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Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History

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This article was contributed by Kay Reitberger

Sheboygan Press - April 29, 1927


Named County Town After Historic River Of Their Beloved Fatherland

The town of Rhine was originally a part of the town of Plymouth, having been separately organized in 1852. The entire population, with the exception of a comparatively few families about Elkhart Lake, consists of Germans from along the Rhine, in memory of which river in their fatherland the early settlers gave the town its present name.

The first settlement was made in the spring of 1847 when Rudolph and Herman KRAUSS located on Sections 25 and 26. Soon after came John MATHES, Peter BUB, who located on Sections 26 and 36, and Julius WOLFF who located on Section 22.

The town was largely wilderness, the ground in a large portion being thickly strewn with cobble stones. The thrifty Germans, however, soon cleared the land and for many years after the town of Rhine was noted for its excellent crops of Winter wheat and other small grain. Some of the finest farms in Sheboygan county are now located in the town, the industry being mainly dairy pursuits, although there are comparatively few cheese factories located in the township.

The first birth recorded in the town was Margaret, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John MATHES, who later became the wife of Ferdinand GUTHEIL, a brewer in the adjoining town of Schleswig. She was born in July, 1848. The second child to be born in the town was O. A. ODELL, who first saw the light of day in a log cabin west of the SCHWARTZ hotel, on March 3, 1849.

Pastor Also Teacher

The first death was that of Herman KRAUSS who passed away in the spring of 1849.

The first school house in the town was located at the northeast corner of Section 26, on land then owned by Rudolph KRAUSS. It was constructed of logs and the first teacher was Rev. Julius ERBE, who also conducted Evangelical Lutheran services in the small building located near the present site of the soldier's monument. This building is now being used as the town hall. After the death of Rev. Mr. ERBE, this congregation disbanded and religious services in that section ceased.

The town was first organized in the spring of 1852, the first chairman to be elected was William C. WREN, and Julius WOLFF was elected town clerk and town superintendent of common schools.

The first religious meeting was held in 1849 in the log schoolhouse, the Rev. Mr. SCHMIDT, of Germantown, Washington county, conducting the services.

The first Catholic service was conducted in a small log house that stood near the present Catholic cemetery, one and three-quarter miles east and one mile north of the village of Elkhart Lake. The settlers of Catholic faith later joined the parish established in the village of Elkhart Lake.

Famous Resort Lakes

The justly celebrated Elkhart Lake is situated in the southwestern part of the town, and covers an area of approximately 600 acres. This lake and also Crystal Lake nearby, are summer resorts of considerable note and are described in detail under the review of the village of Elkhart Lake.

It is not definitely known whether Mr. HORNECK or Mr. STREBLOW started the first cheese factory in the town of Rhine. According to August RIES, who furnished most of the information regarding the settlement and later development of the town and also the village of Elkhart Lake, these two men started making cheese about the same time.

Town Rhine Pioneers

The names of some of the pioneer settlers of the town and the date of their arrival follows in chronological order.

1845 - H. I. DAVIDSON (later proprietor of the Elkhart hotel) on Section 30; and Mr. MOORE who built the first hotel on the grounds now occupied by the SCHWARTZ hotel.

1846 - Jacob MATHES on Section 18; and Peter SCHORER on Section 33.

1847 - Julius WOLFF on Section 22; and John MATHES on Section 25.

1848 - Louis SENGLAUB (later general store at Rhine Center) on Section 14; Peter SHARPE (later proprietor of "The Pines") on Section 29; Philip HORNECK on Section 13; John REICHERT on Section 12; and John MUELLER on Section 2. Charles A. BORN, Sr. (later merchant).

1849 - P. GERAGHTY on Section 19; and Kasper STURM on Section 34.

1850 - Valentine PFEIL on Section 25; S. E. STEWART on Section 30; and L. McGOVERN on Section 19.

1851 - Paul ROSSMANN (later blacksmith and wagon maker at Rhine Center) on Section 14; George SCHATZ on Section 28 and 33; M. FELDMANN on Section 34; August STREIBER on Section 5; and George GESSERT on Section 34.

1852 - Helwig FELDMANN (later cheese factory) on Section 21; W. H. WILLIS on Section 31; Philip KRAMER on Section 6; Nick KREBS on Section 11; and A. DIEFENTHALER on Section 11.

1853 - Peter LEIT on Section 2; and Fred HOPPE (later hotel keeper one mile west of the village of Franklin) on Section 24.

1854 - E. TALLMADGE (proprietor of "TALLMADGE Rural Home") on Section 30; and Lafayette WILLIS on Section 31.

1856 - John ZIMMERMANN on Section 14(?).

1858 - Philip HARTMANN on Section 2.

