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The beginning of Religion dates back to the pre-historic time when the Law of God was handed down through Tradition and Sacred Revelation.

The Ten Commandments of God as given to Moses on Mount Sinai are the basis of all Moral Law.

Among the Religions of the World, the Christian and Jewish and their houses of worship are found in every state of the union. From the early days representative groups of these religions were found in the early settlements of Platte County.

The Jewish Religion is divided into two branches known as the Orthodox and Reformed Groups.

The history of the Orthodox Jewish Faith is the history of the Ancient Israelite People who were led to the Promised Land by Moses. They were the descendants of Jacob. This Ancient Religion had its inception in Babylon around 563 B.C. It is based on the Law of God, Tradition and Sacred Revelation. Its history follows the history of the Old Testament of the Bible.

The Reformed Jewish Group is a liberal group within the Jewish Faith who translate the Scriptures to fit into their way of life.

The Christian Religion was established by Christ around the year 33 A.D. It is based on the Sacred Scriptures, Tradition and Revelation. Its history is found in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. Among its early members were many descendants of the Ancient Jewish Faith.

In the Old World when the first group protested against the teachings of the established Christian Church they separated from that body and formed a new denomination. Later other Denominations which differed in their teachings from this group were started.

Religion answers to a deeply felt need in the heart of man. Above the needs of the individual are the needs of the family, and still higher are the needs of the clan and the people.

On the welfare of the people depends that of the individual. Hence we find that Religion in its outward worship is to a large extent a social function. The chief rites of religion which are public rites are performed in the name and for the benefit of the community. It is by social action that religion is maintained and preserved. Only in the society of his fellow men does one develop his mental and moral faculties and acquire religion.

On the subjective side it is the disposition to acknowledge our dependence on God, and on the objective side it is the voluntary acknowledgments of that dependence through acts of homage.

Religion calls into play the will, the intellect, the imagination and emotions. Its predominant tones are those of hope, love, confidence, patience, humility, the firm purpose of amendment and aspiration toward higher ideals.

All of these are natural accompaniments that through religion man is living in friendly communion with God. The view that fear is in most instances the spring of religious action is untenable.


In subjective religion, several virtues must be included most of them being of an emotional character. The proper exercise of the virtue of religion involves the three cooperant virtues--Faith, Hope and Charity-all having good as their direct object.

Strictly speaking, Faith is the reverent disposition to submit the human mind to the Divine, to accept on Divine Authority what has been revealed by God. In the wide sense as applying to all religions it is the pious acceptance of the fundamental notions of Deity and of man's relation to Deity contained in the religious traditions of the community. In practically all religions there is an exercise of authoritative teaching in regard to the intellectual basis of religion, the things to be believed.

These things individuals do not acquire independently through direct intuition or discursive reasoning. They come to know them from the teachings of their parents, elders and clergy, and from the observance of sacred rites and customs. They take these teachings on authority made venerable by immemorial usage so that to reject them would be an act of impiety. Thus while man has the capacity to arrive at a knowledge of the fundamentals of religion by the independent exercise of his reason he regularly comes to know them through authoritative teaching of his elders. Faith of this kind is practically an indispensable basis of religion. It was this basis of religion that led the organization of the churches of Platte County today. They are the result of the solid foundations of ground work laid by the Pioneer Settlers ninety years ago.

Religion in the 1860's and 1870's played an important part in the early social life, public sentiment, and economic development of the county.

The first church founded in the county was St. John's Catholic Church in Columbus. Its members were Irish and German. Father Fourmont, a French missionary, was the pastor. The other early Catholic and Lutheran groups in the county were primarily German, and their missionaries taught the first church schools.

In the middle 1860's, the Episcopal and Congregational Churches were started in Columbus. Following this, English, Irish, Danish, Swedish, and Polish church groups of all denominations were organized in the settlements scattered over the county. Many of the early mission ministers and priests who cared for these groups in Platte County also held services in other parts of the territory and later in the new state.

The churches of today trace their beginnings to little groups of settlers inspired by a common bond of faith. Their first meetings were held in the homes, where marriage ceremonies were performed and baptisms administered.

Later, these groups met in the early District Schools, and finally, they built their churches.

