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Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History
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St. Cloud's {Fond du Lac County} Congregation's Fiftieth Jubilee

Mike Petrie shared this information


{NOTE: I have added this churches history because it was very close to the Fond du Lac / Sheboygan County line and I am quite sure that Sheboygan County residents did attend this church.}


1870 - Golden Anniversary Book - 1920
for the congregation
of St. Cloud, Wisconsin

Honorary Gift
Written October 3, 4, & 5, 1920
By P. Nerius Semmler, O. M. Cap.
and P. Corbian Vieracker, O. M. Cap.

"Thou shalt hallow the 50th year, as it is
a jubilee year." 3rd Book of Moses, 25.10


Page 3
Most Holy Father,

A three day festivity will take place October 3, 4, and 5, of the present year on the occasion of the 50th foundation anniversary of the congregation of St. Cloud which is subject to the Capuchin Fathers of the Calvary Province in America. For this reason, the pastor of this congregation begs your Holines for the following indulgences:
1. An imperfect indulgence for 7 years and 7 quadrages which the believers can gain by visiting the church and praying there with humble hearts.
2. A perfect indulgence on either one of those days under the usual conditions. In addition, he asks for the authority to dispense the Papal blessing on the mentioned days which includes the perfect indulgence for those who receive the Blessed Sacrament and receive the blessing devoutly.

P. Nerius Semmler, O. M. Cap.

These requests were granted on July 20th, 1920 by the holy apostolic authorities. They are only valid this once. Anything that is opposed to this is herewith lifted.
B. Colombo, President
P. Rovelli, Secretary

Page 5

Preface

This year's golden anniversary of the St. Cloud congregation justifies, yes demands, the appearance of the "Jubilee Book". 50 years of history during the pioneer time of the however small congregation present much of beauty, interest and edification which is worthy of passing on. Much of what had be buried in the memory of individuals will be recorded in a book which is available to all and will save it from oblivion. Whoever reads the history of the St. Cloud congregation will be convinced that the congregation can look back with pride to the passed 50 years. They have every reason to sing and pray to God with grateful hearts;"Let us give thanks to the Lord, our God". Certainly, when we consider the sacrifices and hardships during the foundation and development which the congregation endured. The great privations during the early times help us to understand the great joy and enthusiasm which fills all hearts today. The founders and members of the first difficult years will read about the past with much appreciation. The happenings of the past will once again pass before their eyes, and they relive it once more; it gives them the blessed knowledge that:" What we did for God, the Church and the congregation was not in vain, but bore fruit". The present generation which enjoys the fruits of the efforts and labor of the past years, and who contributed to the latest development of the congregation, will also feel joy; They will be inspired to willingly accept sacrifices when they read about the sacrifices their parents made. And the coming generation will learn with pride what those who came before them have done for them. Honor to whom honor is due! Thus we will thank God for all the good he has given us and pay tribute to those who worked for the benefit of the congregation. We want to inspire the younger members of the congregation to follow the tradition of St. Cloud, namely the love for the congregation, for the church and the school. We want to pass on the good spirit to the coming generation; they will think of us with gratitude. It is impossible to acknowledge with these few words all those who merit our thanks. So much of what happened, went unseen and unwritten or was forgotten. But God has seen it all, and his angel recorded it in the book of life as nothing escapes his notice and nothing goes unrewarded. Unfortunately, only few of those who served the congregation so diligently are still alive to celebrate with us. We hope that they now enjoy the fruits of their labor which is promised to those who work for the honor of God in Christ's kingdom here on earth. To all the living I say the words of St. Paul:" Rejoice in the Lord, again I say, rejoice!" Those who sow in tears will reap with joy..Great is the Lord and wonderful his holy name! He who builds on the Lord will not be disappointed. May the jubilee blessing of the Lord descend on all. May it rest on the church and school, on house and farm, and fill every heart with peace.

Rev. Nerius Semmler, O. M. Cap.

