Benjamin Whitman.

Nelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the county also portraits and biographies of the governor's since 1790, and of numerous r online

. (page 76 of 192)
Online LibraryBenjamin WhitmanNelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the county also portraits and biographies of the governor's since 1790, and of numerous r → online text (page 76 of 192)
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with the consent of the members of the young
congregation, dedicated it as St. Mary's
Church. He also blessed the graveyard ad-
joining the church, on the present site of St.
Benedict's Academy.

In 1841, Father Levitz was succeeded by
Rev. A. Steinbacher, who, after a short term,
was followed by Rev. R. Kleineidam. Rev.
P. Frederick Broenner, of the Carmelite
Order, was the fourth pastor, succeeded in

1847 by Rev. John Evang Mosctizh. The
latter, in 1848, was succeeded by Rev. Nicolas
Haeres, who in the same year handed over the
pastorate to Rev. N. Steinbacher, S. J., who
built an addition to the church and bought
grounds for a graveyard on West Twenty-
fourth street.

The next pastor was Rev. F. J. Hartmann,
afterward of St. Joseph's Church. The frame
church, though enlarged, was insufficient for
the growing congregation. It was difficult to
decide what action to take, as the members
were generally poor. The clear-sighted pas-
tor perceived that to build on a small scale
would only be providing for a few years. In
consequence, he undertook and successfully ac-
complished a task which, at the beginning,
seemed too burdensome for the small congre-
gation; it was the building of the grand St.
Mary's Church as it now stands on Ninth
street. It was put under roof in 1854, and
dedicated in 1855, and was then the finest
church edifice in Erie. In 1873, some .$7,000
were expended in improving both the interior
and exterior, the former being nicely frescoed
in blue and gold, the columns marbled and
their caps heavily gilded, elegant gas fixtures
introduced, and a new altar, handsome in de-
sign, placed therein. One of the exterior at-
tractions was the addition of an expensive
piece of statuary over the main entrance.
Since then the church has been largely added
to and improved.

Father Hartmann, with the consent of the
Bishop, transferred the charge in 1858 to the
Benedictine Fathers of St. Vincent's Abbey,
who have since retained it. So numerous have
been the fathers of this order who have min-
istered to the spiritual wants of the congre-
gation, that it is impracticable to name them.

The pastors and assistant pastors since 1882
have been as follows :

Pastors — Revs. Amandus Kramer, S. De-
martean, Emilian Wendel, Lambert Kettner,
Paulinus Wenkmann and Cassimer Elsesser,
the present incumbent, who has held the posi-
tion since September 7, 1892.

Assistant Pastors — Revs. Boniface Wint-
ner, Isadore Fuesel, Emeran Singer, Wilfred
Frins, Adolph Robrecht, Cyril Rettger,
Macarius Schmitt, Marinus Ferg, Celestini
Englebrecht and Alto Heer.

The congregation numbers over 3,000 per-



A prosperous Sunday-school and a large
parochial school are supported. The boys of
the parochial school are taught by four Broth-
ers of Mary, and the girls by the Benedictine
Sisters of St. Benedict's Convent.

The first parochial school in connection
with St. Mary's Church was opened by Rev.
Father Steinbacher in 1850, in a small frame
building, long since removed. In 1855, after
the present brick church edifice was com-
pleted. Father Hartmann fitted up the old
wooden church building for school purposes.
In 18U6, largely through the efforts of Rev.
Father Benno, the large three-story brick
building on Tenth street, between German
and Parade, was erected. The average attend-
ance of children is 600.

Connected with the church are the follow-
ing institutions and societies :

St. Mary's Priory, Benedictine Monks, es-
tablished in 1859. Building erected in 1870 ;
added to later.

House of Brothers of Mary.

St. Benedict's Convent, organized June
21, 1856; building completed in 1861.

St. Benedict's Academy, established about
1864, in charge of Benedictine Sisters.

St. Boniface's Society, organized in 1867.

St. George's Society, organized in 1852.

