TOWN OF BELLE PLAINE -- From Shawano County Centurawno  1853-1953:

It was on October 20, 1858 that a special meeting was called by the electors of the settlement of Belle Plaine for the purpose of organizing a Town.
Belle Plaine was covered with thick forests, and only here and there could be found a clearing where a settler had made his home.

John M. Neues was appointed chairman of that significant meeting. Egbert Johnson served as clerk and Richard Evans and William D. Morgan, inspectors.

F.C. Webster was elected chairman of the new township. John Stacy and George Neword were elected supervisors; Foster Beedle, clerk; James Beedle, treasurer; Richard Evans and John Dodge, Justices of the Peace; John Neues and Egbert Johnson, assessors; Henry Stacy and Frank Dodge, constables. At a special meeting held Nov. 25, 1858, at the home of John Stacy, John Dodge was elected to the office of Superintendent of Schools for Belle Plaine. At this meeting, also, the electors decided to levy a tax of $300.00 to be used for making highways and building bridges.

The job of pole bridging was let to Richard Evans for 85 cents a rod; and the job of cutting and clearing a strip of land for a highway to James Beedle for 50 cents a rod.

The next year, after the organization of the Township, the settlement organized its first church. The people petitioned some of the nearest Lutheran pastors to serve them. The Rev. Ruhland of Oshkosh consented to make the long and difficult journey to this place. The trip was made partly by water on the Wolf and Embarrass rivers; and partly on foot or by ox-wagon. Frequently these wagons were lubricated with fish which could easily be taken from the streams abounding with fish at that time. The wagons were homemade, simple cross sections of logs serving as wheels.

On such a trip through the dense forest and swamps, myriads of mosquitoes would, of course, welcome the wayfarer. Pastor Ruhland, who was accustomed to order and comfort, chided these people for having moved into this wilderness, an act which he considered very foolish.

The little group of people gathered together by this pastor, organized as St. Martin's Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession, Belle Plaine, Wisconsin. The first constitution bears the date October 23, 1859. The charter members were: Carl Raash, Martin Preusz, Carl Reisner, F. Jaeckel, G. Mielke, H. Eckert, F. Degener, Carl Retzlaff, Christian Retzlaff, C. Manteufel, C. Bartelt, W. Retzlaff, J. Klickmann, C. Schewe, F. Tappendorf and F. Kirschberg.

The first services were held at the home of Carl Reisner. A little later the congregation used the public schoolhouse for its services. This was a log building erected on the spot where the parish hall now stands.
In that day the people were too poor to but oxen, not to think of horses which were still more expensive. So practically all traveling was done on foot.
1861 saw the beginning of the great Civil War. Some of the fathers volunteered for service in the Union Army. The hard times which these pioneers experienced became still more oppressing. The Town voted to raise the sum of $100.00 a piece to families of all men who might be drafted into service. At one time the quota of men was fourteen.

While the country was still embroiled in the bitter conflict, Pastor Peter H. Dicke came to Belle Plaine with his family and moved into the new log house which the congregation had erected on its ten acre property. With great self-denial, Pastor Dicke conscientiously performed the duties of his sacred office. In 1869, four years after the close of the Civil War, the first church building was erected for St. Martin's congregation.
In 1864 the freeholders made application for highways. The only early record book to be found in the Town of Belle Plaine contains a long list of requests for highways and bridges.

On October 7, 1865, a meeting was held to consider the division of school districts. Consequently, seven districts were formed.

Many names of the first families to settle in Belle Plaine are found in the old record book; among them are: Levi Neill, Elias Peterson, E.F. Sawyer, Foster Beedle, E.D. Shipman, Leander Crain, E.R. Murdock, Ambrose Howe, Jr., Alex Bucholtz, Chas. Stuebs, John Hedges, E.D. Cumaer, Chas. Magee, August Winkler, August Kluekmann, Chas. Reisner, H. Eckert, Will Porter, Martin Preuss, Chas. Laehn, Henry Sanders, Sam Parker, John and August Kluckmann, Charles Meisner, Chris Retzlaff, Frank Degener, Chas. Plautz, August Schoenick, F. Jaeckel and Fred Crumbach.

Information from:
Early Record Book, Town Belle Plaine
Gilbert Kriewaldt, Clerk.
75th Anniversary Booklet of St. Martin's