St. Peter’s Lutheran Church

Rev. Edward Zell was pastor of the St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Mishicot. Many family members are still members of this church. The following is a history of the church. The information was compiled from: “The Blum Family History”, H.E. Blum (Ellen’s Great Uncle); “A History of Manitowoc County”, Ralph G. Plumb; “History of Manitowoc County”, Dr. Louis Falge; and testimony from parishioners.

During the mid 1800’s, most of the citizens in and around Mishicott found people of their own faith and worshiped in groups in homes and schoolhouses. At first they were served by preachers who were “circuit riders”. These preachers almost exclusively men, traveled from community to community. Their aim was to establish congregations, and eventually be able to have their own congregation to serve as Pastor.Pastor Carl F. Goldhammer, made infrequent trips to the Mishicot area. Pastor Goldhammer organized the Newtonburg and Manitowoc congregations, as well as the one in Mishicott.

On May 20th, 1861 a group of dedicated Christians along with Pastor Goldhammer, organized St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Township of Mishicot, Manitowoc County, Wisconsin.

The little congregation met in homes and a small school house located on Cemetery Hill (near Holy Cross II Cemetery) across from Siebold’s Mill. During the period 1863-1872, the congregation was served by Pastor Bartles, Pastor Quehl, and Pastor Zuberbier of Two Rivers.

Dietrich WenholzThe church records show that Diedrich Wenholz (Ellen’s 2nd GGrandfather) was an Elder of the church since about the time he arrived in Mishicott (1867). He attended all of the church meetings and for 3-4 years he kept the minutes of the meeting writing them in German. At this time, all of the meetings and services were held in German.

By 1871, the congregation realized they were quickly outgrowing the small schoolhouse and started thinking of a church building of their own. To prepare for this they decided to purchase land to build on. Struggling to make enough to survive themselves, the cost of the land was a little more than the treasury of the congregation could provide. A meeting of the congregation was called to discuss the situation. After the congregation voted to borrow the money, Wilhelm Blum (aka William Blum, Ellen’s Great Great Grandfather) and Johann Heinrich Wulf (aka John Henry Wulf, Ellen’s 3rd GGrandfather) lent the congregation $200 at 10% interest, to be payable over two years. The mortgage was signed by Carl Wilsman, Frederick Drews and Dietrich Knickrehm. Finances in the early congregation didn’t improve very rapidly so it was over five years before the mortgage was paid. The courthouse records show that on December 6, 1878 at 11:30 a.m. the satisfaction of the mortgage was received and recorded in Volume 5, page 595. The satisfaction of mortgage reads as follows:

Maria and Heinrich Wulf

Johann Heinrich and Maria Maetz Wulf

William Blum and Doris Wulf Blum

William and Doris Wulf Blum, 1864

“to-wit John Wulf and Wilhelm Blum do hereby acknowledge satisfaction and payment in full of a certain mortgage, bearing date of the 25th day of August A.D., 1871 executed by Carl Wilsman, Frederick Drews and Diedrich Knikrehm, trusties of the German Evangelical Lutheran Society of Mishicott. To Adolph Manson which said mortgage was duly recorded in the office of Register of Deeds in the County of Manitowoc in the State of Wisconsin, on the 31st of May A.D. 1872 at 11:00 a.m. in Volume X of mortgages on page 240 and do hereby release the same, and all our rights, etc. signed by Wm. Blum and John Wulf.”

Pastor Nietman and Pastor Frankenstien served the church from 1872-1874. During Pastor Frankenstien’s serve, a parsonage was build. His home was used as a school for individual and group instruction.

Pastor Jaeger served the church from 1874-1881. A new church building was erected in 1875.

The frame structure built in 1875 served the congregation until 1925, when the present edifice was erected. The old school building was sold and the new church was put up. The architect of the building was Karl Koehler. From the air, you can immediately spot that St. Peter’s is a church, as it was designed in the shape of a cross. The building is made from red granite stone, from Red Granite, Wisconsin. When the church was built, the stones were shipped in from Red Granite to Francis Creek, Wisconsin. The men of the congregation brought horse drawn wagons to the depot in Francis Creek to pick up the stones, and take them back to the building site in Mishicot. On June 12, 1927 the new church building was dedicated.