St. Benedict's Societj', organized in 1867.

St. Mary's Commandery, No. 208, R. C.
U., Knights of St. John, organized November,

Men's Rosary Society and Women's Ro-
sary Society, organized in 1857.

Young Ladies' Society, organized in 1858.

Children of Mary.

St. Aloysius' Society for Young Men, or-
ganized June 18, 1894.

St. Mary's Branch, No. 9, C. M. B. A.,
organized December 5, 1879.

St. Mary's Branch, No. 140, C. M. B. A.,
organized February 24, 1895.

Branch No. 11, L. C. M. B. A., organized
March 26, 1890.

St. Benedict's Convent gives a home to
fifty-six sisters of that religious order.

ST. Joseph's r. c. church.
This congregation dates from the year
1855, when a number of Catholic families in
what is now the southern part of the city,
built a small schoolhouse by subscription on
the north side of Eighteenth street, between

Peach and Sassafras, to which they sent their
children for an education. Religious services
were held in this building occasionally, con-
ducted as a rule by priests from St. Mary's
Church. In due time a parish was regularly
organized, which was placed in charge of
Rev. Joseph Stumpe. The first church build-
ing, a frame structure, was built in 1866, on
Twenty-fourth street, south side, between
Peach and Sassafras. Father .Stumpe's suc-
cessors in the pastorate have been Father John

B. Kuehn, Father E. J. Reiter, S. J., Father
Mink, Father J. A. Oberhofer and Father Ber-
nard Kloecker, the present incumbent. The
assistant priests have been Fathers Deckin-
brook, Frank, Hasse, Hartmann and Kloecker.
Two of the pastors of the church have died
while in its service, viz. : Father Reiter, on
May 5, 1873, and Father Oberhofer, on Janu-
ary 16, 1889. Father Kloecker assumed charge
directly after the death of Father Oberhofer.

The corner-stone of the present splendid
church was laid on July 2, 1882, and the
building was dedicated on October 2, 1887,
having cost about $45,000. Its architect was

C. C. Keely, of Brooklyn, N. Y., the same
gentleman who planned vSt. Peter's Cathedral.

St. Joseph's parochial school was started,
as above stated, before the congregation was
regularly organized. A school building ad-
joining the church was built in 1866. After
the new church was finished the old church
structure was taken for school purposes, and
continues to be used as such. The school oc-
cupies seven rooms, and is taught by the Sis-
ters of St. Joseph. It has an average attend-
ance of nearly 400 pupils.

The societies of St. Joseph's Church are:

St. Joseph's Mutual Relief Society, organ-
ized June 11, 1865.

St. Alphonsus' Relief Society, organized
October 18, 1868.

The Rosary Society for Married Women,
organized in 1866.

The Young Ladies' Society.

St. Joseph's Branch, No. 9, C. M. B. A.,
organized February 17, 1879.

Branch No. 96, L. CM. B. A., organized
December 10, 1891.

ST. John's r. c. church.
This congregation was formed late in the
year 1869. The first baptism recorded bears
date January 1, 1870. The first pastor was



Rev. Bernard Mauser, O. S. B. The church
building, on Twenty-sixth street, between
Wallace and Ash, was built in 1869-70, and
dedicated on the 28th of August, 1870. A
parsonage adjoins the church ; also a large
schoolhouse, all built at the same time. The
former was enlarged in 1877. Father Mauser
was succeeded March 19, 1873, by Rev. E. A.
Reiter, S. J. From March 19 to May 4,
1873, this charge and St. Joseph's were to-
gether. The present pastor. Rev. Father M.
J. Decker, assumed the position May 4, 1873,
when the church became an independent
charge, and has ever since sustained that re-

The parochial school of St. John's was
established on Twenty-sixth street in 1870.
A large two-story brick building was erected
south of the church in 1887, in one of the
finest locations in Erie. It is under the care
of the vSisters of St. Joseph.

The church societies are :

St. John's Benevolent Society, organized
October 28, 1870.

Ladies' Rosary Society, organized Sep-
tember, 1873.