The History Of St. Cloud

Content.
Foundation Years 1869 - 1875

1. Settlement 1867
2. Formation of the congregation 1869-1870
3. Building and consecration of the first church 1870 - 1871
4. Regulation for the care of souls 1871 - 1875

Slow Development 1875 - 1900

1. Assumption of the care of souls by the Capuchin Fathers
2. Interior difficulties
3. Progress of the congregation

Happy Impetus 1900 - 1920

1. The new church 1905
2. Building of the big school 1911
3. Jubilee anticipation 1919 - 1920

The Foundation Years

1. Settlement 1867

The origin of St. Clous goes back to the middle 1860's. In 1867, a saw-mill was set up by F. Clark & Thorp. In the fall of 1868 the railroad from Sheboygan extended westward to Calvary and Heinrich Moersch from Johnsburg hurried here and set up a mill. Moersch's brother visited him at that time. The location of the place reminded him of the French bishop seat St. Claude on the Bienne river, and so he suggested to call the place St. Claude. The railroad time-table of 1868-69 already contained the English name St. Cloud. Soon other settlers came; Louis Juergens, L. Kreidler; Nikolaus Lanzer erstablished the first business which was soon taken over by Johann Messner. In the fall of 1868, Nikolaus Meyer started his tavern which was bought by Jacolb Schoenborn a few months later. There already was the shoemaker Rudolph Loeb, the stone masons Burkard and Marsellus Loeb, the blacksmith Baltes Pickard who was followed by the carriage builders Johann and Joseph Schmitt. Postmaster Coolidge started the first store in 1869, Franz Timm the saddlery; Lorenz and Joseph Zentgraf settled in as stone masons. While the village developed quickly within two years, pioneers within 3 miles had labored diligently for 10 years to clear the land for farming. In the North Benedict and Heinrich Wehner, Georg Achter, Adrian Dreifuerst, Johann Dreifuerst, Valentin Keller, Wilhelm Bergs; Stephan Zieher, August Klinsing, Johann Limberg, Johann Schmitt, Peter Mertes and Johann Pauly. In the South worked Johann Bittner, August Neder, Nikolaus Welling, Johann Klingzing, Johann Entringer with his three sons Nikolaus, Johann & Jenn; Peter Render, Mathias Leon, Peter Burg & Johann Hochwein.
They were years of very difficult work. The huge trees had to be cut down during the winter, and after the soil was roughly worked on in spring, the seeds were spread between the tree stumps and stones to be harvested in fall. The endless forest had a rich game population of all kinds to provide meat for whoever owned a rifle or otherwise was brave enough to kill. In spite of all the hardships, the people were cheerful, ready to help each other, and sociable. The shared hardships joined all hearts in unity and lightended the hard work and the extreme privations. The wonderful wheat of the pioneer days which is still talked about today, at least provided them with bread.during the settlement years.

Formation Of The Congregation, 1869-1870

Added to the paltriness of the houses and the hard work in the fields came the many sacrifices that had to be made to fulfill the obligations of their faith. Those families, who lived east of St. Cloud, belonged to the congregation of Calvaria. The first church had been built there in 1849, and the Capuchin fathers had erected a small monastery there in 1857. Both the congregation and monastery were well developed by the end of the 1860's. The families to the north of the village visited St. Joseph which was served by the fathers from Calvary. A little church was built there in the early 1860's which proved to be too small a few years later.
Between those two parishes, the families which today make up St Cloud were distributed. The distance to St. Joseph is 2 - 3 miles, Calvaria 5 - 6 miles. Certainly, these were no great distances for that time, but the way to Calvary entailed extraordinary difficulties.
One way led past St. Joseph, increasing the mileage to 8. Otherwise one would have to go through a swamp, an adventurous and quite dangerous undertaking. Long logs were joined by cross pieces on each end, and they formed the so-called path over extremely soft, muddy and shaking ground. With a rod in each had for balance and a sure foot, one could manage the hazardous enterprise. However, one false step would cause one to sink into bottomless mire.
Therefore, a walk on such shaky ground had no attraction for the people of St. Cloud. And even the installation of a new a better path removed only part of the difficulty. The new path led across the Sheboygan river which was bridged only with logs. It was impassable when the water level was high in the spring, not to mention the difficulties caused by the large amounts of snow during winter. Under such conditions, a visit to church was sporadic at best, and the education of the children was sorely lacking. This explains the efforts by St. Cloud to alleviate this grievance
In addition, the location of the place near the railroad justified the hope that the little settlement would develop into a small town in the not too distant future. In that case, a church would contribute to the economic upswing, to inner strength and expansion. The present proves that they were correct. They did their best to persuade the members of St. Joseph to build their church nearer to St. Cloud. There was another reason for forming their own congregation.
F. Clark, a non-Catholic and an important man who realized the favorable location of St.Cloud, promoted building a Protestant church here. This plan appeared to be a danger to the Catholics as it would attract a large number of Protestants to the settlement - furthermore, the building of a Catholic church would then become questionable. The project became known in the area. Johann Pauly called for a meeting in Jacob Schoenborn's house in the fall of 1869. Everyone present supported the proposition to form a congregation with enthusiasm. 28 families came together, and a committee was formed. J. Pauly became president, Schwallenbach treasurer. Heinrich Wehner, Adrian Dreifuerst, Jacob Schoenborn, and Peter Render were elected as district representatives. Heinrich Moersch offered 4 acres of land on a hill not far from the railroad depot, a nice place for a church.

