Transcribed by Sean Furniss
ST. LOUIS UNIVERSITY,
September 27, 1919,
Reverend and Dear Father:
I have been unable to answer your letter until now; kindly pardon the delay.
As I wrote to Father Cogley, your history of pioneer Catholicity in Miami and Linn Counties, is extremely interesting and will be a valuable contribution to the story of the upbuilding of the Church in Kansas. I am sure that everbody will be pleased when they see this chapter of Western ecclesiastical history in print.
Your record of the labors of the first Jesuit missionaries in Kansas is accurate and in keeping with the facts.
* * * * * * * * * * *
I regret to inform you that to my knowledge no portrait or photograph of Father C. Hoecken is extant. The picture at Marquette University of which Father Harvey speaks in his letter is, no doubt, a picture of Father Adrian Hoecken, brother of Father Christian II.
In conclusion, dear Father, let me congradulate you on the zeal you manifest in gathering up and preserving for the edification of posterity the meager data that surive concerning the pioneers of the Faith in Kansas. It is a nobel work in which you are engaged--and I pray that heaven may prosper your labors more and more.
With every good wish,
Very sincerely yours in Deo,
G. J. Garraghan, S. J.
One hundred years ago--a full century has elapsed since the saintly Dubourg laid the humble foundations of his mission work at Florissant, Missouri. The mustard seed then planted has sent forth its branches far and wide. The southwest, the middle west, and the northwest have been evangelized. A transformation has taken place the like of which the annals of our race furnish no parallel.
In the comparatively short span of years from 1818, great commonwealths have been formed, opulent cities have arisen and the vast plains have become the granary of the world. All the great natural resources have been developed and every art and craft has been cultivated. The wilderness of one hundred years ago has become the home of men and women from every civilized nation on earth; their children have become true Americans--lovers of law and order, zealous for education and religion; sober, industrious, frugal, and withal, bold and frank and fearless. The type is well defined--a thing apart, the "Westerner."
The advance guard of all this, at least in a Catholic sense, passed through what is now Miami and Linn Counties in the person of Father De la Croix on his way to the Osages in 1822. Father Van Quickenborne, S.J., repeatedly visited the same tribe a few years later. Doubtless he followed the trail marked out by his predecessor, as this section lay in the direct route from Florissant to the Great Osages. He also visited the Miami tribe in 1835. After this the Kickapoo Mission attracts our notice. This mission was established in 1836-37--on the banks of the Missouri River, north of Fort Leavenworth. It was the first organized, permanent mission of the Jesuit Fathers, and no effort was spared to make it a success, but Divine Providence was guiding the destinies of the future Church into other channels. The tree that had been planted at Kickapoo and tended with so much zeal and self-sacrifice for years, produced no fruit. The mission was abandoned in 1840 and another tribe--The Pottawatomies--received the blessings rejected by the unfortunate Kickapoos.
It is here our history begins. Father Christian Hoecken, S.J., emerges from the gloom of failure at Kickapoo to become the morning star of a new day about to break over the gliding waters of Pottawatomie Creek near where they join the Marais des Cygnes River at Osawatomie, Miami County.
This was in January, 1838, and the long course of events that led up to this, as well as the subsequent happenings of four score years, make up the burden of the following pages. This history is only an attempt to snatch from oblivion something of the rich hertiage left us by men inspired by God to do and dare marvelous things for His greater honor and glory.
Finally, after Kansas had become a refularly organized Territory in 1854, Father Ponziglione remained for a few years as the last representative of the early Jesuit Missionaries. He was undoubtedly the greatest of them all and may be likened to a graceful pier supporting the last bridge that led from savagery to civilization. After him came the first secular priest in the person of Rev. Ivo Schacht, who at the end of 1858 arrived from Leavenworth to minister to the scattered settlers of the plains. He is regarded as the founder of Holy Trinity parish at Paola.
The writer and compiler of this history knew Father Ponziglione well, and, what is more remarkable perhaps, he, as a yourth, knew Father Schacht after the latter had left Kansas and returned to his former home in the South. All succedding pastors were or are contemporaries of the writer, who now feels it an honor as well as a labor of love to chronicle even a small part of their heroic deeds performed when heroism had little value, since every man entering the field in those early days was a hero, and every woman braved the ennui and loneliness of the prairies and dared the cyclones no less than the winter's blasts and the summer's terrific heat was a veritable heroine, notwithstanding the compensations that quickly followed.