Third Order of St. Francis, organized Sep-
tember 11, 1887.

St. John's Branch No. 18, C. M. B. A.,
January 15, 1881.

St. John's Branch No. 123, Ladies' C. M.
B. A., April 14, 1893.

St. Mauiice Commandery, K. of St. J.,
organized in December, 1892.

The church celebrated its silver anniversary
with imposing exercises on Sunday, August
25, 1895.

A new brick and stone church building is
in contemplation.

Rev. Father Deitrich was appointed assist-
ant to Father Decker during the summer of


The English-speaking Catholic people re-
siding in the western part of the city were
formed into a parish, under the name given
above, by Rev. Father J. A. McCabe, in the
summer of 1871. A frame church was erected,
which was dedicated July 16, 1871, by Rt.
Rev. Tobias Mullen. It stands at the corner
of Sixth and Raspberry streets. The pastor's
residence, adjoining the church, was built in

After a service of nearly twenty years,
Father McCabe was succeeded, in January,
1890, by Rev. Wm. F. Dvvyer, the present

The church societies in September, 1895,
were as follows :

The Rosary Society, established May 23,

Portugese Trinity Society, established May
31, 1874.

St. Andrews' Branch No. 25, C. M. B. A.,
established August 20, 1883.

Society of the Sacred Heart, established
August 2, 1892.

St. Andrews' Commandery No. 230,
Knights of St. John, organized in January,

St. Andrews' Mutual Relief Society, or-
ganized in 1874.

Branch No. 128, L. C. M. B. A., organ-
ized August 22, 1893.


This congregation, composed almost en-
tirely of Polish people, was organized in 1883,
and immediately entered upon the erection of
a church building at Wallace and Thirteenth
streets. The corner-stone was laid by Bishop
Mullen October 10, 1884. When the edifice
was parti)' completed, in the winter of 1884-
'85, the building was wrecked by a severe
wind-storm. Not to be discouraged, the con-
gregation raised money for a new structure,
which was finished in the summer of 1885,
and dedicated in September, of that year.
Rev. Father Ignasiak, who still remains the
pastor, reached Erie August 21, 1886, and at
once assumed the leadership of the congrega-
tion, it being his first charge. A frame par-
sonage was erected under his supervision, in

When the church was started it embraced
about eighty lamilies. Within five years it
had increased to more than 300. The origi-
nal church was found too small for their accom-
modation and preparations were made for a
larger building. The old church was moved
in 1894 to an adjoining lot, and a new edifice
started on the original site. Of this, the
foundation walls are now constructed, and it
will be erected by degrees, as the money is
raised for the purpose. The structure will be of
brick, with stone trimmings, having two
towers, each 150 feet high, will cost about



$50,000, and will be one of the handsomest
churches in the city. Its seating capacity
will be 1,200. The corner-stone of the new
church was dedicated by Bishop Mullen on
Sunday afternoon, September 21, 1895.

The pastoral residence was burned on
February 8, 1895, and promptly replaced by
a fine brick building.

St. Stanislaus parochial school started
September 1, 1888, with an attendance of
sixty scholars, and has now an average of more
than 825. Prof. John Nowak became princi-
pal in 1888. He is assisted by three other
teachers, Felician Sisters from Detroit, Mich.

Connected with the church is a hall for
literary entertainments and amusements, which
was built in 1891

The societies of the church are :

The Sacred Heart Benevolent Society, or-
ganized September 22, 1885.

The St. Stanislaus Benevolent Society, or-
ganized in 1889.

The Matki B. Cz. Benevolent Society, or-
ganized in 1898.

The Women's Rosary Society, organized
October, 1886.

The Young Ladies' Society of the Immac-
ulate Conception, organized in 1890.

The Young Men's Society of St. Stanis-
laus Kostka, organized in 1893.

The Society of Women, under the name of
Apostleship of Prayer, organized in February,

The Knights of St. Casimer, organized in
the spring of 1892.

