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|1888||Church is built|
founded 1841 cemetery 1856 in 1880 and 1890 atlas The first Catholic church was a log structure, and was erected in the summer of 1841. The hewn-log building was two stories high, the front half of the lower floor being utilized for school purposes, and the rear half, divided into two small rooms, served as the pastoral residence, while the upper floor was devoted to divine service. Prior to the erection of this building, mass had been read, as far back as 1836, by the Redemp- torist. Father Czackart, at the house of Widow Weis, the Father coming all the way from St. Marie, Jasper county, 111., where he had his home with John Pi(iuet. Rev. Roman Weinzoepfel succeeded Father Czackart and attended until May, 1842, after which date Rev. Anthony Deydier visited the mission several times. In October, 1842, Rev. Conrad Schneiderjans, of Oldenburg, Frank- lin county, was placed in charge of the missions near Evansville, established himself at St. Wendel, and from that place visited St. Joseph's until the fall of 1845. Rev. C. Oppermann and Rev. Martin Stahl, assistants of Father Deydier at Evansville, occasion- ally visited the mission until April, 1846, when Rev. Roman Wein- zoepfel returned, his station being then at St. Wendel. September 15, 1849, Bishop de St. Palais came to St. Joseph's parish to administer the sacrament of confirmation. This visit was a blessed one, as it resulted in the purchase of ground, at a cost of $95, for the site of a new church-edifice. Thirty families subscribed $1,700, in money, toward the construction of the proposed building, while others pledged themselves to furnish labor or material. May 28, 1850, the corner-stone of the new edifice was laid by Bishop de St. Palais, assisted by Fathers Deydier, Kutassy and Weinzoepfel. The foundations were 40x86 feet, the walls of brick, and of Roman architecture. The total cost of the building was about $2,200, not including the cost of the bell ($150), nor the labor and material donated, and of this sum Bishop de St. Palais liberally contributed $200 from his private means. April 13, 1851, divine services were held in the new church, but it was not until April 27, that the building was formally dedicated. From May 9 until May 17, 1852, a very successful mission was held by Rev. F. X. Wenninger, S. J., the neighboring congregations taking part, and holy communion was administered to about 900 souls. Toward the end of the 1850s St. Joseph's received its first resident pastor in the person of Rev. F. W. Pepersack, who erected a substantial brick parsonage at a cost of only $1,000. In June, 1861, he was succeeded by Rev. John B. Merl, who remained until Ma>-, 1874. On November i, 1874, the Rev. J. F. Sondermann was placed in charge, remaining until May, 1875, when he was succeeded by Rev. Jos. Schuck. In 1879 Father Schuck built the present imposing school-house at a cost of $5,000. In 1885 he was sent to a more important charge and Father Pepersack returned to St. Joseph's. In the summer of 1886 the church with all its contents was destroyed by fire. It was a hard blow for the congregation and its venerable pastor, who, finding himself, owing to the infirmities of age, unequal to the task of rebuilding, resigned in the fall of 1887, when the Rev. A. A. Schenk was asked to assume the work. Father Schenk pushed the undertaking with characteristic vim, and, being cheerfully seconded by his parish- ioners, erected, in 1888, the present beautiful edifice, which, with its appurtenances, cost about $ I 5,000. In November, 1897, Father Schenk was transferred to Brookville, and the Rev. Frank A. Roell given temporary charge of St. Joseph's, remaining until May, 1898, when Rev. Henry Fein succeeded him. A commodious parsonage of modern architecture, costing $3,000, will be erected in 1899. The congregation of St. Joseph's at present numbers 100 fam- ilies, mostly prosperous farmers. The parochial school, taught by three Sisters of St. Francis, is attended by eighty pupils. The parish is also spiritually in a most healthy condition.