Parish History Chapter 2

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    1896 - The Second Fifty Years
    1907 - Third Cemetery Section Established
    1908 - Church Remodeled
    1925 - New Rectory Discussions
    1928 - Holy Hill Pilgrimage
    1945 - Parish Centennial

The Second Fifty years

St. Boniface Church, and old parsonage
St. Boniface Stone Church and Old Parsonage

The 1 January 1896 parish meeting held immediately after high mass met in the school and elected new Trustees. Nominations were for Peter Wolf, George Merkel, George Kohl, and John B. Braum; 64 votes were cast with Peter Wolf receiving 11 votes, George Merkel receiving 23, George Kohl receiving 9, and John B. Braun receiving 21. It looks as though the parsonage building committee appointed in 1895 took no action for at this meeting Father suggests a new parish house be built so that the pastor would have a comfortable and warm dwelling over the winter months. He also suggested the parish purchase furniture and other articles necessary for the kitchen.

At the 7 March 1897 parish meeting, parish members discussed the "old grave yard", the 1850 Cemetery, the western half, which had been previously discussed in the 1895 meeting and reported there were no documentation to stop entering people. It was stated that since then, on several occasions, diggers have come into contact with an old grave. The minutes went on to say "it cannot be determined with certainty where a grave has already been dug." A vote was taken to stop entering people with 34 in favor and 11 opposed.

It looks as though no action had been taken regarding the parsonage for at the 4 April 1897 parish meeting, those in attendance took a vote to determine if they were to replace the parish house or to repair it; 27 votes were cast to build a new parish house and 24 votes were in favor of repairing it. A taxation committee was formed consisting of Conrad Schmidt, George Betzhold, John Stuesser, Peter Leisenfelder, and William Hayes. It was decided that the wood would be hauled in the winter of 1897-98 but the taxation be made in the summer of 1897.

In 1904, for the amount of $464.00, the parish bought 4 acres of land from George Merkel. It was situated east and contiguous to the then church property.

In 1906, Father Joseph Wurm remained Pastor. Trustees were George Merkel and Henry Thoma. There were 82 families, 500 individuals, and 82 children were in school.


Third Cemetery Section Established

In 1907, a third cemetery was started contiguous to and to the east of the 1893 cemetery on the land that had been purchased from George Merkel. First internment was in 1903, the second in 1905, and in 1907 this portion of the parish cemetery was opened for general use.

This same year a maple floor was installed in the church and on the stairways leading to the choir loft. A coal heater ($12.00), kitchen stove ($25.00), and 12 brooms ($2.50) were purchased for the school house. Also purchased were 28 cords of wood and $36.00 in coal.


Church Remodeled

In 1908, a committee of John Baertlein, Frank Bezold, William Hayes, and John Stuesser was established to add a pitched roof over the church's existing flat roof and the bell tower moved from within to outside the church walls. This was completed in 1909 costing $3,800. The change in location of the bell tower provided much additional interior room and allowed for the construction of a choir loft although a choir loft was not identified as being constructed. A new front entrance was added. A similar change had been made to St. Mathias in Nabob in 1906 where the steeple was moved outside the church proper and a choir loft added.

There was one short roll of pews along each side wall and long row of center pews with a 2" wood divider much additional interior room and allowed for the construction of a choir loft although a choir loft was not identified as being constructed. Above and hanging from the ceiling were large light fixtures although they were not illuminated by electricity. A wide aisle separated each side pew from the center pew.

A small barn was erected and a shrine placed between the west 1850 cemetery and the east 1893 cemetery. This shrine remains there today.

Because of the extensive interior work necessary to move the bell tower, the interior of the church was upgraded. Based on a postcard picture of the interior of the church taken at about this time, the church had considerable statuary, some life size as did neighboring parishes. To the left of the sanctuary when looking to the sanctuary from the main church body was an altar dedicated to Mary containing her statue.

Immediately to the right of this altar was the baptismal fountain. On a pedestal affixed to the sanctuary's left front corner was the life size statue of Jesus and on the sanctuary's right corner a life size statue of Mary. To the right of this statue was a second side altar. Along the wall and in front of the right side altar was a statue of the Pieta, with pedestal some 7' tall. A small statue of St. Joseph holding the child Jesus was affixed to the wall between the Pieta and side altar. Compared to the side altars, the main altar in the sanctuary was less outstanding but beautiful in its own right.

In 1912 a new communion railing was installed ($202.00) and the altar repainted ($78.61). This year required 41 cords of wood. William Schulteis hauled coal although the amount was not identified.

