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OF ST. JOHN NEW FANE
The year was 1859…Wisconsin had been a state for just eleven
years. Abraham Lincoln had just been elected President, and the
Civil War was just two years away.
A settlement sprung up in South East Fond Du Lac County called
The village was founded by Andrew Eble, who came from Milwaukee, in
1855, purchased the water-power and built a saw-mill. He was
accidentally shot on Christmas, 1859. Adjacent
to Eblesville was the town of New Fane, named after a town in New
York from which the “Yankees” had come. The
New Fane Post Office, established on the line between Sections 29
and 30 in 1851, by T. S. Wilcox, was moved to Eblesville in 1875.
1875, the New Fane Post Office, which had been established in
1852, was moved to Section 55 and absorbed Eblesville completely.
village consists of a saw and feed mill, two stores, and the usual
number of shops.
1862 Town Plat Map. Center of circle is where St. John was built.
of the new settlers in this area who had emigrated from Germany
wished to start a Lutheran Congregation. In 1858, August Oppermann,
Carl Bleck, Frederick Schultz, August Lubach, Christian Bilgow,
William Backhaus, Henry Heberer and a man named Heise, wrote to
the Rev. Peter Dicke who was serving Immanuel Church in Hocheim, a
congregation 36 miles away, expressing their desire to begin a
congregation in New Fane. Immanuel Church was located three miles
south of Theresa on the Hocheim Road. Despite the difficulties
involved in such a long trip, the Pastor agreed to travel to New
1864 the first parsonage was completed. Minutes from a June 24,
1864 meeting that was translated from German states,
"Meeting was opened at 9:00 AM with a prayer. Mr. Bardelz's
time as a trustee was over and they elected Mr. Oppermann as
trustee for three years. A member proposed to have school only
in the morning for the summer because the parents need the
children for working in the fields and it is too hot in the
school for the children. This was accepted". November 4,
1864 minutes reflect, "They checked the bills and receipts
from the last quarter. The pastor should get more money because
he has not enough to take care of his family, and he needs 50
dollars for his debt. It was decided to give him 50 dollars and
also give him 50 dollars more the following year. Because Mr.
________didn't go to church even after many invitations to come
to church and meetings, it was decided to excommunicate
The minutes of the November 4, 1867 meeting were, "They
opened with a prayer and a song. Mr. Backhaus wasn't finished
with the receipts from last year and they adjourned it until
next Sunday. The Pastor should get more money because he hasn't
enough to feed his family. He should get 50 bushels of potatoes
instead of 30. Instead of wheat he should get meat. Instead of
hay he should get money, 40 dollars for wheat, 20 dollars for
hay, and the meat should get paid with money. He should get paid
3 weeks before Christmas. The members have to bring wood for
pastor and the church".
The four years that Rev. Krumsieg spent at our church saw the
congregation grow! He baptized 52 infants, confirmed 47 young
people, and performed 17 marriages and 8 burials. He accepted a
call to Minnesota in 1867.
Next came The Rev. A. Grossberger who had belonged to the
Buffalo Synod church nearby and brought many families with him
after he joined the Missouri Synod.
Notes from March 9, 1869 read, "They came to the decision
that whoever didn't give wood to the Pastor has to pay $1.00,
and all outstanding money has to be paid by October 1st."
He later accepted a call to Buffalo, New York. His energetic
successor was Rev. G.K Schilling who came in 1870 and who was
responsible for the building of our present stone church.
Notes from September 7, 1870 read, "Pastor Schilling was
elected as president, Mr. Schultz as clerk. They decided to
build a fence, to buy a lock for Pastor's house. Communion
should be in the morning, members of the congregation may go
twice for communion, non-members can not go. What the
congregation decides can not be changed until the congregation
changes it. Pastor's house and barn should be white washed with
limestone and sand. Church service should start at 10:00 am in
He served until 1888, when he was called to Sullivan, Wisconsin.
On December 29, 1865 Christian Fredrich Brockhause, bought the
property across the street from the church and were active
members in the church. Christian's son Karl, was picked to build
the stone church as he had been trained as a stone mason in
After a special meeting held on November 1, 1870 the
congregation passed the following resolution.
1. A church will be built of boulders.
2. Every member donate all the labor he is able to perform.
3. The width of the building be 36 feet and length of the
building 60 feet, and a suitable steeple be built
4. Stone for the building purposes be hauled by all the members.
Minutes from a December 1, 1871 meeting reflect, "It was
decided to borrow 500 dollars to pay Mr. Barrick the carpenter.
Children from non-members who wish to go to school here have to
pay 50 cents monthly. The third child is free. A cemetery lot
for an adult 12 years and up should be 5 dollars and for
children under 12 years, 3 dollars.
So the church was built in 1871 from the native stone found in
the local Kettle Moraine area formed by the glaciers.
glaciers also created the rolling hills and beautiful valleys that
make the setting for the church so outstanding. It is one of two
outstanding examples in Wisconsin of the Celtic Gothic
architecture of Ireland and Scotland. The members of the
congregation within a year at a cost of $4000.00 erected the
building and paid it off in three years. Because of the cost of
the church a 1200 lb. Copper alloy bell, was first purchased in
1886 from the Stuckstede Co. of St. Louis for $218.00. The bell
was to be rung for "The opening of all regular services on
Sunday and Holy Days and on the Saturdays and the eve of principal
The following minutes take from past meetings show that on
November 11, 1872 "The accounts were checked by Mr. Schultz,
Mr. Heberer and Mr. Buss and found to be in order. A house for the
teacher should be built. It will be 22 feet wide, 32 feet long, 14
feet high, the kitchen 18 feet wide and 20 feet long.