The meaning of mission-fest comes from the summer outdoor meetings held in groves where whole families met to combine Sunday worship with picnic basket dinners.

There was a great warmth and good feeling expressed among the parishioners in the pioneer churches, as in other pioneer groups. Probably at no other time in the history of our country were the majority of inhabitants nearer the same age and sharing similar circumstances of poverty and riches alike.

Each shared the joys and sorrows of the other. The early missionaries were fervent and untiring in their work. The dream for higher education of these men is reflected in many of Nebraska's schools and colleges.

The History of Platte County Nebraska




From the early days representative members of the Jewish Faith in Columbus have contributed much to the cultural and commercial growth of Platte County. Among its members before the turn of the century were Louis Kramer, David Loeb and Israel Gluck.

For a period around 1917 regular services for the Orthodox Jewish Faith were held in the historic old building located at the southeast corner of the intersection of Twenty-fifth Avenue and Tenth Street. At that time Rabbi Simpkins was located in Columbus.

Except for that period the members of the Orthodox Jewish Faith have always worshipped at the Temple in Omaha during their High Holidays.


In 1804, Lewis and Clark held their famous council with the Indians at a point on the Missouri River about sixteen miles above Omaha, where, in 181g, Fort Atkinson was established. This was also the site of the first permanent settlement in Nebraska. Many of the soldiers of the Sixth United States Infantry stationed there from 181g until the evacuation of the fort in 1827 were of the Catholic faith, and a Catholic missionary from St. Louis, on occasion said mass and conducted services for them.

According to A. E. Sheldon, in his History and Stories of Nebraska, Father Pierre De Smet, the first Catholic missionary among the Indians on the Platte and upper Missouri, was born in Belgium. He came to the United States in 1821, joined the Society of Jesus, at Florissant, Missouri, and was one of the founders of the St. Louis Province of the Order.

In 1838, he established a - mission among the Potowatomies at Council Bluffs, Iowa, and arranged a Treaty of Peace between them and the warring Sioux. Through kindness and hard labor, Father De Smet gained the confidence of the Indians, thus preventing outbreaks among them during the period of immigration to California and Oregon, from 1851 to 1858.

The first Catholic Church established in the New Territory was St. Mary's, in Omaha. The parish was organized early in 1856, and the new church building was started in June of that year. It was built on land donated by the Nebraska and Iowa Ferry Company at Eighth Street near Howard Street.

Before the church was finished, Mass was said in the residence of Governor and Mrs. Cummings, at the corner of Nineteenth and Dodge Streets, since the Governor's wife was a member of the Catholic faith.

According to the church records, the first marriage was that of Mary McGovern and John Owens. The Reverend Father Cavanaugh officiated at the ceremony which was witnessed by John Dougherty and Mary Cummings.

The marriage of Patrick Murray, of Platte County, and Bridget Hennessy was recorded on August , 1857, as of July 5th. Reverend J. F. Trecy officiated at the ceremony.

Following the establishment of the Omaha parish, Catholic missions were started in St. Johns, in Dakota County, and at Nebraska City. The first Bishop of Nebraska was the Right Reverend James O'Gorman, D.D., who had charge of the spiritual welfare of the Catholics in the Omaha Diocese from May, 1859, to July, 1874.

In May, 1859, the Right Reverend Bishop ordained the Reverend William Kelly at St. Mary's Cathedral in Omaha. He was the first Catholic priest ordained in Nebraska.

In all, seven Catholic Bishops have served the Catholics in Platte County. Besides the Bishop O'Gorman, others who served in the Diocese of Omaha were: Right Reverend James O'Connor, D.D.; Right-Reverend Richard Scannell, D.D.; Most Reverend Archbishop J. J. Harty, D.D.; Right Reverend Joseph F. Rummel, D.D.; Most Reverend James Hugh Ryan, D.D. (Archbishop) ; and Most Reverend Gerald T. Bergen, D.D.

Late in December, 1859, a Catholic Mission was started in Columbus.


St. John's Catholic Church, the first church congregation in Columbus, was organized in 1860. The first church building, built in 1861, was located at 1801-1805 Eighth Street.


The first members of the Catholic faith in Columbus arrived here in May, 1856. They were John Browner, John Wolfel, Charles Bremer, Michael Smith, and Anthony Voll.