Building And Consecration Of The First Church 1870-71

Preparations began already in the winter of 1869. Building materials were brought. The Clark sawmill cut the boards free of charge. Julius Topp from the Town of Forest erected the church for $800. Mathias Baldauf worked for him. The stone foundation measured 60 feet by 36 feet. The wooden church was a tall building: 8 columns 22 feet high supported the roof rafters and formed two wings alongside the center. This gave the church a dignified appearance. By August 1870, the church was almost completed. A simple altar was moved to the wall. A communion rail separated it from the body of the church. Pews, made of pine wood, were installed in three rows, even a pulpit was erected on the north side. In front of the entrance was an addition with two doors right and left into the church; above it was the choir loft with a row of kneelers for the men of the congregation. An elegant spire completed the front of the church.. The cost amounted to $2500 which was covered by signatures, prepayments and cash donations except for $300.
The appointment of a pastor entailed many difficulties. The neighbor parishes were against it. At St. Joseph's they feard for their new stone church, but the St. Cloud members paid their obligations, and an additional collection made up for the loss so that at the consecration of their church everything was paid for. At Calvary they found little help because of the scarcity of priests. President John Pauly and Secretary Jacob Schoenborn turned directly to the bishop who happened to be in Rome at the time. They submitted the purchase letter along with a supplication with 46 signatures for a parish priest to the General Vicar Martin Kundig. It was August 4th, 1870, the date of the foundation of the congregation of St. Cloud. Mr. Pauly was sure of his grounds. The congregation was formed, the church built, even the school building had been started. At last the bishop gave his permission for the consecration of the church even though he could not promise a pastor because of the scarcity of priests. He commissioned Pastor Kieser from Johnsburg to bless the church. This took place February 5th, 1871. The bishop chose as the church's patron saint St. Claudius, Archbishop of Besancon who died as abbot of Isree in 696. Thus zeal and purposeful pursuit happily reached the goal.

Arrangement For Care Of Souls 1871-1875

The needs of the congregation continued. Father Kieser could not come on a regular basis. He came a few times during the week. The first baptism, however, was performed by Pastor Zingsheim from St. Anna on Junuary 31, 1871, for Burkard Zentgraf, son of Lorenz Zentgraf, born January 26, 1871. He also baptized Maria Elisabeth Timm on March 8, 1871, and he buried the first deceased: Johanna Elert, age 23, on March 24. But Pastor Kieser blessed the new bell on May 20th, and he baptized Sabina, daughter of Benedict Wehner. Pastor Fidelis came from Marytown to baptize Christiana Hoehl, daughter of Barnabas Hoehl on June 3rd. In the meantime, St. Anna received a new pastor, Father August P. Schleier; he came to St. Cloud for the first time on August 29th, 1871, and he served the congregation until 1875. In the spring of 1871, a parsonage was built which Bishop Henni came to inspect as he was very interested in the young congregation. The school did well under the excellent direction of teachers Pfeiser Mathias Durban and Alexander Deiler. The Ladies Society was formed on July 26, 1872, and their first contribution was the purchase of the statue of the Virgin Mary. Finally, Bishop Henni performed the first confimation rites on Ocotber 31, 1874, at St. Cloud. There was much rejoicing. Teacher Deiler dragged his own small organ up to the choir loft; the male choir sang the Latin Mass instead of the earlier German hymns which Johann Pauly had coached. Pastor Schleier called for a congregational meeting to frame regulations for the parish. 33 members signed them in the parish book on December 28, 1871, along with the pastor. They were Wilhelm Bergs, Adrian Dreifuerst, Peter Render, Philipp Schmitt, Johann Entringer, Franz A. Timm, Peter Burg, Conrad Limberg, Augustine Neder, Nikolaus Welling,Joseph Mertes, Johann Limburg, August Klinzing, Johann Bittner, Wilhelm Dietz, Johann Klinzing, Johann Georg Achter, Alexander Deiler, Jacob Schoenborn, Jacob Denner, Wilhelm Golbach, Benedict Wehner, Nikolaus Meyer, B. Pickart, Heinrich Wehner, Rudolph Goeb, Barnabas Hoehl, Johann Heinrichs, Georg Schneider, Burkard Goeb, Johann Schwellenbach, Jacob Hein, and Valentin Kellner. They agreeed on 17 regulations. We are listing the most important ones. Section. 3: Every member is obligated to pay the salary of the priest, church and sexton when and how the Parish Board determines it.
Section 5. Publication of bills should be in the presence of the pastor if possble; if not, then the bills shall be submitted to him on a suitable day.
Section 8. The church elders may spent up to $20.00, but higher sums have to be decided by the majority of members of the congregation.
Sec. 9. The Treasurer shall pay moneys only under direction from the church elders.
Sec. 10. The appropriate persons shall pay one dollar for a marriage at St. Cloud's church.
Sec. 11. The congregation shall decide whether anyone, who has not paid his obligation for the priest, sexton and church for 3/4th of a year, shall remain a member of the congregation.
Sec. 12. Any new member to the congregation shall pay an entrance fee either in cash or a promissory note about which the congregation decides.
Sec. 14. When a member leaves voluntarily or was excluded from the congregation, on being accepted back, must pay any amount owed to the parish.
Sec.17. These regulations are valid and can only be annulled, changed or added to by the decision of 2/3rd of the members of the congregation.
These regulations , however," were rejected unanimously by the congregation on March11, 1875," as mentioned in a correction.