Minutes of the December 2, 1872 minutes read, "The
congregation should buy 4 curtains for the church windows. The
wood for Pastor and church has to be delivered by Febuary 1st.
Boys until the age of 18 have to sit in front of the church.
Members have to take turns tending the furnace. Every quarter year
the receipts should be checked over. Whoever is not present at the
election may not have anything to say about future business
Minutes of two following meetings read, "Febuary 2, 1874 Mr.
Heberer sold 1/2 acre of land to the congregation for $50 dollars.
Mr. Bartelt was received as a new member. Lime should be bought
and shingles for the roof."
"March 16, 1874 accounts audited. English lessons of 4 hours
per week should be given."
A stable and wagon shed was built for the horses in 1888, and a
chapel organ purchased in 1900 from Wilcox and White for $150.00.
The organ was very hard to pump however, and a electric blower was
installed in 1933.
April 10, 1890 the minutes of that church minutes found that
because of less enrollment, the school money wasn't enough. Every
child should bring $1.50, the poor children .50 cents. It was also
decided that whoever has a saloon or opens one will be excluded
from membership. Or, if you allow people to get drunk or organize
a dance you will also be excluded.
June 18, 1891 the congregation decided the Mission Festival should
be on the 2nd Sunday in August. Because of so many poor students
who cannot pay, the Pastor wants to collect money at weddings and
baptisms. This was granted.
In 1902 a new minister arrived, Rev. H. Ohldag. His household
furnishings were delayed so the Brockhaus family took them in.
Their family consisted of three adults and three children. Rev.
Ohldag lived in the Brockhaus home for two or three weeks.
Rev. Ohldag came from Hurley, Wisconsin and was installed by Rev.
M. Otto on February 16, 1902. Rev. Ohldag established a church
choir, a Sunday School, a Ladies Aid Society, and a Young Peoples
Society. Pastor Ohldag planted the beautiful maple trees at St.
John and laid out the cemetary on the south side of the church.
Many other improvements were made between 1902-7 including a
addition of an altar niche, interior wall paintings done on each
side of the niche, the replacement of plain glass with stained
glass at a cost of $2000.00, the installation of a metal ceiling,
and the replacement of the kerosene lamps and wood burning stoves
with electric lights and steam heating. A hardwood floor was
installed and the woodwork refinished. The roof was reshingled and
the interior metal ceiling was installed.
In 1907 Rev. Ohldag accepted a call to Chicago, Ill.
In 1907, we saw the arrival of Rev. C.J. Gutekunst and his family
of seven. He was installed by Rev. W. Greve and Rev. Ohldag on
February 24, 1907. Pastor Gutekunst began a preaching station in
Campbellsport which was later organized as the Emmanuel
Congregation. St. John also helped to found Trinity Church in
Dundee. Pastor Gutekunst served our congregation for 33 years
until his death.
August 3, 1958 the Rev. Arthur A. Haupt was ordained in Arlington,
Wisconsin and on August 17, 1958 he was installed here at St.
John. Pastor Haupt reopened the school and was active in the
educational program. In 1969 he accepted a call to Good Shepherd
Church in Gilroy, California, but he and his wife returned to
Wisconsin where he was again installed on February 15, 1970. He
served until 1979.
1978-1979 Pastor Charles W. Reehl began a year of vicarage at St.
James Lutheran Church in Necedah, Wisconsin and St. Paul Lutheran
Church in New Miner, Wisconsin. He received and accepted a call to
be Pastor of the same congregations where he vicared. The last two
years he had been Missionary-At-Large in the towns of Neenah and
Menasha, WI. He was installed in June of 1984.
Rev. Mark Eckert
Installed at St. John June 24,
1990, Pastor Eckert attended Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft.
Wayne, Indiana for two years before being assigned to a vicarage
at a vacant congregation just south of Fresno, California.
Completing the requirements for his Master of Divinity degree,
Pastor Eckert was accepted as a candidate and ordained into the
public ministry in 1986. He served in the metropolitan Detroit
area until accepting the call to St. John New Fane. Pastor Eckert
and his wife Luann and children were a good fit for St. John, as
well as the surrounding communities. Serious illness has made 2009
a challenging year for Pastor Eckert while he has continued to
lead St. John through a 150th Anniversary year long celebration.
Of our School
1866 the congregation attempted to start a Christian Day School,
but trained teachers were hard to find. From 1867 to 1873 the
Pastors’ taught the children. After that time teachers’ were
called, serving in conjunction with the Pastors’. The classes
were originally taught in the old church building until a log
school building was erected in 1879. In 1921 another school
building was built in the traditional “Prairie School”
style. That school was closed in 1940, re-opened in 1959, and
closed again in 1963. That “Prairie School” no longer
stands. In 1998 a brand new Fellowship Hall has been erected
which holds our church offices, Sunday school, kitchen,
classrooms, and of course the beautiful hall.
old school bell, now stands between our outdoor pavillion and the
fellowship hall and is rung when services are held in the
John congregation of New Fane was instrumental in planting three
other area congregations, Emmanuel in Campbellsport, Trinity in
Dundee, and Pilgrim in West Bend. These congregations have been
blessed by God through the years and remain established today in
their communities. This gives evidence of God’s gracious
activity among his people over the years in the new Fane area.
To God alone be the Glory!!!!
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