In Hall Township, facing the rising sun, bounded on the
Southwest by a pasture and on the Northeast by a woodland, stands one
of the most interesting examples of the pioneer Log Churches now in
Dubois County. It is not old, having been built as late as 1874, yet
there is something about its very make up that is food for thought,
and a splendid subject for meditation. The lessons taught by the past
are here brought out to the eye in a manner that impresses them upon
our memories, never to be forgotten. It was built at a time when the
citizens of Dubois County were beginning to recover from the loss by
death and the burden of debt, caused by the Civil War and, at a time
when there was a general revival of religious work through Dubois
County. The fact that this log building, with but four windows and a
door, was built as late as 1874, in this county, is proof that the
people of that community waited not on the manner of doing, but did.
Their religious impulse was strong, and they cared not for the modern
structures of architectural beauty. The floor was made of puncheons.
The altar or pulpit was a single upright piece with a short board
nailed horizontally across it upper end. This held the Holy Bible. The
seats were made of small sized poplar trees split into halves, and
held at the proper height by four sticks driven into the auger holes
made for their reception. The house was covered with clapboards. It
had no ceiling. All these things are here today. The door is open as
if inviting the faithful to return to the days of yore. The birds,
after their day of song on the wing, or in the surrounding forest,
return to the building at night and safely rest upon the timbers under
the roof. These timbers are poplar saplings, and not the sawed timbers
Occassionally a slow, solemn procession winds it weary way along the creek, and across the pasture field. It is the concourse of mourning friends bringing the remains of some member of the congregation to its last resting place. The Baily graveyard was started in 1863, Esquire Wm. H. H. Pinnick, burying the first child there in that year. The record creating the congregation reads as follows -
The Elders were William H. H. Pinnick and John Kesterson: the deacons were Samuel Baily and Dyar D Burton. In addition to the above the following family names appear on the record. Sanders, Parsons, McIver, Curtis, Gullett, Andre, Taber, Nicholson, Williams, Conrad, Hembrey, Chanley, Frentres, Wineinger, Goodman, Campbell, Blue, Zehr, and Johnes. It appears that the Rev. Benjamin T Goodman, who died at Huntingburg December 1873, was the spiritual director at the organization. Later Rev. Thomas A Cox and Rev. Benjamin F Nicholson served as ministers.
This log building stands on a hillside, about 3/4 of a mile west of the Bender school house. Nearly all the members of the old congregation have passed away, gone to other churches, moved to other fields of usefulness or scattered to the four winds of heaven.
WILSONS History of Dubois Co Indiana Written 1910
Contributed by Christine Walters
Warwick Examiner and Times, Sat 18 May 1901, transcribed by J.S.
A Remarkable Church - That May Stand a Thousand Years
You could take almost any church in Indianapolis or Detroit - you could take almost any church in New York - and put it down inside of St. Joseph's, the mighty structure which is being built in Jasper, a tiny village in Dubois County, Indiana.
St. Joseph's is a mediaeval church erected in the latter half of the 19th century. It is a part of the daily life of its people, and has grown with their growth for more than thirty years. Tower and turret and thick old wall, it is rich in the memory of sacrifice, beautiful with patient, loving toil.
Father Fidelis Mante began the work in 1868. "My children," he said, "we will built a church that will stand a thousand years. Some of us will never live to see it finished, but we will have done our part if we work well form the beginning."
So the parishioners began hauling stone until the churchyard looked more like a quarry. "Surely, that's stone enough," they said. But Father Mante shook his head and smiled. After the mediaeval manner, he was the architect of this work. Thick and solid they laid the foundation; the great stone pile was gone when they had finished just half the basement walls. Then the farmers began hauling more stone. They kept on hauling stone for twenty years, until their backs were bowed with the weight of it. There is material enough in the walls to build a high fence around a city of 20,000 people. The roof is upborne by massive timbers hewn from the finest hardwood trees of Indians, squared, carved, and exposed to view. From the eaves, which are 67ft above the ground, they soar away up to a gable over 100ft high, which is surrounded by a tower twice as high, where an eight-ton bell calls the children to the church to worship in the house their hands and their fathers' hands have made. Ten miles away the message can be heard upon a favorable breeze. And in all the region around there is scarcely a man or woman or child who does not reverently bow when the Angelus is sounded from its grat bronze throat.
The church is still unfinished, though in such shape that it can be used. There are stained glass windows of considerable cost, and an altar that cost 19,000 dollars, with side altars at 6,000 dollars. Already 80,000 dollars has been spent; between 25,000 dollars and 50,000 dollars must follow before it is finished in 1905.But these figures convey no idea of the real cost of the building. Nor do its dimensions, though it is close upon 200 feet long and ninety feet wide.. What it has cost in human labor at its market rates and in contributed material can never be known.
Father Mante died long ago, as have most of the men who began the church with him. But there are 3,000 in the congregation now. And they just fill the church.
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