Battle Creek. Madison and Norfolk, Madison County
ST. PATRICK'S, BATTLE CREEK, MADISON COUNTY, A. D., 1877
This town is situated on Battle Creek, about one mile above its junction with the Elkhorn river. The surrounding level prairie is adapted both to the grazing industry and to the raising of cereals, though the soil is rich and also produces excellent corn.
FIRST CATHOLIC SETTLERS IN BATTLE CREEK AND VICINITY
The first Catholic settler of Madison county
was Phillip A. Hughes, who, about December, 1859, or previously, had been living at Palo Alto, in Mississippi. In the spring, 1866, he moved to Omaha and, in 1867, temporarily, and in 1869, permanently, homesteaded on a farm north of Battle Creek, in Madison county, where he resided until his death in 1927. The family was very active in attracting new Catholic settlers, in order to organize a parish. Mr. P. H. O'Neill followed in the fall of 1869. Other pioneer settlers were Frank Hughes, Sam Kent, Pat Manning, O. W. Joines, James Grimes, Joseph Pifer, Thomas Shalley, Paul Velmont, M. Daugherty, John Buckley, J. McKerrigan, Mr. Young, Mr. Stollard, Carl Hoffman and Pat Rooney. Mr. and Mrs. P. J. O'Neill are especially to be noted as the parents of Rose O'Neill, of national fame as an artist and author.
REV. JAMES M. RYAN OF COLUMBUS VISITS BATTLE CREEK
These people, in 1872, petitioned the Rt. Rev. James O'Gorman for a priest. Accordingly, Rev. J. M. Ryan, of Columbus, came to minister to their most urgent needs. Mrs. M. Munson, nee Manning, now of Chicago, tells of the first mass at Battle Creek as follows:
'The first mass in the county was read in my father's house in the fall of 1872. My father rode a big black horse to Columbus, to accompany Fr. Ryan to Battle Creek. He left home one day, rode into Columbus, stayed all night, and returned with Father in the morning of the next day.
"In the meantime, my brother notified the Catholics along Battle Creek that Fr. Ryan was coming to our house. The next morning, Rev. Father blessed our house, read Mass and afterwards baptized seven children, three of them Schuylers, two McMahons and the other two from upper Battle Creek, I do not know their name, they moving away the following year.
"I can remember seeing my father and Father Ryan coming over the hills, south of our place, some three miles away. I was twelve years old then, but was not old enough to receive my first holy communion.
"The Mass read in our house was the first in Battle Creek, and also the first read west of West Point. I also remember the Schuyler baby with its long white dress reaching to the floor and lace on the bottom a foot wide. Mrs. Schuyler sank to the floor to receive the priest's blessing.
"While my father lived he never permitted any dancing in the room where Mass had been read, 'because it was blessed', he said. To show my father's humility, when Fr. Ryan asked him to ride with him in the buggy for awhile, to rest himself, my father, from his big black horse, replied: 'I am not fit to ride with a man of God!' And so he rode the forty miles from Columbus on a farm horse. I cannot remember any Bishop coming into our county in my day. I do know that I was confirmed out on Steam's Prairie, kneeling in the grass (probably Nov. 20, 1878).
"While Fr. Ryan was at our house, my father, two brothers and Father slept in the house, and as we had only two beds, mother and I slept in the corn crib on a feather bed. Mother said, 'I will fix it nice for you and me'. Dear mother always fixed things nice for me, or the best she could.
"Fr. Ryan told my father to get out of that country and not raise his children there. But father plowed the first furrow in that township, and mother named the valley 'Fairview.' We were all pioneers in that locality, and all proud of the fact."
FIRST BAPTISMS--A MARRIAGE AT COLUMBUS
According to Rev. J. M. Ryan's baptismal record, p. 156, under date of July 20, 1872, he baptized on occasion of this visit the following children: Samuel Kent, born Aug. 21, 1871; Joseph Keefer, born Aug. 3, 1864; Eliza Keefer, born March 3, 1869; Margaret Cerigan (Kerngan), born Feb. 10, 1872; Margaret Vellmont, born May 29, 1872; Mary I. Sheller, born March 15, 1871; S. E. Rooney, born August 6, 1871; Mary E. Orr, born September 23, 1871, of James and Anna E. (Hughes) Orm; E. S. O'Donnell, born July 4, 1871.
On October 5, 1873, Fr. Ryan joined in wedlock at Columbus, Pat J. O'Neill and Anna Manning. Witnesses: Pat Manning and Miss Manning, both of Madison.
REV. P. J. BEDARD
As Rev. Ryan was a very busy pioneer priest and had to cover a very extensive territory, the Rt. Rev. Bishop seems to have entrusted Battle Creek and adjacent territory to the Rev. P. J. Bedard, of Frenchtown, where he had attempted to found a French colony, which no longer exists. He seems to have said Mass in several homes. Subsequently, Mass was said monthly and was attended by people living near Pierce, Norfolk, Oakdale and Tilden.
In the beginning of 1874, the people began to organize a parish and held a meeting to decide on building a church. From the old account book we glean the following:
"Battle Creek, Madison County, Febr. 1, 1874.
"We, the undersigned, agree to pay the sum annexed to our names for the purpose of building a Catholic church in Madison county at some convenient point to be determined at our
next meeting, which will be held at the house of Pat O'Neill, at which time the amount subscribed will be paid to the Treasurer, P. J. O'Neill. Meeting to be held March 1, 1874."
PREPARING TO ERECT
JAMES ORE DONATES A SITE
"Sunday, May 10 (1874), the meeting was called to order. Mr. K. Kerrigan in the chair. Moved and seconded that the following are to start for Sioux City on Monday, the 1st of June, and leave Norfolk at 9 a. m. Amended that each team that hauls 1,000 of inch lumber shall be credited with work for the amount of $10: Sam Kent, James Orr, Tim Carrabine, James Creamer, John Buckley, Francis Corkle, Philip Hughes."
