Cooper County, Missouri
Cooper County Churches
Baptist — Methodist — Presbyterian — Christian — German Evangelical - Lutheran— Episcopal— Catholic.
Churches have ever been established coincident with settlement, and the pioneer considered his church of primary importance. In that early day, "A church in every grove that spread A living roof above their heads," formed their only place of worship and to them, "No temple built with hands could vie
In glory with its majesty." Thus in nature's magnificent' cathedrals, and with hearts in tune with the simplicity of the Gospel, the early settlers worshipped their Creator, and felt the quickening power of duty done. They lived humble and devout lives and consistently practiced the precepts, and tenets of their faith.
It was Alexander Pope who said,
"Honor and shame from no condition rise,
Act well your part, there all the honor lies." And it was the pioneer who, .above all else, exemplified this truth. In rude cabins and huts the early preachers proclaimed the same gospel that is preached today in the magnificent palaces, that, under the name of church, decorate the cities of our fair land.
Since it was impossible to obtain information regarding each individual church in the county we thought it best to confine our discussion of churches to those of the early day. Not that a discussion of the more recent churches would not be profitable and interesting to a majority of our leaders, but because it is almost an impossibility to get accurate information on such a subject.
The number of churches in Cooper County has increased with amazing rapidity during the past few years, until today there is probably not a community in the county that is not served by one or more church houses, and there is not a family in Cooper County who cannot, if they so desire, worship in the church of their choice any Sunday, with but little effort.
The Baptists were probably the first to become active in Cooper County.
Concord Church was organized May 10, 1817 by Elders Edward Turner, William Thorp, and David McLain. The following were the first fourteen members : Luke Williams, Polly Williams, William Savage, Mary Savage, Delaney Bolen, Judith Williams, Absalom Huff, Susanna Savage, Joseph Baze, Lydia Turner, Charles Williams, Patsey Bolen, Sally Baze and Elizabeth Williams.
Concord Church was located in the settlement south of Boonville and was called Concord Association in 1823. Elder Luke Williams was pastor for six yeai'N beginning in June, 1817. After his death which occurred at the end of his pastorate, Elder Kemp Scott was chosen pastor. The.church had a membership of about 45. Dec. 26, 1S46, Concord church united with a neighboring church known as "The Vine" which strengthened materially the old church. The charter members of this church were Luke Williams, Polly Williams, William Savage, Mary Savage, Delaney Bolen, Judith Williams, Absalom Huff, Susanna Savage, Joseph Baze, Lydia Turner, Charles Williams, Patsey Bolen, Sally Baze and Elizabeth Williams.
Mount Nebo Church is located about one mile north of the present site of Bunceton and it was organized in 1820. An earjy list of members contains 63 names. Rev. A. P. Williams was the first pastor. The first church building was erected in 1838. The present building was erected in 1856. Earliest members were, Lydia Corum, Jordan O'Bryan, Abraham and Nancy Woolery.
Big Lick Church was a constituent of the Concord Association and was organized Aug. 24, 1822, under an arbor, one mile north of where the present church now stands. John B. Longan and Jacob Chism composed the council. There were sixteen in the original membership. John B. Longan (822-845). Tyre C. Harris (1815-1851) were followed as pastors by Robert H. Harris, D. G. Tutt, J. B. Box, J. I). Murphy and J. S. Palmer. In 1847, the membership was 350.
Pisgah Baptist Church was organized at a meeting held at the residence of Lewis Shelton on June 19, 1819, with the following charter members: The Rev. William Jennings, Rev. Jacob Chism, Priscilla Chism, David Jones, Tabitha Jones, James Maxey, William Howard, Leven Savage, Pollie Savage, Joseph McClure, Elizabeth McClure, John Bivian, Mary Bivian, Rhoda Stephens, Isabella Pontan, Sarah Woods, the Rev. John B. Longan, John Apperson, Sela Apperson, Jesse Martin, Mary Martin and Pollie Longan. The first meeting house was erected not long after the congregation had effected an organization and was situated at a point a half mile east of the present edifice. This somewhat, primitive church building was in time supplanted by a brick building, which in 1871 gave way to the much larger frame building which has since then supplied the needs of the congregation. Mrs. Jane York, who died on March 15, 1919, joined this church in 1849 and at the time of her death was the oldest continuous member of the church, her connection with the same having covered the long span of 70 years.
