"History of Lincoln, Oneida, and Vilas Counties Wisconsin"

Compiled by George O.Jones, Norman S. McVean and Others. Printed in 1924 by H.C.Cooper. Jr. & Co., Minneapoli-Winona MN. ill. 787 pages. The first two hundred pages are history of the three counties, the remainder of the book is biographies.

Chapter IX: The City of Merrill

   On its east and northeast shores are twenty or more cottages where Merrill resi-dents who are fortunate enough to have gained a site on this portion of the lake spend the summers. Eight or ten miles north of the city is Tug Lake, which is becoming a lake resort, and between Merrill and Tomahawk along the Wisconsin River is Grandfather Drive, a very beautiful roadway along which there are num-erous opportunities for cottages and where some of these are now being built and others planned. The road passes the dam at Grandfather, where the water power, one-third of which is now developed, allows for a fall of 97 feet, the highest on the river. The water power when fully developed will be about the same as is now generated at the Portage dam on the lower Wisconsin. In addition to the resorts mentioned there are trout fishing lodges near Elm City and Dudley where many gather during the trout season. Another fishing lodge is the Bass Lake Casting Club's" Isle of Content." Along Pine River and south of Merrill are many other points that promise to make choice sites in the future for summer homes. Many of the Merrillites own cottages in the lake region of Vilas County. Among the private grounds in the city itself there should be mentioned The Acres, owned by W. B. Chilsen and by him opened to free use by tourists in 1922. This property, located on State Highway No. 10, has river frontage and a large pine grove, making it ideal for this purpose. Badger Park, across from the Badger Opera House, owned by A. H. Stange, and York Park, on Mill Street, owned by Joseph York, are some of the other private parks. A natural park near the upper dam, above the Sixth Ward, is the property of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad Co. The attractiveness of the city will be further enhanced by the carrying out of pres-ent plans for the parking of the property abutting the Prairie River opposite Stange Private Park; this property is owned by C. H. Stange, Mrs. John Wenzel, William J. Tesch, and John Elsen.

