Churches: 75th Anniversary, Imnanuel & Reformed, Warner Twp., Clark Co., Wisconsin
Contact: Betty Comstock
----Source: Warner, Wis. Immanuel & Reformed, 75th Anniversary Booklet
Surnames: See list in pt. 3
[Part 1 below] [Part 2] [Part 3]
The 75th Anniversary of the Founding of Immanuel Evangelical and Reformed Church,
Warner Township - Greenwood, Clark County, Wisconsin Booklet Cover
Immanuel, School, Church and Parsonage (1949)
This picture shows in the distance the church of 1890, now being used as a school house; then the church edifice; then the parsonage, built in 1910; finally the garage, built in 1945. As the picture shows, Immanuel has a fine church plant. The setting is beautiful, enhanced by the brush beyond to the west, where range hundreds of deer.
To the men and women, the fathers and mothers of old Immanuel, who labored faithfully and loyally to establish, maintain and perpetuate their faith in Christ and in his church
To the sons and daughters of Immanuel, who, mindful of their spiritual heritage, are carrying on the work of the church with unabated and undiminished vigor
To the youth of Immanuel, who have caught the vision and even now are carrying on in the spirit of those who have gone before them
These pages are affectionately dedicated.
May Immanuel ever be what her name implies, a place where God dwells, offering unto the citizens of this community faith, hop and charity as these have been revealed and exemplified in Him whom we would serve in all things, even Christ.
Immanuel, God With Us
Thus the fathers of our congregation named their church, praying, that God be with them through the changing years. They prayed not in vain. As the story of Immanuel Church unfolds, it will be seen that God was with them to bless and keep them in signal ways.
God was with men when He created this country to make it what it was and is today. We have always taken an interest in the geological and the historical background of peoples and places, for these, in a measure, tell the story of peoples and conditions existent today. So the hills to the west of us in Warner and Mead townships tell the tale of some of the most ancient rock formations existent, formations too rugged to be ground down by glacial action as the glaciers moved southward, depositing their accumulation of rock upon our fields.
As we scan the good land we inhabit and the area of Wisconsin, we recall the land’s most ancient people, the mound builders, whose ancient copper mines in the north and whose copper chisels, knives, spears and arrowheads, deep buried, tell the tale of an ancient civilization. Then came the Algonquin Indians from the west and the Sioux from the east and as late arrivals, coming 200 years prior to the advent of white men, cane the Winnebago (men of the salt sea) no one knowing whence they came. In the sixteen hundreds came the Jesuit missionaries, following the major waterways of the Mississippi and the Great Lakes. As the population increased, the pioneers turned landward, for the land held a wealth of timber, of game and food. The first farmers in this area were English, Scotch and Irish Canadians. Later came the Germans and Norwegians and a few Swiss families. Then came a large number of Slovenians, who had worked in the mines of northern Michigan and Wisconsin. Church work was carried on in the English, German, Danish, Norwegian, Slovenian, Finnish, Polish and Winnebago languages, as the melting pot melted her children into a nation of free men.
The early German settlers of Warner Township came from Franklin, Sheboygan county, Wisconsin. Others came from Immanuel church in Town Herman, named after Herman, the Lipper hero, who defeated the Roman army in the Teutoburg forest. The Wisconsin German colonies of Herman, Rhine, Mosel, Schleswig, New Holstein and the Swiss settlement of New Glaris received their settlers from 1848 onward, when immigration reached its floodtide. Europe was restless and revolution was impending. They came to avoid military service and religious restrictions placed upon them, and they came to take possession of the good earth. In Lippe, Detmolt, Germany in the year 1845 a man received board and wages amounting to twenty-four dollars annually, and out of this sum he had to pay for an assistant hired man.
Sail from Bremen
In the spring of the year 1847 the first group of immigrants, consisting of twenty-four families, thirteen single men and two maiden ladies, 112 persons all told, set sail on the threemaster "Agnes" from Bremen. They were assured of passage from Baltimore, but arrived at Quebec after eight weeks of stormy crossing. From Quebec they traveled to Buffalo, and crossing Lake Erie and Ontario to the north end of Lake Michigan, they traveled south to Milwaukee. Land speculators in Milwaukee drew a rosie picture of Sheboygan county. Some there were who desired to migrate west beyond the Mississippi River. Old Frederick Reineking made the decision when he said, "Vo vir bloeven, do bloeven vir alle." "Where we stay, we all stay."
Among these first settlers in Sheboygan county were Mr. and Mrs. Herman Buker and their children Amalia, Frederick, Caroline and Helen, and Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Reineking and their children Frederick, Amalia, Simon and William. Coming without their parents were Frederick and Henry Boedeker and Karl and Katherina Wehrmann, and Frederick Mueller. In 1851 came Cord and Father Boedeker.
It was interesting to note, that a second group of Sheboygan county immigrants landed at New York, traveled up the Hudson River to Albany, then westward by way of the Erie Canal to Buffalo and via the Great Lakes to Milwaukee. The writer of these lines traveled this route with his family and Mr. and Mrs. William Moeller, parents of Mrs. Klingeberger, driving a Model A Ford, the trip being made twenty years ago. It was also interesting to ascertain, that some of the early immigrants among the two groups mentioned moved on to Galena, Illinois. The church they established was served by the writer’s father, the Rev. F. Klingeberger. While the writer was attending Eden Theological Seminary at St. Louis, he visited Galena, the home of General U.S. Grant, during his summer vacations.
Arrive in Clark County
In the spring of 1870 John Vollrath, Henry Decker and Henry Schwarze heard the call of the northland with its timber and soil, and they and their families left Franklin, Sheboygan County, to settle in Clark County. Lumbering was getting under way throughout Clark County. During the years 1879-89 it was estimated, that annually 140 million feet of pine were floated down the Black River, twenty million feet down the Eau Claire and five million feet down the Yellow River, moving on to Lacrosse and the Mississippi to help lay the financial foundation of the Weyerhauser lumber fortune and General Mills. Hardwood, covering the higher ground in Warner Township, was estimated at 125,000 feet per forty acres.
