ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin

   Supplement file to First Congregational Church

First Congregational Church SUPPLEMENT


Former:  504 S Fourth, Now home of First Brigade Band and D/JCGS

New:  120 Kuckkan Lane, First Congregational United Church of Christ


1909      Interesting Address by J. T. Moak

Watertown Gazette, 12 03 1909


At the reunion of former members of the Congregational Church of this city last week, or rather at the homecoming exercises, J. T. Moak of Ft. Atkinson, a former resident of this city and who was for many years postmaster here, delivered the following very interesting address.  It will be read with keen interest by The Gazette readers not only in this city, but wherever it circulates:


At the suggestion of someone who meant well, but I fear advised him wrongly, Mr. Rehm was induced to invite me to give you this evening a chapter of reminiscences of the Congregational Church.  Having a distrust of my ability to do this satisfactorily, at least to myself, my first impulse was to decline.  The request was couched in such complimentary terms, and evidently with so much sincerity, that I hesitated, for a time; when remembering how loyally Mrs. Moak and I were entertained by this people when we left the city three years ago, I determined to lay aside all delicacy and respond to the call as one that you or your representatives had a right to make. 


Therefore I am here to fill the part assigned me in the program to the best of my ability.  If my efforts to entertain you shall prove disappointing, I implore you to deal with Mr. Rehm, for bear in mind that his advent in the city was subsequent to my departure and he could not be expected, from want of personal knowledge, to act with full understanding.  If it turns out that he was the victim of misplaced confidence he should not, in all fairness, be held accountable for results.


As already indicated I am to deal with some of the early recollections of the church going back thirty, forty or fifty years, which antedate the birth of many of you and will serve to revive the memories of some of your seniors.  My first associations with the church date back to 1854, the year of my coming to the city.  It had been organized then about nine years and the pastor was Rev. W. A. Niles.  The church edifice was then considerably smaller than in later years, and the usual attendance was in size commensurate with the building.  Mr. Niles remained about six years and was succeeded by Rev. Chas. Boynton, whose successors in the order named were the Revs. W. H. Ryder, C. C. Cragin, W. A. Hendrickson, R. C. Bedford, J. M. Campbell, A. O. Wright, G. C. Weiss, Wm. Fritzemeier and T. B. Thompson.


This covers a period of 52 years during which time I sat under the droppings of the sanctuary, and I am compelled to confess, which I do in the deepest humility, that notwithstanding the efforts which these faithful workers in the Lord's vineyard put forth for the regeneration of souls and the salvation of sinners, I never maintained any closer relation to the church than that of a brother-in-law.  However, my good wife was gathered into the fold which may, in a measure, have been taken as part satisfaction.  How often have I wondered that she has not grown round-shouldered under the weight of these doubled responsibilities.


As a member of the board of trustees for many years, I was quite familiar with its affairs, internal and financial.  We had often to wrestle with difficult problems.  How to pay the minister and meet other obligations when due was sometimes no easy matter.  The current revenues were not always available or sufficient and it was not unusual for the trustees to put their hands in their pockets and supply the necessary funds.  At other times having credit at a friendly bank, we would join in a note and have it discounted.  Another of our resources was to head a subscription list and then invoke the aid of some of the women in the church to go out and circulate the same, as they were found to be more successful in that work than the men.  Looking back upon this I will admit that it was a most cowardly thing to do, and for one I crave forgiveness for having been a party to any such transaction.


There was an organization among the ladies known as the Mite Society, its purposes being similar to the present one known by the more euphonious name of the Clover Club.  And it was very useful in its way, too, besides furnishing amusement and promoting sociability among the church attendants.  I am not certain that it was not in some respects an improvement on the more modern methods.  In those days there were no church parlors in which to meet—we had not attained the dignity—and the gatherings were migratory.  And they were always well attended.  There were readings, recitations and the like, not forgetting music and thereby hangs a tale. 


For hilarity and good fellowship there were several who could always be depended upon, but the leading spirits among them and the provokers of the most fun, I think, were good old Deacon Coe and Jonas Sleeper.  Their specialty was singing and they were always ready to display their talents in that line on call.  I do not think that either would have taken first rank in a high-class musical organization nor would they perhaps have been able to hold a position long in your present choir. I am certain that the Mite Society could not have gotten along without them.  The play of Hamlet with Hamlet omitted would [not] have been quite as satisfactory.  Speaking further of their singing, one of their favorite selections was entitled "Nicodemus," and as the song never may have been heard by some of you perhaps I will be pardoned for giving some of the words; though out of regard for your feelings I will confine myself to a single verse and the chorus, which seems infliction enough.  It was as follows . . .



1912      Rev. N. Carter Daniell at the Confirmation Class

Watertown Gazette, 04 04 1912


The Congregational Parsonage                Watertown, April 5, 1912

To the Editor of The Times:


My Dear Sir:  My attention has been called to a reference to me in the April Fool's Day edition of your paper.  It was therein stated that my address at the confirmation exercises was "in line with" an alleged statement of Miss Perdue, concerning the moral condition of Watertown.  The enclosed manuscript contains the sum and substance of my address on that occasion and of that section which refers to the moral condition of Watertown; much is a verbatim report.


This I attest and so also attest several prominent citizens, who were at the service in question and to whom I have read the contents of this manuscript.  Trusting you will extend to me the courtesy of your columns, as have the other editors, so that the interest aroused in your April Fool Day edition may be gratified. I remain


Yours obediently,


N. Carter Daniell.


Mr. Daniell is a writer, traveler and preacher. His special interest is in youth, their moral and spiritual equipment for the battle of life.  His knowledge of boys and girls after extended study and observation in England, India and America, specially fit him for youth's leadership and instruction.  In India over 1200 children attended his schools, and both in England and America he has had daily facilities for the study of the best conditions for the production of successful young men and women.


That was his theme at the confirmation class.


FIRST: He spoke of the pleasure the class had given him. He had worked unremittingly in the young people's interests; even because no available text book had satisfied him, compiled a concise, adequate and simple profession of faith for them.


SECOND: He paid a gratifying compliment to the boyhood and girlhood of Watertown.  He doubted whether it would be possible to find a sturdier, brighter, more intelligent group of young people than could be found right in our own city.


THIRD: It is the boyhood and girlhood of the community, he said, which vitally relate us to the nation.  A nation's great asset is not military power not intellectual achievement, nor material wealth.  A nation's greatest asset is good, clean, honest, capable men and women.  Rome had military power and Rome as a nation perished.  Greece . . .


I plead that you give our young people a chance, the best chance possible, to lay the foundation necessary for their future success.  I voiced the future interests of these boys and girls when I asked the parents present, won't you help me and others bring about these conditions, of cleanness, order and purity, which make the necessary bases [basis] of their equipment for the battle of life.


Rev. Daniell received a letter from Miss Perdue on Thursday denying what The Times stated regarding her in its issue on April 1st.