The lumber was purchased at Sioux City by John B. Flannagan for St. Patrick's church, Battle Creek.
In 1874, parishioners met and decided to build a church on land donated by James Orr, a member of G. A. R. This land is now used for a Catholic cemetery. Much of the material was hauled from Wisner and Columbus, which were the nearest railroad points. The interior fittings, crucifix, candlesticks, etc., were supplied by parishioners from their homes. The church was first used in May, 1875, and was the first Catholic church west of West Point. Fr. Bedard permitted the first settler (Mr. P. A. Hughes) to suggest a name and he chose St. Patrick as the patron of the church and parish.
Mass, said at first in the houses of different parishioners (J. Manning, etc.), was subsequently said in church about once a month and was attended by Catholics from Pierce, Norfolk, Madison, Oakdale and Tilden. Fr. Bedard continued in charge of the parish until his death. Battle Creek, January 15, 1877. "Rt. Rev. Bishop O'Connor.
"We take the liberty to address you a few lines in regard to our congregation. There are some twenty-five families, Catholics, being within ten miles of Battle Creek in Madison county, Nebraska. Two years ago last spring we held a meeting for the purpose of building a church. We commenced a frame building 30x20; we got the building enclosed and furnished with a temporary altar. There are ten acres of land donated for church site and adjoining the town of Battle Creek which is a flourishing young town near the center of the county and ten miles (south) S. W. of Norfolk. The deed of the Church land is made to St. Patrick's Church, which is the name given the building. Please, inform us if that be legal or what form is necessary for the conveyance of Church Property. If it be not right, we can have it changed. Since that time we have been attended occasionally by Rev. P. J. Bedard, a missionary priest, until last fall (1876). He was stationed at Yankton, South Dakota. Since then we are left without a priest.
"Now, Rt. Rev. Sir, would it be possible for you, to send us a priest occasionally that would stir up our scattered flock and keep the Spirit of Faith alive in them till such times, when we would be able to support a priest permanently? The congregation are all Irish except three who are Germans. If it be so that you can give notice to the congregation what time he will be here. And some of us could meet him at Norfolk and bring him up here.
"Hoping to receive a favorable reply, we subscribe ourselves,
"Most respectfully yours,
"Frank P. Hughes,
We have corrected a few spelling mistakes and supplied the punctuation marks.--Fr. E. H., O. F. M.
THE FRANCISCANS VISIT BATTLE CREEK, MADISON AND VICINITY
The letter of these trustees seems to have been successful, for the Franciscans were asked to look after St. Patrick's parish in Battle Creek, in fact all Madison county was entrusted to them for some time. Rev. Frs. Ambrose Janssen and Anselm Puetz seem to have attended the place. The latter Father has left us very interesting reminiscences of his trips, from which we here quote:
FR. ANSELM'S EXPERIENCES OF PIONEER MISSIONARY LIFE
A. D. 1877
"Now the settlement of German farmers in Stern's Prairie (St. Mary's Church), about 18 miles north of Columbus, was entrusted to my care. At first these people had services twice a month, and finally, every Sunday and holiday. On the intervening Sundays I drove to Madison county, a distance of 35 miles or so, to an Irish settlement at the mouth of Battle Creek, which flows into the Elkhorn river. It was known as Battle Creek Settlement, a round distance of 50 to 60 miles, according to the residence of the farmer, where I spent the night. All the trips were made in a farm wagon or in the stage coach. On these trips I made various experiences Becoming wet to the skin, or being exposed to the burning rays of the sun, so the skin peeled off next day; burning thirst and hunger; in winter, the awful cold with its blizzards. My first trip to Battle Creek was an interesting one. From Columbus I made use of
the stage coach as far as Madison. There a farmer with a wagon awaited my arrival; he was s good-natured Irishman. Rain overtook us; besides my driver lost his way in the endless prairie. As luck would have it, we espied the smoke escaping from a chimney beyond a hill. The inmate of that house, an aged German. directed us to our destination. The house was a log house inhabited by a numerous family, husband, wife, two adolescent daughters, two boys, aged 10 and 17, a number of smaller children and a baby. After we had taken some nourishment, I was courious (sic) to know whether there was a second apartment. Hence I remarked that I had a part of my Divine Office to say; whether I might do this in another room. The reply was: 'Yes, Father, there is the table and the light; kneel down and say your prayers; we shall not disturb you'. Not a word was spoken, but meanwhile I heard various noises, hammering and rustling of a saw, etc. When I had done, I understood the meaning of it all. The room was very limited. On one side there was a bed while towards the corner of the room was left sufficient space, so that a second bed with its small side could be pushed in. This second bed had now, in that brief time, been closed and nailed up with blankets; hence the hammering. There I was to take my repose. From below the first bed a low box filled with straw was drawn, the pallet for the two boys, and opposite this, beside the stove, a box had been taken apart, in which the two girls were to retire for their nightly repose. Husband and wife and all the little ones slept in the first bed.
LODGING IN A NEW FRAME HOUSE, ETC.