Slow Development 1875- 1900

1. The Capuchin Fathers Take Over the Care of Souls, 1875.

Father August Schleier worked with good results. The congregations flourished. The right to an independent existence had been proven. The monastery community at Calvery became a strong family, which enabled it to do right by the foundation and future of St. Cloud. An agreement was reached between St. Cloud and St. Joseph. Both congregations were to be taken care of in the following manner: The priest from St. Joseph was brought to St. Cloud for the High Mass on Sunday afternoon, then St. Cloud had the early Mass, but no Verpers as the priest could not return to St. Cloud. The elders signed a contract concerning these matters with Pater Franciscus from Calvary on April 19, 1875 . The conditions of the contract were precise and clear to prevent any conflict. They were:
Section 1, The congregation of St. Cloud shall not choose Kollektoren (don't know what that means, T.T.) or church elders without the permission of the appointed pastor.
Sec. 2, The appointment of a teacher for the Catholic school shall be left to the appointed pastor.
This was just a transition to the independent pastorship. According to the practice of that time, Pater Guardian sent a Pater for a few weeks or months. Thus, the following Fathers came from St. Joseph : P. Daniel, P. Leonard, P. Augustin (July - November) and then P. Fidelis (Steinauer); the new year or 1876 brought again P. Daniel and P. Emmanuel. The situation changed in 1876. P. Matthaeus was sent for a whole year for the fist time.(July-June 1877);from him originated the first writings in the parish record book. With it, St. Cloud became indepent of St. Joseph.
The first official act by the pastor was a draft for the 10 rules for the St. Anna Ladies Society. (July 26, 1875). The following was agreed upon: The patron Saint, the monthly and annual meetings, the administration by the Chair woman and the lady treasurer, the entrance fee of 25 cents, the annual fee from 50 cents to $1; usage of the society's funds, instructions for funerals (Requiem Mass and Rosary) and regular praying of the Rosary. The number of members of the society climbed to 39 by 1878. The congregation had grown slowly from 28 families to 40 families during the first ten years. In September 1875, the school was placed into the hands of the Sisters of St. Agnes from Fond du Lac. Sister Engelberta came first with Sister Barbara. Sister Engelberta taught 35 children and took over the directorship of the church choir. The former parsonage was reconstructed for the use of the sisters; a large room was added to the east side for the the use of the priest with a separate entrance, and another room was added to the north side as his bedroom.
P. Solanus, too, served a full year (June 1877-July 1878). P. Angelus only 4 months, etc.
[There follows a paragraph listing all the priest who served the parish until 1901. I'm sure you can read the names without me having to write them all down. T.T.]

