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Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History
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St. Peter Claver Catholic Church

Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record - Published 1894 by Excelsior Publishing Co., Chicago" Pages 208 - 209

St. Peter Claver Church, of which Rev. James P. Van Treeck is pastor, is situated on the corner of Clara and Cedar Streets. The present building is used for both church and school purposes; the second floor for the former, and the first floor for the latter. A new edifice is in contemplation, which is expected to cost $25,000. The church was incorporated February 7, 1888, and the first services were conducted by the present pastor October 14 of that year, he having been the first and only pastor.

St. Peter Claver Church when organized numbered about ninety families, but now numbers two hundred and forty. The school was organized in November, 1888, with about eighty pupils and two teachers, and now number two hundred and forty-four pupils and four teachers. The property includes three lots, with one hundred and fifty feet on South Twelfth Street, three hundred and sixty feet on Clara Street, and two hundred feet on South Eleventh Street. Besides the combined church and school building, the grounds contain the priest's residence and a hall. The latter is owned by a corporate body, called "The Leo Hall Association," and is used by the societies for meetings and entertainments of various kinds.

Rev. James P. Van Treeck is a native of Sheboygan County, and was born in the town of Wilson, March 9, 1855. His father, Peter J. Van Treeck, was born in 1824, at Gledern, Rhine Province, in Prussia, Germany. In 1849, the grandfather, Gerhard Van Treeck, and the grandmother, with their four children, emigrated to America, coming directly to Sheboygan, where they landed June 9, of that year. The grandfather, who was then seventy-three years old, died in 1853. The grandmother survived her husband a number of years. The eldest of their family was Mathias, who left Sheboygan County in 1872, going to Brown County, and later to Nebraska. His death occurred in 1889, when he left a family, who reside in that State. The second is Peter J., the father of Rev. Mr. Van Treeck . The third was Allegunda, who married John Sprangers, who died in the town of Wilson in 1884, leaving a widow and nine children, four sons and five daughters. The youngest of the family was Gertrude, who married Joseph Smith. They became parents of six children. During an epidemic of smallpox in the city of Sheboygan, the mother and her six children died of that dreadful disease. Mr. Smith is also deceased, though he survived his family a number of years.

Rev. James P. Van Treeck was one of a family of fourteen children, comprising nine sons and five daughters, all of whom are living but three daughters, two of whom died in infancy. The third, a nun, Sister Gertrude, died at the age of thirty-one years. Peter J. Van Treeck, now in his seventieth year, resides in the town of Lima. The wife and mother passed away October 7, 1890.

The Rev. James P. Van Treeck obtained his primary education in the public schools of the town of Wilson. His college education was obtained at St. Francis' Seminary near Milwaukee. On June 27, 1880, he was ordained, and his first charge was at Centerville, Manitowoc County, where he remained two years. From there he went to his second charge, at Theresa, Dodge County, where he was pastor for two and a half years. He was then pastor at Alverno, Manitowoc County, from 1885 til 1888, when he assumed his present charge.

Father Van Treeck is the eldest brother of the family; the second, Wendel, owns and occupies the original homestead of his grandfather, in the town of Wilson; the third is the Rev. Joseph Anton Van Treeck, pastor of St. John's Church at Plymouth, Wis.; Valentine, the next in order of birth, resides at South Kaukauna, Wis.; George, the youngest son, is at home in the town of Lima with his father. The sisters are: Mary, who resides with her brother, the pastor of St. Peter Claver Church; Anna, a sister of St. Francis, in Manitowoc County; Katie, with her brother, the priest at Plymouth; Josie, Celia and Theresa, who are at home with their father.


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