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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and still $500.00 in October. A number of individual contribu-
tions were also made, so that there remained only $300.00 to be
paid out of the treasury of the church.

Too much can not be said in praise of the generous spirit
shown by the members of the Ladies' Society towards the church
throughout its history. Besides their allowances already men-
tioned, the following were also made by them during the admin-
istration of Father Schaefermeyer : In 1865, $239.00 for furnish-
ings in the parsonage, and $485.00 for oil-cloth for the floor of
the church; in 1866, $207.00 for a new communion rail, which
inclosed not only the confines of the present sanctuary, but also
the space around the two side altars; in 1867, $130.00 for a
precious reliquary; in Jan. 1868, $125 for a silver chalice, and
in July $170.00 towards the station paintings; in 1871, $150.00
for a picture of St. Rose; besides vestments, and other minor
articles for the church as well as for the parish residence amount-
ing to nearly a thousand dollars.

In 1864 a site lying four lots west of the school, with a
building that was subsequently used for some of the pupils, was

Very Rev. Dean Michael Weis,
Seventh Pastor.

Nov. 10th, 1887, to Nov. 9th, 1909.


bought for the sum of $6,000.00, with a view of afterwards buying
the intervening property and erecting a larger school; but when
it was found that this plan could not be carried through, the
place was sold again to Henry Ridder. In 1866 the old Prot-
estant church on the southeast corner of Seventh and Jersey
streets, which later on became St.. Joseph's Negro Church, was
purchased for $7,000, and this served as a school building for the
boys until the completion of our present magnificent school.

In March 23rd, 1865, was organized the "Confraternity of
the Holy Agony" ("Todesangstbruderschaft"), having for its
object the preparation for a happy death, and it started with a
membership of over 600.

During this year an addition was built to the parsonage ; by
which name we are designating the little two-story house bought
of Mr. Lock in 1857, as stated above, and containing, besides the
kitchen only 5 rooms about 16x14 feet, to which another room
and a small summer kitchen had been attached. The new addi-
tion was added to the south of this. It consisted of two stories of
two rooms each, and gave to the whole a more symmetrical
appearance. In addition to this a cellar was also dug.

In July, 1866, a gas lighting system was installed in the
church to replace the very primitive method of candle lights, at a
cost of $552.95, of which $380.00 was raised by means of a special

Between the years 1859 and 1867 Father Schaefermeyer was
instrumental in the opening of several Catholic institutions in
our city, which had indeed an humble beginning, but have since
then made steady progress, until they now stand second to none
of their kind in the land, and are the just pride of every loyal
Quincyan. The first of these is St. Francis Solanus College,
which Father Servatius Altmicks, O. F. M., opened in St.
Aloysius Orphan Home as early as 1860, and for which Father
Anselm Mueller, its rector for 36 years, erected a magnificent
building, 1870-71. The second is St. Mary's Hospital, in charge
of the Sisters of St. Francis from Aix-la-Chapelle, which was
conducted from the day of their arrival in Quincy, May 19th.
1866, in a little house that was rented on Twentieth street, until
October 25th, 1867, when their substantial new building, begun
in March of the same year, was ready for occupancy. Finally
we have St. Mary's Academy, located on tbe site that had been
bought by Bishop Juncker for his proposed cathedral, but had


been sold to the Sisters of Notre Dame as early as March 15th,
1861, for a convent and school, which latter was opened in Sept.
1867 by Mother Boniface, who since her arrival in 1863, had been
conducting a post-graduate course at the parish school.

Mention must also be made of the fact that it was Father
Schaefermeyer who organized St. Antonius Parish in Melrose
Township in 1859, and urged the people to build the first frame
church, which he dedicated Nov. llth, 1861, but which was re-
placed a few years later by the present neat little edifice of brick,
for which he laid the corner-stone on Aug. 15th, 1869, and which
was dedicated by Bishop Baltes June 13th, 1870.

He it was also who encouraged the organization of St.
Joseph's Parish, whose members from 1867-1868 erected the "Old
Rock Church" on Columbus Road, which was destroyed by a
cyclone in 1902 and replaced by the present frame church, for
which Father Weis laid the corner-stone March 3rd, 1903, and
which Bishop Ryan dedicated the same year, June 22nd.

On Jan. 13th, 1867, occurred the ordination to the holy
priesthood of Father Francis (bapt. Joseph Bernard) Moenning,
O. F. M., who was born at Bakum, Germany, but had come to
Quincy at an early age and been for a time a member of St.
Boniface Church.

