[This account of the S. Paul's Cathedral was written for the Secretary by a Priest of the Diocese.]
The Consecration of the Cathedral of S. Paul, falling as it did on the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of the Diocese, and so marking, very emphatically, the close of the first quarter century of corporate life, was celebrated with a glory and splendor surpassing the many noble functions which have taken place in this Church of God.
Not only were the Clergy and Lay Delegates, who had gathered from far and near, to the meeting of the Annual Council, present in large numbers, but the Cathedral was thronged with men and women keeping a joyous Holy Day.
The Rev. R. H. Weller, Rector of Stevens Point, had brought with him an organization of lads, forty-seven in number, the first company of the King's Army, which acted as a guard of honor to the Bishop. The boys wore the simple semi-military uniform of their order, and made a splendid appearance as they escorted the Bishop of the Diocese, and the Bishop of Springfield from the See House to the Cathedral.
The procession was formed promptly at 9: 30 A. M. The Clergy and the Bishop of Springfield vested in S. Ambrose Hall and proceeded through the Cloister to the south door of the Cathedral where they were joined by the Choir, Thurifers, Crossbearers and Acolytes, and the Bishop with his Chaplains. The procession then wended its way through the Close to the western door. The King's Army lined the pathway from the Close gateway, joining the procession, as escort of the Bishop along the street. Arriving at the steps of the great door, the procession formed in open rank, and the Bishop passing through, struck the door three times with his staff demanding admission that he might consecrate the building.
The doors were then thrown open by the Wardens and the procession in reversed order passed through the Nave, went up the centre aisle of the Church, reciting the Twenty-fourth Psalm antiphonally with the Bishop. Coming to the Choir the Bishop of the Diocese was escorted to his throne by his Chaplains, the Venerable Archdeacons of Algoma and Stevens Point, and the Bishop of Springfield to his throne by his Chaplains, the Venerable Archdeacon of Ashland and the Warden of Grafton Hall. The Clergy, followed by the Choir, then proceeded to their stalls, and the Wardens and Vestrymen standing in the choir before the throne. Mr. James B. Perry, Senior Warden, on behalf of the Vestry, presented the instrument of donation testifying that the building was free from debt with a request for its Consecration. The office of Consecration was then said by the Bishop of the Diocese and the Sentence of Consecration read by the Rev. L. D. Hopkins, Secretary of the Council and of the Standing Committee, and was laid upon the High Altar. After the Office a solemn Te Deum was sung, and the Pontifical Celebration of the Holy Eucharist followed.
The scene at the singing of the Te Deum was a very impressive one. The Bishop vested in cope and mitre stood at the entrance of the Sanctuary with his Chaplains, and the Master of Ceremonies, the Rev. Arthur C. Chapman, and the Servers, and others taking part in the services of the day. The Altar was bright with lights and flowers.
At the Mass the Deacon was the Rev. Edward A. Larrabee of the Church of the Ascension, Chicago, and the Sub-deacon the Rev. James M. Raker of S. Paul's Cathedral Choir School. The Gospel was sung at the Screen. The Sermon was preached by the Bishop of Springfield.
"For the Lord hath chosen Sion to be an habitation for Himself: He hath longed for her. This shall be my rest for ever: here will I dwell, for I have a delight therein." Psalm 132 14 and 15.
What God does once He may do again, and will always continue to do, if it be for the welfare of His children.
God has dwelt upon the earth. He localized Himself in the sight of Moses, and for years He guided the Israelites in the wilderness by the eye, in cloud by day and fire by night. He made the Tabernacle His temporary home, of which He was the Architect and builder by the hands of His ministers.
He abode as a Wayfarer, we may say, while His chosen people were wanderers, that He might be always with them and among them, to bless them with the benediction of His Presence.
When the twelve tribes came to have a fixed habitation as a nation and a kingdom, with a capital, Jerusalem, then God permitted David to gather the material, and Solomon to build Him a Temple on Mount Zion. Into this material building, most costly and magnificent, God entered, and took possession with manifest tokens of ownership, which appealed to the senses, and here He continued to dwell, until "Shiloh came and the sceptre departed from Judah." Then His chosen people, as the custodians of His promises, of His law, and of His treasures of types, and prophecy held in trust for all mankind, surrendered their office to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, which was the heir in Christ of the promises, and the legatee to whom belonged the treasures of law, type and prophecy to fulfil them, since in her God vested the whole earth and the fulness thereof.
The Church in the wilderness, and the Church in Jerusalem was each by Divine arrangement local, the one on its travels with its movable tabernacle, the other at rest with its fixed temple built upon a rock. The one people, God's chosen flock, whose fleece was always wet with the dew of His grace, had their one Cathedral. They needed no more when they were going from place to place, since that bright and holy spot, where God's Presence abode, was the centre of their camp, and the shrine, which held the object of their worship.
When they had conquered peace, and were established as an organized kingdom under Solomon, then God built Him an House, which He honored as His local home, where He made room for all His children and dispensed to them the choicest hospitalities of His protection and His love. Again under these altered conditions the elder Church needed but one Cathedral, the seat of their one High Priest, the local head of their local hierarchy. The mission of Judaism was limited by the hand of God while they continued a nation to be "the people," "the chosen people," "God's people," the one nation having the spiritual pre-eminence above all the earth, as their present boon and blessing; and at the same time to be the trustees for all mankind of gifts to be bestowed in the future, when they had fulfilled the Divine purpose, and would be absorbed in the universal Church, or disappoint God's love in proud and dogged ignorance and disobedience, and pass away.
"In Judah is God known, His name is great in Israel," is God s own declaration about Himself in His relation to His people; and as for His Temple, He says, "The Lord hath chosen Sion to be an habitation for Himself: He hath longed for her." The one people needed but one Cathedral, and God gave them but one, and He entered into it and dwelt there, and for His people's sake He gave them tokens of His Presence appealing to eye and ear.
It was His Cathedral, which made Jerusalem inexpressibly dear to the heart of every devout Jew. This love for His spiritual home inspires the pathos of many of the later Psalms, and is interwoven with the biography of the prophets of the captivity, and is stamped upon the final chapters of the history of God's ancient people.
"By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept, when we remembered thee, O Sion. As for our harps we hanged them up upon the trees that are therein. For they that led us away captive required of us then a song and melody in our heaviness; sing us one of the songs of Sion. How shall we sing the Lord's song, in a strange land. If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. It I do not remember thee let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; yea, if I prefer not Jerusalem in my mirth."
Patriotism is in this song, and that stirs our hearts, but there is a deeper depth than that, which goes down to the very foundations of our spiritual being, and that is the passionate longing for home, for more than the house, where parents and wife and children dwell, for the House of the Lord, for the spiritual home, where God has recorded His Name, and where He dwells, for the one Cathedral in all the wide world. It is spiritual nostalgia, the homesickness of devotion, yearning, longing for the Temple of the Lord, and all that the Temple contained and implied.
Judaism has passed away, and with it the limitations! which God placed upon it as a divine institution. It fulfilled its mission, and bequeathed the heavenly gifts, which it accumulated for itself and the world, to its heir and successor the Church of Christ.
They are related, Judaism and Christianity, as the acorn and the oak, the one is first, the other grows out of it and succeeds it, and carries with it in its gigantic proportions the germinal principles of its humble parent. Dropping the simile and dealing with the facts. Judaism was not directly missionary in its scope and work, it indirectly and incidentally made proselytes by individual effort, and through general contact in the "dispersions," but its great burden of duty was to hold fast what it had received, and hand on the treasures to its successor. The Church of Christ on the other hand is directly missionary, her scope is the whole world, and her work is to make disciples of all nations. Her mission is final. She must continue until the end of the world, when her Lord, her great High Priest, shall come forth from the Holy of Holies, and every eye shall see Him, and then she must render up her account to Him as her Judge.
The whole earth then with us becomes "the holy land," as directly the province of Christ and His Church, cither already in possession or to be acquired. Christ in human nature seated on the throne of God in Heaven is the Great High Priest, the invisible Head of the visible Church, ruling the entire world from the sky as the sun bathes the earth with his light and heat.
A local Church confined to a single nation, occupying a single province, needed but one deputy High Priest and one temple, and Judaism enjoyed both. It had its deputy High Priest and its temple. Christianity, destined "to cover the earth, as the waters cover the sea," needs many deputy high priests under the one great High Priest, and many temples. It has them, Christ the great High Priest, visible in the beginning in our nature, and entering in the Ascension into the Holy of Holies, the highest heaven, in the sight of the Apostles, and coming forth in the end, when "every eye shall see Him," Christ the great High Priest, "God over all blessed for evermore," and His deputy high priests, the Bishops throughout the world, and His temples, the Cathedrals of the many dioceses, which cover the earth.
Thus the old stands in contrast with the new. The Judaic Dispensation was distinctly and directly one of preparation and preservation. The Christian is as distinctly and directly final and difusive. The First had a body of truth entrusted to its care to be preserved until the fulness of time was come, and in order to execute its mission, it was by the Divine hand hedged about and shut in from the rest of mankind, so that its spiritual treasures, whose value would be displayed, and recognized, and enjoyed in fulfillment, might not be nipped in the bud and destroyed before the season of fruit arrived. The second was generic, for the entire human race, universal as to the earth, and inclusive, comprehensive, Catholic, and in these relations its mission was, and must ever be, to dispense its blessings to all. The limit of its benefactions will be the willingness to receive, since the dispensation of Christ is designed to reach every creature, and its work will not be done until the Gospel is preached to all nations.