Providence Baptist Church was organized in Nov., 1879, at Prairie Home by Rev. B. T. Taylor. The church building was erected in 1881 at a cost of $1,000 by Rev. J. B. Box, the first pastor. Charter members were Miss E., Miss R. and Miss J. McLane, A. Slaughter, Mrs. L. W. Slaughter, Mrs. M. Simmons, W. E. Watt, Mrs. L. F. Watt, William Simmons, Mrs. Lizzie Simmons, Mrs. Saline Smith, A. J. Hornbeck, Jeremiah Hornbeck, Mrs. E. Hornbeck, Mrs. Josie, Miss Sallie, Miss Nevada, Miss Fannie, Miss Minerva, Miss Nannie, Miss Henrietta and C. C. Don Carlos, Miss M. J. and Mrs. Mary Adair, Mrs. Mary, Miss Laura, Miss Lillie and Miss Mattie Taylor, Thomas F. and Mrs. Sallie B. Hall, Gabriel, Miss Sarah Stemmons, Miss Sudie and Miss Nannie Stemmons, George W., Mrs. Mary and Clara Carey, Mrs. Melinda Dungan, Miss Jennie and Amanda Maxwell and Bettie Hudson.
First Baptist Church, Boonville, was organized Dec. 30, 1843, by Rev. A. M. Lewis and A. B. Hardy. A brick building was erected in the summer of 1847. Some of the eai'ly pastors were Tyra C. Harris, Robert Harris, John W. Mitchell, Spencer H. Olmstead, X. X. Buckner, M. M. Paderford, Charles Whitting, J. L. Blitch. Original members were, Reuben E. McDaniel, Alfred Simmons, David Lilly, Lawrence B. Lewis, Jordan O'Bryan, Elizabeth Dow, Sarah Gates, Maria Elliott, Eliza Ann Hickman, Susan D. Conner, Delia McDaniel, Elizabeth N. Richardson, Jane E. Richardson and Francis B. Major. The present pastor is C. Russell Sorrell.
First Baptist Church, Otterville, was organized in 1866, by J. W. Williams and Brother Parish. The church building was bought in 1874 from the Cumberland Presbyterians for $360. Some of the early pastors of this church were William Pastors, John K. Godby, T. V. Greer, W. N. Phillips, E. F. Shelton. Original members were George I. Key, James Shackelford, Samuel Swearingen, William H. Bowdin, Martha L. Key, Sarah Willard, Catherine L. Key, Angeline Cook, Mary C. Golktday, Josephine Butler, Mahala Price, Jane Trimble, Margaret A. Shackelford, Temperance E. Swearingen, Mary A. Bowdin, Sophia Cook and Sarah Ellixon.
Mt. Herman Church is located in Clark's Fork township. It was organized Jan. 3, 1868, by Jehe Robinson who was its first pastor. The church building was erected in 1879 at a cost of $1,800. Charter members were Mrs. Margaret Reid, Sarah Cartner, Lucy Brown, Margaret Cartner.
Pilot Grove Baptist Church was organized in 1876 by Rev. N. T. Allison. A frame church building costing $1,000 was built in the same year. Original members, Rev. N. T. Allison and wife, J. R. Jeffress, A. N. Spencer, J. Tomlinson, B. F. Chamberlain and wife, L. L. Chamberlain and wife, Miss Rebecca Massie, Miss Millie White and Mrs. Sarah Kaley.
