History of St. John Lutheran Congregation
Pastor Dicke still served our congregation while living in Town Washington; making the long journeys in buggy or cutter, as the seasons passed. In 1892, Rev. John Huchthausen was called to our sister congregation of Immanuel, Gillett, and also agreed to serve the congregation, as well as other newly-organized congregations in Oconto County, as pastor Dicke was advancing in age and had other steadily increasing responsibilities.
After the first wave of immigration, at the end of which our congregation was formed, had passed, settlers filtered in more slowly, but rather steadily, notwithstanding. Whatever records were kept have long since been lost, unfortunately for us, as they must have been records of heroic effort. At least, no written records survive from earlier than the beginning of the 1890's. The first confirmation class entered in the church records now existing is the Class of 1895. But, beyond a doubt, the first regular confirmation ceremony to be performed here took place seven years earlier, when the following were confirmed by Pastor Dicke: William Zaddack, Alvin Hischke, William Bartz, August A. Schuettpelz, Anna Hein, and the two Bertha Schuettpelzes.
In 1894, Pastor Huchthausen received a call to Upper Michigan. He was succeeded as pastor in Gillett by Rev. F. Uplegger, who also served St. John congregation. When Pastor Uplegger left Gillett for Denmark in 1899, plans were begun to build a parsonage and call a resident pastor. Rev. Heike, also a pastor of Immanuel, served as vacancy pastor. When it was learned that Rev. Uplegger would like to return to the United States, St. John congregation extended a call and he accepted.
During the next four years, our congregation prospered. A parsonage was constructed according to a plan drawn by Rev. Uplegger, and many other houses in the community were patterned after it. Credit for beginning a systematic record of meetings and statistics of the congregation must also go to Pastor Uplegger. During his years here, discussion took place concerning the construction of a new church building. In 1903, when Pastor Uplegger left us for the second time to accept a call to Hamburg, Germany, plans were fairly definite to build a new brick church, and to arrange for the regular instruction of the young people in religion and the German language. Such instruction had been given in the pastor's home, some young people boarding with the pastor's family or a near-by relative during a few months of the winter. Mrs. Uplegger assisted her husband in teaching the young people. Messers. Martin Plass, David Larsen, and Jacob Pfeiffer also taught during this time.
In 1903, we extended a call to Rev. A. C. Plass to be our second full time pastor for an annual salary of $450.00 plus free rent and firewood and an opportunity to do some farming on the side.