Probably this attidude of mind accounts for the paucity of documents or other details that would convey to the present generation a clear idea of unusual circumstances then encountered--it was simply a commonplace fact and, therefore, needing no elaborate chronicling. All being equal, the law of contrast failed to work and hero-worship was almost entirely unknown. Not even is the life of Bishop John B. Miege written, although it is now certain that he was one of the greatest missionary bishops of the Nineteenth Century. Nor has the life of Bishop L. M. Fink so far been given to the world, yet we are aware that he was a truly noble character, a great scholar, a wise ruler, and a benefactor of the State of Kansas. Some day, with God's help, those dry bones will stir again and new men will marvel at the miracles of energy and deeds of self-sacrifice wrought on the prairies of Kansas by the Jesuit, Benedictine, and Carmelite Fathers and afterwards by the humble secular priests who so worthily followed them.* The Catholic families that settled on the land proved themselves worthy of such men.
Nor do we doubt but that generations yet unborn will boast of being the descendants of those first families, not questioning the source of their pride, for, in truth, there is nothing to be especially proud of unless it be their perseverance, their indomitable courage in a well-nigh hopeless cause; the elements and the fates were against them but they "stuck it out" and won, that is all. Through unusual difficulties, they attained victory and of that struggle was born the beautiful motto:
"Ad astra per aspera."
*That this state of affairs is not alone peculiar to Kansas is evident from the following extract culled from a letter written by the Mother General of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, Kentucky:
"Reverend dear Father: I thank you very much indeed for the kind interest you are taking in trying to get some information for the Life of Bishop David.
"Sister Aurelta (Leavenworth) wrote me at once, but she had no data to give us. I suppose people, in the early days were more intent on doing good and spreading the Kingdom of God, than in keeping a record of what was done. It is certainly difficult to get any historical facts about many men and women who made Catholic history in Kentucky, at least."
Finally, it can be said that the compilation of this history, with all its imperfections, was a tedious and laborious undertaking, but, being a labor of love, it was joyfully accomplished in the hope that future generations may appreciate what their ancestors did and suffered in order that their descendants might enjoy the blessings of Faith and freedom; that their children and their children's children might possess the heritage of good things which the pioneers themselves planted but never garnered, and in a special manner, that they may preserve the noble ideals of those first founders who so marvelously tinged the fate and fortune of the new territory, of the state and, finally, of the nation at large.
Catholics have added materially to the wealth of human interest that is found in the history of Miami and Linn Counties as the following pages will amply disclose. It is now their privilege to read and know that story and hand it on to posterity with profound respect, veneration and pride.
Thanks are due to the Most Reverend Archbishop for a very special favor--our frontpiece. Reverend Father Garraghan, S.J., of the St. Louis University has spent much time and labor no less than patience on the manuscript copy sent him. His letter on the front page is valued very highly and his personal kindness greatly appreciated.
Acknowledgement is here made to Reverend John Rothenstiner of St. Louis, whose researches have brought to light the important matter found on the opening pages of this history. Through the kindness of the Fathers of St. Mary's College, Father Hoecken's Diary was obtained. Without this important document our history would be nothing more than a fragment.
From the files of the"Western Spirit" has come some of the most valuable matter found in these pages--all to the credit of our distinguished townsman, Bernard J. Sheridan.
Countless others have aided in furnishing data and, especially the numerous engravings which render this history doubly interesting. Some valuable quotations have been made from the "Miami County Republican," and the venerable librarian, J. B. Hobson, lent his aid and encouragement also.
To the industry of Thomas E. Schwartz and W. L. Rigney are chiefly due the fine account of Wea Church and its faithful people, as, also, of the little church of Louisburg. Edgerton is not forgotten, thanks to the kind pastor, Reverend David C. Hall, and the McCarthy family. Miss Anna Franklin of Osawatomie gave invaluable assistance in recalling the long series of events which go to make up the history of St. Phillip's Church in that famous old town.
And last but not least: to the Sisters of Ursuline Academy is due unbounded gratitude for their interest in this work and their patient labor in putting the manuscript into typewriting.
