The information contained below is from "A History of Manitowoc County"
by Ralph G. Plumb,
Brandt Printing and Binding Co., Manitowoc, Wis., copyright 1904 unless otherwise noted. There are tidbits of various churches within the text of the document below. Some references are too short to link separately. Please be sure to read through the entire document to find all the information you may need.

From Edwards' Manitowoc Directory For 1868-1869

Was organized in the year 1848. The first officiating clergyman was the Rev. G. Unonius. The Rev. George P. Schetky was pastor when the present church building was erected, but left the place about the time it was completed. Mr. M. Fellows had the contract for the erect- ion of the church, which was completed on time, which was in June, 1852. It stands on the corner of North and Chicago streets, and, with chancel, is about 30x70 feet. The church has also put up a parsonage within the past year of good dimensions, and appears to be in prosperous condition under the care of Rev. T.B. Dooley. Connected with the church is a parochial school, which has a large attendance, and is in a flourishing condition.

From "A History of Manitowoc County"
by Ralph G. Plumb

As the oldest in point of continuous existence as an organized society the history of St. James Episcopal Church first demands attention. The Episcopals were early in the missionary field in Wisconsin and the efforts of Bishop Kemper will live in remembrance as long as that of the record of the state itself. One of his ablest coadjutors was Richard F. Cadle, who came to Wisconsin as missionary on the Oneida Reservation in 1834. In the latter thirties, probably in 1839, he visited the Rapids settlement and held what was the first Protestant service in the county. In his report submitted in February 1842 he speaks of a second visit as follows: “On the evening of Tuesday, December 7th (1841) I preached to a congregation of about sixty persons in a private house at Manitowoc Rapids, the county seat of Manitowoc county and situated on a river of the same name, three miles from its mouth. At the settlement where I officiated the population amounts to about sixty persons and at the mouth of the river the population is represented to be about three fourths of that number. Previous to this visit there had been no religious services at Manitowoc Rapids for the period of about a year and a half.”

Eight years passed with an occasional visit by a missionary, among them two or three by Rev. Melancthon Hoyt in 1844. In February 1848 Bishop Kemper was making a tour of the Wisconsin parishes under his charge, being accompanied by a young Swede, Reverend Gustavus Unonius, then a recent graduate and the first of Nashotah Seminary. Upon reaching Sheboygan two members of the church, residing in Manitowoc arrived with the request that the bishop visit Manitowoc. This was impossible for him to do, so Reverend Unonius was despatched and held divine services. On the next day, February 28th, the resident members of the church met and organized a parish, naming it St. James Mission. The meeting took place at the home of Lemuel House, Colonel T. A. H. Edwards, the lighthouse keeper and Alden Clark, a merchant, being chosen wardens. It was decided to call Reverend Unonius to the parish and he accepted, assuming his duties on April 20th. At that time there were six families in the parish or twenty-seven communicants in all, including Lemuel House, E. H. Ellis, Richard Steele, Alden Clark, S. H. Sherwood and Colonel Edwards and the average congregation numbered about forty or fifty souls. The meetings were held in the upper rooms of a house, the lower part of which was occupied by the pastor and his family. Reverend Unonius remained in charge of the parish for a year, until April 1849, when he resigned and left for Chicago, where he organized a Swedish church. Born in Finland August 10, 1810 he came to America in 1845, going direct to Wisconsin and settling at Pine Lake. After several years of service at Chicago he returned to his native land in 1858 and was rewarded by a gift of 3000 kroner from the Swedish government in recognition of services rendered his countrymen in America. He also held office in the customs service until 1888 when he retired on a pension and is now (1902) living on a farm near Stockholm, beloved by all. In 1862 he published in the Swedish language a book entitled “Reminiscenses, Seventy Years in the Northwest of America,” which contains many interesting references to Manitowoc. It was a noticeable fact that the Scandinavians who came to the county and settled near the Rapids in 1848 and 1849 at first united with the Episcopal church since the pastor was of their race, eight of the original parish being Norwegians. As soon, however, as there were sufficient of them they separated and established a church of their own, the Lutheran, denomination. During Reverend Unonius’ term four members were gained by immigration and six lost by death. By his resignation the church was left for some time without a rector as was also the Sheboygan mission, which he had attended. Said Bishop Kemper in his report in 1850: “Reverend Unonius was in this county about a year ago and is remembered with much respect. When invited to a larger sphere of action and particularly among his own countrymen I readily consented to his departure from Wisconsin, notwithstanding that this diocese had peculiar claims upon his services. No one as yet succeeds him and yet Manitowoc and its neighborhood present a scene of much usefulness to a self-sacrificing and laborious minister of the Gospel.”

