Last Updated 10/18/1998

From - Spirit of Wishek Golden Jubilee 1898-1948

St. Lukes Lutheran Church

From - Spirit of Wishek Golden Jubilee 1898-1948

With the coming of the railroad to Wishek, many new families arrived to seek a new home. Among them were several families of the Lutheran faith. Because the number was small at first, these pioneers had to be content to practice their faith by themselves. This they did by diligent use of the Bible, their old German Hymnals, and occasionally a book of printed sermons which they had brought from their old homes in South Russia. Later several families began gathering in private homes on Sundays for a "Lese Gottesdienst," in other words a service, conducted by one of the men, in which hymns were sung, prayers spoken, and a sermon read from a prized sermon book.

It wasn't long until itinerant Lutheran pastors, sent out by the Iowa Synod to look up such small isolated groups, found these people and began to give them an occasional service. In 1904 we find that Pastor A. Wenninger came from Ashley to conduct several services in private homes near Wishek.

The early history of the congregation takes place northeast of Wishek. Services were held, alternately, in the school near the John S. Wolff farm and the school near the Jacob M. Frey farm. On January 1, 1905, St. Luke's congregation was organized. Pastor E. Moeckel, who had been serving the Zeeland parish, approximately 20 miles southwest of Wishek, was called as the first pastor. It is interesting to note, that his salary was set at $125 per year. Because the parish was small, and because he had a family to support, we find that he took up a homestead north of Wishek and also taught one of the country schools.

The first members were: Peter Pheifle, John S. Wolff, George Wolff, Andreas Pfeifle and Philip P. Mueller.

More families moved into the region, and hence the congregation assembled on September 1, 1907, to discuss the building of a church. The committee, which was to investigate possibilities consisted of John S. Wolff, Chairman, George Ziegenhagel, Jakob Helm and Jakob Perman. They were instructed to find a central location for the church building, as well as determine the costs and plans for such an undertaking.

On May 15, 1908, the group reached the conclusion that services should be held in Frey's school house, and somewhere in the town of Wishek. Two months later eight families who lived in the vicinity of Frey's school house decided that it would be too far to come to Wishek for services, so the group divided into two congregations. The one group formed the Jakobus Church, and the other group concentrated their efforts on Wishek. From then on St. Luke's carried on its work in Wishek. On January 3, 1909, Pastor Moeckel presented his resignation to the congregation, which was accepted.

For several months the congregation had the services of Pastor W. Schroeder. He was succeeded by Pastor John Mayer. Under his guidance, the congregation continued its building plans, for they voted to build a church at a cost that was not to exceed $2,000.00. At this meeting, we find that 7 individuals pledged a sum of $475.00 toward the building of the church. In September, the congregation was incorporated under the laws of the State of North Dakota. Pastor Mayer remained until 1911.

Pastor John Willms was then called from Wartburg Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa, to be the next pastor. During his time the first parsonage was acquired. by 1913 thirty-five families belonged to the congregation. he following summer, the group had grown to such an extent, that a new addition was added to the original church building. The original building was moved 6 feet south and 10 feet east before the addition was began. The new addition measured 32 feet by 26 feet and cost the group $3,081.00. The first electric lights were installed in 1917. During this same year, we find the group who had established a congregation near the Frey school disbanded and returned to the Wishek group.

Pastor Willms, too, was the first pastor of the group to conduct an English service in St. Luck's church. This occurred on March 10, 1918. When Pastor Willms accepted a call to Monticello, Iowa, in the fall of 1918 the congregation had grown to 60 families.

The longest period of ministry by any one Pastor begins in January of 1919 when Pastor A. F. Freymann was installed as pastor. Under his guidance, many of the old difficulties were ironed out. In 1926, it was found necessary to add still another addition to the church, this time a wing on the south side. This was done after original plans to erect a Sunday school building had been revoked by the congregation. In this same year, too the parish made plans to build a new parsonage. This was done during the absence of Rev. Freymann, who was spending some time visiting his relatives in Germany. This house still serves as the parsonage today. On the building committee for the parsonage we find such names as: Peter Pfeifle, John S. Wolff, Gottlieb Nickisch, Jacob Frank, Adam Kuebler, Daniel Schnabel and Jacob Eichhorn.

