The Franciscans of Platte County, Nebraska at Columbus
St. Bonaventure's Monastery and St. Bonaventure's Church
THE FOUNDING OF ST. BONAVENTURE'S PARISH AND MONASTERY AT
COLUMBUS, NEBRASKA, A. D., 1817
In the seventies people flocked into Nebraska from many other states, because of the fertile land and cheap homesteads. Among them were many Catholics of various nationalities: Irish, Bohemians, Germans, Poles, etc. The Rt. Rev. James O'Connor, Vicar Apostolic of Nebraska, found great difficulties in getting the requisite number of priests to supply the want. Hence some elderly men, one of whom had been a Christian Brother, were ordained. Special difficulty was caused by the rapidly-increasing number of Germans and Bohemians. Father Otto J. Groenebaum, ordained in Omaha in 1868 and founder of St. Mary Magdalene's parish in Omaha, suggested to his Lordship to call in the German Franciscans of Teutopolis, Illinois, who in consequence of the Kulturkampf had received an increase of about 120 Fathers, Clerics, Brothers, novices and candidates, to take charge of the German Catholics in a portion of his vicariate. He followed the advice and requested the Commissary Provincial Mauritius Klostermann, O. F. M., of Teutopolis, to send some Fathers to his Vicariate, so barren of apostolic laborers, and make a foundation in a place that seemed most suitable to them. It seems that Father Provincial Gregory Janknecht, O. F. M., and His Commissary Fr. Mauritius Klostermann, came to Nebraska and in company of Rev. Otto Groenebaum visited several places, among them Fremont and Columbus (perhaps West Point, also), for the purpose of building a monastery and taking charge of their Catholic countrymen and of the Poles. Their choice fell upon Columbus, the county seat of Platte county.
St. John's (Log) Church, Columbus, Nebraska
A. D. 1860
THE INVITATION IS ACCEPTED
THE ARRIVAL OF THE FRANCISCANS
In January, 1877, the Vicar Apostolic Rt. Rev. James O'Connor, received the following missive from the Very Rev. Mauritius Klostermann:
Teutopolis, Illinois, Jan. 23, 1877.
Rt. Rev. Bishop:
I have the honor to send your Grace two fathers of our Order,
Father Ambrosius Janssen and
Father Anselmus Puetz,
to prepare for an establishment of the sons of St. Francis and recommend them to your paternal care and love. I wish and hope that God the Almighty, in His mercy, will give the blessing to this beginning.
With the profoundest reverence,
I remain your Lordships humble servant,
Fr. Mauritius Klostermann, O. S. F.
THE FIRST TWO FATHERS LEAVE FOR NEBRASKA
The two Fathers alluded to in the above letter were: the Very Rev. Ambrose Janssen, O. F. M., and the Rev. Anselm Puetz, O. F. M. They
left Quincy, where Father Ambrose had been stationed, till January 26, it seems, and arrived in Omaha on January 27, 1877. Father Anselm describes their trip and arrival in Nebraska as follows:
"In January, 1877, I was transferred from Teutopolis to Columbus, Nebraska. Very Rev. Provincial Janknecht of Germany, who was at that time sojourning here, at the invitation of the Rt. Rev. James O'Connor, in company of the Very Rev. Commissary Mauritius Klostermann, O. F. M., made a trip to Nebraska to inspect the places offered us and to arrange the preliminary details. Father Otto Groenebaum, the first rector of St. Mary Magdalene's Church in Omaha, the first German parish in Omaha, had called the Bishop's attention to the German Franciscans. Father Groenebaum hailed from a town near Rietberg, Westphalia, in the mother province of the Holy Cross, of Saxony; hence he was acquainted with the Franciscans; he had even attended the local Rietberg Pro-gymnasium, at which some Franciscans were teaching.
"There was at that time a very great need of priests in the Vicariate, which extended west of the Missouri embracing Nebraska, Wyoming, and Montana, as far as Salt Lake City. Under the guidance of Rev. Otto Groenebaum, Fathers Gregory and Mauritius rode to Columbus, in Platte county, on the Loup River; and soon made up their minds to found a monastery there. Nebraska, which up to that time had been a great grassy desert without roads or paths, had been recently opened to civilization.
