ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin


Methodist Episcopal Church

Same as English ME and First ME

Fifth and Main



1916 note: Built by Ferdinand Behlke, General Contractor  



(by Rev. Morris L. Eversz)


The first gospel sermon preached in this region was delivered by a Methodist itinerant, the Rev. H. R. Frink in 1839, who was appointed as preacher in charge to what was then known as the “Aztalan Circuit” and covered the territory now occupied by the eastern half of Dane county all of Walworth, Rock and Jefferson counties and the southern half of Dodge county.


The Rev. C. D. Pillsbury and Jesse Halstead were appointed to this region the year before but it is not definitely known whether they ever reached the ford of the Rock river at Watertown. 


As there were no school houses in those primitive days, Mr. Frink preached in a small log house on the west side of the river which stood about in the rear of where Stapleton s drug store now [1908] stands.  Mr. Frink and his successors were kindly received by all classes of people, but no church organization was really formed until 1844, when the Rev. Stephen Jones organized a Methodist class composed of the following early settlers:


Mr. and Mrs. Walter Andrews, Mr. and Mrs. Calvin Boughton, Mr. and Mrs. Heber Smith, Mr. and Mrs. William Dutcher, Mr. and Mrs. Elihu Higgens, Mr. and Mrs. Albert Cook, Mr. and Mrs. Cheney Adams, Mr. and Mrs. John Bailey, Mrs. Simon Ford and Mrs. Sands Cook.  Of these Mrs. John Bailey still remains and resides with her son at 320 North Warren Street.


The first church building was commenced the same year on the site now occupied and to which the trustees have a clear title.  It was completed the next year under the pastorate of the Rev. W. G. Miller.  Its original size was 30x40 feet.


In 1872 it was enlarged by adding 36 feet and a small wing in the rear for parsonage purposes.


In 1907 it was torn down to make way for the present modern structure which was dedicated on January 26, 1908.


The church has had a varying career with the changing population.  Sometimes flourishing, ranking with the strongest churches in the conference, and then declining to a place among the very weakest.


But it has never let go and is now on the road to prosperity, operating most earnestly in a forward movement.


The church has a fully organized board of trustees, a board of stewards, a Sunday school, an Epworth league, a ladies aid society and a woman’s home missionary society.  It maintains four public services on the Sabbath, a weekly prayer meeting, four business meetings during the month, besides a bible study class and the outlook is hopeful.


The Rev. Morris L. Eversz is the present pastor, now in his fifth year in the city.        Weekly Watertown Leader,  November 06, 1908


Cross Reference:  Rev. M. Eversz was a pastor at the Pipersville ME church while serving in Watertown. 





Calvin M. Boughton was one of the most active members of the M. E. church in erecting one of the first church edifices in Wisconsin.



12 09       Donation Festival given for benefit of Rev. A. C. Huntley    WD



01 12       Series of revival meetings held; preaching every evening by Rev. A. C. Huntley, pastor   WTranscript



Dedication—The enlarged Methodist Episcopal Church of this city will be dedicated next Saturday.  The Rev. W. G. Miller, the Presiding Elder of this district, Rev J. M. Leihy and Rev. A. C. Huntley, together with other clergymen from abroad will be present and take part in the impressive ceremonies.  Services will commence at 10 1/2 A.M. and 7 1/2 P.M.  The Methodists have now a large and commodious house of worship.  The considerable improvements which they have recently made will better accommodate the large numbers who assemble there to engage in religious exercises.  A parsonage has been added to the present building, which will secure a pleasant and permanent residence for their minister.   WD



08 23       CAMP MEETING—The annual Camp Meeting of the Milwaukee District, Methodist Episcopal church, commenced a series of meetings at the Junction of the Milwaukee & Mississippi Railroad and the Milwaukee, Watertown & Baraboo Valley Railroad on Monday, August 20th, and will close next Saturday.  Arrangements have been made on the above named railroads to carry passengers to and from the Camp Meeting during the week at half fare.   WD




The Annual Pic Nic of the Methodist Episcopal Sunday School will take place next Friday, the 21st inst.  The party will leave on the morning train of the Milwaukee and Western Railroad, proceed to Oconomowoc, and on the beautiful and embowered island of La Belle Lake, spend a day of pleasure, relaxation and enjoyment, surrounded by all the loveliness that can charm and delight.  We wish all a happy day and safe return.   WD