When we look back then upon Judaism, we expect to see what we find, a national Church with its one spiritual ruler under God, its High Priest, and its Temple; its monarch, its one ecclesiastical sovereign, and its Cathedral, its holy home as God's chosen people.
When we look around us upon Christianity we behold what we anticipate, many deputy high priests, and many Cathedrals to meet the needs of the many dioceses, gathered and to be gathered under the jurisdiction of the one High Priest, our Lord and Saviour on the throne of God in Heaven.
We have come together this morning to do for Fond du Lac what Solomon did for Jerusalem. By Divine grace the Bishop of this Diocese, acting as His duly appointed and commissioned deputy in His offices of Prophet, Priest and King, has invited Christ our Lord, and with Him the Father and the Holy Ghost to enter in and take possession of this massive and stately Cathedral as His Palace, His permanent abiding place, His home, among the people of this jurisdiction. God has assured us in the olden time that He would graciously respond to such invitations, and has done so all along the course of history, condescending to dwell among men, and making for their sake places holy and buildings sacred, as His Houses, where He records His Name.
It is out of love for us altogether, that God by special acts of favor limits His Presence in manner and place, to become as one of us in. taking tip His abode among us, as one of ourselves, living in a house made with hands. He has no occasion to do this for Himself. It is done entirely for us, out of condescending and discriminating love for our infirmities, shall I say, rather to satisfy the noblest and best instincts of our spiritual nature, which yearn for the Presence of God. God is everywhere present it is true, but that truth does not meet our need. We crave the nearness of the one whom we love. We long to know that He is within reach, that we can go to Him to be assured that we are recognized by Him, and that He is glad to receive us and welcome us.
God knows us better than we do ourselves. He made us as we are, except in so far as we are depraved by sin, and He provides satisfaction for all that is noble and good in us, and these instincts, which draw us to home and parents, and dearest friends, and country, and God, with yearnings which can never be stilled and crushed out of us, He planted in our heart, and He means to gratify them.
The Incarnation tells us this as a principle, a law, and as a ministry of love, which wraps us around and embraces us on every side and above and beneath with its applications of mercy and relief and delicate satisfaction.
It is the incarnation which gives us the Blessed Virgin and the Apostles, and Bethlehem and Calvary, and the temple with its greater glory than Solomon's. It is the Incarnation, which gives us fatherhood, and brotherhood, and home, and birth, and infancy, and childhood, and youth, and manhood, and life, as illumined, and lifted up, and transfigured by the resurrection of the flesh. It is the Incarnation, which assures us with an assurance not doubly, but a thousand times sure, that God can indeed dwell on the earth, since the Eternal Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and the twelve, and many witnesses "beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only Begotten of the Father full of grace and truth."
It is the Incarnation which gives us by example and promise the assurance of Christ's presence for the time, when two or three are gathered together in His Name, and of His continued abiding among us, when we build for Him a home, and entreat Him to take possession by solemn acts and words of consecration.
Our Lord was present in the fishing smack, while He remained in it, and taught from its deck the people on the shove, but when He left the boat, His special Presence departed, and it was like any other boat. It was not thus with the Temple. God's Presence was always there. It was not dependent upon the accident of worshippers, it rested upon His promise. By day and by night when the busy throng filled its courts, and when solitude reigned supreme, God was there. It was His House, His Home, and His Light never burned dim nor went out. From generation to generation, through all vicissitudes of fortune, when Jerusalem was in prosperity, or distress until the arms of Titus left not one stone upon another, God was in His Temple, His House, His Home, a dweller, the chief dweller among the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
I am here then, Rt. Rev. Father and Brethren of the Clergy and Laity of Fond du Lac, to tell you the story of God's love for you in the one great fact of this day's solemn and most delightful and beneficent service, in the gracious condescension of the King of Kings, our Father in Heaven, to enter within these stately walls, and appropriate this Cathedral Church henceforth and forever, as His abiding place, His central home for this jurisdiction. This localization, so to speak for our sakes, of the most High God, does not exclude His making for Himself other and lesser homes in the Diocese, but they are related to this, the Mother Church, as the children's residences are to the old and grand, and stately mansion, which we love to call "the dear old homestead." They are homes, spiritual homes, which enshrine the Presence of our Heavenly Father for the benediction of smaller city, village, hamlet, or rural plain, or hill side, but herein Fond du Lac is the great home for the whole Diocese, here is the Mother Church, here is the splendor of a larger Presence, Which sheds Its glory upon all the Churches, Chapels and children of the larger household. This Cathedral becomes the spiritual centre, whence radiate divine hospitalities, and ministries of love and peace and reconciliation to the circumference of the blessed domain, including all and slighting none.
It is God's plan to have a heart in His organization, as the source of life and strength and usefulness, and members grouped around the heart, as ministers to do His bidding and fulfil His purposes of love.
The solar system displays God's method of working in its magnificence of extent, and its infinite minuteness of application. And our own bodies bring home to us by experience its marvellous adaptation to the countless ministries of life. The Cathedral system is inherent in the divine appointment of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons under the one centre, Christ in Heaven to govern and administer His Church. Each Bishop under Christ is the heart of his Diocese, the centre of its life, and ministries. Wherever he sits for the exercise of rule or judgment or Ordination is his official See, or Seat, or Cathedral, the idea, the principle, the fact is antecedent to the building. The throne must exist wherever there is a King, and equally, so must a hedra, a scat, a See, wherever there is a Bishop. It is fitting, desirable, most useful that the throne should have a room, and the King a palace, but it is much more meet and right and salutary that the Bishop should have a Cathedral building to shelter, and give dignity to his official seat. And here the spiritual asserts after the divine manner its pre-eminence over the material. In this world's order the palace is for the earthly King, but in the Heavenly Kingdom "the Palace is not for man, but for the Lord God," it is not for the Bishop, but for Him, Whom the Bishop represents, even our Father in Heaven, and His Son, and the Blessed Spirit, the Lord God, and He is there to make His Palace our spiritual home, where He welcomes us as His children and dispenses to us without money and without price the hospitalities of grace.
God calls persons and things His own, which He means for us, and makes over to us, "Let a man so account of us," says the Apostle, "as the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God." God claims us, the clergy, you see, as His ministers, but straightway, as soon as we put on His livery, He deputes us to do you service, " Feed My sheep, feed My lambs," says the Blessed Master. All our ministrations are for you, and that by God's express command. "The Palace is not for man, but for the Lord God." Yes, that God may perpetually dwell here for your sakes, dear people of every sort of the Diocese of Fond du Lac, and bless you with His special Presence far and near, as from His Home, your Father's House, He humbles Himself to take up His abode in your city, and become as one of you, a dweller in Fond du Lac, and occupy one of your buildings, and record His Name upon it as His. This magnificent structure is now "the Palace of the Lord God." He has taken formal possession, and will make His habitation here forever, as long as one stone remains upon another.
But this edifice is none the less your Bishop's seat, your Cathedral, and the spiritual homestead of the Diocese, because it is God's Palace. Indeed it is your home, because it is His Palace. Earthly kings and potentates place limitations upon their hospitality, and they appoint sentries at their gates and doors, they scrutinize their guests and subject them to severe tests of examination and discrimination, and measure the warmth of their reception, and the character of their treatment by the earthly estate and social position of their guests.
The King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, Who dwells here, and will continue henceforth to dwell here forever, will welcome all who come with more than royal, with Divine hospitality. Strangers and pilgrims He will, if they seek admission, adopt as His children, and permit them to cry, "Abba, Father." His sons and daughters by adoption and grace, he will, as they desire and seek, advance to higher position, and honor with greater favor. Those who prove unworthy and make shipwreck of faith, and become fugitives and prodigals and vagabonds, if they repent and return to their home, He will recognize and own as His loved ones with "the best robe and the golden ring." To every one who enters on any plea, which has the merit of sincerity, He will extend from His throne the golden sceptre as the pledge of acceptance, and receive and entertain them with the treasures of His pardon and loving kindness. From this high and holy place, as from a spiritual fountain, the streams of grace will flow forth, and make glad the city of God by Ordination. The ministers of Christ will here before this Altar make their vows of fidelity to their Blessed Master, and with the imposition of hands enter His service as Deacons and Priests, and put on His livery and straightway come forth and serve you.
The Deacon among the children, teaching them the Catechism, and seeking out the poor and sick and wretched for ministries of the charity. The Priest at the Altar in celebration, with uplifted hands in absolution and benediction, by the bedside of the sick, and the open grave, wherever the love of Christ is applied throughout the length and breadth of the Diocese by official act or word in Church or chapel, or palatial or humble home, in distributing the Mysteries of God, these persons and ministrations will bring this grand Cathedral Church into closer than telegraphic communication with all members of the household. The central light will shed its benign radiance upon the circumference, and all the space between and around will feel and rejoice in the warmth of parental love, and the wealth of blessings from the dear and grand old home.