2. Inner Difficulties

We note the following details from the parish records:. First of all, the negligence in meeting the obligation of church dues. It is written on May 11, 1881:" The question of how to punish those who year after year pay only half of their church dues or none at all, was turned over to the Archbishop for a decision after the pastor laid out the situation." May 3, 1888: "As the outstanding moneys amounted to so much, it was decided to ask those who never paid to leave the church and the school." Again May 6,1888: "It was unanimously decided that, dating from the day of this meeting, whoever does not pay at least 1/4 of the money owed the church and the school within a month, shall be considered banned from the congregation."
On May 31, 1890 the Pater remarked that P. Guardian from Calvary would accept $14.50 as back pay of his priest's salary. Naturally, we also find the necessary remedies. May 1, 1892: "All those who excluded themselves because of non-payment of money owed, have forfeited the right of the church and school; however, decisions made in past years, especially those of May 3, 1886 have been annulled by the priest, as the expulsion from the congregation and the school is reserved for the priest alone as he is in charge of the care of the souls of the believers.
The names of 9 families who had not paid their school dues, were published on June 3, 1894.
The main reason for the difficulties lay in the strict management of the dues collection. Justice should be done to all, and all must therefore do their duty. Several families might have been unable to pay the amount in time, although poverty was not the excuse.
The school question did not deal with the building of the second school in 1880 which was erected on the north side of the church property without objections, but with the problem of the parochial school versus the free public school; the need for enjoining Catholic principles in regard to attendance of the school; and the hiring of a second woman teacher (1897) over strong objections. The Pater composed a document which still exists today, in which he stated clearly and thoroughly the wishes and statutes of the Church. It was framed behind glass and approved by the Archbishop. It contains ten points which deal with the value of Catholic education and the attendance of the public school. It forbids the attendance of the public school by parish children who live within 2 1/2 miles of the Catholic school under threat of religious punishment. Such determination prevented the vacillation of some of the parents. It was agreed to engage a second teaching nun (1893) as the new school had been built on a stone foundation and had been sufficiently enlarged to contain 2 classrooms at a cost of $405.99. The introduction and arrangement of the bishop's salary (Cathedraticum) caused many problems. The question of the number of contributing family, caused vehement discussions. The parish records of May 6, 1894, report the following: " It was acknowledged by the whole assembly that the number of 73 families was not set too high." At the revision five years later, 96 families were listed who were duty bound to contribute. That number was too high. It resulted in the priest having to made up the difference, according to a congregational decision of December 28, 1899. Finally, the Archbishop determined the number of liable families at 84. A calm and factual explanation from the pulpit assuaged the people. A similar confusion occurred at the lawful incorporation of the congregation in January 1900. Being inexperienced , a tutelage and excessive pressure from the Church authorities was feared. There was much excited discussion at the congregational meeting, but the majority decided on obedience to the bishop.Two excellent and deserving men of the congregation were chosen , Michael Pauly and Anton Dreifuerst. Thanks to that decision and the two loyal men, the period of strife was finally overcome.

Progress Of The Congregation

First of all, we mention the decoration of the church. In 1881 the Ladies Society donated the St Ann's altar ($111.43) with a beautiful statue of the saint. In 1883 the whole church was painted. E. Brielmaier delivered a stilistic high altar with a nice St. Claudius statue. What an improvement! Now the patron saint was right there to see. The cemetery was newly designed on November 15, 1885 at the west side of the church - too bad that not enough thought was given to the paths. A new melodion was purchased ($105) in 1890. A beautiful, large wreath of artificial flowers was placed around the Blessed Virgin's statue at the side altar, trees were planted along the entrance way to the church, and the church roof and the fence around the church property were renewed. According to plans by P. Joseph, a large wardrobe to house the holy vestments, was built during the winter of 1895-1896, a splendid addition to the sacristy. In 1898 new stilistic side altars were considered, and after a lively discussion $130 were collected for that purpose. But first the church had to be redecorated. The columns received a dark coat of paint so that they stood out against the light paint of the rest of the church. The large stove in the middle close to the communion rail, stayed. The floor near the stove was repaired, but nothing could be done about a stronger base for the shaking floor. It became a clean, simple and large church at the relatively low cost of $245.28. The new parsonage, 16 x 22, was completed at the end of the year. It was lined up with the front of the church; the toal cost was $265.25. Finally, two nice side altars were erected (350.90) during Holy Week of 1900. These altars which complimented the high altar, had a pleasing effect in the old church, especially when one remembered the ordinary wooden racks which had stood against the empty wall. Thus church and parish were well prepared when the holy confirmation, administered by Archbishop Katzer, took place June 9, 1901. Later, (1903), four statues were added:St. Elisabeth, Cecilia, Antonius and Wendelin for a wonderful completion.
The social life of the congregation received strengthening and a practical direction, too. On Mary 18, 1894, the St. Claudius auxiciary organization for men was founded. The religious life received the needed basis in that the members as practicing Catholics had to fulfill their religious duties. Special emphasis was given to the second condition, namely, that each member raise his children in the Cathlic faith, and if at all possible, send them to the Catholic school. An eminently practical rule that served the well-being of the school and congregation. In addition, a moral supervision was offered. If a member's immodest, immoral life style caused annoyance, it was brought to the attention of the president. The creation of the Cecilia Young Ladies Society followed three weeks later; but during the same year it was changed to the "Immaculate Conception Society;" and received the necessary regulations. Here, too, the main purpose was a religious one: To guard one's virginity, to cultivate the devotion to the Blessed Virgin, monetary contributions to the church and and care of the Blessed Mother's altar. The former Ladies' Society received new life by joining with the Christian Mothers Society. The old century came to an edifying end at the solemn midnight Mass which was attended with much enthusiasm.

