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Congregational Church  St. Paul's Evangelical (Canton)   Ide, Daniel B.  McKay, J.W.  Meyers, E.

Congregational Church
P4. Our Church History
........The First Congregational Church was organized on Saturday, August 17, 1861, when eight persons gathered at the home of Thomas Dillon for this purpose. Rev. Alberoni Kidder, pastor and organizer of the First Congregational Church in Eau Claire And organizer of many Congregational curches in the area, acted as a moderator. As had been distinctive of Congregational churches from their earliest beginnings in England late in the 16th century, the seven charter members agreed upon a creed which expressed their common faith in God and covenanted with God and one another to "walk together as a church of Jesus Christ." The charter members were: Thomas Dillon, Samuel M. Newton, Mary C. Newton, Mrs. Sarah B. Waste, Luther Eager, Mrs. Abagail Anne Eager, and Miss Hannah Ann Waste. Four of them presented letters of transfer form other churches and thre united by professon of faith. Early that fall the American Home Missionary Society sent Rev. J.M. Hayes to be pastor of both the Mondovi and Durand Congregations. Beginning work on November 1, he lived in Durand and preached a third of the time in Mondovi. Church services were held in the schoolhouse along with "other denominations" and in some of the homes of the congregation. Fourteen persons were received into membership in the church during the first two years: Robert Nelson and his wife, Almira Mrs. Eudora Knapp Charles Waste .William Armour LIvy Waste Miss Catherine E. Hayes Nathaniel Eager Miss Ann Eliza Howe Dutee B. Allen and his wife Annis W. Thomas B. Fisher and his wife Eliza J. Newhorn Mrs. Mathilda Armour.    back to top

St Paul's Evangelical, Canton 1920
The following was transcribed as written:

The History of our church which was read at the 50th Anniversary Aug. 22 - 1920 Ps. 1.2,3.6.7 O come, let us sing unto the Lord, let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving and make a joyful noise unto Him with psalms. For the Lord is a great God and a great King above all gods. O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord our maker. For He is our God, and we are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand. So beloved let us recall that 60 - 70 years ago this locality was settled by a number of German Lutherans who broke the trail, cleared the land, and farmed it. They had plenty to eat and drink, but couldn't find food for the soul, as there was no church nor church tower to be seen anywhere. As the farmers homesteaded and neighbors grew closer by they found Lutherans in Buffalo, Dunn and Pepin Counties. After their first harvests they had plenty to eat and wear with no fear of want. Sorrowfully they kept thinking of the churches of their fatherland, the Word of God preached there in Ev. Lutheran sermons on Sunday. Soon Luth. Pastors arrived from Minn. In 1860 Rev. E.A. (W)inter Minn. preached in Albany, Pepin Co. and Fall Creek. The next year 1861 the Rev. Henry Grupe Minn. took over Durand and Albany. In 1862 Rev. Theo Krumm(s)ig came over several times to preach and baptize etc. In 1863 Rev. Strieter of Portage preached at Durand and vicinity, but not installed. There was a shortage of Pastors - but in 1864 Rev. W.J. Friedrick was installed and served Word and Sacrament at Durand and near by neighbors. Under his leadership many small preaching stations were started in Buffalo and Pepin Co. and parishes were united and called candidate F.W. Pohlman from our seminary at St. Louis Mo. and was installed as their Pastor Oct. 1st, 1870 - Later the city of Durand organized and there were six Congregations in the vicinity - Durand, Albany Tp., Pepin Co., Canton Tp., Modena, Buffalo Co., Eau Galle, and Downsville, Dunn. Co. - The Pastor to live in Durand, the central point of parishes for Pepin Co. - C.F. Ebert was ordained as President of the district Aug. 7th. Many of the men at Durand belonged to Free Mason Lodge. So we have nothing in common with a Lodge member the Pastor told them openly they could not attend communion or be a Ev. Luth. member - therefore many left the Durand parish and punished the Pastor with scorn and contempt. Rev. Pohlman who was single roomed at a member's home and was told to move elsewhere. The congregation bought a parsonage and services were held in a Hall and private homes. Fred Stanton, Ira Hauser, Wilhelm Kruger, John Schatz - town of Lima, Casper Herschlip - Canton, were the homes where services were held. August F. Heck Sr. - Canton served as inn keeper for Pastors and horses many years. There still was no church building for Pastors to preach in.

