The History Of The Friedens Congregation
In reviewing the past half century and looking with reverence upon the wonderful achievement of the Christian Church, we feel like saying, "Blessed be God who giveth us the victory."
About the year of 1867, the pastor from the Menomonee Falls circuit came to this community and preached in the homes of the people: Some of the homes in which the services were held are those of Fred Loeffler, Jacob Krauss, Sr., Wm. Grober, Wm. Kotn, J. Wichman, Jacob Zandler, Father Schreiber and others. The first meetings were held in the "Old Brick House" owned by Father Loeffler, which was located on the Green Bay Road, a short distance north of Keefe Avenue.
These were spirited meetings and formed a good foundation upon which to build a congregation. Mid-week prayer meetings were also held in these homes. Most of the early pioneers had no horses and vehicles, thus they walked to these prayer meetings, which proved to be a wholesome pastime. On their way they would sing some of those spirited and heart-searching hymns. The way to these meetings was not too long and the task not too hard. Among the first converts were Father and Mother Jacob Krause, Sr.
These early Christians saw the necessity of a Sunday School for the future development of the Church. The foundation for a Christian life must be laid in youth. Upon application to the School Board, they were granted permission to conduct Sunday School in the County School Building which was located between the Green Bay and Port Washington Roads. This work, however, was carried on with great difficulty, for they were even compelled to give up the good work for a while, due to influences of people of other persuasions. Even under these adverse circumstances the work slowly progressed. These faithful followers of the Master were "Instant in prayer, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord."
The Conference saw a splendid opportunity, and in the year 1871 ventured upon the important step of locating a mission, so that on Apr 27th, 1871, at the fifteenth annual session of the Wisconsin Conference held at Racine, Wisconsin, it was decided to establish a mission here to be known as the North Milwaukee Mission, and to be served in connection with the Zion Congregation, and that Zion be supplied with two pastors; Zion was to be known as the Milwaukee Station. Rev. A. Kammerer was the pastor of the North Milwaukee Mission. On June 20, 1872, a meeting of the North Milwaukee Mission was held by the members of this new mission, and an organization was effected. The name "Friedens Church" was adopted. The matter of building a new church was another item of business. After an enthusiastic discussion, a building board was elected, which consisted of the following persons: Rev. A. Kammerer, Rev. Aug. Huelster, Helmuth Lichtfeldt, Jacob Krauss, Sr., and Fred Loeffler. Pledges were secured for the building fund. The response was so generous and encouraging that plans were made and immediately the building was started. On October 23rd of that year the church was dedicated and pronounced free of debt. What a gratifying moment! Those early Christians knew how to give. They had the real spirit of sacrifice.
It may be well to insert here, that Helmuth Lichtfeldt was the first exhorter and. Jacob Krauss, Sr., the first class leader. The church was located on the northeast corner of Ring Street and Green Bay Avenue, where the Hess Meat Market is presently located. Since that time the old building has been moved back to the northeast, and is now being utilized by the Modern Power & Ignition Co. While the building has been legally sold some years ago, it still serves as a reminder to the old members of the congregation.
When Williamsburg was in its infancy, that portion of land west of what is now known as Green Bay Avenue, then consisted of marsh land-a paradise for hunters.
The entire community compared very favorably with a small, inland town, where only a blacksmith shop, a post office and a general store are visible. Picture these conditions, then you can imagine in what kind of a wilderness this section of the country was, when this church commenced its activities. Mr. Pierce, then the owner of most land in this community, interested John Grootemaat, Sr., with two lots located on the west side of Green Bay Road, at Ring Street, where the latter contemplated the erection of his wind mill. Mr. Pierce agreed to donate the corner lot to the first church that would locate in the community, and had two lots been sufficient for Mr. Grootemaat's purpose, our first church building would have been erected where at present the Pasold Haberdashery now is. Mr. Grootemaat, however, bought all three lots, and thus it occurred that Mr. Pierce free-willingly offered to donate the lot directly across the street from the mill. About the time this mill was completed, our Elders were actively engaged in planning their church building. The building committee thus decided on the erection of an edifice 28x42 feet. Small as it may seem, It adequately met the needs of that time. Father Rudolph was one of the early pillars of the church and his pleasant face greeted all comers, especially so at church meetings. Father John Brauch, Sr., likewise was an ardent church worker. He was a very peaceful man, and when he passed to receive his eternal reward a few years later, his loss was keenly felt and his friendly spirit greatly missed.
It is regretted that the original Sunday School records are not available. However, upon referring to the Quarterly Conference records, we learn that George Ische was the first Sunday School Superintendent. We would like to relate in detail at this time a report showing the development of the Sunday School, but the absence of these records makes this impossible.