The following spring Adam Smith, John and James Haney, the Quinn brothers, Patrick Murray, Hugh McDonough, and George Berney came. Later, Peter Meyer and Gustavus Becher, Sr., arrived here, followed by Franz Henggler.

In the spring of 1857, Michael Kelly, Thomas Lynch, Patrick Gleason and John Dineen settled on Shell Creek. In the fall of 1857, or the early spring of 1858, David James and Henry Carrig, Edward Haves and Michael Dineen filed on claims near Shell Creek. Later, James Conway and Mrs. Dunlap joined them.

Many of the names listed here were omitted from early histories. This was due partly to the fact that the church records previous to 1866 were lost.

At first, many of the pioneers attended church on occasion in Omaha. Four years after the town was founded, the first Catholic parish was started in Columbus. It was named St. John's in honor of John Browner and all of the early Catholics took part in its organization.

In later years, some of the early Catholics were aligned with other groups.

In 1863, St. Patrick's parish was organized on Shell


creek and a church was built there. About 1864, the second St. John's Catholic Church was built on Ninth street between Fulton and Grover Streets, now Seventeenth and Eighteenth Avenues.


The pastors at St. John's Church from 186o to 1891 were: Reverend Almire Fourmont, a French missionary, 1860-1863; Reverend William Kelly, July 1863-July, ,86; Reverend Phillip Erlach, August 1865-December, ,866; Reverend James M. Ryan, December, 1866-1891.

In 1891, St. John's Church was taken over by the Franciscans, and the St. John's parish became a part of the St. Bonaventure's parish.

Father Almire Fourmont was a native of France, born there on February 11, 1819. He died in France in 1872.

There were only five priests in Nebraska when Father Kelly was ordained. Reverend Phillip Erlach was a missionary to the Catholics on the Elkhorn, Platte and Loup Rivers, before he came to Columbus in 1865. He could speak English, French, Italian, Dutch and Bohemian.

Columbus was nine years old at that time. The railroad was being built from Omaha to Columbus, and from two hundred to five hundred wagons passed through the town each day on their westward trek.

Father Ryan came in 1866. Besides his parish at St. John's, Father Ryan was a missionary at all the posts in the vast Territory along the Union Pacific Railroad; from the Elkhorn to Julesburg, Colorado, and Cheyenne and Laramie, Wyoming. He said Mass on two Sundays each month at St. John's Church, in Columbus. After Father Ryan came to St. John's, he enlarged the church, built a steeple, and installed a church bell.

As the years passed, many German and Polish Catholics attended the Mass there, but when St. Bonaventure's Church was organized, in 1877, the German and Polish speaking Catholics became members of that church.

In Andrea's History of Nebraska, in 1882, the author listed the membership of St. John's Church as forty-five families, with fifty children attending the Sunday School.

The St. John's Church property in 1882 was valued at four thousand dollars. This property was signed over to the Franciscans by the Right Reverend Bishop of Omaha in 1891.


St. Bonaventure's Catholic Church is located between Fifteenth and Sixteenth Streets on Eighteenth Avenue, in Columbus.


The Pioneer St. John's Church in time became too small for the growing Catholic population, and due to the fact that the Reverend James M. Ryan did not speak either the German or Polish languages, he found it difficult to minister to these groups. A group of representative Germans went to Omaha and asked the Bishop for permission to organize a German parish in Columbus.


St. Bonaventure's Church

Thus the early history of the organization of St. Bonaventure's parish dates back to February i, 1877, when two Franciscan priests, the Reverend Ambrose Janssen, O.F.M., and the Reverend Anselm Puetz, O.F.M., arrived in Columbus. They had come to Omaha to confer with the Right Reverend Bishop in regard to the establishment of Franciscan German and Polish Catholic parishes in Platte County. According to record the head of the Franciscan Provincial Diocese, Reverend Mauritius Klostermann, O.F.M., and the Bishop of Omaha, had held a previous conference at which the whole of Platte County had been allotted to the Franciscans as a Mission Field.


The first church building used as a place of worship for seven years, 1877-1884, was the frame building that had been used as the First Ward school-house previous to the erection of their brick school in 1874.