   Religious services have been held in Merrill since the earliest settlement here. As in most pioneer communities the first services were held by the various denomin-ations in union, and were for the most part without pastors. There is record that separate Methodist services were held in the village school house in 1870. Some of the ministers who presided at different times were Rev. Olmstead, M. E.; Thomas Green, Episcopal; Rev. Baldock, M. E; Rev. Hagerman, Presbyterian; Rev. Bessel, Presbyterian; Rev. Wescott, Presbyterian; and Rev. Mead, presiding elder of the Methodist Episcopal Church for this district at that time. The services were irregular and scattering, however, up to Feb. 15, 1875, when Rev. George Fellows, then presiding elder, effected an official organization of the church here. Rev. T. O. Patridge was pastor. The trustees were Th. C. Patridge, Ole Gilbert, F. M. Andrews, Payson Patridge, John McInnis, Van R. Willard, and J. P. Haben. Subsequently the congregation was served in turn by Rev. W. C. Waldron, Rev. Nelson, and Rev. Boyce. Rev. F. L. Wharton came in May of 1881 and in that year began the erection of the first church building, which was dedicated during the following year. This structure was located on Park Street; its cost was in the neighborhood of $3,000 and it was designed to seat about 300 people. Some of the early members were Mr. and Mrs. Andrews, Mr. and Mrs. Compton, Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Scott; Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert, and Mr. and Mrs. Hanover. Rev. Wharton was succeeded in turn by Revs. Albert Smith, E. W. Meyer, O. H. P. Smith, and Daniel Woodward. The T. B. Scott family had in the meantime taken up their home in Merrill, and Mrs. Scott had taken a great interest in the welfare of this church and had contributed liberally to it. 'The Rev. Woodward first talked to her about the need for a new church edifice, and she agreed to build such a structure as a memorial to her husband, the well-known benefactor of the city. The new building was dedicated about 1891; Mrs. Scott had died before its completion, and memorial windows were placed in the church for both Mr. and Mrs. Scott. This structure, located on Mill Street, is the present home of the congregation. A new parsonage was erected about 1905. Other pastors who have labored in this charge are Revs. T. D. Peake, Matthew Evans, William Clark, T. W. North, T. W. Sprawls, John Wier, and the present minister, Rev. S. J. Tink. In honor of the benefactors who made possible the erection of the present edifice, the official name of the church is the Scott Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church. St John's Evangelical Lutheran Church is the outgrowth of missionary labors of pioneer Lutheran pastors of the Missouri Synod in the farming community southwest of Merrill. This work started as early as 1860. Services were first held in Merrill (then Jenny) in 1872, when Pastor William Rehwinkel, then serving the Evangelical Luthern Zion Church of Town Maine and Town Scott, began conducting services here in the homes of those of the Lutheran faith. The con-gregation was officially organized on April 24, 1876, the organization services being held in the public school house; some of the charter members were August Strehlow, Carl Hannemann, and G. F. Koehler, of whom the two last named are still living at the present time. The first church edifice, a frame structure 24x40 feet in dimensions, was built on Lots 3 and 4, Block 3 of A. M. Averill's Addition in 1881 and was dedicated on Nov. 27 of that year. This building was later sold to the Norwegian Lutheran congregation of Pine River, who wrecked it and moved it to Gunderson's Corner, now in the town of Schley, where it is still standing. Pastor Paul Luecke was called to serve the Jenny congregation in 1883, remaining until the fall of 1886, when he left to serve a congregation at Mayfair, Ills. He was succeeded in turn by the following pastors: Charles Sorg, 1887 to 1888; H. Daib, 1888 to 1922; and Walter Sievers, who came in 1922 and is still serving. The first parsonage was purchased in 1885 and was located on Lots 9 and 10, Block 6 of G. L. Park's Addition. In 1892 the present church building, on Lots 1, 2 and E1/2 of Lot 3, Block 18 of the original plat of Jenny, located at Third and Poplar Sts., was erected. The present parsonage was built in 1901. A widely known institution in connection with this church is St. John's Church Band, which was organized in October of 1889 and is still in active existence. Of the 14 charter members of the band, W. H. Gennrich and H. W. Eggers are still with the organization; Mr. Gennrich has been director since October of 1895 and Mr. Eggers has been manager since about the same time. The band is well known in adjoining cities and villages, having travelled over a radius of about 50 miles. There are now 25 members, who make up an excellent musical aggregation. The Parochial school of St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church was organized under the pastorate of Paul Luecke, the first school house being located on three lots at Fourth and Center streets. The building was later sold to R. W. Barrett, who rebuilt it into two dwelling houses. William Wetzel came in 1888 as the first resident teacher. There were 92 children enrolled in 1893 and at that time the school was divided into two rooms and Mrs. J. Kerble came as primary teacher. The present school, a brick veneer building at Fifth and Spruce streets, and a teacher's residence at Fourth and Center streets, also of brick veneer, were erected about 20 years ago. The present enrollment of the school is 240, and the faculty consists of the following: M. H. Runge, principal and teacher of seventh and eighth grades; Miss S. Wais, fifth and sixth grades; G. Stoelling, third and fourth grades; and Mrs. J. Kerble, first and second grades.