III. Favorable Upswing

1. The New Church

In the meantime, St Cloud had become quite a substantial community. The village visibly grew through lengthening of the streets, new buildings around the church and the depot; the farming community, too, increased in population and buildings. The number of families approached one hundred. It was written in the parish records on December 29, 1901:
"The priest noticed that the church was too small for the congregation which steadily increased in numbers. He , therefore, proposed that the members of the congregation discuss among themselves and come to an understanding whether the old church should be enlarged, or whether a new building should be considered." The same request was made in January, 1903.
At the next parish meeting ( January1904) the financial possibility of a new building were considered. Everyone was convinced of the possibility and the details of the building were discussed. It was to be a church made of bricks, and a building committee was formed to contact an architect. The final vote was taken on July 3, 1904. Two plans were submitted: One was drawn up by Architect Erhard Brielmaier, the other showed the completed church of Charlesberg. The first one was simple, but nice, and it appealed to everyone. The building committee consisted of Joseph Freifuerst, Peter Feldner and John Will. John Dreifuerst was to head the committee. The 60 members at the meeting were less that enthusiastic. The Minutes of the meeting speak of much "back and forth". Now the priest took the matter in hand. Accompanied by one of the Trustees, he visited each family and accepted their written promised contribution. This action brought the desired result. The congregation's administration decided to go ahead with the plans to build the new church after the harvest. Now all hesitation was over. To the surprise of the new Pastor , P. Benedict, who began the ministry of the parish July 26, 1901, the congregation as a whole moved the old church to the southwest on August 23, 1904, and two days later the first shovel of dirt was turned over. The building committee was busy, too, with the study of the plans. Estimates were submitted by October 3rd., and the contractor, Joseph Hutter Construction, was given the job. The contract was handed over, and both parties signed it the same night. The delivery of sand and gravel began October 9th; the building of the stone foundation followed. The building supplies, mostly bricks, arrived during the first months of 1905. There were more teams on hand to unload them at the depot than were needed. The spring was favorable for building, and the laying of the foundation-stone could take place on April 9th with P. Antonin O.M.Cap. officiating. Father Meyer from Plymouth gave a speech which elated all hearts and strengthened the resolve to complete the big job. The building project progressed quickly. The job of supplying the water was given to a single applicant ($95) in order that "the work would not be stopped unnecessarily". As not many changes had been made to the original plan, the new building was quickly erected. The formation of the rafters extending from the wings into the center of the church, took more time. They did not rest on columns but were joined in symmetrical vaults.
A sunny and warm late summer helped to complete the work. But still there was much to do during the last weeks: The installation of the beautiful stained glass windows,($836), the new pews ($650) which were massive and comfortable; the confessional and the baptismal font. Even the furnace was installed. Consequently, the solemn dedication took place October 4, 1905, with the Archbishop officiating with the assistence of 18 priests. An eye witness describes the dedication as follows:
"On a beautiful fall morning, young and old gathered early in front of the church for last minute preparations for the guests. Houses were decorated, a triumphal arch had been erected and riders and horses carried flowers. Below the village's southern hill, not far from the bridge, the pastor, the children, the those to be confirmed along with 8 different male societies from the neighborhood, 20 young men on horseback and the band from St. Cloud stood waiting for the Archbishop who was to come from Calvary along with honored guests. Around 9 o'clock a large cloud of dust can be seen, and three carriages arrive. After a short greeting, the procession starts out. The church bell rings to announce the procession coming up the hill. It winds its way along the Main Street, through the arch to the church with flying banners and music. The members of the men's organization stand along the entrance and receive the blessing of the surprised head of the diocese. The bishop speaks a dedication prayer at the entrance of the church, the procession continues around the outside of the church. At the beginning of the Trinity litany the doors open, and bishop, priests and congregation file in.The sun shining through the marvelous windows gives everything a heavenly glow. The priests move up to the sanctuary where candles have been lit. The people follow and fill the church. The bishop sprinkles the walls and pauses in front of the altar for a prayer. And now the solemn high Mass begins with Pater Hieronymus officiating.with assistance from the bishop while the choir sings loud and joyful..His excellency gives the festival sermon. He explains the connection between the dedication of the church the the sacrament of confirmation. After the confirmation rite, the bishop reminds fathers and mothers of the wonderful work of raising their children. His words make a deep impression. The sacramental blessing and the enthusiastic Te Deum complete the unforgettable celebration."
P. Benedict, who created for himself a permanent memorial with the church, set about to pay the debts.