Second Baptist Church, Colored, is located on Morgan Street, Boonville. It was organized in 1865 by Rev. W. P. Brooks. A building was erected in 1870 at a cost of SI, 600. There were 216 members in 1883. Original members were: Richard Taylor and wife, William Jackson and wife, Dilcey Thomas, Rebecca Sharp, Hannah Alexander, Washington W'hittleton, Minerva Smith, Jane Smith, Duke Diggs and wife, G. Fowler and wife, Jane Douglass, Ellen Woods, Abbey Smith, Green Smith, Cynthia Nelson, P. Watkins, P. Wilson.
Sixth Baptist Church, Colored, is located in Boonville and was organized in 1874 by Rev. S. Bryan. A building was erected in 1S76 at a cost of $1,000. This church had a membership of one hundred in 1883. Original members were: Green Wilson, William Jackson, David Watson, Paul Donaldson, Smith Barnes, Rebecca Sharp, Martha Tibbs, Clacy Waller, Esther Rollins, Clara Johnson, Dilcey Thomas, Sarah Jackson, Arrena Watson.
The Methodist Episcopal Church, South.—The first religious service ever held in Eoonville of which we have any record was held in a private house by Reb. John Scripps, a pioneer preacher in 1817. A church was organized by Rev. Justinian Williams who was a brother of Marcus Williams, the first mayor of Eoonville and who was a great uncle of the late Judge W. M.. Williams. The charter members were Justinian Williams and wife, Frederick Koux and wife, and Allen and Louisa Porter. From 1818 to 1834 the church was a part of the Lamine circuit, but in 1844, it was called the Boonville circuit. In 1840 it was made a station and was the first station outside of St. Louis made in the state. The first church building was begun in 1832, and dedicated by Bishop Soul in 1838. The second building was erected in 1880 during the last year of the four years pastorate of C. H. Briggs, and was dedicated by C. C. Wood. A modern church edifice was erected in 1917, at a cost of $40,000, and is known as the Nelson Memorial Church. Rev. O. E. Vivian is the present pastor.
The Bell Air Methodist Church, South, was organized in 1850. James Bell and wife, Thornton Bell and wife, and Jacob G. Shutler and wife, were among the oldest members. The building was erected in 1870, and was dedicated by D. K. McAnally.
Prairie Home Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1881, by Rev. Vandiver. The church building was dedicated and organized in 1881 by Rev. Phillip. The original members were Sarah Tompkins and Eleanor Huff.
Pilot Grove M. E. Church, South, was organized in 1826. Samuel Roe was one of the original members of this church. A building was erected in 1850 and rebuilt in 1879.
Methodist Episcopal Church, South, Bunceton, was organized in April, 1879, by Rev. C. H. Briggs, who was then stationed at Boonville. A church building was erected in 1880 on a plot of ground contributed by Dr. H. C. Gibson, of Boonville. The original members were: Mrs. Marie Stephens, Capt. S. P. Tevis, George Dorsey, James Moon, Mrs. Jane Moon, George Dameron, Mrs. Lucy Dameron, O. F. Arnold and Mrs. M. E. Arnold.
The German Methodist Church, Boonville, was organized in 1S50. A brick church building was erected in 1852 at a cost of $1,200. Some of the early pastors were A. Klippel, Jacob Feisel, John Hausn, H. Lahrman, William Schreck. The original members were as follows: H. Gaus, Helena Gaus, J. H. Reckmeyer, Emilie Reekmeyer, Peter Birkenbeil, Eva M. Birkcnbeil, Henry Muhlenbrnck, Mina Muhlenbruck, John Otten, Johanna Otten, H. Blum, Theresa Blum, Carl Vollmer, Henrietta Kuhl, Maria Hausman.
