History of Churchs in Waupun, Wisconsin
From: Dodge County, Wisconsin Past and Present
By Homer Bishop Hubbell
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Chicago 1912


This society began in the organization of a class in "Upper Town" in 1844, consisting of Silas Miller (a local preacher), Eunice Miller, Henry Hillyer, Melvina Hillyer, Ezekiel Miller and Wesson Miller, six members in all. Silas Miller was the preacher, Ezekiel Miller the class leader and Wesson Miller became a noted preacher and district superintendent in the Wisconsin conference years after. Soon after the class, the beginning of the future church was formed, Rev. Samuel Smith, a man noted for his ability to quote scripture, giving book, chapter and verse, with his family moved to Waupun and joined the class. Rev. Smith held meetings in private houses, wherever convenient. The class was soon made stronger by the addition of Dr. Brook Bowman and his wife, and soon the following were added to it, viz, S. J. Mattoon Mr. and Mrs. S. A. Davis, Mr. and Mrs. G. W. Sexsmith and Mrs. F. F. Davis, the class numbering now twenty two. S. A. Davis was the first regularly appointed class leader.

By the free will offerings of the people a small frame building was put up in "Upper Town," to be used for school purposes during the week and a chapel on Sundays, in which services were held morning and evening. Rev. Joseph Lewis was appointed to the Fond du Lac circuit and included Waupun in his ministration. In 1845 Rev. Wesson Miller was the preacher in charge, and during his pastorate there was an excellant revival, when Dr. Bowman's oldest daughter was the first trophy of grace, William McElroy was another and his brother James soon after, and these brothers became men of influence and strength to the church in after years. From James McElroy's written account, given at the fortieth anniversary of the organization of the class, in 1844, many of the previous items have been gathered.

During the pastorate of Revs. J. S. Prescott, S. B. Thorp, W. H. Thompson and William Schreff the society so prospered that the schoolhouse and private dwellings would no longer accommodate the congregations. So during the winter of 1854 a site was bought in "Lower Town," where now stands the church and parsonage and in 1855 a new church was built and dedicated under the efficient labors of Rev. James Lawson. Soon a revival followed under the preaching of Rev. Lawson, assisted by Rev. W. Avrill of Fox Lake, and it became necessary to accommodate the increased membership and congregation to extend the church in length by adding several feet to the south end. The first Methodist parsonage for Waupun was built in "Upper Town," but that was sold and a new one was built near the church in "Lower Town" in 1858. In 1876 two class r00ms were built to the south end of the church to accommodate social meetings and Sunday school classes. In 1877 the Wisconsin conference held its session in this church and Bishop Jesse Peck presided. The ministers previously given and those whom we now give have been the pastors of the church, but the length of time these early ones served the church we can not give: Revs. S. L. Brown, J. C. Robbins (two different times), N. Green, S. W. Ford, J. M. Walker, Wesley Lattin, D. W. Couch, W. H. Window, J. T. Woodhead, E. S. Grumley, J. H. Jenne, E. D. Farham, John Faville, A. P. Mead, the last three named serving three years each; T. çlithro and W. Clark, both in one year; G. H. Trever three years; G. F. Reynolds five years; T. D. W. Peake one year; G. W. White two years; W. W. Warner three years; James Churm three years; John Schneider one year; E. C. Potter four years; W. Hooton three years; C. I. Andrews two years; Dr. E. G. Saunderson, the present pastor, now serving his second year.

During the pastorate of Rev. G. F. Reynolds, 1887-1892 a new church and parsonage were built. The church is a neat frame, having audience room, lecture room and class room, all opened will accommodate more than four hundred people; there is on the first floor a kitchen, and in the basement furnace room, a class, and another large room. The lecture room was enlarged when Rev. W. W. Warner was pastor. The church was dedicated May 4th, 1890.

The present number of members is one hundred and sixty one, and that of the Sunday school, one hundred and fifty. The church has the following societies; an Epworth League, fifty five members; Woman's Foreign and Woman's Home Missionary societies and Men's Brotherhood. Many of the ladies are active workers in the W. C. T. U. There is also the Ladies Social Union, a patrol of Boy Scouts and a boys' section of the Knights of Methodism.


