, Minnesota. Rev. C. M. Zorn was the next to serve this church, beginning his labors here June 30, 1876, and remaining until June 26, 1881, when he accepted a call from Cleveland, Ohio, and was succeeded by Rev. J. G. Goehringer. In 1884, the latter resigned on account of ill health and in February, 1885, Rev. F. Wolbrecht assumed charge, remaining as pastor until October, 1910, when, on account of declining years, he was made assistant pastor, and Rev. C. P. Schulz, of Indianapolis, Indiana, became the pastor, his labors beginning here on the first Sunday in November, 1910.
This church has grown to be one of the strongest congregations in the city of Sheboygan, the commimicants at the present time numbering 325 families, or 2,000 souls. From the beginning the congregation has sustained a parochial school and at the present time it is in a flourishing condition. There are now 275 pupils in attendance, under the direction of four instructors. The parsonage adjoins the church and there is also a frame building of two rooms, which is used for social purposes and also for school purposes when the school building is overcrowded. There is also a young men's hall. The value of the church property is $50,000.
EMANUEL EVANGEUCAL CHURCH
This church was organized in 1866. The first house of worship was a frame building. The present building, a brick-veneered structure, was erected about twenty years ago. The church property, including a parsonage, costing $1,800, is valued at $8,000. The church building stands at the northeast comer of Erie avenue and North Ninth street. Rev. Conrad Wiegand came to this charge in 1908, and is the present pastor.
ST. MARK's EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH
St. Mark's is the first English Evangelical Lutheran church organized in Sheboygan, and came into being September 21, 1909, its members being of the younger generations and former members of Evangelical Lutheran Trinity church and other German churches of the city. Shortly after its organization the trustees looked for a suitable lot on which to erect a church edifice. This was secured on the east side of North Seventh street, between Erie and Ontario avenues.
On September 23rd, 1910, the contract for the erection of a church was given to W. C. Weeks, of Sheboygan. Ground was immediately broken and the cornerstone was laid, with appropriate ceremonies Sunday afternoon, November 27. The architectural style of both the exterior and interior is Colonial, and disregards the time-worn designs of other churches. Four massive pillars adorn the front of the building and give it an imposing appearance. Two large crosses in gold characterize the nature of the building; two doorways are the portals to a spacious vestibule, which opens into the auditorium. The structure is square, built of brick and is surmounted by a large dome. The cost, including lot, furniture and fixtures, was about $40,000. Rev. W. M. Czamanske has been the pastor since the organization of the church, beginning his labors April 3, 1910. The membership is very large and in the Sunday school there are over 300 attendants.
ST. JOHN's GERMAN EVANGELICAL CHURCH
In 1901 some mission work was done preparatory to the organization of an Evangelical society, and on the 4th of May, 1902, was consummated the organization of St. John's German Evangelical congregation, which belongs to the German Evangelical Synod of North America. The present, and only pastor, Rev. E. R. Krueger, who has served this congregation, began his labors on the 27th of June, 1902, and in the following year, 1903, under his leadership a house of worship was erected, the dedication of which took place on the 8th of March of that year. This is a neat frame building, standing on the northeast corner of Lincoln avenue and Thirteenth street. There is an auditorium, with a seating capacity of 300, and in the basement of the church the Sunday school convenes. In 1905 a substantial frame parsonage, adjoining the church, was erected at a cost of $2,500, while the church was built at a cost of $7,000.
At the time of the organization there were twelve charter members and at the present time there are ninety supporting families belonging to the church, while the Sunday school numbers 180 members. There is a young people's society with a membership of between thirty and forty, and a Ladies' Aid Society, with 66 members. A pipe organ has been installed and the various departments of the church are in a prosperous condition.
ST. PAULUS GERMAN EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH
This society was organized October 30, 1904, with thirty-two charter members. Soon thereafter plans were made for the erection of a house of worship, the cornerstone of which was laid November 26, 1905, while the church was completed and dedicated in June, 1906. The building, located on the southwest corner of Lincoln avenue and Thirteenth street, is a neat and substantial brick veneer structure, with a seating capacity of 450 people. A pipe organ and a splendid choir numbering thirty-five voices furnish the music.
