POST-CIVIL WAR: 1866-1900
Soon after six o'clock, on the evening of March 4th, the Methodist Church began to be rapidly filled by the highly intelligent audience which always greets the public exercises of the University, and by seven o'clock all the available room of that large edifice was fully occupied. After prayer by President Haven and music by the Light Guard Band, [the 9th speaker] Charles Simeon Carter, of Fairwater, Wis., then gave a witty account of the wrongs of woman, his subject being The Oppressed. Various suggestions for the melioration of the condition of the female sex were proposed which convulsed the audience with laughter, though the speaker's countenance remained a model of gravity and composure. (Michigan University Magazine, March, 1868, pp. 234-35)
Louis Ott bought the present grounds for $50.00 and presented it to the congregation. Mr. Ott and William Werth, with others, went to Eureka in 1872, which was then a fairly prominent lumbering town on the Fox River. Logs were purchased above Eureka, floated down to the village, sawed into timbers and boards, and hauled by members over the winding trails, with team and wagon, to the site of our church. The stone for the foundation was hauled by oxen and wagon from a quarry near Oshkosh.
Mr. Ott was instrumental in gathering funds for the newly formed congregation. In the days when butter was ten cents a pound and other things were at such low prices, he managed to collect over $2,000 for the church.
Thus, Zion congregation got its start. It was mothered by the Ripon church and after a few years formed a parish with Brandon. Brandon's Lutheran church is the younger sister of this congregation, and both are daughters of Ripon, as is the Lutheran church in Markesan.
Herman Kath, the first clerk of the Zion Lutheran church, was appointed postmaster on August 29.
The Rev. Hoelzel had to give up this large field as his health would not permit all the traveling and extra work. Rev. A. Rehn, the first resident pastor, was then called and resided at Brandon where the two parishes had their parsonage. This arrangement was not the most satisfactory on and after a year or so, Rev. Rehn desired to leave the Brandon church and offered to serve Fair Water alone if the Fair Water people would continue to pay his salary, instead of only half, and if they would find a parsonage.
The Pastor was installed in the Newman house, now owned by Mrs. Dora Cluppert. It was Pastor Rehn who started the first church records. The first confirmation, baptismal and marriage records were all recorded at Ripon. Our first church book goes back to the year 1875. The first batism recorded in the book is that of Herman August, the son of Gottlieb Berg and Wilhelmina (Heuer) Berg and the sponsors were Fredrich Berg, Augusta Pockrandt and Auguste Heuer. There had been many other baptisms but all were recorded in Ripon, not here.
In the early days of the congregation, winter brought many discomforts. Heat was furnished for the congregation by a long low stove that would hold a three to four foot tie at one filling. The stove pipes reached the entire length of the room. The first to arrive for a Sunday service would, of course, take the pews nearest the stove. Those that traveled any distance in the cold had little chance to get warmed up before their return trip home as very little heat spread throughout the church.
His store was noted for the large peanuts, old fashioned licorice and heart shaped chewing gum. He was born in Sutton, Vt. In 1834 and came west in 1857. He served in the 32 WVI for 3 years, being discharged June 12, 1865.
The leading industry of Fairwater is the flouring-mill of N. C. Hurlbut. The Postmaster is J. H. Brown. The village has two general stores, one flouring-mill, one blacksmith-shop, one shoe-shop, twp carpenter-shops, one stonemason, a post office, one secret society, two ministers, three churches, and one saloon.
The [First Regular Baptist] society was at one time quite flourishing, but by deaths and removals has become very small. It is now nominally a branch of the Ripon Baptist Church, but most of the former members attend and help support the Free-Will Baptist Church of Fairwater. No regular services are now held in the church; it is the temporary lodge-room of the Good Templars.
The membership [of the Evangelical Lutheran Church] includes forty-seven families. The President of the Board of Trustees is Gottlieb Klawan, and the Clerk is H. Kath.
Reverend Rehn resigned as pastor of the Lutheran Church and was replaced by Reverend C. Kessler, who served less than one year. Reverend John Burkhardt was called to replace him, serving both the Brandon and Fairwater congregations.
The arrival of the first train into Fair Water was a great event and the signal for an all day celebration. It offered a thrill to passengers as the engine sped on midst the pealing of the bell and the screaming of the whistle. Among the first to take a ride from Fair Water to Markesan were Mrs. F. Newland and her daughter Mrs. Geo. W. Lyon. Part of the right of way was donated by the Newland family. The Josiah Batson family sold some land to the railroad company for $1,300.00. Mr. John Laper and Mr. John Brown were instrumental in securing this branch line.
With the railroad's arrival, a new business section was established in the northern part of the community near the tracks. This addition generated a rivalry with the older (southern) part of Fairwater. The two areas became known as Jim Town and Bill Town respectively, named for James Johnson, a temperance man, and William Daehn, a tavern keeper. According to the Study Club History, numerous poems and songs grew out of this rivalry, including these two:
Oh the potatoes they grow small
Bill Daehn he had a picnic
According to the Study Club History,
The businesses established in the Northern part of the village or north of the Grand River were a feed mill, lumber yard, harness and shoe shop, drug store, butcher shop, serveral stores, hotel, later a bank, two garages, canning factory, creamery, and hemp mills.
With the coming of the railroad in 1882, the granite quarry at Utley did much to hasten the growth of Fair Water. The name of Utley came from the first owner, Mr. Ott pronounced in German, UTT. [The community was named for railroad superindant Charles Utley according to the January 11, 1883, Green Lake Democrat] Here paving blocks were produced for many years. Later the blocks were used for break-waters constructed in Milwaukee, Wis. The first quarry labor was Scotch, later replaced by Italians who often created excitement in Fair Water with their knife battles.
The granite quarry was opened in 1881 and it was that winter Mr. [John] Laper hauled granite blocks for railroad ballast.
[Wikkerink] was postmaster and merchant in the brick building next to Kuehn Hardware, in the section of town known as "Uptown" or "Bill Town." This same building later was a barber shop and the residence of Laura Jahns.
The Brandon Times reported that Gottlieb Stelter was operating a cheese factory in Fairwater, that George Meyer & Company were building a brickyard on West Street, and that John Laper had installed steam power at the Fairwater mill.
New additions were made at both ends of the church. A tower and balcony were added on to the south end, a bell was purchased and room to accommodate the pulpit, altar and organ were added on to the north end. A partial basement was dug, a furnace installed in it and on the 25th anniversary of the congregation they had a rededication ceremony.
For the first many years of the congregation's history, the singing was led and directed by Mr. Gottfried Klavon. Mr. Klavon was noted for his fine voice and trueness of pitch. Mr. Herman Butz informs us that the first organ installed did not like the climate and absolutely refused to play in the winter time.