A sales bulletin of those founding years presents the challenge of Clark County in these words: "For settlers, especially those of limited means, no better country than Clark county can be found. A settler with $300.00 in money can for $400.00 get forty acres of first class land, as good as the world affords, and pay $200.00 down and use $100.00 getting up his house to live in, and the next day after moving his family in go to work at his own door and make good wages, and at the same time be making a farm and at no period, winter or summer, has there ever been a time when men could not get work at remunerative wages. The writer hereof has often heard men in the woods say that in twenty years residence in Clark County they had never seen the time they could not get work at $1.00 per day and board and better in one day’s walk and there are few places where laboring men themselves will give such satisfactory and convincing evidence of prosperity as this."
In the year 1875 the acreage of crops in Clark County was as follows: 800 wheat, 1429 oats, 640 corn and some rye, barley and hops. Hops? Yes; Wisconsin at the time had 292 breweries, 10 distilleries and its wineries made 39005 barrels of wine; the cooperage business was booming. Male school teachers fourteen years later were receiving $45.50 per month and female teachers $40.25. And in 1889 somebody boasted of B and W ensilage corn, 18 acres of it, planted June 2nd and harvested Aug. 30th, averaging twelve foot in height, with some stalks 16 feet high, each stalk weighing eight pounds and some with three well developed ears. Did anybody say anything about the good old days?
This was the land and these were some of the conditions toward which Messrs. Vollrath, Decker and Schwarze and their families were moving. The railroad terminated at Humbird. The remaining 35 miles were traveled with team, and travel was tedious. Often the horses had difficulty pulling the wagons out of the mud. On June 1st of the 1870 the pioneers arrived in the vicinity of our church property, all three families finding shelter throughout the summer in an abandoned log house.
First Cow and Calf
The writer recalls a conversation with August Noah; the story of the arrival of the first cow and calf into our community. A man living east of the Black River was the proud possessor of seven cows, some with calves at their side, with none of which he desired to part. But after much pleading by Mr. and Mother Noah and urging by the good man’s wife, he finally did sell a cow and a calf. Arriving at Black River there was a raft and a halter for the cow, but none for the calf, so mother Noah removed her apron and used it as a halter to keep the calf on the raft. It was Fred Buker who obtained work in the logging camps for many of our early settlers. It has been the writer’s privilege to know Fred Buker’s son, Fred Jr., who can still point out the skid ways over which the logs were hauled to the rivers.
The writer recalls asking Henry Franz: "How did you early settlers get started in this area?" "Well, we would build a log cabin. In the winter we logged, leaving the women folks at home, walking at times distances of twenty miles and more to the logging operations. Then in summer we would borrow the oxen from the camps and do some clearing, planting potatoes and some vegetables. The woods were full of game, berries and greens; the rivers rich in fish. Our needs were few; three or four trips a year to the settlements permitting us to purchase what was needed in the way of salt, sugar, spices, cloth, shoes and tools. One of the good mothers still living, who boarded loggers not more than a mile distant from the church, stated that the men obtained food, lodging and laundry at a cost of 25 cents a week." While the writer is recording these lines he is seated in a comfortable parsonage having all modern conveniences, while the storm is whipping the snows and the temperature has dropped to 48 minus. As one records the story of the early pioneers, one cannot but marvel at their faith, courage and endurance.
Following the Messrs. John Vollrath, Henry Decker and Henry Schwarze, there came to Warner Township during the same summer of 1870 the brothers John and Herman Schwarze. In 1871 Frederick Decker joined the settlement; in 1872 came Frederick Buker, making the journey from Town Herman with his team and during the same year came Henry Humke. In 1872 Ludwig Noah and August Bielke joined the settlement and in 1874 cam Henry Fravert. The early settlers worshipped in their log cabins, using hymnals and the Bible, and on Sundays they met at the Decker schoolhouse where Henry Schwarze read the sermons. But they coveted the services of an ordained minister of the Reformed faith. During the 1873 Rev. C.H. Schoepfle of LaCrosse, Wisconsin, visited the settlement and delivered sermons in the Decker schoolhouse.
Rev. C.H. Schoepfle, Organizer—Patriot
Church is Organized
On January 11th, 1974, under the leadership of the Rev. Schoepfle, Immanuel congregation was organized. The earliest record of charter membership of Immanuel church lists the following: Henry Schwarze and Louise, Frederick Buker and Charlotte, Henry Decker and Sophie, August Bielke and Augusta, Frederick Decker and Maria, John Vollrath and Margaret, Philip Vollrath and Louisa, Ludwig Noah and Charlotte, Adolph Noah and wife, August Noah and wife, Herman Schwarze and Christine, Gottlieb Meinhold and Augustine, Carl Meinhold and Minna, Ernst Meinhold, Henry Fravert and Margaretta, Peter Brick and Elizabeth, Frederick Soefker and Elizabeth, Henry Humke and Anna, Henry Kern and wife, Peter Miller and Elizabeth, John Schwarze, Heinrich Meier and Amalia, Frederick Wehrmann and Marie, Henry Dimmler and family, William Reineking and Maria, Adam Kippenhan and Magdalena, John Kippenhan and family, Franz Abel and Caroline, Christian Senf and Christine, Christoph Kippenhan and Margareta and William Toburen and Minna.
The first confirmands as of Dec. 25th, 1879, were August Decker, Henry Decker, William Henry Schwarze. March 23rd, 1883: Frederick Schwarze, Simon Noah, Frederick Buker, Edwin Buker, Bertha Schwarze, Lina Meinholdt and Ida Decker. April 18th, 1886: Otto Decker, Edwin Decker, Albert Beilke, Gustav Meinholdt, Peter Brick, Frederick Brick, William Schwarze, Henry Meier, William Abel, Anna Decker, Alvina Noah, Marie Schwarze, Emma Fravert, Louise Soefker and Ida Beilke.
