Marquette Co. MIGenWeb

Can you help with a file pertaining to Marquette Co.?

Untitled 1

Messiah Lutheran Church 1881-1931

Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4 | Page 5 | Page 6 | Page 7 | Page 8 | Page 9 | Page 10 | Page 11 | Page 12 | Page 13 | Page 14 | Page 15 | Page 16 | Page 17 | Page 18 | Page 19 | Page 20 | Page 21

[Page 57] Golden Jubilee—Messiah Lutheran Church


Written especially for this publication by
L. A. Chase, Professor of History,
Northern State Teachers College, Marquette.

At the outset of our sketch of Upper Peninsula history we are confronted with an historical mystery as yet unsolved. This relates to the problem, "Who were the Ancient Miners?" who visited this region in prehistoric times and worked the surface deposits of native copper found on Isle Royale and the mainland? Nobody really knows, though some positive answers have been given. Even yet the old workings remain here and there over the Keweenaw Peninsula and Isle Royale. The stone tools with which they were worked have for the most part been gathered into museum and private collections, as are also the many forms of copper implements, weapons, and ornaments fashioned from the copper gathered in by these ancient miners, whoever they may have been.

It was shortly after the middle of the seventeenth century that the first whites appeared in this land of the Ojibway. They came from France by way of Canada. Some of them were explorers and adventurers, like Radisson and Groseilliers; others were zealous priests, like Marquette, Dahlon, Allouez, and Mesnard; others were representatives of the government of far-away France like St. Lusson, who, midst rather elaborate ceremonies in 1671, took possession at Sault Ste. Marie of all this northern wilderness empire. French possession here was maintained until the close of the Seven Years' War in 1763, when the entire region went to Great Britain as one of the fruits of victory. Under British rule Anglo-Saxons from the eastern provinces of the mother country also penetrated hither in quest of furs or adventure, and there was even a premature and abortive attempt at copper mining on the Ontonagon Shore made by Alexander Henry the Elder, just before the outbreak of the American Revolution.

Furs were the chief lure of the region though there were plenty of Indian souls requiring priestly attention. Missions existed at the Straits of Mackinac, Sault Ste. Marie, and the Apostle Islands at an early date and later on Keweenaw Bay and elsewhere. Fur trading posts existed near by and also on Grand Island, at the mouth of the Ontonagon for a time, and anywhere that Indians were likely to con-

Golden Jubilee—Messiah Lutheran Church [Page 58]

gregate. Game, however, seems not to have been overly abundant and there was very much more of peltry carried down the lakes from its source beyond Lake Superior than came out of the immediate vicinity of the lake itself.

The Indian population consisted of Ojibways or Chippewas, and their kin, the Ottawas, and a few Menominees in the south of the peninsula toward the river of that name. These red men had a wealth of Indian lore and tradition, some of which became the inspiration for the literary work of Schoolcraft and Longfellow, and hence became a permanent feature of American literature. Numerous descendents of this early Indian population are still living in the district.

The British occupancy of the Upper Peninsula was due to end with its cession to the United States by the Treaty of Paris of 1783, but the entire treaty was slow of compliance on both sides and British possession lingered on even after Jay's Treaty of 1795, and did not come definitely to an end until 1820. Governor Lewis Cass and party visited the Soo and Lake Superior in 1820, raised the stars and stripes there, and with the establishment of Fort Brady shortly after, American ownership was clearly and finally affirmed. Another United States fort was planted at the entrance to the Copper Country at Copper Harbor in 1844, but its maintenance was temporary. Fort Brady still has a garrison but the garrison of Fort Wilkins, Copper Harbor, was long since removed and quite recently the site was transferred to the State of Michigan for a park.