THE TRIP FROM QUINCY, ILLINOIS TO OMAHA, NEBRASKA
"I first travelled (sic) to Quincy, thence to accompany the Rev. Ambrose Janssen, who had been appointed superior (praeses). Rev. Fr. Ambrose had loaned from a retired priest, Rev. Father James Orth, $4,000, at a moderate rate of interest. This was all we had, i. e., an indebtedness, our breviaries and our clothes. The night was bitter cold. Towards morning, on our trip westward, we beheld all things covered with a thick hoarfrost, and when the sun rose upon a clear sky, it was an unaccustomed sight--all the gleaming, glistening and flashing of the frost in the rays of the sun. We were already far in the interior of Iowa. About ten o'clock we came to Council Bluffs on the Missouri river. Now we crossed the swaying bridge--and we were in Omaha and set foot on Nebraska soil for the first time, January 27, the feast day of St. Chrysostom. It was a Saturday. Fr. Groenebaum was at the railroad station to meet us and soon brought us to St. Mary Magdalene's Mass. Meanwhile the Sisters of the Precious Blood had prepared a nutritious breakfast.
In the afternoon Father Groenebaum took us to the Rt. Rev. Bishop James O'Connor. The temperature had turned mild and the sun so warm that the streets were actually flooded with water, so that we had to wade through the different blocks. The Rt. Rev. Prelate received us very graciously, and with visible joy. He gave us all faculties and committed to our care, with Columbus as headquarters, all of Platte county and the neighboring counties of Madison in the north, Polk county south of the Platte river, and Butler county in the southeast, even on the opposite bank of the river, of all the German residents of this large district. He directed us to found parishes where we deemed advisable. He also desired us to aid the abandoned Irish settlements as much as lay within our power. We were, therefore, destined to do real pioneer work."--P. Anselm, O. F. M.
FATHER O. J. GROENEBAUM
GOES TO EUROPE
TO GAIN PRIESTS AND THEOLOGIANS
"On Sunday Father Groenebaum delivered his farewell sermon using the occasion to introduce us to the congregation. In the afternoon he took leave to make a trip to Europe, in order to visit his aged parents at Neukirchen, near Rietberg, and especially to bring over priests and candidates for the priesthood. There were large Bohemian settlements entirely destitute of priests; hence he was to procure priests and students.
"During this week occurred the feast of Candlemas, on which day we held the first solemn services. Before his departure Father Groenebaum had introduced us to the well known Irishman, Mr. J. Creighton, a gentleman who subsequently repeatedly proved himself a benefactor of ours. About this more anon.
FATHER AMBROSE JANSSEN, O. F. M.,
ARRIVES AT COLUMBUS
"Columbus, Nebraska, was to be our next destination. I was directed to remain in Omaha in charge of the (German) parish, while Father Ambrose left for Columbus to seek to gain a firm foothold there."--He must have arrived before February 8th. Editor-But before we continue, Father Anselm's narrative, we must premise a few remarks about the Catholics, German and Poles, at Columbus and vicinity.
ORGANIZING THE GERMAN AND POLISH CATHOLICS
The founders of Columbus were chiefly Germans, the first Catholic settlers mostly Irish. Gradually, especially since 1869, more German Catholics began to settle in Platte County. At.
first there was only St. John's church at Columbus and since about 1872, also St. Patrick's church on Shell Creek, to satisfy their religious obligations. But since 1873 the number of German Catholics, coming largely from Michigan and Wisconsin, to Platte county, waxed strong enough in Grand Prairie (Stearns) to organize and have services by Fr. Ryan and Uhing, Schulak, S. J., and John Bernard. In 1875 the third church, St. Mary's, was erected. But this was too far for the Henggelers, Berneys and the Poles at Columbus and Duncan, who came from Prussian provinces and understood and spoke German. As Fr. Ryan was home only on two Sundays of the month and not conversant with the German tongue, the desire gradually arose in the people, who knew little or no English, to have a priest speaking their own language to minister to their spiritual needs. An occasional visit of a priest speaking German or Polish did not satisfy them. A letter had even been directed to Rome to get German priests. Mr. J. P. Braun wrote it. True, Father Groenebaum had come from Omaha, and Fr. F. Uhing come at times from St. Charles to St. Mary's, when Mr. B. Wilde wanted a priest on his sick bed. But this was too for off.
South Columbus Public School and St. John's Catholic
Church, Columbus, Nebr.
Mr. Wm. Schilz, Mr.