It may interest the reader to know who the Charter members of the congregation were, and we are pleased to quote from the records the following: Father Jacob Krauss, Sr., Julia Krauss, Carolina Krauss, Christina Krauss, Helmuth Lichtfeld, William Schreiber, Catherine ,Schreiber, George Ische, Mary Ische and Jacob Krause, Jr. In view of the fact that this was the first church in the community, it proved to be a valuable asset. Mr. Pierce evidently realized the needs of the good influence of a church in this locality.
In 1873 Rev. A. Yokel assumed the duties of the new mission. His was a difficult task due to several unpleasant conditions which prevailed at that time. He labored with great interest for two years. He was succeeded by the Rev. J. G. Kern, who was well known as a profound Bible Student. Bro. Kern proved to be a devout Christian Leader. In 1907 he passed to his eternal reward while serving at Port Washington, Wis.
In 1877 and 1878 Rev. Aug. Haas became pastor of the congregation. He has not been a member of our conference for many years, however, records show that he labored with a fair degree of success. Progress had been moderate from the beginning, but a substantial increase in membership was first noticeable during the term of the Rev. E. Rohde in 1879 and 1881, and Bro. Rohde's record is deserving of praise.
Rev. T. Umbreit served this mission for one year only, that of 1882, and proved to be a good organizer. He has since gone to his reward, where joys £or all time abides. His son, Franklin, is a member of the Wisconsin Conference and the able Treasurer of Northwestern College and the Evangelical Theological Seminary.
In the spring of 1883 it was a pleasure to bid welcome to the kind, pleasant and energetic Rev. Aug. Heinhaus. He was much beloved by the people. He was prematurely moved much to the regret of the congregation.
During the following .two years the pulpit was occupied by the earnest and zealous Rev. Henry Uphoff, who recently passed to his heavenly home. He has several children and grand-children living in this community, who are members of this congregation. Bro. Uphoff served a second time in the year 1901.
Rev. J. M. Hammetter, well known in Milwaukee, labored diligently during the years of 1888 and 1889, a marked degree of success being his reward. Several of his children are living in Milwaukee and are active in church work.
Rev. J. L. Runkel, who recently closed his earthly career, served this field of labor from 1891 to 1893, much to the satisfaction of .the congregation.
In 1893 and 1894 the Rev. Fred Homuth, who now resides in Los Angeles, Cal., served as pastor of this congregation. Bro. Homuth, while presently no! active in the ministry, is still an, ardent church worker. He is actively connected in the congregation with which he is affiliated.
During the years of 1895 and 1896 Bro. John Schneller served in this field of labor. He is at present living in the village of Prairie Du Sac, having recently retired from the ministry. Bro. Schneller ably supervised the work in the congregation during his period of service.
The congregation had grown to such proportions by this time that a new and more adequate building was necessary. This great and important undertaking was successfully performed during the pastorate of Rev. Peter Speich. The building committee after due inquiry and investigation, selected a building site located on the northwest corner of Concordia Avenue and Third Street, where the present edifice and parsonage are located. The church building, including lot, cost $9,727.00, while the parsonage with lot cost $3,419.00. Bro. Speich had proven himself a diligent and wise leader. He was a man of the people's liking. During his period of service he not only assisted in the planning and the securing of funds, but also assisted earnestly in manual labor in an effort to facilitate the early completion of the buildings and to reduce the cost thereof.
The original records of our young people's alliance are not available at this time, but upon due search and inquiry among the membership we are informed that this organization was contemplated and effected during the pastorate of Rev. Speich. .It filled a great need and proved to be a valuable asset in the congregation, one that aids greatly in prolonging the life of !he church.
In the year 1903 the Rev. Leo F. Emmert was stationed as pastor in the congregation. The members enjoyed his congenial disposition and his efficient leadership. It was during his term of service that the congregation continued to progress. He was fond of music and was a literary artist. Bro. Emmert and the congregation realized that the installation of a pipe organ would greatly add to the worship. Today we are enjoying the fruits of his labor, in that the beautiful instrument which was then installed still continues to bring forth that effect of music which is so essential to beauty. We duly appreciate the sacrifices of the people in as much as the cost thereof at that time was the goodly sum of $1,600.00, for today it would cost double that sum.
Rev. M. Gauerke, served this congregation from 1907 to 1911, and proved to be a good leader. He was at all times active in visitation and relief work in addition to his duties of pastor. He labored diligently and was instrumental in the further development of the institution. It was during his term of service that the home-coming celebration was held. A splendid program was prepared and on Aug. 8th, 1909, the event took place amidst great rejoicing. Former members and friends came in large numbers, enjoyed the services, especially the renewing of old acquaintances. Bro. Gauerke is still active in the ministry and is ably serving as pastor at Sheboygan, Wisconsin.