At present the church has 556 communicants and there are 253 on the membership rolls of the Sunday school. There is also a Ladies' Aid Society of 90 members. In connection with the church is a parochial school attended by 78 pupils under the instruction of two teachers. The value of the property, including church, parsonage and school is $15,000. Rev. G. E. Meyer has served the church from its organization to the present time.
ZION REFORMED CHURCH
This society was organized July 12, 1853, under the direction of Rev. A. H. Muehlmeier, who became the first pastor. H. Kirskamp and H. R. Piderit served as the first elders of the church, while Messrs. Wiedemeier and Pieper served as the first deacons. The first house of worship was a small structure on Erie avenue, between Seventh and Eighth streets, and is still in use for social affairs of the church and for the kindergarten school. This building finally proved inadequate to the needs of the congregation and a large and substantial brick structure was erected on the northwest corner of Erie avenue and Sixth street. The building was begun in 1888 and on the 2Sth of August, 1889, the church was dedicated. A pipe organ has been installed and the church is nicely finished in the interior. The present membership is 600 and the Sunday school numbers 300.
The pastors who have served the church from the time of its organization to the present are: Revs. A. H. Muehlmeier, 1853-58; J. T. Kluge, 1858-71; Louis L. Watermuelder, 1871-74; J. T. Kluge, 1874-85; Louis L. Watermuelder, 1886-91; J. J. Janett, 1891-1907; and the present pastor, Rev. W. F. Horstmeier, who assumed charge on the 5th of April, 1907.
The parsonage is located on ground adjoining the church, on Erie avenue, and the value of the church property is about $30,000.
HOPE REFORMED CHURCH
This society was organized in about the year 1890 with about fifty families, the organization being perfected by Rev. Joldersma. In 1894 a church building was erected at a cost of $3,500. This is a neat frame structure, located on the comer of North Tenth street and Ontario avenue.
The first pastor was Rev. Henry Harmeling who remained three years and was then succeeded by Rev. John Sietsema, who remained six years. During the pastorate of the latter a parsonage was erected on Tenth street at the rear of the church, $1,000 being donated for the purpose by the church building board of the synod, which also made a liberal donation toward the erection of the church. The next pastor was Rev. Peter Siegers, who remained eight years and was succeeded by the present pastor. Rev. A. H. Strabbing, who assumed charge on the 17th of October, 1909. The church is now attended by about eighty-five families and there is also a flourishing Sunday school.
CHRISTIAN REFORMED CHURCH
The Christian Reformed church was organized in 1889, with five charter members: A. Roelse, J. Roelse, G. Goldbloed, J. Sanderse, and Cornelius Verhulst. The first meetings were held in a schoolhouse on Mich- igan avenue, and the first church building was erected in 1890, on the comer of Seventh street and Superior avenue. It was a frame structure, which was later moved and is now used for meetings of various kinds in connection with the church. A schoolhouse was built on Lincoln avenue and Third street. There are 130 pupils and three teachers. The present church building was erected in 1905. There are 105 families in this congregation. At first the church was served by visiting pastors. In 1894 Rev. T. De Lange was sent to this charge and filled the pulpit until 1896.
His successors were as follows: Rev. H. Huizing, 1898-1903; F. Weland, 1904-1910; H. Guikema, 1911.
First Church of Christ Scientist, 609-11 Niagara avenue, Mrs. J. N. Johnson, first reader; Bethlehem Lutheran church, corner Georgia avenue and South Twelfth street. Rev. William Wambsgans, pastor; St. Spiridion Greek church, South Tenth and Georgia avenue. Rev. Nathaniel Sideris, pastor; Adas Israel Congregational s)magogue. North Thirteen street and Carl avenue. Rabbi Louis Aronin, pastor; Havas Sholom congregational synagogue, comer Thirteenth street and Geele avenue. Rabbi Alexander Blymow, pastor; Scandinavian Methodist church, Ninth street and Spring avenue. Rev. H. J. Weeks, pastor; First Presbyterian church, comer Fifth street and Superior avenue. Rev. George B. Pence, pastor.
Information gathered and adapted from History of Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, Past and Present
Carl Zillier, Editor
Pubished by The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1912, Chicago, IL