Cost Of The Building Of The Church

Total cost (Dec. 1905) - $ 19,499.24
Total income - 14,892.70 plus 20 ton coal
Outstanding notes - 3.72.50
Debt remaining - 4,359.58

The clearing of the debt remained a problem until 1908. Everyone had to pitch in. The choir gave a concert on St. Claudius Da;y (June 6) which netted $108.48. The parish ladies sponsored an ice cream social ($291.25). The children are preparing a nativity play.
The most help in clearing the debt came from the parish festival which took place September 24,25,and 26, 1906, It netted $1,486.20, and was the work of P. Benedict's successor. P.Benedict was named Rector of the Collegium and left St. Cloud after 6 productive years as pastor. By the end of 1906, the debt was reduced to $2,700. P. Benedict had done much for the spiritual welfare of the congregation, not just with instructions and warnings from the pulpit and in families, but he dedicated all of Mondays to religious instructions, he initiated the 13 hour prayer and the Childhood of Jesus Society; the great blessings which the congregation had thus received, soon showed their effect.

2. The Building of the Parish School

P. Ludger took over the care of St. Cloud in the middle of August. 1906. He brought with him great zeal and rich experiences from New York where he had worked for several years. His first concern was the payment of the church debt. The visible success of the parish festival at the beginning of his tenure shows what an enterprising man he was. Of course, an active and enthusiastic festival committee supported him: Mrs. Rose Baus, President, and Mrs. Lilwina Ferdner, treasurer of the Ladies Society; in addition, the ladies Barbara Feldner, Anna Lisowe and Anna Hau (died 1916). The thanks expressed by the priest for their splendid effort was well deserved. A new tone is noticeable in the parish records: "Funds have come in well, and the board could give to the priest the Orphan Money ($43.50) and half of his salary ($150) as well as $175 for the sisters"(June 30, 1906). New expenditures were added, such as $25 traveling money for the priest, $50 for the lady organist, as the sisters were no longer allowed to lead a mixed choir. $20 for the janitor to heat the church. In December 1907 is written:
The treasurer listed the income and expenditures for the year; and a surplus of $254.06 was gained. P. Ludger decided to work toward the clearing of the parish debt of $1700. One thousand dollars had be paid off during the past years. It was agreed that the rest should be collected by assessing the congregation according to ability to pay. That took place during 1908; $1,513.50 were collected. Now repairs and improvements could be considered, such as cement sidewalks, cisterns for possible fires, a new lamp for the perpetual light, a nice monstance, statues for the side altars, and to think of decorating the church for which money should be put aside. One special need had to be considered first. The old melodium was too weak for the big church, and a pipe organ should be bought. A favorable opportunity made it possible to purchase one for $500 in the summer of 1910.
In the meantime, another important matter had to be addressed. The number of school age children had surpassed 100. The addition of 1893 was no longer sufficient. More additions could not be added to the old frame building. Certainly, the idea of a new building scared many. They still remembered the unpleasant experiences of past years. This became apparent at the first vote on January 9, 1910: 32 votes for and 30 votes against a new building. A committee was formed to study and create the plans - a difficult job, as decisions had to be made about what was to happen to the sister's house and the parish hall. The first cost estimate of $8000 proved to be too low. On seeing the proposed plans, the contractor estimated the cost of $18,200; the cement blocks could not be made any cheaper. A new way had to be found. A brick building was considered, and the Hutter Construction Co. submitted the lowest bid; as was the bid by the carpenter Neder, Will & Co. With these problems solved, the building could begin.
Luckily, agreement could be reached concerning the building site; there was not a better one. As far as the size was concerned, the school hall covered the additional expense. The material was delivered during the following months. Hutter's foreman, Mr. Bernhard Haehn, started the concrete foundation on April 18, 1911. By October 1, the school was finished, and it was consecreated by Bishop Kondelka with the participation of all the people. The first floor consisted of three large classrooms; a third teacher had begun her in September. She took over a third of the 113 children, who were not divided into 8 grades. There was a large hall with a stage and attached kitchen on the second floor. Some people complained, that the school was too large, but large, roomy classrooms are needed for the health of the children and the nuns, who had to spend so many hours there. The school hall turned out to be a real asset - until now it has netted $9,261.07 - who would want to be without it today!