The first baptisms recorded were: Helena, daughter of Herman and Christina Schwarze, born Dec. 8th, 1874 and baptized Jan. 17th, 1875. (Mrs. Fred Buker.) Frederick William, son of Philip and Louisa Vollrath, born August 9th, 1876 and baptized October 18th, 1876.
First weddings recorded were: Heinrich Humke, son of Conrad and Clara Humke and Anna Kippenhan, daughter of Adam and Marie Kippenhan of Kohlsville, Washington Co., Wis., were united in marriage on November 13th, 1879, at the home of the bride in Kohlsville. Witnesses were Nicolas Baer and Fred Reineking. Wilhelm Vollrath, son of John and Elizabeth Vollrath and Auguste Decker, daughter of Fritz and Maria Decker were united in marriage in Warner Township, Clark County, Wis., at the home of the bride on April 18th, 1881. Witnesses were Philip Vollrath and Henry Fravert. Frank Horner, son of Nic. And Barbara Horner and Mina Meinholdt, daughter of Gottlieb and Auguste Meinholdt were united in marriage at the home of the bride on April 19th, 1883, the fathers of the groom and bride serving as witnesses. William Vollrath, son of John and Maria Vollrath and Anna Herian, daughter of Joseph and Margaretta Herian, were united in marriage at the parsonage on Dec. 3rd, 1883. Witnesses were Henry Fravert and Phillip Vollrath. August Franz Frederick Noah, son of Ludwig and Louisa Noah and Louise Ernestine Wilhelmina Kotzer, daughter of Wilhelm and Ernestine Kotzer nee Lamprecht, were united in marriage on the 10th of April, 1884, in the town of Hixton. Witnesses were Ernst Kotzer and Louise Funk. (This writer officiated at the burials of both Mr. and Mrs. August Noah in 1949 and 1944 respectively. The lives of these good people stretched across all these years of the church’s history.)
The earliest burial records, 1881, are all records of infant burials. The first burial in the East Cemetery is dated May 22nd, 1876; Louise Charlotte Noah of Neillsville, Wisconsin. In 1882 two infant burials are recorded and the burials of Peter Brick who died of injuries sustained while logging, (Funeral Text 1st Sam 3:20) and Maria Martha Beilke who died after a lingering illness at the age of 64 years and whose funeral text was taken from St. Luke 8:52.
Communion records of the earliest years are quite interesting. On Easter of the year 1879, twenty members communed. Christmas, 1879, twenty-two members partook of communion. Easter, March 28th, 1880, sixteen members and Harvest Home, Sept. 19th, 1880, six members communed. Pentecost, June 5th, 1881, twenty-six members communed and Christmas, 1881, eighteen members communed. On Easter, March 25th, 1883, fifty members communed, seven of whom were confirmands.
And so the congregation became established and started to function, its expressed purpose being, "The preaching of the word of God and the administration of the sacraments, and the encouragement of the members in the fulfillment of their Christian duties." As a confession of faith the congregation accepted the Old and New Testament of Holy Writ and the Heidelberg Catechism. The congregation was organized, but there was no House of God. Thus it came to pass, that on April 23rd, 1875, forty acres of ground were purchased from Russel H. Penfield at $4.00 an acre, the stipulation being, that the ground be only used for church and religious purposes. $160 were collected and paid for the property. The members then proceeded to cut logs on the church property for a two-storied log building, the first story to serve as parsonage and the second story as church and classroom. This building was situated between the present parsonage and the pump; during a dry summer the outlines of the foundation can still be seen on the parsonage lawn. During the same year(1875) a cemetery was plotted, the present East Cemetery. A young woman, Louise Charlotte Noah, who resided at Neillsville, was the first to be laid to rest in this cemetery, burial taking place on May 22nd, 1876.
Rev. Schoepfle served the congregation until 1878, when pastor Henry Bruengger, a student from Mission House, was called, he beginning his ministry on Christmas Day of the year 1878. The youthful congregation now numbered 30 members, owned 40 acres of ground, had built a combined parsonage and church, had dug a well and built a log barn (note barn on picture of first church.) During the year 1879 Frederick Soefker, Gottlieb Meinholdt, Henry Kern, Peter Brick and Henry Fravert and their families united with the congregation. In the year 1881 Peter Mueller, John Schwarze, Henry Meier, Frederick Wehrmann, John Dimmler, William Reineking, Adam Kippenhan, John Kippenhan (still living at Appleton, Wisconsin) Franz Abel, Christian Senf, William Toburen and Christoph Kippenhan united with the congregation.
The First Church
The Busy Rev. Veenker
Rev. Bruengger resigned his ministry in 1882. Upon invitation from Mother Humke (still an active member of the church) Rev. G. Veenker visited Immanuel parish and agreed to serve the congregation. Coming from Marathon County, Wisc., Rev. Veenker was met at Withee by John Schwarze and entertained in the Schwarze home, where the pastor noted, that all the furniture, viz. chairs, tables, bedsteads, etc., were home fashioned. Rev. Veenker was a busy pastor; all these early ministers were missionary pastors, ever seeking to establish new parishes. Rev. Veenker preached at Immanuel, at Greenwood, four miles east of Greenwood, 18 miles southeast of Greenwood, ten miles south of Greenwood and occasionally at Neillsville. He recalls his moving from the Town of Wien in Marathon County to Immanuel parsonage, a distant of 42 ½ miles, with three teams hauling the furniture and severe winter weather supplying the inspiration without benefit of fur coat or foot warmer. During the last year of Rev. Veenker’s ministry the August Franz family came from Town Herman and affiliated with our congregation.
