Ill.) St. Boniface Congregation (Quincy.

Souvenir of the diamond jubilee of St. Boniface congregation, Quincy, Illinois : including a historical sketch 1837-1912 online

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all the records for the first 25 years of its existence have been
lost, and neither the names of officers or members can be ascer-
tained, nor is the object of the society clearly known, though it
is very probable that it was to serve a purpose similar to that of
the Ladies' Society, which was to provide for the proper fitting
out of the church and parsonage.

Before the end of the year the new church was under roof,
and late the following spring it was completed, with the excep-
tion of the tower which it was not intended to finish just then ;
so that on June llth, 1848, which was the feast of Pentecost, the
first service could take place. Within a few months, wonderful
to state, the entire debt thereon had been paid, except the sum
of $1,500.00, due to a certain wealthy gardener by the name of
Aschermann, who gave a written guaranty that he would never
cause any trouble no matter how long his money stood out; and
so it became possible, according to the rules of the Church, that
on Oct. 22nd of the same year the stately edifice could be
solemnly consecrated; which ceremony was performed by
Archbishop Kenrick of St. Louis (which had been raised to the
dignity of an archdiocese on July 20th, 1847), the see of Chicago
having become vacant through the death of Bishop Quarter,
April 10th, 1848. It is in the course of this year that the parish,
hitherto known under the title of the "Ascension of Christ," is
first designated in the church records at "St. Boniface Parish."

Thus far the prospects of the parish seemed very bright.
But now comes a dark page in its history which we would rather
tear from its context, were it not for the double fact that, whilst
it must be left to give a true account of the past, it may also
serve as a useful warning for all future times. For some time
already a certain element had shown dissatisfaction with their
pastor, and now, when they realized that he would continue to
carry out his plans, in spite of them, they began to offer open
defiance, going so far as to bring false charges against his char-
acter, to molest him in every possible way, and even to threaten
his life. On March 14th, 1849, Bishop Van de Velde, conse-
crated Feb. llth of the same year to succeed Bishop Quarter,
came to Quincy to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation,
and after a thorough investigation ascended the pulpit and pro-
nounced Father Brickwedde innocent, and when in consequence
a turmoil was raised in the very precincts of the church, he


placed the parish under interdict and ordered Father Brickwedde
to leave his ungrateful flock, which he did on March IGth.

The punishment of Kim who says "touch not my an-
nointed" soon came to evidence in the form of a terrible epi-
demic of the cholera, which broke out in Quincy the very next
day, March 17th, and which in the first six months claimed 186
victims and, with a short respite during the winter months, con-
tinued to rage for more than five years. To enable the faithful
members of the parish to perform their Easter duty, the Jesuit
Father Peter Spicher of St. Louis, is sent to Quincy, but he re-
mains here only from the 6th to the 18th of April. A delegation
is sent to Bishop Van de Velde, who was just then visiting with
Archbishop Kenrick of St. Louis, with a petition to send a priest to
stay in Quincy to take care of the many sick and dying, with the
result that the Jesuit Father John Schultz, then pastor of the
Holy Family Church in Kahoka, is sent along with them, who
remains about three months, August 7th-October 17th, until the
epidemic has abated for that year. On August 12th, the first
Sunday after his arrival, Bishop Van de Velde himself comes to
Quincy, not, however, to administer Confirmation, but to hold
up once more to the members of the parish the great wrong they
had done to Father Brickwedde and the terrible punishment
which was, no doubt, the result. His words, however, are only
the occasion of a new outburst of feeling on the part of the re-
bellious parishioners, whom he compares to a lot of wild beasts,
and so St. Boniface still remains without a permanent pastor.
When the cholera breaks out anew in the spring of 1850 another
delegation is sent, this time to Archbishop Kenrick, the veteran
friend of the parish, and Father Joseph Kuenster, who had just
left Teutopolis on account of similar disturbances and was then
in St. Louis, is sent to try his lot with the people of St. Boniface,
and thus becomes their second permanent pastor.


The Restorer of St. Boniface.

Au$. 15th, 185O Sept. 15th, 1857.

Father Joseph Kuenster, whose first entry in the church
books is dated August 15th, 1850, began his pastorate in Quincy
with a devotion to the victims of the cholera that was nothing
short of heroic and soon won for him the hearts of all his sub-

First Priest in Quincy

IS i . Rev. Peter Paul Lefevre.