For some years after American possession was made a fact, the Indians remained undisturbed. But with the establishment of state government in 1837, a state geological survey was created, the natural resources of the state north as well as south were explored, the mineral and forest wealth of the Upper Peninsula was disclosed, and white intrusion was invited. Before the land could be disposed of, however, Indian cessions had to be secured and this was effected in the eastern end of the peninsula in 1836 and west of the Chocolay River in 1843. Then the mining prospectors rushed in, an active mineral boom came about, lands were leased and later purchased, and mining was fully under way by 1845 in the Copper Country and soon after that in the Iron Country adjacent to Marquette at Ishpeming and Negaunee, whose iron deposits were made known by United States surveyors in September, 1844. New mining locations were developed rapidly one after an-

[Page 59] Golden Jubilee—Messiah Lutheran Church

other in both regions, and after the early boom stages, steady and regular development was undertaken and has continued to the present time.

In its initial period lack of transportation was a main retarding factor, for the country was a wilderness and the mines were some miles from the lake shore. Crude roads were soon cut out of the forest and in 1857 the first railroad of the Peninsula was constructed from Marquette to the Iron Range at Negaunee and Ishpeming. This was continued to L'Anse in 1872 at about the same time that the Mineral Range was extended from Calumet to Portage Lake. The forerunner of the Northwestern Line was built from Negaunee to Escanaba in 1864 and with the filling in of the gap to the southward in 1872 there was established a through route to Chicago. It was later, in 1881, that the line to the Straits of Mackinac was put through, thus affording rail connections with Detroit. Meanwhile the facilities for loading and unloading from shore to ship were improved, the first modern pocket and chute type of ore dock being erected at Marquette, in 1857. At that time and for some years sail boats were the means of conveyance and it was not until near the end of the century that the present mammoth bulk freighter type came into general use as cargo carriers. The canal at the Soo was built in 1855.

The first exploratory work was done by studying surface indications and shaft sinking. Later came diamond drilling, a factory for the making of equipment having been erected at Marquette. Much of the work was hand work in and around the mines, but compressed air drills appeared about 1880, and much additional mechanical equipment was added later so that now much of the labor is employed in tending machines rather than in heavy hauling and lifting. Thus it is that more ore with less men is produced than was formerly the case, hence the tendency of population in the region to fall away somewhat of recent years.

The oldest town in Michigan is Sault Ste. Marie—at least it is the oldest settlement, for it dates back to 1668—which is quite a long way back even as time runs in the oldest states of the Union. St. Ignace is nearly as old, while Marquette dates from 1849, having its origin as a port and forge site in connection with the newly opened mines near Negaunee and Ishpeming. The Menominee Iron Range was well opened up during the 1870's and its range towns appear on the map.

Golden Jubilee—Messiah Lutheran Church [ Page 60]

The Gogebic Range and towns date from the decade of the 80's. As these later iron ranges developed, railroads penetrated the region and ore docks to accommodate them were erected at Escanaba and Ashland, Wisconsin.

Most of the peninsula was heavily wooded at the outset but the forest was progressively removed to meet the requirements of the mining companies at first and later of the lumbermen, the iron furnaces, construction, and the export trade. Another natural resource, fishing, was important from early days and Lake Superior whitefish became famous everywhere; was packed by the American Fur Company in the 1840's and shipped by water to the southward. Mineral resources were uncovered, slate in the Huron Mountain section, red stone on Keweenaw Bay, "Raindrop" near Marquette, graphite near L'Anse, marble and gold near Ishpeming, and limestone in the eastern counties—all produced and shipped in quantities great or small. Even odds and ends of lead and silver were found in Marquette County and elsewhere, while soon after the Civil War, Silver Islet near the north shore of Lake Superior, attracted Upper Peninsula miners and yielded a considerable store of native silver. Silver is also an important bi-product of copper production, nuggets having been found and pocketed by the early miners and the metal still appears in the stampmill output.