During the interim the Rapids communicants managed to keep up occasional services and a regular Sunday school but it was not until June 23, 1851, the date of the appointment of Reverend G. P. Shetky that much interest was manifested. This clergyman was a very devout young man, fresh from his theological studies, being ordained at Manitowoc. He was however full of ambition and his first aim was the building of a church. In the summer of 1851 he visited the east to secure contributions and in a year $1074 had been raised with pledges of $295 in addition. Plans were made by Architect R. A. Gilpin of Philadelphia for an edifice that would seat two hundred and fifty persons to cost about $1,500 and a hundred foot lot at the corner of North Ninth and Chicago streets was donated by Benjamin Jones. The cornerstone was laid, all being in readiness, on November 24, 1851, Rt. Rev. Jackson Kemper, the missionary bishop officiating. Several presents were made to the church by eastern friends, the communion service being donated by acquaintances of Rev. Shetky residing in Germantown, Pa., the copies of liturgy coming from Philadelphia and the font from a gentleman in Albany, N. Y. In the meanwhile meetings were held by the congregation in the schoolhouse, the average attendance being about eighty and the communicants amounting to forty-three, while fifty children were in the Sunday school. Once in two weeks Reverend Shetky made trips to Two Rivers and held services at that village, the first taking place on October 19, 1851, attended by fifteen persons. The village of Rapids was visited at similar intervals, there being six communicants while Branch was the scene of monthly services. At a point fourteen miles west from Manitowoc there were seven Irish coniniunicants who met occasionally to receive spiritual instruction from the minister, ten others usually attending, and there was a similar gathering occasionally in Meeme. In speaking of these visits later Reverend Shetky remarks in his report: “The impossible condition of the roads at this season obliged me to discontinte these monthly visits. I have no horse,—am too poor to keep one and am therefore obliged to perform all these journeys afoot.” The strenuous life led by the young clergyman soon told upon his strength and, after a vacation, he returned only to resign April 1, 1853. When he left a month or so later there were fifty-two communicants in his charge, twenty-eight of whom resided at Manitowoc. The church in the meantime had been completed, M. Fellows being the contractor, and it was consecrated July 25, 1852 on the occasion of the festival of St. James. Rev. Shetky at first moved to Memphis, Tenn., and later attained prominence as a pastor in South Bend, Ind., Bay City, Mich. and in Philadelphia.

Another short interim followed his resignation lasting until the arrival of Rev. George W. Thompson, in August 1853, he coming from Cincinnati to take up the work. At this time a mission was maintained at Robinson’s settlement and the local church included thirty-three communicants. His ministry, however, was short for in 1854, while nursing cholera patients he fell ill of the dread disease and died on October 14th, his body being interred at Evergreen. After two months he was succeeded by Rev. Melancthon Hoyt, who had heen in Wisconsin as a missionary since the early forties. A man of great energy he soon had the church in a very satisfactory condition and in the next year Bishop Kemper confirmed a class of eleven at Manitowoc and four at Two Rivers. At the latter place there had been organized St. Paul’s Congregation and the cornerstone of a church was laid on September 3, 1856. The first officers of the church were William Aldrich, senior warden; J. N. Fisher, junior warden; L. S. House, J. Teele and M. McDonald, vestrymen and services were held every Sunday afternoon. At Manitowoc the worshippers at St. James soon paid off the $500 debts still outstanding and additions were made to their structure at a considerable cost. During Rev. Hoyt’s ministry the communicants increased to forty-three and the Sunday school remained prosperous. In the latter part of 1858 he resigned, continuing his labors in other fields for many years, finally removing to Dakota Territory. In April 1859 Rev. W. H. Cooper was sent to Manitowoc and remained until the following March, when he renioved to Waukegan, Ill. He, also, officiated at Two Rivers, where the church had been completed, so as to seat three hundred persons, the last of the debt incurred in its construction being paid off some four years later.