1926 seems to have been a very active year for the group. On October 27 of this year the first organization had its beginning. It was the Ladies Aid.

After 17 years of service, Pastor Freymann left the congregation to return to the Zeeland Parish, which he had served before coming to Wishek. This occurred on January 1, 1936. The congregation now had a membership of 100 families.

Pastor Freymann was succeeded by Pastor G. C. Landgrebe in the spring of 1936. During his stay, regular English services were begun, and the Sunday School, too, introduced the English language into its program. An organization for the young people, bearing the name "Luther League" was organized, When Pastor Landgrebe left the congregation in 1938 to become the full-time President of the Dakota District of the American Lutheran Church, the group had grown to 131 families.

Several months later, Pastor L. R. Schulz arrived from Belle Fourche, S. Dak., to become the new shepherd of St. Luke's Congregation. Under his guidance, we find the group growing to the number of 165 families. When he accepted the call to Regent, N. Dak., the congregation experienced the shortage of pastors then existent. One year passed before another Pastor was secured.

During this year of vacancy, credit must be given to the congregation and its church council for the manner in which they continued to work together.

On June 11, 1944, Pastor T. F. Doyen of Wartburg Seminary was installed as the new Pastor. Since his coming regular Sunday Services have been conducted in both languages. The English Service is conducted at 9:00 a.m. and the German Service begins at 11:00 a.m.

In 1947 two new organizations were begun, namely the Women's Missionary Society and a Brotherhood.

At this writing the congregation has a membership of 835 baptized members, of which 600 are communicant members. There are 238 family units in the group.

Present members of the Church Council are: D. D. Aipperspach, Henry A. Mueller, Philip Bender, Jacob Just, Fred Frank, M. G. Frank, Ferdinand Ketterling, Edwin Wolff, and Fred Thurn.

A new building program for the Church has begun. A planning committee, consisting of George Wolff, Fred Thurn, August Eckman, C. P. Ritter, Philip Bender and the pastor, has been working on a building plan to present to the congregation. As soon as conditions warrant, work will be begun on this project.

St. Luke's congregation has enjoyed a steady growth until now. May the good Lord, who has guided her in the past, continue to bless her that she may bring forth much fruit.

St. Patrick's Catholic Church

From - Spirit of Wishek Golden Jubilee 1898-1948

St. Patrick's Catholic Church's present structure was Wishek's first school house. The late John J. Doyle is credited with the purchase of this building. Through his efforts the building was remodeled and given to the congregation for a church. Credit is also given to Mr. John H. Wishek, Sr., who kindly donated two lots for this purpose. The church was dedicated in 1925.

Previous to this, services were held in the school house, city hall or in the private homes of the members.

Donations were made and collections obtained for the purpose of purchasing the pews, alter, linens and books needed for the services.

Some of the earlier members of this mission were Mr. and Mrs. John J. Doyle and family, Mr. and Mrs. Matt Steil, Mrs. Derrick, Mr. and Mrs. Edward Scheller and family, Mrs. H. E. Kusler and Children, Mrs. J. W. Ackermann, Frank Koehler, the Griffin Family and Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Nippolt.

The mission's first priest was Rev. Father George Fritz of Napoleon, and the present priest is Re. Father Vincent Wiederholt of St. Anthony's Parish, Napoleon, No. Dak.

The present membership numbers 65.

Jewish Synagogue

From - Spirit of Wishek Golden Jubilee 1898-1948

As an historical fact, it should be noted here that 25 years ago Wishek had about a dozen Jewish families among its residents. A Jewish synagogue was built in 1917 located on Block 30 in Southeast Wishek. It was dedicated by Rabbi Hess of Ashley in the fall of that year and served as a temple of worship for a number of years. Later, with the exodus of our Jewish families to other places of residence, the synagogue was discontinued, the building sold and moved away. However, while these Jewish folks lived among us they contributed their part to the city's developments. The following family names are therefore listed:

Abe Auerbach

Nath Auerbach

Frank Rigler

Isadore Dorfman

Dave Silver

Nathan Silver

O.G. Abern

Joseph Swerdlow

Mayer Mackoff

Harry Mackoff

Sam Papaport

I. Pomerance

N. Finkel

Harry Rosen