CHURCH OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST PARISH

In 1771, the Germans of the upper German Coast built the church of St. John the Baptist, in Edgard, upon the right side of the river, a few miles from the place where the first chapel had been. Fortunately, the records of this church have been preserved, and are in good condition. To that church the author paid more than thirty visits, and there he gathered rich material for his work.  The corner stone of the present church of St. John the Baptist was laid on the 4th of June, 1820, and it was consecrated on the I7th of March, 1822. It took the place of the first St. John the Baptist Church, erected about 1771. The records of the church begin in the year 1772 with the entry of the marriage of Anton Manz (now "Montz"), of the diocese of Strassburg, the son of Jos. M. and Anna Maria Laufer, who married Sibylla Bischof, daughter of Joseph Bischof and Anna Maria Raeser, of St. John.

The Raeser family came to Louisiana in 1721. On account of the dampness of the ground, the dead are buried here in tombs above ground, and some very fine buried here in tombs above ground, and some very fine tombs belonging to the old colonial German families may be seen in this cemetery. About 1864, the portion of this parish on the opposite bank of the Mississippi was organized as the independent parish of St. Peter. The station "Reserve" of the Yazoo & Mississippi Valley Railway, thirty-five miles above New Orleans, is about half a mile from this church. When, in 1769, the first church and cemetery of St. John were planned, there was some trouble to find the necessary ground for them. The Spanish General O'Reilly, hearing that some old bachelor had more land, twelve arpents, than he could attend to ordered him to furnish the necessary ground for both church and cemetery. To compensate him for his loss, the community was commanded to clear for him the same number of arpents on the remaining land of the man, and to give him the same number of new pickets as he had lost with the church land.

This order was signed on the 21st of February, 1770. The original is still to be seen in the court house at Edgard. Situation: The church of St. John the Baptist is immediately behind the levee, St. John the Baptist parish, Louisiana, two miles from St. John station of the Texas & Pacific Railway, thirty-five miles by rail above New Orleans. The post office on the place is called "Edgard." The first parish priest (1772) was Pater Bernhard von Limbach, a German Capuchin, who later was transferred to St. Louis, Missouri.

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