In September of the year 1884, Rev. Veenker discontinued his local pastorate and was followed by the Rev. C. Busch. One need not assume that the life of the young congregation was one of continued bliss. It has been aptly stated that when God builds a church, the devil builds a chapel next to it. The young congregation had its difficulties; brother bringing charge against brother; vicious charges referred to consistory and congregation. Then there is the tale of a member being made intoxicated at Greenwood, sleeping out in the open in a storm throughout a vicious night and being found dead on the following morning and then being buried without benefit of clergy. Six months later a belated service was held for the deceased. Three church pews were found uncomfortable and were consequently remodeled. The consistory occupied a special pew at services. It required three years to get the stumps removed from the east cemetery. Holy Communion was observed on New Years Day. The pulpit was painted. Burial of any member required that pastor’s salary had to be paid up for said member, the salary during the year 1884 amounting to "about $160.00 per year." Pastor Busch himself had a grievous thorn in the flesh and when his ministry went into eclipse the congregation graciously decided to bury all occurrences that took place between July 26th, 1885 and July 17th, 1887. This action was really taken to heart; someone must have taken a scissor and cut out the records covering the above dates and literally buried the same. But memories linger on, still echoing in barbershops at this time and age. On October 15th 1886, Immanuel congregation was incorporated.
On November 22nd, 1887, the Rev. J. Stucki presided at a congregational meeting. At the meeting it was decided to have a Christmas preaching service; that every member was to furnish a cord of wood annually; that four months of "Spring School" was to be conducted and four days a week be given to Summer School. Action was taken not to reimburse the pastors for incidentals. In May, 1888, the Rev. John Schmalz, a student of Mission House, was extended a call to the pastorate of Immanuel Church and he accepted the call, the meeting extending the call being presided over by Prof. J.W. Grosshuesch of Mission House.
A Rich Ministry
Following the departure of the Rev. Busch, Immanuel had been without a pastor for one year. With the advent of the Rev. John Schmalz a ministry had its beginning which extended over twenty years of service, rich in grace and sacrifice; it will be interesting to note the activities of this ministry. The old log church was ordered covered with clapboards, furnished by the membership, No. 1 pine. Sheds were to be built at the "Knueppelbruecke." The cemetery was plotted in 1889 and laid out in lots, common graves and graves for non-members. On May 30ty, 1889, a motion was made at the consistory meeting to build a church in 1890. At the congregational meeting of Jan. 1st, 1890, the following bids were received for a church building, viz. Free and Phillips of Neillsville, $2,035, and Gottlieb Kuester, who had joined the congregation with his wife on April 12th, 1889, bid $1,774. Both bids were rejected and August Franz proceeded to sketch a plan for a church to measure 26 x 44 feet, which he contracted to build for $762. William Reineking was appointed chairman of the building committee; receipts amounted to more than the cost of the new church, which was $915.13. It was during this year that the good old stove was purchased (1890) which still heats the schoolhouse. On July 31st, 1892, it was reported, that the salary paid the pastor was $204.75, current expense income was $18.75, current expense income was $18.75, benevolences $23.83 and the Building Fund had a balance of $10.26. It was decided at this meeting to fence in the forty acres of church property, the congregation to furnish posts and labor and the pastor to furnish one wire a year until three wires made up the fence, should the reverend pastor remain three years. In July of 1893 every voting member was requested to pay 25 cents annually toward current expenses and every confirmed member was to pay 10 cents. This was prior to the time our government discovered printing press money: 90 cents a gallon for coal oil; that’s the other side of the story. The congregation was to whitewash the parsonage twice a year. The land was to be prepared by the congregation and planted and harvested by the pastor.
Gift of an Organ
A gift, a new organ costing $60.00, was presented to the congregation by Herr Commerzienrath Wilhelm Boeddinghaus of Elberfield, Germany, a friend of the Rev. Schmalz; same was received with gratitude as pastor Schmalz read Psalm 103. In April of the year 1895 St. Stephens Church of Wheeling, West Virginia, sent its’ replaced baptismal and communion services to Immanuel, shipping expenses being 95 cents. Rev. and Mrs. Klingeberger and the Moellers visited St. Stephens Church while on an eastern tour 20 years ago, calling on an old friend at the St. Stephen’s parsonage, the Rev. William Hausman. In November of the year 1895 the consistory authorized Rev. Schmalz to moderately discipline scholars if same was required. There is still some discussion among our older members as to what was implied by "moderate discipline." Anyway, a woodshed was built in 1896 (not for purposes of discipline, this being exercised over school benches.) F. Kuehn furnishing 150 feet of boarding, R. Buker 300 feet, H. Decker the frames, pastor Schmalz the nails and the congregation putting in the foundation.
Did the congregation ever experience an excommunication? Yes, in 1895 someone failed to take care of grandmother and was in consequence publicly excommunicated, the act being performed at a service on Good Friday. At that time they still maintained the commandment, "Honor thy father and thy mother."
Nine Cents Each
In 1895 each voting member was requested to pay 9 cents "Umlage," to defray the expense of a wooden pump made by H. Decker and to pay insurance premiums. It was also voted to open services with the singing of the hymn, "Sieh, hier bin ich, Ehrenkoenig." We have now been singing that opening hymn at German services for fifty-six years. In 1896 the new congregation at Kaukauna received a gift of $5.00. We have this record pertaining to the parochial school conducted by pastor Schmalz during the year 1898; tuition amounted to 25 cents per scholar for the entire term, 10 cents to be forwarded to the congregation and 15 cents to be paid to the pastor. The school’s curriculum consisted of Bible Studies from the Old Testament, the memorizing of selected verses from the catechism, Bible quotations and hymns and German reading, writing and arithmetic. School was conducted from April 12th to July 4th.