Schmitz, Mr. M. Borowiak. and John Schlesinger and others whose names have
not been handed down, went as a delegation or sent some men for that purpose
to go to Omaha and ask the Vicar Apostolic James O'Connor, a very apostolic
man, to organize a parish. The reply was to go home and see how many would
join the new congregation. The Bishop himself would soon come and examine the
matter. The men now went out and did as bidden, collected the German and Polish
Catholics and were allowed to start their own little congregation. For a temporary
church they acquired, for $1,000, two lots and the first school house erected
in Columbus, for that purpose, at least so we are informed, since the school
board wished to erect a brick building. This building stood southwest from
Mr. Melchior Brugger's home. This must have been in the year 1874, according
to notes gathered by Father Athanase Steck. The new parish elected as a committee
the following: President, Frank Gores; Treasurers, Wm. Schilz and Franz Henggeler;
Trustees, Martin Borowiak, Sr., Wm. Schmitz, Sr., and John Schlesinger, Sr.
The church seems to have been still unplastered when the Franciscan Friars
arrived. A ball was given for the benefit of this church in Thalia Hall in
1876. A note speaks of a three days' mission by Fr. F. Uhing of St. Charles,
Cuming county, who for a time seems to have been in charge. After that Fr.
John Bernard, resident pastor at St. Patrick's, may have been pastor of this
new mission. Mr. F. Gores turned over a letter to Father Athanase which speaks
LETTER OF FATHER UHING TO FRANK GORES
"Mr. Frank Gores,
'Your letter just received. I am glad that the parish is making progress, since I take sincere interest in it. Just continue in this manner, especially endeavor to wipe out the indebtedness on the church building. At present I can do but very little for the parish, since I no longer have the care of the souls there. But "nur immer frisch voran" (just go ahead), and do not lose courage, some time things will take a change for the better. The Administrator, Reverend Byrne, can do nothing in this matter. Probably you would already have a German priest in your midst, if Reverend Ireland had accepted the episcopal dignity; since he has declined, however, it may be fall, perhaps spring, before we get a Bishop. Till then you must possess your soul in patience. I shall then do all I can that Columbus gets a German priest. If you now desire the visit of a German priest in your midst, address your request to the Administrator, the Rev. William Byrne, Omaha, to send you a German priest. Since many of you are still in arrears with your Easter duty, he will send you one.
Therefore, stick together; as soon as we shall have a Bishop, matters will take a different turn. Utilize the time in order to pay off the indebtedness still encumbering your church, as in the meantime you need not contribute for church purposes.
With best wishes to you,
Father Fred Uhing.
This is all we could ascertain about the German parish prior to the arrival of the Friars.
ARRIVAL OF THE FRANCISCANS FR. AMBROSE JANSSEN, O. F. M.
FOUNDING OF THE FRANCISCAN MONASTERY AT COLUMBUS
On February 28, the Columbus Journal writes:
"Fr. Ambrose of Quincy, Illinois, has been in the city several days. There is a project afoot to establish here a Franciscan Monastery, if a sufficient amount of funds can be raised for that purpose. About $9,000 it is thought, will be required, and a considerable quantity has already been subscribed. By spring, if the prospect is good, they wish to begin work. After the establishment of a monastery, it is proposed to erect a college and a seminary (academy) for all denominations. Our citizens can readily see the great business advantage of these institutions and, of course, will subscribe as liberally as the condition of their respective purses will justify."
Fr. Ambrose, for a time, boarded at Ed. Sheehan's, so we are told. Three subscription lists were circulated and some money subscribed. We doubt whether much of this was ever paid, as there are many names and sums not marked "paid". The subscriptions amount to about $2,000, and the sums paid to about $1,200. But Fr. Ambrose, on February 1, 1877, had borrowed a sum of $2,000 from the retired Fr. Jacob Orth of Keokuk, Iowa; $1,500, on June 7, from Wm. Wand, Sr., Quincy, Illinois; and again $2,000 from Rev. J. Orth, on December 9, 1877.
ST. BONAVENTURE'S TEMPORARY MONASTERY AND CHAPEL
The first care was to select a site. As money was rare, Fr. Ambrose gladly accepted the donation of two blocks and the offer of two more by Mr. and Mrs. F. Gottschalk, respectively. Sr. M. Edwarda Fitzpatrick, O. S. Fr., and others inform us that there was a condition attached to the gift, that unless buildings valued at a certain sum be erected by a certain date, the site including buildings revert to the donor. But the Franciscans pushed matters in such a way that before the date set there were buildings put up of even greater value than stipulated. The deed had been originally made out in the name of Fr. Ambrose Janssen, O. F. M., who later deeded the land over to the "Franciscan Brotherhood of Nebraska." The latter had been incorporated only in Platte County, not at Lincoln, and it required considerable trouble to straighten out matters, lest the church property deeded originally to Fr. Ambrose, possibly be claimed by those not entitled to it.