   St. Francis Xavier Church (Catholic). The earliest Catholic activity in Lin-coln County was that of the Jesuit missionaries as early as in 1661. There is a record of Father Rene Menard, S. J., who penetrated into Wisconsin in his work of converting the Indians, dating back to Aug., 10 of that year. From various historical resources, such as " The Jesuit Relations", "Sheas' History of the Catholic Church in the United States," "Rochemonteix Les Jesuites et la Nouvelle France," and similar sources, we gather that Father Menard was probably the first white man to set foot on the soil of what is now known as Lincoln County, 'Wisconsin. According to later historians, Menard is said to have lost his life near the" Big Jim Cross" rapids of the Wisconsin River, about nine miles from Merrill, the county seat of Lincoln County. At this point some of the clothing and other belongings of Father Menard were found. Thus he gave his life for the salvation of souls and civilization in this section and as time has gone forward we have today the present established faith in this section represented by the various organizations throughout the county. Prominent among these is the St. Francis Xavier organi-zation at Merrill. What is now the St. Francis Xavier Church of Merrill had its beginning as a mission attended by a Rev. Theodore Richard of Wausau as early as 1875. Merrill was then known as " Jenny". Father Richard had charge of this mission to 1884 when Father Angelberg Blume was installed as the first resident Pastor of St. Francis Xavier Congregation. The first steps taken toward the establishment of a church building were by a few men (mostly French) grouped in a black-smith shop one Sunday morning in the winter or spring of 1882. To this meeting J. N. Cotter was invited and presided. The outcome of the meeting was the decision to purchase a lot and to build some sort of a structure as a place in which to worship. Almost immediately a lot was purchased at a point on Second Street (now No. 300 and where the present house of worship stands). The land was purchased of Thomas B. Scott, a wealthy lumber-man. Though, the land was purchased in 1882 the deed was not executed and filed until Jan., 28, 1884. That same season (1882) a frame building was erected, and though the furnishings were very meager, services were held there. The seating of the church consisted of shingle bolts set up on end as risers and rough plank being laid across them for sitting. Father Blume who was afterward installed as pastor was on the ground and took an active part in this initial movement. During the winter of 1882 and '83 he traveled many miles through the snow as he went about from camp to camp in this section where the men were employed as loggers in his efforts to secure means to make possible the project in hand. Father Blume continued his pastorate to Nov. 1890 and during his ministration practically wiped out the debt incurred in the building of the church. In November 1890, Rev. John Hum-mel succeeded Father Blume and carried on the good work begun by his predeces-sor, erecting a comfortable parsonage just east of the church building, purchased ground for a cemetery and also bought two additional lots close by as a site for a school. Hummel's successor was Edward F. VanHootgem, who was installed in November, 1892, and served the congregation faithfully till Nov. 20, 1900. Dur-ing his service he made valuable improvements in the church property such as reseating it throughout at a cost of $1,000.00, purchased new altars, installed furnaces in both the church and parsonage and bought an additional lot for school purposes. In the summer of 1898 he perfected arrangements for the erection of a new school building and sisters residence, these buildings to cost $10,000.00. In 1896 under his administration the congregation numbered 1,600 and this number was greatly augmented at certain seasons of the year by the floating population of mill hands and woodsmen. The church had also cared for a mission at Bloomville 12 miles east of Merrill, there being 15 German families there who held membership with St. Francis Xavier, but worshiped there. Beside a number of local con-fraternities the following Catholic societies were represented in the parish at that time: Catholic Knights of Wisconsin, President, John Secard; vice president, Frank Petska; secretary, Richard Barrett; treasurer, Joseph Downie; trustees, George Boyer; Joseph Schneider and Adam Salschneider. The Catholic Order of Foresters with John Von Hecke as chief ranger; Thomas Donnelly vice chief ranger; John Stafford, past chief ranger; Herman Walther, rec. secy. and trustees Owen Love, Thomas Sanford and D. Dawson. Father Van Hootegem was suc-ceeded as pastor of St. Francis Xavier's by Dr. N. Hens, but the latter remained only a year. His successor was Rev. J. Scheyer, who was installed in November, 1901, and under whose administration which lasted till November, 1905, St. Francis Hall was built. Father Schreyer was immediately succeeded by Rev. S. A. Langenfelder, D. D. S. - Ph. D., who remained only about eleven months. His successor, Rev. John Klop, was installed in Sept. 1906 and he remained until January 1908 when Rev. Joseph Hoeflinger was installed. The latter remained only until July of that year. The next pastor was Rev. Henry Le Guillou who came in July, 1908; and remained until January, 1914. The Rev. John Owen was installed in the same month in which Rev. Guillou left, and remained until November, 1920, when he was transferred to Sacred Heart Cathedral at West Superior as its pastor. There he was raised to the dignity of Monseignor of the rank of Domestic Prelate. While pastor of St. Francis Xavier Rev. Father Owen cleared the church of all indebtedness, besides making many very valuable improve-ments in both the church and school. His successor was Monseignor Francis J. Neisen, who was installed in November, 1920, but because of poor health he was obliged to resign in July, 1921, when he was succeeded by the present pastor, Rev. Michael A. Prock. The parish now contains about 450 families, while the school enrollment is close to 300, nine teachers being employed. Eight grades are taught and also music, for which there is a special teacher. The teachers are of the Domini-can Order of Racine, 'Wisconsin.

   Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church was organized by a number of former members of St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church. On a Sunday afternoon in May, 1885, these members met at the home of Mrs. Carl Stange on Cottage St., for the purpose of organizing a Lutheran church on the west side of the city. The members present resolved to petition St. John's church for their release. This was granted on July 5, 1885. On a subsequent date an organization was effected under the name of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church. The charter members were: E. Thielman, John Wenzel, Gustav Wenzel, Mrs. C. Stange, A. H. Stange, C. W. Stange, J. Bucholz, J. Schmidt, J. Jaeger, H. Lemke, A. J. Runge, E. F. Zas-trow, and F. Shulz. The first secretary was Mr. A. H. Stange. Rev. Paul Luecke, then serving St. John's church, was called to serve the new congregation also. The congregation immediately began with the building of a church, 28x54, which was dedicated on Sept. 27, 1885; this building was located on the northwest corner of State and Division streets. The first resident pastor of Trinity was David Kosche, who took charge of the congregation in the summer of 1886. He tried to affiliate the Trinity congregation with Ohio Synod, but failed. Rev. H. Daib who in the mean time had taken over the pastorate of St. John's church was asked by . Trinity church to serve them also. Under his leadership the congregation again began to prosper. Rev. Daib served the congregation as pastor from 1886 to 1893. May 7, 1893, Rev. F. H. Siebrandt, who served the Lutheran congregation at Spencer, Wis., was called by Trinity church. In the same year the congregation acquired its first parsonage, a house adjoining the church. The congregation had then 54 voting members. In 1894 the congregation received its first pipe organ, a gift from Mr. A. H. Stange. The phenomenal growth of the congregation under the pastorage of F. H. Siebrandt necessitated a larger house of worship, and the congregation resolved to build a new church. This resolution, however, was not carried out until 1907, when Mr. A. H. Stange made a donation of $25,000 to the congregation, with which it should erect, complete, equip, and furnish a new church. The congregation, of course, gratefully accepted this gift from Mr. Stange, and a building committee was selected, consisting of Messrs. C. Kinzel, J. Wenzel, A. Gruett, William Johannes, A. H. Stange, Aug. Zahn, Aug. Sievert, P. Koebe, and Rev. F. H. Siebrandt. The site of the new church, on the corner of State and West First streets, was likewise a gift from Mr. A. H. Stange. The dedication of the building took place Nov. 8, 1907. The church is a beautiful structure, 56x104 feet in dimensions, in Gothic Style, built of brick, and has a seating capacity of 650. The new parsonage of the congregation, adjoining the church on State St., was erected in 1908. Pastor Siebrandt resigned in July of 1907 because of failing health. Rev. J. G. Schliepsiek of Clinton, Wis., called to succeed Rev. Siebrandt and was inducted into his pastorate at Trinity by Rev. H. Daib April 26, 1908. Rev. Schliepsiek remained with the congregation until the summer of 1920, when the condition of his health was such that he also was forced to resign. In October of 1920 Rev. W. L. Kohn, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, accepted the call extended to him by Trinity and has since. served this church. The congregation is entirely free of debt, and numbers at present about 1200 souls, including 255 voting members and 816 communicant members. It has a Ladies Aid Society with a membership of 130, a Young People's Society with junior and senior departments, a Bible Class, a Mission Circle, a Men's Club affiliated with the American Luther League, and a Sick Benefit Society conducted on a mutual basis. Shortly after Rev. D. Koschel was installed as pastor of Trinity church the congregation organized a parochial school. The office of the W. Wright Lumber Co. was purchased and remodeled into a school house. Rev. Kosche and Miss Margaret Kosche were the teachers of this school in the years 1887 and 1888. Owing to differences which existed between congregation and pastor the school was closed in 1888. Oct. 12, 1890, the congregation resolved again to open its school. The number of pupils increased and a larger school was built. In 1891 G. Krumsig accepted the call as Trinity's first resident school teacher and Mr. Krumsig started his work in the fall of that year. The following year he accepted a call to Chicago and was succeeded by C. J. Kinzel. During this time the school had an enrollment of 45 pupils. In 1894 C. Kinzel accepted a call to Janesville, Wis., and Mr. C. Kambeisz was called to take his place. By this time the enrollment in the school had increased to such an extent that the congregation resolved to add a second class and to build an addition to their school. Miss Dora Siebrandt was appointed primary teacher in 1897. When Mr. Kambeisz accepted a call to Waco, Neb., A. Gruett of Clintonville, Wis. was called to succeed. Mr. Gruett remained with the congregation for 20 years, during which time the school was increased to a three-room school. In 1901 the congregation resolved to erect a new school building. The enrollment at that time was 145. The new school, located at the intersection of Grand Avenue, Fourth, and Liberty streets, was completed in January of 1903. It is a good brick structure, with all the conveniences and appointments that a school should have. Besides three class rooms it has two assembly rooms and a library containing 2,500 books, the latter a gift from A. H. Stange. Mr. A. Gruett resigned as teacher and principal of the school in 1909, and J. Siesenop of Milwaukee was called to succeed him. In 1913 Mr. Siesenop resigned and R. C. Jehn took charge of the school in the following year. Other teachers who have served the school are: G. Mass, F. W. Malinowsky, J. Rodenburg, R. Nimmer, Miss Minnie Siebrandt, and Miss Selma Bruss. The present faculty consists of R. C. Jehn, principal, and Miss Erna Gut-knecht and Jos. Dietrich. The enrollment now is 195.

