Large Congregations Flourish Today Where Pioneers Worshipped
The history of St. Paul's church is a record of sacrifice and devotion on the part on many people. From the time when M. M. Flint, the first churchman of whom there is a record, came to this region in 1847, to the present day, the devotion of the people has been the special characteristic of the parish.
In the very early days, and up to 1857, the members of the Episcopal church in this community were more or less dependant upon the rectors of Grace church in Sheboygan, for services and other ministrations. In 1856 the Rev. J. B. Pradt, of Sheboygan, began his regular visits, and on October 28, 1857, a parish organization was effected, and the following year the parish was admitted into union with the diocese.
This was a memorable year in the history of the parish because Bishop Kemper again visited the community and with the assistance of the Rev. J. B. Pradt, and the Rev. George S. Hepburn laid the cornerstone of the church building. The next day Bishop Kemper confirmed a class of three persons.
Evidently, the people of that far-off day were much in earnest for we find that funds were raised, the edifice completed, and that Bishop Kemper returned in 1858 and consecrated the house of worship.
The signal period in St. Paul's history dates from April, 1863 to September, 1868, when Rev. M. Morris was in charge. Father Morris was a man who endeared himself to the community in a way that was good for all, and he won a following to the standards of the church which resulted in a parish solidarity which still obtains. His was a wonderful work, and although he is unknown to most of the people today, it is not difficult to trace the evidence of his influence. Under his guidance the church was enlarged to its present capacity, the original building not being large enough to accommodate the people who came to learn of him.
The first rectory seems to have been built shortly after the church was erected, and the present rectory was built under the supervision of the Rev. J. A. Baynton, a devoted priest who served as rector from 1900 to 1906. The Guild hall was built during the rectorate of Father Griffin and serves for all things of a secular nature.
Many and beautiful are the memorials in St. Paul's church, with others yet to follow. Under the leadership of Rev. Doane Upjohn the edifice was greatly beautified. Father Upjohn was a man of splendid ability in the matter of church adornment, and under his supervision a splendid oak altar, reredos, credence, litany desk and a large figure of St. Paul were built and dedicated. Practically everything in the church building is in memory of some dear one gone before. This is one of the reasons the members of the congregation love their little church.
The house of worship is located at the corner of Main and Division streets - an admirable site for such a building. The rectory stands adjacent and the Guild hall is directly back of it.
The present officials of the church are: O. A. Schiebe, senior warden; G. T. Lorfeld, junior warden and treasurer; J. H. Wheeler, G. W. Zerler, W. W. Warner, Roland Schiebe, A. H. Wick, Dr. Arthur Leucker and Edward Zerler, vestrymen.
Mrs. G. T. Lorfeld is president of the St. Mary's Guild, and Mrs. C. D. Eastman is secretary-treasurer. Mrs. Major Mead is president of the Auxiliary, and Mrs. Raymond Meyer secretary. Mrs. H. S. Webster is branch secretary of the Girls' Friendly Society, with Miss Gladys Williams as president of the members' branch. Miss Alice Eckersley is in charge of the Candidates. Edward Zerler is lay-superintendent of the church school. J. M. Doesburg is choirmaster, and Miss Hildegarde Wilson, organist.
During the past three years the people put the church property in excellent condition, repairing, repainting, decorating and re-carpeting throughout. The list of memorials has also been increased by the addition of hymn boards, a ten-tone set of sanctuary chimes and a sanctuary lamp.
St. Paul's history is a record of some failures and many successes. Like all other things with which man has to do, it does not always function 100 per cent - but it is a record of steady progress.
Even before there was an organization of Lutherans in and near the village of Plymouth was effected, services of this religious denomination were conducted in private homes by Rev. F. Steinbach, then of Sheboygan, who made regular monthly visits to preach and administer the spiritual wants of the people residing in that section. The Rev. Mr. Steinbach would walk from Sheboygan to Sheboygan Falls, where he preached on Sunday morning and then would continue his walk to a school house on the Plank road, three miles east of Plymouth, where he conducted religious services during the afternoons. Later the services were continued at the home of Fred Alves in the summer of 1855. Of the first two children baptized by Rev. Mr. Steinbach, Miss Emma Voigt is still living.
In 1858 the Rev. E. Rolf was called as pastor to the congregation at Sheboygan Falls, but each alternating week he would go to Plymouth and conduct services there. It was during this year that a congregation was organized at Plymouth and plans were immediately formulated for the building of a house of worship. A site was selected at the corner of Stafford and Main streets, and the church building was completed and dedicated on January 16, 1859. The first church trustees were John Adam, Hy. Boecher and J. W. Hueppscher.
The Rev. Mr. Rolf was succeeded in 1860 by E. Multanowski who remained for only two years. During the second year of his pastorate at the Falls, the Rev. Rolf made his trips to Plymouth on Saturdays over the newly constructed railway. During this period, the children of the members of the congregation were taught to some extent.
The next pastor to serve the congregations jointly at the Falls and Plymouth, was the Rev. F. Ottmann, who served for nine years leaving on December 15, 1872, for Collinsville, Ill.