Around this spiritual home have already come, and will continue to come, until the circle is complete, institutions of goodly learning for youths and maidens, hospitals for the sick, shelter for the widow and the orphan, and houses of mercy for the waifs and strays and fallen. It must needs be so, as fungi and weeds grow luxuriantly in the wild woods and wilderness, even more abundantly must fruitful trees and plants grow in the garden of the Lord.
Strong in the strength of God this Cathedral stands as the spiritual heart and home of the Diocese of Fond du Lac, and looks out upon a future bright with promise for good things to come in added blessings year by year for the lives and souls of men. Earthly buildings stand for earthly interests, and their horizon is limited by time; heavenly buildings, of which a Cathedral is chief, stand for heavenly purposes, and their horizon stretches to eternity and the throne of God. Their end and aim are beyond this world, and in their reaching out and up to the world beyond, they grasp this life with all that is in it, and lift it up and bless it as subsidiary to life eternal.
May I, in concluding, withdraw your eyes for a moment from the future, which opens so full of hope upon our eyes today, to a glance at the past, because it has most sacred relations, to our present service, and the consecration of this Cathedral Church. The past, to which I wish to direct your attention, is not so distant, but for me it reaches further back than it does for you, since I take in, in my retrospective glance, the early youth of him, whom you first came to know in the maturity of manhood as the first Bishop of this Diocese, the Rt. Rev. John Henry Hobart Brown. It adds immeasurably to the value of this sacred building, so grand and stately, that the memory of the blessed dead is indissolubly associated with it. We might seek far and long before we could find a nobler chief to lead our army of those, who have fallen asleep in Jesus, than my early and life-long friend, your saintly Bishop. His eagle eve, fixed upon his divine Master, saw the end at which he should aim the upbuilding of his Diocese by the planting of a Cathedral to unify and strengthen his work. In poverty he wrought, and struggled. Disappointment came in men and affairs, and plans. Burdens weighed upon him, and almost crushed him, but his faith never wavered, nor did his courage fail. God gave him friends staunch and true and one beyond all others, who shared his counsels, and hopes and fears and was a part of his very life. That noble life, and those experiences, so checkered, and with so little promise in the end underlie the foundations of this massive building. How greatly- would the scene, which greets our eyes this day, have swelled his heart with gratitude and joy. Let us not waste regrets upon him. He sees better things than we see and know, but it is a comfort to couple dear Brown with our beloved Brother the present Bishop, who has not only made possible, but has actually achieved success, and brought us to the consecration of this Cathedral as a blessed reality.
It is wonderful in the best sense of the word. I recall my Brother's words, when he accepted the sacred trust of this Diocese as its second Bishop. He said he "loved the poverty of Fond du Lac." Those words sunk deep into my heart, and awakened a response of sympathy which remains.
The fruits of poverty are the fruits of faith. The widow's mite was both. Her gift left her nothing of this world's goods, it was all her living, but it enriched her with the Master's love and commendation, and lifted her up to be a bright and shining example to all the world.
This Cathedral is a monument of the living and the departed, it unites the precious memories of the dead and their gifts of love and faith with the zeal and devotion and self consecration of those, who are with us still in flesh, and especially our Brother beloved, the present Bishop of this Diocese, who has been and is the leader in all good works.
I am one of you to-day, Bishop and Brethren of the Clergy and Laity of Fond du Lac. I am not of this Diocese, but I am a Christian and a Bishop, and the Church throughout the world is one, and whenever and wherever I am under her shelter, I am at home. And now I feel that our Father's House on earth has been enlarged to-day by this massive and stately addition, and I rejoice with you as a brother among brethren and we look up to God together in this dear homestead and say with one voice as the expression of our hearts' fervent gratitude, our Father, we thank Thee.
To take a retrospect of the past and record events connected with the early history of the (Episcopal) Church in that portion of Wisconsin embracing the Diocese of Fond du Lac, is the duty assigned me.
The story of the Church in the north west begins at Green Bay, whose history goes back to within fourteen years of the time of the landing of the May Flower Pilgrims.
At the mouth of the Fox River, which empties into Green Bay, the U.S. Government, in 1816, built Fort Howard upon the site of an old French Fort, which had been erected there one hundred years before. For better understanding our story let me first describe the "Settlement" that grew up near this Fort. Fort Howard was located on the west side of the river, near where the present C. & N. W. Depot now stands. In 1819 Colonel Smith, commanding the garrison, dissatisfied with the location of Port Howard, built a new fort on the east side of the river, and three miles above its mouth. This was called Fort Smith, and was occupied by the garrison for about two years, and then condemned, and the garrison returned to Fort Howard. The Green Bay "Settlement" was scattered along the river, on both sides, as far up from the mouth as the present city of De Pere, but the larger number of settlers were clustered near Fort Smith, and this portion of the Settlement was called Shanty Town, sometimes Menomoneeville. Adjoining Fort Smith and Shanty Town was the Green Say Mission-in later years known as the Cadle School or Farm. Opposite Fort Howard on the east side of the river, where Christ Church now stands, was Navarino, a great rival of Shanty Town. Beyond De Pere there was no Settlement in Wisconsin, for a number of years, except two or three families at Grand Kaukalin, the present Kaukauna, until we come to the settlement at Prairie du Chien on the Mississippi. All north, east and west of Green Bay was a wilderness, inhabited only by the red man and the wild beasts and birds. There were solitary French and half-breed fur traders of the American Fur Co. stationed at Portage, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Sheboygan, and Milwaukee, but these had their homes in Green Bay, and merely regarded themselves as temporary occupants of these trading posts.
Such was Green Bay and Wisconsin at this time. This whole region west of Lake Michigan was unknown, except by the Indians and fur traders. The people of the United States into whose possession it had recently come, looked upon it as a sort of Dismal Swamp region, fit only for Indian territory.
The removal of the New York Indians into this Territory west of Lake Michigan, was being agitated in Congress and elsewhere, because their lands in New York had become valuable and were coveted by speculators. In 1819 the Rev. Dr. Jedediah Morse (of what denomination I do not know) traveled through the North West as far as Green Bay, and reported to the War Department setting forth the great advantage it would be to the Indians to remove to Green Bay.
This same Reverend gentleman visited the New York Indians and exerted all his power of persuasion to induce them to move west. [A. G. Ellis in his "Recollections."]
Among the Oneidas at this time, there was a half breed of the St. Regis band of the Iroquois, named Eleazer Williams, celebrated in after years for his claim to be the "lost Dauphin." In a report to the General Convention of 1820, Bishop Hobart thus speaks of Mr. Williams: "Mr. Eleazer Williams, a young man of Indian extraction, a Candidate for Holy Orders, is licensed by the Bishop as a Lay Reader and a Catechist, to officiate in the Mohawk language in S. Peter's Church, Oneida Castle, Oneida County, the congregation of which is composed of Indians. The Oneida tribe have now a handsome and commodious church, and are enjoying the faithful services of their licensed Catechist. . . He leads their devotions in their Church by the use of a translation of our Liturgy into the Mohawk language, in which they join with every appearance of devout attention, and with the full effect of proper appreciation."
Mr. Williams became enraptured with Dr. Morse's scheme for the removal of the Indians; and seems to have become infatuated with the idea of establishing an Indian empire in this territory west of Lake Michigan. In furtherance of this scheme, in the spring of 1821, he, together with a young man named Albert G. Ellis, a teacher among the Indians at Oneida Castle, N. Y., and father of the Hon. E. H. Ellis, now residing at Green Bay, visited New York City and Philadelphia. At New York Mr. Williams had a conference with the president of the "New York Land Co.," which held pre-emption right of purchase of the most of the Indian reservations in the state of New York. This land company, appreciating the fact that Mr. Williams would be a powerful agent in affecting the removal of the Indians, "bestowed upon him several hundred dollars." "These largesses," Mr. Ellis informs us, "were repeated many times after." (A. G. Ellis, Recollections, pub. State His. So.) At Philadelphia, Mr. Williams conferred with the Executive Committee of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society of the Protestant Episcopal Church, from whom aid was solicited for establishing a Mission among the Indians at Green Bay. It is of interest to note, in passing, that this Executive Committee were the Rev. George Boyd, Rev. Jackson Kemper, and the Rev. Dr. Milnor, who Mr. Ellis remarks, "treated us courteously, but with evident caution."