Results of Bishop Dubourg's Efforts--John M. Oden's Letter to the Seminary of Lyons--Father Oden's Testimony Regarding Early Efforts to Convert the Indians--Indian's Respect for the Black-Robes--Bishop Dubourg's Providential Success--On the Missions at Last--The Great Osages--Father De la croix, 1822--Further Information--Father Van Quickenborne to the Miamis, 1835; to Kickapoos, 1836--Kickapoos Abandoned, 1840.
The Cradle of Catholicity--Pottawatomie Creek, Miami County, 1838--Father Hoecken's Diary--Sugar Creek, 1839--Venerable Philipine Duchesne--The Ladies of the Sacred Heart at Sugar Creek Mission, 1841--Indian Schools--Organizing Indian Missions--The Welcome--Their Life and Work--Impressions of the Missions.
Peoria Village--The Peorias--Father Aelen, S.J., 1839--Fathers Truyens and Van Merlo--The Miamis, 1836--Baptiste Peoria and Wife--"Mother Batees"--List of Catholic Indians--The Kansas Prairie--The Pottawatomies--St. Mary's Mission--Sugar Creek--Removal to the Kaw River Reservation at St. Mary's 1848--Sugar Creek Mission Buildings Given to the Flames--Abomdination of Desolation Remains--A Remnant of the tribe still remains in Kansas............1-31
Osages Ask for Black-Robes and a School--Father John Schoenmaker, S.J., Stations, Visits Miami County--His Life Story--Father Paul Mary Ponziglione, S.J.--Missions Stations--a Vast Field--Visits to the Peoria Tribe, 1851--Gives Name to Peoria Village "LaCitta di Paola"--His Life on the Plains; in the Mountains--Missionary to the Arapahoes, Wyoming--In Chicago Chaplain of the Bridewell, Golden Jubilee--Died at 82--One of the Great Men of This Age--Bishop Miege............33-46
FOUNDATIONS LAID--DAWN OF A NEW DAY.
Indians Removed to New Territory of Oklahoma--Right Rev. John Baptist Miege, S.J., 1851--A New Order Ensues--The Kansas-Nebraska Bill--Catholic Settlers--Father De la Croix, First Secular Priest--Father Heimann--First Subject of Bishop Miege--Benedictines--Carmelites--Sisters of Charity--Father Schacht--Father Fish--Rev. Sebastian Favre--Rev. Anthony Kuhls--Rev. John F. Cunningham--Rev. Francis J. Wattron--Primitive Faith--Primitive Life--A Warm Welcome--The Cabin Homes of Kansas............47-54
MIAMI COUNTY'S FIRST SETTLERS, 1854.
Paola Notes--Paola Incorporated, December 13, 1860--Miami County's First Catholic Settlers, 1854--"The Irish Settlement"--Beginning a Parish, 1858--Bull Creek District--Names of Settlers--Individual Family Records--In Memoriam--Obituary Notes on Some of the First Settlers............55-84
HOLY TRINITY CHURCH, PAOLA.
Pontifical Notes--Episcopal Notes--Sacerdotal Notes--Churches and Pastors of Paola--Reverend Ivo Schacht--Old Stone Church--Returns to the South--His Death--Reverend Sebastian Favre--Reverend Francis J. Wattron--Deed of Church Property--Reverend Anthony Joseph Abel--Reverend Daniel J. Hurley--The New Brick Church--Reverend Aloysius Carius--Reverend Michael J. Gleason--Completion of Church--Reverend James J. O'Connor--His Death and Burial--Reverend James Colton Dies at Paola--Reverend Nicholas Neusius--Episcopal Problems--Expansion--Reverend Thomas Quick--Friend of the Poor--Reverend Thomas E. Madden--Interregnum, Rev. Moses McGuire, Fulton--Reverend Maurice Burk--Reverend Anthony Dornseifer--Reverend Francis Taton--St. Patrick's School--Father Taton's Work at Paola, at Axtell--Chaplain, National Military Home, Kansas............85-127
THE NEW CHURCH OF HOLY TRINITY
Reverend Maurice Burk--Destruction of Church by Fire--Masterful Men to the Rescue--Building Committee's Minutes--Corner Stone Laid--Dedication ceremonies--Donations, Gifts, Contributions--Father Burk Goes to Europe on Vacation--Seven Years'Task Completed--Transferred to Leavenworth--To Kansas City, Kansas--Dean of District--Vicar General of Diocese--Reverend Thomas H. Kinsella, LL.D.--History of "Our Cradle Land"--Chaplain of the Ursuline Academy--The Very Reverend Adolph J. Domann, V.F.--Holy Trinity Church Frescoed--List of Families, 1918 [not in book]-- Altar Society--Young Ladies' Sodality--League of the Sacred Heart--Sewing Society--Free Library--Knights of Columbus............129-160
WEA, MIAMI COUNTY.