Boonville Presbyterian Church was organized April 28, 1821, by Rev. Edward Hollister with 23 members. The church was in the beginning known as the Franklin Church due to the fact that the parent church was located in Franklin prior to its being washed away.' It continued to be called "Franklin" until 1830. Some of the early ministers of this church were Rev. Pomeroy, W. P. Cochran, Hiram Chamberlain. A building was erected in 1841 at a cost of $4.500 on the site of the present building. A second building was erected in 1871-72 at a cost of $12,618.65. A third, building was erected in 1904 at a cost of $40,000. The present pastor is Rev. J. E. Green.
New Lebanon Cumberland Presbyterian Church, possibly the oldest Cumberland church in Cooper County was organized in 1820 by Rev. Finis Ewing. It got its name from the fact that a majority of its members came from Lebanon Church, in Logan County, Kentucky. Robert Kirkpatrick, Alexander Sloan, John Miller, Thomas Ruby were the first elders of the church. A log church was built in 1S21. A brick house was put up in 1860. Rev. R. D. Morrow, in 1824, organized a school in this neighborhood for young preachers which was largely attended. The names of the constituent members were Robert Kirkpatrick and wife, Thomas Ruby and wife, Alexander Sloan and wife, John Wear and wife, James Wear and wife, Robert Allison and wife, John Miller and wife, and Mr. Stone anJ wife.
Mount Vernon Cumberland Pi er-byteriart Church is located about one mile southwest of Pilot Grove, and was organized in April, 1833. Some of the early preachers were Samuel C. Davidson, Archibald McCorkie, William Kavanaugh and Finis Ewing. Original members were Wiliiam Houx, John Miller. James Deckard. John IIoux, Sr., Frederick Houx, Gideon B. Miller, Benjamin Weedin, Daniel Weedin, Jacob Houx, William Miller, Charlotte Houx, Anne McCuteheon, Harriet L. McCutchcon, Christina Deckard, Ellen B. Crawford, Regina Houx, Mary Miller, Sr., Mary Miller, Jr., Catherine Weedin, Mary Weedin, Elizabeth and Rachel Weedin, Ann Rennison, Elizabeth H. C. Berry, Margaret Houx.
Highland Cumberland and Presbyterian Church was organized Feb. 20, 1867, by Rev. A. W. Thompson. A building was erected in 1870 at a cost of $1,600. The original members were John Fluke, John Knikshire, Nancy R. Durnil, Louisa Fluke, Win. E. Clayton, Andrew J. Robcrson, Margaret Knikshire, Elizabeth Edwards, Mary.L. Duncan, Isaac Henry, Frederick Fluke, James D. McFall, James Bankston, Jane Tucker, George Fluke, Frank Guthrie, Dow Vaughan, Sallie Messicks, Julia Fluke, Lavina Clayton, Win. E. Clayton, Jr., Elizabeth Duncan, Patsey Henry.
New Salem Cumberland Presbyterian Church is located in Prairie Home township and was organized in 1821 by Rev. Robert Morrow at the residence of Alexander Johnston. A log house was erected in 1828 which was replaced by a brick building in 1853, which was again replaced by a more commodious building in 1877. Early preachers were Rev. Finis Ewing, and Robert W. Morrow, Daniel Weedin, Samuel Kind, Thomas Ish, and John E. Norris. The original members were Alexander Johnston, Joshua Lewis, Mrs. Mary (wife of Alex. Johnston), Mrs. Mary (wife of James Johnston), Robert Johnson and Margaret Johnson (mother of Alexander and Robert Johnston.)
Presbyterian Church (Union) Runceton, was organized 1S60 by Rev. W. G. Bell, of Boonville. The constituent members were Mrs. Mary Phillips, Dr. E. Chilton and wife, John J. Hoge and wife, Isaac Hewitt and wife, Miss M. Hewitt, James Hewitt and Mrs. E. Russell.
New Zion, Cumberland Presbyterian Church, is located in Moniteau township and was organized in 1871 by W. W. Branin, its first pastor. In 1883 it had a membership of 100. The names of the original members were: Martha J. Miller, Catherine Lawson, Nancy Holloway, Harriett J. Hollaway, Joseph Pierce, Margaret A. Thompson, L. C. McDaniel, Henry Bowers, P. P. Lawson. Caroline R. Bowers, Thomas L. Pierce, Susan J. Williams.