In the summer of this same year, 1821, Mr. Williams, accompanied by the Hon. C. C. Trowbridge as Government Commissioner, conducted to Green Bay a small delegation of Indian representatives of "The Six Nations." There they met the Menomonees and Winnebagoes in Council, and obtained the promise of lands, and returned immediately to New York with favorable reports. In 1822, Mr. Williams, with Mr. Ellis, and quite a large delegation of Oneidas, Stockbridges and Brothertowns, came to Green Bay, and at a Council, the Menomonees agreed to admit the Six Tribes of New York Indians to a common share in all their lands. The Menomonee Tribe was greatly influenced in this matter by the French settlers, with whom they were largely inter-married. The better class of French and half-breeds had come to set a high estimate on education, and Mr. Williams promised them, if they would use their influence to favor his plans, he would guarantee the establishment among them of schools and other institutions of civilization. The Indians with Mr. Williams, spent the first winter after their arrival in "Shanty Town," occupying the old Agency buildings near Fort Smith. The Oneidas next year settling on Duck Creek, some ten miles west of Green Bay, and the Stockbridges and Brothertowns settled first along the banks of the Fox River, near Little Chute, and finally on the east shore of Lake Winnebago, where they are to-day. Small delegations of the Oneidas and Stockbridges, continued for several years thereafter, to emigrate from New York and join their relatives in the west, but the other tribes of the Six Nations opposed the emigration scheme, and would have nothing to do with it. Mr. Ellis, shortly after his arrival, began teaching and lay reading at Shanty Town, where he had a successful school. His school appears to have been a Church school to all intents. He organized a Sunday School and read service regularly on Sundays. Mr. Ellis says that Williams preached occasionally at the garrison, but taught no school, and did but little missionary work among the Indians; he made no pretense of living with the Oneidas at Duck Creek, but made his home at Little Kaukalin on the Fox River, twelve miles from the Oneida Reservation.
The only reference to Mr. Williams that I have been able to find in the Reports of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society to the General Convention is as follows: (Report August, 1829.)
"Oneida Mission, on the Fox River of Green Bay. The Rev. Eleazer Williams was appointed to this Mission in August, 1828, upon a salary of $250. He is considered a Missionary to the Oneida Indians, who have removed from the state of New York and settled on the Fox River, and is required to keep a school for the instruction of their children."
Mr. Williams seems to have spent a great deal of time for several years, in journeying to and from New York, Philadelphia and Washington, for the purpose of consulting congressmen, the New York Land Co. and others, relative to his emigration scheme; with little mind or thought for anything but an Indian Empire. Mr. Ellis says, "the Oneidas thus abandoned, lost all patience and applied to the Missionary Board for a religious instructor and learned that Mr. Williams was understood to be their Missionary." "The Indians, convinced that Williams was drawing and consuming the stipend, without rendering any equivalent service, called a council at Duck Creek, at which the Indian agent, Col. Boyd, and several prominent citizens of Green Bay were present. The result was a unanimous request that the agent should draw up in writing a statement of their grievances, to be forwarded to the Secretary of War and to the proper Church authorities, with a request that Mr. Williams' relations with the tribe should be severed." Mr. Williams was never transferred to Bishop Kemper's jurisdiction, but remained to the day of his death in 1858, a deacon, under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of New York. Bishop Horatio Potter in his Convention address in 1858, referring to Mr. Williams' death, says distinctly "the Rev. Eleazer Williams had never been advanced to the Priesthood."
From recent publications by the Wisconsin State Historical Society of documents relating to the Episcopal Church in Green Bay, we gather a good deal of valuable information hitherto unknown, or forgotten. Mr. Ellis taught school in Green Bay under Mr. Williams' direction until April, 1824, when he visited New York. "By this time," he says, "the Committee of the Church had lost confidence in Mr. Williams, and I was notified that they had appointed the Rev. Norman Nash, of Philadelphia, Missionary at Green Bay, at the same time notifying me that they had voted me a salary of $300 per annum, and sending me a commission as Catechist, Lay Reader and school master." Mr. Nash and Mr. Ellis arrived in Green Bay in August, 1825. Mr. Nash opened a school in i the old Indian agency building on the west side of the river, while Mr. Ellis opened another on the east side, in the new school house at Shanty Town.
Mr. Nash remained less than a year, going back to New York some time in the spring of 1826, but before departing he organized Christ Church Parish, Green Bay. Heretofore we have all supposed that the date of the organization was 1829. The original leaves of the Vestry Record Book left by Henry S. Baird, are in possession of the State Historical Society, also the original declaration of Faith, with autograph signatures of the Vestrymen attached thereto. From these minutes we learn that a meeting of the inhabitants of Green Bay was held at the office of Robert Irwin, Jr., on Monday the 10th day of April, A. D. 1826. J. D. Doty, Esq., was appointed chairman. The object of the meeting being stated by the Rev. Mr. Nash, and upon balloting the following persons were declared duly elected to said Vestry, to-wit: John Lawe, John P. Arndt, J. D. Doty, R. Irwin, Jr., A. G. Ellis, Daniel Whitney and H.S. Baird, all afterwards famous men in the state. The Vestry met subsequently, and elected A. G. Ellis and Robert Irwin, Jr., Wardens.
In reviewing the early Church work at Green Bay, we must not confound the "Green Bay Mission" with the ''Oneida Mission." What was known as the "Green Bay Mission" was in later years designated as the "Cadle Mission " or Cadle Farm; and was located as I have said, on the east side of the Fox River, some three miles above Fort Howard. This Mission was established primarily and principally, for the benefit of the Menomonee tribe of Indians. It received government aid in accordance with the provisions of a treaty made with them, regarding the removal west of the New York Indians. The Oneida Mission was some nine or ten miles west from Green Bay, on Duck Creek, and in the early day was usually called the "Duck Creek Mission."
To resume our story. Mr. Nash on his return east was appointed Missionary and superintendent of the "Green Bay Mission," but did not subsequently proceed to the station. In May, 1827, the Green Bay Mission was "suspended, because of the unfavorable prospect of affairs in relation thereto." It seems to have remained suspended until some time in 1829. Meantime, the government of the United States had made a treaty with the Indians living in the vicinity of Green Bay, and Congress appropriated $1000 a year for three years and $1500 a year thereafter, at the pleasure of the Government, for the education of these Wisconsin Indians. This appropriation being placed at the disposal of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, they immediately proceeded to take measures for resuming Missionary work at this station, and in their report after referring to the Government appropriation and Mr. Nash's declination, stated: "Accordingly the Rev. Richard F. Cadle has been appointed for that station and superintendent of the education establishment. He is now (August, 1829,) on his way to his station, where he will be joined by Mr. Albert G. Ellis and his wife, who are to take charge respectively of the farming and household departments." Soon after his arrival at Green Bay in 1829, Mr. Cadle, assisted by his sister Sarah B. Cadle, opened a school in the officers' quarters of the unoccupied barracks at Camp Smith at Shanty Town. In 1830 a Mission house and school house were erected on land obtained from the Government, "adjoining the Military reservation on the north," followed by other buildings in 1831-2, at a total expense of about $9000. The school was incorporated as the "University of Wisconsin at Green Bay," and afterwards as "Hobart University." Mr. Cadle continued his valuable services at this Mission until June 1, 1834, at which time, exhausted by many cares and perplexities, and with health failing, he resigned. It was in the summer of this year that the Rev. Doctors Kemper and Milnor visited the Mission, as representatives of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, to investigate the management of the school, some trouble having arisen over a matter of discipline. No reference to this investigation appears in the following Triennial Report of the Society. The supposition is, that Mr. Cadle was entirely exhonorated and his conduct approved. The Rev. Jackson Kemper, D.D., in his journal of this visit to Green Bay states, "Milnor read our report to the Mission family?all, and particularly Cadle and his sister, appeared to approve of it."
After resigning the superintendency of the Mission, Mr. Cadle spent a year and a half ministering to the Oneidas at Duck Creek. In 1836, he was appointed Missionary at Navarino. Afterwards he served as Chaplain at Forts Winnebago and Crawford, and one winter was Chaplain of the Legislative Council at Madison. In 1841, he was chosen Superior of Nashotah House, but he preferred the work of an itinerant Missionary, and being the only available Priest in the territory at that early date, his services were in great demand. He did Missionary work in Milwaukee, Racine, Whitewater, Portage, Prairie du Chien, Mineral Point and as far west as Dubuque. He was indeed, a general Missionary and great itinerant, the first representative of the Church in many places in the west. Self-sacrificing and conscientious in the discharge of his duties, always leaving behind him loving friends and the odor of a good name.
In the fall of 1834, the Rev. D. E. Brown succeeded Mr. Cadle as superintendent of the "Green Bay Mission," and continued the work until the fall of 1838, when he resigned, having practically closed the school in obedience to directions from the Board of Missions. The Mission school continued nominally in existence for some few years longer, under the care of the Rev. Solomon Davis, Missionary to the Oneidas. In 1841, Mr. Davis acknowledged the receipt of $1500 from the Indian agent "to be expended in tuition, board and clothing of ten destitute orphan children at the Green Bay Mission"?and added "the agent has further intimated to me, that the next sum of $1500, which is soon to come into his hands, shall be appropriated in the same way to our school among the Oneidas."