The friends of Rev. O. D. Jones, pastor of the Methodist Episcopal church of this city, propose to give a Donation Party for his benefit in Cole’s Hall, this evening.  All who feel disposed to contribute to the support of the Gospel here are cordially invited to attend.  Liberal and intelligent citizens cannot make a better use of whatever means they have to spare than to devote them to the support and dissemination of religious truth.  The cause of religion is the hope of mankind, and just in proportion to the dissemination of the sacred teachings of the Bible will the welfare of all communities be promoted.  We regard no appeals to the public more worthy of favor than those which have for their object the principles and doctrines of the Savior, and the ministry is the chief instrumentality by which this beneficent end is accomplished.  Let all who can, lend a helping hand.   WD




A series of religious meetings are now being held at the Methodist Episcopal church in this city, under the charge of the pastor, Rev. D. O. Jones.  During their progress a deep interest has been manifested and there is a promise of much good as the result.   WD



03 19       DONATION VISIT

On Tuesday evening, the 24th, a Donation Party will be given in Cole’s Hall for the benefit of the Rev. Henry Coleman, pastor of the Methodist Episcopal church at which, we are requested to say, a general attendance is respectfully solicited.


In a country where religious institutions depend wholly upon voluntary support, it becomes all who properly appreciate the inestimable blessings of the Gospel to readily do whatever may be in their power to diffuse more widely the saving truths of Christianity.  As the ministry is one of the Divinely appointed agencies for the accomplishment of the great work of salvation throughout the world, we should gladly give it all the efficacy it can derive from being placed in such a position as will enable it to devote all its energies to the labors imposed on it by the Author and Finisher of our Holy Faith.  This is our duty and if we fulfill it willingly and well we shall do so much to advance the sacred interests of the Redeemer’s kingdom . . .    WD



The Superintendent and teachers of the Methodist Episcopal church in this city have made ample arrangements to give the Sabbath School Scholars connected with that denomination a Christmas Eve festival.  The children belonging to that school always have a good time on these occasions.  It they don’t enjoy themselves on the Eve of the Nativity of their Savior it will be their own fault.  A Christmas tree loaded with rewards in the shape of gifts to those who have done well will be there – and many other things calculated to gratify and delight the good children.   WD



11 24       Thanksgiving service







A beautiful day was given us for the enjoyment of Thanksgiving, the atmosphere being clear and bright, with just sufficient crispiness for outdoor pleasure.  The church services were well attended and most of the business places were closed for the afternoon and evening.


The union services at the M. E. church were appropriate to a proper observance of the day.  The sermon by Rev. J. M. Campbell on "Social wrongs and how to right them," was timely in its character and set forth many matters well worth heeding in this day and generation.   WR


1900       REV. HENRY S. FOSTER, Rector




The Chicago & Northwestern Railway Company has made a satisfactory settlement with William Ebert, the workman who was injured recently at the company’s coal sheds here, Mr. Ebvert receiving $200 on account of his injuries.  The settlement was effected through the efforts of Rev. A. M. Bullock, pastor of the M. E. church.    WG




There will be a reception in honor of Rev. A. N. Bullock, pastor of the Methodist [Episcopal] church, on Friday evening, Jan. 17th.  The reception will take place at the parsonage and church, corner of Main and 5th streets.  An informal literary and musical program will be given during the evening; also light refreshments will be served.  No charge for lunch, no collection will be taken.  Anything, however, that the friends may desire to give will go for the benefit of Mr. Bullock and family.  By order of the officials of the M. E. church.   WG



The German M. E. Episcopal church, corner of North Fifth and Madison streets will be rededicated next Sunday, Mar. 16.  Rev. William Weber of Milwaukee will preach at 10 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Rev. J. Bletch, of Chicago, will preach in the afternoon at 2:30.  Rev. Bletch was formally a minister at this place.  Special music will be given by both the male and mixed choir at every meeting.  Miss Alma Feldschneider will also sing a soprano solo in the morning.  Everybody is cordially invited to come and see our pretty church and new school house, and hear the eloquent sermons which will be delivered.



