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Outagamie County (Wis.) State Centennial Committee / Land of the fox, saga of Outagamie County

Baker, Louis C.
Call to worship,   pp. 164-185 PDF (10.2 MB)

Page 168

  Away from the Fox River the Church
followed the new settlers who generally
called for religious services. Nowhere do
we see the heroic work of a Father Van
den Broek repeated and to him and his
mission at Little Chute go certainly the
honors of a great missionary and the head
of a vigorous settlement which has grown
to be one of the most interesting com-
munities in the county.
  We find other early Catholic churches
in the towns of Freedom and Center. In
Freedom early Irish settlers and a few
Dutch families formed a Catholic com-
munity. In the home of a Dutch settler,
John Sanders, Father Van den Broek cele-
brated the first Mass in Freedom in No-
vember, 1849. Soon afterward the parish
of St. Nicholas was organized and a log
church was built on land donated by
Nicholas Juley. A later church burned in
1917 was replaced in 1918 by the present
church, one of the loveliest in the county.
  In the town of Center the "Ohio"
settlement of Irish immigrants soon asked
for a priest. In November, 1849, Father
Van den Broek held religious services in
the home of Peter Hephner and from this
date until 1855, when the first log church
was built, priests from Little Chute or
from Freedom held services in the home of
Hephners or at the home of Edward
McGillan (whose name gives us our
"Mackville" of today). When the church
had been finished in 1855 on the site of
the present St. Edward Church, Father
Dael of Appleton took charge of the
services until a resident priest came to the
  The influx of new settlers, many of them
Irish and German, accounts for the estab-
lishment of more churches in small com-
munities of Greenville, Hortonville, Sey-
mour and Bear Creek. In about 1857 St.
Mary Church in Greenville was founded
and a few years later (1860) the Church
of St. Peter and Paul in Hortonville was
established. For some time this parish was
served by priests from Greenville or New
London. The Holy Guardian Angels
Church in the Town of Buchanan was
organized in this era also and the present
church was built in 1871. It is usually
called the Buchanan Church and is in the
present village of Darboy.
  In Stephensville Catholic services were
first held in the home of P. H. Pew and
the church was built in 1867. St. Mary
Church at Bear Creek was organized in
1860 and the first church stood in the
Town of Deer Creek. After the railroad
came and a village sprang up, the new
church was built in the village of Bear
Creek in 1887. St. John parish in Seymour
was set up in 1872 and St. Mary's in Black
Creek in 1873. At Isaar in the Town of
Seymour a group of Bavarians built St.
Sebastian Church which was served first
by Father Bastian of Seymour. In 1898
Father Bastian completed the Catholic
Church in Shiocton. The Kaukauna
churches (Holy Cross on the north side and
St. Mary's on the south side) have existed
since the late 1870's and have served in-
creasingly larger congregations. Two
churches in the Town of Oneida have been
missionary projects for some years, St.
Joseph's and the Church of the Immacu-
late Conception. In both churches Father
Vissers served for a long time and organized
various enterprises through his zeal and
enthusiasm. Until 1948 the Oneida par-
ishes were served by the successor of
Father Vissers, Father Martin, a member
of the royal family of Portugal, who
during the troublous times (1909-1910)
when the House of Braganza was being
driven out of Portugal, lived in Belgium
and studied for the priesthood. He taught
languages at St. Norbert College for a
time, was missionary to the Indians in
Montana and finally came to Oneida. He
gave up his post early in 1948 on account
of ill health.
   A very recent church, Holy Name of
 Kimberly, was dedicated with colorful
 ceremonies September, 1907. Bishop Fox
 was met at Little Chute and escorted by
 50 farmers on horseback to Kimberly for
 the dedication.

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