It is somewhat confusing to read of the various Parishes that seem to have been "organized" at the Green Bay settlement. The prevalent idea of that day seemed to be that no regular Church services could be celebrated, in private room or school house, without first organizing a "Parish." Three Parishes at least, are spoken of as having been organized in Green Bay previous to the year 1834. First, old Christ Church, already referred to, in 1826; then Christ Church, Menomoneeville, organized in 1829 by the election of A. G. Ellis and Judge J. D. Doty, Wardens, with three Vestrymen. This may have been a re-organization of the original Christ Church. The fire probably went out during the two years the "Mission" was suspended, and was re-kindled on the arrival of the Rev. Mr. Cadle; or it may have been a separate Parish organized in connection with the Mission school, for when Mr. Cadle was preparing to leave in 1834, he wrote the Indian agent about the "advisability of not allowing the corporation of Christ Church, Menomoneeville, to become extinct." About this time, Trinity Church, Navarino, was organized, evidently for the purpose of keeping Mr. Cadle in Green Bay; it obtained from the General Missionary Board an appropriation of $250 for the ensuing year, and called Mr. Cadle as Rector. Mr. Cadle declined the call and went to Duck Creek to minister to the Oneidas. Not until 1838, twelve years after the organization of the first Parish, was a corner stone laid for a Church edifice.
The Rev. Solomon Davis was appointed Missionary to the Oneidas at Duck Creek in October, 1835, but owing to the severity of the weather, was detained at Mackinaw during the winter and did not reach Duck Creek till May, 1836. He found the Indians worshipping in a log Church which they had built, and one of their number who had been chosen by the tribe for the purpose, regularly performed service on the Lord's Day as Lay Reader. In that same year 1835, the Rev. Henry Gregory and his wife were appointed Missionaries and teachers in an establishment of the United States Government, for the benefit of the Menomonees at some point on Lake Winnebago. A little more than a year later, this establishment was relinquished by the Government, and it being thought inexpedient to attempt a Mission among the tribe at the sole expense of the Church, Mr. Gregory resigned.
The Black Hawk war in 1832, brought great and lasting results to the territory, by the wide advertising which it gave to this region. The Volunteer soldiers who marched through the country, were charmed with its beauty of lakes and streams and prairies and wooded groves, and soon the eastern states were filled with newspaper descriptions of the newly discovered paradise, and suddenly a wave of emigration broke upon the eastern and southern portions of the territory, bringing settlers of good quality, with education and some religion. This, of course, meant death and destruction to the Indian and his rights. In 1836, the Menomonee Indians ceded to the Government all their lands west and north of Winnebago Lake and Fox River, and a strip of country along the Wisconsin River. This cession gave a new impetus to the settlement of the country.
The Rev. Jackson Kemper, D.D., having been elected Missionary Bishop for the northwest, was consecrated on the 29th of September, 1835. His jurisdiction embraced Indiana, Missouri, and all the territory of the northwest. At first he made his home in St. Louis and became Rector of Christ Church, the only Episcopal Church in Missouri. He was a tireless Missionary, and traveled by ox cart, stage, and on horseback, through Indiana, Kansas, Western Missouri and the Indian Territory, visiting the towns and rude settlements long distances apart, over muddy roads and through swamps, preaching, baptizing, confirming and administering the Bread of Life, to the scattered members of the household of Faith wherever he could find them. In July 1838, he first entered Wisconsin, with which his relations were destined to become most intimate. At the time of his arrival in this territory, he found four Missionaries, the Rev. Daniel E. Brown at the Green Bay Mission school, the Rev. R. F. Cadle at Prairie du Chien, the Rev. Solomon Davis in charge of the Oneida Mission, Duck Creek, and the Rev. John Noble, Missionary at Milwaukee. There was only one Church building completed in the territory, the old log Church at the Oneida Mission. In his report to the General Convention this year, Bishop Kemper says, "I have traveled through the greater portion of Wisconsin. A few congregations have been organized and Episcopalians are to be found in many of the rising towns of that most beautiful country. I confirmed at Fort Winnebago, DePere, Green Bay and Duck Creek, and had the high gratification of laying the corner stone of a new edifice for public worship for the Oneidas; besides the corner stone of a Church to be erected immediately at Green Bay."
[Wisconsin was part of Michigan Territory from 1818 until 1836. The Green Bay Mission was the beginning of Church work in Michigan Territory, and by arrangement with the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, was taken under the especial patronage of the Diocese of New York. Bishop Hobart evidently exercised jurisdiction, and was the first Bishop to visit the Territory, which he did m 1827, laying the corner stone of S. Paul's Church, Detroit, and administering the rite of confirmation; and a year later returned to consecrate the Church. After the Diocese of Michigan was organized, it was in May, 1834 placed under the Episcopal supervision of the Rt. Rev. Charles P. McIlvaine, Bishop of Ohio. In 1836, Bishop McKoskry was consecrated as the first Bishop of Michigan, and he assumed jurisdiction over Wisconsin Territory as part of his Diocese, though it had been, previous to his consecration, divorced from Michigan and made a separate Territory. He made a "visitation'' at Green Bay in 1836, maintaining that the erection of Wisconsin into a separate Territory could not divide his Diocese. The disputed jurisdiction was settled in 1838 and Wisconsin was formally placed under Bishop Kemper's jurisdiction.]
Think a moment of the condition of the country and of the mode of travel in that early day. The usual route between Fort Howard and Fort Winnebago was to follow a trail on the west side of Lake Winnebago and cross the river at Knaggs Ferry, where Oshkosh now is, and then cross the Fond du Lac River some where near the present city of that name. After the Stockbridges and Brothertowns located on Lake Winnebago, there was a new route opened on the east side of the lake. There were no regularly laid out roads, only the settlers circuitous tracks, mostly mud and corduroy, and the Indian trails. Deep creeks had to be forded and sloughs to be waded. There were few settlers, and these few at the old trading torts, grouped together for mutual protection; with here and there, far apart, under our churchmanship under every circumstance. We once slept eight in a room, and the tattling old woman kept the Bishop awake a long time."
At the call of Bishop Kemper, the Primary Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Wisconsin Territory, was held in S. Paul's Church, Milwaukee, on Thursday, June 24, 1847. There were twenty-three Clergymen in the Territory (including the Bishop) of whom twenty-two were present at the Convention, and thirty-five Lay delegates, representing a total of twenty-five organized Parishes. All these delegates, so far as I know, have entered into rest, except three Clergymen and one Layman. The living are the Rev. Gustaf Unonius, now residing in Sweden; the Rev. J. P. T. Ingraham, D.D., Rector of Grace Church, St. Louis, Mo., and our well beloved brother, the Rev. F. R. Haff, Rector emeritus of the Parish he served so long and faithfully, Trinity, Oshkosh. It is worth mentioning that these three Clergymen were all sometime Missionaries in what is now the Diocese of Fond du Lac. The only living Lay delegate of that Primary Convention is Mr. Daniel Jones, of Watertown, Wis. He was the sole Lay delegate in the Convention from S. Paul's Church, that city, and still survives, the honored Senior Warden of his old Parish.
From the portion of the Territory which embraces the present Diocese of Fond du Lac, there were lour Clergymen and three self-supporting Parishes represented in the Convention, viz.: Christ Church, Green Bay, the Rev. William Hommon, Rector, reported a good Church edifice, organ and bell. J. V. Suydam was the Lay delegate. Hobart Church, Duck Creek, the Rev. Solomon Davis, Rector, the Rev. F. R. Haff, Assistant Minister. Four Indians were present as Lay delegates from this Parish. Mr. Davis reported that a neat gothic Church had been erected to replace the old log Church, also a convenient parsonage and school house, cost of church building $3,800. This Church, he says, was "completed entirely at the cost of the Oneidas," and it is worthy of remark that it is the first Episcopal Church consecrated in the Territory, the old log Church of this Indian Mission having been the first Episcopal Church ever erected in Wisconsin.
Grace Church Parish, Sheboygan, was organized in 1847, a Church built and consecrated in less than two years after stated services began, and while the Missionary, the Rev. L. W. Davis, was yet in Deacons' Orders; and it is worthy of note, without any aid from friends abroad or from the Board of Missions. S. F. Benjamin was Lay delegate for this Parish. At the Primary Convention the Rt. Rev. Jackson Kemper was unanimously elected Bishop of the Diocese of Wisconsin, which he declined and remained Missionary Bishop of the northwest. In his Convention address, the Bishop dwelt particularly upon the great blessing to the Church in the west, to be expected from Nashotah's training young men for the ministry. He says, "Years have elapsed without my being able to induce one Clergyman to join us from the east." "At this moment I could find employment for more than twenty within the bounds of my Mission." The key-note of his address, as of nearly all his addresses, was, "the love of Christ constraineth us."
During the next ten years, the number of Parishes in this (Fond du Lac) jurisdiction increased from three to thirteen and the number of communicants from 192 to 494. The ten new Parishes were organized in the following order: S. James', Manitowoc, in 1848; Christ Church, Green Lake, and S. Paul's, Fond du Lac, in 1849; Trinity, Marquette, and Grace Church, Dartford, in 1851; Intercession, Stevens Point, in 1852; Trinity, Oshkosh, in 1854; Trinity, Berlin, in 1S55; S. Paul's, Plymouth, and S. Paul's, Two Rivers, in 1857.
The ten Clergymen in this jurisdiction in 1857, were the Rev. G. R. Bartlett, Rector of Trinity, Marquette; Rev. S. G. Callahan, Missionary at Butte des Morts, etc.; the Rev. George B. Eastman, S. Paul's, Fond du Lac; Rev. C. C. Edmunds, Missionary at Menasha, Appleton, etc.; the Rev. E. A. Goodnough, Missionary to the Oneidas; the Rev. Thomas Green, Intercession, Stevens Point; the Rev. William Green, Deacon, Christ Church, Green Bay; the Rev. Melancthon Hoyt, S. James', Manitowoc; the Rev. J. B. Pradt, Grace Church, Sheboygan; the Rev. D. W. Tolford, Missionary at Trinity Church, Oshkosh.
At Lake Taychora, now called Green Lake, as early as 1846, a large tract of government land was located by the Rev. James Lloyd Breck, which was purchased and donated to the Church by the Rev. Solomon Davis, Missionary to the Oneidas, for the purpose of establishing there an Associate Mission similar to that begun a few years before at Nashotah. By some mismanagement this valuable property was lost to the Church. It was sold, I think, for $500, by a layman whom the Bishop had appointed custodian of the property. To-day the land is worth several hundred thousand dollars. The news of the purchase of this tract of land for a "Second Mission," attracted the attention of settlers, and a number of Church families moved into the neighborhood; these were anxious to have a Parish organized, and besought the Bishop to send them a Missionary, and one of their number was appointed Lay Reader until they could have a resident clergyman. In 1843 the Rev. G. R. Bartlett, while yet a Deacon, was sent as Missionary to Green Lake, and somewhere near its beautiful shores he organized a Parish and built a small Church, which was consecrated in 1849 as Christ Church, Green Lake. Nashotah was "The Mission;" Mr. Breck's plan was to found here a "Second Mission." The Bishop for a time gave particular attention to this locality and made it a center of Missionary work for the surrounding country. He visited the Station twice or more in each of the years 1848 and '49, spending a number of days on each occasion. He was there Christmas, 1848, and Easter Day, 1849. At these visitations the Bishop and the young Missionary would go about the surrounding country ministering to the few scattered Church people they could find. In this manner, sometimes accompanied by the Rev. Melancthon Hoyt, or some Clergyman or student from Nashotah, they held services at Dartford, Strongville, Marquette, Kingston, Tichora, Grandville, Little Green Lake, Mayville, Waupun, Horicon, Fox Lake, Beaver Dam, Ripon, Fond du Lac and Taycheedah. Mr. Bartlett was ordained Priest in 1849 and shortly afterwards resigned Christ Church, Green Lake, and went to Marquette, where he continued to minister to a small congregation until after the organization of the Diocese of Fond du Lac in 1875. In 1851 the Rev. J. P. T. Ingraham succeeded Mr. Bartlett as itinerant Missionary at Green Lake and surrounding country, making his residence at Dartford.
There were great Missionaries in Wisconsin in these pioneer days, R. F. Cadle, James Lloyd Breck, Melancthon Hoyt and others; but Bishop Kemper was the greatest itinerant Missionary of them all. He never took a vacation, never felt the need of it; he loved so well to Missionate that it was a real pleasure and recreation. No condition of roads or weather ever deterred him from endeavoring to keep an appointment. The first Church service held in many places in his jurisdiction, was by the Bishop himself. He made it a point to visit, at least once a year, the scattered sheep of his immense pasture. And with what glad hearts they welcomed him, and followed him! Dr. Breck tells of a woman a communicant, living on some prairie far from any settlement, who went forty-five miles to a town the Bishop was visiting, to beg him to hold a service in her neighborhood, which request was complied with, of course, by the good Bishop. On one of his visits to Strongville, a place somewhere not far from Dartford, the Bishop "met, as he rode into the village, a Churchman who had walked thirty miles to attend public worship." The Bishop related the story in one of his Convention addresses and says, "the man had gone in the spring with his family to the land lately purchased of the Menomonees, to secure a claim. Having heard the evening before of my appointment, he started at mid-night, in company with one of the Nashotah students, and was at the place ready to unite with his brethren in the soul-cheering worship of the Church."
Bishop Kemper was undoubtedly the first Clergyman who saw Fond du Lac. He passed through this region in 1838, journeying from Port Winnebago (Portage) to Green Bay. He passed here again in 1842, with Breck and Adams, but at that time there was no Fond du Lac.
The Rev. James Lloyd Breck, with some Nashotah students, of whom Mr. Haff was one, I believe, while tramping to Green Bay in 1844, records passing a night in a barn at this spot, and at that time there were but "two or three houses in the place." The first recorded Church services held here were in September, 1848, when Bishop Kemper, accompanied by the Rev. Melancthon Hoyt, made a visitation, each of them preaching twice in Fond du Lac, and at the older settlement Taycheedah. The Bishop considered it a "station full of promise" and "requiring immediate attention." Unable to find a Missionary for the place, he returned again in March, 1849, accompanied by the Rev. Mr. Bartlett, found six communicants, to whom he administered the Holy Eucharist. August 1, that year, the Rev. Joshua Sweet assumed charge, found seven Church families and began holding regular Sunday services at Fond du Lac and Taycheedah, meanwhile teaching school to support himself. A Parish was organized immediately, and two years later a Church was consecrated by the name of S. Paul. Mr. Sweet's health failing, he resigned, and was succeeded in 1854 by the Rev. George B. Eastman. Soon after Mr. Eastman's arrival a contract was let for building a parsonage which was completed the following year, and in 1856 the congregation by unanimous vote, relinquished the Missionary stipend and became self-supporting.
In 1849, Rev. Mr. Breck visited Oshkosh, which had then "about 1200 inhabitants, the growth of the previous two years." An old lady from Vermont upon hearing of his arrival, at once entreated for the Baptism of her child. A few people gathered in a private house and the Sacrament of Baptism was administered, which, Mr. Breck says, was the "first Sacrament ever administered here." The Bishop first visited Oshkosh in January, 1850, and records meeting some Vermont Church people anxious for Church services. He administered the Lord's Supper to five.
Oshkosh is indebted to the Rev. Joshua Sweet, the first Rector at Fond du Lac, for its first stated services. Mr. Sweet officiated regularly in Oshkosh for some months in 1850, and organized a congregation which was named S. Peter's Church. In 1851, the Rev. Samuel G. Callahan, who had been previously at the Green Lake Mission, became Missionary at Oshkosh for a brief period. After a vacancy of about a year and a half, the Rev. D. W. Talford, in 1854, became settled pastor, re-organized the Parish as Trinity Church. In the following year valuable lots were secured and a comfortable parsonage built, and in 1857 a Church building was completed at a cost of about $5,500 and consecrated that same year; the Rector announced that he would relinquish his Missionary stipend at the end of the current year.
The Rev. Thomas Green, after officiating for some time at the Green Lake Mission, accepted an invitation in 1853, to become Rector of the Church of the Intercession, Stevens Point. The story of the founding of this Church can best be told in Bishop Kemper's words, which I quote from his Convention address: "For the erection of the Church at Stevens Point, we are indebted to A. G. Ellis, Esq., whose friendship I have enjoyed from almost the commencement of my ministry, and whose attachment to the doctrines of the Church has never wavered. Led by the events of Providence from Green Bay scarcely more than two years since, he realized, in their full force, his responsibilities as a Christian and the head of a family, and commenced without delay the offices of Catechist and Lay Reader. The result is, a neat and commodious Church, finished, out of debt and consecrated, possessing an organ and bell, and enjoying the undivided attention of a zealous Missionary." There were seven communicants reported in the Parish at this date. A Parish school house was built during the ensuing summer, and the Church was enlarged next year.
It would be interesting to recall the early history of all the older Parishes, but time forbids. We glance ahead another ten years. In 1854, Bishop Kemper was for the second time unanimously elected Diocesan of Wisconsin, and cow accepted the election with the proviso that he should still retain his Missionary jurisdiction. In 1859, by the unanimous request of the Convention, he finally resigned the office of Missionary Bishop, and thereafter devoted himself exclusively to Wisconsin. In 1860 the Reverend and beloved Wm. Edmond Armitage was elected and consecrated assistant to the aged Bishop of Wisconsin. In the following year the Diocese was divided into three Convocation Districts, one of which was that of Fond du Lac, embracing practically the same territory as the present Diocese of that name. In the ten years between 1857 and 1867, the number of Clergy increased from ten to eighteen; and there were nine new Parishes organized, Christ Church, Butte des Morts; S. Stephen's, Menasha; Grace, Appleton; Grace, Oakfield; S. Mark's, Rosendale; S. Mark's, Waupaca; Grace, Ripon; S. John's, Wausau, and S. John's, Peshtigo. Meanwhile three of the older Parishes and one more recently organized, had become dormant, or dead, so that the net gain in ten years was only five Parishes, besides two prosperous Missions, Sheboygan Falls and Waupun. The number of communicants increased from 494 to 1308.
From this date very few new Parishes have been organized in this jurisdiction, in fact, we have to-day, no greater number of Parishes on our list than we had in 1867. Four Parishes are on our list now, that have been organized since 1867, viz: Grace Church, Oshkosh; S. Andrew's, Ashland; S. Paul's, Oshkosh; and S. Paul's, Marinette. These are all the Parishes which have been organized in the past twenty-three years, except one or two that sprang into short lived and premature existence, stimulated by the spirit of partisanship or the desire for votes at an Episcopal Election. In some old Parishes the fires have ceased to burn, and others have been re-organized as Missions, leaving our list of Parishes to-day no larger than it was in 1867.