The Moniuszko Dramatic Society, organ-
ized in 1892. This association owns a library
which is free to all. It also has a musical
branch known as the Moniuszko Band. The
congregation have a burial place of their own,
for an account of which see the chapter re-
lating to the Erie cemeteries.

ST. Michael's r. c. church.
October 28, 1888, the corner-stone of St.
Michael's Catholic Church, a fine brick struc-
ture on Seventeenth street, between Cherry
and Poplar, was laid with imposing cere-
monies. The church was dedicated in Sep-
tember, 1885. The first pastor Rev. James
Lachermaier, still serves in that capacity.
The parochial school was first opened Decem-
ber 1, 1885. It occupies pleasant quarters
and is in charge of the Sisters of St. Joseph.

The pastor's residence, the church, and every-
thing connected with the same are attractively
built and well kept up.

The church societies are:

Knights of St. George No. 222, organized
April 6, 1885.

Rosary Society, organized in 1885.

Young Ladies' Sodality, organized in 1885.

St. Michael's Benefit Society, organized
April 4, 1895.

St. Michael's Branch No. 99, C. M.B. A.,
organized March 24, 1891.

Branch No. 72, L. C. M. B. A., organized
April 28, 1891.

S.icred Heart Confraternity.

ST. Paul's r. c. church.
composed mostly of Italian people, was
organized in 1891, and erected its church
building on Walnut street, between Sixteenth
and Seventeenth, with parsonage attached,
in the same year. Rev. Francis Becherini
was pastor until about July, 1894. He was
succeeded on January 6, 1895, by Rev. F. J.
Bender, who continues in charge of the con-
gregation. The societies of the church are
the Rosary and St. Paul's Benevolent, both
of which were established in 1891.

ST. Joachim's r. c. church.
was organized in 1894. It has erected the
basement part of a new building at Twenty-
sixth and Plum streets, in which services
have been held since January 6, 1895. The
pastor is Rev. F. J. Bender, who has been in
charge from the beginning. The societies
of the church are :

Sacred Heart Commandery, Knights of St.
John, organized in March, 1894.

Rosary Society, organized in 1894.

Sacred Heart Benevolent Society, organ-
ized in April, 1895.

Sacred Heart C. M. B. A., No. 143, or-
ganized April 18, 1895.

Branch No. 191, L. C. M. B. A., organ-
ized May 10, 1895.

ST. Ann's r. c. church.
The contract was let on July 18, 1895,
for a new Catholic church building at Tenth
street and East avenue, the congregation to
be known as St. Ann's Church. The edifice
will be of brick veneering, and the contract
price is about $8,000. Rev. Father Mullen,


one of the assistants at St. Peter's Cathedral,
is the priest in charge. The corner-stone of
the church was laid on Sunday afternoon,
September 15, 1895, with impressive cere-

St. Ann's Branch, No. 152, L. C. M. B.
A., was organized October 25, 1895.


Bishop's chapel. Bishop's residence, Tenth
and Sassafras streets, attended from St. Peter's

St. Benedict's, St. Benedict's Convent, at-
tended from St. Mary's Church.

St. Joseph's, at Orphan Asylum, attended
from St. Patrick's Church.

St. Vincent's, St. Vincent's Hospital, at-
tended from St. Joseph's Church.

Villa Maria, attended from the Cathedral.

St. John's, Old Folk's Home, attended
from St. John's Church.

[For further particulars in regard to the
Roman Catholic Church, see General Church

GERMAN ST. Paul's evangelical church.