"On another occasion I was in a similar predicament. At the early dawn, when darkness still prevailed, I made my exit from the house. A third time I made my headquarters in a new frame house, not yet plastered. When the time arrived for retiring, the housewife moved the bedstead to the middle of the spacious room. The reason soon become apparent. I had scarcely reclined in bed, when a countless number of bedbugs rushed towards me despite the precautions of the mistress. It was an awfully sultry night. No breeze stirred and a heavy electric storm overhung the earth. The night was a veritable feast day for the mosquitoes, which were legion at this confluence of the creek and the river banks, which were filled with faggots, straw and cornstalks accumulated by the current. Repose was impossible. Very early in the morning, I hurried outside; but in the open air it was not a bit better. Later on the housewife questioned me: 'Well, Father, did the bedbugs bother you?' 'Yes, and the mosquitoes, too', was my reply. "Well, well", was all she could answer. The heavy electric storm overhung all Sunday without a drop of rain, as is often the case in Nebraska. Monday morning, I had to leave at three o'clock, in order to meet the stage coach at Madison. We were hardly on our way five minutes, before the storm broke with elementary fury. Flashes of lightning followed each other, there was a continuous thunder, and the rain poured in torrents. After a minute I noticed the water running down my body. The habit (we always traveled in the habit, even on the railroad) was wringing wet. The farmer I was riding with queried: 'Shall we turn back?' 'No', I replied, for I cannot possibly get any wetter than I am already. Besides, I must return home.' 'Well', said he, 'if it does you no harm, it doesn't me either'. Thereupon we jogged along. Several times the lightning struck the ground ahead of us, so that the horses shied. It continued raining, the roads became muddy, and the team made little headway. It rained until we reached Madison; but it was already eight o'clock. Luckily, the stage coach was still there, it being detained by the rain, also. I was dripping wet, and as the saying goes: 'Wer hat den Schaden, der hat den Schimpf', i. e., 'I got both the scath (sic) and the scorn.'
MEANING OF THE ROSARY BEADS--
DID CHRIST DIE?
"Hardly had I boarded the coach, when it started off for a 35 mile trip to Columbus. By this time the sun was sending down its scorching rays, so that I gradually got dry. When I arrived in Columbus, my clothes were perfectly dry, so that there was no need of changing them. Mr. Lynn, the stage coach driver, resided about 15 miles south of Madison and was accustomed to invite his patrons to partake of the noonday meal with him while he had his horses changed. His wife, a sturdy New England Yankee, once inquired about the meaning of the rosary I carried at my side. I intended to begin explanation at the cross, when she asked me: 'Do you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross?' I replied, 'Yes, ma'am.' She said: 'I cannot believe that he died, because he was God and God cannot die.' I told her: 'Christ was not only God; He was also man, and as man He died to save us'. She was Methodist to the core. The rosary was generally an object of curiosity. Once a fellow passenger, who was a public school teacher and a man of serious thought, also asked to be informed regarding the significance of the fifteen mysteries of the rosary. All those about us listened attentively and the school teacher remarked: 'This is, indeed, the most beautiful meditation I have ever heard.'
ST. PATRICK'S CHURCH AT BATTLE CREEK
"Well, these Battle Creekers at least had a church. A rough frame structure without plastering. Rough boards placed over empty nail kegs served as pews. There was an altar frame of rough boards nailed together; red mosquito netting formed a baldachino, while the confessional was without a grating. But this place was a palace. Wherever else I went, especially in Madison county, I had to say Mass in the most wretched shanties. Our good God had to put up with many a poor thing. The Franciscans were in charge of St. Patrick's for some time. For five years following, Fr. Smith came from O'Neill, making the long trip with horse and buggy, mail wagon or on foot. He was succeeded by Fr. Carney, who took up his residence in Norfolk, where he later established a church. In 1883, Fr. Smith was again given charge for a year and during that time he made all arrangements for building a new church on the site of the present one. He was succeeded in 1884, by Rev. Ferdinand Lechleitner, who superintended the building of the church in 1885.
RT. REV. BISHOP J. O'CONNOR, OF OMAHA
"Rt. Rev. Bishop J. O'Connor, of Omaha, visited the parish in the fall of 1885, and administered the sacrament of Confirmation to the first class ever confirmed in the county. In 1890, Fr. Lechleitner was recalled and Father Thomas Walsh was sent. Under his leadership the old church was disposed of and the present brick church built and dedicated in the fall of 1902. Fr. Walsh continued in charge of the parish until 1903, when he was recalled to Omaha and Father Waldron was here until 1907, when Father Walsh returned. He retained his residence in Norfolk, attending the parish there as well as those in Stanton, Battle Creek, Tilden, Oakdale and Neligh, until 1907, when he took up his residence at Battle Creek.
TRIPS WITH FR. J. M. J. SMITH OF SHELL CREEK.
ST. PATRICK'S CHURCH ON SHELL CREEK, PLATTE COUNTY.
"My trips with Fr. Smith of Shell Creek, brought me far beyond the horizon of our district and I saw that elsewhere conditions were even more primitive. Shell Creek is a tributary of the Platte River and flows through exceptionally good bottom land north of Columbus. When the Union Pacific railroad, beginning at Omaha westward, was being constructed, hundreds of Irishmen were attracted thither, to some of whom were given as partial payment eighty to one hundred sixty acres of land. It was railroad land, for to encourage the building of the railway, the U. P. Railroad Company had been granted by the United States Government a strip of twenty miles of land on either side of the track, on condition that the railroad be constructed. A considerable number of these Irishmen took possession of their land along Shell Creek up to the present site of St. Bernard. They also profited by the gold hunters enroute to California, who had to use the road leading along Shell Creek. To these they sold their produce profitably. Thus they became gradually well to do.
REV. J. M. SMITH ATTENDS ST. PATRICK'S--
BECOMES RESIDENT PASTOR
"From a religious point of view, however, matters were less favorable. Only about 1873 they had erected for their use a frame church which for a time remained without plastering and without any ornament. An easy chair surrounded with cotton cloth served as confessional. Boards laid over empty boxes were the seats. This church stood south of Shell Creek, close to the bridge, which crossed the creek on the road from Columbus to Steam's Prairie. It was attended occasionally by Rev. Frederick Uhing, by Rev. John Bernard, who resided there, by the assistant of Fr. Ryan at Columbus (i. e., when he had one). And that was rather irregularly. Fr. Smith, as assistant to Fr. Ryan, visited it more frequently until he was appointed its second resident pastor. He built a house beside the church and put life and organization into the people.