Lone Elm Churcn, was organized in 1842. It was the first Christian Church organized soutn of the Missouri River. The first ministers of this congregation were Nelson Davis and Allen Wright, and the original members were George W. Baker and wife, Peter and Elizabeth Poindexter, Rice and Elizabeth Daniel, B. R. and Lucy 'Waller and Mary A. Poindexter.
Lamine Church, was organized in 1843 but was discontinued after a few years. It was recognized in 1865 by Elder P. Donan. with the following white membership: Samuel R. Collins, Sarah L. Collins, Wm. B. Collins, J. P. Collins, Marietta M. Collins, Drusilla E. Thomas, Susan Biddie,. Melinda E. Kincaid, Mary F. Tyler, Catherine Wing, Freeman Wing, Julia A. Turley, Ellen Pope, Josephine Wall, J. P. Wall, Moses Napier, Mary J. Mello, Nancy Reed, Elizabeth Courtney, George W. Kincaid, Francis M. Kincaid, A. L. Kincaid, J. B. Baker, Martha J. Baker, Thco. Turley, Jas. O'Howcll, Thos. Mello, Thos. Staples, C. F. Younger, F. Harris, Lucy C. Hieucleher, Pamelia Williams. Eighteen colored person were included in the membership of this church in the beginning, but soon after organizing, they withdrew and built a church of their own.
Walnut Grove, was organized by Elder 0. P. Davis, on the first Sunday in Dec., 1862. The following were the charter members of the church : Lewis D. Reavis, Henry York, Eli P. Adams, Sarah J. Adams, Matilda 'Cary, Samuel R. Davis, 0. F. Davis, Eliza J. Hawkins, Martha A. Davis, Mary F. Logan, Margaret A. Davis, Mary York, Caroline York, Isabelle Clawson, Sarah Parmer and James Eldredge. Early in its history the church numbered over 150 members. The original church building was replaced by a commodious, modern church building in 1914. This building was completely destroyed by a cyclone in the summer of 1917. Immediately thereafter the congregation met and determined to replace the building that had been destroyed by an even better edifice, which was accordingly done.
Boonville Christian Church, was organized by C. Shouse, Dec. 25, 1887, with about 20 charter members, six of whom are still living, viz., Mrs. Frank Swap, Boonville, Mo. ; Mrs. W. R. Baker, Montana ; Mrs. Albert Elliott, Chillicothe, Mo. ; Miss Lizzie Bacon, Kansas City, Mo. ; Mrs. P. L. Starke, St. Louis, Mo. ; Miss Lottye Crews, Boonville, Mo.
The money for the erection of the church building was raised by the faithful and persistent efforts of J. I. Quigley. It was dedicated by J. H. Garrison, of St. Louis, in 1889. The Rev. W. W. Gibbony is the present minister.
Boonville Evangelical Church, was organized in 1853. Rev. John Wettle was the first pastor. The first building was erected in 1854 due mainly to the energy and labor of George Vollrath, one of the early members. A school building was erected in 1857 and a parsonage in 1879. The school was discontinued in later years. The present building was erected in 1887 and dedicated by Rev. C. A. Richter, of Jefferson City, Missouri. Rev. R. M. Hinze served as pastor of this church from 1907-1917. During his pastorate the church was refurnished and redecorated in 1908. In 1915 the church was enlarged by the addition of several Sunday school rooms. A pipe organ -was presented by Mrs. Doris Gmelich, which was installed at the time of the addition. Early pastors were C. L. Greimer, J. Lange, E. Schneider and L. Kohhnan. Original members were George Volbrath, J. H. Boiler, William Haas, St. Weber, Paul Stegner, Philip Back, William Gemmer, Peter Back, Jacob Thauer, J. E. Hoflander, David Rau, Sophia flain, Frederica Reinhart, Erk. Hirlinger, Jacob Neef, George Goller, L. Holzmueller, Adam Sandrock, Fred. Metz, J. Mittameyer, Philip Stahl, J. F. Fickel, J. Lotz.