This society was organized in Waupun, July 18, 1845, by Rev. Stephen Peet. with the following charter members: Warren Dodge, Roxy Dodge, Byron Viets, Mille Viets, Joel Norton, Mary Norton, George W. Ely, Barnabas Hinkley, Olive R. Hinkley and Hugh B. Cochrane. Eunice Preston, who united with the church March 22, 1846, is still living. In 1850 steps were taken toward the erection of a house of worship, which was completed at a cost of about $1,000. In 1892 this was replaced by a more commodious structure, built of frame, the value of the church property being $10.000. The present membership is one hundred and twenty five. There is also a good Sunday school, Christian Endeavor Society, Woman's Missionary Society and Ladies Social Circle.

The first pastor of the church was Rev. Selden E. Peck, services at that time being conducted in the schoolhouse. His successors have been the following named: Revs. E. G. Bradford, S. H. Ashman, William H. Haliwell, H. H. Benson, D. H. Blake, W. H. Marble, who accepted the office of chaplain, in the United States army in 1863; John Milton Williams. George Darling, C. D. Campbell. T. J. Brown, J. H. Rowland, George C. Lockridge. Thistle A. Williams, F. C. Weed and the present pastor, A. G. Wilson.


This society is unique in its character, in that it is the only church in the United States formed by the union of three different denominations, as follows: First Baptist, Free Will Baptist and Disciple churches.

The First Baptist Church of Waupun was organized September 16. 1845, with the following charter members: Chester Chapin, Permelia Chapin, J. Chapin, E. Martin, Matilda Martin, E. K. Vaughn. Ann Vaughn. Adaline Geddings, Sarah Huston, Nelson Cleveland and Lydia Cleveland. At the first business meeting, February 14. 1846, it was decided to call Rev. J. Murphy as the first regular pastor. In 1848 some Baptist families at Wedge's Prairie, in Springvale, united with the church and the church covenant meetings were held one half the time with them until the following July, when fourteen members were dismissed for the purpose of organizing a church in this place. In February, 1849, eight new members were added to the church, a building lot was purchased on Main street for $100 and in May of that year a house of worship was commenced. The building, having been enclosed, was opened for service in July, but it was not completed until May, 1853, when it was dedicated under the pastorate of Rev. G. W. Freeman. In July, 1855, Rev. John Williams succeeded Rev. Freeman, who in turn was succeeded by J. B. Patch, who remained a brief period. In January, 1860, J. M. Thurstain became pastor, but in July of the same year he was succeeded by Rev. G. W. Freeman, who preached alternate Sundays until October, when Rev. John Willis was called. He was succeeded the following year by Rev. D. M. Smith, and in February, 1862, Rev. W. W. Ames, chaplain of the State Prison, assumed charge of the church, remaining for two years. He was succeeded by Rev. P. Conrad. In January, 1866, Rev. H. S. Fish became pastor, his successor being Rev. J. O. M. Hewitt, who came in March, 1868. In 1872 the latter severed his connection with this church and assumed charge of the Disciple church of Waupun. Rev. A. Whitman then assumed charge and during his ministrations the church grew in numbers and power. In 1876 he was succeeded by Rev. G. M. Lincoln who remained until July, 1878, when he was succeeded by Rev. Victor Kutchin. After four years he resigned and the church then began to decline. Members moved away, death removed a number and only occasional meetings were held until this society became a part of the present Union church.

The Free Will Baptist church was organized July 24, 1855, when several people met with Revs. A. Jones, Curtis and Ransom Dunn. at the Methodist Episcopal church and formed a society, consisting of the following charter members: C. L. Loveland, Horatio Wedge, John L. Sargent, H. S. Bailey, William Hudson, Eli Johnson, H. G. Matthews. L. G. Matthews, Lovina Hudson and Harriet A. Sargent. Soon afterward a church building was erected on the present site of the German schoolhouse. The first pastor was Rev. A. Jones, who remained from 1855 to 1856. C. H. Smith then served until Rev. R. W. Bryant came. He left in 1861 and was succeeded by Rev. E. N. Wright, who remained until 1870. He was succeeded by Rev. H. J. Brown, who remained five years. During his incumbency, in 1873, the congregation purchased of Mrs. D. B. Whiting, the location for a church and also a parsonage for $1,100. Rev. Brown was succeeded by Rev. L. D. Felt, who remained one year, when Rev. A. G. Brande became pastor in charge. Under his ministration the church became disturbed by the question of secret societies, which caused a church division, many of the most influential members leaving its ranks. This marked a decline in the growth of the church and for a time no preaching services were held. In May, 1877, Rev. J. H. Walrath came for a brief period. when Rev. E. N. Wright was again called. Rev. Walrath again returned and remained until 1885, when Rev. J. P. Hughes assumed charge. In 1888 he was followed by Rev. J. M. Kayser who in two years was succeeded by Rev. W. C. Hulse. After one year preaching services were abandoned but in 1891 Rev. W. R. Moon was called and was the last pastor of what was known as the Free Will Baptist church.