Then followed the Rev. J. J. Hoffmann, who came in 1873 and who remained until 1879 when he was succeeded by the Rev. J. H. Herzer. Under the Rev. Mr. Herzer the congregation flourished. A parsonage was built and in 1890 a church building was erected, which still is serving the congregation as a house of worship. The Rev. Mr. Herzer was the first resident pastor, all predecessors making their homes at Sheboygan Falls. In 1892 the Rev. Herzer followed a call as theological professor at the seminary located in Springfield, Ill. He was succeeded by Rev. William Mather, who remained until July, 1895.
In September, 1895, the Rev. J. F. Proehl, formerly of Lebanon, Wis., was installed as pastor and he served faithfully the church until the early spring of 1911, when he resigned on account of failing health. A few weeks later he was called to his eternal home.
Since that time the parish hall was built.
The present pastor, the Rev. M. Schmidt, has served the congregation since August, 1917.
During all the years of its existence, the congregation has maintained a parish school, which, at the present time is presided over by M. Loyhe/Leyhe, principal, and the Misses Hulda Lindow and E. Serfling, assistants.
The Salem Reformed Church of Plymouth was organized on March 6, 1896, by a committee appointed by the Sheboygan classis of the Reformed church, consisting of the following pastors: A. Korbel, C. T. Martin and H. J. Vriesen. The congregation began with eight charter members. During that summer the present church edifice was erected at a cost of about $2,500 and it was dedicated as a house of worship of the Triune God in October, 1896.
In 1903 the congregation bought the parsonage at a cost of $2,000.
In 1913 the church was rebuilt and other improvements made at a total expense of a little over $5,000.
In 1921 a beautiful pipe organ was installed at a cost of $3,000.
The congregation has a membership of about 400 confirmed members, and the Sunday School has an enrollment of about 200 children.
The following ministers have served the congregation as regular resident pastors:
Rev. Ernst Stienecker, from 1896 until his death on Sept. 8, 1902.
Rev. Frederick W. Beisser, from 1896 until his death on May 28, 1926.
Rev. Herman C. Schmidt, since Jan. 1, 1927.
The records of this church show that it was organized in 1855 and was then called the First Congregational church of Lyndon, Wis. Meetings were held at the homes of members or at the Mulleton school house. It seems, however, that prior to 1855, a number of Christian families living near the town line between Plymouth and Lyndon met at their homes, and later at the school house, for divine worship.
At a meeting held on January 3, 1855, Samuel REED was elected as a delegate to attend the Winnebago convention, which met that month at Rosendale, and to there make an application for admission to that body. On January 3, 1857, C. W. Wilder and Joseph Bamford were chosen to make plans for a meeting house.
The First Congregational society of Plymouth and Lyndon was organized on December 1 1857. C. W. Wilder, Elijah Dawley and Joseph Bamford were elected trustees, M. Benson was chosen clerk, and O. Treadwell, treasurer. However, the first movement to move the church from the town of Lyndon to the village of Plymouth was launched at a prepatory lecture delivered in the school house in Plymouth, on July 1, 1858.
Building operations were started in 1859 and the first edifice was dedicated in Plymouth on December 17 of that year. The parsonage was not built until 1866.
The first pastor was the Rev. Josephus Morton, who served the church until his death which occurred on September 15, 1859.
On June 21, 1902, the church became a legal corporation and received from the old ecclesiastical society the title to its property.
Following the Rev. Mr. Morton, in order of succession, the following pastors have served the church:
1860 to 1863 - Rev. Thomas Wadsworth
1863 to 1864 - Rev. Henry Avery
1864 to 1867 - Rev. James D. Todd
1867 to 1870 - Rev. Sidney H. Barteau
1870 to 1875 - Rev. J. N. Powell
1875 to 1877 - Rev. L. Wolfsen
1877 to 1879 - Rev. David Wirt
1879 to 1885 - Rev. Gilbert Rindell
1885 to 1888 - Rev. G. J. Webster
1888 to 1898 - Rev. G. B. Hubbard
1898 to 1901 - Rev. F. C. Bliss
1901 to 1905 - Rev. George H. Marsh
1905 to 1906 - Rev. C. H. McIntosh
1907 to 1909 - Rev. A. C. Wilson
1909 to 1911 - Rev. William Lodwick
1911 to 1913 - Rev. Winfred Alvater
1913 to 1920 - Rev. Louis H. Skidmore
1920 to 1922 - Rev. A. G. Wilson (second pastorate)
1922 to 1926 - Rev. Arthur L. Golder
1926 to date - Rev. Samuel Bullough
Mrs. H. J. Bamford is the present clerk. Others who served in this capacity were: H. J. Bamford, Mrs. I. L. Jones, Wm. Chaplin, J. W. Taylor, C. W. Wilder, W. D. Morehouse, M. H. Culver, J. Bamford, O. Treadwell, H. Wheeler, M. Benson, J. W. Powell, R. R. Wilson, and Nora P. Jones.
The deacons have been R. H. Koehler, Edward Fox, Hubert Poole, Henry Winn, I. L. Jones, Ara Wilson, C. W. Wilder, S. T. Carpenter, Samuel Reed and David Bliss.
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