TRIPS TO BOONE, GREELY AND NANCE COUNTIES
"The Rt. Rev. Bishop had also directed him to take care of the sparsely scattered Catholics in the western counties. These were especially Boone and Greely[*] counties and the former Indian reservation now Nance county. Genoa, with the imposing Indian School, and in Greely county, Sullivan Settlement, the Spalding City of later days, with a number of Germans. Twice Fr. Smith took me along to these places. The first time, it was during Lent, he got me with his pony team. It was growing dusk and I had just returned from Butler county. In order to catch the train at Schuyler (Colfax county), I had been compelled to cover a distance of twenty miles in very dusty weather, in a farm wagon. The train was two hours late. After washing myself and packing the necessary articles in my valise, off we went. He had told me not to eat, for he had ordered supper eight miles west. The fleet ponies soon covered the distance of eight miles. An excellently prepared turkey and trimmings awaited us. Needless to
[* all should be Greeley]
say, it tasted excellent, for since breakfast I had not partaken of a morsel. In the evening we arrived at the farm of Mrs. Doyle, a widow. It is surrounded by big trees and its location is near the Indian reservation. The lady told us of her experiences with the Indians--all of a peaceful nature. Early in the morning we proceeded to Albion, the county seat of Boone county. There I said Mass at a private house, while Father Smith drove to another settlement to celebrate Mass there. At noon he rejoined me and in the afternoon we proceeded to Greely county, to the farm of Mr. Sullivan on the Cedar river. There the German farmers came down the hills, besides a large number of Irishmen, to make their confession. The preceding afternoon Father Smith had driven farther into the country, in order to achieve something, if possible, in the military barracks among the Catholic soldiers. While I said Mass and preached, he returned fatigued and disappointed. In the afternoon we drove back, during which trip a heavy electric storm surprised us.
A SECOND TRIP TO BOONE AND GREELY COUNTIES
"A second time I was driving to the same place, this time with the U. S. mail coach. The driver was a young, vivacious American and a devoted Methodist. He started at once to sing his Methodist hymns, and also called upon me to sing such. To his great disgust I excused myself; I should be able to sing at least one. We finally reached Genoa in the Indian reservation, with its great school and the stately hotel at its side. There I was put off. Father Smith had told me that he would give the hotel keeper directions concerning my person. But no one took any notice of me. My driver put up there and I had to continue my trip with another driver. I did not know how or where. When an elderly gentleman came to the porch, I began to explain my predicament, but met with the curt reply: 'I am not the landloard'. Then another came who proved to be the hotel keeper. I spoke to him about Father Smith. 'I do not know Fr. Smith', he answered, 'but go in and take your dinner'. 'Yes, but I have no money.' 'No matter, go in.'
'The table was occupied by ladies and gentlemen. I entered wearing the Franciscan habit. Admiration and whispering: 'That man is traveling without money.' I was requested to sit down. It was the seat at the head of the table.
"Standing, I blessed myself, said a short prayer, bowed to the right and to the left and the spell was broken. My neighbor entered into a conversation with me. I excused myself since I was in this country only a short time and did riot have a sufficient command of the English language, that I was one of the victims of Bismark, who were exiled from the Fatherland. This aroused their sympathy. After dinner we continued our westward journey. The driver of the stage coach was the selfsame man who had been my neighbor at the table and had a long conversation with me. He had received Fr. Smith's directions regarding me. But the rascal had attempted to amuse himself at my expense, in which he did not fully succeed. All this is indeed, a digression. But from it one may learn what it means to do pioneer service around in a country just opened to civilization. At the present day things offer fewer difficulties; civilization has made progress, parishes have been organized and the railroads have made many places easier of access."
ST. LEONARD OF PORT MAURICE' CONGREGATION AT
MADISON, MADISON COUNTY, NEBRASKA
Of the settlement of Madison county and of the city of the same name, we have already spoken. Some of the first Catholic settlers in the county we hear of were John Dieter, Mathias Classen, Pat O'Shea, Mr. Lindner, Mr. Steibley, A. Ganser, G. Brand, and others. At first they attended Mass at Columbus, St. Patrick's, Shell Creek, or St. Mary's until about 1877. Before this time, a visiting priest occasionally said Mass in a sod house. Thus Fr. J. P. Bedard came one or the other time. In 1876, Fr. Fred Uhing, of St. Charles, near West Point, came at the invitation of Mr. John Dieter and said Mass at his home, a sod house. Mr. P. O'Shea served at this Mass. It was in Green Garden precinct, about six miles west and two miles south of Madison.
THE FRANCISCANS TAKE CHARGE OF MADISON COUNTY
Fr. Ambrose Janssen was the first Franciscan to say Mass in Madison county. On April 11, 1877, he held service and baptized a number of children at the John Dieter home, viz., Anna Elizabeth Ganser, Mary Frances Steffes, Mathias Classen and Clara Frances Steibley (Mrs. A. Weidner). Mass was also said at the Lindner's and the P. O'Shea's homes.
When Fr. Anselm Puetz took charge of St. Mary's of the Angels, he came about once or twice a month to some farm home near Battle Creek; for, as he remarks, in his Reminiscences, there was at that time not a single Catholic resident in Madison (city). When Rev. Cyprian became pastor of St. Bernard, he also attended the Madison parish about once a month saying Mass in a private home, 1878-1879. His successor was the Rev. Aloys Hoeren, O. F. M., probably January, 1880-January, 1881.
THE ERECTION OF A CHURCH
In 1879, the heads of Catholic families of Madison vicinity had a meeting at the home of Mr. Wm. Abts in Stanton county, for the purpose of deliberating upon the erection of a church. This meeting was attended by Messrs. Pat O'Shea, Joseph Lindner, Sr., Thos. Lindner, Anton Ganser, George Malin, Sr., Joseph Rief, Sr., Michael Adelman and John Reisinger. The building of a church was resolved upon. The old records have preserved the following subscription list: Thos. Lindner ($55), Chas. Lindner ($30), Pat O'Shea ($50), Mrs. Adam Becker ($25), Wm. Ganser ($45), Denis Streit ($45),
Rev. Bartholomew Feldman, O. F. M.