The Disciple church. In 1847 there came from Mentor, Ohio, Noah Wert, who settled on the present Fletcher place in Waupun. In the fall of that year he gathered together a number of people in the West Ward schoolhouse and organized what became known as the Waupun Disciple church, the following being the charter members: Noah Weft, his wife. son and daughter and Augustus Andrews and wife. Soon they were joined by Jessie Lindsay and Susan Brown. Services were held each Sunday, conducted by Mr. Wert. In the spring of 1848 Mrs. Jane Walker removed to Waupun from Ohio, and became an active worker in this society. Soon afterward David Lindsay and his wife became members of the church. Thus year by year the church grew until in 1860 it numbered seventy two members. At first services were held in the schoolhouse, then in the Odd Fellows Hall. In 1862 Mr. Wert was succeeded by D. A. Wagner as leader of the society. In 1863 a new house of worship was dedicated by a Mr. Brooks of Michigan. Mr. Wagner was succeeded by Henry Parsons, who served the church for a few months, when he was succeeded by Rev. John Hurd who remained two years. Rev. C. T. C. Bennett had charge of the congregation a short time and in 1872 Rev. J. O. M. Hewitt, who had been pastor of the Baptist church, assumed charge. His successors were Revs. Martin and Ames, each remaining but a short time. Rev. H. T. Morrison then served two years, and was succeeded by J. A. Lytle who remained but a few months when Rev. W. S. Kidd became pastor, remaining until services were abandoned and eventually the congregation became a part of the present Union church.

The above three churches were formed into what is known as the Union (Baptist) church, June 1, 1897, under the leadership of Rev. F. T. Halpin, who remained in charge until September 1, 1900, and who is now pastor of the First Baptist church at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Rev. Henry Miller then supplied the pulpit for one year, when, in the spring of 1902

Rev. T. Allen Hoben was called to the pastorate of the church. He remained until August, 1905, but resigned to accept a professorship in the Divinity School of the University of Chicago. George W. Pepper then supplied the pulpit for one year or more, when he was succeeded by Rev. W. H. Garfield, who assumed charge November 1, 1906. L. L. Mann was then called, remaining from September, 1907, until April, 1891. The present pastor, Rev. Frank T. Rhoads, assumed charge in September, 1911.

The church, a beautiful frame structure, modern in its equipment and nicely furnished, was dedicated January 18, 1900. It is located on the corner of South Forest and East Main streets, and the property is valued at $18,000. The present membership is one hundred, while the Sunday school numbers eighty-two.


As early as 1846 a Holland colony was established in Alto, Wisconsin, among whom were Jan Meenk and Nelson Hollendyke. Soon afterward some of the young men in these Holland families came to Waupun to establish themselves in independent business careers, among the number being Charley Duven and J. A. Kastein. Eventually a meeting was held at the home of Charles Duven to confer with parents regarding catechetical instruction for their children and at the same time to decide upon a suitable place where services could be held. The first services were held in the Christian church and religious instruction was begun in the home of Mr. and Mrs. T. Beewkes, at the corner of Main and Fond du Lac streets. In the course of years the Holland families had so increased in Waupun that it was thought advisable to organize a church society, this organization being effected on the 24th of October, 1887, to be known as the First Reformed church. The following named became charter members, coming from the church at Alto: Mr. and Mrs. H. Streaks, Mr. and Mrs. J. S. Kastein, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Duven, Mr. and Mrs. C. Gerritsen, Mr. and Mrs. H. Schuppert, Mr. and Mrs. G. Gysbers, A. Beevkes, N. Hollendyke, Mrs. R. Van Essen, Mrs. H. Wensink, Mrs. J. A. Schuppert and Miss Eliza Ter Beest. The following named were received on confession at that time: Mr. and Mrs. W. Loomans, Mr. and Mrs. C. Landaal, Mr. and Mrs. H. Hartgerink, Mr. and Mrs. William Gerrits, Mr. and Mrs. H. Mulder, Mr. and Mrs: J. Gerritsen, Mr. and Mrs. D. Gysbers, Misses Mary Dueink, Minnie eeval. Eva Gerrits, Katie Rartgerink, Jennie Nieuwenhuis, Nellie Nieuwenhuis, William eeval, John Meenk and Jacob Gerritsen, making in all forty one members.

