Rev. Frank Grether

Rev. Frank Grether is devoting his life to the work of teaching, sometimes from the classroom, again from the lecture platform and from the pulpit. He is now professor of theology in the Mission House of Sheboygan county and during his connection with this institution has also devoted a number of years to the active work of the ministry in this part of the state. He was born in Akron, Ohio, April 10, 1856, a son of John Michael and Salome (Harter) Grether. The father was born in Baden, Germany, and after crossing the Atlantic to America made his way to Canton, Ohio, in 1847. He was a minister of the Reformed church and continued to devote his energies to that holy calling to the time of his death, which occurred in 1904, when he was seventy-six years of age. On the 17th of December, 1854, he married Salome Harter, who was born near Akron, Ohio, and died at Swanton, Ohio in November, 1908. Her father, Jacob Harter, was a veteran of the War of 1812.

There were also interesting military chapters in the annals of the Grether family, for the great-grandfather of the Rev. Frank Grether in the paternal line was, according to a family chronicle, a soldier of the Revolutionary war, serving with General Lafayette's army. There were ten children in the family of the Rev. John Michael Grether, four sisters who are yet living and six brothers of whom two are deceased. All of the brothers studied for the ministry, and one of the number, Rev. George Grether, is now pastor of the Reformed church at Manitowoc, Wisconsin.

The Rev. Frank Grether pursued his early education in the district schools of Ohio and at thirteen years of age became a pupil in the Calvin Institute at Cleveland, Ohio, in which he studied for several terms. In 1872 he began teaching school in eastern Ohio, where he remained for four years, after which he attended Mount Union College at Alliance, Ohio. In 1876 he entered the seminary department of the Mission House at Franklin, Wisconsin, and completed the theological course. He also pursued certain college studies in connection with his seminary course. As soon as he entered the Mission House he was appointed tutor of English. In 1878 he became pastor of the Reformed church in the township of Rhine and in addition to his labors in that capacity he continued his teaching in the Mission House. He was pastor of that church for eight years, and in 1879 he also organized a church in Greenbush, Sheboygan county, of which he was pastor for seven years. In 1886 he accepted a call as traveling missionary for the territory of Dakota, but the board of the Mission House refused to allow him to leave and issued a call to him to fill a full professorship in the Mission House, but it granted him a furlough of one year, which he spent in the northwest. He returned to the Mission House in 1887 and has remained here continuously since as one of its professors. He taught both English and the natural sciences until 1908, in which year the three synods elected him professor of exegesis, and he is now teaching exegesis, New Testament theology, Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic. The school is under control of three synods extending from coast to coast, and the students come from nearly all parts of the United States.

In 1877 the Mission House conferred upon him the honorary degree of Master of Arts and the degree of D. D. was conferred upon him in the year 1903 by Franklin and Marshall College of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and by Heidelberg University, of Tiffin, Ohio.

On the 24th of June, 1880, the Rev. Frank Grether was married to Miss Caroline W. Schaeferkort, of Rhine township. She is a native of Sheboygan county and a daughter of Herman and Elizabeth (Bunte) Schaeferkort. The father was born in Lippe-Detmold, Germany, and came to America in early life, arriving about 1855. He died December 28, 1900, having for but two weeks survived his wife, who passed away on the 26th of November of the same year. Mr. and Mrs. Grether have become parents of four children. Alvin, who is married and has four children, is a graduate of the Mission House and is now preaching for the Reformed church at Postville, Green county, Wisconsin. Mary is the wife of Rev. Henry G. Settlage, a minister of the Reformed church at Potter, Calumet county, Wisconsin, by whom she has two children. Louise and Cordelia, the younger members of the family, are at home with their parents.

Rev. Grether's labors have been of no restricted order. He has worked persistently and untiringly to further the interests of the school with which he is connected, and his efforts have been productive of good results.


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