Joseph Rief ($20), John Reisinger ($32.75), Geo. Malin ($10), A. Wehling ($20), Andrew Adelman ($40), Leonard Hoffmann ($2), Anton Ganser ($20), Daniel Drapp ($1), Francis Wittler ($5), John Donnovan ($5), Mrs. Cecilia Abts ($5). The citizens of Madison contributed $322.86, total $749.61; the total expenditure was $957.61, leaving a deficit of $208.
In January, 1880, Pat O'Shea and Thos. Lindner, trustees of the new congregation, purchased five acres of land upon a hill in the southern part of town from Mr. Otto Dittner for the sum of $100. In spring, 1880, John Reisinger, Joseph Lindner, Sr., Thos. Lindner and Joseph Rief drove with their ox-teams to Wisner,--Madison village was then still without a railroad--to haul the first loads of lumber for the church. These men tell us how they and their ox-teams (horses were a luxury then) almost famished, because they had no money to purchase provisions.
The church was put up. It was a small frame structure probably 30x40 feet. There is no record of the date of dedication.
REV. BENIGNUS SCHUETZ,
O. F. M.,
JANUARY, 1881- AUGUST, 1882
Rev. Benignus Schuetz, O. F. M., the new pastor, completed the church in November, 1881, at an expenditure of $957.61. It was dedicated to St. Leonard of Port Maurice, the famous Franciscan Missionary and preacher. Beginning with January, 1882, services were held twice a month until the year 1902, the Franciscans coming on Friday and leaving Monday, unless the number of missions attended by one or the other Father made this impossible. The same pastor (with residence at St. Bernard and later at Humphrey) that had charge of St. Anthony's (Burrows township), at first also had charge of Madison.
MORE PIONEER PARISHIONERS
The account book opens in January or more correctly in November, 1881. There we find among the contributors also John Dieter, Daniel Drapp, Mueck ($16), Wm. Abts ($5). On November 1, 1881, the congregation was indebted to Mr. Tscharner (carpenter) $208. Joseph Lindner donated the painting of St. Leonard ($13). Six pews made by Mr. Tscharner cost $37.10. In spring, 1882, a purple chasuble, Benediction veil, a white chasuble, a missal and an ostensorium were bought. In the same year more land near the church was purchased for a cemetery and a fence was put up around it by George Brandt and Adam Lang in June, 1883, at a cost of $35.
REV. MAXIMILIAN KLEIN, O. F. M., AND SUCCESSORS
After the brief pastorate of P. Rudolph Horstmann, August, 1882, till August, 1883, the Rev. Maximilian Klein, O. F. M., (August, 1883-July 22, 1886), assumed charge of the congregation. He built an addition, a sacristy and a room for the priest, to the east side of the church and a steeple on the west side in 1884. The cost was $796.50. In July, 1886, Fr. Luke Miersowski, O. F. M., had charge of St. Leonard's church, but was succeeded on January 21, 1887, by Rev. Bonaventure Faulhaber. He labored zealously amid great hardships especially in the winter season, taking special pains to instruct the children, until he was relieved by Rev. Marcelline Kollmeyer in August, 1890. In this year a successful mission was given by the Franciscan Fathers Victor Aertker and Servatius Rasche. Fr. Marcelline was replaced by Father Jerome Hellhake, O. F. M., who had charge of the Madison parish from September, 1894, to August, 1897.
Fr. Bonaventure was ever most conscientious in compiling the "Status of Souls" (Status Animarum), as it is called. From it we gather the following names of parishioners (including some non-Catholic heads of families) at his time: Michael Adelman, John Axmann, Frank
Blousach (Bohemian), James Cremer, Thos. Carroll, Timothy Connelly, Herman Faller, James Feehan, Mr. Collins, Val Feuling, John Ganser, Henry Hanni, Fridolin Hoffman, Wenceslaus Karilla, John Wehling, Mathias Classen, John Kinsella, James Lemmle, Thomas Long, Daniel Mahoney, John Thomas, Catherine Mulligan, Joseph Neid, Thos. O'Shea, Joseph Pancok, Joseph Ursus Pfund, Andrew Quigley, Fred Kennedy, Wenceslaus Scala, Joseph Senn, Joseph Stevens, Robert Schibel, Timothy Sullivan, Gerard Wahl, Hy. Wehenkel, John Wehenkel, A. Weiland, Mrs. Mary Wlttler, Joseph Ziegler, V. Feuling, T. Carraher, Joseph Shenka, Mrs. Thos. T. Hoffmann, Julius Hoffman, Ludwig Weinberger, Mrs. Doengi nee Weibel, G. Brandl, Mr. Lenfers, James Ward, Joseph Shimerda, Mr. Gleason, Joseph Kund.
REV. BARTHOLOMEW FELDMAN,
O. F. M.,
AUGUST, 1897-AUGUST, 1902
The parish being too small and the location too inconvenient for the members of the parish, the pastor called a parish meeting and it was resolved to purchase a new site for a new church. Accordingly block 33 of P. A. Clark and Madison Mill Company's Addition, was bought at a cost of $1,200. Being in want of funds for building a new church, the old one was moved to the new site by Mr. W. P. Thatch for the sum of $170 and on the new site the church was enlarged. Mr. Joseph Adams did the carpenter work; Sam Lyons, the plastering. The total expenditure was about $1,500. In November of the same year, 1898, the church was dedicated by the Very Rev, dean of Platte county, P. Marcelline, O. F. M., of Columbus. On November 15-20, 1899, the church was incorporated under the laws of the state of Nebraska as "St. Leonard's Church of Madison, Madison County, Nebraska." The first lay trustees (besides the Rt. Rev, Bishop R. Scannell, Very Rev. Vicar General Wm. Choka, Rev. B. Feldmann, treasurer) were: John Malone and Joseph A. Adelman.
