Anthony Zurbonsen.

Clerical bead roll of the Diocese of Alton, Ill. online

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place when he was ordered to East
St. Louis with the injunction to as-
sume the organization of St. Patrick's
parish and to build a church. Father
Brennan accomplished both but soon
after severed connection with the dio-
cese whilst Father O'Halloran was ap-
pointed administrator until a new
pastor was assigned to St. Patrick's
in 1864 in the person of F. X. Zabell,
D. D.

Page Twenty-Three


"For we know that if our earthly house
of this habitation is dissolved that we have a
building of God, a h >use not made with
hands, eternal in heaven.'' 2 Cor. 5, 1.

The iirst German CatTiolic parish
established along the entire course of
the Mississippi river was that of the
"Ascension." "Christi Himmelfahrt'.s
Gemeinde" of Quincy. This name was

given it by the small band of Catholic
settlers who as early as 1834 had been
gathered into a congregation by the
occasional visitor. Rev. Father Le-
F e v r e, (subsequently Bishop of
Detroit.) To this struggling young
community which chiefly was com-
posed of German Catholic emigrants,
Rev. August Florent Brickwedde was
appointed by Bishop Rosati of St.
Louis, as first resident pastor. The
name "Ascension parish" was retained
until the present large brick structure
was erected in 1848, and the patronal
name "St. Boniface" became substitu-
ted for the titular "Ascension."

Rev. Augustine Florent Brickwedde
was born June 24, 1805, at Fuerstenau
in the then kingdom of Hannover. His
father was a lawyer of repute who
afterward became a judge at Bersen-
bruck. Our future Quincy priest com-
pleted his classical studies at the Car-
olinum of Osbnabruck and the theo-
logical course at the universities of
Muenster and Bonn. He was made
a sub-deacon September 20, 1828, a
deacon September 19, 1829, and or-

Pnge Twenty-Four

dained to the priesthood in the Cathe-
dral of Hildesheim by Bishop Code-
hard Joseph, September 20, 1830.

In his native city of Fuerstenau the
young priest acted as Vicar until his
departure for America in May, 1837.
At this time it happened that quite a
number of Catholics had determined
on emigrating to Missouri and Illinois,
which had become known for its
healthfulness, plentiful timber, and its
cheap farm lands He was induced to
join some of these emigrating families,
to become their pastor and counsellor
in the new world. God inspired him to
follow them and to aid them in their
spiritual needs and necessities, for far
or near there was no German priest
to be found to minister to the colony
of emigrants from the fatherland.
After along and tedious journey
which lasted more than eight weeks,
the young priest landed in Xew York
on July 4, 1837, and reached Quincy a
few weeks later. The hardships of the
pioneer life may be imagined. The
climate was severe, the way of living
new and accommodations rather prim-
itive. And yet he faced these condi-
tions smilingly. He remained in
Quincy where some of the early Ger-
man settlers had located and at once
set to work to build a small frame
church with additional two rooms for
a residence and another large one to
serve as temporary school. Having
said Mass in private dwellings since
August 15, 1837, Father Brickwedde.
now was happy to say Mass and ad-
minister the Sacraments in a church
building proper, although humble and
lowly in appearance; it measured but
28x18 feet. Solemn Benediction of this
first church of Quincy took place on
Pentecost Sunday, 1838. By this time
his own private personal resources
were well nigh exhausted. Twice he
recrossed the ocean for the purpose of
gathering funds for his parish and
outlying missions of Sugar Creek and
Ft. Madison, la. Not only were his
friends and relatives asked to con-
tribute, nay he solicited even at the
courts of Vienna and Munich, bring-
ing with him not only the much-

needed cash; but beautiful sacred ves-
sels and vestments, yea even an organ,
the gift of his sister.

Of his periodical visits to lowan
settlements in and around Ft. Madi-
son, Father Zaiser says in his Dia-
mond Jubilee edition of St. Joseph's
church of Ft. Madison: "In 1837
Father August Brickwedde, the first
pastor of Quincy, took charge of the
missions in this territory and for sev-
eral years visited Fort Madison, West
Point and Sugar Creek, to give the
few Catholics a chance to perform
their Easter duties. He celebrated
High Mass in Fort Madison at J. H.
Dingman's log cabin in 1839. Great
must have been the joy ancr consola-
tion of the good pioneers. From here
he went to Sugar Creek settlement,
now St. Paul, where he held divine
service in the new log barn of J. H.
Kempker, May 13, 1833. Sugar Creek
deserves the distinction of having
erected the first temple of God in Lee
county and in all the surrounding
region. In 1839 a few Catholic farm-
ers got together, cut down some oi"
the tallest trees in the forest of Sugar
Creek valley and built a log church.
They sent for Father Brickwedde,
who came, celebrated Holy Mass for
them and dedicated the little church
in honor of St. James.

