Conducting dozens of interviews and listening to countless stories was how St. Anthony the Hermit Parish parishioner Carole McGibany spent her spring and summer in 2016.
Those interviews led her to organize the 120-page book, “Glimpses: Memories of St. Anthony the Hermit Parish and the Lost Community of Fussville, Wisconsin.”
“It was an opportunity to listen,” she said. “This was a story that was worth telling and I was in a place where I could take time to visit with parishioners who had ancestors back from (the early days of the community). They wanted to tell their story. And now I had a chance to listen to that story.”
Although not a writer herself, McGibany has always been interested in history, and took a special interest in the people who formed both the community of Fussville (now Menomonee Falls) and played a large part in St. Anthony the Hermit Parish. She became the parish’s volunteer historian, and through interviews, shared documents and photos, she had the foundation of what would become a comprehensive look at St. Anthony’s past.
The book starts with a history, a timeline of events of the founding of Fussville and the parish of St. Anthony the Hermit. It then outlines the lineage of the founding families of the community, such as the Fuss, Wick and Brahm families to name a few, from the ancestors that immigrated to the United States from the countries of Germany and Prussia to the sixth-generation relatives that are still a part of the community and parish today. It also gives information about the taverns of early Fussville, including Vogl’s Tap, tells the story of North Hills Country Club that swallowed an original Fuss farmstead, provides a history of the parish school and highlights details of the parish expansion in 2006.
The most compelling parts of the book are the first-hand accounts or memories about the community and the people inside the community. It gives the history color and the memories are given by a wide variety of people, from relatives of the founding families to the priests that served the parish over the years.
“We have parishioners that are proud to say, ‘I’m the sixth generation,’” McGibany said. “Larry Claas, who is in my book, said, ‘I was born here, I was married here and I will die here. This is my home.’”
McGibany said it’s rare for a lineage of a family to be traced through one parish’s sacramental records and the current generation to say, “This is my life, my church. This is where I belong.”
While the book does have regional interest, McGibany hopes it will reach the younger generations who have heard about Fussville and those who know about farming and remember living a simpler life.
“You don’t have to be from Fussville to know the importance of recording your memories,” McGibany said. “You don’t have to be famous author — I’m not. Memories are so fleeting that it’s important to remember your past and write your stories down.”
There are a limited number of unreserved copies of the book still available. The book costs $20 and all proceeds go back to St. Anthony to support the parish’s capital campaign and parking lot initiatives. Contact her at email@example.com or 262-366-5624 to leave a voicemail message to order a book.
McGibany invites those who have memories of Fussville or St. Anthony to send their memories to St. Anthony the Hermit Church, ATTN: Historian, N74 W13604 Appleton Ave., Menomonee Falls, WI 53051. They will be saved in the parish archives for future generations to enjoy.