The next clergyman to officiate was Reverend G. B. Engle, who came from Michigan in 1860. In his ministry services were held at Clark’s Mills for some time. The great civil strife then broke out and Rev. Engle gave up his pastoral duties for a time to become chaplain in the Fourteenth Wisconsin, he being an ardent patriot. The war had a detrimental effect on the church life and St. Paul’s congregation at Two Rivers became so depleted that the church was sold on May 14, 1864 to the German Lutherans. In that year also Manitowoc was taken off the mission list, it thereafter being obliged to be totally self-supporting. In order to economize Rev. Engle, as he said in his report, sold his horse and discontinued his visits to Clark’s Mills and soon after he resigned, moving to Indiana where he long resided. His successor, who took charge in January 1865, Rev. Lyman N. Freeman, came from Illinois and was most energetic. There were in that year nine baptisms and the Sunday school was comprised of twenty-two teachers and one hundred and thirty-seven scholars while there were three hundred persons in church connection. His ministry was injured, however, by certain charges made against his conduct, which were brought up before the standing committee at its meeting at Janesville in November. Investigations by Revs. Eastmann and Davis followed, as a result of which Rev. Freeman was cited to appear before the court of the diocese in June. This ecclesiastical trial, unique in character took place in the courthouse, Rev. Ashley of Milwaukee acting as president, there being besides four other judges. The accused was ably defended but was found guilty and withdrew from the ministry. He was followed by Rev. F. B. Dooley, formerly of the Michigan diocese, whose efforts were of a high order. During his incumbency a rectory was built, a parish school established with over fifty scholars, which was maintained for some years and the attendance at church largely increased. Rev. Dooley returned to Michigan in January 1870 and after a month or so, in which Rev. Ward supplied the pulpit, Rev. E. Peake assumed charge, he however removing to Missouri within a year. Several months passed without a pastor, when Rev. F. R. Haff of the Missouri diocese was appointed to Manitowoc. It was about this time that the charch was called to mourn the loss of the venerable Bishop Kemper, whose relations with St. James had always been most amicable. Reverend Haff removed to Green Bay in the spring of 1873 and has since held a leading place among the Wisconsin clergy, officiating later at Trinity Church, Oshkosh. His successor was Rev. De Forest, who had that year been ordained and for three years he continued his ministry at Manitowoc.

In 1874 St. James, which had hitherto been in the Milwaukee diocese was transferred to the new Fond du Lac diocese. After Rev. De Forest’s removal to Missouri the parish was placed under the guidance of Rev. M. E. Averill of Green Bay, who remained until 1881. The church and Sunday school membership had somewhat decreased during the latter seventies but the church was fairly prosperous and a mission was maintained at Branch. After Rev. Averill’s service at St. James was completed, Rev. H.C.E. Costelle, who came from Albany, N. Y. took up the work. He revived the Two Rivers mission and did much for the advancement of the church at Manitowoc as well. During his ministry the Lydia E. Conroe bequest, comprising several acres of land in Manitowoc Rapids, was sold. Rev. Costelle left for Arkansas in March 1883 and died several years later in Quincy, Ill. Rev. H.T. Bray next assumed charge and remained until April 1886, being a man of fine scholarly attainments and an ardent worker. His successor was Rev. David Laseron, during whose pastorate of three years missions were sustained at Branch and Two Rivers.