   After some previous efforts, the Presbyterian sect on Oct. 19, 1879, effected an organization when eleven persons met at the home of Dr. S. B. Dorn. "The Jenny Presbyterian Church" was adopted as the official name of the congregation. The organic meeting was moderated by Rev. J. S. Westcott, and Rev. J. S. Weston was appointed as the first pastor. Rev. Howard S. Talbot came from New York City of 1881 to take the charge, remaining until 1889. On May 16, 1881, the name of the church was more strictly defined when it became incorporated as the First Presbyterian Church of Merrill, the incorporators being H. H. Foster, E. G. Chand-ler, C. J. Brazee, and Judge A. A. Helms. A parsonage was erected during the summer of the same year. Rev. Talbot was succeeded by Rev. H. J. Frothingham, who came in 1890; Rev. J T. Ford came in 1891 and remained until 1894, when he was succeeded by Rev. J. V. Hughes, who was here until 1903; Rev. M. S Pettit came in 1904 and served until 1907, when he was succeeded by the Rev. W. J. Turner; in 1912 the charge was taken by Rev. C. L. Nisbet, who terminated his service in 1916. In the meantime, on May 4, 1884, the West Merrill church was organized at a meeting presided over by Rev. H. A. Talbot. The organization was chartered by fifteen members, three of whom, Mr. James Mair, Mrs. Joseph Kubasta, and Mrs. Tillie Collie, are still living. The church was served by the following pastors: Rev. Walter Pattinson, 1884-86; Rev. Charles Herrold, 1886-88; Rev. Henry L. Brown, 1888-94; Rev. J. F. Cowling, 1895-96; Rev. G. W. Luther, 1896; Rev. J. F. Young, 1896-97; Rev. Charles L. Overstreet, 1897-99; Rev. J. S. Wilson, 1899-1903; Rev. H. T. Justerna, 1903-04; Rev. T. C. Hill, 1905-09; Rev. J. T. Wilson, 1909-1915; and Rev. J. W. Davies, who took the charge in 1915 and is still serving. In March of 1917 the two churches united to form one organi-zation, under the name of the Presbyterian Church of Merrill. The consolidation was effected by an act of Presbytery, with the unanimous agreement that a church building be erected centrally for the greater convenience and efficiency of the united congregation. Approximately 850 members have united with the Presby-terian Church in the city, including many now deceased or moved away. In regard to the church the pastor, Rev. Davies, says: "During the past five years the organization has plodded along amid difficulties "and disappointments and yet has remained intact and prosperous, and with its new beautiful edifice, made possible through the generosity of Mr. A. H. Stange and the self-sacrificing efforts of its members and friends, it can "go forward-grateful for the faithfulness and inspiration of the members of the past and all other blessings, and confident of the continued presence and power of its Divine Master-to still greater achievement in helping to establish the Kingdom of God in our city and the whole world."