Up to this time horse and buggy were the means used to get to and return from church services. Winter months could be very cold. George Schuster for the Lone Star Tavern and Joe Gebhard for the dance hall each had a long horse shed where the horses could be secured out of the weather. These horse sheds were used when attending services. The sheds were protected with a roof and three sides that were closed. The front side was open. Considering seating arrangements inside the church, it is quite probable the same family horses were secured in the same stalls each Sunday. At about this time, possibly a little later, the old seminary building was used to store the pastor's car.

Although not mentioned in parish records, sometime before 1945, possibly 1909 because of all the stone work, a confessional was constructed on the left side directly under the second window from the back. This required cutting a hole in the wall and extending the wall out. There were three stalls with the priest located in the center. Above each receiving stall, on the left and the right, was a small white light. When pressure was put on the kneeler, the light became energized and that was the signal the stall was in use. It was customary in the 1940s for the school children to go to confession once a week, usually on Thursday afternoon. Next to the left third window on the north side was the outside entrance to the underground basement located beneath the sacristy.

In July 1915, with the departure of Father Wurm (died 1 March 1934 in New Munster) and the arrival of Reverend Father John J. Stehling from St. Henry in Watertown, charge of St. Mary Mission was transferred to St. Hubert in Hubertus. Father Stehling was born 30 May 1884 in Milwaukee and ordained 25 March 1911. This was his second assignment. Trustees were William Wolf and George Bezhold. There were 100 families and 52 children in school.

In 1889, with the arrival of Sister Bonificia nee Beck, School Sisters of St. Francis continually staffed the school with the exception of the years 1918-1924. In 1918 and continuing through 1924, Sisters of St. Agnes from Fond du Lac taught the school children. Father Stehling preferred this order.

In 1915 parish records show the Christian Mothers Society held a Bazaar and raised $2,164.58. The committee in charge of the event was composed of Mrs. Mary Steusser, Ms. Odelia Hauser, and Ms. Anna Hayes. It was also reported that in this year the school building caught fire but was not extensively damaged and was repaired.

In 1918 a roadway was laid from Freistadt Road south to the barn separating cemetery sections B and C. This same year an artesian well was dug 50 feet north northwest of the rectory.

During these times, school buses had yet to be invented and few parish families owned cars. While some families were in possession of cars, the rigorous work schedules of the farmers did not allow them to transport their children to school. Not that education was more important to children then than it is now, but the children walked to school to obtain their education, some from as far away as two and three miles or more.

In 1920 a bazaar was held netting $3,736. The committee consisted of Father Stehling, Mary Stuesser, Aldelia Hauser, and Anna Hayes.

With the ever increasing growth of the parish, consideration was given to starting a new parish in South Germantown at Broadway (also called Johns' Street now Park Avenue) and North Fond du Lac Road (Highway 55, now 145). Although discussed, no action was taken.


New Rectory Discussed

Next came discussions for building a new rectory to replace the rectory built forty years previous. The plan was approved in late 1924 at the parish and diocesan level. It was subsequently found that the approval at the parish was not unanimous for a small number of parishioners petitioned to stop its construction. Bickering and animosity among parish members ensued. For this and for another reason, the parish was placed under interdict. An interdict is an ecclesiastical punishment where the Diocese removes the pastor and no one is allowed to perform religious services. The bishop came to say the last mass and told the parishioners why the church was being closed. He then proceeded to lock all exterior doors to the church and took the key. Sister Helen Schulteis remembers her mother, who she had never seen cry, cried as she left the church that day. This had to have been the low point for the parish. The interdict lasted to late summer of 1925 when priests from Holy Hill were allowed to say mass.

In 1925 the parish is 80 years old. The prior 30 years (1895-1925) were a quiet time. During this period, only maintenance of the facility was necessary. Efforts during this phase centered on the internal functioning of the growing parish and ended with the parish looking to its heart, to again identify who it was, and to become one.

After Father Stehlings untimely departure to St. Patrick's in Elkhorn in 1925, Reverend Father John M. Herriges arrived from St. Lawrence in Jefferson as his fifth assignment and the School Sisters of St. Francis returned to the parish. The sisters are identified in Exhibit 8.

The parish is extremely indebted to these kindly ladies. They devoted their lives to the children of the parish receiving but pennies for their efforts. They instilled within the children a religious understanding and respect for life which permeated throughout the years.


Holy Hill Pilgrimage

Father Herriges was born 17 May 1871 in St. Michael and ordained 24 June 1896 in Collegeville, Minnesota. During these years, 1920s-1930s, on the first Sunday in May, the parish would make a pilgrimage to Holy Hill, meeting at the bottom and proceeded up the Hill, stopping at each station along the Via Cruis arriving at top of the sacred Hill where devotion was made to Our Lady, heart of mankind, mother of the prophet Jesus Son of the Father, parental mother to all.

