It’s a new year and a new reading lineup for book club! Join us the last Tuesday of each month at 6pm in the Morgan House for refreshments and discussion. Contact us today about joining the book club.
January- Salt: A World History – Mark Kurlansky
February- Devil in the White City – Erik Larson
March- The Girls of Atomic City – Denise Kiernan
April- Undaunted Courage: The Pioneering First Mission to Explore America’s Wild Frontier – Stephen Ambrose
May-The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America – Andrés Reséndez
June- Alexander Hamilton – Ron Chernow
July-Waubun the Early Day in the Northwest – Juliette Augusta Kinzie
August-A Square Meal: A Culinary History of the Great Depression – Jane Ziegelman, Andrew Coe
September-Nothing Like It in the World:The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad 1863-69 – Stephen Ambrose
October-Neither Snow nor Rain: A History of the United States Postal Service – Devin Leonard
November- The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl – Timothy Egan
December- The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey – Candice Millard
Written by board member Patti Yana
Nestled on the boundary line between Fond du Lac and Winnebago County sits one of the best kept secrets in Fond du Lac County. The Peniel Church, completed in 1856 is located on County Road FF. The original building was enlarged in 1868 and a kitchen added in 1871. A vestibule was built in front in 1894.
The church began as a Calvinistic Methodist congregation, but by 1920 they were known as the Welsh Presbyterian Church. In 1955 they united with the Presbyterian Church with English services. The Peniel Church dissolved in 1977 and members transferred to churches of their choice in the surrounding community. However, the church is still maintained by a devoted group of nine trustees who keep the building up and running.
The church has no running water, heat or AC, but does have electricity for lights and ceiling fans. An outhouse graces the grounds as a testimony to times past and is still functional today. The church building’s floor actually slopes to the sides to represent the inside of a ship. Stained glass windows, movable pews, a piano, and a working 100 year old organ complete the ambiance of days past. The curious two door entrance takes us back to the days when men and women entered through separate doors and sat on different sides of the church.
The Winnebago County Historical & Archaeological Society decided to help this small dedicated church community preserve this historic building by making a donation to their preservation project. After doing so, the WCHAS Board was graciously invited for a tour last fall. What an awesome historic gem! The building is still occasionally used for weddings and funerals and some Sunday “sings”. However, the main event called a Gymanfa Ganu is held annually on the fourth Sunday every August at 2:30. Last fall’s “sing” drew almost 250 people to help them celebrate 160 years! This tradition started 93 years ago in 1923. The church even has one member who boasts that she has been at every Gymanfa Ganu starting as an infant! We were also rewarded with a few songs on the historic organ and piano.
The Wisconsin Historical Society’s History of the Oshkosh Welsh Settlement 1847-1947 lists the John Rodgers Morgan family as members. The WCHAS was honored to be a part of helping to preserve this part of history on behalf of the Morgan family.
I’ve been exploring some really interesting local history lately that’s right down the road from me. I live near Menominee Park in Oshkosh where there is a massive statue of Chief Oshkosh near the shores of Lake Winnebago. The bronze memorial to the chief was placed in the park in 1911, one of many statues generously donated by Col. John Hicks. What makes this memorial particularly interesting is that the remains of Chief Oshkosh were reinterred at the base of this statue 68 years after his death–or was he— and the city practically shut down to welcome the chief home with a huge celebration.
Just to give you a quick background on our city’s namesake. Oshkosh was a Menominee Indian born in 1795. Wisconsin, not yet a state, was still part of the Northwest Territory and mostly unsettled…
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Come visit the beautiful and elegant John R. Morgan House decorated for Christmas. This 1884 Queen Anne style home is a time capsule of a bygone era of Oshkosh. Come learn about the home, the Morgans and their lumber company and how the Winnebago County Historical and Archaeological Society maintains the house. You can enjoy refreshments, entertainment, socializing and take home a small gift ! The house is open 3-8 pm and is free to the public.