WSQ Salzer German Methodist Church Cemetery
In Wisconsin, United States
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To get to this cemetery and the cache, you take a gravel road which goes around the residence in front of the cemetery. "PLEASE, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO USE THE RESIDENCE'S DRIVE WAY."
"As this is classified as a cemetery cache please note it is NOT hidden on any grave marker or site. If there is a service going on, or folks are visiting their loved ones when you arrive please be respectful and come back at a later time. Your understanding and compassion for those folks will be appreciated."
Markle Family / Salzer German Methodist Church Cemetery
The site of the German Methodist Episcopal Church (later called the Salzer Methodist Memorial Church) cemetery in Mormon Coulee (Town of Shelby) at W4607 Hwy. 14/61 was originally the site of the Markle family homestead.
From Emil J. Bernet's article titled "Beginnings of the Salzer Memorial Methodist Church" in the La Crosse County Historical Sketches (series 7) published in 1945, described:
the "people in Chipmunk Coulee and on Brecken Ridge [later called Brinkman Ridge bordering La Crosse and Vernon counties] were largely German Bohemians, most of whom were Catholics. In Mormon Coulee there were chiefly Swiss and in other places there were German Lutherans.
These settlers were pious, God-fearing people with religious training in school in youth; but even with this religious background they had been entirely neglected by their churches before this time. There was an occasional priest in the towns who could be called upon to baptize, marry, or bury. The Methodist circuit riders were ready to pray with a penitent sinner under a tree in the woods or on the lee side of a hay stack, and administer all religious rites when necessary. Literally left as 'sheep without a shepherd' by their own churches, there was an immediate response to the earnest, sincere preaching of the gospel according to Methodist principles. Meetings were held in homes and schoolhouses whenever anyone would listen."
While the main La Crosse church began to have regular preaching services in 1858 and a small church building was erected, missionary work outside La Crosse was growing. Revival meetings during the winter season and camp meetings in the summer time to which people came from long distances were popular. Spiritual interest was shown and the preaching of the gospel became more widespread. The missionary societies were established by 1860. These included La Crosse (main church), Brecken Ridge, Chipmunk Coulee, Mormon Coulee, Burr Oak and Jacksonville (Monroe Co.).
The mother of the pioneer Markle family, Elizabeth Markle, died Feb. 27, 1890, at the age of 76. She was born in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. From there she moved to Ohio with her parents. She married George Markle in 1835 and with her husband and family migrated to Indiana where a number of the children were born, including sons Emanuel and John. In 1851 the family came to La Crosse County and remained here. Her husband George died March 30, 1887, at about 75 years of age. His obituary noted that he was “among the oldest pioneers of the county” and was “a well-to-do farmer and a highly respected citizen.”
In about 1860 or 1861, Rev. William Schreiner built the Mormon Coulee branch of the German Methodist Episcopal Church of the La Crosse Mission (later called Salzer Memorial Methodist Church). The main church was located in the city of La Crosse, and later two sister mission churches were also constructed: one in Chipmunk Coulee in southwestern La Crosse County and the other on Brecken Ridge (later named Brinkman Ridge) in the Town of Hamburg, Vernon County. Both of these mission churches also had cemeteries associated with them.
Vincenz Starch is buried at Markle Cemetery, but also has a stone in Chipmunk Coulee Cemetery with his wife
These churches or societies were comprised largely of Germans and Bohemians in Chipmunk Coulee and on Brecken Ridge, while in Mormon Coulee a large contingent of Swiss occupied farms. The Methodist circuit preachers were able to respond to the lack of any formal religious services and their sincere preaching of the gospel attracted many followers in southern La Crosse County. Meetings were held in homes and schoolhouses until church buildings were constructed.
The families that comprised the Mormon Coulee branch of the German Methodist Episcopal Church were Markle, Ott, Sprenger, Eggler, and Bernet. This church was disbanded in 1887 and the remaining families transferred to Brecken Ridge and North La Crosse (St. Luke’s Methodist). The church building burned down at some point, and the Salzer Memorial Church trustees signed a quit-claim deed over to Joseph Kunert in 1949 for the land “Excepting, however ... premises actually occupied for cemetery purposes.”
Last Updated: on 9/3/2013 12:15:06 PM Pacific Daylight Time (7:15 PM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum