Sent: Sunday, March 02, 2003 5:28 PM
Subject: Rutland Church

Mark & Jean:

A few years ago, Judie McGuinness, a contact of mine in regard to the De Jean family history, forwarded to me a photocopy of two pages from the book, Cross and Flame: The Story of United Methodism in the Badger State , by William Blake.  The following is taken from pages 44 and 45 of that book.

Beginning of the Brethren Witness

The fifth "man sent from God" to the Wisconsin territory was one who bore an apostolic name too, James. James Davis was a minister in the Wabash Conference of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ.  In 1842 he was named missionary to Wisconsin.

Several families of the United Brethren connection from New England settled in the town of Rutland in Dane County in 1836.  In 1840 some of them met in the home of D. E. De Jean and organized the first United Brethren class in the Wisconsin territory.

James Davis, after travelling on horseback 500 miles from the seat of his conference, appears to have begun his labors in the vicinity of Monroe.  About three miles west of the present city he gathered a little group in the home of Isaac Chamnes.  There the first United Brethren class organized by a minister in Badger territory was formed.  Davis also visited the class already organized at Rutland and helped to strengthen it.

The records relating to the early work of Davis, and those who worked with him, are scanty, and not much is known of the two years he spent opening up the witness of the United Brethren missionaries in the new territory.  He undoubtedly preached in homes, schoolhouses, and any other buildings available.  Although the name Davis does not suggest a German background, he could preach in either English or German.  A . W. Drury wrote of him: "When converted he could not read or write.  When he began to preach, he had simply his experience to tell. When he became a circuit rider he put his German and English grammars, along with his Bible, in his saddlebags."  Although he could preach in either language when he came to Wisconsin, it appears probably that he used English much of the time.  In 1844 he was appointed presiding elder for Wisconsin, and given J. A. Mast to serve the Monroe circuit, which included the Rutland Church.  There was one other appointment listed for Wisconsin that year---the Rock River mission. Since this was left to be supplied it is likely that Davis himself served it.  Mast was primarily a German-speaking preacher, and therefore it is evident that at least in some areas the United Brethren ministers concentrated on this segment of the population.  From the surnames found among the earliest records of this contingent of the evangelical witness, however, it would seem that this was not generally the case.

After three years under the care of the Wabash Conference (U.B.) the circuits in Wisconsin passed, in 1845, to the newly formed Illinois Conference (U.B.).  This new conference met in the Spring Grove Church (U.B.), located eight miles southeast of Monroe, in 1846. This congregation had been organized by J. A. Mast, the preacher in charge of the Monroe circuit, only two years previously (1844).  The congregation at Rutland, organized in 1840, held its services in homes until 1847, when a frame building was erected. This congregation was dissolved in 1912. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The D. E. De Jean he mentions has to be Joseph Dominic De Jean, (my great-great grandfather) one of the first settlers in Rutland who served as the first treasurer of the Township.  The following is a quote from Joseph's obituary as it appeared in the Oregon Observer of 11 Febr. 1904:  "Mr. DeJean was one of the earliest converts of the U.B. church and an active worker; he was Sunday School Superintendent for thirty years and never missed a Sunday during that time."  (Must have been a healthy fellow!) I wouldn't be too assured that they met in his home in the year 1840 either.  According to The History of Dane County Wisconsin (edited by C. W. Butterfield, 1880, Chicago), the first settlers---Joseph DeJean, John Prentice and Dan Pond and their families---settled in the area in the summer of 1842 and according to the History of Old Crawford County Vol. II (edited by John G. Gregory, 1932, Clarke Publishing, Chicago), the first birth in the area that was to become Rutland was that of John De Jean, on December 7, 1842.  However, it may be a case of whose word you decide to take, because getting back the Joseph DeJean's obituary, we find the following: "He (Joseph DeJean) removed in 1838 to Janesville, Rock Co., and in the spring of 1840 came to the town of Rutland, Dane Co., entered his present homestead, broke ten acres of land, built his log cabin, and in the fall, Oct. 10th., he removed his family (I assume from Janesville) as the first pioneers of the town." His land purchase of 40 acres at $l.25 per acre is on record as 17 June 1842. Well. . .so much for that!

Some sources that William Blake used for his book and may be useful to us, if we can find copies are the following:

History of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ by A. W. Drury, Revision of 1931.

Historical Data Wisconsin Conference EUB; Inventory of Church Archives in Wisconsin , Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Wisconsin Historical Records Survey, 1940

Lastly, another resource is the Archives of the Wisconsin Conference of the United Methodist Church located in Sun Prairie. According to Sandy Kintner, they have on file a photocopy of the deed for the property, some photos and some brief histories that have been written of the congregation. She also suggested another source of information would be Ruth Montgomery, a local historian in Evansville whose e-mail address is

Well. . .I have gone on long enough! Now that I am retired, I could check out what information the archives in Sun Prairie have, if someone has not already done it or if I can help out in any other way.

Gerald Neath