Conformable to usage the members of the G. A. R. resident here and others attended special Memorial services Sunday evening.  This year the services were held in the M. E. Church, Rev. A. M. Bullock, assisted by Rev. Wm. Fritzmeier, occupying the pulpit.  The church was well filled, a section of the pews being reserved for the “old boys,” some thirty of whom were present, and a sturdy group of old Union savers they were too.  The regular church choir was on duty and the rendition of the old army songs and patriotic odes by the choir and the congregation brought back to memory the times when as wearer of the Union blue these same Grand Army boys would sing like songs beside tip smoking rail piles [pipes?] way down in Dixie.  Every music number was an Army song or national anthem.  A song by the choir and congregation; prayer by Rev. Wm. Fritzmeier; music; then the address by Rev. A. M. Bullock, a masterpiece of eloquent thought; patriotic and inspiring, a gem in a becoming setting were the evening’s program of exercises, and though lacking perhaps something of usual formality, was most thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated by everyone in attendance, and by none more than by the veterans themselves. 



01 03       PLANS FOR NEW M. E. CHURCH

The congregation of the English M. E. church have had plans drawn for a new church to be erected of concrete blocks, work upon which will be commenced early in the spring, the cost of which will be in the neighborhood of $12,000.   WG


08 20       The first Gospel meeting of the English Methodist church took place last night at the Masonic hall and was very enthusiastic, considering that it was the first gathering.  The meeting had to be conducted in the Masonic hall, as the tent, which was to be used for the meetings, had not arrived, but is expected today and the next revival gathering will take place at the Turner Hall park under the tent . . . The meeting will be in the Masonic hall tomorrow night if the tent does not arrive.   WG


12 27       The entire Chinese population of the city was in attendance at the services held at the German M. E. church Christmas evening, and HE was very much interested in the services which were indeed very fine and enjoyed by a large congregation.   WG


Aug          An August 1907 article reported that a resolution was sent to the Chicago conference of the German M. E. church asking for the return of Rev. Henry Karnopp, who had been pastor and whose services were “most acceptable to the members of the church”.





Demolition of the old Methodist church located on the corner of Fifth and Main Streets in 1908.  Razed to make way for the "new" Methodist church, a brick edifice, which stood on this site until the late 1970s, when it was razed to build a bank, Bank One.


Cross Reference:  Old church pews removed from first church used in first movie theater.


09 25       At the recent conference of the M. E. church held at Neenah, Rev. M. L. Eversz of this city was reappointed pastor.   WG


   Eversz misspelled as “Everetz


09 30       Rev. Henry Karnopp has been reappointed pastor of the German M. E. church in this city.   WG


10 09       About 75 of his parishioners tendered Rev. Karnopp, pastor of the German M. E. church, a surprise at his home last Tuesday evening.  Attorney N. Thauer delivered a welcoming address on behalf of the congregation, which was responded to by Rev. Karnopp.  Elder C. Berg also delivered an address.  The affair was a decidedly pleasant one.   WG



01 15       Old fashioned revival meeting in the Sunday school parlor of the new Methodist church   WG


04 09       Methodist Ministers' Assn of the Janesville district meets in Watertown    WG


04 30       New bell hung in the belfry    WG


05 14       20th anniversary of Epworth League; special program    WG


09 03       Fourth quarterly conference; Rev. M. L. Eversz invited to continue for sixth year   WG



01 15       Epworth League decided on church entertainments   WG



At the Christmas tree exercises last Friday evening at the M. E. church, Rev. M. L. Eversz, the esteemed pastor of the church, was taken completely by surprise when he was presented by the men of his congregation with an elegant gold watch and chain.  Mr. Eversz prizes his gift very much, especially so as it makes him feel that his work as pastor is appreciated by his flock.   WG




A branch of the Boy Scouts of America is being organized in Watertown under the lead of the Rev. E. J. Matthews, pastor of the M. E. church.  A gymnasium will be fitted up in the basement of the church devoted to athletics and where drills will take place, also boxing and other manly sports, with the addition of a baseball team during the summer.  Cross country hikes and a scout camp will also be features of the organization.  The camp will be located on the shores of some lake and will afford the boys a splendid summer outing.  It is said “a boy has 500 muscles to wiggle with and none to sit still with,” and it will be the endeavor of the organization to have the boys wiggle their muscles at the right time and place.   WG