The Church hitherto, all over the country, had but one form of organization?the Parish?well enough adapted to communities where there were well-trained, educated Church people, but a very poor contrivance for our new and changing districts, where it is difficult, and in many places impossible to find Vestrymen of sufficient qualification to assume the management of the Church. It was the custom to organize a Parish wherever a few people could be assembled for stated services; and often those elected on the Vestry knew very little about the Church, and cared less; consequently the woods and prairies began to be filled with the wrecks and bones of dead Parishes; some of which existed only during the brief incumbancy of the Missionary that organized them.
Acting under the guidance of the Assistant Bishop, in 1868 a new system was adopted, that of organizing Missions, instead of Parishes. These Mission stations were to be under the control of the Bishop and Board of Missions; the officers to be appointed annually by the Bishop, and no "Parish" was to be organized until first, there should be a sufficient number of male communicants to act as Wardens and Vestrymen, and second, the Station is provided with a Church building and Parsonage, and gives assurance of ability to support a Rector without Missionary aid.
The adoption of this new system accounts for the comparatively few Parishes organized in the past twenty years, and explains why we have on our list of congregations nearly twice as many organized Missions as there are Parishes.
The same convention in 1866, that elected the Assistant Bishop, adopted unanimously a resolution in favor of dividing the Diocese. The Bishop gave his consent in writing as follows: "In accordance with the unanimous request of the convention of the Diocese, and with my own conviction repeatedly expressed, I, Jackson Kemper, D.D., by the grace of God, Bishop of the Diocese of Wisconsin, do hereby declare and place on record my assent and consent to the Division of this Diocese, and the erection of a new Episcopal See therein now, or soon as practicable hereafter." In his address to the Diocese in the following year, Bishop Kemper again spoke with hearty approval of the proposed division?"let the act be done in love and hope, and I hereby pledge myself to raise $500 per annum, while I live, towards the necessary expenses of the new Bishop."
There is little to add further, regarding the Church's extension in this jurisdiction, previous to the organization of the Diocese of Fond du Lac. It was a period of slow, but healthy growth, of lengthening of cords and strengthening of stakes. In 1870 the Rt. Reverend Jackson Kemper, D.D., that most valiant leader of the vanguard of the Church's host, was called to his rest. His honored and beloved successor in office, the Rt. Rev. W. E. Armitage, D.D., survived the aged Bishop, but little more than three years. Bishop Armitage, full of energy, ability and zeal, did remarkable work during his brief Episcopate. Aside from the hard work, and harder worry, in founding All Saints' Cathedral, Milwaukee, he wonderfully stimulated the Missionary work over the whole Diocese; 1, by the Organization of the various Convocations; 2, by the development of the plan for organized Missions. The evidence of Missionary enthusiasm is shown in the largely increased offerings for the work. The annual offerings for Diocesan Missions during his term of office increased from $2480, the year of his consecration, to $8210, in the year of his death, a very remarkable increase.
In 1873 the canonical consent of the Council of the Diocese of Wisconsin was given to the erection of a new Diocese within the limits of the Fond du Lac convocation; Bishop Armitage earnestly invoking the "aid of the whole Diocese in bringing about this most necessary division." In 1874, at the General Convention in New York, the Rev. F. R. Haff presented the necessary documents concerning the Division of the Diocese of Wisconsin, and asked consent thereto. Whereupon the House of Clerical and Lay Deputies did consent and ratify the formation of the new Diocese; which action was concurred in by the House of Bishops.
The Rt. Reverend Edward Randolph Welles, D.D., was in 1874, elected Bishop of Wisconsin, and shortly after his election he issued a call for the Primary Council of the Diocese of Fond du Lac, to be held in S. Paul's Church, Fond du Lac city on the 7th day of January, A. D. 1875.
The Clergy canonically resident in the new Diocese at this time, were as follows:
The Rev. Wm. C. Armstrong, Rector of S. Mark's, Waupaca.
The Rev. Martin V. Averill, Rector of Christ Church, Green Bay.
The Rev. George R. Bartlett, Rector of Trinity Church, Marquette.
The Rev. Frederick A. Beckel, residing at Oshkosh.
The Rev. Robert W. Blow, Rector of Grace Church, Sheboygan.
The Rev. John Blyman, Rector of Grace Church, Oshkosh.
The Rev. Wm. Dafter, Rector of S. Paul's Church, Fond du Lac.
The Rev. Jerome A. Davenport, Rector of the Church of the Intercession, Stevens Point.
The Rev. Joseph De Forest, Rector of S. James', Manitowoc.
The Rev. Fayette Durlin, Rector of S. Peter's, Ripon.
The Rev. George Gibson, Missionary at Chilton, Oconto, etc.
The Rev. Edward A. Goodnough, Missionary at Oneida.
The Rev. Thomas Green, residing at Wausau.
The Rev. F. R. Haff, Rector of S. James', Green Bay.
The Rev. D. Brayton Lyon, residing at Ripon.
The Rev. Phillip McKim, Rector of S. John's, Wausau.
The Rev. Francis Moore, assistant at Trinity, Oshkosh.
The Rev. Robert N. Park, D.D., Rector of Trinity, Oshkosh.
The Rev. Edward H. Rudd, Jr., Rector of S. Paul's, Plymouth.
The Rev. Henry H. Ten Broeck, Missionary at Butte des Morts, etc.
The Rev. George Vernor, Rector of Grace Church, Appleton.
The Rev. William E. Wright, Rector of Grace, Oakfield, and in charge of Trinity Mission, Waupun.
The Rev. James Young, residing at Weyauwega.
Including the Bishop in Charge, the Clergy of the new Diocese numbered twenty-four, of whom only two are resident to-day in the Diocese. Exactly one-half of the total number now rest from their earthly labor.
"They climbed the steep ascent of heav'n,
Through peril, toil and pain;
O God, to us may grace be given
To follow in their train."
It was at a critical time in the life of the American Church that the Diocese of Fond du Lac was born. The Eucharistic controversy of the 70s was at its height. In that great controversy James DeKoven was the undisputed leader. He was, unwillingly, a candidate for the Episcopate at the primary Council of this Diocese, was elected by the Clergy, but the Laity failed, by three votes, to elect him. He preached his last sermon in the old S. Paul's Church which was the germ out of which this Cathedral grew. One of the polished granite pillars supporting the arches on the side walls of the Cathedral choir was erected to his memory. He first suggested the name and was the intimate friend and counsellor of our first Bishop. Our present Bishop nominated him for the See of Massachusetts. The great Catholic principles for which DeKoven lived and died have found a permanent home in this Diocese which is an enduring monument to his memory. The prayers of DeKoven may account for the many victories which amidst constant struggle have crowned the work of the Church in the Diocese of Fond du Lac.
Bishop Welles, the S. John of Wisconsin, summoned the primary council of the Diocese to meet in S. Paul's Church, Fond du Lac, on the 7th day of January, 1875. Among the Clergy voted for for the Episcopate at that Council were the Rev. Leighton Coleman, D.D., the Rev. William Dafter, B.D., the Rev. James DeKoven, D.D., and the Reverend Franklin R. Haff, B.D. Of these Rev. Leighton Coleman, D.D., the present Catholic-minded Bishop of Delaware was elected, but afterwards declined.
At a special Council which met September 15th following, under the guidance of the Holy Ghost, the Rev. Dr. John Henry Hobart Brown was elected. Dr. Brown was consecrated first Bishop of Fond du Lac in S. John's Church, Cohoes, N. Y., December 15th, 1875. One notices among the various Episcopal addresses of that time an unusually deep and widespread interest in the consecration of the new Bishop. This interest may be accounted for by the peculiar characteristics of the new See and the special fitness of its first Bishop. The new Diocese contained no large cities, and only a small agricultural population. Its material wealth consisted principally in its almost impenetrable forests. Its Churchmen were few but among them were some well instructed and devoted men, and the leaders among its Clergy were devoted to the Church as a Catholic understands it. What would the new leader do in such a field? As to the new Bishop let his old Diocesan describe him: The Bishop of Albany, in his Conciliar address, says: "I rejoice to give to the American Episcopate, so wise and ripe and true a man of rare experience in men, great ability of administration and organization, untiring energy, unwithheld devotion, uncompromising fearlessness, unmitigated Catholicity, above all deap, earnest, personal holiness of character and life."
At the Second Annual Council, June 6th, 1876, Bishop Brown was present and presided. There were fourteen Clergy entitled to seats and representatives were present from St. Paul's Cathedral, Fond du Lac, Christ Church, Green Bay, and Trinity Church, Oshkosh. There were in the Diocese at that time 1341 Communicants. In his first address Bishop Brown recommended to the Clergy that they say the offices of Morning Prayer and the Holy Eucharist separately, for the Holy Eucharist is a sufficient service in itself and the devout soul should come to it unwearied by Morning Prayer, that the Cathedral should express the Episcopal mind and lead in beautiful worship, and he warns the Clergy against Congregationalism in ritual and spirit.