The German St. Paul's Evangelical con-
gregation was organized in December, 1850.
Rev. H.F. Hartmann was installed as the first
pastor. In its incipiency it comprised twenty
members, who had separated from the Ger-
man St. John's Lutheran Church in all
amity. These energetic Germans decided to
erect a church at a cost of $4,000, in the year
following (1851), which was subsequently
known among the public as the " brick
church." The church belongs to the German
Evangelical Synod of North America, of the
New York District, of which the present
pastor. Rev. Val. Kern, has been President
for six years. He has labored for the church
more than nineteen years. Under his admin-
istration an addition to the church was built
in 1879, at an expense of $7,000. The re-
dedication took place on June 13, 1890. A
parsonage was added in 1882, which cost
$3,G00. The year 1893 saw the congregation
able to erect a beautiful Sunday-school chapel,
at a sum aggregating over $10,000. Beauti-
ful ornamental windows of the best quality

will soon be added to the decorations of the

The congregation consists of 130 voting
members and 380 families. The Sunday-school
has an average attendance of 400 children.
The Ladies' Society, working in the interest
of home missions and various charitable ob-
jects has a membership of 118. It was organ-
ized in December, 1858. The Young People's
Society, with about 150 enrolled members,
was organized in 1891. It is a strong influence
in behalf of the welfare of the church and the
advancement of Christian life among its mem-

The names of the pastors of the church from
its organization are as follows : Rev. Mr. Hart-
mann, December 1, 1850, to April 15, 1852;
Rev. C. Goehling, December 5, 1852, to Feb-
ruary 22, 1856; Rev. W. Hasskarl, April 14,
1856, to April 14, 1857; Rev. Z. Faber, June
10, 1857, to February 21, 1858 (died) ; Rev.
F. R. Ludwig, March 21, 1858, to June 1,
1859; Rev. J. W. Semler, March 15, 1859, to
June. 1869 (died) ; Rev. J. Keller, September
1, 1869, to November, 1871 ; Rev. E. Young,
December 1, 1871, to May 6, 1876; Rev. Val.
Kern, May 30, 1876, until the present.

The German Evangelical Synod of North
America was organized in 1840 with seven
ministers. It now numbers between 860 and
870 preachers and over 1,100 congregations.
The New York district embraces forty-seven
ministers and fiftj'-eight congregations. The
one above described is the only congregation
in Erie county that is attached to the district
and synod.


August 12, 1853, some eight or ten persons
of the Hebrew faith formed themselves into a
congregation, and met for religious services in
the Lyons property, on the corner of Fifth and
French streets, occupying a room up stairs.
Among these were Moses Koch, the first He-
brew person to settle in Erie (about 1845),
Isaac and John Rosenzvveig, I. W. Neuberger,
Jacob Koch, H. Meyer, B. Baker and Henry
Frank. Their first Rabbi was Mr. Weil, who
was engaged in 1861 and remained with the
congregation about one year. He was suc-
ceeded by Rabbi M. Wurzel, whose term of
service in all (he having twice ministered to
the congregation), extended over a period of



about fourteen years. The succeeding Rabbis
have been Revs. Fuld, Fleu^el, Brandes,
Stenple, Levi, Farber and Rosenau, the pres-
ent incumbent. The several places of worship
have been (other than the one above named),
on Holland, between Eighth and Ninth
streets, in Metcalf block on State street, and
in Becker's block on French street ; thence to
the synagogue of the congregation on the
north side of Eighth street, between Myrtle
and Sassafras. This latter was erected in
1882, at a cost of $13,000, including the
ground upon which it stands. The founda-
tion stone was laid by Mr. B. Baker, the first
President of the congregation and one of its
oldest members. The congregation hold reg-
ular services every Friday and vSaturday.

The societies are :

Ladies' Hebrew Auxiliary Aid Society,
organized in 1888.

Ladies' Temple Aid Society, organized
more than fifteen years.

The Willing Workers (a children's organ-

A Sabbath and Sunday-school are main-
tained by the congregation, of which Jacob
Ostheimer, J. Strauss and M. Schaffner are
the board of managers.


This church was organized April 2, 1878,
at the house of John Reed, with a membership
of twenty-two persons, by the Rev. John
Hill, who was then preaching in the city, in
the house of worship now owned by the de-
nomination. In August, 1879, the property
was purchased by the newly organized church.
The building, which had been used as a Pres-
byterian mission, stands at the corner of Tenth
and Cherry streets. The church struggled for
a long time under a load of debt, from which
it was finally freed in 1895.

