Buildings: Churches: Presbyterian

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Lisbon Presbyterian Church gets ready for 165th celebration

The Lisbon Presbyterian Church has been known as the United Lisbon Presbyterian Church. The pioneers also called it the Sixteen Church through the 1940s because of the 1844 development of the Lisbon District #5 School or adjacent School Section 16 School that was around until December of 1945. During that time, Hillside Road was called Sixteen Road as it went by Section 16 in the plat map of historic Lisbon.

The northwest ordinance of the United States was set up in 1787 and covered the formation of townships. One of the provisions was the ideal township would be 36 square miles (6 miles by 6 miles) with each square labeled 1 through 36. Section 16 was designated the “school section” for the funding and encouragement of schools for community youth. Thus, Lisbon had a centralized School Section 16 area which resulted in naming the road, school and even the church that sprang up.

Recently, the Lisbon Presbyterian Church contacted the Sussex Lisbon Area Historical Society for church history as it prepares to celebrate its 165th anniversary next year. Aug. 30, 2012 the church is planning a formal celebration.

The society museum has a wealth of information on this pioneer church which had an inception on June 30, 1846 when a group of people met at the home of John Muir to discuss the organization of an Associate Reform Congregation.

John Muir came to Lisbon and claimed 160 acres on Silver Spring Drive today known as Hickory Hill Farms owned by the Meissner family. Lisbon pioneer Muir is an uncle of the famed naturalist, explorer and writer, John Muir (1838-1914) who was born in Scotland and came to Wisconsin at age 11. He attended the University of Wisconsin and is responsible for Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks and has the National Monument Park named Muir Woods at San Francisco in his diaries. Muir also wrote in his diary about coming to Templeton-Sussex on the Wisconsin Central Railroad and then walking to his uncle’s claim and farm, a distance of 2 ½ miles, and staying for multiple days.

Back to the organizing meeting of the church, Rev. James R. Bonner led the meeting held on June 30, 1846 which led to the church’s true starting date of Aug. 30, 1847. There were 14 charter members, all of Scottish background. They signed on as charter members and donated $117. Charter members were: Robert Roger, John Muir, John Brown, Thomas Chambers, John Gilmour, James Roger, James Welsh, Archibald Rogers, Ann Chambers, Agnes Templeton, Janet Roger, Margaret Roger, Elizabeth Welsh Booth and Margaret Muir. The church’s original name was Associate Reformed Congregation of Lisbon.

The original site of the Lisbon Presbyterian Church, W250 N7129 Hillside Road, was accepted from William Small’s estate and the first church that was built in 1857 is the one still in use. When it was built, pews were sold to help pay for construction.

In 1905, a new front entry was constructed on the church. A room to the west and a basement were added. Another addition followed in 1929. In 1941, horse sheds were removed and in 1954 the basement was remodeled and a cry room was added in 1960.