Wisconsin Religious History

The books and articles below are about churches, missionaries and other religious activities in Wisconsin history. See the right column for more info about this website.

History of Methodism in Wisconsin. In Four Parts.

Cincinnati: Cranston & Stowe 1890
Bennett, P. S. Go to Book

The volume is organized as follows:

Part I. History of Episcopal Methodism in Wisconsin before the Formation of the Wisconsin Conference, 1832-1848.
Part II. History of the Wisconsin Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 1848-1889.
Part III. History of the West and Northwest Wisconsin Conferences of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 1856-1889.
Part IV. History of other Methodist Bodies in Wisconsin, 1842-1889.
1. Primitive Methodist Church.
2. Evangelical Association (German).
3. German Episcopal Methodists.
4. Scandinavian Methodists.
5. Free Methodists.
6. American Wesleyan Methodists.

Appendices (there are many). The first is a table showing the number of members and preachers of the Methodist church throughout Wisconsin, as reported in their annual conference, for each year from 1835 to 1889. Another table shows the names of all preachers appearing in the conference minutes, beginning with John Dew in 1828.

For more works on Methodism in the region, see:
– Boase, Paul, “The Fortunes of a Circuit Rider” in Ohio Religious History

King, I. F., “Introduction of Methodism in Ohio” in Ohio Religious History
Cartwright, Peter, Autobiography of Peter Cartwright, the Backwoods Preacher in Illinois Religious History;
Leaton, James (Rev.), History of Methodism in Illinois from 1793 to 1832 in Illinois Religious History;
Holliday, Rev. F. C., Indiana Methodism: Being an Account of the Introduction, Progress, and Present Position of Methodism in the State in Indiana Religious History;
Price, Ruth, “Indiana Methodism 1816-1832” in Indiana Religious History;
Finley, James B., Sketches of Western Methodism: Biographical, Historical, and Miscellaneous, Illustrative of Pioneer Life in Great Lakes Region Religious History

Methodist, Episcopal Methodists, Free Methodists, Scandinavian Methodists, Wesleyan Methodists, church history, Wisconsin history, 19th century

The Catholic Story of Wisconsin

Milwaukee 1948
Blied, Benjamin J.Go to Book

A brief “official” history published at the State’s centennial.

Past made present; the first fifty years of the First Presbyterian church and congregation of Beloit, Wisconsin …

Chicago, The Marsh & Grant 1900
Brown, William FiskeGo to Book

(title continued) “… together with a history of Presbyterianism in our state up to the year 1900”

The first part of the volume is the history of the church in Beloit. In includes biographical info and portraits of many of the early members, who began arriving in the late 1830s. The second part, a history of the church state-wide, has biographies of several important ministers, a chapter on the Presbyterian and Congregational Convention of 1840, and a chapter on the Presbytery of Milwaukee. There are numerous appendices on a variety of topics, and the volume contains 251 illustrations, including many photos.

Presbyterian, church history, Beloit WI, Presbytery of Milwaukee, 1800s, American history book online, public domain

Brethren in Northern Illinois and Wisconsin

Elgin, IL: Brethren Publishing Hourse 1941
Heckman, John and Miller, J.E. Go to Book

This history of the Church of the Brethren is for the most part a collection of brief profiles of individual congregations in Northern Illinois and Wisconsin. There is also a section on ‘Activities’ of the church as a whole, and some biographies. Wisconsin congregations profiled are:

-Ash Ridge
-Irvin Creek
-Pierce County
-Chippewa Valley
-Maple Grove
-Elk River
-Rice Lake
-White Rapids

Church of the Brethren, church history, online free books, free history

Wisconsin Religious History

The Catholic Church in Wisconsin. Profusely Illustrated …

Milwaukee: Catholic Historical Publishing 1895
Heming, Harry Hooper Go to Book

(title continued) “…A history of the Catholic Church in Wisconsin from the earliest time to the present day. Including an account of the Catholic Church in Wisconsin – History of the labors of missionaries and early priests – building of the first churches – organization of parishes, dioceses and archdiocese – statement of present condition of church.”

This history is organized into parts and some parts have multiple chapters. Part names are as follows:
1. The French in Canada
2. The Indian – General Characteristics
3. The Jesuit Missions
4. The Church in Wisconsin
5. The Archdiocese of Milwaukee
6. The Diocese of Green Bay and City of Green Bay
7. The Diocese of La Crosse and City of La Crosse
8. Churches incorporated in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and Dioceses of Green Bay and La Crosse
9. Catholic Institutions – Archdiocese of Milwaukee
10. Catholic Institutions – Diocese of Green Bay
11. Catholic Institutions – Diocese of La Crosse
12. Biographical Sketches of Former Pastors in Wisconsin
13. Catholic Orders in Wisconsin – Religious and Secular
14. Prominent Members of the Laity in Wisconsin
15. Catholic Art and Architecture
16. Chronological Table of Historical and Parochial Events