In December 1887 Rev. B. Talbot Rogers was appointed to St. James. By this time the parish numbered 250 souls and over 100 scholars were in the Sunday school. During the years of his ministry the number was vastly increased and the Two Rivers Mission was reorganized in 1901 with thirty members together with a Sunday school of about the same number. Recognized, however, as a man of great ability and attainments he was offered and accepted in 1894, the position of warden of Grafton Hall at Fond du Lac, where he has since maintained a high reputation as an educator. His successor was Rev. S.R.S. Gray, who came to St. James from the Milwaukee diocese on April 21, 1895 and has since officiated. It was his aim to see the congregation have a new church edifice and funds sufficient for the starting of the enterprise were forthcoming in 1901. A site was chosen on the corner of North Eighth and State streets and the cornerstone of the new structure was laid on August 14th, the services being conducted by Rt. Rev. Weller, bishop-coadjutor of the Fond du Lac diocese amidst appropriate and elaborate ceremonies. The structure is of stone and cost in the neighborhood of $35,000. St. James church is today as at the beginning the only church of the denomination in the county and has an increasing membership. Several guilds made up of the ladies of the church are doing active work.


From Edwards' Manitowoc Directory For 1868-1869

If we mistake not, this is the oldest society in the place. In 1843, as we learn from Mr. P.P. Smith, Rev. David Lewis was stationed at Sheboygan and Manitowoc, preaching at those places alternate weeks sometimes being obliged to swim his horse across the Manitowoc River at the Rapids, two miles above here. Services were held in the neighbor's houses until 1853, when Rev. Mr. Barnes came here. Seeing the need of a church building, he went East and returned with some funds. A church some 35x40 was commenced on Seventh street, between State and Chicago streets, was soon completed, and from then till now the church has known a steady growth. Rev. A.C. Huntley is pastor at the present time. The society owns a parsonage on Park Street.

From Edwards' Manitowoc Directory For 1868-1869

Was organized in 1856, and church building, 28x36 feet, capable of seating between two and three hundred, erected the same year. Under neath the church is a school of the same size of the church above it, where a day-school is held and German and English is taught. There are now about fifty scholars in attendance. Connected with the church is a parsonage 18x26 feet, all situated on Ninth street, between Mar- shall and Hancock streets. The first minister called to preside over this church was Rev. Fred. Kopp, and the last, Rev. Charles Stellner, who, we understand, is building up his congregation.

From "A History of Manitowoc County"
by Ralph G. Plumb

The early history of the Methodist Church in the west is one of struggle and in that struggle Manitowoc has played its part. Owing to a rule long prevailing in the denomination that a pastor should not remain in one situation more than two years there was not the opportunity for any one of the long list of resident ministers to identify himself with the community in any very large degree yet there are many of them whose memory will long be cherished. In 1837 Rev. Hiram W. Frink was appointed to a mission at Sheboygan which took in Sheboygan and Manitowoc counties and the villages of Brothertown and Stockbridge. There is, however, no record or probability that he ever formed any classes in the county and the mission was discontinued after the panic of 1837. In October 1843, however, Rev. David Lewis was assigned to the Manitowoc and Sheboygan mission and held services at the two places on alternate Sundays. He had two stations in Manitowoc, four in Sheboygan and two in Washington county. To reach these widely separated places Rev. Lewis was obliged to make long journeys on foot through the forest and often forded the Manitowoc river at Rapids when the feat was a dangerous one. A class of eleven members were formed at Manitowoc, among whom were P. P. Smith. The meetings were held in the upper story of B. Jones’ warehouse in the summer while in the winter the congregation gathered at the home of Lighthouse Keeper Johnston, who was a Baptist. In July 1844 Rev. Lewis was succeeded by Rev. Garret N. Hanson, an earnest young man, just entering upon the profession. After six years in Wisconsin he retired and died in 1856 at Fall River, Mass. In 1845 he was followed at Manitowoc by Rev. Samuel W. Martin at the end of whose term the village was dropped from the conference rolls.

In 1849 in Company with Rev. Allen McIntosh, Rev. Lewis was reappointed to Manitowoc and Sheboygan Counties, services being held at the Rapids in the Court house and at Manitowoc and Two Rivers in the schoolhouses. The next year Rev. Lewis alone was assigned Manitowoc County and he preached occasionally at Manitowoc Rapids, Two Rivers, Neshoto, Riley’s and Mishicott, a small class being formed at Two Rivers.