August 24th, 1868, was the Silver Jubilee of Father
Schaefermeyer, and the extraordinary attendance by the clergy
as well as the laity, showed how popular he was with both.
Bishop Juncker could not attend in person on account of sick-
ness, which resulted in his death, Oct. 2nd.

The building of St. Mary's Church, 1867-1869, gave a new
impetus to the work of improving St. Boniface. As the next thing
on the program it was decided to remove the massive square pil-
lars of brick, measuring \\ l /2 feet in circumference, which sup-
ported the roof, and to replace them with more slender columns
of steel, which, whilst they would offer the same support, would
allow more room and a better view in the church. Some wise
ones began to shake their heads ; but Brother Adrian, the well-
known architect of the Franciscan Order, and Henry Schenk,
who later became famous as altar-builder, said it could be done ;
and so with the approval of the bishop, the latter was awarded
the contract to carry out the plans. All winter, 1868-1869, he
was kept busy in his workshop under the school on Seventh

Rev. Henry B. Degenhardt,
Present Pastor of St. Boniface.


and Jersey streets, executing the beautiful carvings which were
to clothe the new pillars, and making other preparations. In
the beginning of the following summer, the work of tearing
down the old and setting up the new was begun, and as if by
magic, so rapidly and so perfectly was it accomplished. The
plans for improving the church included also a great arch in
Romanesque style, extending across the entire width of the
sanctuary, and similar smaller arches to connect the new pillars
and give to the whole a more churchly appearance, than the per-
fectly straight lines which hitherto prevailed ; and these also
were soon in their places. Next in order the windows were ex-
tended higher, then a new floor was laid, and soon new pews
and a new pulpit followed. Before the end of that same year
the entire work was completed, to the great satisfaction of all

The following summer (1870) Mr. Wm. Thien, of Cincin-
nati, who the year before had so beautifully decorated the in-
terior of the new St. Mary's Church, was called upon to do sim-
ilar work in St. Boniface; and for 40 years his exquisite designs,
especially that of the sanctuary tapestry, have been the admira-
tion of all who saw them, until it became necessary to re-decor-
ate the church last summer. His contract for $3,373.50 included
the finishing of the new pulpit and other furniture, as also the
frescoing of the former sacristy, now converted into a little
chapel used for a baptistry, wherein was also placed an altar in
honor of the Sorrowful Mother, mounted by a statue carved in
wood by Messrs. Allart and Kloster of Cincinnati, after the
model of the famous Pieta of Achtermann in the Cathedral of

And still the beautification of the church was not .complete
in the eyes of Father Schaefermeyer. The two side walls of the
sanctuary offered excellent fields for beautiful paintings, and
so the most famous church artist of America, Wm. Lamp-
recht, was engaged to produce the best his skill could command ;
and the result was two rare masterpieces that will compare most
favorably with the greatest works of their kind in Rome itself,
the one on the Epistle side representing the Three Wise Men in
the act of adoring the Infant Jesus and offering their gifts, the
other on the Gospel side portraying, on a double field, the powers
conferred by Christ upon St. Peter, and passing from him to his


successors represented by the illustrious reigning Pontiff, Pius
IX., around whom as their universal father, are gathered like
one great family, cardinals, bishops, priests and laymen typical
of the various nations of the earth. The cost of these paint-
ings, $700.00, was defrayed by donations.

So well was everyone pleased with his work, that Mr. Lamp-
recht was at once instructed to paint designs for the four double
sanctuary windows, which were then reproduced in stained glass
by the firm Burgund of Cincinnati. The windows on the Gospel
side show us the four Evangelists, SS. Mathew, Mark, Luke and
John, with their customary symbols, man, lion, steer and eagle,
whilst on the Epistle side we see the four so-called Latin Fathers
of the Church, SS. Augustine, Gregory the Great, Ambrose and
Jerome, with their characteristic emblems, the heart, the dove,
the bee-hive and again the lion. These four windows, each con-
taining two figures, and costing $375.00 apiece, were donated by
Herman and Elizabeth Witte, Joseph and Caroline Brock-
schmidt, Henry and Amelia Cramer and Anton and Elizabeth

The last piece of work from the master brush of Mr. Lamp-
recht, is an exquisite little painting representing the Fourteen
Holy Helpers grouped in characteristic attitude around the In-
fant Jesus, which can be seen in the chapel, where also hangs
another dainty picture of the Blessed Herman Joseph, patron
saint of Father Schaefermeyer, kneeling before a statue of the
Blessed Virgin and holding out a luscious apple to the Saviour
in her arms, which latter painting, however, is the work of a
Notre Dame Sister from Milwaukee and was presented to the
pastor on the occasion of his Silver Jubilee as priest. Both these
paintings had suffered much from time and exposure and were
hardly recognizable, until they were restored in the year 1911 to
their original beauty by the skilful hand of Sister M. Engelberta,
likewise of the Order of Notre Dame, who at the same time re-
touched, or rather repainted, the three great pictures mounted in
the panels of the main altar of the church.

