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Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History

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This Story was transcribed & Contributed by: Laurie Broetzmann

Jack in the Pulpit

By Lydia Goldammer

About one mile from Vine Hill, out in the woods, lived a middle aged man. This man lived all alone, except his horse which he kept in a stable nearby. He lived in a one story house, and once a week he would preach a sermon to the people of the village, who gathered there every Sunday morning.

This house was quite old; from the outside it looked a kind of grayish brown and large parts of it were covered with fresh, green moss.

Whenever anybody asked this man what his name was, he only answered, "Jack."

But one young lad of the village, named Oliver Rein, thought he would try to find out what this preacher's real name was. So Oliver went to the preacher's house, and asked him what his name was, but was very much disappointed when he was told that it was "Jack."

When Oliver returned to the village everybody was out on the streets anxious to know the name. Oliver became so angry at last because everybody asked him what the preacher's real name was, that he answered, "Jack-of-the- Pulpit." He told the people this, because he did not want them to laugh at him for being so smart and still not find out what the preacher's real name was.

For several years after, Jack-of-the-Pulpit as the people now called him, lived in his old house in the woods and preached a sermon every Sunday morning.

But one Sunday morning when the people had all gathered at the old house, and were ready to hear the sermon, Jack-of-the-Pulpit did not appear. The people, becoming much alarmed at this, began to search the house, but Jack was gone; then they went out in the stable and saw that his horse was also gone. Then everybody became excited and they decided that the men and the older boys go out and search the wood.

So the women went home with the girls and younger boys, and the men and older boys went out into the woods to search for the preacher. They looked for him for nearly a week, but as no trace of him could be found, they said they would look for him again in a few days or so.

In the spring when some of the children of the village went out in the woods to pick some spring flowers, they found a strange flower. They picked some of these and took them home to ask their parents what the name of it was.

But no one in the village knew the name of it, as they had never before seen this flower. The corolla of the flower had the shape of the corolla of a Calla Lily, but the color of it was brown and green. In the center of this corolla was a kind of a green club.

This flower reminded them so much of the Jack-fot-he-Pulpit, and as he had not been found yet, they called the flower "Jack-in-the-Pulpit," and ever since then it has been called by that name.

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