During the period 1881-1902, Pastor Prohl, Koehler, Ziegler, and Doehler served the church. Pastor Bartels, pastor of the Two Rivers congregation, served in 1886.

In 1902, St. Peter’s and Rockwood congregations combined to form one parish. Several years ago the Rockwood congregation called its own pastor. That pastor still serves the church.

The present parsonage was built during the serve of Pastor Gustave Vater. This parsonage still remains and is in use today. Pastor Dornfeld served the church during the years 1908-1911.

In 1911, Pastor Edward Zell (later married Alice Jindra) began his 47 year serve of St. Peter’s and Rockwood Churches. He also served Jambo Creek Church until 1949 when the church disbanded. Pastor Zell received 3 calls to leave the congregation but was dedicated and remained to serve the people of Mishicot.

Wenholz Family and Pastor Zell

The picture above was taken in front of the Wenholz farmhouse, still standing just up the grade from East Main Street past and across the street from the entrance to the apartments.

During his first year in Mishicot Pastor Zell was unmarried and lived at least for a while with the Wenholzes. Perhaps as they were finishing up the parsonage. The horse on Pastor Zell’s buggy is named Easy (cp. his initials EZ). The lady in the buggy with Pastor Zell is Ida Wenholz, daughter of Diedrich. She later became Mrs. Hugo Ploekelman. According to Bill Zell, son of Pastor Zell, this may be a show-off picture of his new horse. Pastor Zell bought it in Juneau and drove up to Mishicot in three days. He told Bill once he had seen this horse before going to Mishicot, fell in love with her, and at the first opportunity went back and bought her. That horse and buggy were put to good use in courting Alice Jindra when she was teaching school up on the Range Line somewhere. Pastor Zell married Alice, daughter of George Jindra, Jr. and Mary Lenhardt Jindra. They had two sons and three daughters.

In January 1917, the church voted to pay Diedrich Wenholz, $45.00 as an annual salary to keep the church clean and to ring the bell at the start of services and for the daily 6 o’clock ringing. During the week, Diedrich would prepare the church for special occasions. He pulled the church bell announcing the weddings of the young couples that were married, and tolling for an elderly parishioner who had died. Diedrich was janitor of the church for 36 years. He and his wife, Sophie Wilhelmina Carstens Wenholz (daughter of Johann Herman Carstens (aka Herman Carstens) and Marie Boli Carstens, were members of the church for over 60 years).

Before 1920, all of the services were spoken in German. It was decided in 1920, that once per month, services would be spoken in English. As the population of the area grew, more and more people began speaking English, and leaving their native tongues. By 1930, the congregation voted to hold 3 church services in English and only 1 in German.

In 1932, Miss Alice Zell (daughter of Pastor Edward Zell and Alice Jindra) began the church choir. In 1933, Ladies Bible Hour was started. A Conn Electric Organ was purchased and put in the church in 1953. You could hear Miss Alice Zell proudly playing that organ every Sunday morning.

In 1958, the congregation mourned the passing of Pastor Zell. He had been suffering from heart trouble prior to his death. The congregation went three months with a temporary pastor until Rev. David Worgull answered the call. During this time, Vacation Bible School started and the Young Peoples’ Society. In 1961, the church had hopes of building a Christian Day School sometime in the future. They purchased 4 1/2 acres of land North of the church on the hill. 1961 was also the year of their Centennial Celebration.

1965 brought Pastor Arlyn Schmeling as vacancy pastor to the congregation. On November 20, 1966 Pastor Herbert Kesting answered the call to the church. Pastor Kesting was from Gibbon, MN. In 1968, the tower and sacristy were remodeled.

Pastor Kesting celebrated 35 years of Pastoral service in 1971. During this same time, an addition was added to the church, which included new Sunday School rooms and a church nursery. Frederick and Hazel Eisenmann donated to the church an Electric Carillon in 1993. It was donated in memory of their parents. Pastor Kesting was laid to rest in Mishicot Cemetery in 1999.

On March 3rd, 1985, Pastor David Waege was called to serve the congregation. Pastor Drews served from about 1997-99. Pastor Johannes, the current pastor, held his installation service on June 11, 2000.

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History of Congregation At Mishicot Carries Back To Early Days in County
Venerable Prof. John Ph. Koehler, One of Outstanding Lutherans In America, Will Deliver Sermon on Sunday.

