Vernon in Waukesha County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
The Reformed Presbyterian Church of Vernon
Organized by Scottish settlers in October, 1848 with Rev. James Milligan at the home of James Wright Sr.
The last regular services were held in 1920.
This was the only Covenanter church ever formed in Wisconsin.
Erected 2007 by Waukesha County Historical Society. (Marker Number 31-03.)
Location. 42° 54.924′ N, 88° 13.137′ W. Marker is in Vernon, Wisconsin, in Waukesha County. Marker is on Big Bend Drive 0.1 miles north of County Route ES, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Big Bend WI 53103, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Haseltine Cobblestone House (approx. 1.6 miles away); Village of Big Bend (approx. 2.7 miles away); Town of Vernon (approx. 2.7 miles away); Childhood Home of Wisconsin Governor Julius P. Heil (1876-1949) (approx. 3.2 miles away); Maney Ridge Prehistoric Effigy Mounds (approx. 3.3 miles away); Cheney-Faulkner Cooper Home (approx. 3½ miles away); Freewill Baptist Church (approx. 3.6 miles away); Linnie Lac (approx. 3.6 miles away).
The Reformed Presbyterian Church of Vernon was the only Covenanter church organized in Wisconsin. It was formed by Scottish settlers lead by Rev. James Milligan at the home of James Wright, Sr. on Oct. 18, 1848. The Covenanter church began in Scotland in 1581 when a covenant was signed to defend Presbyterianism. Covenanters believe in separation of church and state, causing them to leave Scotland and eventually come to America.
The church bulding was erected in 1854 in Greek revival architecture. Big brass keys open the double doors to the church where you will see Psalm books in the racks of pews, a kerosene chandlelier with cut glass prisms hanging from the center of the ceiling and, beneath the balcony, two box stoves surrounded by rockers and foot stools. Each family had their own pew in the church and a stall for their buggy in the shed outside. The church's covenant from 1875 signed by the national church and the Vernon church is on display in the vestibule. Former church members are buried in the cemetery outside. The Covenanter parsonage was built by Elden Falkner up on Prospect Hill.
No musical instruments were allowed in the church, but Psalms were sung in the metrical version. In order to atend oommunion, you needed to attend both a Friday and Saturday service followed by a several-hour service
In 1920, with a decline in membership, the congregation stopped having services. The organization officially disbanded in 1937. The church was still well maintained by Ivan Wright and his sister Mrs. John Raht until 1967. The Vernon Reformed Presbyterian Cemetery Association was formed on June 15, 1940. In 1971 the church building was acquired by the cemetery association. The building was completely restored by member descendants and other people interested in its preservation. It continues to be well maintained. From time to time a worship service is still held there.
— Submitted May 10, 2011, by Linda Hansen of Waukesha, Wisconsin.
Categories. • Churches & Religion •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 21, 2010, by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 966 times since then. Last updated on June 20, 2011, by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on October 21, 2010, by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page.