"Although the site was three-fourths of a mile from the railroad station and the vicinity entirely unsettled, Father Ambrose nevertheless gratefully accepted the offer, hoping that the district would soon be dotted with residences. But Columbus has had no great future, as also the succeeding years have demonstrated. To the present (A. D. 1910) few houses are found in that district. Grand Island to the west and Fremont to the east, which also had been considered for the founding of a monastery, had a more promising future."--Fr. Anselm, O. F. M.
As soon as a site for a church, monastery and "seminary" had been secured and accepted with the hope that although at present unsettled, the town would extend around the church, this has been only partly and slowly realized by subsequent events. The building purchased by the Catholic Germans in 1874 was cut in two and moved to the prairie. When being moved across the railroad track to the prairie, west of the
Second St. John's Church at Columbus, A. D. 1862 - Shape of Steeple Uncertain
present St. Bonaventure's school, the frame church collapsed.
"Out of the debris of this church a somewhat larger church was erected on our property (west of the St. Francis Academy) with an annex to the rear, having two rooms each in both the first and second stories. The whole was plastered and divine service began to be celebrated. The opposite 'Gospel Shop", as Father Ryan termed it, was complete. We never, however, (in the beginning), had the least difficulty with Father Ryan."
Several Brothers soon arrived to help build, to cook, etc., and Fr. Sebastian Cebulla, O. F. M., to assist in the care of the Polish Catholics. Brother Titus who arrived in Columbus in 1882 describes the first friary as follows:
"Plans for a larger, regular monastery (not a mere small residence) had been made from the start. Brother Adrian Wewer, O. F. M., the architect of the Province, soon arrived to assist in building the monastery. It was a brick structure, two stories high with a basement and had four equal gables and three entrances. The north had no entrance. The preliminary cost was estimated at about $9,000.
BRICKS ARE BURNED
ON THE FRIARS' GROUND--
THE FRIARS AID IN THE CONSTRUCTION
"The bricks were burned on the Franciscan grounds west of the monastery by Mr. Stolz and
The Ed. Schober Home, (Former Temporary)
Temporary St Bonaventure's Church, Columbus
the lime was slacked in the enclosed eastern garden. Clay was hauled by the farmers from the bluffs near Shell Creek. The good burned brick were used on the outside; for the partitions 'mud' bricks were employed. Brothers Adrian Wewer, Damian Bueschgens, Mr. Engelbert Lethert (later Bro. Ildephonse, O. F. M.), and even the Fathers, we are told, assisted in building. And things went ahead rapidly to the admiration of the Columbus citizens, even of the non-Catholics. But there were not enough good brick to finish the building before bad weather set in. Heavy winds came and the heavy rains flooded the building, washing out deep furrows and holes in the mud brick.
SUBSCRIPTION LISTS ST. BONAVENTURE'S MONASTERY
Three subscription lists circulated February 12 and 14, 1877. Columbus subscribed $600 and paid $575; Chas. A. Speice, $25; Speice & North, $50; E. D. Sheehan, $30; John Haney, $40; Hunneman & Tolman, $100; I. Gluck, $25; H. P. Coolidge, $15; W. H. Hockenberger, $25; C. W. Clother, by board, $50; James Heaney, $50; John Wiggins, $15; Eugene Duerr, by plastering, $50, and Dr. Stillman, $25.