It was moved from its site on 1802-1812 Eighth Street, west of Eighteenth Avenue, to 1902-1912 Fifteenth Street, west of Nineteenth Avenue, where the first St. Bonaventure congregation worshipped until the brick church and monastery, located between Fifteenth and Sixteenth Streets on Eighteenth Avenue, were completed.

The frame building was sold to Edward Schober, who moved it across the street, south to 1972 Nineteenth Avenue, and remodeled it.

Frederick Gottschalk donated two blocks of ground to the Franciscans, with an offer of two more blocks. According to the contract between Mr. Gottschalk and the Franciscans, it was required that the buildings erected would be worth a stipulated sum. The actual cost of the buildings and improvements, however, exceeded the amount required.

Brick from Shell Creek clay was fired in a kiln for the new building. Mr. A. Fangman, later of Humphrey, William Schilz, Joseph Schmitz, John Dischner, Sr., and Bernard Delsman served as a building committee.

The History of Platte County Nebraska

Mr. Engelbert Lethert, later Brother Ildephonse, O.F.M., Brothers Adrian Wewer, Damian Bueschgens, Mr. Fangman and even the two Franciscan fathers helped to erect the monastery and church.

Among the first subscribers to the church and monastery were: Charles A. Speice, Speice and North; Hunneman and Tolman; H. P. Coolidge, I. Gluck, W. H. Hockenberger, C. W. Clother, John Wiggins, Doctor C. B. Stillman, John Browner, Mrs. Charles Bremer, Mrs. J. H. Kersenbrock, Peter Meyer, Charles Segelke, John Haney, James Haney, Paul Hoppen, John Stauffer, M. T. Kinney, Louis Phillipps, Sr., Franz Lachnit, and others.

Outside contributors included early settlers from the parishes of St. Mary's, and Humphrey; Loup and Butler Townships.

The first committee instrumental in starting the German parish included William Schilz, Joseph Schmitz, Frank Gores, of Columbus, and Joseph Schlesinger from south of Columbus.

The Franciscan Friary was damaged by heavy rains while under construction, and a part of it had to be rebuilt.

Among the first Communion class at St. Bonaventure's, on May 1, 1880, were Martin Karges, Joseph Berney, Joseph Smith, Mary English, Sarah Goodwin, Anna Held, and Mary Regan. On May 16, a class of Polish children made their first communion, and on October 10, 1880, a class from the Seberger settlement, south of town.

The first wedding celebrated in the St. Bonaventure Church was that of Francis Lachnit and Catherine Galus, on November 7, 1877. The attendants who acted as witnesses were Joseph Rozno and Amelia Lachnit.

The first funeral in St. Bonaventure parish was John Bernard Delsman, the infant son of J. Bernard and Clara Delsman.

The cornerstone for the new brick St. Bonaventure Church was laid by the Right Reverend Bishop James O'Connor, on July 8, 1883. The new church was dedicated for worship on November i, 1884. It had a seating capacity of one hundred and ninety-eight.

In 1891, the St. John's parish became a part of the St. Bonaventure Church. At that time the church building was enlarged by an addition of forty-two feet which was added to the length of the church.

In 1908-1909, an addition of twenty-eight feet was added to the length of the church and a tower built. The church, when finished in 1909, was one hundred and fifty feet long and fifty feet wide, and the sanctuary was twenty-eight by thirty-five feet.

Three church bells were installed in the church tower in 1909. They were donated by Peter Greisen, George Henggeler, and his son, Anton, and the St. Anne's Society.

During the time that Reverend Father Charles Schlueter was pastor, the church was remodeled and Gothic stained glass windows were installed.

In 1913, when the St. Anthony's parish was formed by the Polish people, St. Bonaventure's became a German and English church.

Since 1918, all of the sermons at St. Bonaventure's have been delivered in the English language.