One of the outstanding events of the year 1899 was the entertainment of the Sheboygan Classis. The following pastors and professors are listed as participating: Rev. F. Aigner, Rev. H.J. Vriesen, Prof. H.A. Muehlmeier, Prof. J. von Haagen, Rev. W. Vriesen, Rev. J. Roeck, Rev. L.W. Zenk, Prof. J.W. Grosshuesch, Rev. J. J. Janett, Rev. W. Leinkaemper, Rev. E. Steineker, Rev. O. Muehlmeier, Prof. H.A. Meier, Rev. C. Martin, Rev. H. Achtermann, Prof. C. Wenz, Rev. G. Beisser, Rev. O. Engelmann, rev. H. Hesse and Rev. W. Arpke.
The following members of the congregation volunteered to entertain the pastors and delegates in their homes and to assist in the preparation and serving of the meals at the parsonage during the four days of the conference: F. Buker, H. Humke, P. Mueller, H. Reinhardt, A. Steiger, F. Brick, H. Decker, A. Noah, H. Sundermeyer, F. Wehrmann, F.W. Buker, F. Soefker, J. Schmalz, P. Vollrath, G. Kuester, Aug. Noah, H. Schwarze, W. Reineking, W. Vollrath, H. Franz, H.W. Decker, Chris. Kippenhan, Theo. Meinholdt and J. Schwarz.
Collecting the Salary
We note that during the pastorate of the Rev. Schmalz and following same for a number of years Franz Abel had the difficult task of collecting the pastor’s salary, which obligation he faithfully fulfilled for many years. Immanuel congregation throughout its many years has always loyally supported denominational activities. During the years 1899-1900 we find the congregation receiving two special offerings for Mission House and making a house-to-house canvas for the establishment of a chair of exegesis (Bible Interpretation) at Mission House. In the year 1903 we find Pastor Schmalz’s salary raised to $300.00 per year, Henry Awe donating the pulpit and Frank Abel constructing the metal grave cover. During the year 1904 the barn was built at a cost of $342.09 and $19 was paid for the painting of same. In May of the year 1905 Sunday School for the first time was conducted preceding morning services, Sunday School having formerly been conducted Sunday afternoons.
In the record of July, 1907, we find an interesting item. The congregational meeting noted, that even a good tree has some dry wood and that trimming is not amiss. The pastor and the consistory are not beggars, begging grown-ups to attend services and to commune. Hence five members were expelled for non-payment of dues, and failure to attend services and communion, and their delinquent accounts were turned over for collection to a young attorney at Neillsville, Oscar W. Schoengarth (now County Judge of Clark County for almost 50 years) who forwarded letters to the delinquents with the result, that all but one delinquent paid up.
Seventy-three in School
During this year the Rev. Schmalz attended the conference at New Knoxville, Ohio, (The church at New Knoxville was listed by the Christian Century in 1950 as one of the ten American Churches of the Year.) In the same year (1907) Rev. Schmalz thanks the congregation for installation of the telephone and the congregation sends $5.00 to Salem Church of Winnipeg, Canada. In June of the year 1908 seventy-three children are listed as attending parochial school. On July 4th of the year 1908 Rev. John Schmalz terminated his ministry at Immanuel, accepting a charge at Harbin, Nebraska. He had been a true servant of Christ at Immanuel, one who has left the imprint of his personality and spirituality upon the congregation for years to come.
During the ministry of Rev. Schmalz Salem church of Braun Settlement was organized with 16 members on September 10th, 1893, and Zion Church at Greenwood was organized Jan. 29th, 1905.
In October of the year 1908 the Rev. O. Saevert accepted a call to service Immanuel, Salem and Zion congregations. Since the Immanuel congregation had already outgrown its house of worship during the ministry of Rev. Schmalz and the resolve to build had gradually taken form, we find, that at a special congregational meeting held Jan. 23, 1910, John Schwarze and Theo. Meinholdt were appointed to obtain pledges for the building of a church and parsonage. Toward building of a church $4,250 was pledged and $1,310 toward construction of the parsonage. The brethren H. Awe, Gottlieb Kuester, H. Decker, H. Humke, John Schwarze, Frederick Kuester and Fred Brick were appointed as building committee. William Boedeker of Sheboygan drew the plans for the new church and Krasin and Company of Marshfield were awarded the contract for construction of the church building. The contract for building the parsonage was awarded to Henry Decker. May 29th, 1910 was a dreary and cold day, but a day of rejoicing at Immanuel, as the cornerstone of the new church edifice was being laid on that day. As the girls of the Sunday School sang, the act of cornerstone laying was performed by Pastor Saevert. The sermon of the day was delivered by the Rev. W. Lahr (we are well acquainted with his son who served a Reformed congregation in Indianapolis) and whose text was taken from I Cor. 3:11: "The foundation is laid, which is Jesus Christ, and no one can lay any other."
Rev. and Mrs. O. Saevert
The year 1910, like the years 1948-49, was a dry year; feed for cattle had to be purchased. But no one despaired; in the spirit of the Good Samaritan the members said: "Take care of the building, and if more is needed more will be given." All hauling was done by the members, one member donating all the shingles for church and parsonage. (I can still show you the machine that cut those shingles.) On Sunday, Sept. 25, 1910, the new church was ready for dedication. As Revelations 3:7-8 were read, Pastor Saevert opened the church doors and the choir sang, "Open Now Thy Gates of Beauty." The pastor read a portion of 1st Kings, Chapter 8 and Prof. Hofer delivered the first sermon in the new church, using as his test: Mark II:II and Matthew 21:12-14. The theme: "Christ Went to Church; What He Found and What He Did There." At the afternoon service the Rev. Lemke delivered a sermon on Christian Missions. The congregation now had a new church and parsonage, costing $6,989.02, all of which was paid at the time of the dedication. It numbered 200 members and 148 unconfirmed members.