Rev. Ambrose Janssen, O. F. M. (Columbus)
St. Francis' Academy, Columbus
The second German list contains the following names who subscribed from $10 to $30, mostly $20 each. Fifty-three of the sixty-six names are crossed, perhaps meaning that these paid. The names are: John Peter Braun, Henry Mausbach, Gerhard Gronenthal, O. H. Brockhaus, Heinrich Wilde, O. Minten, Frank Wassenburg, John Pfeifer, Joseph Widhalm, Joseph Veik, John Braun, Henry -----, Peter Ripp, Joseph Krings, Matthaeus Fuchs, August Wieser, O. H. Brockhaus, Wm. Kleve, B. Wilde, Paul F----, Thomas Krumei, Ignatz Veith, Leonard Widhalm, W. P. Pfeifer, Jacob Lubetz, Peter Greisen, Wilhelm Tieskoetter, Stephan Van Doren, John Braun, Ferd. Ripp, Henry Booksheeker, Paul Jelas, Benjamin Spielman, Franz Partsch, Franz English, Franz Pfeifer, Ignatz Zach, Anton Pfeifer, Heinrich Lohaus, Alois Kosch. The following names are not crossed out: T. J. Murphy, Michael Flakus, Jan Jaworski, Walenty Wiechlacz, Jan Nowak, J. H. Gruenther, Mathias Fuchs, Joseph Wemhoff, Bernard Konert, Fr. S. Marek, J. V. Benz, Leopold Pfeifer, M. T. Kinney.
The third subscription list contains the following names, of whom a number subscribed $5, $10 and $20, and several $30, and a few even more: Frank Gores, Wm. Schilz, $100; J. B. Delsman, $60; P. J. Schmitz, Joseph Liebig, John Stupfel, Louis Herr, John Krzycki, Walenty Lassek, Francis Wozniak, Lorenz Kujawa, Martin Borowiak, Walenty Jarecki, Joseph Schlesinger, Franz Blohak, Adam Lazhuer, Michael Uebel, Joseph Zwiener, Karl Kelin, Heinhard Koenig, Franz Lachnit, $30; Frank Lachnit, $10; John Stauffer, Mary Beemer, Emma Kersenbrock, Peter Meyer, Paul Hoppen, Chas. Segelke, Mary Gisin, Henry Ripp, Michael Flakus, Michael Wleczyk, Jan Groboch, Jan Jarecki, P. Joseph Rozno, Thomas Podraza, Andreas Paprocki, Joseph Tryba, John Borowiak, Anton Koziol, Joseph Borowiak, H. L. Rossiter, Mary Flakus, Joseph Roseno, Bartolemi Nosal, P. W. Schmitz, Bartol Tworek, Joseph A. Gutzmer, Fel. Kula, Jan Sitko, Andreas Grzechowiak, Stanislaus Kula, Nick Adamy, Phillip Go, Mr. Goodwin, Joseph Bucher, A. Louis Phillips, Thomas Farrell, John McGlinchy, H. Weaver, L. Cockburn, Dan Kelleher. --Henggler (8 cords of wood).
NB. 1. We leave the spelling as we found it.
NB. 2. Possibly a number paid later. Others, especially from Luxemburg, Butler county, came
to Columbus and worked for ten or fourteen days without pay.
FINANCIAL AND OTHER DIFFICULTIES
Fr. Ambrose could not build with the subscriptions received in Platte, Butler and Polk counties as they amounted to about $2,000, of which nearly $800 are not marked "paid". Where did Fr. Ambrose get the money to erect a brick monastery? He borrowed from Rev. Jacob Orth, a retired priest at Quincy a sum of $2,000 on February 1, 1877, and again $2,000 on September 12, 1877, and $160 from the same, and from Adolph Schmitz at St. Mary's on March 15, 1879, $500, and on June 25, $804 from the Hospital Sisters, etc. He also got a donation from P. Commisary Mauritius Klostermann in April, 1877, of $148.30. Mr. J. Creighton of Omaha had donated, in March, 1877, a sum of $53.70 and Mr. Wm. Wand in Quincy on June 7, 1877, gave a loan of $1,500. But this money was soon used up, the more so since the temporary monastery needed furnishings; stoves, range, beds, table, chairs, etc., besides the living expense. Even the library was not forgotten. Already in March a bookcase was purchased and a second one soon after. Books to the value of $157.25 were ordered from B. Herder in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1877. The number of books has increased by January 1931 to 2,200.
MR. CREIGHTON COMES TO THE RESCUE
When money was getting rare, Fr. Ambrose approached Mr. John Creighton, who gave a sum of $7,500 with the obligation to say every day one mass for the family of the donor. Thus the building operations could be continued. When, however, later on this burden proved rather irksome, Mr. J. Creighton was induced to reduce the number of Masses to 265. Still later, at the directions of Very Rev. Provincial Michael Richardt, Fr. Pacific requested Mr. Creighton's permission to transfer the "Foundation" to some monastery in Italy with permission of the Most Rev. General. It was done, though Mr. Creighton took the matter very ill.