The present membership is one hundred and ten, and the number of communicants, two hundred and sixty six. The Sunday school numbers one hundred Hand thirty. The church, a neat frame structure, is located on South Drummond St., and is valued at $8,000, while a beautiful and modern parsonage has been erected at a cost of $5,000.

The pastors who have served this church are: Revs. P. Ihrman, John Meulendyke, Abram De Young and J. J. Hollebrands, the latter having had charge since June 24, 1910.

In the fall of 1912 the church celebrated its twenty fifth anniversary. on which occasion many former members and friends of the church were present.


This society was organized by Rev. J. Burkhard, of Brandon, Wisconsin, in 1881. Holy Communion being celebrated for the first time on Holly Thursday of that year. Rev. Frederic Lanzer, assistant to Rev. Burkhard, took charge of the congregation, September 22, 1882, and in May, 1885, he was called by the congregation to be their first regular, ordained pastor. His successor was Rev. Adam Goppelt, who came in 1889, remaining until May, 1900, when his successor, Rev. Paul Franke, took charge and continued his services until July 1, 1911. It was through his efforts that the present magnificent church and the parsonage were erected, these buildings being located on four lots, on 'West Main street, which were purchased by the congregation June 1, 1885. The church is built of brick, splendidly equipped and furnished throughout. On the 1st of July, 1911, the present pastor, Rev. William Staehling, took charge. All services are conducted in the German language. The congregation now numbers one hundred and twenty-five families, or three hundred communicants, while the enrollment of the Sunday school is fifty. A parochial school is also conducted in connection with the church. There is also a Ladies Aid Society consisting of about forty members.

For the accommodation of those who cannot conveniently attend services in Yaupun, a congregation of some fifty or sixty families has been organized and is served by the pastor of Immanuel church. The church, known as Lake Emily Lutheran, situated in the town of Fox Lake, is about nine miles west of Waupun.


On the evening of June 7, 1899, a small company of Germans of Lutheran faith, assembled and organized themselves into a society known as German Evangelical Lutheran Pella Congregation, U. A. C. The following became charter members: William Becker, Charles Voigt, Albert Voigt, Otto Burmeister, Theodore Gill, Charles Luebke, Charles Kindschuh, 'William Giese, August Boyda, Chris Cords, J. Voigt, Henry Niumer, Emil Froehling, Charles Boyda, Charles Schlaumburg, G. M. huenzi, Robert Dietrich, Christian Krueger, William Ullmann, August C. Drews, Robert Voigt, H. R. Kopitzke, Henry Ullmann, Albert Kanzenbach, John Streich, John Voigt, Ferdinand Schulz, Ernest Uehel, Frank Luebke, Conrad Diehlmann, Henry Rohrschneider, William Zabel, Emil Sommerfeld and J. Jaenicke.

Rev. E. Monhardt, pastor of the Lutheran church in the town of Burnett, was called as the first pastor of the newly organized church. After four years, in the summer of 1903, Rev. Monhardt resigned and the churches at Waupun and Burnett were taken charge of by Rev. A. J. Grothe. After eight years' faithful service, he resigned the church at Waupun and T. A. Dantenhahn, a student of Concordia Seminary at Springfield, Illinois, took charge of the congregation for a short time. In the spring of 1912 Rev. William Lochner was called as the first regular pastor. He was ordained July 21, 1912, coming to Waupun from Concordia Seminary, at St. Louis, Missouri.

At the time the society was organized services were held in its present building, which was then known as the Baptist church. A few years later the society purchased the building, which is a neat frame structure, located on the corner of Franklin and North Madison streets. In the spring of 1912 the building was redecorated in the interior, and electric lights were installed, while the exterior was painted.