The Bell Rings
It was during the ministry of Rev. Saevert that the schedule of bell ringing was designated as follows: The church bell shall be rung for Sunday School and morning services and all other congregational services. The angelus shall be rung at sunset on Saturday evening. The bell announcement of the death of a church member shall proceed according to the following schedule within 24 hours after decease: At death of a child the bell shall be rung at 8:00 A.M., following death of an adult at 12:00 o’clock noon. The church bell shall also be rung as a funeral procession approaches the church for purposes of burial services.
Pastor O. Saevert, having severed his connections with Immanuel on May 1st, 1916, the congregation extended a call to the Rev. F. Hall of Hoesington, Kansas, who entered upon his local pastorate on August 6th, 1916. The years of Rev. Hall’s ministry were strenuous years, the years of World War I. War was declared against Germany and her allies on Good Friday, April 6th, 1917.
The young men of the congregation were called into service; those remaining at home spent many anxious hours thinking prayerfully of loved ones on and in the sea, in the air and on the land. Added to the strains and anxieties of war, a deadly influenza epidemic gripped the land. There was much need of Christian service and many a good Samaritan among Immanuel’s members answered the call of Christian service. Many of our older American pastors and our American members of German extraction suffered indignities during the war years. Our answer to those who have questioned their loyalties is our own and our congregation’s record, contained in another portion of this book. Where is the family service record of some of those who challenged our people? Actions still speak louder than words.
On March 1st, 1921, Pastor Hall departed from our parish, having accepted a charge in North Dakota. He was followed by the Ref. G.J. Zenk, who, because of his wife’s ill health remained but a few months. On Sept. 11th, 1921 the Rev. O. J. Vriesen of Elkhardt Lake, Wisconsin, assumed the pastorate of Immanuel Church. Many improvements of the property were undertaken during Rev. Vriesen’s pastorate. On Jan 3rd, 1923, the financial report of the congregation was printed for the first time for distribution among the church members. Concrete floors were laid in the church basement and the barn, a concrete foundation was put under the woodshed and the walk built from parsonage to road.
Rev. O.J. Vriesen
Mrs. O.J. Vriesen
On Sunday June 15th, 1924, the congregation observed the 50th year of its founding with appropriate services. On this occasion a very splendid anniversary book was published by the Rev. Vriesen, which is still a cherished possession among our older members. At this time the congregation numbered 74 families, 229 communicant members and 115 unconfirmed members. In the year 1924 Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Schwarze assumed the sextonship of the church, which they retained for 21 years. At the annual congregational meeting of Jan., 1925, the time of the annual congregational meeting was established, it being the third Sunday in January.
At the regular congregational meeting held Jan. 18th, 1926, William Franz, Ed. Kippenhan and John Abel were appointed to present the matter of an East Cemetery to the congregational membership. At a meeting held July 13th, 1926, it was voted to plot this new cemetery and Henry Franz, Theo Humke and Ed Kippenhan were appointed to do this work.
On January 27th, 1927, we find a record of the following finances: Pastor’s salary, $1,000; Current expense fund, $520.44; and Benevolent payments, $1,183.00. It is during this year that we find the first record of services to be conducted in the American language at Immanuel church, it being suggested, that once a month, during the winter season, a service in the American language be conducted at the discretion of the pastor.
Rev. and Mrs. Otto Vriesen had four children, viz Calvin, Kenneth, Victor and Lois, the two latter being born here at Greenwood.
Rev. O.J. Vriesen terminated his ministry at Immanuel in the spring of 1929. At a special congregational meeting on April 14th, 1929, the Rev. Paul Franzmeier was elected as pastor of Immanuel Church. Many of us recall these years of depression and ultimate war. Someone down the road just bought two cows (Feb. 1951) paying $700.00. Your pastor recalls, that at the height of the depression, while serving a congregation at Huntingburg, Indiana, he purchased eggs for six cents a dozen, a fine chicken for twenty-five cents and the farmers were trying to sell their cows at one cent a pound to raise taxes. One of the Huntingburg members shipped a calf from Huntingburg to Evansville, a distance of 52 miles, and after the calf had been sold the farmer still owed 58 cents on the shipping and commission bills. Similar conditions existed in our parish, making church work difficult. Rev. Franzmeier also had the unenviable task of serving this congregation when the language change from German to American was taking place. Your present pastor coached two congregations through these changes, which accounts for his baldness.
On June 24th, 1934, the congregation observed the 60th anniversary of its founding, with Rev. O. Saevert delivering the German sermon and Rev. O. Vriesen the sermon in the American language. At the afternoon service the Rev. O. Vriesen delivered the German sermon and the sermon in the American language was delivered by the Ref. E.G. Pfeiffer. A musical program on Sunday evening, June 24th, 1934, presented a Junior choir, combined choirs of Braun Settlement and Greenwood churches, a Senior choir and a Junior and Senior Male quartette. Individuals participating in the program were Mrs. P.H. Franzmeier, Elmer Steiger, George Humke, Jr., Mrs. Alvin Schwarze, Ruth Humke, Evelyn and Marian Steiger, Irene Brick, Elmer Meinhardt (accordion solo) and Vera and Cora Humke. The Greenwood Gleaner devoted almost an entire page to an historical sketch of Immanuel Church.
Significant changes had taken place in the local parish. The churches at Braun Settlement and Greenwood were being served by their own pastor, while the Immanuel pastorate supplied the ministry at Town Hoard, Morning Sunday School services in the American language had been inaugurated, the Sunday School sessions having been formerly conducted in the afternoon, the German language being used. During the year 1936 the third Sunday of every month was designated for American morning services, the remaining monthly services to be conducted in German. During the year 1936 the first bazaar and supper were given during the month of June. During the year 1939 the special pew for the elders and deacons was abolished and the American language became the official language of the congregation. The writer of these lines has up to this point of his writing read all congregational and consistory reports as recorded in the German language, the first American minutes being dated January, 1940. During this year the congregation again published its financial record; and the interior of the church was redecorated at a cost of $575.50. Mrs. Paul Franzmeier is a child of Immanuel Congregation, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Humke. The Franzmeier boys, both Richard and Donald, were born at Greenwood.
