John William Merscher, Reverend Father
Biography

From: "Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois 1892", by Biographical Review Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois; pages 356-357, a reprinted by Stevens Publishing Co., Astoria, Ill., 1971, is sold by the Schuyler County Historical Society, Rushville, Illinois.
  Rev. Father Merscher, the popular and efficient pastor of St. Augustine's Catholic Church, Ashland, Illinois, was born in Clinton county, this State, December 4, 1853. His parents were natives of Hanover, Germany, who came to America in 1845, landing in New Orleans, in January of that year. From there they came to Clinton county, Illinois, where they located on a farm which the Rev. Merscher's father continued to conduct until about 1882, when he removed to Nodaway county, Missouri, where he lived until his death, ten years later, January 14, 1892. It may be truly said of him that he inherited all of the good qualities for which the inhabitants of the Fatherland are noted, being thoroughly industrious, honest, intelligent, and extremely kind-hearted, in consequence of which he was universally esteemed by his associates, who greatly lamented his death. Three years previous to his death, the family were called upon to mourn the loss of the devoted wife and mother, who expired February 2, 1889. Her devout spirit, loving heart, and rare Christian virtues, deeply impressed all who knew her, and she enjoyed the esteem of a wide circle of acquaintances and friends. The only brother of the subject of this sketch, B. Henry Merscher, died six months after his mother's death, August 24, 1889, in the same place, Nodaway, county.
  Our subject, whose christian name is John William, obtained his elementary education in the public schools of Clinton county. He then went to St. Joseph's College, at Teutopolis, Illinois, entering in 1866, and attending four years. After this, he attended St. Francis' Seminary, at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, graduating at that noted institution in 1876. While at this latter center of learning, he enjoyed the tutorage of some of the most distinguished men of the Catholic world, among whom were the late lamented Bishop Flasch, of LaCrosse, and Archbishop Katzer, of Milwaukee.
  Thus fully equipped both by instruction and example, he began his ministerial duties in January 12, 1877, at Olney, Illinois, and conducted the services in three churches in that vicinity, at Olney, Stringtown and Bridgeport, continuing in their charge until February, 1884. He was then transferred to Petersburg, of the same State, and conducted services there and at Ashland, with his residence at the former place. In 1885, these churches were placed in separate jurisdictions, and Father Merscher removed to Ashland, where he has since remained, having taken charge of the church in February, 1884. Here he has everything to encourage him in his work, a beautiful church and an attractive parsonage, of modern architectural design, both of which are handsomely finished and neatly furnished. He has charge of a large and intelligent congregation, numbering some eighty-five or ninety families, among whom he has many sincere friends and well wishers.
  Thus pleasantly situated, and in the steady pursuance of the path of duty as spread out before, him his time is usefully and happily passed, finding in good works a companionship for his otherwise lonely life.




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