About the same time the other improvements in the church
were going on, Father Schaefermeyer also ordered new stations,
the frames of which were carved by Mr. Schenk, whilst the pic-
tures were imported from Paderborn and are genuine oil paint-
ings, and not mere chromos. To defray the expense, besides the

RT. REV. JOHN JANSSEN, D. D., Bishop of Belleville.

Fifth Pastor of St. Boniface, Becomes First Bishop of Belleville.
Consecrated Apiil25, 1888.


$170.00 contributed, as already stated, by the Ladies' Society,
$140.00 was allowed by St. John's Society, whilst the balance was
made up of individual donations.

A number of statues were also purchased, some of which
were placed in the sanctuary, whilst for the others a pedestal was
provided at the capital of every pillar, and later lowered to the
present position. These statues represent, in the sanctuary, and
passing from the Epistle to the Gospel side, St. Bernard, St.
Boniface, St. Ludgerus, St. John the Baptist ; and outside of the
sanctuary, going down on the Epistle side, St. Peter, St. Henry,
St. Rose of Lima, and returning on the Gospel side St. Agatha,
St. Dominic and St. Paul ; whilst just opposite the pulpit, in place
of the present statue of the Sacred Heart and later above it, was
placed the statue of St. Francis Xavier, now seen under the
gallery of the church and opposite the statue of St. Anne, which
latter was donated this year by Mrs. Geo. Starmann, and was
carved out of wood by that thorough artist of St. Louis, Mr.

Finally in 1870 the organ of the church was entirely rebuilt,
the work being done by Mr. Weinrich for the sum of about

The total cost of these improvements made by Father
Schaefermeyer, amounted to more than $20,000.00, but they made
the interior of St. Boniface Church one of the most attractive in
the country at the time, and one that even now, though it has
been surpassed in many regards, still stands in a class by itself,
for the air of devotion emanating from its very walls and for the
inspiration to fervent prayer which it imparts to all who come
to worship there.

From the 20th to 28th of February, 1870, another mission
was conducted by the Jesuit Fathers Karlstaetter, Greisch and
Hieber, just lately arrived from Germany, during which there
were 2,300 communicants and 6 converts.

On Sept. 18th, 1870, "St. Stephen's Society", having for its
object to provide for the poor, was organized, with the following
officers at its head: President, Ant. Jos. Lubbe; Vice-President,
Hy. Ording; Secretary, Hy. F. J. Ricker; Treasurer, John Her-
man Tenk. This society was, for various reasons, a failure from
its very start and was dissolved by Father Ostrop in 1873.

On Dec. 14th, 1870, a mass-meeting, attended by thousands


of people, was held at the old Skating Rink of those days,
between Eighth and Ninth and Jersey and York streets, at
which a strong protest was voiced against the Italian govern-
ment for its robbery committed against the Church, and arrange-
ments were made to send the Holy Father financial aid.

Already on March 8th, 1869, an act, providing for the hold-
ing of Catholic church property had been passed by the Legis-
lature of Illinois, in accordance with which the legal title for
such property was to be vested in a board of trustees, consist-
ing of the bishop and vicar- general of the diocese, together with
the pastor and two laymen of every parish. The provisions of
this law were complied with at St. Boniface on April 1st, 1871,
when Father Schaefermeyer, the pastor and ex-officio president
of the new church board, together with Bishop Baltes and his
vicar-general, Father Janssen, appointed Hjy. Duerholt and Theo-
dore Weltin to act with them in the capacity of secretary and
treasurer respectively, and executed the proper document set-
ting forth these facts, to be sent to the secretary of state at
Springfield. When Mr. Weltin resigned on Jan. 29th, 1873,
Fidelis Hellstern became his successor, until Jan. 1st, 1899, when
Mr. Duerholt was made treasurer and Edward Sohm, who has
been on the church board ever since, succeeded him as secretary ;
whilst George Fischer, the present treasurer, is holding that
position since Dec. 17th, 1902, his predecessor having died
Dec. 7th.