Born in Belgium in 1804 ; came to this country in 1828 in order to
devote himself to the missions ; was ordained priest at the Seminary
in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, for the diocese of St. Louis, under
Bishop Rosati ; was first stationed, in 1832, at New Madrid. Missouri;
later, in 1833, at St, Paul on the Salt River, Rails Co.. 15 miles north-
west of New London, from where he visited the entire northern
Missouri, southern Iowa and middle Illinois, making frequent stops
at Quincy. for which he showed a special solicitude. Was conse-
crated Bishop of Detroit Nov. 22, 1841, in which capacity he showed
the same zeal, until he was called to his reward March 4th, 1869.


jects. Ofttimes for weeks he would not lay aside his clothes,
in order to be ready at a moment's notice to come to the aid of
a troubled soul that had to be prepared for eternity and was anx-
iously awaiting him.

In the fall of 1851 the illustrious Father Weninger, styled
"The Apostle of the German Catholics of America," was called
upon to hold a mission at St. Boniface, which lasted from Nov.
17th-24th, and during which over 1,400 people received the sacra-
ments, and the last vestiges of the unfortunate disturbance's in
the parish were wiped out. On Nov. 30th a meeting was called
by Father Kuenster, for the purpose of carrying out the sug-
gestion of the missionary that an orphan society be organized, to
provide for the many children left parentless through the rav-
ages of the cholera, and the result of this meeting was the "St.
Aloysius Orphan Society of St. Boniface Congregation, Quincy,

In this year we find as teacher at St. Boniface a certain
Anton Stutte who left again in April, 1856, just four weeks later
than his assistant, George Mexal, who had come in 1853.

In the early spring of 1852 Contractor Lichtendahl was en-
gaged to complete the tower of the church, which was to rise
180 feet above the roof and to be surrounded at a point about
half-way, by a gallery, each corner of which was to be set off
with a smaller turret 9 feet high. The entire work was to cost
$4,000.00 and to be completed in August. Almost simultaneously
a contract was signed with the firm of George L. Hanks of Cin-
cinnati, to furnish three bells for the tower, the largest to be
pitched in D, the medium one in F, and the smallest in A. With
permission of the bishop these bells were consecrated by Father
Kuenster himself on Sunday, Dec. 19th, after which they were
immediately hoisted to their places, from where they pealed forth
their joyous notes for the first time to announce a "Merry
Christmas." These are. the same
of St. Bonifa

however, having been recast, on account of a crack, in 1900)
and though many rivals have appeared on the scene since then,
they are still regarded by many as the finest, sweetest-toned
bells in the city. Only two years more, and the sacred precincts
of St. Boniface Church resound with the enchanting strains of a
magnificent pipe-organ, which was completed late in 1854 and
\vas played for the first time again on Christmas Day. This


organ was made up of 21 speaking registers, distributed over a
double manual and pedal, and was considered by all con-
noisseurs of the times who came from far and wide to see it, a

On January 27th, 1856, was organized the "St. Joseph Young
Men's Society, "though from a letter of Father Brickwedde, dated
Oct. 17th, 1848, it becomes clear that some kind of organization
of young men, likely in the nature of a sodality, must have ex-
isted even before then. The object of the newly founded society
seems to have been the social and intellectual as well as the
moral and religious advancement of its members, to which was
added the feature of sick benefit in 1859. The first election of
officers brought the following results: President, Francis Jo-
seph Niemoeller ; Vice-President, Henry Laake ; Secretary, Her-
man Tenk ; Treasurer, John H. Brockschmidt.

In the beginning of 1857, the first assistant priest was sent
to St. Boniface in the person of Father Carl Raphael, of whom
however the only record is contained in the minutes of Febru-
ary and March of St. Boniface Society and St. Aloysius Orphan

In this year, also, the first school building that could be
called such, was erected, classes having hitherto been taught
first in the residence of Adam Schmitt on Eleventh and Broad-
way, then in Father Brickwedde's house on Seventh, between
York and Kentucky, next in a little frame addition in the rear
of the first brick church, and finally in that church itself. The site
selected for the new building was the one to the
west of the church, whereon stood the parsonage. This building
had to be torn down, and Father Kuenster rented for his own
use the house No. 16 South Seventh street. The pastor was not
in favor of this site for a school on account of its narrow front,
but he had to carry out the bishop's instructions. The new school
building, which was erected between the months of August and
December, measured 28x56 feet, with front on Maine street, and
contained two stories of two rooms each and a crude cellar under
the northern half.

In the course of this and the preceding year we find a num-
ber of changes in teachers, Messrs. Knapp, Kuhnel, Mosbach,
Kappus and Joseph Nadermann succeeding each other in rapid

Rev. Francis Xavier Weninger, S. J.
"The Apostle of the German Catholics of America."

