Forest Cemeteries: St. Michael Cemetery  
Town of Forest Cemeteries:
St. Michael, Dotyville Cemetery
Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin




St. Michael Parish in Dotyville, is one of the early Catholic parishes established in Fond du Lac county.  Founded by Fr. Caspar Rehrl, he originally named the Parish St. Virgilius, after his home parish in Austria. This early Parish, was simply a gathering of families from the area, who met at the home of Mathias Engel, where Fr. Rehrl made his stop.

In 1850, Fr. Rehrl requested 4 acres of land for a church and cemetery at Dotyville, and a meeting was held, attended by about 50 famiilies who were already established in the area.  At this meeting, held in the home of Mathias Engel, it was agreed to donate the land from the farm of Mr. Engel.  But when Fr. Rehrl made his next call to the area, he rejected the location that the families had chosen for their church.  

Historians disagree on the reasons for Fr. Rehrl's decision.  Originally, Fr. Rehrl had followed the old customs of Austria, and build his churches on the highest hill in the area. This tradition allowed travelers to see the church spires from many miles distant.  In Dotyville, the highest elevation was the portion of the Mathias Engel farm that the families were donating to form a church.  Some stories state that at about this same time, the Church building in Mt. Calvary had been struck by lightning, and Fr. Rehrl became hesitant about placing a church at the very top of a hill.
So Fr. Rehrl requested that the site for the new church and cemetery be located at the foot of the hill, rather than at the top.

 In 1853,  Phillip Buese donated land situated on a corner of his farm, to Bishop Henni of the Milwaukee Archdiocese, only this time the deed refers to a second Parish name, 'Jesus in the Desert' Parish.  Finally, in 1866, the Parish was renamed St. Michael, and it continues to this day to serve Catholics in the surrounding area.

St. Michael's Dotyville 130th anniversary booklet, pub. 1984

If you have corrections or additions to share, please contact Tracy Reinhardt by email at  or at 295 Boyd St., Fond du Lac, Wisconsin 54935, (920) 929-8538.