After the building of the present
church, St. Boniface of Quincy,
Father Brickwedde had to encounter
the accursed spirit of dissension
which, rent the parish in twain. The
seeds of discontent had been adroitly
sown ly a discharged teacher and his
obnoxious following. Poisoned shafts
of slander were levelled against the
hard working priest, his priestly char-
acter was attacked and besmirched,
his life even threatened. In the midst
of his trials he had the consolation
of being upheld not only by the testi-
mony of a good conscience, but also
by the support of his own Bishop,
Msgr. Van de Velde, who emphatical-
ly decided in his favor and twice
closed the church and placed the
clerical villifiers under the ban of ex-
communication. Though the Bishop
of Chicago intervened (Quincy since

1844 had come under the jurisdiction
of the Bishop of Chicago) yet peace
would not be restored, and as Quincy
was one of the largest and oldest
Catholic German congregations and
the city was then seriously thought of
for a new episcopal see, the division
of the people and the factionalism in
the parish caused a great deal of ad-
verse comment, it hurt -the city, and
ultimately fustrated the erection of
the new diocese with Quincy as See.
Father Brickwedde resigned and left
sick at heart in March, 1849.

To restore unity and harmony
among the opposing factions, the Pro-
vincial of the Jesuits of St. Louis, was
appealed to by the Bishop of Chicago
"to send a learned and prudent priest
to Quincy." But the Jesuit priest was
but a short time there when opposi-
tion turned also against him. When
this was reported to the Provincial at
St. Louis he became indignant, with-
drew the priest and left the Catholics
of Quincy to themselves. The cholera
at that time decimated the ranks of
the rebels. "When Father Brick-
wedde left Quincy," says Rev. John
Larmer in 'Lives of Early Catholic
Missionaries of the Nineteenth Cen-
tury in Illinois' "he was so disgusted
with the world that he determined to
take to the woods. He went into the
forest where government land was
from 12 cents to $1.25 per acre, about
twenty-five miles from St. Louis. He
selected forty acres for church pur-
poses and school. Xot a living soul
was near the location. When he got
settled he went over to St. Louis,
found three poor German immigrants
on the river bank not knowing where
to go nor what to do. They were
humble, God-fearing Catholics of the
innocent peasant type. He told them
if they would come with him he
would give each forty acres of land
The only condition he imposed was
they were to help the next settlers he
found to build homes and get started.
This was the way Father Brickwedde
settled Columbia in Monroe Co., 111.
from St. Libory whither he was sent
as pastor after leaving Quincy. When
the good old priest related his first

Page Twenty-Five

start in getting settlers, says Father
Larmer, tears came to his eyes. Co-
lumbia soon grew into prominence
and counted within a few years numer-
ous families.

At St. Libory or Mud Creek as it
was then generally known it was his
habit, though now advanced in years,
to drive to and from St. Louis in search
of necessary supplies. In the middle
of November, 1865, as he was on his
way home from St. Louis, he felt un-
well and was compelled to stop at
Belleville, where after two days' of
sickness he died on the 21st of
November of the same year, 1865.

At first funeral service was held in
the Belleville church, attended by the
people and clergy of the neighbor-
hood, all eager to cast their eyes on
the noted victim of Quincy parish
persecution and pray for the repose

of his soul. On the next day the same
was repeated at St. Libory. Father
Bartels sang the Requiem Mass and
Father Baltes, (soon to be the second
Bishop of the Diocese), gave the Ab-
solution. The remains of good Father
Brickwedde were interred at Mud

The defunct, says Father Larmer,
was a man of great height and pos-
sessed a rather homely yet benevo-
lent countenance. As a business man,
and cautious financier, he would be an
example even in these days of careful
calculation. This venerable servant
of God was moreover a man of learn-
ing allied with solid piety. He was
liberal in all his views and practical
in all the affairs of life. He died as
he had lived, a true servant of his
Divine Master. R. I. P.


