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Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin
HISTORY OF GERMAN METHODISM ON TOWN OF FOREST
by Theodore Dilling October 1948
In the year 1852 the Rev. Friedrich Kopp of the German Methodist Church came from West Bend to the City of Fond du Lac and to the Town of Forest, Fond du Lac County, where he held church services in the home of Jacob Dilling. His first sermon preached was a discourse on the Parable of the Prodigal Son. He was assisted by the Rev. Friedrich Muelke. All travel was done on horseback. The district included Forest, the City of Fond du Lac, the Towns of Friendship and Eldorado, and a number of out of the County places. In the Town of Forest services were continued for about two year. in Jacob Dilling's house. The permission was gained to meet in the public school building in School District Number One which was constructed of 1ogs in 1854. The Rev. F. Schafer had charge of the Field. Joining the church that year were Jacob Dilling, his wife Katherine, Henry Mueller, Margaretha Heinzel and others.
The first quarter1y conference was held in the school house on Oct.28, 1854. At this time the congregation was organized. Jacob Dilling and John Krueger were elected as Trustees and the matter of erecting a church building were discussed. At a later date one acre of land was bought in Section 8, Town of Forest. The building was a frame building and erected in the year 1858 and dedicated in the month of October that year. A Sunday School was organized at this time and Henry Mueller was chosen its first superintendent.
The leading men of the congregation at this time were Jacob Dilling, John Rau, Henry Mueller, John Schmidt, Jost Mueller, Jost Bloecher, Henry Seibel, Jacob Bloecher, John Krueger Carl Bandelow, Gust Baganz, Jost Immel and Jost Achenbach.
The Forest Mission was united with Fond du Lac and Friendship missions until 1873 when it built a parsonage and had its own pastor until 1881 when it was again joined to the Fond du Lac circuit; in the year of 1887, the congregation bought an organ to lead the singing. Mrs. Theo Dilling was the organist for 9 years when she was succeeded by Miss Emma Petri. In 1894 the building was remodeled A steeple, bell, new windows and a new roof were added. In 1935 services were discontinued and the Church and lot were sold and the members united with the Merrill Avenue Church in Fond du Lac.
The congregation maintained during its existence a very active Sunday School and from 1885 on, also an Epworth League Society.. Seven of its young men entered the ministry of the Church. The Rev. George F. Dilling in the year 1873, who is still living, hale and hearty at the age of 100 years, Jacob Mueller, Henry Mueller, George Mueller, Henry Schmidt and Hugo Woehl all entered the ministry, This certainly is a good record for so small a congregation.
I now will add the names as I remember them of the pastors who were pioneers in the work of establishing Methodism among the German immigrants in Fond du Lac County. Heading the list is Friedrich Kopp, then Friedrich Muelke, George Haas, Jacob Haas, Charles Schuler, F. W. Conrad, Peter Heinners, Peter Schafer, Christians Wentz, Heinrich Wagner and others. The names of the pastors who served the Forest congregation from 1873 to 1881 are as follows: F. R. Klenzky, L. E. Schneider, Nickolas Enfler and Phillip Wacker. After this the mission was united with Fond du Lac and the same pastor attended both charges. These names are given in the records of the German M. E. Church of Fond du Lac.
In the year 1887 the Forest Mission was again added to the Fond du Lac Mission and remained a part of the Fond du Lac Circuit until 1900 when it was again detached and Plymouth, Sheboygan County, was added to it and the two charges remained together until about 1924 when the Forest Mission was again joined to the Fond du Lac Mission. Following are names of pastors who lived in Forest from 1900 to 1924: W. F. Beyer, H. F. Schmidt, J. J. Moore, J. L. Sochum, H. Spoonholtz, Joseph Mueller and F. R. Klenzkey. After the year 1935 many of the members having, moved away, the work there was discontinued and those remaining joined the Merrill congregation in Fond du Lac.
By Theodore Dilling, 1948 October
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** Ruth Shaw Worthing, The History of Fond du Lac County, as told by its Place-Names, 1976.
** The History of Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, Chicago: Western Historical Company, 1880.
** Portrait and Biographical Album of Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, Chicago: Acme Publishing Company, 1889.
** A. T. Glaze, Incidents and Anecdotes of Early Days and History of Business in the City and County of Fond du Lac from Early Times to the Present, Fond du Lac: P. B. Haber Printing Company, 1905.
** Maurice McKenna, ed., History of Fond du Lac County, Chicago: S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1912.
** Wisconsin Volunteers: War of the Rebellion 1861-1865
** Plat Book of Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, C. M. Foote & Co. 1893