See also:
– Blanchard, Charles., ed., comp., History of the Catholic Church in Indiana in Indiana Religious History
Lamott, John Henry, History of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, 1821-1921 in Ohio Religious History;
Garraghan, Gilbert Joseph, Catholic church in Chicago, 1673-1871 in Illinois Religious History;
Pare, George, The Catholic Church in Detroit, 1701-1888 in Michigan Religious History;

Catholics, Catholic church, church history, 18th century, 19th century, Green Bay WI, Milwaukee, Jesuits, Green Bay WI, La Crosse WI

Thirty Years in the Itinerancy

Milwaukee: Hauser 1875
Miller, W.G. (Rev.) Go to Book

These memoirs, by Wesson George Miller, deal mainly with the early history of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Wisconsin. Miller was born in upstate New York in 1822 and later emigrated with his family to Waupun, Wisconsin. Because he already had teaching experience as a Methodist, he was soon persuaded to take temporary charge of the Brothertown Indian Mission on the eastern shore of Lake Winnebago. Later, he was appointed pastor to Green Lake Mission (near Ripon), Watertown, Spring Street Station (Milwaukee), and Fond du Lac, eventually returning to Spring Street, Fond du Lac, and Ripon. He discusses Methodist Conferences in detail, providing insight into contentious issues such as slavery, and taking a strong position in support of camp-meetings. Miller also provides information about Lawrence College (Appleton, Wisconsin), major epidemics, and Native American singing traditions.
– Summary from Open Library.

Methodist, Methodist Episcopal church, 1800s, Brothertown Indian Mission, Green Lake Mission, Fond du Lac WI, Ripon WI, Lawrence College, Native American singing traditions

History of the Presbyterian and Congregational Churches and Ministers in Wisconsin …

Milwaukee: Chapman 1851
Peet, Stephen (Rev.)Go to Book

(title continued) “… Including an Account of the Organization of the Convention, and the Plan of the Union”

This is a very early church history, essentially covering the first decade of church history. It is organized as follows:

Part I. History of the Conventions.
Part II. History of the Ministers. This section appears to contain information about every minister in the state until about 1850.
Part III. History of the Churches. This contains information on all the churches, and has a separate chapter on the Welsh churches, and one on churches in Illinois connected with the Convention.
Part IV. This part has no titles, and contains chapters on a variety of topics. There is a table showing the number of ministers, churches and Houses of Worship in each county.

For more works on Presbyterians in the region, see:
Edson, Hanford A., Contributions to the Early History of the Presbyterian Church in Indiana in Indiana Religious History;
Rudolph, L. C., Hoosier Zion: The Presbyterians in Early Indiana in Indiana Religious History

Congregationalists, Congregational conventions, 1800s, Wisconsin history, online books free, public domain

Wisconsin Religious History

Early Episcopalianism in Wisconsin

Madison: Wisconsin State Historical Society 1898
Thwaites, Reuben G. ed.Go to Book

The editor has included extensive explanatory footnotes for the original documents collected here. The journal in Part 1 is about 50 pages long. Part 2 contains a wide variety of documents selected from the archives of the Historical Society that pertain to the same mission as the journal, often referring to the same events.

1. Journal of an Episcopalian Missionary’s Tour to Green Bay, 1834 by Jackson Kemper, D. D.
2. Documents Relating to the Episcopal Church and Mission in Green Bay, 1825-41

Episcopalians, missionary, Green Bay WI, 19th century, 1820s, 1830s, free history, history book online

Missionary Labors of Fathers Marquette, Menard and Allouez, in the Lake Superior Region

Milwaukee: Hoffmann 1886
Verwyst, Chrysostom Go to Book

A number of the chapters are about missions to particular Indian tribes. There are separate short chapters on missions to the: Hurons, Pottawattamie, Sacs, Foxes, Illinois, Sioux, Crees, Chippewas and Nipissings.
Also of interest regarding Native Americans; there is a 50-page appendix entitled “Indian Customs of Lake Superior Country”.

For more works on Jesuits in the region, see:
Kip, William Ingraham (Rev.), The Early Jesuit Missions in North America; compiled and translated from the letters of the French Jesuits, with notes in Great Lakes Region Religious History;
Nute, Grace Lee, ed., Documents relating to Northwest Missions, 1815-1827 in Great Lakes Region Religious History;
Palm, Mary B. (Sister), The Jesuit Missions of the Illinois country, 1673-1763 in Illinois Religious History;
Parkman, Francis, The Jesuits in North America in the Seventeenth Century in Michigan Religious History;
Thwaites, Reuben Gold, The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents: Travels and Explorations of the Jesuit Missionaries in New France, 1610-1791 in Michigan Religious History

Father Marquette, Jacque Marquette, missionary, explorer, Native Americans, Indian missions, Hurons, Pottawattamie, Foxes, Illinois, Sioux, Crees, Chippewas, Nipissings, Indian Customs, Lake Superior

Early Presbyterianism in Wisconsin

Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin 1900
Wisconsin Historical CollectionsGo to Book

1. Sketch of Cutting marsh, by John E. Chapin
2. Documents Relating to the Stockbridge Mission, 1825-48

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