The pastor boarded with Henry Edwards and with his own hands during the fall and winter erected a parsonage, working upon it when not engaged in pastoral duties. Rev. Lewis was in later years the agent of the American Bible Society, then pastor at Fond du Lac and finally in 1874 retired, since residing in Sturgeon Bay. Born in New Jersey November 25, 1815 he forms one of the striking examples of those hardy pioneer preachers whose heroism was only excelled by their practical piety. His successor was Rev. R.W. Barnes, who led a most successful ministry, the church membership increasing from 13 to 35, the Sunday school attendance from 24 to 50 and a library of 250 volumes being accumulated.


Rev. Barnes was instrumental in securing funds for St. Paul’s Church, a frame structure 35 by 40 feet which was erected on North Seventh Street during the succeeding years. He removed to Sheboygan Falls in 1853 and was succeeded by Rev. W. Sturgess, who remained a year and later officiated as pastor at various Wisconsin villages, being succeeded at Manitowoc by Rev. N. J. Alpin. In his ministry the church was dedicated, Prof. Cook of Lawrence University delivering the address on that occasion, May 3, 1856. Rev. Alpin was born in Batavia, N. Y. in 1821 and was ordained while at Manitowoc. After forty years in the ministry he was superannuated, spending his last years in Waukesha. Rev. William Rowbothamn took charge of St. Paul’s in 1856, being followed by Rev. A. C. Squier a year later. Rev. Rowbotham removed to Mellette, South Dakota when he retired while Rev. Squier died at Sturgeon Bay.

In 1859 Rev. C. C. Symes was assigned to Manitowoc by the conference, which met that year at St. Paul’s, he having charge of Two Rivers also. An Englishman by birth he was twenty two years old at the time and had been in America six years. After a year at Manitowoc he preached at Berlin, Lake Mills and Columbus and died at Manitowoc November 13, 1870. For the following two years Rev. Rositer C. Parsons was the pastor, coming from Green Bay to assume his duties. He was born in Georgetown. N. Y. May 30, 1817 and with his parents early moved to Ohio, where he attended Allegheny College and in 1854 came to Wisconsin, preaching at Port Washington, Milwaukee and, after his Manitowoc pastorate, at Whitewater, Lake Geneva, Spring Prairie, Menomonee Falls and East Troy, finally passing away at Lyons, Wis., July 27, 1887.


He had under his charge two churches, one built at Maple Grove some time during the later fifties and St. Paul’s. His successor was Rev. L. N. Wheeler, who also remained two years and under his able management the church grew rapidly. Rev. S. S. Smith followed and the church, formerly in the Fond du Lac, was placed in the Appleton district. Rev. Smith was in 1899 the pastor of the Zion Church near Oshkosh. In 1867 Rev. Alexander C. Huntley assumed charge which he retained two years. He was another New York man, having been born December 27, 1819 and moving to Ohio at the age of thirteen, entered the ministry in 1843. He preached in New York until 1857 when he removed to Wisconsin and for twenty eight years labored at various places, dying at Fond du Lac at the age of sixty six years. During the two years following the pulpit was filled by Rev. Loren L. Knox, a former Lawrence University professor, who had been in Wisconsin for ten years. Rev. Knox later retired and has lived many years in Evanston, Ill.

His successor at Manitowoc for two years was Rev. James Lavelle, who in 1873 was transferred to Ripon and the next year withdrew from the conference. The wishes of the Manitowoc congregation were then gratified in the reappointment of Rev. L. N. Wheeler. He occupies a unique place in the history of Methodism in Wisconsin. Born in Waukesha June 28, 1839 he entered the ministry at the age of nineteen, his first charge being Two Rivers.

After his first Manitowoc ministry he was sent to China to take charge of the Foo Chow Mission, where he arrived after a long journey via Africa. He was instrumental in starting The Missionary Record and in a few years returned to America, Manitowoc again seeking and securing his valuable services. Later he preached at Lake Mills and Janesville, became the presiding elder of the Fond du Lac district in 1879, returned to China for three years and then preached at Beaver Dam, Bay View, Evansville and Fort Atkinson. In 1890 he went to China a third time in the interests of the American Bible Society and died at Shanghai April 9, 1893. He served as chaplain of the Fifty First Wisconsin during the Civil War and was the author of several works, among them “A Foreigner in China.”