From 1877-1927, the pastors were also supervisors of the Friary in Platte County. The pastors of St. Bonaventure's Church were: Reverend Ambrose Janssen, O.F.M., 1877-1880; Reverend Wendelin Graute, O.F.M., 1880-1881; Reverend Dominic Florian, O.F.M., 1881-1882; Reverend Seraphin Lampe, O.F.M., 1882-1887, and 1902-1903; Reverend Pacificus Kohnen, 1887-1894; Reverend Mauritius Baukholt, O.F.M., 1894-1895; Reverend Marcellinus Kollmeyer, O.F.M., 18951902, and 1907-1912; Reverend Theobald Kalamaja, O.F.M., 1903-1906; Reverend Rembert Stanowski, O.F.M., 1906-1907 Reverend Cyriac Stempel, O.F.M., 1912-1915; Reverend Hilary Kieserling, O.F.M., 1915-1917; Reverend Gratian Gehrig, O.F.M., 1917-1919; Reverend Charles Schlueter, O.F.M., 1919-1927; Reverend Isidorc Fosselnian, O.F.M., 19271930; Reverend Salvator Wegener, O.F.M., 1930-1936; Reverend Athanase Steck, O.F.M., 1936-1939; Reverend John Joseph Brogger, O.F.M., 1939-1945 Reverend Albert Limacher, O.F.M., 19451949, and Reverend Roch Hettinger, O.F.M., from June, 1949. The assistant pastors in 1949, were Reverend Arno Hartman, O.F.M., and Reverend Martin Wolter, O.F.M.


The St. Anne's Altar Society is the oldest parish society. It was organized in 1877 to furnish means to decorate the altar and church.

Mrs. Marcus Vogel assisted the pastor in its organization. There were twelve charter members, among whom were: Mrs. John Abts, Mrs. Anton Heitkemper, Mrs. John Heitkemper, Mrs. Henry Delsman, Mrs. Franz Lachnit, Mrs. William Schilz, Mrs. J. Schmitz, Mrs. John Dischner, Mrs. J. Liebig, Mrs. George Henggler, and Mrs. Nick Adamy.

Other early members were: Mrs. John Browner, Mrs. Lawrence H. Byrnes, Mrs. Jennie Condon Walker, Mrs. D. Condon, Mrs. Thomas Keating, Mrs. John Haney, and Mrs. James Haney.

The 1948 president was Mrs. Joseph Jiranek. Other officers in that year included Mrs. John Quinn, Mrs. Leo L. Locher, and Mrs. Wendell O. Walters.

The 1948 men's church societies were the Senior and Junior Holy Name Societies. The 1948 officers of the junior Holy Name Society were: David Schumacher, Lawrence Melcher, and Vincent Fiek.

The officers of the Sodality of Mary in 1948 were: Anastasia A. Ernst, Adeline Wozny, Ann Marie Luis, and Joan Fisher.

The St. Bonaventure Cemetery Board of 1949 included: Walter Giger, Anton Zabawa, William Gerhold, Edward C. Kavanaugh, Mark Rupprecht, and Lawrence H. Byrnes.



The trustees of the St. Bonaventure Church in 1948 were: William Boettcher, Jr., Raymond Braithwait, Joseph Cerny, Jesse Dougherty, William Ebner, Carl Herrod, Phillip Z. Krzycki, Peter W. Lakers, Doctor Patrick McGowan, J. O. Peck, Walter Phillips, Joseph Sock, Con Keating, Gary Altmanshofer, John C. Byrnes, William Brock, and Walter Gregorius.


Nearly eighty years ago, St. Patrick's Catholic Parish was established at Gleason, on Shell Creek, four and one-half miles southeast of the present town of Platte Center.


The history of the early settlement along Shell Creek is an important part of the early history of the county. In 1856, shortly after the town of Columbus was founded, five of the original settlers staked out claims on Shell Creek. They were: Henry Lusche, Carl Reinke, John Browner, J. P. Becker, and Charles Bremer. They were joined in March, 1857, by George Berney.

As the organization and political divisions of Platte County developed, these men became the first settlers and land owners in Bismark Township and in Shell Creek Township, in Colfax County.

The little group of Irish settlers who came to Shell Creek in March, 1857, formed the nucleus of the first settlement in Shell Creek Township. These men were: Thomas Lynch, Michael Kelly, Patrick Gleason, and John Dineen.

In 1858, the settlement was augmented by Michael Dineen, James, Henry and David Carrig, James Conway, Edward Hayes, Michael Doody and Patrick Burke.

From 1857-1860, the Catholic settlers traveled to Omaha by ox-teams to have their children baptized and to receive the Sacraments.

