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Curtiss-Wedge, F.; Jones, Geo. O. (ed.) / History of Dunn County, Wisconsin
(1925)

Chapter XVIII: city churches and parishes,   pp. 146-163


Page 148

HISTORY OF DUNN COUNTY
more in accordance with those of the Baptist denomination, in which the people
declined to follow him, he remained here less than a year. His attitude greatly
distressed and humiliated Mr. Sherwin because he had recommended him. In
1865 the church was admitted to the St. Croix Valley Association of Presbyterian
and Congregational Churches, and was represented at the National Council of
Congregational Churches at Boston by the Rev. George Spaulding of Hammond,
Wis. After the departure of 'Mr. Imes the people were able to hold services only
on occasions when it was possible to have with them either the Rev. George Spauld-
ingor the Rev. A. Kidder of Eau Claire, Wis., until in the spring of 1868 they per-
suaded the Rev. Mr. Sherwin to leave his church at West Salem, Wis., and take
charge of the Work in Menomonie. At some time in the two-year period that
elapsed between the departure of Mr. Imes and the acceptance of the pastorate
bv Mr. Sherwin a church edifice was erected, the people of the village in general
helping in the work. It was supposed by many to be a union church, but when
it was dedicated in the spring of 1867 it was called the M. E. Church. The Rev.
Mr. Sherwin, however, held Congregational services in it every Sunday for some
time, alternating wi:h the Methodist pastor until the Methodists decided to
occupy the pulpit exclusively. This put the Congregationalists to the necessity
of seeking a new place-of worship, which they found in an old carpenter shop that
was also being used for school purposes (the old schoolhouse having been burned)
and which was in a very dilapidated condition; but they continued to hold services
there until the cold weather drove them to the warmer quarters of the Menomonie
House hall, at that time the only hall in the village. With the lapse of years there
had been a considerable growth in the membership, and in June, 1869, the society
was reorganized and several amendments made to the original constitution. In
July of the same year it was decided to erect a house of worship on the lots now
occupied by the H. E. Knapp residence, which were donated by Knapp, Stout &
Co. The building was commenced immediately but was not completed until the
fall of 1870. For nearly ten years the people had been struggling with difficulties,
having to hold services in almost any kind of sanctuary, sometimes at the home
of a member, and for a part of the time having had no pastor; the completion of
their first church edifice, therefore, was an event that was hailed with great joy.
Ill health forced the Rev. Mr. Sherwin to leave the pastorate after eight years of
faithful work, in which he had won the esteem of all who were associated with him,
and had increased the membership of the church by more than 100. On August
18, 1875, the work was taken up by his successor, the Rev. A. McMasters, during
whose pastorate, which lasted four years, new rules and regulations for the church
government were drafted and accepted. Mr. McMasters, who was a very able
minister, also advocated the removal of the church building to some place more
centrally located, but the people were not yet ready to take such a radical step.
He preached his farewell sermon on Aug. 9, 1879. Answering a call, the Rev.
Henr- Ketchum of Wolfboro, N. H., preached his first sermon on Aug. 16 as pas-
toral candidate, and by the unanimous vote of the congregation wqs elected pastor
for one year, to commence in September, 1879. Coming to his work in Menomo-
nie in the strength of vigorous youth and manhood, Mr. Ketchum inspired the
congregation with new life, which brooked no interference in its onward march
and recognized no limit to the measure of success the church might attain. He,
also, like Mr. McMasters, advocated the removal of the church building to a more
central location, and this time the suggestion met with approval and was acted
on. Four lots were secured where the church and parsonage are now located-
corner of Wilson Avenue and Fifth Street-and the building having been moved
in the fall of 1880, the first services at the new location were held on June 16 the
same year. The attendance was greatly increased on account of this central loca-
tion, and about two years later, on consideration that the church build an annex
to be used as a prayer room and study. and paint the building, Mr. Knapp built
and gave them a parsonage. The Rev. Mr. Ketchum not only increased the mem-
bership but seemed to bring the members of not only the church but of the allied
societies closer together. In 1887 he tendered his resignation, which, however,
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