Born at Steiermnrk, Austria, Oct. 31st, 1806. Became Jesuit in 1832,
landed in America in 1848. Died at Cincinnati June 29th, 1888. Con-
ducted two Missions at St. Boniface in 1851 and 1883,


order. The last of these, who took great interest in St. Joseph
Young Men's Society, was assisted by Mr. Stetem and later Mr.
Mueller, and for three months had Mr. Altmicks as his substi-
tute. In 1858 came Peter Gottesleben, who remained till 1865,
and was ably assisted from 1859 by Hy. Ant. Oenning, who suc-
ceeded him in 1866, also acting as sacristan, and it was during his
term and as his substitute whilst on a six months' trip to Eu-
rope, that Edward Sohm, now secretary of the church board,
taught school.

From the time the erection of this school building was un-
dertaken, the health of Father Kuenster began to fail, so much
so that Rt. Rev. Henry Damian Juncker, who had been conse-
crated first bishop of Alton April 26th, 1857, sent his secretary,
Father J. M*enge, to assist him in his work. A few weeks later
the bishop came himself, but he arrived too late; for Father
Kuenster, whose last entry in the church records is dated Sep-
tember 1st, had suddenly taken a change for the worse, and after
lying three days unconscious, died September 15th, 1857. After
conducting the funeral services the next day, the bishop re-
mained in Quincy about ten days, during which time, after a
meeting with the trustees of the parish, he provided for a pas-
toral residence, by purchasing for the sum of $3,600.00 a piece
of property immediately north of the church, and beginning with
the north-east corner of lot 8, then extending 90 feet west, then
40 feet south, then 90 feet east, finally 40 feet north to the start-
ing point. On this property stood a two-story brick house about
22x45 feet, with front on Seventh street, containing six rooms,
including kitchen, which was now to be St. Boniface Parsonage,
until it gave way to the present stately mansion erected in 1898.

As successor to Father Kuenster, the bishop selected Father
John Reis of Assumption, Merrimac River, St. Louis Co. ; but,
being a very weak and sickly man, he asked to be spared so re-
sponsible a position, and only assumed charge temporarily from
October llth, 1857, until Aug. 26th, 1858. At this time Father
Bartholomew Bartels, of Teutopolis, Illinois, was chosen to suc-
ceed him, but, being engaged in building, could not leave his
place at once. In the meantime Father Ratte, who had just
arrived from Germany, received a temporary appointment, which
he, however, considered permanent, so that when Father Bartels
finally arrived in October and had taken in the situation, he left


again for Alton, declining the position at St. Boniface for him-
self, but recommending the appointment of Father Herman Jo-
seph Schaefermeyer, also lately arrived from the Fatherland.
Father Schaefermeyer was appointed and came to Quincy about
the 18th of December. But Father Ratte was also still here,
and the question of "who's who" was greatly in doubt until Jan-
uary, 1859, when the bishop sent his secretary, Father Menge, to
officially install Father Schaefermeyer as pastor, and to assign
to Father Ratte his position as assistant, with the result that the
latter left for other regions.


The Beautifier of St. Boniface.

Dec. 18th, 1858 Sept. 23rd, 1872.

When Father Schaefermeyer assumed his duties at St.
Boniface, the congregation had become so large that the church
was taxed again to its utmost capacity. In 1859 the Franciscan
Fathers, at the invitation of Bishop Juncker and through the
efforts of Father Schaefermeyer, came to Quincy. Already in
the spring of the year Father Capistran had responded to a call
for help during the busy Easter season, and he remained from
Low Sunday until the Feast of the Blessed Trinity. But the
first to take up permanent quarters in the city was Father Ser-
vatius Altmicks, who had been appointed pastor and superior and
arrived Dec. 2nd of the same year; whilst in February, 1860,
came Father Heribert Hoffmann, accompanied by the three
clerics, Bernadine Hermann, Maurice Klostermann and Raynerius
Dickneite. From this time until they took possession of their
own home, April 17th, 1861, these priests and clerics were valu-
able assistants at St. Boniface, and by means of additional
Masses which could now be celebrated, the former congestion in
the church was somewhat relieved. But this arrangement was
only temporary. From Sept. 18th, 1859, to Oct. 10th, 1860,
Father Temmen was the regular assistant to Father Schaefer-
meyer, and his successor from April 28th, 1861, to March 3rd,
1863, was Father Rustemeyer.

In December 1859 the School Sisters of Notre Dame, with
headquarters at Milwaukee, were likewise induced by Bishop
Juncker and Father Schaefermeyer to come to Quincy and as-
sume control of the girls of St. Boniface School, with Mother M.