In 1860, they joined with the Catholics from Columbus and organized St. John's Parish. They then had a French Mission Priest, Reverend Father Fourmont. The first church services were held in a small log building, between Eighteenth and Nineteenth Avenues, on Eighth Street.

In 1863, St. Patrick's Parish was organized and Mass was said by a Mission priest in the sod houses of Patrick Gleason, Thomas Lynch, and Edward Hayes. The Mission priests in 1863-1865 were Reverend Kelly, Reverend Smyth, and Reverend Erlach. For a short period after Father J. M. Ryan came to Columbus, the members of St. Patrick's Parish worshipped there.

In 1868, the membership of St. Patrick's Parish was increased by the new settlers: Thomas Flynn, John Slevin, John Schaughnessy, John Regan, Sr., Dennis and Michael Dugan, and Edmund Roberts.

From 1869-1870, a group of German Catholic settlers arrived in the vicinity and joined St. Patrick's Parish. They were Henry Ripp, Joseph Jordan, Christian Greisen, Joseph Liebig, Charles Mehrberger.

In 1870, Michael Hogan, John Sackey, Patrick and Dennis Regan and Thomas Shea became members of the Parish. In 1871, Dennis Sullivan, Thomas Sullivan,

Patrick Murphy, Michael Upton and Patrick Carey. In 1872, William O'Callaghan, Thomas Dean, and Michael Cronin came.

In I870, after the arrival of the first German group, the Reverend Frederick Uhing, from West Point, attended the Mission regularly as its pastor.


St. Joseph's Church, Platte Center, Nebraska

In 1873, St. Patrick's Church was built by Ferdinand Ripp. While the church was under construction, Mass and services were held in the Ripp house. The church was built on an eight acre tract of land received from Patrick Gleason and Mrs. Mary Lynch Cleary, who each donated four acres. The Gleason and Lynch land is still used as the Catholic Cemetery for St. Joseph's Parish.

Other pastors who served St. Patrick's Church were: Reverend John Bernard, 1874-1879. He afterwards became Father Alexius, a Franciscan. He was the first resident priest and occupied the parsonage which was built by Thomas Shea, in 1876.

1877-1880, Reverend J. M. J. Smyth, also had the Missions of Farrell and Lindsay in Platte County. By 1880, the parish had grown very large and Father John Flood became the pastor. He remained from 1880-1884. In 1884, the Right Reverend Bishop O'Connor turned the parish over to the Franciscan Friars, and suggested that they start a new parish in Platte Center. Reverend Boniface Depmann, O.F.M., served St. Patrick's from 1884-1886, as a Mission.

The parish later became a part of St. Joseph's Parish, in Platte Center.


St. Joseph's Catholic Church is located in Platte Center, Nebraska. .


The early history of Catholicity in the Platte Center area had its inception in St. Patrick's Parish, which was later joined with St. Joseph's Parish.

Platte Center became a village in 1880, when the Columbus Norfolk branch of the Union Pacific Rail

The History of Platte County Nebraska

road was built to that settlement. In 1884, the Right Reverend James O'Connor, Bishop of Omaha, gave St. Patrick's Parish on Shell Creek to the Franciscan Friars, with the suggestion that they form a new parish and build a church in Platte Center.

A meeting for this purpose was called on May 4, 1884, in Platte Center, at the C. C. Carrig and James Lynch Store. The Reverend Seraphin Lampe, O.F.M., of Columbus, with the pastor, Reverend Boniface Depmann, O.F.M., presided at the meeting. As a result of which St. Joseph's Parish was organized and money subscribed for a parochial school and Sisters' Home. Patrick Murphy gave two acres in Section 7, and Edmund Roberts donated two acres adjoining it to the south. This four-acre tract is the site of St. Joseph's Church, Rectory, Sisters' Home and Parochial School.

The plans for the first church were drawn by Brother Adrian Weaver, O.F.M., and the first church was built by Frank Brockhaus.

The church was finished in November, 1884, and the first Mass was said there on Christmas Day, December 25, 1884.

After the parochial school was built, the Franciscan Sisters of Lafayette, Indiana, took charge of the school, which was opened in 1885.