A SEVERE STORM
From the Columbus Journal we quote the following items about the building of the monastery or friary. The Journal, July 10, 1878:
"On Sunday night last Columbus and vicinity were visited by a storm of wind and rain, the like of which has not been seen here since 1858, when a cyclone struck the valley.
Ven. Bro. Andrian Wewer,
O. F. M., Architect
The day had been very hot and sultry, and towards evening clouds began to gather in the northwest, and about ten o'clock, the sky being darkened, the wind began in fury, and for about an hour and a half there was no cessation of lightning, rain and wind. The lightning was brilliant and startling, flash after flash, with scarcely a second between accompanied by a continuous roar of thunder, the wind all the while blowing a gale, and the rain pouring down in torrents. Blessed were they whose houses were strong and solid, with a tight roof over them.
"As we write this (Monday afternoon) we are in receipt of the following incidents: Elliot's windmill blown down and Senecal's was broken by Elliot's falling upon it. The windmill at Mr. Schuette's was blown down. Frank North's new dwelling house (not enclosed) was blown down and his stable racked ten inches to the east and south. Mr. Senecal says his house moved two inches backward and forward yielding to the wind. Platte Baker's stable was racked to the south. Mr. Bailey's new dwelling house just enclosed, was moved eight feet to the east, and set down square without any damage. At Wells and Clother's yard the loose lumber was scattered over two blocks and the north end of one of the sheds looked as though it had been exposed to a cannonade. Cook's blacksmith shop was denuded of shingles from the lumberyard battery.
FRANCISCAN FRIARY DAMAGED
"Temporary work at the north end of the monastery was torn away and a part of the
fence on the south side, the loss being estimated at six to seven hundred dollars.
"More damage was done Monday night by the rain to the monastery. A large force of carpenters had been at work Monday enclosing the north end of the building, but had not finished it, and the rain Monday night dashed into the garret, spoiling about one half the plastering of the building. The Fathers were up all night sweeping out the water, and otherwise caring for the building. The kiln of 210,000 brick is supposed to be an entire loss. The damage by the two storms is estimated at no less than $1,000."
COST OF ERECTING ST. BONAVENTURE'S MONASTERY AT COLUMBUS, NEBRASKA
Near Fulton Street (now 1565 18th Ave.).--A. D. 1877.
|Aug. '77: Mr. Schroeder, excavating cellar||
|Hayward & Co., 350 bu. lime||
|Duke, Omaha, hardware||
|47-1/10 gal. linseed||
|Duke, Omaha, hardware||
|Schneider, 21 kegs of nails||
|Freight for lumber and stone sills||
|Drayage from depot||
|Hauling clay for bricks||
|Wood for brickyard||
|Coal for burning 300,000 brick||
|Wood for burning brick||
|Board for brickmakers||
|Maurice Stolz, Brickmaker||
|August Gaver, flues||
|Engelbert Gier, carpenter||
|(Bro. Ildephonse O. F. M.)||
|Mr. Durr, plasterer||
|T. O'Neill, wood||
|Campbell, hauling clay||
|Sand for plastering Monastery||
|3 loads clay for brickyard||
|Spence & Campbell, sand.||
|J. J. Collins & Co., plasterers.||
|For lightning rods||
Several Franciscan brothers did much of the carpentering work.
EARLY PARISHIONERS OF ST. BONAVENTURE'S PARISH
(From a Pew Rent Book, Baptismal Record, etc.).
Anna M. Bahr, Catherine Bahr, Martin Borowiak, Elizabeth Brandt, Bernard Burbach, Mrs. __ Giese, John Giese, Franz Gores, Peter Greisen, Franz Henggeler, Fred Henggeler, George Henggeler, Joseph Henggeler, Walenty Jarecki, John Krzycki, -- Kendal, -- Koenig, Joseph and Maria (Wagner) Liebig, Peter Meyer, Mrs. -- Meyer, Mrs. -- Ohns, Hy. Ripp, Franz and Anna (Schmidt) Rotter, -- Rotthof, Joseph Schmitz, William Schmitz, Bernard Schroeder, -- Waisnack, Wm. and Eliz. (nee Karges) Schultz.