The subject of this sketch was a
man of great mental caliber and rare
intellectual attainments one who com-

manded attention wherever met or
seen. Tall of stature, robust and vig-
orous, good natured and smiling, such
were the traits in the general makeup
of Rev. Theodore Bruener who on

January 1, 1870 assumed the pastoral
reins of St. M'ary's congregation of
Quincy. The church had just been
built and dedicated to Mary Im-
maculate, the first Holy Mass had
been said therein three weeks previ-
ously and the congregation as such
had not as yet fully emerged out of
that formative stage into a compact
body which is the essential requisite
of any stable, active and healthy or-
ganization. Rev. Bruener seemed to
be the providential man to accomplish
and perfect what so far had been left
incomplete. It was reserved for him to
place St. Mary's on solid basis and to
dictate a policy which, if promptly
carried out, was to establish and in-
sure the congregation's stability and
permanence. He at once set out to
inaugurate and introduce these neces-
sary elements, he organized men and
women, old and young, into societies
and what was most important of all
he started a parochial school. At
what heroic sacrifices and manifold
personal inconveniences this was ac-
complished, he himself tells us in his
inestimable work entitled, "Kirchen-
geschichte Quincy's" in the chapter
exclusively devoted to the interest of

Page Twenty-Six

St. Mary's. To these interesting pages
all may re,fer who would read a detailed
account of the history of St. Mary's.

Father Bruener was eminently a
great organizer; from practical prior
experience he knew the needs and
wants of society, the dangers which
beset it and the means to safeguard it.
To procure the latter he left no stone
unturned, but worked and talked and
preached on all convenient occasions,
in season and out of season. Success
soon crowned his efforts. Some of
the societies which flourish today
after a half century's existence, owe
their beginning to the endeavors ot
St. Mary's first pastor. And who can
gauge the amount of good they have
done since in helping to build up and
strengthen the congregation? Xot
only that, but they were indirectly
the means that parish work preceede-1
on systematic lines of action, they
proved a vast help and great relief to
the oftentimes overburdened priest.

If Father Bruener proved himself a
great organizer, he was still greater
as educator. For this latter profes-
sion he had been especially trained in
Germany, where for a number of years
he had been successfully active as
teacher. His was the rare gift to
communicate and to impart, to model
and to train. Possessed of splendid
talents and natural aptitude for teach-
ing and being generously equipped
with broad and liberal training which
was solid and thorough in all its es-
sentials, Father Bruener soon distin-
guished himself as a noted educator
and pedagogue not only locally at St.
Mary's, where 'under his direction
the parochial school attained prom-
inence and distinction, nay, his emi-
nent qualification in the field of edu-
cation induced in 1873 and again the
following year the Most Rev. Arch-
bishop of Milwaukee to extend a
most urgent invitation to our St.
Mary's pastor to assume the reins of
rectorship of the Normal School of
St. Francis, Wis., known as the "Pio
Nono" College. So insistent were
these repeated calls that Father Brue-
ner finally yielded and accepted the
proposed position, much to the grief

and sorrow of his friends and par-
ishioners of St. Mary's.

In this connection it is of interest
to state that later Rev. Bruener fol-
lowed the example of a predecessor by
joining a religious order, thus his
successor at the "Pio Nono" college
likewise embraced the religious life
when ready to resign his position as
rector of that institution. It was the
Rev. Wm. Neu who came to the Alton
diocese from Wisconsin in exchange
of Rev. Bruener. Assigned to the
parish of Bunker Hill this eminent
churchman performed excellent work
whilst there and gained in marvellous
degree the esteem of Catholic and
Protestant alike. No priest ever en-
joyed such well merited popularity
during the few years stay with us,
than -lid Rev. Wm. Neu at Bunker
Hill. He finally joined the Benedic-
tine Abbey of Atchinson, Kansas, in
September, 1889, and was known from
thenceforth as P. Longin, O. S. B.
He died there a few years ago, sin-
cerely mourned by m any. (See

Father Bruener was undoubtedly
much stimulated in his chosen pro-
fession by the words of Holy Writ:
"They that instruct many unto justice
shall shine as the stars for all etern-

His were four years of incessant
hard work, of planting, pruning and
sowing whilst ooirs, owing to his
labors, are years of reaping.

A worthy counterpart of our sub-
ject, one of striking similarity of
thought and action as well as of phys-
ical appearance, robust and rugged
was the Rev. Fr. Wm. Faerber of St.
Mary's parish, St. Louis, Mo. Whilst
the former distinguished himself as
historian and pedagogue the latter be-
came widely known as popular Cate-
chist in which capacity he published
"Faerber's Catechism," a work known
in all Catholic schools throughout the

Father Bruener's name will forever
continue to live in the grateful hearts
of the good people of St. Mary's.

