St. Thomas' Roman Catholic Church


City of Beloit, Rock County, Wisconsin

Courtesy of Carol

The first Catholic services recorded in Rock county were held in Beloit, in 1846, by
Rev. Father McKERNAN, who celebrated mass in the house of Captain POWERS. There were then in Beloit five Catholic families. In May, 1853, Rev. Father McFAUL cared for the Beloit Catholics until June, 1854; Father KUNDIG the next three months; Father NORRIS until January 1, 1856; then Father KUNDIG two months, and Father NORRIS again until 1859. His successors were fathers Niordan SMITH until 1862, HERMAN, until 1866, and SULLIVAN until his death in 1883, when Rev. M. J. WARD was appointed to this field.
The first Catholic church at Beloit was built by Father NORRIS in 1854. This stone
building was destroyed by fire December 23, 1884. The next day one of Father WARD's Presbyterian friends, meeting him, said: "I am sorry for your loss - I'm sorry twenty dollars' worth," and gave him a twenty dollar gold piece. In addition to this first contribution toward a new building Father WARD soon secured enough to erect a new church edifice of brick (on School street, now East Grand avenue, 830), and it was dedicated June 6, 1886.
During his quarter century of service here, completed July 5, 1908, Father WARD
has done a great work for temperance, and, more than any other man in Beloit, has helped in that reform both within this county and also outside of its bounds.
In 1902 Father RIVERS became first assistant in this parish, and was followed in
that service by Father CUYLER, and in the latter part of 1903 Father Joseph E. HANZ began that service. Father WARD has the respect and good will of all Beloit citizens, and the personal esteem and love of all his own congregation, who now number 1,560.
[Source: Rock County, Wisconsin: A new history of it's cities, villages, etc., Vol. I, by William Fiske Brown (editor-in-chief); ©1908 C. F. Cooper, Chicago, IL; pp. 273-274]

©2002 ALHN-Rock County, Wisconsin

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