J. P. Abts, Nick Adamy, Mrs. Thomas Brady, Sebastian Czuba, -- Dischner, Andrew Dunlap, George Duster, Val. Duster, William Eimers, Edward Fitzpatrick, Anton Heitkemper, John Heitkemper, Herman Kersenbrock, Valentine Lassek, Joseph Liebig, Wm. (non-Catholic) and Eva (Karges) Mason, John Messing, Barthol and . Sophia (Rozno) Nosal, Adalbert and Victoria (Gera) Opiela, Joseph Rosenan or Rozno, -- Scholz, John and Catherine (Baja) Schulz, Albert and Maria Siemek, Ignatz and Maria Steiner, -- Stracke, Peter and Maria Tenner, -- Terrasinski, Martin and Maria Walter.
N.B.: This list taken from Pew Rent and Baptismal Record does not claim completeness.
BONAVENTURE'S PARISH FOR THE GERMANS
AND THE POLES--FIRST BAPTISMS, ETC.
On April 22, 1877, Rev. P. Sebastian, O. F. M., baptized Elizabeth Schulz, daughter of John and Catherine, nee Baja, Schulz, born on November 30, 1876. The sponsors were: George Henggeler and Elizabeth Schulz. On the same day Father Sebastian also baptized Maria Steiner, daughter of Ignatz and Maria (Faustera)
Steiner, born September 15, 1876. Sponsors: Nick Adamy and Maria Wagner. The first Polish child was Geo. Duster, son of Val. and Thekla (nee Dawa) Duster, born May 1, 1877. Sponsors: Val. Lassek and Amalia Kujawa.
On May 1, 1877, Rev. P. Ambrose baptized Phillip Mason, son of William Mason (non-Catholic) and Eva nee Karges; born September 8. 1875. Sponsors: Franz Rotter and Catherine Karges. On May 8, 1877, P. Sebastian baptized Jacob Nosal, son of Barthol Nosal and Thekla, nee Nypierszonka. Sponsors: Val. Lassek and Sophia Rosenan (Rozno).
FIRST CLASS OF FIRST COMMUNICANTS
The first class of First Communicants on May 1, 1880, was composed of: Martin Karges, Joseph Berney, Joseph Schindt, Mary English, Sarah Goodwin, Anna Held, Mary Regan.
Another class (of Polish children) received their First Communion on May 16, 1880. Stephen Banasz, Leo Borowiak, Ignatius Jarecki, John Kula, Michael Nowak, Thomas Nowak, Benigna Banasz, Catherine Czapla, Maryanna Lassek, Veronica Podraza, Catherine Rozno, Maryanna Tryba, composed this class.
The First class of First Communicants, on October 10, 1880, in Seberger Settlement were: Hubert Altmanshofen. John P. Jaax, Jr., Mathias Krebsbach, Margaret Jaax, Anna Clara Jaax, Helen Seberger, Sophia Seberger.
St. Bonaventure Church (1884) and Monastery, Columbus, Nebraska
The first couple to plight their troth were: Francis Lachnit and Catherine Golus, on November 7, 1877. Witnesses were Joseph Rozno and Amalia Lachnit. They were married by P. Sebastian.
On January 15, 1878, Fr. Ambrose joined in wedlock, Martin Savidge and Anna Mehrberger. Witnesses were J. P. Savidge and Mary Fitzpatrick.
On September 6, 1877, was the first funeral, that of John Bernard Delsman, eleven months of age, son of J. B. and Clara Delsman, who died September 4, 1877.--P. Ambrose.
On October 3, 1879, P. Cyril buried Gerard Sitko, 15 days old, son of John and Mary Sitko. The first adult was Caroline Stolze who passed away at the age of 74 years on October 20, 1879. Many children died in 1879 and 1880. There were five deaths, four were children. In 1880 there were six deaths.
FIRST TO BE CONFIRMED IN ST. BONAVENTURE'S CHURCH
The First to be Confirmed in St. Bonaventure's Church, Nov. 19, 1877, by the Rt. Rev. James O'Connor were Joseph--John Davis.
Peter--Wm. Abts, William--Michael Abts, Jacob--Wm. Schmitz, Paul--Henry Abts, Francis--John Eimers, Joseph--Fred Henggeler, Jacob --Adolph Bader, Joseph--Francis Uebel, Augustine--George Henggeler, Peter--John Blahack, - Lackner, Elizabeth--Anna Uebel, Carolina-- ---------Zwiener, Maria--Johanna Davis, Sophia-- ---------Zwiener, Mary--Anna Lachnit, Maria--Anna Schlesinger, Maria--Rose Barni, Maria--Hermina Kirchner, Margaret--Catherine Schmidt, Maria-- ---------Uebel, Catherine--Adelaide Abts, Maria-- ------ Stolz.