Former Pastors of St Boniface

Rev. Aug. Brickwedde,
First Pastor

Aug. 15th, 1837 March 16th, 1849.

Rev. JOB. Kuenster.
Second Pastor.

Aug. 15th, 1850 Sept. 15th, 1857.

Rev. Mi-fin. Jos. Schaefermeyer.
Third Pastor.

Dec. 18th, 1858 Sept. 23rd, 1872.


Seraphine as their first superior. One room on the second floor
of the school house, together with the cellar, were put at their
disposal for a residence, until in 1861 a third story for their
exclusive use was added to the building; whilst already in the
fall of 1860, another house just opposite, belonging to John Ben-
ning, and now occupied by the French Dye Works, and still an-
other located on the southeast corner of Ninth and Maine
streets had been rented to accommodate the two grades of boys,
who were left as before in charge of lay teachers.

Not only the church and school, but also the cemetery had
become too small for the ever growing needs of the congrega-
tion, and it was necessary to seek new burial grounds. In the
year of 1860 a beautiful site of about five acres, just south of
Singleton Farm was bought for the purpose, but being too far
away from the church, it was sold again that very same year
and the southeast portion, about 5 acres also, of the present
cemetery on Twentieth and State streets, was acquired instead
for $2,000.00.

In this year, during the time of Lent, the Forty Hours De-
votion, which has been annually observed ever since, was intro-
duced into the parish.

On July 2nd, 1860, a most solemn ceremony, the first of its
kind, took place at St. Boniface in the ordination to the holy
priesthood of the three above named Franciscan clerics, now
deacons since Feb. 9th, Bernadine, Maurice and Raynerius, who
also brought their First Offering to God in this church on July
5th, 6th and 7th respectively, and the latter of whom was left here
awhile as regular assistant. It was on the occasion of this
ordination that Bishop Juncker also laid the corner-stone for a
new church, which, under the title of St. Francis Solanus, was to
be in charge of the Franciscan Fathers and was intended to take
away a part of the too extensive St. Boniface Parish. Before he
left he also dedicated the new addition to the cemetery. In the
same year, June 12th, Father Schaefermeyer had been appointed
by Bishop Juncker vicar-general of the diocese, which appoint-
ment was later ratified by his successor Bishop Baltes.

Even after a portion of the parish had been severed, the
church was far too small to accommodate those who remained.
To bring about the necessary relief, it was decided in the sum-
mer of 1861 to tear away the rear wall of the building and to


erect an addition to be used as a sanctuary, thus leaving the
entire original structure for the use of the faithful. The result
was the carefully planned sanctuary which still serves its pur-
pose, and which through its general elevation of 2 feet 7 inches,
and the additional 2 feet 2 inches height of its steps, places the
priests at the altar in full view of the entire congregation. In
addition to the sanctuary, also new sacristies were built to the
east and to the west, and the place hitherto used for a vestry
was converted into a chapel, now used for a baptistry.

On March 8th, 1862, Henry Kalmer, who had come from
Germany in 1850, was ordained priest, and he is the first member
of the parish to receive Holy Orders.

In June Bishop Juncker administered Confirmation, and he
remained in Quincy nine days, celebrating Pontifical High Mass
at St. Boniface on the feast of its patron saint, June 5th.

In 1863 the church was painted within and without by a cer-
tain Hendricks for $500.00. The interior decoration was only
temporary and consisted merely of straight lines dividing the
surface of the walls into square blocks.

In June of the same year, another very successful mission
was given at St. Boniface by the gifted Father Weninger.

On Aug. 23rd, Father Schaefermeyer organized "St. John's
(Baptist) Society" of men and young men, for the purpose of
assisting to furnish and beautify the church, as was being
done by the Ladies' and Young Ladies' societies. This purpose
it continued to fulfill until in 1875, when Father Ostrop con-
verted it into "St. John's School Society," to contribute towards
the support of the school, only to see it dissolve in 1877. In
1863 was also introduced into the parish the "Young Men's So-
dality," whilst of the "Society of the Holy Childhood" ("Kindheit
Jesu Verein") which also dates back to about this time, the date
of establishment is not known.

From June 16th to Sept. 13th Father Henry Rinkes was as-
sistant priest to Father Schaefermeyer, and was succeeded by
Fathers Kolopp, June 16th, 1863-April 19th, 1864; F. Witthaut,
April 24th-Dec. 9th, 1864; G. Lueken, Dec. 5th, 1864-July 24th,
1865 ; F. Reinhart, July 9th, 1865-Nov. 25th, 1867 ; Schweizer,
June 19th, 1866-Sept. 21st, 1866; F. Stick, June 30-Oct 23rd,
1867; H. J. Hoven, Nov. 10th, 1867-Jan. 19th, 1868; G. Kuchen-
bach, Jan. 22nd-March 8th, 1868 ; Th. Kamann, March 4th-April
23rd, 1868; Wm. Schamoni, April 19th, 1868-Oct. 25th, 1869; B.