August F. Heck Sr. was President and served faithful many years. His oldest son Ludwig F.Heck Sr. was the next President to serve many years. In Brown's valley near Modena the german Lutherans held meetings, reading their sermons and growing in number. Fred O. Linse immigrated from Germany and had bought a farm there, invited the Pastor of Canton to baptize the children serve the sacrament and preach there. In the town of Albany were the Machmeier and Gessner homes to preach in. Rev. Pohlman also started a congregation at Plum Creek N. Pepin Co. He preached at 3 different places on a Sunday. He also used week days to break the "bread of life" to the hungry ones in Reeds Landing Settlement west of Eau Galle. Folks traveled by open cart and oxen. By now the pastor had a fast horse and rode many miles horse back. After 3 years of steady work in the cold northern climate he suffered chest and neck ailments. Rev. Pohlman left Durand going south to Stanto Ohio on Oct. 15 - 1873. He changed his vocation for health reasons. Candidate H.F. Prohl was installed July 27 - 1873 - (1873) The Congregation had pleasure to dedicate their new Log church in Canton to the Triune God for church services, Rev. W.J. Friedrick of Fall Creek did the honors. Rev. Pohlman preached his Farewell service that day. Rev. Prohl, new Pastor took charge of Congregation and lived at Durand. The Lord sends his workmen in fields of harvest, day or night, good or bad weather where help is needed. Rev. Prohl also rode horseback, Fords weren't invented yet. A call was rec'd from Baer's Grass Wis. Rev. Prohl accepted and was installed Oct. 29. 1876 - Candidate J.(C.) Heyner from the Seminary Springfield Ill. was installed on Sept. 1877 in Albany by Rev. Prohl. More members left the Durand church - the parsonage was sold and Rev. Heyner moved to Albany and lived in a house several years owned by Jacob Machmeier. In 1877 a new church was built on Sept. 14th (Albany). Rev. Friedrich had dedication sermon. Rev. Heyner was not able to be present for his ordination Rev. Prohl was proxy at Albany. In 1880 near Modena on the Fred O. Linse farm a new log church was built to the Glory of God. Later in 1887 on the same place a Frame Clapboard building was erected. Having no parsonage and the Pastor's growing family Heyner suggested land for farm and garden. The Congregation bot 60A land Canton Tp. 2 1/2 miles from the church and built a parsonage with additions added later. In 1878 membership was reduced to 15 - there were 9 members reprimanded by Rev. Heyner as not living and acting as Christians should, could not be members of Ev. Luth. church. These members left, having the key to the church, refused to give up the key, so services were held at Aug. Heck Sr. home. Later the offending members repented & apologized restored to membership.

Then Sunday services were again held at their new church. Having so many preaching stations taxed the strength of one man so some stations were given to the Wis. Synod. With the passing of time there were 3 stations - Albany, Canton, and Modena who formed a General Congregation and joined Mo. Synod 1891 - They had church services every 3rd Sunday, confirmation every 3 years. Bible classes were held for Adults and newly confirmed using Luther's Catechism - Adolph Pfund was president, Louis Thalacker 1st Vice pres and secretary for many years. Due to Rev. Heyner's failing health student Herman Handrich of Springfield Ill. Seminary was hired as teacher and preacher from Nov. 1st 1898 to Feb 15 1899- for all three Congregations - At the general meeting Rev. Heyner declared his failing health and offered his resignation which was accepted. At a standing vote Herman Handrich was elected and ordained Sept. 29th at Albany by Rev. Heyner. Soon after Rev. Handrich started a Christian Day School and later at Modena and Canton. At the general meeting Handrich suggested the Congregation sell the farm and buy land closer to church . The 60A was sold to Ludwig F. Heck Sr. and acre bought near the church where a new parsonage, wood shed and barn were built the next year of 1902. Rev. Handrich was a real Missionary - teaching the children and preaching at new stations. In early 1902 he often preached at Mondovi and a new station was established and a Congregation by Easter Sunday that year. In the fall he also preached at Eleva to a small group. By the fall of 1904 he preached at Gilmanton and in the spring of 1905 a church established. A new station was also started at Rock Falls 1905 preaching the German and English language with services held every 3 weeks. Having 7 stations to preach, students from our Seminary were called to help out. Sept. 1903 - June 1904 G. (H)ilmer of Springfield Ill. Sept. 1904 - July 1905 W. Grunow St. Louis Mo. - July 1905 - 1906 W. Hartman St. Louis Mo. The summer term 1906 Otto Thal, Nov. 1906 - Feb. 1908 E. Scharleman taught at Modena. In the fall of 1907 Mondovi , Gilmanton Eleva and Rock Falls organized their own parish and called Rev. F Kersten as their Pastor. In 1899 Canton members voted to build a new frame clapboard church and use the old log church for parochial school. (Built the church 1900) It was used as such until 1914 when it was torn down and a leanto was added on the west end of the church and used as a school. In Modena the church building was too small with no room for a school, so the church was moved 2 miles south - 1/2 mile north of Modena in 1907. Additions were built for a school room and the church steeple, which was dedicated 1st Advent Sun. 1907 in thankfulness and praise to the Lord our God.