The church has been served in succession
by the following pastors ; W. W. Pringle,
W. Kingsley, J. A. Thomas, S. Evans, W.
Rittenhouse, E. F. Amy, Owen O. Wiard,
D. H. Christy and J. C. Sims, the present

The Sabbath-school had forty-five enrolled
scholars in 1895.

The societies of the church are :

The Ladies' Aid Society, organized in Jan-
uary, 1894.

The Children's Missionary Band, organ-
ized in the spring of 1895.


Was organized November 19, 1888, bought
its lot at Seventh and Chestnut streets the
same year and erected its house of worship in
1890-91. Its pastors have been : Rev. T.
W. Howard, 1888 to 1890; Rev. Myron Ty
ler, 1890 to 1895; and the present incumbent,
Rev. Henry Crampton, who assumed charge
March 1, 1895.

The Sabbath-school has had for its super-
intendents, Herman Eldridge, 1888 to 1893,
and A. B. Kendall, 1893 to date.

The church building has recently been
decorated and improved.

The societies of the church are :

Ladies' Aid Society, organized January
10, 1889.

Young People's Society of Christian En-
deavor, organized July 1, 1890.

Junior Young People's Society of Chris-
tian Endeavor, organized April 1, 1892.

Boys' Brigade, organized June 1, 1895.


The first meetings of this society in Erie
were held at the old court-house in the year
1842, conducted by the Rev. John Gifford.
The regular organization was effected about
two years later. The present church struc-
ture, situated on the north side of Ninth
street, between Peach and Sassafras streets,
was erected in 1844, upon ground given to
the society by Judge John Galbraith. Among
the early members were Henry Cadwell,
William Beatty, John Dodge, Clark and
Wenlock McSparren, Porter Warren and
John Galbraith. Mr. Gifford was followed
by the Rev. A. G. Laurie, of Edinburgh,
Scotland, who entered upon his duties in No-
vember, 1846, and filled the pulpit until
April, 1849. Next came Rev. John Camp-
bell, who was succeeded by the Rev. G. B.
Maxham. He was followed by Rev. J. E.
Forrester, whose pastorate extended over a
period of about one decade. In the year 1865
the Rev. Mr. Laurie again became pastor and
remained ten years. Rev. A. A. Thayer was
pastor for five years, beginning in 1876. His
successor was Rev. H. A. Westall, of Cam-
bridge, Mass., whose pastorate began in
April, 1882. The pastors since then have



been Rev. L. D. Fisher, who occupied the
pulpit about a year; Rev. C. A. Knicker-
bocker, who came in September, 1889 ; Rev.
Margaret Brennan, who began in 1891, and
Rev. Howard McQ.ueary, whose ministry in
Erie commenced in December, 1898. The
latter closed his pastorate on Sunday, October
27, 1895.

The Sunday-school is held in the church
parlors, and there is a vigorous Young Peo-
ple's Christian Union, organized in 1891.
The Ladies' Aid Society, one of the main
supports of the congregation, was established
in 1876 or '77.


In the year 1833, the Rev. J. Seibert, who
subsequently became a bishop, came to Erie
county as a missionary of the Evangelical As-
sociation to preach to the Germans of this lo-
cality. In after years, Revs. E. Stcevers, D.
Brickley and J. Nrecker, ministers of the As-
sociation, labored here with more or less suc-
cess. A number of Germans residing in Erie
and vicinity were moved by these visits, and
the families of J. Steele, S. Zinn, P. Fenden-
heim and A. Scheurer united with the Evan-
gelical Association.

In 1836 the Rev. J. Boos, as preacher in
charge of the Erie circuit, visited this little
flock, which, under his ministration, was in-
creased by the addition of Coinad Doll and
wife. The following year Rev. H. Bucks
was appointed to the Erie circuit charge, un-
der whose superintendence the several fami-

Online LibraryBenjamin WhitmanNelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the county also portraits and biographies of the governor's since 1790, and of numerous r → online text (page 76 of 192)