During the year 1912 to 1916 it was a pleasure to bid welcome to our most esteemed friend the Rev. G. Friedrich, and whom to this day we have in our midst as a member. Brother Friedrich at all times displayed good judgment in the guidance of the organization, and was instrumental in introducing many reforms for the welfare of the church. He worked faithfully as our pastor, and at the end of! his term it was our regret to hear that he was ready to retire from the active ministry.
It was during his term that some legal difficulty presented itself in connection with the title to the old church property in Williamsburg. In the early years the citizens were not so well versed in legal matters as they are today. This condition existed likewise among our early brethren about the time the old church was erected, and little was thought of as to whether the title was absolutely clear or whether the original transfer was effected in a legal manner.
Much to our regret, the congregation was requested to submit to a settlement with the heirs of kin of the early holders of the land in question. It was understood that to quiet title would require a vast amount of litigation. This could be avoided if there were sufficient monies at hand with which to settle the matter amicably. Amidst these discouraging circumstances, our worthy Bro. Friedrich proved to be a friend in need. He ventured forth personally aided by such members as had time to spare, and made a thorough canvas in search of funds, and after a strenuous campaign succeeded in raising the necessary funds. It was a pleasure to again feel free from obligations and the congregation feels justly proud of tl1e efforts of our worthy Brother. He is today ably teaching one of our Sunday School classes.
During the year 1917 to 1921 the Rev. L. W. Schlueter was stationed to this congregation. It was both a privilege and a pleasure to have him as a leader. The congregation had a healthful growth during his term of service. He is still in the active ministry and is presently pastor in the beautiful church at Morrison, Wisconsin.
At the session of the Wisconsin Conference in the spring of 1921, Rev. C. H. Kolander was appointed pastor of the Friedens Congregation. During this last summer several improvements have been made, such as the building of the concrete steps to the main entrances, installing of ventilators and the erection of a Unitype, changeable bulletin; all expenses of which have been fully met.
We are grateful to our Heavenly Father for the blessings and achievements of the past, and as we look forward into the future, our prayers are, that we may be led into paths that lead to great victory, and that in all things we may give God the glory.
Ladies' Aid and Missionery Society
of Friedens Church
In the Fall of the year 1899 at the time when our present church building was about to he erected, the Ladies' Aid Society was duly organized under the leadership of Mrs. John Grootemaat, and immediately 50 members pledged their support to this organization.
The Women's Missionary Society .was subsequently formed and has thus far been instrumental in the building up of God's Kingdom.
These organizations have been a wonderful help to Friedens Church in that they have always contributed liberally toward missionary causes and toward the church welfare work.
They have progressed wonderfully, have prospered under usual effective leadership and have a very large membership.
Their meetings are held on the first Wednesday in the month at the Church. Matters of Church interest are thoroughly discussed as well as all subjects of vital interest to God's Kingdom.
"May our lights so shine that others may see our good work and Glorify Our Father which is in Heaven."-Math. 5 :16.
MRS. CATHERINE SCHRAM, President Ladies' Aid Society,
MRS. IDA KRAUSS, Secretary Ladies' Aid Society,
MRS ANN A BRANDSTETTER, Treasurer Ladies' Aid Society,
MRS. OTTO TETZLAFF, President Women's Missionary Society,
MRS. HERMAN SASS, Secretary-Treasurer.
"Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not for of such is the kingdom of Heaven." Jesus says, if we learn in our youth to honor and Jove God. our Heavenly father, and our neighbors as ourselves, and continue to serve our Master until our end, love and life everlasting shall be our reward.
With this thought we busy ourselves and endeavor to teach the scholars in our Sunday School.
Our Sunday School is showing progress, while not as speedy as we would like to see it, nevertheless through the Divine guidance of Christ Jesus we are going ahead. We hope that we may be instrumental in paving the way for the future, for an honorable and God-fearing life of those who are entrusted to our care.
The personnel of our officers consists of the following: Paul Borchardt, Superintendent; Henry W. Brauch, Acting Superintendent; A. J. Borchardt, Secretary; Mr. Fred Rudolph, Librarian; Mrs. Fred Rudolph, Pianist.
The committee has learned after completion of its editorial task that we have in our membership Brother Wm. Pape, who has been a member of our Sunday School uninterruptedly for 50 years.
YOUNG PEOPLES' ALLIANCE
Since a congregation prospers best, when the youth of the church devotes her strength to the Lord's canse, the leaders of the church saw the necessity of forming an organization whose "object shall be to promote the religions, intellectual and social culture of the young members and friends of the church." This organization has proven to be a great blessing in training leaders for the church.
The Young Peoples' Alliance of this congregation was organized during the pastorate of Rev. Peter Speich. Great good has been wrought. Plans are being laid for future activities to work out the purpose of the organization and to1ive up to its beautiful motto, "For the glory of God and the good of man."