1859 - F. LA BUDDE on Section 33.

1860 - Joseph GUEHLSDORF on Section 8; and A. ZIMMERMANN on Section 10.

1861 - E. N. MARSH (proprietor of the "Swiss Cottage") on Section 30; W. F. CASE ib Section 31; and Jake UHL on Section 8.

Settlers In 1870

A nearly complete list of names of actual residents and those who owned land in the town of Rhine and their locations, in 1870, follows:

Section 1 - Mrs. J. Reineck; Henry and Adam Reineck; C. Mahloch; E. Altenburger; C. Burgsdorf; A. Hartman; A. Zimmermann; J. Gruenagel; and P. Burkhardt.

Section 2 - P. Mueller; P. Hartman; P. Leit; and J. Mueller.

Section 3 - F. Reichert; J. Happel; W. Gerlach; Peter and Paul Mayer; C. Schmidt; and J. Menne

Section 4 - P. Jugenheimer; A. Krippes; A. Brueckheimer; J. Mayer; J. Mueller; H. Nottling; H. Reichert; F. and J. Manz.

Section 5 - P. S. Stallmann; J. Loos; J. Klein; J. Klaus; A. Streuber; Mrs. John Schmall; W. and G. Kuhn.

Section 6 - J. Katelmeier; John Schmall; C. Becker; P. Kramer; and J. Knaab.

Section 7 - M. Grogan; L. Beck; J. Fricke; and J. Kessel.

Section 8 - A. Streuber; J. Guehlsdorf; J. Holzmann; G. Kuhn; J. Muehl; F. Lumme; and A. Thiele.

Section 9 - J. Moser; H. Reichert; G. Leonhardt; P. Menne; A. Gebhard; J. Raeder; F. Wagner; A. Spranger; M. Weichsal; H. Stahlmann; and D. Jung.

Section 10 - J. Menne; D. Jung; G. Kasper; P. Mauer; Julius Wolff; A. Buchholz; J. Rehder; P. Menne; A. Zimmermann; J. Schmidt; and A. Gerhardt.

Section 11 - A. Diefenthaler; J. Deicher; A. Rogalsky; N. Nauth; J. Rammel; N. Krebs.

Section 12 - Julius Wolff (postmaster town Rhine); A. Dexheimer; J. Staus; P. Weichsel; H. Reichert; J. Diefenthaler; J. Spindler; H. Horneck' G. and J. Reichert; and J. Gruenagel.

Section 13 - G. Wildner; P. H. Horneck; Mrs. J. Kleinhaus; G. Sperl; and Mr. Lambert.

Section 14 - P. Kuhn; A. Dexheimer; J. Jung; H. Mueller; J. Sperl; J. Bub; and P. Mahloch.

Section 15 - P. Menne; G. Eimermann; J. Platz; P. Kump; A. Brickheimer; W. Fischer; B. Latz; J. P. Kissinger; J. Zimmermann; and J. Jung.

Section 16 - J. Zimmermann; H. Schaeferkord; P. Kasper; J. Urban; H. Stahlmann; P. and J. Platz; J. Boeckler; and C. Voltz.

Section 17 - G. Kuhn; H. Schaeferkord; W. Graff; H. Breckheimer; F. Lumme; W. Kuhn; A. Reichert; and H. Reineck.

Section 18 - M. Buchmann; J. Siegmund; J. Mathes; C. Henschel; P. and A. Thiele; and J. Muehl.

Section 19 - E. Schoener; P. Geraghty; C. Schunk; C. Kramer; and L. McGovern.

Section 20 - C. Graff; J. Mathes; J. Uhl; F. Reiser; J. Luethe; L. Mirschberger; A. Mathes; H. Davidson; and W. Schwartz.

Section 21 - J. Dessloch; Mrs. Roeder; N. Nottling; H. Feldmann; F. Reiser; P. Schueler; and A. Brickheimer.

Section 22 - J. Boechler; J. P. Kissinger; F. Mueller; Julius Wolff; H. and J. Reis; F. McGrath; J. Bub; H. Fischer; and F. Mayer.

Section 23 - H. Mueller; P. Mahloch; Julius Wolff; C. Mayer; and V. Reichert.

Section 24 - C. Mauk; J. Mueller; H. Zimmermann; E. Noth; H. Reineck; P. Eimermann; C. Kneisel; P. Schaetzel; C. Lindow; and C. Winter.

Section 25 - A. Grupe; J. and P. Mathes; H. Kregt; G. Mauer; U. Pfeil; J. Mueller; and J. Echelmann.

Section 26 - J. Kissinger; J. Pfeifer; G. Roeber; R. Kraus; R. Erbe; U. Pfeil; and J. Mauer.