Rev. Paul Franzmeier resigned the local pastorate on October 10th, 1943. Through fourteen difficult years Rev. and Mrs. Paul Franzmeier had served the congregation in a Christian, sacrificial spirit. Since the congregation had no resident pastor during the following year, Calvin Franz kept the congregational minutes. During the summer months Walter Kuentzler, a student of Mission House served the congregation; he I now Prof. W. Kuentzler of Mission House.
Esther Humke Franzmeier
Rev. Paul Franzmeier
On September 24th, 1944, the Rev. J.C. Klingeberger was elected to the pastorate of Immanuel, coming here from First Evangelical Church of Shelbyville, Indiana. World War Two was terminating, a war in which many of the sons of Immanuel Church served with honor. During the years 1940-50 rural economy made a decided local upswing. Farms, barns and homes were being modernized and mechanized. The coming of REA electricity brought a multitude of labor saving devices into home, barn and toolshed. Good roads and modern transportation had eliminated much of time and space; the radio brought spot news to the country from near and far; at this writing the country is ready to move into the television era as the pressure of impending conflict decreases. Hospital and medical facilities are quickly available. In this community our little schoolhouses still hold forth, keeping their peculiar local character in the midst of an homogenized and streamlined culture which does not quite know where it is going, but is on its way.
Avoid centralization in education and government; the more home rule the better. And maintain your country church; it is the purpose of the National Mission organizations to centralize church membership in town churches; you can only counter this purpose by holding your land in your own church and training a goodly number of your children to love the land and stay on the land. Eighty-six per cent of the young people attending the High Schools of the country leave the land. Enough of our young people and members have held to the good earth, have kept parental farms and purchased farms, so that our membership has not been devastated by farm sales, tenant farming, wholesale evacuation to the cities.
Interior of Church in 1949, as improved.
The writer is not prophet or a prophet’s son, but he advises you to hold to the land. You have moved into the atomic age; comes another war and our communities will be bombed; make no mistake about it. They have never been able to check more than 8% of the invading planes wherever there has been plane superiority. When the cities of Europe were turned into rubble, there were four values that remained, viz. the land and its productivity, diamonds, gold and sterling tableware and jewelry, which became the items of barter, when paper money and coinage had become meaningless. No, we are not discounting spiritual riches, these are absolutely vital; so are the four freedoms. But we recognize the wisdom of the command: "Put your trust in God, my boys; but keep your powder dry."
During the six years of Pastor and Mrs. Klingeberger’s ministry, beginning Oct. 15th, 1944, various improvements were made on the church property. A garage was built and all buildings were painted except the schoolhouse, which was roofed and had its interior painted. The old church tower on the schoolhouse was removed. A legacy of $5,000.00 was given the congregation by John Woepse; with these monies a large Wurlitzer Organ was purchased and Deagan Chimes were installed, the front of the church was reconstructed with elevation of the choir loft, organ platform, extension of the chancel and paneling of the chancel background. Three hundred dollars of John Woepse’s legacy has been placed in the Cemetery Care Fund. Other memorial gifts given the congregation are a communion service given in memory of Carl Kippenhan, a baptismal bowl given in memory of Lt. Herbert Humke, alter vases given in memory of Mother Pat Cronin; the church alter, given in memory of Edwin Steiger; a memorial gift of $200.00 to the Immanuel Building Fund, given by Mr. Fred Buker; and a set of altar candelabra given in memory of Ferdinand Decker and a Missal Stand and Missal Bible given in Memory of Ed Schwarze. The Ladies Aid Society installed new light fixtures in the parsonage, a modern plumbing system and bath room were installed in the parsonage and an electric water heater, the men of the congregation digging the trench from pump to parsonage. New guttering was put on the parsonage, en electric stove was purchased by the Ladies Aid for the schoolhouse, etc., etc. One hundred twenty-eight steel chairs were purchased by the congregation and Ladies Aid Society at a cost of $550.00. A goodly amount of monies are held in the Building Fund and Ladies Aid treasuries for building purposes.
The Congregation on the Seventy-fifth Anniversary
During the years 1944-51 the envelope system became the system of church and denominational giving. Junior and Senior choirs were organized for regular singing at all church services and children’s and Sunday School choirs added to the beauty of worship. Music was under the direction of Mrs. J.C. Klingeberger with the Mesdames Alvin Albert, Otto Fravert and J.C. Klingeberger serving as organists. Both Youth and Young Adult Fellowships were organized and the wives of the consistory members now meet with the consistory as a consistory auxiliary. A worthwhile summer school is annually conducted during the month of June, terminating in a congregational school picnic and program on July 4th. The church’s finances are in sound condition, all treasuries showing a balance, the congregation regularly paying its denominational budget and contributing toward the church’s Orphanages, Old People’s Homes, Mission House, World Service and toward the Red Cross and the Polio Fund.
During the year 1949 the congregation observed its 75th Anniversary with appropriate services in which the pastors and Mesdames Paul Franzmeier and Otto Vriesen participated, the Rev. and Mrs. Saevert being unable to attend because of ill health, but sending their felicitations from Plymouth, Wisconsin. At the 75th Anniversary Supper approximately 500 people were served country style chicken and country ham and all the trimmings. The publication of this Anniversary booklet commemorates the 75th Anniversary of Immanuel Church.
As of March, 1951, the pastors of Immanuel Congregation officiated at 639 baptisms, confirmed 562 young people, officiated at 177 marriages and 211 burials. The difference between baptisms and marriages and burials indicate the tremendous losses suffered by rural congregations by way of the removal of young people to other communities.