Former Pastors of St. Boniface

li.-v . Francis A. Ostrop.
Fourth Pastor.

Sept. 27th, 1872 Sept. 1st, 1877.

Rev. John Janssen.
Fifth Pastor.

Sept. 1st, 1877 Dec. 31st, 1879.

Rev. Tln-o. Rruener, Sixth Pastor.

Dec. 31st, 1879 Nov. 10th, 1887,


Rossmoeller, Oct. 5th, 1868-Jan. 22nd, 1869 ; H. Eggenstein,
Nov. 10th, 1869-April 19th, 1870; H. Beerhorst, March 15th,
1870-April 20th, 1871 ; W. Drube, Nov. 4th -30th, 1870 ; B. Glaus,
Dec. llth, 1870-Jan. 10th, 1872; G. Hoppe, Jan. 17th-Nov. 5th,
1872 ; H. A. Hellhake, May 5th-Aug. 10th, 1872.

In speaking of the assistants of Father Schaefermeyer a
casual mention can not be omitted of a saintly layman who came
with him from Germany, and was not only his inseparable com-
panion, but his house-keeper, sacristan, private secretary, man-
ager and "coadjutor general." It was the devoted August
Walter, popularly known as "Bruder August."

Whilst the assistants of Father Schaefermeyer were com-
ing and going at a merry pace, the school teachers seem to have
been playing a similar game. Mr. Muehlenmeister, successor
to Mr. Peter Gottesleben in 1865, held school for one
year, (during which Mr. Bortscheller and Dr. Rooney
were here for a very short time) and had as his suc-
cessor Mr. Gressing, who taught from 1866-1868,
whilst Mr. Henry Anton Oenning, his assistant, was succeeded
by Mr. Leifhelm, from 1866-1867. From 1868-1869 Mr. Guetbues
was in charge of the higher grade of boys, and was followed,
1869-1870, by Frederick Jasper, whose place was filled from
Aug. 1870-June, 1872, by Ignaz Bergmann, but whom he suc-
ceeded again for 1872-1878, assisted by a Mr. Danler.

But amidst this galaxy of priests and teachers, we are los-
ing sight of the church and the improvements that were being
planned and carried out. A beginning was made with the altars,
which up to that time were hardly worthy of the name. The
only redeeming feature of the main one was the painting, al-
ready spoken of before, representing the Savior of the World,
which stood above it, whilst the side altars did not have a sim-
ilar advantage, since the one on the Epistle side was surmounted
by a very crude statue of St. Joseph, and the one on the Gospel
side by a painting, said to have been done by a certain Harn
(non-Catholic) of which it was never ascertained whether it
should represent the Ascension of Christ or the Assumption of
His Blessed Mother, and which, after its removal from the altar
until last summer, disfigured one of the walls of the little chapel.
So the best altar builder of those days, the Benedictine Brother
Cosmas of Covington, Kentucky, was called upon, July 1863, to
construct three massive new altars, to be finished in gray and


gold, the principal one of which was to cost $2,000.00, and the
others $500 each. In May, 1864, the new altars were set up, and
they are the same ones that are doing service still. The paint-
ings, included in the price, are the work of John Schmitt, also
of Covington, and represent, on the main altar and in the larger
panel, St. Boniface converting the Teutons, with the deacons St.
Stephen and St. Lawrence in the smaller panels to his right and
left; and on the side altars, aside the statues of the Blessed
Virgin and St. Joseph, respectively, SS. Theresa and Elizabeth,
SS. Anthony and Aloysius. The three new altars were conse-
crated by Bishop Juncker, and the main one was constituted a.
privileged altar, by virtue of which a special plenary indulgence
is attached to every Mass for the deceased which is celebrated

To pay for these altars, St. Boniface Society had already in
Aug. 1861, when it was first decided to order them, allowed
$100.00. This good example was followed by St. Joseph Young
Men's Society, whose members during the following winter gave
a special entertainment to raise funds for the purpose, whilst the
St. Elizabeth Ladies' Society, in July, 1863, donated $270.00 and
$530.00 more in October, with $250.00 added the following M'ay

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Online LibraryIll.) St. Boniface Congregation (QuincySouvenir of the diamond jubilee of St. Boniface congregation, Quincy, Illinois : including a historical sketch 1837-1912 → online text (page 2 of 12)