St. Peter's Evangelical Church at Pleasant Grove was the first church organized by the German speaking people of Cooper County and w_.s organized in 1849 under the ministry of the Reverend Kewing, who for some time remained as pastor, being -succeeded in turn by the following pastors: The Reverends Rauchenbush, Hoffmeister, Lange, Streit, Yon Teobel, Delhvo, Kraft, Woelfle, Mohr, Leutwein, Klingeberger, Alber, Egger, Rasche, Jennrich, Lehmann, Bredehoeft, Leibner and Beissenherz, the latter of whom was installed as pastor in the fall of 1917 and is now serving the congregation.
The first meeting house erected by the congregation of St. Peter's was a little log church building, which served the needs of the pioneer congregation until a more commodious edifice could be built. The present building was erected in 1877. The charter member of St. Peter's Evangelical church were the following: Adam and Jacob Schilb, Nicholas Blank, George Knorp, Fred Stock, J. A. Spieler, J. G. Spieler, William Baker, F. Schenck, T. Miller, E. Kirschman, Jacob Schilb, Jr., Henry Meyer, H. J. Meyer, A. Kaempfer and William Hobrecht, with their respective families.
May 20, 1918, the congregation at its semi-annual business meeting voted to discontinue the use of the German language entirely. So time brings its changes, always to remind us that nothing is permanent.
Pleasant Grove church also believes in its Sunday School and for many years has taught the Bible to both old and young. The following have been superintendents in their time : David Schilb, J. E. Derendinger, K. M. Seifert, John J. Blank, F. N. Blank, and IT. Spieler, the present incumbent.
St. Peters Church has lately been re-roofed, repainted, and a few years ago a first class piano was bought and in the spring of 1919 the church was re-decorated on the inside. Several new members joined again recently, all of which goes to prove that the St. Peters congregation is still a very live one.
Billingsville Evangelical Church. The first, meeting of the originators of this church was held in 1855 at the home of J. E. Hollander. Those taking part were as follows: John E. Hofiander and wife, two sons, Joseph and Paul and two daughters, Mary and Barbara; John Peter Stegner and wife, one son, August, and two daughters, Mary and Christina; and John Paul Stegner and wife. Mrs. Hofiander led in prayer and read the scriptures at this service while John Peter Stegner led the singing.
These meetings were held regularly on each Sunday until the Civil War. Sunday services were resumed in 1866 and were held in the Oak Grov School building and were led twice a month by Father Greiner, who was at that time pastor of the Evangelical congregation of Boonville.
Frederick T. Kemper, founder of Kemper Military Academy conducted each Sunday, Sunday School services in which all the young people of the community took part. A building was erected at Billingsville in 1879 at a cost of $1,100. A parsonage building was built in 1895 and W. F. Herman was installed as the first legal pastor in 1896. The present beautiful building was erected in 1916 at a cost of over $7,000 under the leadership of E. W. Berlekamp.
Lutheran Emanuel Church, is located in Prairie Home township. It was organized in 1855 by Rev. August Lange. The church building was erected the same year. Original membership, Rev. August Lange, Henry Meyer, Frederick Stock, Jacob Edes, G. Knorp, Henry Meyer, John Kempfer, Dietrich Molan, John Snauch, Christine Hecherman and Ludwig Mentz.