THE BASEMENT CHURCH, OPENING A PAROCHIAL SCHOOL
In the course of time the parish felt the need of a Catholic school, and in accordance with an order of the Rt. Rev. Bishop, they concluded to erect one. After mature deliberation, it was deemed advisable to build a new church and to transform the old church into a parochial school. As the funds were lacking to complete the church at once, Brother Leonard Darscheid, O. F. M., made the plans for a beautiful church, but only a temporary basement church was erected.
Work on this structure was begun in the beginning of July, 1902. The structure cost $8,500 and was dedicated on February 11, 1903. Services were held in it since September, 1902.
The old church was remodelled (sic) and in the fall, 1903, the Sisters of the Presentation, of Dubuque, Iowa, opened school. The cost including furnace and furniture was $1,500.
Fr. Bartholomew also purchased, in 1901, an additional half block from P. A. Clark for $300. Including church furniture purchased 1900-1905, Fr. Bartholomew spent, 1898-1905 a sum of $14,200, leaving an indebtedness of about $8,000 with subscriptions and assessments amounting to $3,850 in arrears.
REV. GEORGE S. KERTSON (CARSON)
Rev. George S. Kertson retired, passed away, at Madison about 1902, where he had spent a number of years on the farm. He had been living in the family of a French general, although he was a native of England. He made his studies for the priesthood at Paris and Rome. He labored in the diocese of Chicago at Momence and Mantineo, Kankakee County. Fr. Kertson passed away at Madison at the age of about 73 years, leaving a legacy of $500 to St. Leonard's Church; also a sum of $200 for the perpetual care of his grave .--R. I. P.
TRUSTEES OF ST. LEONARD'S CHURCH
Pat O'Shea, 1880-1885; Thomas Lindner, 1880-1885; Val. Feuling, 1885-1895; John Malone, Sr., 1885-1911; Joseph Adelman, 1895-1900; Joseph Weinberger, Sr., 1900-1911; Edward O'Shea and Joseph Dankey, 1911-1912; John Dineen and Joseph Malin, 1912-1913; John Malone Jr., and John Ostiek, 1913-1915; Sebastian Feullng, 1915-1925; Edward Maher, 1915-1924; John Dineen, 1924-1925; B. Otterpohl and Dr. Tighe, 1925; Geo. Stracke and B. Otterpohl.
REV. HILDEBRAND FUCHS,
JANUARY, 1905-AUGUST, 1909
Rev. Hildebrand Fuchs, O. F. M., January, 1905-August, 1909, succeeded Fr. Bartholomew and was successful in paying off the indebtedness in a few years. Rev. Pamphllus Stahl remained only a few weeks. The last Franciscan pastor was Rev. Columban Valentine, September, 1909-October, 1910.
Up to 1902 included the Franciscans baptized 319, admitted 129 to first holy communion, witnessed 32 marriages and blessed 69 bodies of deceased persons.
THE PARISH IS TURNED BACK TO THE DIOCESE, OCTOBER, 1910
As the Province of the Sacred Heart, by orders of the Most Rev. Minister General, had
Present St. Leonard's Church, Madison, Nebraska
Rev. Adam Brass
Rev. Benignus Schuetz, O. F. M.
Rev. Cuthbert Malone, O. F. M,
taken up some houses in California, to prevent extinction there, and also since Madison had never been definitely entrusted to the permanent care of the Friars, like Platte County, the Provincial thought the time opportune, to give up St. Leonard's parish, to the great regret of the older people, who had witnessed the very great hardships suffered and labors performed by the Franciscan Fathers in their behalf.
REV. EDWARD S. MUENICH,
OCTOBER, 1910-OCTOBER, 1918
Rev. Edward S. Muenich, who took charge of St. Leonard's in October, 1910, set to work at once and laid the foundation for a fine brick pastoral residence and collected funds to complete the church after enlarging the foundation a number of feet. The cornerstone was laid on May 8, 1913, by the Rt. Rev. Bishop Phillip Joseph Garrigan, of Sioux City, Iowa.
DEDICATION OF ST. LEONARD'S NEW CATHOLIC CHURCH
MADISON, DECEMBER, 1913
St. Leonard's new church was dedicated on December 4, 1913, by the Rt. Rev. Bishop H. Tihen, of Lincoln, assisted by Rev. E. S. Muenich, Rev. Florence, Kurzer, O. F. M., and a number of other priests.
The edifice cost about $75,000. It is of Romanesque architecture and perfect in design. It is 52x153 1/2 feet in dimensions, built of hydraulic brick in mosaic gray, trimmed with Bedford stone. The dome is 110 feet high, copper-covered, above which is a gold-leafed cross of corresponding dimensions. The interior decorations are water colors and oil paintings. Fourteen art glass windows represent the life of Christ from his birth to his Ascension, each being 13 1/2 feet wide. They are unsurpassed either in beauty of design or coloring. Adorning the walls are fourteen beautiful composition stations, richly decorated in silk finish. The high altar, a gift of the children of the late John Malone (cost $2,080), is of white wood; it and the side altars and the communion railing are hand-carved, decorated in white and gold and adorned with onyx columns. The pulpit is massive in design and the decoration corresponds with that of the altars. The sanctuary floor and altar steps are beautifully tiled in mosaic design, and the pews and other furniture are made of red oak. The seating capacity is 700. Hanging high in the dome is a peal of three bells harmoniously cast, weighing 900, 1,600 and 2,500 pounds, to which a great clock with six foot dials for each of the four sides of the town, is so attached that the large bell strikes the hour, the next, the half; the small bell, the quarter; thus not only doing service in calling the congregation to worship, but marking the time of day and night for the city and country side. Some idea of the magnificence of this edifice may be had from the fact that the altars cost $3,000; pulpit, $350; communion rail, $350; pews, $1,700; great clock, $1,200; and glass windows, $4,000; steamheating system, $4,000, and other furnishings, approximately $1,000.--Humphrey Dem., Dec. 12, 1913.