P. 232
On March 25 - 1908 a general meeting of the 7 congregations were held. Rev. Handrich had rec'd a call to the eastern part of Wis. with only 1 Congregation at Bonduel. Due to the heavy schedule of 7 Congregations he was fatigued and asked to be released for health reasons and accepted the call. By a unanimous vote a call was sent to Rev Paul Schedler Town of Lowell Minn who accepted. Rev. Handrich then preached farewell sermons the 2nd day Easter at Albany and the following Sunday at Modena and Canton. Two weeks later Jubilate Sun. May 10 - 1908 Rev. Paul Schedler was installed by Rev. Kersten in Canton with members of Albany and Modena present for the celebration. On Sept. 6 Rev. and Mrs. Schedler and family went to Minn. to see relatives on their vacation. In the night of Sept 11 - 12 lightning struck the parsonage and burned to the ground. No fire trucks in the county yet. A general meeting was held Sept. 19th plans made to build a new parsonage. Clothes and furniture were lost, also all the Cong. books and records or history of the church . It was voted to translate the german to English and record all meetings and events in Eng. A new Eng. constitution and By-laws were adopted and registered at the courthouses of Alma and Durand. Early in the year 1910 the Pastor from Ohio left Durand. Rev. Schedler offered his services to the small congregation and his 1st service was Apr. 30 - 1910. He was asked to serve God's Word and Sacraments and have regular Sun. services. This he did 10 yr. We must never forget the blessings of the young and old by the Lord our God esp. for the children of Modena for the Christian Day School the past 9 years. Teachers were Ada Sohn 1 yr Mathilde Weiss 1 yr. Rose Henke 2 yr. Anna List 4 yr Lucci Pieper and student Mosner from Springfield. Mr. Adolph Pfund was organist and constant help and ably helped them all. The members paid their salaries and utilities and Pastor's salary. The swamp lands drained, the heavy forests cleared and plowed. No more were the oxen driven, as horses and wagons were the means of transportation and hauling produce and cattle to town. Many blessings were enjoyed, log houses disappeared, brick and frame houses and barns were built. Streams of heavenly blessings were many. Children baptized and confirmed as children of God - educated to know their God and Savior. many a faith was strengthened by communion and preaching of Sin and Grace. We often stood at the graves having the Hope of Freedom and Rest, true forgiveness given at the foot of the Cross of Golgotha. Not many of the founders of the church are still alive. Also our two Pastors, Prohl and Heyner have gone to their eternal Rest. "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth"!

The 50th Anniversary was celebrated with the most favorable weather conditions in the wood land of Adoph P. Heck in Canton. In the A.M. Prof. Dau from our Seminary at St. Louis delivered the german sermon. A picnic noon lunch was served on the grounds. In the P.M. this History was read, also a letter of Congratulations from Rev. Pohlman. Rev. Handrich delivered a german Mission sermon and Prof. Dau the English mission sermon Luke 2.49 The collection realized was $460.00 to honor the Lord our God.

Translated from the German May 14th 1969 Ella Otto

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