The first church building was replaced by a new one in 1899. The cornerstone of the church was laid on August 17, 1899,


The charter members of St. Anne's Altar Society, in 1895, were: Mrs. Thomas Mylet, Mrs. Michael Dugan, Mrs. Henry Burke, Mrs. John Hennessey, Mrs. John Maher, and Mrs. Robert Gentleman.

Many donations were made to the church through the years. The list of donors, besides those already named, included: Mrs. J. A. Kehoe, Thomas Shea Family, Mrs. M. E. Clother, Mrs H. N. Zingg, Matt Schumacher, John and Johanna Burke, the Michael Maher Family, the Thomas Lynch Family, Thomas Dean, W. Mylet, Michael Cronin, J. Brier, Patrick Gleason Family, Mr. and Mrs. John Moffett, John McGuane, D. D. Duggan Family, Mr. and Mrs. C. J. Carrig, Max Bruckner, Sarah Perkinson, Agnes Carrig, Eugene Macken, John Purchal, J. Caraher, C. M. Gruenther, T. Bruckner, and Henry Schumacher.

In 1924, plans for a new church were drawn. The church was built under the supervision of Leo Woerth, general contractor. The church was dedicated on November 28, 1924, by the Most Reverend Archbishop J. J. Harty, of Omaha.

The architecture of the church is Romanesque style. It was built at a cost of $71,200. The church was administered to by the Franciscan Order from 1884-1930, when it was again turned over to the Diocese.

The St. Joseph's Church was incorporated at a meeting held March 10, 1910. Those present were: the Very Right Reverend Richard Scannell, Bishop of Omaha; Augustine M. Colaneri, Vicar General; Angelus Bell, O.F.M., pastor; Edmond Higgins and Max Bruckner, Laymen. The articles were filed for record March 31, 1910.

On March 19, 1924, the articles were amended. It was stated in the amendment that the church could incur up to fifty thousand dollars indebtedness, and was signed by the Right Reverend Jeremiah J. Harty, Bishop of Omaha; Augustine M. Colaneri, Vicar General; the Reverend Liborius Breitenstein, O.F.M pastor; Max Bruckner and James Foley, Laymen. It was filed for record at the Platte County Court House on March 20, 1924.


Pastors who have served St. Joseph's are: 1884-1886, Reverend Boniface Depmann, O.F.M.; 1886-1887, Reverend Rudolph Horstmann, O.F.M.; 1887-1888, Reverend Ignatius Reinkemeyer, O.F.M.; 1888-1891, Reverend Godfrey Hoelters, O.F.M.; 1891-1893, Reverend Titus Hugger, O.F.M.; 1895-1897, and 1900-1901, Reverend Salvator Lehman, O.F.M.; 1897-1900, Reverend Jerome Hellhake, O.F.M.; 190 1-1906, Reverend Hyacinth Schroeder, O.F.M.; 1906-1909 and 1914-1929, Reverend Liborius Breitenstein, O.F.M.; 1909-1911. Reverend Angelus Bill, O.F.M.; 1911-1912, Reverend Cyriac Stempel, O.F.M.; 1912-1914, Reverend Marcellinus Kollmeyer, O.F.M.; 1929, Reverend Eugene Hagedorn, O.F.M.; 1929-1930, the last Franciscan priest, Reverend Donulus Evers, O.F.M.; and in 1930, Reverend Leo Mainzer.


The Holy Family Catholic Church is located at Lindsay, Nebraska, in St. Bernard Township.


During the late 1860's and early 1870's an Irish settlement was started around the present town of Lindsay. Among the settlers there were William Connelly, James Ducey, Samuel Connelly, John H. Gogan, Matthew Farrell, John Walker, Daniel Holloran and Maurice Griffen. These settlers attended St. John's Church in Columbus and St. Patrick's Church on Shell Creek.

In 1873 the mission at St. John's, now in Joliet Township, was started. At first Mass was said on occasion in the homes, and later the District school house was used where a mission priest from Columbus ministered to the people.

Mass was also said at the Holloran Homestead in Walker Township by Father J. M. J. Smyth on his mission trips from Columbus. Two weddings were performed there by Father Smyth, those of Samuel Connelly and Alice Gogan, and John Gogan and Catherine Connelly.

In the late 1870's a German settlement was started at St. Bernard and a German Catholic Parish organized there by the Franciscans.