Because the space requirement, an addition to the school was not feasible. The total cost for the school came to $16,780. Almost half of it was paid off by the end of the year. (8,280). The festival which took place at the consecration of the school, brought in $2,190.69. The greatest credit for its success was due to the committee: The ladies Josephine Voelker and Josephine Schaefer from the first district, Rosalia Baus & Josephine Leon from the second, Rosina Hochrein & Mary Kohlmann from the third, and Anna Schneider & Victoria Koch from the fourth. The remaining debt could not be covered by the parish revenue, and so it was decided to assess $10 per family. Slowly, the debt dimiinished to $2,500 by 1917. Since the old buildings were no longer needed, they were sold. The old church brought $300, the sacristy and the old school $50, and the second long school $300.
What progress in value and appearance are represented by these spendid buildings! Who doesn't think back with wistfulness to ones childhood when Sisters Engelberta and Barbara were teaching the ABC's to 23 children in the small, square schoolhouse. How happy we all were in 1881 when the second, roomier school was built on the hill at the north side of the church property. It had only one floor with an entry hall where the coats were hung. And when Sister Veromea, who taught at the Cloud for 16 years, moved into the schoolroom which had been extended by 20 feet. How much easier it was for her, when she could share the teaching load with a second teaching nun in 1897, because the room was divided by a screen. So quickly were the two schoolrooms filled, that the entry hall had to be utilized. How well we remember the names of these consciencious teachers, and we offer a prayer of thanks for them.
P. Ludger understood not only the need of the school, but also the needs of the parsonage. He was devoted to the congregation, and we believe him when he announced at the beginning of a Mass:" I'm glad to see all of you again even if it means lifting my 200 pounds unto and down from the high arriage." He was concerned about the future of this young world; how many pamphlets, especially "The Sunday Visitor" were mentioned by him again and again, too often for some! How sincerely he expressed his appreciation from the pulpit, for example on June 6, 1909: " You are seeing the new heaven before you. You all must like it because it is beautiful. Thanks to the children,and especially to Mrs. R.B. who inspired them to create it. She gives prizes from her candy pail to encourage the chidlren to work hard. Thanks to all who contributed." How important he thought the mission which renewed the religious spirit. He talked about it way in advance and distributed information how the mission was to take place. The closer the mission date came, the more he urged and admonished:"I once again invite everyone to take part in the mission. May it be an unforgettable event for the congregation and bear much fruit. You should all become apostles, encouraging each other and others. Pray that no member of the congregation passes up this blessed opportunity." In the parish record he wrote a remark above the date of the mission: "A blessed event began today, a holy mission, the first at St. Cloud, conducted by Rev.Godfried Schlachter C.P.P.S., Dec. 15 - 22, 1912." At the end of the mission, he remarked with satisfaction:" The missionary heard 491 confessions." Numbers give proof. He worked hard to see to it that the spiritual benefits of the mission bore fruit. Holy Communion for the organizations was continued, the young men of the Claudius Society joined, and the "Life of Mary" film was shown. At the end of 1913, a family census was conducted, and on New Year's Day he stated that 4,700 communions had been distributed in 1913. The first complete religious drama, St. Julia, was performed for Easter 1914. (net profit $112.45) The worthy end of his 9 year term at St. Cloud was the fulfillment of his wish, namely, the ordination of one of the sons of the congregation, Rev. Albert Darnieder, (June 17, 1914). On July 18th, he celebrated his last Mass here. He became the pastor of St. Joseph in Appleton.


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