The German Evangelical Lutheran Church, located in Clarks Fork was erected in 1860. Its first pastor was Rev. Henry Jorngel. A building was erected in 1867 at a c'ost of 82,500, on a three acre plot of ground, by Fred Frieke. Original members, Peter Muntzel, Albert Muntzel, Daniel Muntzel, John King, Fred Frieke, John A. Schmidt, Nicholas Schmidt, Leonard Schmidt, David Rauh, William Kahle, Henry Lankop, Ferdinand Lankop, William Lankop, Christian Brandis, Sr., Lewis Lebbing, Marimus Longers, Henry Kaune, Sophia Fredmeyer, Christian Fredmeyer, Henry Fredmeyer, Ferdinand Ohlendoff, Peter Norenberg, James Martinson, Jacob King, Otto Smolfield, Berhard Vieth, Charles Brandis, Peter Wehmeier.
Christ's Episcopal Church, was piobably organized in 1835 and a first church building was erected in 1844 under the leadership of Rev. Almond David Corbyn, rector. It is thought that the Rev. F. F. Peak preceded him and was probably the first Episcopal pioneer preacher in Boonville. Among tlie early members were Dr. E. E. Buckner and wife, Richard Thompson and wife, Mrs. Tompkins and C. B. Powell and wife.
St. Peter's and Paul's Parish, Boonville.—Before 1850 Boonville was visited by Fr. Helias S. J. of Taos, and from Jefferson City. Rev. George Tuerk's name appears on the baptismal register from Nov. 1, 1850 to Oct. 11, 1851. Rev. U. Joseph Meister attended Boonville from Oct. 27. 1S57 to July 3, 1856. He attended quite a number of places: Pilot Grove, Moniteau (Cedron) Brunswick, St. Andrews (Tinton), Glasgow, Fayette, Franklin, Round-Hill, Saline County, Chariton County, Pisgah, Boonsborough. Father Meister purchased the present church site July 22, 1S56. Rev. B. Hillner took charge and may be considered the first priest permanently located at Boonville. He remained until April 18, 1869. He built a brick church and erected a small school building. He also visited Cedron, Glasgow, Cambridge and Brunswick.
Rev. Henry Meurs was in charge from May 16, 18G9 to April 24, 1875. He built a two story rectory.
Rev. John A. Hoffman was in charge from May 15, 1875, to January 7, 1885. He built a transent, sanctuary and sacristies as an addition to the church at an expense of $5,000. He took a great interest in the Catholic school and made the one story building of Fr. Hillner two stories, the upper story containing the living rooms of the sisters, and the first story having two school rooms. Rev. L. M. Porta had charge from Jan., 1885, to Aug. 17. 1805.
Rev. Theodore Kussman took charge Aug. 17, 1885, and still remains (1917). He was born in Germany, Jan. 19, 1843, and came with his parents to St. Louis in the fall of 1847. There he attended the Holy Trinity parochial school. He attended the Christian Brothers School 7th and Cherry and St. Francis Seminary near Milwaukee. After studying philosophy and theology at Cape Girardeau, he was ordained there by Archbishop Kenrick, May 27, 1866. Two years after his appointment to Boonville, he was made irremovable rector and has been in charge now over thirty-one years. Various improvements were made during his stay, the most important being the building of the new church, and putting an addition to the rectory, making it double the previous size. March 2, 1890, the old church caught fire and was damaged $2,125. The old church was torn down. A new part with tower and side turrets, was erected and connected with Fr. Hoffmans transent, sanctuary and sacristies, at the expense of $11,200.
May 27, 1916, Rev. Theodore Kussman celebrated his golden jubilee in the presence of a large gathering. Rt. Rev. Thomas F. Lillis and thirty priests honored the occasion with their presence. For the last seven years the parish school has been free. Since Sept. 1, 1913, Eoonville has had as assistant priests Revs. P. J. Downey, F. S. MacCardle, F. J. Donovan, and P. J. Kennedy.
The societies are B. V. M. Sodality, St. Anne's Society, St. V. St. Paul's Society, Extension Society, Propagation of the Faith, and Knights of Columbus, with a membership of 91.
The Benedictine Sisters have been here eleven years, conducting a private hospital for Dr. C. H. Van Ravensway.
The parish numbers about 500 souls, and has 65 pupils in the Parochial school.