10 10       M. E. CHURCH OUT OF DEBT

Recently the pastor of the M. E. church in this city, Rev. E. J. Matthews, received a check for $1000 from the presiding elder of the Appleton district, the money being given the elder by a lady with instructions to use it where he thought best.  Some time ago a Juneau friend gave $1000 to the M. E. church here and a Watertown friend gave a like amount, making three very fine donations recently received by the M. E. church.  WG



The young people of the M. E. church enjoyed a conundrum supper last Friday evening at the church dining room.  The menu was as follows:   WG


An oriental square            Napkin

Spring offering               Water

Whip tips                     Wafers

A product of the desert       Sandwich

Crystallized nectar           Sugar

Cordial cheer                 Coffee

Cupid’s patrons               Pickle

Infant’s delight              Milk

Dyspepsia’s forerunner        Cake

Cartwheels                    Doughnuts




The auditorium and Sunday school room of the First Methodist church have just been nicely decorated by Louis E. Schmutzler, painting contractor and decorator of this city, and on Sunday services on the main floor at the church were conducted for the first time since the decorations began.  The decorations are very fine and reflected much credit on Mr. Schmutzler, who designed and did the work.   WG





04 26       NAME CHANGE

Name of the German Methodist church on N. Fifth at the corner of Madison has been changed to Wesley Methodist.  The congregation has 200 members and was begun in 1869.



11 26       FIRE NEARBY

A wall and part of the roof of the First Methodist church were scorched by a fire in the Piper building.




The congregations of Watertown’s two Methodist churches voted overwhelmingly on Sunday in separate meetings following the morning worship service to come under a common pastor beginning in June, with an aim for eventual union of the two churches.  The possibility of such an arrangement was suggested to the two congregations last month, after the pastor at Wesley church, the Rev. J. Ellsworth Kalas, announced his resignation to his congregation.


The district superintendent, the Rev. Alvin J. Lindgren, met with the Rev. Carlos Asher, pastor of the First Methodist Church, and Mr. Kalas, after which meetings were held with the pastoral relations committees of the two churches and their respective official boards and quarterly conferences.  In each case it was voted that the matter should be referred to the individual congregations for an expression of their opinion.


06 07       The appointment on Sunday of a prominent Methodist minister, the Rev. William V. Stevens now pastor of Epworth Church at North Second and West Garfield Avenue, Milwaukee, to become minister of First Methodist and Wesley Methodist churches in Watertown, is expected to speed the way for eventual union of the two Watertown congregations.  The Rev. Mr. Stevens will take over here next Sunday, his appointment having been announced in Racine yesterday at the closing session of the Wisconsin Conference of the Methodist Church.  Announcement that the two Watertown churches would have a dual pastorate starting this June was made by the Rev. Alvin J. Lindgren, Watertown district superintendent of the Methodist Church some months ago.   WDT



04 05       The first of two church mergers affecting four of the city's present Protestant congregations, first announced in the Times in 1955, will take effect on June 1, 1957, when Watertown will have only one Methodist church.  Announcement of this date was made here today by the Rev. William V. Stevens, minister of First Methodist and Wesley Methodist churches.


The other merger, which is also scheduled for next year, will involve the First Congregational church and the First Evangelical and Reformed church. Details on the merger are still pending.   WDT



09 17       Plans for a new city parking lot in the Main-North Fifth Streets area were suggested at last night's meeting of the common council by Alderman Herman Gerth.  Mr. Gerth told the council that the old church building of the Watertown Methodist church at North Fifth and Main Streets is reportedly for sale.  He suggested .that inquiries be made to determine the asking price and that it be considered for a parking lot.  He also asked that the Hilary G. Riechert [Reichardt] property, directly north [109 N Fifth] of the church property be checked for possible purchase, making the entire area available for possible future parking lot purposes.   WDT



Cross References:

Wikipedia entry



Image Portfolio: 

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                    German (Wesley) Methodist 

                            in distance 




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History of Watertown, Wisconsin