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Washington County, Illinois

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St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church
Dubois, Washington County, Illinois

Article that appeared in :
"This Is Washington County -- 1818 - 1968 -- Illinois Sesquincentennial"
by the Sesquincentennial Committee of the Historical Society of Washington County
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St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church
      St. Charles of Borromeo Roman Catholic Church at DuBois has been visited by tourists from all over the nation because of its unusual beauty. Its twin spires rise 116 feet and dominate the tiny town. the brick structure is 131 feet long, 80 feet wide, and 58 feet high. A combination of Roman and Byzantine architecture, its pictorial windows are art treasures. The present pastor, Rev. Paulin Dobkowski, succeeds the late Msgr. Jos. Ceranski, who served the parish for 64 consecutive years, until his death in 1962 at the age of 88. In fact, Msgr. Ceranski helped build the huge church, working with the carpenters and masons day after day.
      The name of the town, DuBois, is French, but the community is predominantly Polish, with a slow infiltration of German. In fact, the town has two names. On the Illinois road map it is listed as DuBois, But until the Illinois Central Railroad razed its depot here, It was called Bois. the Post Office directory of Post Offices spells DuBois as one word, as do several mapmakers. But the new official highway map of Illinois spells it Du Bois.
      The community, first called Coloma, was formed by a tight group of ten Polish - Catholic families, who fled Europe to escape the Prussian Kulturkamph, and the religious persecution imposed by the German Chancellor Bismark. Even today, the Poles predominate. The names on the rural mail boxes are tongue-twisters. But the younger generation rarely use the mother tongue.
      St. Charles Church towers over the town like some giant. About 200 families in the farm area surrounding it are its mainstay. Currently there are 126 pupils in its school, taught by three sisters of Notre Dame. Various writers, enthusiastic about the church, have labeled it "The Cathedral of the Prairie."

St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church
~ Records ~

By Gloria Dettleff
Contact Gloria by e-mail : Gloria Dettleff
      This church is in the Diocese of Belleville of Southern Illinois and dates from 1868 although officially it started in 1877. All of the church records are available online in digital format at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) Family Search site:
Scroll down to Illinois, Diocese of Belleville, select Washington County and this church. You will have to register if you haven't already.
      Please be aware that the transcription was done in good faith from the digital images. To say that they presented a challenge would be an understatement. The Polish alphabet has letters that are not in the English alphabet. Because of this and the priest's handwriting many of the names were difficult to decipher. A big thank you goes to Cindy W. Rich, PhD, a native of DuBois, now working at the Library of Congress College of Education and Professional Studies in Charleston, Illinois. This transcriber is certain there would be many more errors without her assistance. Spelling variations still abound! Not only were first names altered such as Apolonia becoming Paulina and Adalbert becoming Albert but the last names also were changed. Some changes were quite drastic. Like Szramkowski becoming Sherman and Dziubek becoming Schubert. Whether this was done legally in court or just in the church records is up to the researcher to investigate.
      If any of the deceased died in Missouri he/she may have their death certificate digitized on the Missouri Secretary of State web site:
This is a free searchable site with Pre and Post 1910 sections. The Pre-1910 section does not contain digitized death certificates.
December 1868 - January 1907
1879 - 1928
1877 - 1931
1889 - 1956


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