FIRST MASS OF REV. CUTHBERT (EDMUND) MALONE, O. F. M.
Sunday morning, July 14, 1918, at St. Leonard's Catholic church at Madison the Rev. Cuthbert (Edmund Sylvester) Malone, O. F. M., son of John and Anna Casey Malone, who was ordained at St. Louis, Missouri, on July 7, 1918, celebrated his first Mass. The rain caused a number of arrangements to be dispensed with. At ten o'clock the neo-presbyter sang his first High Mass. He was assisted by Rev. Hildebrand Fuchs, O. F. M., of St. Paul, Minnesota, as deacon, and the Rev. Florentius Kurzer, O. F. M., as subdeacon. The choir assisted by Rev. Edward Muenich at the organ, sang a beautiful Mass, interspersed with many solos. The eloquent sermon was delivered by the Rev. Pastor E. Muenich. At the close of the Mass Fr. Cuthbert imparted his blessing to all. At the dinner the Rev, pastor acted as toastmaster. The speakers were those who had known the celebrant from childhood. The first number of the program was an address of welcome by little Rose Mary Malone; following this the toasts ran in the order of a train crew. Father C. Malone was the important passenger and gave an address emphasizing the pleasure and thankfulness that came to him that day. Fr. Hildebrand was the engineer, Fr. Columban the conductor and J. J. Malone, chief dispatcher. On account of the lateness of the hour, this touching and impressive celebration had to close, as solemn Vespers were sung at three o'clock.
This closed an event that will long be remembered at Madison, since Fr. Malone is the first priest to be ordained from that parish.
Edmund Sylvester Malone was born December 31, 1892, attended school there, graduated from the Franciscan College in Teutopolis, Illinois. The scene of his priestly labors were chiefly Ashland, Wisconsin, and Cleveland, Ohio.
REV. ADAM BRASS,
He came at a time, when but for the flu, many would not have cared much to see another priest. When he arrived, St. Leonard's parish numbered 115 families and 440 souls. Many families moved away since and others came into
the parish. During the twelve years Fr. Brass despite frail health of late years has conferred 106 baptisms, officiated at 47 marriages and 66 funerals. The general census taken up in 1929 shows that the parish numbers 122 families, besides a number of independent individuals. There are 116 children under 16 years and 336 adults over 16 years in the congregation. A collection taken up in spring, 1922, to reduce the indebtedness of the parish netted $6,000 and deceased members left legacies amounting to $7,800. The Christian Mothers in 1929 contributed more than $1,000 towards the same fund. The indebtedness in October, 1930, was $7,000. The old primary school was not up-to-date and the principal need of St. Leonard's is a primary parish school.--Madison Star-Mail.
LIST OF PASTORS AT ST. LEONARD'S, MADISON
I. VISITING PRIESTS:
Rev. J. P. Bedard, Rev. Fred Uhing, P. Ambrose 1877-1878, P. Anselm Puetz.
Rev. Cyprian Banscheid, O. F. M., May 11, 1879-April 3, 1880.
Rev. Aloysius Hoeren, O. F. M., 1880-January, 1881.
Rev. Benignus Schuetz, O. F. M., January, 1881-August, 1882.
Rev. Rudolph Horstmann, O. F. M., August, 1882-August, 1883.
Rev. Maximilian Klein, O. F. M., August, 1883-June, 1886.
Rev. Luke Miersowski, O. F. M., July, 1886-January, 1887.
Rev. Bonaventure Faulhaber, O. F. M., January, 1887-July, 1890,
Rev. Marcelline Kollmeyer, O. F. M., August, 1890-September, 1894.
Rev. Jerome Hellhake, O. F. M., September, 1894-July, 1897.
Rev. Bartholomew Feldmann, O. F. M., September, 1897-December, 1904.
Rev. Hildebrand Fuchs, O. F. M., January, 1905-August, 1909.
Rev. Pamphilus Stahl, O. F. M., September, 1909-October, 1909.
Rev. Columban Valentine, O. F. M., 1909-October, 1910.
Rev. Edward S. Muenich, Oct. 23, 1910-Oct., 1918.
Rev. Adam Brass, Oct., 1918-now.
SACRED HEART CHURCH AT NORFOLK, MADISON COUNTY, NEBRASKA,
FIFTH AND MADISON AVENUE
The original baptismal and marriage records antedate the year 1881. There is a checked list of Irish, German and Bohemian names which have been entered most carefully. About 1881, it was the Rev. Nicholas Horn, then pastor of West Point, who attended Norfolk as a mission. As the number of parishioners increased, the Rt. Rev. Bishop J. O'Connor in 1881 appointed Rev. Thomas Carney as the first resident pastor. Soon he was very popular among all circles, Catholic and non-Catholic, of the new town. The beginning was difficult. A parochial residence and church were lacking. On Sundays Mass was celebrated in the only public school house. Its location is now occupied by the Fair Store, northwest corner of Fouth (sic) Street and Norfolk Avenue.
THE CHURCH SITE IS DONATED
Mr. John Koenigstein, well known for kindness of heart, donated the half block, where the Catholic church now stands. There, among the grass, Fr. Carney erected a small frame church and a residence for himself. The parish limits of Norfolk had not yet been defined and Fr. Carney, being the only priest in northern Nebraska west of West Point, labored as missionary at Battle Creek, Tilden, Oakdale, Clearwater, Frenchtown, Pierce, Plainview, Creighton, Verdigree, Spencer, Wayne and Stanton. John Flynn and John McKerrigan still accurately remember those pioneer days.
NORFOLK AND VICINITY ATTENDED FROM WEST POINT
In September, 1884, Fr. Carney was transferred to Plattsmouth, Nebraska, and Fr. Joseph Ruesing, of West Point (now Monsignore Ruesing), for a time looked after Norfolk and neighboring missions as far as Raeville and Boyd county. He was succeeded by the resident pastor Ferdinand Lechleitner, who remained at Norfolk six years. Fr. Lechleitner later on lost his eye-sight and died in 1916 at St. James Orphanage, Benson. His memory is still revered by many.