In his Conciliar address of 1877 the Bishop, referring to Dr. Muhlenburg, speaks of his putting Morning Prayer where it belongs, at an earlier hour and making the Holy Eucharist the chief act of worship, doing away with the Parish clerk, etc., and founding the first American Sisterhood.
For doing these things he tells us that Dr. Muhlenburg was called by some a Jesuit, a sentimentalist and a disturber of the order of the Church. Speaking of the agitation to change the name of the Church he deplores the Sect Spirit, says the title Protestant Episcopal is without dignity, is meaningless to say the least, and cuts us off from the rest of the Catholic world.
In his address of 1878 the Bishop speaks of brotherhoods and sisterhoods and of Parochial schools and says the Clergy should assert more strongly the Catholicity of the Church.
It was about this time that a great change in the population of the Diocese began to be apparent. Wisconsin was originally settled by people from Western New York, Pennsylvania and New England?people of our own race, language and traditions. But about 1875 many of these people began moving westward to Minnesota, the Dakotas and the Pacific slope, and their places were taken by great numbers of foreigners, men out of every nation under heaven, speaking foreign languages, with foreign habits of thought and of life and with foreign traditions. They were for the most part, Roman Catholics or Lutherans, but there is no Sect in Christendom which is not represented among them. This change in the population so crippled the Diocese and made so complete a change in its prospects, that many of the Clergy were compelled to leave the Diocese and even Bishop Brown, with all his courage and hopefulness remarked on one occasion that he was the first Bishop of Fond du Lac and he feared he might be the last one. How the Bishop rose to the new responsibility is known all over the land.
In his Conciliar address of 1881 the Bishop, says "we are a true Catholic Church, with Apostolic Authority and Sacraments. A narrow National institution might take no interest in them, but the Catholic Church rises above all differences of nation or class or color. It is God's Kingdom for Asiatics, Europeans, Africans and Americans. It is a home for Englishmen, Scandinavians, Teutons, Celts and Latins. If this be the Catholic Church of our Lord we must rise to Catholic measures in dealing with this subject. I can conceive of the Church embracing, perhaps permanently, the Liturgies to which these people are attached."
Bishop Brown's efforts among the Germans at Oshkosh and elsewhere and among the Belgians in Door and Kewaunee Counties are among the best known works of his busy life. He could not find priests of our own race properly equipped for the work and was compelled to seek priests among the foreigners themselves. If the men he raised to the priesthood for this work found the difficulties too great or the temptations too strong and forgot their ordination vows or the obligation they were under to the Church and the Bishop who had trusted them, it does not dim the luster of the Bishop's name nor has it entirely destroyed his work. Though the Mission at Gardner is all that outwardly remains of that work, the Spirit of it has entered into the fibre of the Diocese and almost every Parish and Mission has its trophies of work accomplished among the many races forming the population of our great State. But added to his Diocesan cares there came to Bishop Brown one other great loss and its corresponding struggle. On the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, 1884, the old Cathedral at Fond du Lac burned to the ground. The Cathedral congregation was by no means a wealthy one, and the Diocese as a whole was struggling in poverty. The blow was one to stagger a less courageous man. But without means as he was, with indomitable courage and his eye on the future, Bishop Brown began immediately the erection of the present Cathedral, preserving a portion of the old tower and walls in the nave of the new building. The new Cathedral was used in an unfinished state on Easter Day, 1887, and on the 6th of June following, was formally opened for regular use, though it was without interior adornment and a heavy debt rested upon it.
In 1886 Bishop Brown founded the order of St. Monica and assigned to them as their work, St. Monica's School, Fond du Lac. The Order has since become somewhat scattered, though one member of the Order, whom the whole Diocese holds in love and the most reverend regard, still remains at the Cathedral. St. Monica's School has become glorified in Grafton Hall.
Bishop Brown, while assisting the Bishop of Milwaukee by taking some of the Annual Episcopal visitations in that Diocese, was stricken with a fatal disease and returned home to die on the 2d of May, 1888. Many of us here present can recall the grandeur and the sorrow that attended the burial service with its requiem celebrations of the Holy Eucharist here in this place. His body lies in the Garth under the shadow of the Cathedral he loved so well. May his soul rest in the Beatific Vision, his prayers be ever granted to this Diocese, and his memory ever cherished in these walls!
On the 13th of November, 1888, the Reverend Charles Chapman Grafton was elected Bishop of Fond du Lac, and was consecrated to that holy office in the Cathedral on St. Mark's Day, 1889, by the Right Reverend Dr. McLaren, Bishop of Chicago, assisted by the Right Reverend Drs. Burgess of Quincy, Seymour of Springfield, Knickerbocker of Indiana, Knight of Milwaukee, and Gilbert, Co-adjutor of Minnesota.
In speaking of the Diocese under Bishop Grafton's rule, I am laboring under the disadvantage of speaking in his presence, who has been a father indeed not only to the Diocese as a whole but to me personally.
At the time of his coining to us his great natural gifts, his large experience and his well known devotion to the Catholic faith led the Church to expect large things under his leadership and no man who looks about him to-day can doubt that that expectation has been realized.
Let me describe first a few outward signs of the Church's activity during this Episcopate.
In Trinity Parish, Oshkosh, there has been built a solid and substantial stone Church capable of sustaining the dignity and providing room for the manifold activities of that great Parish, and a new and commodious rectory has also been provided.
At Stevens Point a new stone Church and Sunday School room, of churchly design and furnishings has been built and a rectory provided.
At Oakfield an ideal village stone Church has been erected by the Bishop himself.
At Green Bay has been erected a substantial stone Church of architectural design and furnishings.
At Algoma a brick Church and Guild Hall. At Chilton and Hayton, at Merrill and Tomahawk, at Rhinelander and Shawano, at Marshfield and Washburn, handsome and substantial Church buildings have been erected.
At Oneida a commodious stone chancel has been added to the Church, and a hospital and Sisters' House erected.
A chancel has been added to the Church at Grand Rapids, and a Guild Hall and rectory built.
At Appleton a rectory and Guild Hall, and at Berlin a rectory and Guild Hall have been built.
At Menasha the Church has been restored and a Guild Hall erected with rooms for the Vicar.
At Sheboygan Falls a rectory and Chapel, at Waupaca a rectory, at Waupun a Guild Hall, and at Plymouth a Guild Hall, have been erected.
At Ripon, the Church has been greatly improved with new Altar, Choir Stalls and Rood Screen, and at Jacksonport the Church has been bricked, a Guild House built and the glebe improved with new barn, etc., and at Medford a new foundation has been put under the Church and a chancel and tower added.
Time fails me to tell how all over the Diocese the Church has been improved in material things, and though as a rule the congregations everywhere have done what they could, it is only in a very few of the stronger Parishes that any of these improvements would have been possible but for the fatherly care and princely munificence of our Bishop, who has given of his own means and directed the gifts of others toward these great works.
But it is at the Cathedral that the Bishop's work as a Church builder stands out in its glory. He has founded and partially endowed the Cathedral Choir School with its home, where the old rectory stood, and its solid stone school building and Parish House on the Cathedral grounds. He has purchased a house for a Canon, veneered with stone St. Ambrose Hall so that it looks handsomely with the other buildings in the Cathedral close, erected the tasteful stone Cloister connecting it with the Cathedral, paid the debt on the Diocesan School, and erected the magnificent buildings of Grafton Hall. Through the Bishop ten thousand dollars has been added to the endowment fund of the Diocese, the heavy debt of ten thousand dollars which rested on the Cathedral has been paid and an endowment of $14,000 provided for it.
An organ, the equal probably of any in the west, has been placed in the Cathedral, a Rood Screen erected, St. Augustine's Chapel furnished, and the Cathedral adorned with works of art which have transformed our Cathedral into one of the most beautiful and devotional Church buildings in the country.
But the work of the Church in this Diocese during the present Episcopate has not been only or chiefly on the outside. The number of Clergy actively employed in the Diocese has grown from sixteen at the time of Bishop Grafton's consecration to forty at present. They are a body of Catholic Clergy, which for earnestness and zeal in their work, for sound scholarship, and for unity of thought and action, cannot be excelled in any Diocese. The Catholic Faith among us is not taught lamely or hesitatingly, but clearly and in its fulness. The Holy Eucharist is celebrated at least weekly at every Altar, and there are twelve Altars in this Diocese at which the Daily Sacrifice is offered. The eastward position, mixed chalice, unleavened bread, lights and vestments are all but universal. The Diocese in its three districts, each under an Archdeacon's care is thoroughly equipped for aggressive Missionary work, and from every portion of the field rises the song of thanksgiving for the abundant success with which God is crowning our labors.
Since the first waves of the Oxford revival reached our American shores there have grown up many strong, aggressive Catholic Parishes, but it is our hope that we may present to the eyes of the Church at large, a Catholic Diocese where Bishop, priests and laymen are striving together for the Catholic faith and proving the vitality of that work by the number of souls we may win to Christ.
That God may grant us many years of the strong, wise, devoted leadership of our present Bishop, and that the Clergy and Laity may be one with him in his zeal for the faith is our earnest prayer; for it is the Holy Ghost that maketh men to be of one mind in an house.