The present number of communicants is fifty-six, and there is also a prosperous Sunday school and Ladies Aid Society. German services are conducted each Sunday morning, while services are conducted in English each alternate Sunday evening. In the early fall of 1912 the pastor opened a small German school, giving instruction to the children every Saturday forenoon.


As early as 1850 people of Waupun of the Catholic faith were ministered to by pastors from Fox Lake, the first being Rev. J. Roch, who was succeeded by Revs. R. Dumphy and J. Haly and Rev. Louis Daily, of Fond du Lac. In 1858 Rev. J. Morris, also of Fox Lake, served this congregation as a mission and it was during his ministration that the erection of a small church was begun. Father Morris was succeeded by Revs. Joseph Smith and W. Dougherty and it was during the pastoral charge of the latter that the site for a parsonage was purchased. The parsonage, however, was not completed until his successor, Rev. George L. Willard, came. It was under his leadership that an addition was also made to the church. This work was effected in 1866 and it was in that year that the parish was formally organized. Rev. Willard remained until 1869, when he was succeeded by Rev. Joseph Hannon, who remained until November, 1870, when he was succeeded by Rev. Joseph Smith, who once more took charge of the parish. During the latter's ministration a tower and steeple were added to the church, a gallery built, an organ installed and a bell presented to the church, the latter by Father Smith. The latter remained nine years, when he was succeeded by Rev. E. Allen in 1888, and he in turn by Rev. Joseph C. Hartmann, who assumed charge in 1895. The latter did much to create energy and zeal among the members, which by this time numbered three hundred and sixty. A few years later plans were laid for the erection of a new house of worship, some money being raised for this purpose. Soon afterward Father Hartmann removed to Fox Lake and he was succeeded in 1901 by Father E. Allen, who entered upon his second term as pastor of St. Joseph's. He remained until October, 1905, when the present pastor, Father Sylvester J. Dowling assumed pastoral charge. The church at once took on new life and Father Dowling set about to secure the funds necessary for the erection of a more commodious house of worship. His efforts were crowned with success and in 1906 the corner stone was laid and the church completed and dedicated March 5, 1907, by Archbishop Messmer, assisted by Revs. John M. Bach, of Jefferson, Rev. J. C. Hogan, of Oshkosh, Rev. Patrick Garrity, of Reedsburg, and Rev. John Theisen, of Milwaukee. Others who were present and assisted in the ceremonies, were: Revs. Reilly, of Lake Geneva; Norton, of Doylestown; Smith, Ryan, Blackwell, Durnin and Becker, of Milwaukee; Hartmann, of Fox Lake; Cosgrove, of Ripon; Fiss, of Berlin; Pischery, of Jefferson; Dempsey, of Monroe; Pettit, of South Milwaukee; Smith, of Brodhead; O'heefe, of Mineral Point; Downs, of Whitewater; Condon, of Oregon; Collins, of North Fond du Lac; and Berg, of Lomira.

The church is a magnificent structure built of brick, splendidly equipped and furnished throughout, and is located on West Main street. The rectory is also built of brick and adjoins the church.


November 29, 1867, a mission was duly organized in Waupun by Bishop Kemper, to be known as Trinity Mission. Prior to this, however, Rev. W. C. Armstrong, rector of Grace church at Oakfield, visited Waupun and held services. It was on the 1st of September, 1867, that the first regular service was held by Rev. C. Thorp but it was not until on the date above mentioned that the mission was formally organized. Rev. Thorp remained in charge until 1871, when he resigned, his successor, Rev. Robert B. Wolsey, taking charge June 23d of that year. Up to this time services had been conducted in the Disciple church and in halls rented for the purpose, but during the pastoral charge of Rev. Wolsey the congregation began the erection of a new house of worship, the bishop laying the corner stone September 11, 1871. September 15, 1872, Rev. Wolsey resigned and in October of that year Rev. W. E. Wright was called and remained until September 3o, 1881. January 3. 1882, Rev. H. C. E. Costello took charge, but resigned June 1st of the same year. The church was then without a regular pastor until January 4, 1884, when Revd. H. B. Dean took charge. After his resignation the church was supplied by various pastors until the coming of Rev. Dr. G. H. S. Somerville, who has been in charge for several years past, and who has also for the past six years been chaplain of the State Penitentiary at Wattpun.

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