The Western Town Lot Company bought the Holloran Homestead in Walker Township in 1886 for the first townsite. For a time Tom Farrell kept a store there. Later it was abandoned when the townsite was moved two and one-half miles south-east of its first site and


located in St. Bernard Township. It was incorporated as a village March 7, 1888.

The new town was named by John Walker who came from Lindsey, Canada. Other settlers in that vicinity who came from there were William and James Noonan, M. Maher, M. Caraher, John Noon, John Rivet, M. Farrell, John H. Gogan and James Ducey.


Around 1892 there was some talk of starting a new parish in Lindsay but this move met with opposition both from the mission of St. Johns and the Franciscan Superiors and nothing was done about it until the next year.

In December, 1893, a mission was conducted at St. John's Church by a Franciscan missionary, Reverend Mauritius Baukholt. The attendance from Lindsay were few, due to the bad roads. Hence the missionary seeing the need for a church there advised the pastor, Reverend Herbert Stotter, O. F. M., to start a mission there. Father Herbert set about to get the formal permission for the establishment of a new parish from the Franciscan Provincal and the Bishop of the Omaha Diocese.

A mission parish was organized and a temporary place of worship set up in two rooms at the home of John Freschauf in Lindsay. The first Mass was celebrated there on December 9, 1894. The attendance was so large that the rooms were crowded. After eight meetings the parish leased the "New England Hotel" which was completed in February, 1895, by Mr. Rausch. The office and parlors of the hotel were used for the church services twice a month for ten months.

It was the wish of the Franciscan Provincial, Reverend Michael Ricard that the Holy Family Parish erect a church and school at the same time. This was not possible due to the drought and partial crop failure of 1894, and upon the promise of the parish to erect a school when it was feasible they were given the consent of the Provincial to proceed with the construction of the church.


Holy Family Church and Parsonage,
Lindsay, Nebraska


The Fremont, Elkhorn and Missouri Valley Railroad Company donated a lot sixty by one hundred forty in the town of Lindsay for the new church. The parish then bought two adjoining lots the same size.


A parish committee composed of Michael Gaspers, Peter Backes, and Mrs. J. Rivet worked with Brother Adrian, O. F. M., who designed the new church building.

On September 3, 1895, the ground was broken, and on September 9, the first bricks were laid by John Freschauf and Bernard Hauck. Mr. P. Riede superintended the construction, and Mr. Freschauf plastered the building. The time and labor on the new church were donated by Mr. Freschauf, Mr. Hauck and the other parishioners.

Besides donations of labor and money, furnishings for the new church were given by the parishioners. Among the gifts were the Ostensorium of Mrs. Martin Polzin and the Stations of the Cross by Mrs. Fred Smith.



The first service held in the new building was Benediction on February 3, 1896. During that service the new church furnishings were blessed.

On Easter Sunday, March , 1896, the Mass was celebrated for the first time in the new church, and in April, 1896, the Thirteen Hours devotion was held.


On March 19, 1899, the parish held a meeting at which time it was decided to build a new church building adequate for use for fifteen or twenty years, and to remodel the old church building for a parochial school and Sisters home. A building committee composed of Peter Backes, Fred Smith, and Frank Connelly were elected to proceed with the plans.

The language question was also settled at that time.

Before the turn of the century the parish was made up of both Irish and German families and the Franciscan pastors were predominantly German. Thus it became necessary to work out a plan which included all the parishioners.

It was decided that during the early Sunday Mass the sermon would be delivered in German, and at the later Mass in English.

On June 19, 1899, ground was broken for the second frame church building. The building was thirty-eight by ninety feet with a basement and steeple. The cornerstone was laid August 15, 1899. At this ceremony the English sermon was given by Reverend Sylvester Buschkuehler of Quiney, Illinois, and the German sermon by Reverend Ladislaus Czech. The laying of the cornerstone was completed by the mason contractor, John Freschauf. The building was constructed by Ferdinand Remn of West Point, Nebraska.

The first Mass was said in the new building on August 4, 1900. At that time the new addition and remodeling of the old church was started under the direction of Mr. Vanchura. The work of finishing the interior of the new church was done by Theodore Flesk of Mount Carmel, Iowa, while the work of lathing and plastering was done by John Freschauf.

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