Oconto County WIGenWeb Project
Collected and posted by RITA
This site is exclusively for the free access of individual researchers.
* No profit may be made by any person, business or organization through publication, reproduction, presentation or links
to this site

HISTORY OF GILLETT 1856 - 1976
Written by Marie Darrow
Compositor - Ben Penkivich, for the Gillett Public Library
Scanned and contributed by Jennifer Bumann
Family Site  Researching Oconto County surnames
JOHN, DEADRICH, CAIN and ROSA

 UNITED METHODIST CHURCH

(Page 20)
    The first Methodist preaching in Gillett occurred in the summer of 1867, when Rev. John Banta of the Pensaukee Circuit came and preached occasionally in the Little Red School House. Rev. Hugh Tarwood came in the fall of 1869, and stayed three years. During his pastorate he held revival meetings and organized the first Sunday School class. The first church building was begun in 1871, on the corner of Birch and Main. Rodney Gillett donated the site, and had charge of the building and finances.

    The present church was built in 1906. A parsonage was built in 1919 on what is now the parking lot. Records show that the first Ladies Aid Society was organized in 1895, and the women worked together under this title until 1940 when they became a part of the Womens' Society of Christian Service, and today are known as United Methodist Women.

    In 1939 the Methodist Episcopal Church merged with the Methodist Episcopal Church South and Methodist Protestant Church and became known as The Methodist Church.

    On Nov. 21, 1966, a fire broke out, causing extensive damage to the interior of the church. The fire came shortly after the congregation had approved plans for an addition to the church. Despite the blow, the addition was begun, together with renovation of the sancturary. After the fire, worship services were held in the former E. U. B. Church. The Sunday School Christmas program took place at St. John's Catholic fellowship hall and the men of the church served their 35th annual Lumberjack Supper at St. John's Lutheran Church.

    On June 2, 1903 a small group met and organized for the purpose of building an Evangelical Church. Previously, Evangelical services had been held in various homes with a minister from Bonduel conducting services In German. The congregation purchased land on East Washington Street and built their first church in 1904. A parsonage was constructed in 1914. In 1928 the church was remodeled and by 1935 all debts were paid and the future looked bright.

    Then, on January 19, 1937, about an hour after Sunday School Board members departed from a meeting, a fire broke out. Soon the building was ablaze and the church was completely destroyed by the fire. The night was so cold that a fireman who stood in one spot too long found his boots frozen to the ground. A second disaster saddened the people when their pastor, Rev. Kunz, who was helping to tear down some of the remaining walls to prepare for rebuilding, fell from the scaffold and broke his hip. He was taken to a Green Bay hospital, where a month later he died.

Following the fire, services were held in the Baptist church until a new building was completed, late in 1937. The church had an active Ladies Aid
(Page 21)


(original photo quality)
WOMEN'S SOCIETY OF CHRISTIAN SERVICE 1945
Later to be known as United Methodist Women

Third row, left to right: Mrs. Robert-Jewell, Mrs. Antone Kristenson, Mrs, C. V. Dwson, Mrs. Art Amend, Mrs. Huldoh Barnes, Mrs. Charles Severance, Mrs. Art Rahn, Mrs. Harold Kolderup. Mrs. Ben Van Haren, Mrs. Nick Stromer, Mrs. George Schall, Mrs. Ben bawson. Mrs. Eric John, Mrs. Richard Kingston, Mrs. Henry Neinstedt, Mrs. Robert Miniley.

left to right: Mrs. John Stiekney, Mrs. George Sohr, Mrs. James Sorenson, Mrs. Henry Kitchenmaster, Mrs. Joe Ankerson, Mrs Tony Pasterski, Mrs. Stanley Korotev.

First row, left to right: Mrs. Tom Lindow and daughter, Mrs. Wesley Darrow and son. Mrs. Andrew Shier. Mrs. Wesley Scutt, Mrs. Woodke, and Mrs. Earl Whiting.

This picture was taken at the home of Mrs. R. L. Kingston, February 6, 1945. The Reverend C. V. Dawson was the pastor on that date.

(Page 22)
    Society, but in early years, many of the ladies did not drive so the husbands were enrolled as associate members and drove their wives to the meetings. Later the Aid was renamed "Busy Workers" and operated under this name until 1967. A group entitled Womens' Society of World Service was active in supporting the mis-sions of the Church.

    In 1946 the Evangelical denomination merged with the United Brethren and the congregation became known as Tabor Evangelical United Brethren. On June 1, 1967 the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren joined together to become the Tabor United Methodist Church, with services now being held in the enlarged former Methodist church. Soon it was decided to build a new, larger parsonage on South Elm Avenue.  The old parsonage was sold and moved away, and its former site is now a parking lot.