To develop the region following the early French and Indians, came Cornishmen from their native Cornwall and other mining regions, for, as the saying is, "Wherever in the world you find a hole in the ground, at the bottom of it you will find a Cornishman looking for mineral". Soon came the Irish, then the Germans, Swedes and Finns, attracted by similarity of land and climate like the old country, or the mere opportunity to do hard work and make a living. Eventually some of our Upper Peninsula communities became as polyglot as any community in the land.

Time was when Michigan, that is northern Michigan, ranked first as a producer of copper and iron, and its total output has amounted to billions of pounds and hundreds of millions of tons. Later came competition of the Western mines, iron in Minnesota and copper in Montana, Arizona, and Utah, and elsewhere. But though the region has been developing its natural resources for eighty years, the end of it all is not in sight and its future is assured for years to come.

[Page 61] Golden Jubilee—Messiah Lutheran Church


In the celebration of our Golden Jubilee we have reason to feel proud of our achievements. The fifty years that are now in the background have revealed many interesting developments in our church work, and represent much effort and sacrifice on the part of our Pioneers who have worked so diligently to "carry on" in the work of our Lord and Savior. Without their true Christian spirit, and the guiding hand of our Supreme Architect, the present Jubilee could never have been made a reality.

With these thoughts uppermost in our minds should we not consider the influence that radiated from our Sister Churches, several of them our predecessors in establishing Houses of Worship in our community, and the effect that this Christian influence must have had in causing our Pioneers to organize the Messiah Lutheran congregation in Marquette!

We, as a church, have manifested much interest in our own spiritual welfare, and as time goes on, we find ourselves reaching out and joining hands with our Sister Churches in the work of the Lord. With this apparent desire to get closer together we become more and more interested in a common cause—to spread the Gospel of Jesus among all the people. To do this effectively we must coordinate our efforts in order to enhance and make possible even greater accomplishments in the future. Because of this unity of purpose we feel it our Christian duty to give space in our Album to some interesting historical facts concerning our Sister Churches.

The First Methodist Episcopal Church was the first Protestant church to be organized in Marquette. The time of organization dates back to 1851-80 years the first meetings being held in what was then known as the "Marquette House" located near the corner of Baraga Avenue and Front Street. The first church was built in 1856, and was located on West Washington Street, next to the old Queen City Hotel. This property was later sold, and in 1873 the present church was erected. A Reverend Wm. Benson served as the first minister, and he was succeeded by Reverend A. C. Shaw who was here when the present church was built. Reverend F. J. Clifford is the present minister.

The main spirits in the organization of the Episcopal Church in Marquette were that great pioneer of Northern Michigan, Mr. Peter White, and, associated with him, another pioneer whose name has been immortalized in the High School, Robert J. Graveraet. In

Golden Jubilee—Messiah Lutheran Church [Page 62]

1856 the group of church people who had become associated with these two men were organized into a church. They called to be their first minister, the Reverend Henry Safford who remained here about two years, and was succeeded by the Reverend Josiah Phelps, the father of Mr. Peter White Phelps, the present Senior Warden of St. Paul's Cathedral parish. The present church, which, by the way, is the second, was built in 1874 under the leadership of Reverend B. F. Fleetwood. The Morgan Memorial Chapel, the gift of Mr. Peter White, was erected in 1887, and the rectory of the church was built in that same year. Dean Maurice Clarke is the present minister.

A preliminary meeting to consider the propriety of organizing a Presbyterian Society was held at the home of Mr. Amos R. Harlow, one of Marquette's first settlers, October 14, 1855. At this time it was decided to issue a call for a meeting on November 6, when an organization could be effected by the choice of Trustees. The organization plans were perfected at a meeting held in the Methodist Episcopal Church on Monday, June 15, 1857. There were present at this meeting 18 charter members. The present church was erected in 1869. Reverend J. A. Woodruff was the first temporary supply of the pulpit, and Reverend C. B. Stevens, the first regularly stated supply, began his ministrations on November 6, 1858, services being held in the old Court House. Reverend Herbert J. Bryce is the present pastor.