   St. Stephen's Evangelical Church, of the German Evangelical Synod of North America, was organized Aug. 3, 1883, and the corner stone of their first building was laid on May 25th of the following year, services meanwhile having been con-ducted in a hall on River Street. Rev. Karl Freitag organized the congregation and was its first pastor; the charter members were Edward Kleutz, Herman Rusch, Henry Baehmann, John Boettcher, Gottlieb Voigt, Wilhelm Vorpagel, and Edward Patzer. Rev. Frietag served the congregation as pastor until 1891, when Rev. J. Henning took the charge, remaining until 1894; Rev. Henning was followed in 1895 by Rev. G. Klein; Rev. F. G. Ludwig came in 1900, and was succeeded in 1912 by Rev. H. Gammert, who served until 1916, when the present pastor, Rev. M. M. Schmidt, took the charge. A parsonage was erected in 1895. The first church building, which was dedicated Oct. 12, 1884, was added to in 1903; this building was totally destroyed by fire Dec. 16, 1919. Plans for a new edifice were immediate-ly set on foot; the corner stone was laid Aug. 1, 1920, and on Sept. 11, 1921, the pres-ent beautiful building, the largest Protestant church in Merrill, was dedicated. It has a seating capacity of 1,000 and is equipped with a pipe organ costing $7,000. The parochial school of this church was begun at the time the congregation was first organized, and was in operation up to 1922, when it was discontinued. As a substitute for parochial school work, however, the church maintains summer school for six weeks after the close of the public schools, this work being presided over by a theological student. Our Saviour's Lutheran Church in the city developed from the Evangelical Norwegian Lutheran Church of Merrill , which was organized Aug. 25, 1885. There had been Scandinavian Lutheran services in Merrill , presided over at one time by Rev. N. Berge and later for about four years by Rev. N. Forde, but no official organization had been effected until the above date. The congregation was incorporated at the same time, the first board of trustees consisting of Nils Evjue, president, Lewis Knudsen, secretary, and Peter Petersen, treasurer. The first pastor called was Paul Koren. Erection of a church building was begun in 1887 and completed the following year; this structure, which is still owned by the church, now stands at the corner of Logan and Fourth streets, having been moved from its original location one block east of where it now is, the reason for the removal having been the purchase of the property at Logan and Fourth, with the house thereon for use as a parsonage. Following Rev. Koren's resignation the church was served in turn by Rev. J. G. Monson, Rev. Nordsat, Rev. B. J. Larsen, Rev. A. O. Dolven, Rev. J. Grevestad, Rev. O. Skattebol, Rev. A. W. Avistendahl, and Rev. L. O. Oyen. In 1904, under Rev. Oyen's pastorate, the church was divided, the withdrawing body organizing as Zion Lutheran Church. About five years ago the two bodies reunited and the church at that time took its present name. In the meantime the original church was served successively by the Revs. Oyen, J. O. Drend, O. E. Boe, G. A. Lunde, and J. H. Myrvang. Zion Lutheran Church called as its first pastor Rev. A. W. Avistendahl, who had served the church before the division; Rev. Avistendahl was followed by Revs. A. G. Bawron, Iver Ramseth, and Hjalmer Madland in turn. Rev. Madland resigned upon the re-union of the church. Rev. C. Hougstad took Rev. J. H. Myrvang's place as pastor of Our Saviour's Lutheran Church on July 1, 1918, and is still serving. The present church edifice, a handsome brick structure, was erected in 1904. The congregation now includes about 40 families and there are about 50 pupils in the Sunday School. The Ladies Aid Society is a particularly helpful one.

   The German Methodist Episcopal Church here was founded by the Rev. A. Ludwig; the congregation was organized July 24, 1888 and was incorporated Dec. 11 of the same year, the first board of trustees consisting of J. B. Brotherson, A. Gerhke, and August Scherbius. Erection of the present church building at Polk and First streets was immediately begun under the supervision of a building committee comprised of H. Dickoff, A. Gerke, J. J. Brandt, A. Klug, and the Rev. Ludwig. The church, which has had a very successful career, has been served by thefollowing pastors: Revs. A. Ludwig, S. Stienacher, J. Dilling, B. B. Schlung, W. F. Beyer, J. J. Moore, and W. J.Wagner, the last named being the present pastor.

   The first work done toward the organization of a Baptist congregation in Merrill was between 1880 and 1890, when E. B. Edmunds, for many years a colporter and Sunday School missionary for the denomination in 'Wisconsin, canvassed the city and held meetings. There were then but few members of the Baptist faith in the city, but as settlement went on the ranks of these were augmented by new arrivals, and on Dec. 21, 1890, thirteen charter members organized as a church, using what were known as the New Hampshire Articles of Faith as the basis of belief and practice. They possessed no building and meetings were at first held in halls or such other quarters as could be secured temporarily. Of the original members, none remain here now, all having died or moved away; the last one here was Mrs. E. H. House, whose death occurred in August of 1922. After organization the congregation incorporated as the First Baptist Church of Merrill; the first officers were as follows: Mrs. Ruth A. Howard, clerk; Miss Anna Campbell (now Mrs. Anna Ebbesen) treasurer; Mr. Jenks, deacon; and E. G. Fleming, O. J. Jenks, and C. M. Howard, trustees. The first pastor was Rev. W. H. Barker. In 1901 the site now occupied at 212 Grand Avenue was secured and a meeting house erected at a cost of between $5,000 and $6,000. The location is a choice one, being central and convenient of access from the entire city, and as developments have taken place is just at the edge of and overlooking the beautiful Stange Public Park. Later a parsonage was purchased about four blocks away, at 403 Prospect Street, a very desirable location.

Chapter IX continued on next page Part D

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