REV. THOMAS WALSH,
Rev. Thomas Walsh, now pastor of Battle Creek, was the next rector at Norfolk, March 1890-1893, and made many improvements in the growing parish. The parsonage was enlarged so that it afforded room for two priests. Since that time Norfolk has had an assistant as the work exceeded the strength of one priest.
In the mean time the pastors of Sacred Heart church were: successively; Rev. P. J. Grant,
Rev. W. N. Lawrence and Rev. P. Waldron. The Rev. Thos. Walsh returned in 1897 and in 1899 erected a fine brick church, which accommodated the congregation for 17 years. In 1908 Father Walsh was transferred to Battle Creek. Father J. C. Buckley was the next pastor, 1908-July, 1914. He greatly improved the pastoral residence and paid off the indebtedness of the church, a rather difficult task.
Following is the list of assistants, including names that later on became popular in the state of Nebraska:
Revs. John Vranek, E. A. Clemenz, Joseph Dossal, J. Augustyne, John McNamara, C. H. Petlach, G. Vermeulen, F. G. Webber, F. G. Wlaskiewicz, E. A. Soliwoski, H. Muyssen, T. O. Driscoll, P. E. Burnett, Theo. Mester, P. J. Manning, W. Mulligan, A. Alberts, P. Donnelly, J. Rothkegel, F. Gebauer, J. McMahon, T. Carmody, R. Auer, Applebaum, B. Westerman.
REV. DANIEL W. MORIARTY, PASTOR OF SACRED HEART CHURCH
AT NORFOLK, NEBRASKA
Since 1913 till the day of his death he was pastor of Sacred Heart Church at Norfolk. He enlarged the church ($9,000), dedicated November 4, 1917; put up the fine school (cost $90,000) and called in the Franciscan Sisters of Rochester, Minnesota, to whom he turned over his residence, meanwhile living in some rooms at the rear of the school. At the time of his death the indebtedness amounted to about $55,000.00.
"Fr. D. W. Moriarty's death came as a shock on Wednesday. He had been at the Eucharistic Congress at Omaha, some weeks before, and at St. Joseph's Hospital Golden Jubilee, took sick with heart trouble Friday and expired on October 21, 1930. The funeral was held Saturday at ten o'clock by the Rt. Rev. Bishop J. F. Rummel. Many priests were in attendance."
Fr. Moriarty was a native of Milford, Massachusetts, where his birth occurred in 1858. He made his classical studies at Harvard University, where he was a classmate of the late President Theodore Roosevelt. Re completed his higher studies at the Grand Seminary at Mon-
(Note: There is no caption for this group of photos)
treal and was ordained for the Vicariate of Nebraska in 1882. After attending the Indian mission at Lander, Wyoming, and erecting there a stone church and enduring great hardships and privations for two years, he turned over the mission to the Jesuits, who had been unable to come sooner, and was made pastor at Lyons, Nebraska, with which several missions in three counties were connected. With the aid of an assistant, he looked after this large district.
In 1887, he organized St. Agnes parish in growing South Omaha, erected the present church and school and in 1902, the residence. From September, 1903, till 1908, he was irremovable rector at Jackson. In 1906, the parish celebrated the golden jubilee of its foundation by
Fr. Trecy in 1856. Fr, Moriarty next became the first resident pastor of St. Bernard's in Benson, attended from 1905-1908 as a mission of St. Cecilia's Cathedral. He moved St. Bernard's church to its present location on Military Road. He also erected the school and the residence.
"Fr. Moriarty was one of the links which unite the diocese of Omaha, which now comprises a few counties of northeastern Nebraska, with the Vicariate of Apostolic of Nebraska, which comprised the whole state of Nebraska with Wyoming and parts of Dakota, Iowa and Montana. He labored in the Vicariate and the diocese of Omaha for more than forty-eight years and was one of the best known priests in this section for his untiring building work for the church in Nebraska."--True Voice, Oct. 24, 1930.
And again Fr. Gannon says of him: "He came to the West in 1882, a young priest and just ordained in the East. He had never seen the West, but he soon learned all about it, and grew to love it. His first mission was in central Wyoming, where he had Indians and cowboys for his congregation. He adapted himself to his surroundings and became a Westerner at heart, though he never lost the poise and mannerisms of the East, even after nearly half a century in the West. He was always calm, never appeared to be in a hurry and never was carelessly attired. He was an incurable optimist in regard to the future of the church in Nebraska. He met with a full measure of hardship and difficulty in building--but he always came up smiling--and went ahead and built again with full confidence that the building would be paid for. He never lost heart in the face of difficulty and discouragement, but cheerfully said that everything would come out all right.
"To his brother priest Fr. Moriarty was a friend and brother, who was ever ready to assist them in times of need or distress. He was probably the best known priest in Nebraska at the time of his death. Always popular in gatherings of the clergy, his quiet dignity and well modulated voice commanded respect at all times. His forty-eight years of service to God and religion will not be forgotten by the priests and the people of Nebraska. Eternal rest grant to him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him!"--The True Voice.
After Fr. Moriarty's death, Father B. Westerman administered the Sacred Heart Parish until about March 1, 1931, when Father Hugh Gately, pastor of Elkhorn for the past ten years, was appointed by the Rt. Rev. Bishop J. F. Hummel.
Father Gately was ordained in Rome in 1911, after completing his studies at the Capranica College there. His first appointment was as assistant to the late Father J. T. Smith at St. Patrick's Church. His next charge was as assistant at St. Cecilia's Cathedral and secretary to the Rt. Rev. Bishop H. Scannell, and to his successor in the See of Omaha. In 1917, Fr. Gately was appointed pastor of Lyons and in 1921, pastor of Elkhorn.
Rev. Hugh Gately, Norfolk, Neb.