    In the fall of 1967, the new congregation celebrated the 100th year of Methodism in Gillett.  In 1974 the Advance Methodist Church merged with the Gillett church and services are held at the "Advance Chapel" from April thru November.
Methodist - Episcopal Church

II.  ST. JOHN'S CATHOLIC CONGREGATION

A Catholic Mission, served by priests from Keshena and Stiles, was organized in Gillett in 1872
(original photo quality)
Interior of St. John's Catholic Church
 or 1873.  Services were held in the homes of Catholic families about twice a month, when the men of the congregation would drive to Stiles or Keshena to pick up a priest.  This was a two-day trip, and for many of the families who attended the services it was also a 2-day trip, illustrating the devotion of the early settlers to their religion.

(Page 23)
    In 1887 the first Catholic Church was built on Main Street. In 1907 the church was moved to its present location on South Garden Avenue and a rectory was built for resident priests. The church building has been remodeled several tines since being moved, and a beautiful outdoor shrine was added in 1958.

    In 1962 the congregation celebrated its Diamond Jubilee, which coincided with the Silver Jubilee of the then pastor, Rev. Michael Bablitch. In honor of the Jubilee, a new alter was constructed and the entire church was redecorated.

III.  ST. JOHN'S LUTHERAN CHURCH

    As early as 1886, Lutheran Missionaries occasionally came to Gillett on horseback over Indian trails, and preached in the village schoolhouse. In 1892 the first Lutheran Church, a frame building was constructed on the corner of Main and McKenzie. Pastor Gottflied Oepke was the first resident pastor. A parsonage was built during the pastorate of Rev. Klemm, who served until 1901, when he took a leave of absence to go to Germany. His brother-in-law, Rev. Gerlich, came to Gillett to substitute for him. For some reason, Rev. Klemm never returned and Rev. Gerlach stayed for 11 years. During this time a schoolhouse was built, the parsonage enlarged and a tract of land was purchased for a cemetery.

(Page 24
    In 1912 Rev. Gerlach was succeeded by Rev. Kumpf, who served as pastor for 43 years until his death in 1955. A new church was constructed in 1915, and in 1921 the congregation voted to hold services in English as well as in German. The Ladies Aid Society was organized in 1902, and the women continue to be active today under the title of American Lutheran Church Women.

    A new parsonage was built in 1959 and in 1973 the church was extensively re-modeled and a spacious enclosed entrance constructed. A system of chimes was installed in the steeple, a memorial to a former Mayor of the City, the late A. E. Hanstedt.
 

(original photo quality)
St. John's tower and clock, a 
familiar sight at the end 
of Main Street.

(original photo quality)
Old St John's Lutheran Church and parsonage.

(Page 25)

IV.     THE BAPTIST CHURCH

    In 1914 the Baptist congregation, was incorporated in Gillett, and in 1915 trick church was constructed on East Main Street. The first church was a mission of the German Conference at Pound. Members of the congregation drove to Pound on one Saturday a month to get the minister, who stayed all day Sunday taken back on Monday. On other Sundays, members conducted Sunday School classes.

    In 1948 the local church terminated its mission status and became independ-. For a time, as the congregation increased in size, they were able to hire ir first full time pastor, Rev. Paul Twist. A home on South Birch was pur-and remodeled for a parsonage. Recently a Service Guild was organized by the women of the church, to do missionary work.

    In 1970, land was purchased and a beautiful new church building was con-vcted 1 mile North of Gillett. In the summer of 1975, construction was begun • fellowship building next to the new church.

V. ASSEMBLY OF GOD

A more recent addition to the community is the Assembly of God. In 1949 a of people organized and incorporated under the name of Assembly of God, a Church Society of Gillett, Wisconsin. A church and parsonage were constructed on East First Street and Pastor Timm and his family came to Gillett to minister at the new congregation. Over the years an active young people's society has grown,  and many fine musical and evangelistic groups have presented special programs at the church.

VI. SEVENTH DAY ADVENTIST

For many years, the Seventh Day Adventlsts held Sabbath services in a small frame building on County "H" near Hintz. Following the merger of the Methodist and E U B congregations, the former E U B church on East Washington Street was purhased and remodeled by the Seventh Day Adventist congregation and worship services are held there each Saturday. Special musical and evangelistic services are presented at the church from time to time. An addition to the church with a new entrance is now under construction and nearing completion.


History of Gillett Table of Contents Page

Back to the Oconto County Home Page