On October 9th, 1950, the Rev. J.C. Klingeberger tendered his resignation as pastor of Immanuel Church, having accepted a call from Grace Church at Kohler, Wisconsin. On October 23rd he was stricken with a severe heart attack, coronary thrombosis, while enroute to visit his son at Plymouth, Michigan. A kind providence sustained life and under the care of Drs. Handy of Wisconsin Rapids and William Olson of Greenwood, following a very complete diagnosis of his condition at the Mayo Clinic at Rochester, Minn., Rev. Klingeberger was advised that he could resume pastoral work and the driving of his car by the end of February, 1951 So, God willing, we shall terminate our local ministry with a Confirmation Service and reception of new members on Sunday, March 4th, 1951.
In a letter issued last September which marked the beginning of our seventh year of pastoral activity at Immanuel, we included the following paragraph, never dreaming of its significance for ourselves. "Just a word regarding your church and the times. One need not be a prophet to assume that the days ahead will present many a tension and a strain. At a time like this it is essential that, for Christian and patriotic reasons, we labor together and avoid all unnecessary friction. Your Christian faith offers you hope and vision and strength in a day like this, but you must attend your church’s services, and labor and give, so that your church may fulfill her divine mission. Your pastor will endeavor to give you that in the way of peace and guidance which is given to him. If the church holds, there can be no complete wreckage. If suffer we must, Christ can teach us how to suffer victoriously. If crosses are to be born, Christ will share them with us. Praying that God may so guide our nation and her leaders, that among us and all peoples His Kingdom come and His will be done, we face the future in faith, hope and love."
As we leave the good people of Immanuel Church we pray that God be with them and with us until we meet again. Your pastor returns to the area where he was born, Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, and the city in which he was reared, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and the place of his father’s last parish, Town Russell near Elkhardt Lake. He also moves into an area of Wisconsin from which the pioneers of Immanuel came to establish their northern homes and where many of their ancestors must still be resident. We are not moving into a strange land. We saw the beginnings of Kohler years ago. We carried papers to Mr. Miller living on Highland Blvd. of the Miller Brewing Company and to Harley Davidson, when in the years 1900-05 Miller’s High Life was getting under way and Harley Davidson was making his first motorcycles in a garage on 35th and Highland Blvd. We still recall the appearances of the villages of Plymouth, Elkhardt Lake and Keil. Time and circumstances bid us leave Greenwood and move on, but there goes with us the memory of pleasant and blessed hours spent in fellowship and worship with young and old at Immanuel.
As we depart, we know we are not leaving you shepherdless. Rev. J. Grether, the son of one of your old friends, the Rev. David Grether, will serve your parish until providence brings you another pastor of your choosing. Rev. J. Grether is now assistant to the Rev. Ben Stucki at the Indian Mission School at Neillsville. We part from you with the apostolic benediction: And now may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit abide with you always.
Rev. and Mrs. J.C. Klingeberger, March, 1951.
The Pastor (author) and His Wife
Rev. John Charles Klingeberger was born at Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, the son of Rev. and Mrs. F. Klingeberger. He grew up in Milwaukee, attending the Milwaukee schools. Attending Elmhurst College, Elmhurst, Illinois, and Eden Theological Seminary of St. Louis, Mo., he graduated from both institutions and was ordained to the Christian ministry at St. John’s Church of Naperville, Illinois. He has served pastorates at Covington, Ky., Louisville, Ky., Huntingburg, Indiana, Shelbyville, Indiana and is now assuming the pastorate of Grace Church of Kohler, Wisconsin.
Mrs. J.C. (Ethel Moeller) Klingeberger is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Moeller of St. Louis, Mo. She attended the St. Louis schools, graduating from Yeatman High School in St. Louis and attending the Harris Teachers College. She was united in marriage to Rev. Klingeberger in the year 1916 and has shared in a very complete manner his ministry in all his parishes.
The Klingebergers have one son, John F. and a daughter-in-law, Doris Phares Klingeberger, and one grandson, John Phillip. They reside at Plymouth, Michigan, where John F. is serving as principal of a school at Baxter, Michigan.
William Awe, Norman Liebzeit, Harry Liebzeit, Arno Decker, Arthur Humke, Ref. J.C. Klingeberger
ELDERS, DEACONS AND TRUSTEES
ELDERS-The following are listed as having served Immanuel Congregation as elders throughout the years: Fritz Decker, Philip Vollrath, August Bielke, Herman Schwarze, Frederick Wehrmann, Frederick Buker, William Vollrath, August Franz, William Reineking, John Schwarze, August Steiger, Henry Humke, John Kippenhan, Adolph Noah, H.W. Decker, Henry Awe, F.W. Buker, Otto Meinhardt, Ferdinand Decker, Martin Yaniga, August Schwarze, Albert Miller, Arthur Humke, Otto Reineking, William Goeke.
DEACONS-Those who served Immanuel as deacons are Peter Brick, Frederick Buker, Frederick Wehrmann, William Reineking, Henry Decker, Frederick Soefker, Henry Humke, Henry Meier, Franz Abel, Theodore Meinholdt, Adolf Noah, H.W. Decker, George Kern, Theordore Humke, F.W. Vollrath, Henry Franz, Frederick Brick, Gustav Meinholdt, August Schwarze, George Humke, Ed Schwarze, Edwin Steiger, Theo. Kippenhan, Arthur Schwarze, Emil Noah, Otto Reineking, Henry Vollrath, Albert Fravert, William Steiger, Calvin Franz, Arno Decker, Orlin Schwarze, Harry Liebzeit, Norman Liebzeit, Walter Schwarze Clarence Meinhardt.
TRUSTEES-As trustees until 1896, when the consistory assumed the duties of trusteeship, there served John Schwarze, Frederick Buker, Sr., William Vollrath, William Toburen, Henry Kern, Christoph Kippenhan, H.W. Decker and Theo. Meinholdt.
Sexton’s Past and Present
Mesdames Alfred Schwarze and George Kuester.
Messrs. Alfred Schwarze and George Kuester.
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