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Stratford centennial
(1891-1991)

Stratford churches,   pp. 83-91


Page 85

St. Joseph's Catholic Church
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Courtesy of Paul Untiet
Much of the early information for this article was taken
from the St. Joseph's Parish 75th Anniversary Book.
Stratford residents of the Catholic faith worshiped at the
Webertown church until it became evident that Stratford
needed its own church. Charles Kiefer and Phillip Burkart
went from house to house to find out how many of the
Stratford folks would care to have a church of their own.
The story of St. Joseph's Catholic Church began when
the parishioners began raising funds for their new church.
They held picnics, dinners, suppers, luncheons in private
homes, ice-cream socials, card parties and quilt raffles. Many
social functions were held in the Klemme Woods for the fund
raising projects.
The foundation for the church was laid in Sept. 1898. It
was built on land donated by Frank Fullmer. Later, this same
man headed the crew that hoisted the bell into the tower of the
church. After other buildings were erected, the deed to them
shows a transfer from the Connor Lumber Co. and it was never
established if it was a purchase or a gift.
The land was timber-covered and had to be cleared. Rock
and gravel had to be brought in from the farms. After a long
day at the saw mill and working on their farms, the parishion-
ers gathered to clear the land and later to work on construction
of the building. Tony Drexler recalls his dad telling him about
the men hanging lanterns from the rafters so they could work
after dark. The cornerstone was laid in the spring of 1898 by
Father John Eisen of Marshfield and the building was com-
pleted late in 1899.
After the building was completed, the original bell for the
tower was purchased with donations. This bell was later
replaced by the one from Holy Trinity church when that
building was razed. The bell was returned to Webertown later
and is now used as a monument there.
In Father Glaser's records, we find the first baptism he
performed at St. Joseph's was on December 3, 1899. The
baby, Marian, was born to Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Kaiser (nee
Geiger) on November 10 of that year.
On November 6, 1900 the Rev. Jacob Schwebach con-
firmed the following boys and girls: Frank Schreiner, John
Frodl, Bertha Stangl, Katherine Junemann, Willie Junemann,
John Burkart, Anthony Wix, Frank Wenzel, Frank J.
Schweigl, Louis Wenzel, Joseph Sargent, Eddie Junemann,
Leonard Sargent, John Hughes, Mathia Hughes, Joseph Plat-
teter, Joseph Schroepfer, Robert Willie Hayes, Fred Oettin-
ger, Anna Frodl, Myrtle Condon, Magdaline Hughes, Thersia
Burkart, Paulina Hughes Louisia Stangl, Barbara Schieber,
Thersia Eisner, Elizabeth Wix, Barbara Burkart, Louisa
Berdan, Maria Hayes and Eleanor Sargent.
The first funeral at St. Joseph's was that of George
Schweikl on October 31, 1900.
The first wedding performed at St. Joseph's with Father
Glaser officiating, was that of Louis Meixner and Catherine
Wudy which took place on Jan. 16, 1901.
The first residentpastor of St. Joseph's was Father Martin
Caspar. He was here from 1902 until 1912. During his


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