St. Joseph Church at Pilot Grove, was established by Rev. Father Pius Conrad, O. S. B., Jan. 1, 1895. In 1893 the cornerstone of St. Joseph Church was laid and Sept. 16, 1S94, the church was dedicated by Rt. Rev. Abbot Frowin Conrad, O. S. B. of Conception Abbey, Mo., Rev. Father John Conrad, O. S. B. Pastor of Clear Creek built St. Joseph Church and held service in it until Rev. Fr. Pius came. From Jan. 1, 1895, Pilot Grove had regular sen-ices every Sunday and Holy day. When the parish was organized, 35 families belonged to it, the present number of families is 90. In 1898, the' priest house, costing $2,500, was built. As soon as Clear Creek had a resident priest. Rev. Fr. Pius held service every Sunday in Pilot Grove and Martinsville. He worked hard for God's honor. In 1907 the church was enlarged by adding to the old church a new sanctuary, raising the ceiling about six feet and erecting new altars at the cost of $5,650.00. Jan. 1, 1909, Rev. Fr. Pius took charge of Martinsville but lived at Pilot Grove until Sept., 1911, when he moved into the new residence at Martinsville. St. Joseph cemetery consists of two acres and is situated one mile south of the church.
Jan. 1, 1909, Rev. Father Philip Ruggle, 0. S. B. took charge of St. Joseph Parish and stayed here until Sept. 1, 1915. From Sept. 1, 1915, to Dec. 4, Rev. Father Berthold Jaggle 0. S. B. was the parrish priest. December 4, 1915, Rev. Father Hildebrand Roesler, 0. S. B. took charge. In 1900 the convent and school was built at the cost of $4,000.00. The parochial school started in 1902 with 50 children. Benedictine Sisters were the teachers. In 1917 a new school building was erected at a cost of $14,000. The attendance is 90-100. Benedictine Sisters from Shool Creek, Ark., are the teachers.
St. Martin's Church.—On May 16, 1870, a little log structure, 18x24 feet, called St. Martin Chapel was erected and a cemetery laid out on one and one-half acres of land donated by Daniel Martin. This location was afterwards known as Martinsville.
The original families of St. Martin Church were the following, viz, Daniel Martin, John Martin, Leonard Martin, John Martin, Jr., Jacob Gross, Nic. Schank, Anton Wiemholt, Philip Wiedel, Mr. Bonan, George Bergerhaus, J. Carvel.
Martinsville was a mission of Boonville, from 1870-1 S77. It was in charge of Reverend Mums, 1870-1874; Reverend Hoffman, 1874-1877. Martinsville was a mission of Clear Creek, 1877-1897. It was the charge of Rev. W. F. Boden, 1877-1880. Under the direction of Father Boden the second St._ Martin's Church, a frame structure, was built. In 1880 this mission was taken care of by Rev. N. Reding; in 18S1 by Reverend Conrad, O. S. B. of Conception Abbey; in 1895 by Rev. Pius Conrad of Conception Abbey. Martinsville was a mission of Pilot Grove, 1897-1908, under the charge of Rev. Pius Conrad O. S. B.
The present and third St. Martin's Church is a solid brick structure, erected on 2.24 acres of land on the Boonville and Sedalia public road, about one-fourth mile north of the M. K. T. railroad station known as Chouteau Springs. The corner stone was laid in 1908 by Rev. Leo, O. S. B. It was dedicated by Rt. Reverend Ignatius of Subiaco, Ark. January 1, 1909. Reverend Pius O. S. B. became pastor of St. Martin's Parish. On Aug. 31, 1911, Father Pius moved to St. Martin's Rectory. On Jan. 13, 1915, Father Pius was succeeded by Rev. J. A. Koehler of the Kansas City, Mo., Diocese.
The St. Martin Parish at present consists of forty progressive and prosperous Catholic families and is in a flourishing condition.
History Of Cooper County Missouri by W.F. Johnson 1919
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