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Holand, Hjalmar Rued, 1872-1963 / Wisconsin's Belgian community : an account of the early events in the Belgian settlement in northeastern Wisconsin with particular reference to the Belgians in Door County

Chapter VI: A little church history,   pp. [69]-80 PDF (2.3 MB)

Page 77

               A LITTLE CHURCH HISTORY                 77
among the Belgians of Door County. He told his hearers
that the present Catholic Church had departed from the
faith of the Fathers and was just as filled with error as
were the professions of the Spiritualists.  Being an able
speaker and of very winning personal appearance, he gain-
ed many supporters. He also preached regularly in Dyckes-
ville, Red River and Duvall and obtained many converts,
but not so many as in Gardner.  In 1888 a large church,
named The Church of the Precious Blood,was built in Gard-
ner and also a large guild-hall and parsonage. These build-
ings were at that time the most imposing in the entire Bel-
gian settlement and were made possible by the generosity
of Rev. Charles C. Grafton who later became the Episcopal
bishop of Fond du Lac.2 Father Villatte did not believe the
Spiritualists would remain long in the field, and with judi-
cious circumspection located his church halfway between
the two Catholic churches, feeling sure that the highway
difficulty due to the swamp was a matter of only temporary
inconvenience which would soon be remedied. This made
four churches all within one mile.
    Mr. Villatte also conceived the ambition of creating an
Episcopal college on the peninsula, and plans and prepara-
tions were made for erecting it on a forty-acre tract of land
adjoining the church property on the south side. As Vil-
latte had remarkable success in solociting directions from
outside friends of his enterprise, the out look for the pro-
2 The principal benefactor of the church was Mrs. Mary
G. Waterbury as appears from an inscription on a brass
tablet on the wall of the church near the altar. It reads:
"A. D. 1886. To the Glory of God and in loving memory
of Chauncey A. Waterbury-1817-1876 - The Glebe on
which this church is built is given by his widow-Mary
G. Waterbury."

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