Johnsburg in Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Father Caspar Rehrl / St. John the Baptist Parish
A priest, missionary, teacher, founder of churches and schools, and organizer of parishes, Father Rehrl was born in Salzburg, Austria, in 1809. He became a missionary to North America, arriving in the new diocese of Milwaukee in the Wisconsin Territory in 1845. He traveled on foot through the Wisconsin wilderness to Johnsburg, a small community of German settlers established in 1841, where he was appointed the first resident pastor of St. John the Baptist Parish. Throughout his life, Father Rehrl energetically carried out his missionary work on this eastern Wisconsin frontier, organizing more than 15 parishes and schools, including Holy Name in Sheboygan, Holy Cross in Mount Calvary and St. Joseph in Fond du Lac.
As the number of Wisconsin parishes grew, Father Rehrl saw the need for dedicated religious women to help with education. On August 12, 1858, he founded the Sisters of St. Agnes, an order of teaching and nursing sisters whose services spread from Wisconsin to Kansas and New York.
Father Rehrl died on September 3, 1881, and is buried in St. Agnes Sisters Cemetery in Fond du Lac.
Erected 1991 by the Wisconsin Historical Society. (Marker Number 302.)
St. John the Baptist Parish
This faith community was established in 1841
By 1845 sixty families settled here, the same year Father Caspar Rehrl, an Austrian, became the first resident pastor. As immigrants heard of this paradise valley, with land priced at $1.25 per acre for the best and $.75 for the inferior, as they settled more to the south, the population grew to 200 families by 1851. It also became evident the old log church had out-grown its capacity, and in 1855 they decided to build a new and larger church to be located one and one-quarter miles to the south of the original log church near the Manitowoc River, on a five acre tract of land donated by Mathias Kalt.
In 1856, a new two-story school building was also being erected, and on June 24, 1857, our patron Feast Day, the present church was completed and consecrated by the Rev. John Martin Henni, the first bishop of Milwaukee. In 1923, a four classroom school was built with living quarters for teaching nuns. In 1963, two large classrooms and a meeting room were added to the school.
In 1969 this parish consolidated its school system with three neighboring parishes, pioneering
On Oct. 29, 1980, St. John the Baptist Church was registered in the National Register of Historic Places in Madison, Wis., for being the oldest Catholic Church north of Milwaukee with daily services.
This marker is dedicated to all these heroic immigrants for their courage, efforts, hardships, and monetary support and to those who are devoted to the preservation thereof.
Compiled and erected by Adrian Schmitz - 1993
Marker series. This marker is included in the Wisconsin Historical Society marker series.
Location. 43° 52.613′ N, 88° 17.415′ W. Marker is in Johnsburg, Wisconsin, in Fond du Lac County. Marker is at the intersection of County Highway W and County Highway Q, on the right when traveling south on County Highway W. Touch for map. Marker is in front of St. John the Baptist Church. Marker is at or near this postal address: N9288 County Highway W, Malone WI 53049, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 11 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Edward S. Bragg (approx. 4.9 miles away); Home of Governor James Duane Doty (approx. 7.2 miles away); Toll Gate on the Military Trail (approx. 7.3 miles away); The Brothertown Indians of Wisconsin (approx. 8.6 miles away); G. A. R. Memorial Drive (approx. 9.6 miles away); Locomotive No. 2714 (approx. 9.7 miles away); Spanish–American War Memorial (approx. 9.8 miles away); Supple's Marsh (approx. 10.2 miles away).
Categories. • Charity & Public Work • Churches, Etc. • Notable Persons • Settlements & Settlers •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 4, 2007, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 2,107 times since then and 51 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on November 4, 2007, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. 2. submitted on November 10, 2007, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. 3. submitted on November 4, 2007, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.