The first settler arrived in 1857. Others came in 1859 and following years--Anthony Vohs and William Schwartz, the first Catholics in the township--Father Favre of Lawrence, Father Wattron of Paola, Father Pichler of Eudora visited the settlement from 1862 to 1870--First Church built in 1869--Father Rudolph Meier First Resident Pastor in 1871. He joins the Carmelites at Scipio--Father Pichler comes again from Eudora--Father Able attends Wea from 1874 to 1877--Father Hurley from 1877 to 1881--both from Paola. Rev. John Redeker became the second Resident Pastor of Holy Rosary Church on October 23, 1881. His Record--Rev. Augustine J. Wieners Pastor from Sept. 1887 to Nov. 1879. He built the present Residence in 1892 and a fine brick church in 1895-6--Parochial School established--Rev. Joseph Hohe Pastor from Nov. 1897 to April 1912--Destruction of the Church by lightning April 9th, 1905--Destruction of the new unfinished building by a cyclone on Sept. 14, 1905--Great courage displayed by the Pastor and people--The final victory--Dedication May 29, 1906--The Altar consecrated by Bishop Lillis--Fine imported wood-carved statues, Stations of the Cross, stained glass windows, pews, altars, confessional and all necessary equipment were soon installed--All liabilities liquidated in two years--Holy Rosary Church one of the finest country churches of the Leavenworth Diocese. On April 4, 1912, Father Hohe was succedded by Father Bollweg and he, in turn, by Rev. Henry Freisberg in July, 1915--The new school--Personal Notes--Records of Noble and Beautiful Lives............161-176
Location, Advantages, Foundation--First Catholic Settlers--A Mission of Paola; of Wea--Church of the Immaculate Conception Built--Difficulties, Decay, Restoration--A Flourishing Community--Church Well Furnished--Financially Sound--List of Pastors--Mrs. Ellen McGuirk: a story of human interest............177-186
Osawatomie's History Reviewed from 1855--St. Philip's Church (1891)--A Struggle of Thirty Years--A Difficult Mission--Paola a Faithful Sister--State Hospital for the Insane--New Hope, New Life Leads to new Rectory--The Redemptorist Fathers' Mission--Resident Pastor Appointed, 1918--Reverend Eugene F. Vallely--First Financial Report of New parish--Second Financial Report--Building of New Church and School. In Memoriam............187-196
EDGERTON, JOHNSON COUNTY.
(Bull Creek District.)
One of the Oldest Catholic Settlements in Kansas--Names of the Pioneers--Life on the Prairies--A Beautiful County, Rich Soil, Fine Climate--First Priest, Father Donnelly of the "Town of Kansas," Walked to Bull Creek, 1857--Father Bruner George Walked From Lawrence--The Log Church Dedicated to Saint Columkil by Father McGee, in 1858--Succession of Pastors--Old Stone Church Built in 1866-7-- The Famous Log Cabin of John McCarthy--Sick Calls--The Cemetery--The Town of Edgerton Founded, 1870--The Third or Present Church Built, 1910--Reverend D. J. Fitzpatrick-- Religious Vocations--A Faithful People--A Bright Future--In Memoriam, Thomas Coughlin............197-206
First Foundations in Italy, France, Germany--Louisville, Kentucky and Paola, Kansas--Inducements to Locate in Paola--Early Struggles, Gradual Growth--Remarkable Success--Paola's Chief Institution--Sister Angela's Jubilee............207-222
I. Full Text of Father Hoecken's Diary............223-236
II. List of Indian Families............237-241
Baptismal and Marriage Records From 1846 to 1859............241-244
Search the Kansas State Library Blue Skyways Server to find names recorded in the KSGenWeb Project.
[Miami Co. HomePage]
Kansas State Library
The KSGenWeb logo was designed and copyrighted by Tom and Carolyn Ward for the limited use of the KSGenWeb Project.