N.B.: The first name seems to be the Confirmation name.
On the same day and in the same church the following 55 Polish children and members of St. Bonaventure's were also confirmed: John Boro, Joseph Borowiak, Michael Cochaz, Stanislaus Garbacz, Adam Jarecki, Francis Jarecki, Dominic Jaworski, John Kotlacz, Anton Koziol, Lawrence Kujawa, Florian Kula, Michael Kus, Valentine Lasek, Joseph Opiela, Lawrence Opiela, Stanislaus Partyka, John Podraza, Stanislaus Podraza, Kostka Rekolonka, Joseph Rozno, Michael Ryba, Valentin Spis, Francis Czabla, John Szydke, Mathias Ternes, Stanislaus Tomaszewic, Martin Zamek, Valentin Zuba, Balbina Borowiak, Eva Borowiak, Marianna Borowiak, Josepha Czapla, Joanna Doradzinska, Rosalia Doradzinska, Angela Furmanska, Hedwigis Jarecka, Veronica Jarecka, Victoria Iwan, Angela Kapuraonka, Marianna Kieca, Catherine Koziol, Rosalia Lasek, Marianna Opiela, Balbina Panoskiewicz, Scholastica Reholonka, Anna Rozno, Agnes Sliwina, Margaret Spis, Marianna Szymowska, Maria Ternes, Victoria Zaklka, Johanna Zakomina, Maryanna Ziemek, Sebastian Zuba, Lawrence Zurowski.
THE ACTIVITY OF THE FRIARS AT COLUMBUS--
(BY VEN. SR. M. PAULA WELLS, O. VIS.)
Regarding the activity of the Franciscan Friars at Columbus Ven. Sister Paula Wells, visitation Nun and Mistress of Novices in the St. Paul, Minnesota, Convent, writes to Miss Marie Kyle:
"Our family lived in Marshal County, West Virginia. I was sent to the Visitation Academy near Wheeling. Preparatory to moving west in 1883, my parents came to visit me. There was a Sister Mary Patrick at the Convent who, when she heard where my people were going, said to my father, 'I have a brother in Nebraska. Perhaps you may meet him; his name is Pat Murray. And it came to pass that as my father was driving over the prairie, he met a man driving a pair of white mules. After the 'Who are you?' and 'Where from?' preliminaries, the man said 'I have a sister in a convent in West Virginia. My name is Pat Murray. He was one of the Irish pioneers. We were never considered as early settlers', although sod houses were quite common; the family usually moved into a better structure and the indispensable windbreaks of cottonwoods around the houses were beginning to take on the appearance of a grove. Even other trees were being planted. The Franciscans and my people were contemporaries. When I came to Columbus in 1884, the church school and hospital were built, though the wings were to grow later giving them quite a different appearance from the initial structures. The keynote has been growth. My father greatly admired the Franciscan enterprise. He said, 'Those monks know how to do things'. Gradually he and others came to realize that the monks could manipulate spiritual things even better than material ones. There was a general understanding that the Franciscans had the right-of-way in Platte County. Needless to say, the atmosphere was decidedly German; sometime before English sermons came into vogue. None of our family were Catholics--nor even church members. But when I left Mt. de Chantal, I was thoroughly convinced of the One True Church. My parents shared the prejudices of those who are strangers to the Church and very reluctantly allowed me to go to Mass. When I was eighteen, the consent was given by way of a birthday present. I straight-way wended my way to the monastery door and timidly asked for the Superior. He was not in, but Father Ladislaus very kindly asked me to come again. This I did and surprised Father Seraphin by saying, 'I am a Catholic and I came to ask you to please baptize me. He was kindly interested and put me through a course of instruction. He said there was another girl, Mamie Chestnutwood, a boarder at the Convent, who was also trying to get into the Church. Her parents were quite unrelenting. We two, together with three infants, were baptized on Palm Sunday 1886. The anniversary of this day I ever keep with loving gratitude. Mamie died not many years after.
"Father Pacificus came into the field of action. He was young and strong, quite a perfect type of manhood both physically and mentally, handsome too. He was most zealous and untiring in his efforts for good. His English was decidedly book English, pretty good for sermons, but we girls often had to help him out on the conversation. He set about erecting a Sodality; called for volunteers and as there were twelve at the first meeting he called us his apostles. The early history of the Sodality would make a page of very interesting reading; they threw themselves most heartily into the