Born May 27, 1836, he was ordained

Page Twenty-Seven

to the priesthood September 3, 1859,
at Muenster and acted as "Schulvikar"
at Wadersloh from the time of his
ordination till he set out for America,
late in 1867, at the invitation of Bishop
D. Junker of Alton. He was sent
at once to Quincy to become the first
pastor of St. Mary's parish January

This congregation had been organ-
ized and the church built under the
supervision and by the efforts of good
Father Reinhardt, who now by the
advent of Rev. Bruener, re-assumed
his work at St. Boniface, to be sent,
however, shortly after to a different
place. From 1874-1879 our former
pastor remained at the head of the
St. Francis institution from which at
the instance of his diocesan Bishop
he returned to become pastor of St.
Boniface parish of Quincy. Here
Father Bruener again performed good,
lasting parochial work till November

9, 1887. Foremost among his under-
takings ranks during this time the
publication by him of that important
work on the "History of the Catholic
Church in Quincy," a work which re-
ceived unstinted praise even at Rome
from such eminent men as Cardinal
Simeoni, Cardinal Melchers and Msgr.
De Waal. Following a call from
heaven our veteran worker bid fare-
well to his friends and former asso-
ciates of the clergy, and joined the
Franciscan Order at Teutopolis, to
be known from thence forth as P.
Leo. What good he accomplished as
an humble follower of the great Sera-
phic Saint till the hour of his death.
May 15, 1898, and his previous God-
like deeds are chronicled 6n the pages
of the book of life.

He died at San Francisco, Califor-
nia, where he found his last resting
place. R. I. P.


"Then with slow, reverent step

And beating heart,
From out the joyous days
Thou must depart".

Amid the reposefulness and quietude
of rural surroundings lies the small
"God's acre" belonging to the parish
of Lively Grove, in Washington
county. Here on this consecrated plot
of ground we come to a grave, the
tenant of which is, as the modest
headstone announces, Rev. Father
Albert Busch, a priest carried away
by inexorable death in the prime and
vigor of young manhood, for he had
scarcely attained the age of 35 years,
when his record came to a sudden
close. The cradle of our defunct
young priest stood at Xeheim, near
Hoexter in Westfalia, where he was
born February 26, 1844. After com-
pleting the high school studies in his
native town, young Albert Busch
came to America in 1866, entered St.
Francis seminary near Milwaukee
shortly after, and was elevated to the
priesthood by Bishop Henni, January
29, 1868, for the bishopric of Alton.
With great vim and vigor the neo-
presbyter embraced his holy vocation.

Page Twenty-Eight

His first appointment was to St.
Alexis' of Beardstown, March 18,
1868. Here he built a front addition
to the old church, purchased the
present parsonage and lots adjoining
for the sum of $2,100 and erected a
small school house. In 1873 our sub-
ject was assigned to Marine where he
stayed but one year till 1874, when
the Bishop appointed him to Lively
Grove. Here he worked successfully
for five years till March 18, 1879, on
which date he was summoned to his
eternal reward.

In the premature death of Father
Busch the diocese lost a promising
young man, who during the eleven
years of priestly career had worked
enthusiastically for the welfare of
those committed to his sacred charge.
His life though brief was active,
meagre in years but fruitful in service.
Far better to go before God after
few years with full hands than after
many years empty-handed.

May the memory of his good and
noble life prove an inspiration unto
others to imitate. R. I. P.


Consumatum est !

In the "aul lang syne" in days long
ago as early as 1847, St. Mary's
parish of Mt. Sterling had not only a
church but even a resident pastor.
He was Father James Gallagher.
Several priests had succeeded him
after his departure from there in
rapid succession, till Father Byrne
was appointed, who remained at the
head of the parish from 1856-'59, dur-

ing which time he looked after the
spiritual interests of St. Alexis' parish
of Beardstown. From Mt. Sterling
he was appointed to Marshall and
Paris, where he became the successor
of old Father Tom Ryan in 1860-'61.
Little is known of his subsequent
history except that from September,
1870 he had charge for one-half year
of St. Mary's congregation of Ed-
wardsville. R. I. P.


"The links are broken; all is past;
The last farewell when spoken
Is the last".