Source: Manitowoc Times Sept. 1931, transcribed from newspaper article shown on WisconsinHistory.org

Sunday, Sept. 6, will mark the second of a series of three celebrations to be held at the Mishicot St. Peter’s Lutheran church in honor of the seventieth anniversary of its founding. Instead of holding three services on a single Sunday the congration [sic] decided to hold the jubilee services on three succeeding Sundays and the final celebration will be staged on Sunday, September 13. The service Sunday will be in the German language and will start at 9:30 with the venerable Prof. John Ph. Koehler [more about John Phillip], one of the outstanding Lutheran theologians of America, delivering the sermon.

Well Known

The Mishicot church, one of th best known in the county, is in charge of the Rev. E. Zell as pastor with the board of elders and trustees consisting of D. Wenholz, J. Vertz, H. Thielbar, secretary, Ed Eckardt, W. Redefer and H.E. Holst, treasurer. the present home of worship is a beautiful granite building erected under the leadership of Karl Koehler between 1925 and 1927. the congregation stands for “the unadulterated gospel of Christ” and it numbers about 300 souls.

The men who fathered the Lutheran congregation at Mishicot 70 odd years ago were John Bahls, Carl Schweim, Friedrich Drews, Carl Schweim, Frederick Schriber, A. Jens, John Sievert, Friedrich Gerge, Louis Bartels, Freidrich Drews, Carl Wilsmann. The date of the organization was May 20, 1861. the first services were conducted in a schoolhouse by the Reverend Goldhammer, then pastor of the Manitowoc congregation and one of the pioneer preachers of the Wisconsin synod. The Mishicot Lutherans have been affiliated with the latter body since that time.

Was Subcharge

When the Two Rivers congregation was organized and Pastor Bartels called to its pulpit, the Mishicot congregation became his subcharge (1863-65). His immediate successors were the PP. Quehl (1865-68), and Zuberbier (1868-72). Under the latter;s administration the present property was acquired.

From 1872-74 the local pulpit was supplied by Nietmann and Frankenstein. When Frankenstein, the first resident pastor, left, Mishicot was served by Pastor Jaeger, both from the earlier station Two Rivers and his later station Gibson. Thus Mishicot became a subcharge of Gibson, and the connection lasted until 1882, when Jaeger accepted a new call.

Became Independent

Subsequently, for twenty years, Mishicot was again supplied by the pastors of the Two Rivers church, to wit: John Ph. Koehler (1882-88), until recently directory of the Seminary at Thiensville, Wis.; a.f. Siegler (1888-92), deceased; C. Doehler (1892-192, retired.

In the year 1902 the Mishicot Lutherans together with those of Kossuth organized an independent parish, and since then the pastors have been in residence at Mishicot:
Gusav Vater (1902-07, now at North Freedom, Wis.; E. Ph. Dornfeld (1908-11), past of St. Mark’s Milwaukee; and Edward Zell, the present incumbent. So then Mishicot now supplies the pulpit at Kossuth (Rockwood) and latterly also that at Jambo Creek [Gibson].

Mishicot Lutheran Church Extends 70th Anniversary Jubilee Over Three Sundays

Sept. 1931

Extending the jubilee over three Sundays, members of St. Peter’s Lutheran church, Mishicot, will attend the second of a series of ceremonies Sunday to do honor for the 70th anniversary of the founding of their congregation.

At tomorrow’s services the Rev. J.P.. Koehler, until recently director of the seminary at Thiensville, pastor at Two Rivers and Mishicot in the ’80s will deliver the sermon. Services will be started at 9:30 a.m. the Rev. Mr. Koehler is well known as a theologian.

Closing the jubilee, final services will be held at the church, Sunday, Sept. 14, with the Rev. Mr. Hagedorn preaching the sermon.

When the congregation was founded at Mishicot in the spring of 1861, the church leaders were John Bals, Carl Schweim, Friedrich Drews, Friedrich Schrieber, a. Jens, John Sievert, Friedrich Gerge, Louis Bartles, and Carl Wilsmann.

The Rev. Edward Zell is pastor of the group that is celebrating its anniversary, and present trustees and elders of the church are: d. Wenholz, J. Vertz, H. Thielbar, Ed. Eckerdt, W. Redeker, and H.F. Holst.
70th year of County Church is Celebrated

Sept 8, 1931

Second of the series of three special Sunday services arranged by the St. Peter’s Lutheran church at Mishicot in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the congregation was held at Mishicot on Sunday with the Rev. J.P. Taylor of Neillsville as the officiating pastor.