The First Baptist Church was organized in 1860 with 8 charter members. The first meetings were held in the Old Court House, and later, July 5, 1863, the first church was dedicated. This church was built directly south of our present Peter White Public Library, on the property now occupied by the Fraternity building. The present church was dedicated on October 7, 1889. Reverend J. C. Armstrong served as the first minister. Reverend Sidney Smith is the present pastor.

Our neighboring church, the Trinity Lutheran, was organized in 1876, with 10 charter members. The first services were conducted in private homes by one of the members who served as Rector. The first church home of the congregation was the old Episcopal Church. It was bought and moved to the property now occupied by the present church in the early eighties. The present church was erected in 1900. The first resident pastor was a Reverend Kaeselitz who was called in 1878. Reverend Wm. Roepke is the present pastor.

The Swedish Methodist Episcopal Church followed closely the organization of the Messiah Lutheran Church, being organized in 1883. The early services were held in a rented hall on South Front Street,

[Page 63] Golden Jubilee—Messiah Lutheran Church

between Spring Street and Baraga Avenue, and the first church was built on the corner of Ridge and Oak Streets in 1883. The records show 15 charter members and the first Pastor was a Reverend S. L. Carlander. The present church was completed in 1898. Reverend K. M. Wilkins, the present pastor, has served the congregation for many years.

The first active step in effecting a Christian Science organization in Marquette was in 1893 when a Christian Science Society was formed. Meetings were held in a house on Front Street, where the Peter White Public Library now stands. From there the meetings were moved to the home of Mrs. Sarah Coles on West Arch Street, and then to Miss Probst's home on East Ridge Street, where in 1896 the First Church of Christ, Scientist, was organized. The growth in membership necessitated larger quarters and successive moves were made to the old First National Bank Building and the Opera House Block. In 1914 the property now occupied by the present church edifice was acquired and meetings were held in one of the homes located on this property. In 1925, this frame structure was razed in order to provide room for the new church. The new church was completed late in 1925, but because of a ruling to the effect that all Christian Science churches must be free of debt before dedication, the dedicatory services were deferred until March 6th, 1927. Miss Malone was the first Reader. Present Reader, Mr. J. G. McCallum.

The First Ev. Lutheran Church, of which Rev. J. H. Heimonen is the present pastor, was completed in 1912, but date of organization dates back to 1898. The new church is located on West Bluff Street, between Third and Fourth Streets.

The Swedish Baptist Church was organized in 1903, and is the youngest of our Protestant churches in Marquette. The first services were conducted in a rented hall on North Third Street, and in 1909 a frame building, located on the present church property, was purchased. The spirit of progress was prevalent among its members; and as a result, the wooden structure was razed and the present church was built. It was dedicated in the month of February, 1924. A Reverend Chas. Asplund served as the first Pastor. Reverend Alex. F. Olson, the present Pastor, began his service here in June 1924.

In analyzing the records made by the respective churches covered in this article, it is interesting to observe that much progress has been made, and that not a single backward step has been taken. May they continue to prosper and forge ahead in order that the people at large may have unlimited opportunities to receive the much needed Spiritual instruction so essentially necessary to the progress of every community!

Untitled 1

Messiah Lutheran Church 1881-1931

Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4 | Page 5 | Page 6 | Page 7 | Page 8 | Page 9 | Page 10 | Page 11 | Page 12 | Page 13 | Page 14 | Page 15 | Page 16 | Page 17 | Page 18 | Page 19 | Page 20 | Page 21

Marquette County MIGenWeb

Marquette MIGenWeb Site Links   
Index  |  Vitals  |  Military  |  Schools  |  Cemeteries and  Places  |  Photos  |  Volunteer

Copyright © 2004-2013 all rights reserved on html coding and graphics by .  
Volunteers hold copyright to the material they have donated for this site.  Not to be copied and used in any format to any other site or in any other media.