Wilmette Newspaper index
Death summons veteran priest: Rev. William Netstraeter
Wilmette Life (Wilmette, Illinois), 11 Apr 1924, p. 1, 6
Full Text

The Rev. William Netstraeter, retired pastor of St. Joseph's church, Lake and Ridge avenues, passed away on Monday, April 7. He was 83 years of age and had been pastor of St. Joseph's for 54 years, having previously been pastor, from 1868 to 1872, at Lincoln and Bloomington, Illinois. The funeral took place Thursday at 10 o'clock at St. Joseph's.

Father Netstraeter was born in Westphalia, on January 1, 1843. He studied for the priesthood in Munster and Paderborn, passing the philosophical and theological course and the sub-deaconship.

He left his native land at 25 years of age the earnest solicitation of the Rev. Doctor Salzmann, a ionerr priest of the American Northwest. He arrived at St. Francis, Wisconsin, on March 7, 1868. There he was ordained deacon and admitted to the priesthood on September 29 of the same year. He said his first mass at St. Joseph's, Wilmette, the church which he was later to serve so long and unselfishly.

Builder of Churches
He remained at this early period, only two months in Wilmette being then sent to Lincoln, Illinois. He was stationed there over four years and labored as the pioneer priest of Logan and McLean counties. His principal missions were Pulaski and Atlantic organizing the scattered contingent of German Catholics and building churches and schools.

In May, 1872, he was transferred by Bishop Foley, then Bishop of Chicago, to his pastorate at St. Joseph's. For some time he had charge, also, of the mission at Highland Park, and built the first church there. The Church of St. Joseph, then a rude structure of merely four walls and a roof, he rebuilt and finished. He also erected a new school house, which he subsequently enlarged.

In 1889 the present imposing rectory was completed, the old house being assigned as the abode of the Sisters. In 1893 Father Netstraeter celebrated the 25th anniversary of his elevation to the priesthood. On the occasion of this Silver Jubilee many of the Catholic dignitaries in the Middle west met at Wilmette to do honor to the worthy pastor. His parishioners, also, expressed their love for him in numberless gifts, among which were one hundred dollars, many articles for use in church services, and a horse and buggy.

At his Silver Jubilee, Archbishop Feehan of Chicago administered the Sacrament of Confirmation and delivered an address. It was on this same occasion that the Rev. E. J. Vattmann, universally known as Father Vattmann, made a speech that elicited great enthusiasm. He was at that time, as also later, U. S. Chaplain at Fort Sheridan.

In 1917 Father Netstraeter celebrated his Golden Jubilee, the fiftieth anniversary of his ordination as a priest.

The pastor of St. Joseph's was, without doubt, one of the most prominent ecclesiastics in this part of the United States. He was a zealous churchman and labored assiduously for the welfare not only of his own parishioners but also of the whole community. His was an honored life, full of good deeds and a blessing to a multitude.

Media Type
Genealogical Resource
Item Types
Death notices
Rev. William Netstraeter of St. Joseph's Parish dies at age of 83, pioneer churchman, was pastor of St. Joseph's for 54 years

Photo of Rev. William Netstraeter
Date of Publication
11 Apr 1924
Personal Name(s)
Netstraeter, William
Corporate Name(s)
St. Joseph Catholic Church
Local identifier
From the collection of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
Language of Item
Geographic Coverage
  • Illinois, United States
    Latitude: 42.07225 Longitude: -87.72284
Copyright Statement
Public domain: Copyright has expired according to United States law. No restrictions on use.
Terms of Use
Digital images may be used with credit to Wilmette Public Library.
Wilmette Public Library
Emailrefdesk@wilmettelibrary.infoWWW address
Agency street/mail address
1242 Wilmette Avenue
Wilmette, IL
U.S.A. Phone: 847-256-6930
Powered by / Alimenté par VITA Toolkit

My favourites lets you save items you like, tag them and group them into collections for your own personal use. Viewing "My favourites" will open in a new tab. Login here or start a My favourites account.


Death summons veteran priest: Rev. William Netstraeter