One of the hardy and rugged old
characters of former pioneer days was
Rev. Michael Carroll, second pastor
of Alton, 1841-1857. He was a native

of County Limerick, Ireland, and was
sent to replace Rev. George A. Ham-
ilton, first pastor of St. Mathew's
church, in 1841 (compare sketch).
When appointed to the Mission of
Alton it embraced Madison and the
surrounding counties. In 1845 he said
first Mass at Collinsville. Father Car-
roll purchased a lot on Third and
Alby streets, Alton, and at once com-
menced the erection of a stone church
which was completed in 1843 and ded-

icated to divine service by Bishop Le
Febre, of Detroit. It bore the patronal
name of St. Mathew, same as its pre-
decessor under Father Hamilton. This
church burned down in 1852. Three
years the Catholics of Alton wor-
shipped in a hall on State street. In
1855 Bishop O'Regan, third Bishop of
Chicago, permitted Father Carroll to
erect another church. He built the
present Cathedral church. Rev. M.
Prendergast was Father Carroll's as-
sistant in 1853.

In a diary kept by Bishop Quarter,
of Chicago, there is repeated mention
made of Father Carroll. He assisted
at old St. Mary's. Later on under
Bishop Van de Velde, he conducted a
conference at Alton. On June 15, 1844,
he went to Joliet to meet Bishop
Quarter. On the 17th the party com-
prised of the Bishop, Fathers St. Pa-
lais, De Pontavic and Carroll set out
in a carriage for Ottawa. The jour-
ney was full of hardships as the roads
were bad, and twice the Bishop and
priests had to apply rails to lift the
carriage from the quagmires in the
sloughs through which they were
compelled to pass. They arrived at
Ottawa the following day.

The first stone church which Father
Carroll erected in 1855 is still the
handsome Cathedral of the Alton dio-
cese today. True, generous sums of
money have been expended from time
to time for repairs and embellish-
ments. Its ultimate completion was
reserved for Bishop Juncker. The
Cathedral was solemnly consecrated

Page Tieenly-Nine

by Archbishop Kenrick, of St. Louis,
May 15, 1859. Bishops Luers, of Fort
Wayne, Duggan, of Chicago, and
Whelan, of Nashville, being present.

The construction of this substantial
church, truly magnificent for the time
of its erection, proclaims to coming
generations the zeal and noble ambi-
tion manifested by this sturdy pioneer
priest in the cause of religion.

In 1857, when Bishop Juncker was
about to take possession of the new
.see of Alton, Father Carroll returned
to his Bishop in Chicago. He was
sent to Elgin, where he lived and died
a few years afterward. His remains
were buried in the old St. Mary's
church in that city.

Father Michael Carroll was a man
of tall stature and iron frame, pos-
sessing a commanding appearance.
When building the present Cathedral
church, he is known to have per-

formed hard manual labor like a com-
mon workman. After Mass he would
slip into his overalls and begin mix-
ing mortar or wheeling building stone
to the masons.

Few of the towns now in Madison,
Jersey and Montgomery counties are
there which in their incipiency did
not enjoy the priestly visits of Father
Carroll, and what he gathered in his
missionary wanderings says Father
Larmer was put in to build the Ca-
thedral of Alton. When Father Car-
roll left Alton in 1857, he made a trip
to Ireland with Rev. Patrick O'Brien,
of St. Louis, and on his return was
appointed to Lake Forest, near Wau-
kegan, and shortly after to Elgin.
Whilst visiting a neighboring priest
who was sick, a night call came from
a distance. The priest could not go,
so Father Carroll attended in a storm,
the sick person, caught a malignant
fever and soon thereafter died.


"I have fought a good fight, I have fin-
ished my course, I have kept my faith. For
the rest there is laid up for all a crown of
justice, which the Lord, the just judge, will
render to me at that day." 2 Tim. 4, 6.

Among the large class of Ordinandi
which presented itself for Holy Or-
ders in the Seminary chapel of Mon-

treal a few days before Christmas in
1882, was our subject, Rev. James A.
Cassidy. Born at Canajoharie, in New
York state, in 1854, he finished his
preparatory studies in his native state,
after which he pursued his theological
course with the Sulpician Fathers of
Montreal. Well does the writer of
these^ lines recall the days when
Father Cassidy, together with the late
Father Joseph P'innigan and Father
James Gough (Belleville) was elevated
to the priesthood. A jovial, genial,
good-natured young man was Father
Cassidy when a student of the Semi-
nary, and these traits he retained dur-
ing his subsequent priestly career.
Wherever seen during recess hours,
he was the centre of an animated
gathering. All enjoyed his company
and friendship, and as priest he be-
came equally popular and well liked
by all who came in close contact with
him. Hence his success in founding
and developing St. Patrick's congre-
gation of Alton. Being for a short

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Online LibraryAnthony ZurbonsenClerical bead roll of the Diocese of Alton, Ill. → online text (page 3 of 19)