Then came the ministry of Rev. Philo S. Bennett, also a leader in Methodism. Of New York birth he entered the ministry in 1837, coming to Milwaukee nine years later. After securing an advanced degree at Beloit he was made presiding elder of the Appleton district, acted as financial agent of Lawrence University and preached at Racine, Waukesha, Grand Rapids, New London and other places. He was a writer of power, having been a bitter opponent of slavery and in 1890 together with Rev. Lawson published the “History of Methodism in Wisconsin.” He died in Appleton after several years of retirement on April 5, 1895.

The church membership of St. Paul’s during his incumbency numbered sixty-six, but it was increased to seventy- two by his successor, Rev. J. W. Olmstead, who remained in Manitowoc two years. In recent years Rev. Olmstead has acted as agent of the Children’s Home Society. In 1878 Rev. C. N. Stowers commenced a two years’ pastorate, coming from Dakota Territory. He was born in Maine in 1835 and came to Wisconsin at the age of thirty-three years, acting for some years as professor of Lawrence University. He died some years since in Minneapolis. His successor, Rev. G. H. Moulton, who also remained but one year was a Canadian by birth and after his transfer from Manitowoc became the presiding elder of the Fond du Lac district, later removing to Nebraska.

He was followed by Rev. J.F. Tubbs for a year and then came Rev. H. Stone Richardson, another commanding figure in Wisconsin Methodism. Born in New York on June 27, 1827 he was early left upon his own resources and drifted to Albany, where he made his way through the State Normal School. For some years succeeding he traveled around the world, visiting Italy, Cuba, Texas and at one time being one of the Texas Rangers. In 1849 he visited California as a gold seeker and led a life of adventure for several years on the Pacific coast, serving for a time in the legislature. When the war broke out he enlisted as chaplain of a regiment and later became a major.

After the conflict was over he entered the ministry and held charges in many Wisconsin cities, retiring after a successful ministry at Oshkosh. He passed away after a short illness February 9, 1899. The next Methodist pastor was Rev. J.D. Foote, a man of Connecticut birth and a graduate of Lawrence University. He entered the field in 1858 and in 1860 was made a regent of the state university, later becoming the chaplain of the Fifteenth Wisconsin. After some years spent in Kansas and Texas he returned to Wisconsin in 1883 and came to Manitowoc from Fort Howard. Later he visited California for his health and died at San Diego July 29,1899.

His successor at Manitowoc was Rev. J. Wills, who is still in the active ministry and it was during his incumbency that the church was repaired and rededicated September 5, 1886. The conference then sent Rev. William Clark for a year, who later removed to Sharon, and was succeeded by Rev. A.L. Whitcomb, who in 1888 was transferred to Oshkosh. During that year the church was served by Revs. E.B. Service, J.N. Funston and J.D. Cole. By this time the membership had reached eighty and there were over one hundred children in the Sunday school. For two years following Rev. J.H. Tippet officiated as pastor, then for two years Rev. T.D. Williams acted as such, followed for a year by Rev. H. J. Duecker and then by Rev. 0.P. Christian for two years, Rev. C.F. McGaha for one year and Rev. J.E. Garrett for a year.

All of the last named six are still in the ministry in Wisconsin, except Rev. Duecker, transferred to the Southwest Kansas conference in 1896 and Rev. McGaha transferred to the East Ohio conference a year later.

In 1898 the present pastor, Rev. William Hooton, assumed his duties at Manitowoc and has been very successful in his ministry. The church numbers about eighty members and a thriving Sunday school with one hundred and thirty pupils is an important adjunct as is also a ladies society. An Epworth League was started in connection with the church and the convention of the Appleton district of the society was held in Manitowoc in June 1898.

The Woman’s Missionary Society, in existence for seven years, is an active association and the district convention of the society was held in the city in May 1897.


As said before missions were early established at various points in the county. In 1858 Rev. L.N. Wheeler was sent to Two Rivers and Gibson, being succeeded by Rev. Walter McFarlane in 1860, who also remained two years. By this time an $800 church had been erected at Gibson and two Sunday schools were maintained by the minister. Reverend McFarlane was an ardent worker born in 1819 in Glasgow, Scotland and entering the Wisconsin ministry in 1856. After twenty years of pastoral service he retired and passed away at Evansville, Feb. 9, 1896.