In 1931, Reverend Father Joseph Maria Keller arrived, remaining two years and departing in 1933. Father Keller was born 1 February 1882 in Aschen, Germany and ordained in Dallas on 22 June 1913. This same year the rectory was replaced and located just west of the original building. The original building was moved around the corner on Creek View where it was enlarged and became an area home.

Reverend Father Alexander Karrels (1933-1944) joined the parish from St. Lawrence in St. Lawrence on 1 July 1933. This was his third assignment. Father Karrels was born in Port Washington and ordained 28 August 1920. It is said Father Karrels was instrumental in changing the name of the community from the German name Goldenthal to the Americanized name Goldendale. Father retired after this assignment, died in 1960, and is buried St. Mary Cemetery, Belgium.

In 1935 trustees were William Baertlein and Eugene Stuesser. The parish had 58 children in school.

Men of the parish joined the Holy Name Society. Women joined the Christian Mothers Society. These societies were the life blood of the parish, strengthening the bond between the individual families and the parish. The Christian Mothers Society was in actuality, "mothers" to the parish. Besides nurturing their children who were in school, a week before school started these same mothers prepared the school building to receive their children. It was customary when a person died, those who attended the funeral were served a meal before they departed. The Christian Mothers Society prepared the meal. They held bake sales and other functions to raise money for needs of the parish. Both societies joined together to hold the summer church picnic, the major parish fund raising event.

In 1941, trustees were Allen Schulteis as Secretary and Herman Wolf as Treasurer. A garage was built behind the rectory and in 1953 it was expanded.

In 1944, Reverend Father Raymond G. Welter came to the parish as his second assignment from St. Anne's in Milwaukee and remained several months. Father Welter was born 11 February 1911 in Jefferson, ordained 6 June 1936 and died in 1982. Father departed to Immaculate Conception in Juneau. He was followed by Father John A. Risch (1944-1945). Father Risch came from St. Mary in Kansasville as his fourth assignment. He was born 14 June 1897 in Milwaukee, ordained 31 January 1926, died in 1958 and is buried in Holy Cross Cemetery, Milwaukee.


Parish Centennial

In 1945, trustees were George Hauser as Secretary and Oliver Peter Schulteis as Treasurer. Consultors were: William D. Wolf, Bernard Stuettgen, and Ambrose Wiedmeyer. There were five Catholic societies represented in the congregation: the Holy Name Society, Christian Mothers Society, the Young Ladies Sodality, St. Cecelia Choir, and the Ushers' Society.

Officers in the Societies:

Holy Name: President - John Schmitt, Secretary - Peter Neureuther, Treasurer -Andrew Steger
Christian Mothers: President - Genevieve Mehre, Vice-President - Mrs. Mary Gebhard,
Secretary/Treasurer - Mrs. Virginia Herbert
Young Ladies: Prefect - Rosemary Baertlein, Secretary - Winnefred Walterlin, Treasurer - Alice Hauser
St. Cecelia Choir: Sister Mary Kathreen director, members: Rosemary Baertlein, Betty Hayes, Mary Hayes, Winnefred Walterlin, Marie Merkel, Odeal (Hauser) Walterlin, Herman Wolf, Walter Stephan, Earl Klippel, Cornelius Walterlin, Gordon Wolf, Herbert Klein, Kenneth Klein

The parish consisted of 94 families, 476 individuals with 59 children in school. In 1945, the parish celebrated its centennial jubilee, this based on the construction of the first log church in 1845. In celebration, the outer roof of the church was replaced and the church redecorated. A Pontifical Mass was celebrated.

In this same year a Centennial Picnic was held. The picnic committee was composed of George Hauser, Peter Neureuther, Allen Schulteis, Ally Schuster, Ambrose Steger, Ervin Theisen, Herb Walterlin, Ambrose Wiedmeyer, and Herman Wolf. The festivities raised $13,309.82. Some of the activities were: bingo, dice wheel, beer stand, lunch stand, ticket jar, ice cream stand, cane stand, dinners, "26" game, fancy work stand, sale of beef tickets, money pitch stand, nickelodeon, milk bottle, smack the axis, popcorn stand, horse shoe, fish pond, and centennial books. The dice wheel, milk bottles, and money pitch stand were borrowed from the Germantown Fire Department. Some of this memorabilia can be seen at the Germantown Historical Society grounds in Dheinsville.


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