Section 27 - J. and H. Klein; J. Kiestner; C. Brickbauer; M. Meyer; L. Desloth; and P. Weiskopf.

Section 28 - N. W. Mueller; G. Schatz; H. Fischer; W. Krueger; Mrs. Drott; J. Levy; H; Feldmann; F. Neumann; and W. Briske.

Section 29 - W. Krueger; P. Sharp; W. Reineck; and F. Carver.

Section 30 - E. N. Marsh; H. Davidson; S. E. Stewart; and E. Tallmadge.

Section 31 - J. Schneider; J. Pratt; H. Fischer; A. Gohr; W. F. Case; J. Austin; W. H. Willis; L. Willis; and E. Stuede.

Section 32 - D. Bruns; M Drott; J. Hoffmann; and P. Goebel.

Section 33 - C. Ross; G. Schatz; J. Hoffmann; F. LaBudde; Mrs. Dotsel; A. Papp; Mrs. Bingle; Mrs. Drott; and P. Scherer.

Section 34 - C. Mayer; H. Graff; M. Feldmann; K. Sturm; G. Gessert; M. A. Sander; P. Meyer; and K. Feldmann.

Section 35 - W. Gerber; M. and P. Meyer; C. Briske; M. Schneider; C. Streblow (first cheesmaker in the town); P. Frick; and J. Best.

Section 36 - H. Stock; M. Kallenbach; J. Muth; P. Arndt; J. Schwartz; C. Anderson; J. Gessert; J. Glassow; F. Gessert; V. Bub; G. Meyer; and J. Albrecht.

Town Rhine Churches

St. George's Catholic Church

The St. George congregation of Elkhart Lake was organized in the year 1896, and a small house of worship together with an annex was built. The Rev. Joseph KROHA, of the Catholic congregation at Kiel, ministered to the parish until 1913, at which time a resident pastor was appointed to the St. George's church at Elkhart Lake, with the St. Fridolins' church at Glenbeulah, as a mission. Under Rev. Mr. KROBA's (sic) administration the present parsonage was purchased and the garage built.

The Rev. Joseph KROHA was succeeded by the Rev. James HUEFFER, and during the latter's pastorate, additional improvements were made to the edifice and other parish buildings, and the congregation greatly increased in membership and prosperity.

In June, 1921, Father HUEFFER was succeeded by Rev. Felix SIPPEL, who has remained in charge up to the present time. In 1925, the edifice was re-built and enlarged.

St. John's Evangelical Church

The Evangelical St. John's church at Elkhart Lake was organized in 1886 by Reverend Mr. MYSCH, the house of worship being erected the same year.

Up to 1915 the congregation was affiliated with the Evangelical church in the town of Russell; but during that year a parsonage was built in Elkhart Lake and the Rev. H. MUELLER was called as the first resident pastor. He administered to the spiritual wants of the congregation until 1918 when he was succeeded by the Rev. H. WUESTENBERG. The latter remained until 1920, in which year the present pastor the Rev. F. W. ZEH assumed charge of the church.

At present there are 75 members of the congregation. A senior and junior Ladies Aid Society, numbering 80 members, is connected with the church activities.

The congregation has its own cemetery, which is located about one and one-half miles east of the village of Elkhart Lake.

Trinity Evangelical Reformed Church

The Trinity Evangelical Reformed church, at Elkhart Lake, was organized in the town of Rhine in the year 1863. The first house of worship, which was erected the same year, was located three miles northeast of the village of Elkhart Lake and dedicated to Divine service. Since that time the Trinity Evangelical Reformed church at Elkhart Lake and the Zoar congregation in the town of Rhine have been united under charge.

The pastors who served the church in regular order of their succession follows: Reverends L(?). PRAIKSHATIS; F. FORWICK; L. ZENK; R. JANSSEN; F. GRETHER; W. GRETHE; P. SCHANFELDT; E. STIENECKER; E. STEUBIE; F. FRANKE; H. STEINECKER; A. RUEHLMAN; O. VRIESEN; and the present pastor, A. HAMMAN.

Zoar Evangelical Reformed Church

The Zoar Evangelical Reformed congregation in the town of Rhine was organized in 1862, the house of worship being built and dedicated to the Lord's service the following year. The church edifice is located five miles east and one and one-half mile south of the village of Elkhart Lake.

In 1899 the building was enlarged and the bell tower added, and since that time the Zoar congregation has been under the charge of the church at Elkhart Lake.

The following pastors have all ministered to the wants of the Zoar congregation: The Reverends (?) KLEINER; H. KURZ; A. KORBEL; F. FRANKE; A. RUEHLMAN; O. VRIESEN; and the present pastor, A. HAPMAN (?).

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