Priscilla Church

Priscilla is the last remaining child of nine born to Otto and Verle (Charles) Beilke. She was born  in Shawano County. She grew up in Red Springs. Priscilla remembers both her parents as hard working individuals.


Lincoln School of Shawano was the first school Priscilla attended. Priscilla then started school in Red Springs at the Lutheran Mission School. Unfortunately, Priscilla had to drop out of school during the 7th grade, a couple years after her mothers passing. Her younger brothers became ill and she stayed home to care for them. Cooking and cleaning became Priscilla’s duties as her father never remarried. Some of Priscilla’s most memorable moments as a child were when she would pick berries.


Priscilla married George "Elmer" Church, they were married at the Lutheran Church in Red Springs. They had met at a ball game. The two moved to the reservation. "I’ll tell ya it wasn’t like it is today", said Priscilla. I could only imagine what it was like as Priscilla continuously referred to the roads as "cow trails". Priscilla and her husband moved into one of only seven government houses on the reservation at the time. Priscilla is the mother of six, three boys and three girls.


During the war Priscilla and her family moved to Sturgeon Bay. Her husband worked in the shipyards while she worked a variety of jobs including picking cherries, working at a cherry factory and working at a grocery store. After a stay in Sturgeon Bay Priscilla and her family moved once again, this time to Michigan.


After a stay in Michigan Priscilla and her family moved back to their home on the reservation. This was during the depression and jobs were scarce so a decision to go to Milwaukee and find work was made. Priscilla recalls how her husband told her she didn’t need to pack too much, it’ll be like a vacation, and they’d only be there for a short period of time. "Longest vacation I ever had," Priscilla adds smiling as she goes on to say they lived in Milwaukee for 23 years.


A final move back to their home on MohHeConNuck was made after this time. Priscilla worked for Green Thumb for a while after moving home, and then she decided to retire. Priscilla and Elmer did a lot of traveling, "I think I only missed about three states," says Priscilla.


Priscilla was married for 61 years when her husband passed about three years ago. Priscilla continued to live in her home until she developed arthritis of the spine. After that her doctor recommended that she live closer to someone, and so he helped her get into the elder apartments.


Most of Priscilla’s family lives elsewhere, with the exception of her granddaughter Keri and great-grandson Devon. "She does a lot for me," says Priscilla. She jokingly adds, "All I gotta do is go outside and whistle and she’ll come running." Priscilla enjoys rummaging and shopping, she is a little disappointed that she can’t do much of either because of her arthritis, but she maintains a positive attitude saying, "I’m satisfied that I get around and go where I want." Priscilla also enjoys her apartment and the elderly center, adding, "We got it nice if we only appreciate it."