During the war services at Two Rivers were discontinued and the Maple Grove charge, formerly dependent on Manitowoc, was combined with that at Gibson. A.C. Elliot acted as supply in 1864 but the congregation there grew smaller steadily and a few years later both were dropped from the conference list. An effort was made in 1870 to revive the Two Rivers class by W. Rose, a local preacher but after a year or so the attempt was given up. The Gibson church was again active in 1883 occasional services being held by Rev. H. Stone Richardson. The pulpit was later filled for several years by supplies, among them W.C. Morris, J.N. Joslyn, Alfred de Ford, F. Robertson and George A. Cooke. In 1886 under the last named the congregation numbered thirty members and a Sunday school of seventy-five scholars was maintained but soon after the church was finally discontinued. Thus today St. Paul’s is the sole English speaking Methodist church in the county.

The Methodist church has always been expansive in character and thus it was not strange that an effort should early be made to establish its doctrines among the German immigrants who came to Wisconsin in such large numbers in the latter forties. Manitowoc and Sheboygan counties were made a working unit in this effort and as early as 1849 these two counties were on the Illinois Conference rolls although no regular pastor was sent to the region until 1851, when Rev. John Bischoff came to Manitowoc county and gathered together fourteen converts.

After his departure a year later Rev. H. Senn assumed charge, succeeded in 1854 by Rev. Frederick Kluckholm, the German Methodists in the two counties then being eighty-two in number. It was Rev. Kluckholm who in reality was the founder of the church in the village of Manitowoc, the small building which for many years was used by the congregation being constructed in his pastorate. In 1856 he was succeeded by Rev. H. Withorn.


By this time Sheboygan county had been taken from the circuit and efforts were made at the establishment of other churches in the county, notably in the town of Newton, a church being built there. In 1858 Rev. S. Schilfsgard assumed charge of the village work while Rev. C. Schneider looked after the interests of the country congregations.

Later however the circuit was consolidated, Rev. John Salzer serving for two years, Rev. John W. Roecker for two and Rev. F. Feistkorn and Rev. Richard Fickenscher for one year apiece, followed by Rev. C. Leiprandt’s two year pastorate, commencing in 1865. By this time the churches had been placed in the Chicago Conference and there were three congregations outside of the one in Manitowoc, having a large aggregate membership. This led to a division of the county in 1867 into two charges, Manitowoc and the Manitowoc circuit. In that year.Rev. C. Stellner was assigned to the former and Rev. Henry Overbeck to the latter, Rev. Stellner remaining two years while the latter was succeeded by Rev. Conrad Eberhardt. In 1869 Revs. Theodore Strauble and C. Eberhardt shared the duties, the former remaining two years but the latter being transferred elsewhere, leaving the circuit vacant for some time.

In 1871 the work was assigned to Revs. J. J. Sandsmeier and Conrad Lampert, the former taking the city charge. Rev. Lampert soon left, being succeeded by Rev. Michael Enzminger while the city church was put under the ministry of Rev. Carl F. Ahlert in 1873, he remaining three years. Rev. Charles Rakow served two years (1874-1876) in the circuit after a year’s interim being succeeded by Rev. E. Drescher, who also served two years. In the meantime Rev. B. Becker had become pastor of the city church and remained such until 1879 when Rev. J.J. Keller succeeded him for a year.

By this time the circuit had diminished in size, only the Newton church being left with fifty members, while the Manitowoc church numbered seventy-five. Rev. Peter Schaeffer had charge of the Newton church in 1879 but in 1880 the two were combined, Rev. Charles Irwert assuming charge. It was he, whose efforts brought about the construction of a new brick church home at the corner of South Ninth and Hamilton streets, the cornerstone of which was laid in July 1882. His successors have been Revs. Anton Meixner(1883—1885), Ernst Fitzuer (1885—1886), C. Roehl (1886—1891), A.F. Fuerstenau (1891—1895), J. F. Romoser (1895-1902) and Rev. J.F. Mueller the present pastor. The conference of the church met at Manitowoc in 1885 and again in 1900.