No special arrangements to invite other congregations have been made in connection with the anniversary event, the congregation deciding to invite former and guest pastors to deliver the sermons n the successive Saturdays. Rev. E. Dornfeldt of Milwaukee, a former pastor, delivered the services yesterday and Rev. Hagendorn of Milwaukee will be in charge next Sunday.

Rev. Edward Zell has been the resident pastor of the congregation for slightly more than 20 years.

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published: Manitowoc Herald News | Manitowoc, Wisconsin | Friday, November 27, 1925 | Page 1

ONE FOUNDER OF CHURCH TO SEE SERVICE

First Attendant in 1861 to Witness Unveiling of Memorial

Sunday will be a memorable day for the congregation of St. Peter’s Lutheran church at Mishicot, marking the unveiling of the name plate and memorial tablet of the new church which is under construction and will be completed next Bummer. The date will be more memorable however to one person present at the ceremony because it will stir memories of a day nearly sixty-five years ago when she was present at the first services resulting in the founding of the congregation.

Mrs. Doris Blum, now past eighty years of age, is the sole survivor of the little band which on May 20, 1861 laid the foundation of the organization which is soon to realize an ambition of years in the dedication of a new church home. Mrs. Blum has anticipated the ceremony Sunday with much pleasure and will be honored by the congregation on that occasion.

Program of Service

The ceremonies Sunday will open at 2:15. The Rev. Paul Klouka of Maribel, whose new church there was recently dedicated, and Philip Proehlke of Appleton will deliver addresses in German and English in the old church and the congregation will then repair to the site of the new structure for the unveiling ceremonial. Walls of the new church are up ten feet. The tablet to be unveiled is a slab of Tennessee marble matching in color the red granite of tho walls and will bear the inscription, “St. Peter’s Lutheran, 1861-1925,” The Rev. Edward Zell, pastor of the church, will be in charge of tho ceremonies.

History of Church

The men who fathered the Lutheran congregation at Mishicot sixty odd years ago were John Bahls, Carl Schwelm, Friedr. Schneider, …..Jens, Joh. Sievert; Friedr. Gerge, Louis Bartels, Friedr. Drews and Carl Wilsmann all of whom have passed on. The date of organization was May 20, 1861. The first services were conducted in a school house by the Rev. Goldammer, then
pastor of the Manitowoc congregation and one of the pioneer preachers of the Wisconsin Synod. The Mishlcot Lutherans have been affiliated with the latter body since that time.

When the Two Rivers congregation was organized and Pastor Bartels was called to its pulpit, the Mishicot congregation became his subcharge (1863-68). His immediate successors were the Pastor. Quehl (1865-68) and Zuherbier (1868-72). Under the latter’s administration the present property was acquired.

From 1872-74 the Mishicot pulpit was supplied by Nietmann and Frankenstein. When Frankenstein, the first resident pastor, left Mishicot was served by Pastor Jaeger, both from his earlier station Two Rivers and his later station Gibson. Thus Mishicot became a subcharge of Gibson, and this connection lasted until 1882, when Jaeger accepted a new call.

Subsequently, for twenty years, Mishicot was again supplied by the pastor of the Two Rivers church, to wit: Joh. Ph. Koehler (1882-88), now director of the Seminary at Wauwatosa; A. F. Siegler (1888-92) now retired; Chr, Doehler (1892-1902), now in charge of the sister congregation at Escanaba, Mich.

In the year 1902 the Mishicot Lutherans together with those of Kossuth organized an independent parish, and since then the pastors have had their residence at Mishicot; Gustav Vater (1902-07), now at Cataract, Wis.; E. Ph, Dornfeld (1908-11), pastor of St. Mark’s, Milwaukee; and Edward Zell, the present incumbent. So then Mishicot now supplies the pulpit at Kossuth (Rockwood) and latterly also that at Jambo Creek.

The building proper was begun Sept. 22, the foundation having been, completed some time earlier. The walls are being erected according to the Flag method of granite spalls and solid concrete. The inclemency of the fall weather has not permitted uninterupted (sic) pouring of the concrete and building operations will now be suspended until next spring



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