Besides these "trustees," in the sense of the law, who, to-
gether with the bishop, vicar-general and pastor, form the parish
corporation and conduct its business affairs, the custom was in-
troduced at St. Boniface of appointing other laymen, from two to
four in number, who are called "directors," and whose privilege
it is to be present at the meetings of the former and to offer sug-
gestions on all subjects that come up for discussion. In this
capacity the following members of the parish have served since
1869, viz. : J. H. Bernzen, Henry Stuckenborg, Henry Lammers,
Henry Anton Oenning, John Herm. Tenk, Jos. Lubbe, Frank
Sonnett, and Oscar P. Huck, the last three of whom are the
present incumbents.

In this connection let us state, however, that even
long before the enactment of the statute requiring legal trustees,
the laity of St. Boniface had a part in the administration of the
temporal affairs of the parish, for as early as 1847 we find the


signatures of Joseph Mast and Pantaleon Sohm, who were suc-
ceeded in turn by Anton Lampe, Simon Glass, Christopher
Meyer, H. F. J. Ricker, Sr., John Benning, Anton J. Lubbe,
Henry Geise, Henry Ridder and Caspar Mast.

June 16th, 1871, marks a very joyous occasion, it being the
Silver Jubilee of Pope Pius IX. as Head of the Church. The
features of the Quincy celebration, which lasted two days, were a
General Communion and special prayers offered up by all for the
Holy Father, a monster parade in which 6,000 to 7,000 took part
(amongst them 258 little girls in white, carrying banners with
pictures of all the Popes) and finally a spectacular illumination
and pyrotechnic display which was conceded by secular papers
to have been the grandest ever seen in Quincy.

On April 21st, 1872, another solemn ceremony took place at
St. Boniface, in the ordination to the priesthood of Rev. H. A.
Hellhake, son of the late Caspar Hellhake, who in 1850 had
transferred his family from Bowinkel, Hanover to Quincy, be-
coming members of St. Boniface.

But amid these joyous festivities a great sorrow was be-
ginning to threaten the parish, not in the death, but in the
departure of the beloved Father Schaefermeyer. For a long time
it had been his desire to retire from the turmoil of the world into
the seclusion of the cloister, and now that his plans for the
beautifying of the church had been carried out, his resolution
assumed new strength and on Sept. 23rd, 1872, he quietly slipped
away from Quincy to join the Franciscan Order at Teutopolis,
where he became known as Father Liborius.


The Builder of the School.

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

The first record of Father Francis A. Ostrop in the church
books, indicating the time of his arrival, is dated Sept. 27th. In
November he received as his assistant, Father J. Rensmann,
who leaves again in December, and is succeeded Jan. 20th, 1873-
Oct. 7th, 1875, by Father Theodore Wegmann. In his first state-
ment to the bishop, compiled at the end of 1872, Father Ostrop
gives the status of the parish as follows: Number of families in
the parish, 500 ; children at school, 460 ; teachers employed, 6 ;


baptisms, 123; burials, 62; marriages, 20; net debt, $4,950.00.
Surely a parish with brightest prospects for the future. So
thought Father Ostrop, and with characteristic optimism and
enthusiasm he sets out at once to plan and undertake improve-
ments. The subject that needs the first attention is the school,
and to this he begins to devote his entire energy. In a meeting,
Jan. 29th, 1873, of the trustees Hy. Duerholt and Theodore
Weltin, and the directors J. Bernzen and Hy. Stuckenborg, it
was decided to buy a site for a new school and the choice fell
upon the beautiful Browning place with 233 front on the south
side of Hampshire street and 190 feet depth on the east side of
Seventh street, occupied by a large two-story brick house,
which it was intended later to convert into a parsonage. The
consideration was $50,000.00, to be paid in ten installments of
$5,000.00, with interest at 8 per cent, no deed being drawn up at
that time, but only an "agreement" signed by Father Ostrop and
O. H. Browning, and dated Feb. 1st, 1873. In August, after pay-
ment of $2,000.00 interest, $5,000.00 of the original price, is at
the urgent request of our pastor, donated to the church, thus re-
ducing this to $45,000.00. On the first of November $5,000.00 of
this is paid off, with $900.00 interest. At a meeting of the church
board on Dec. 1st, it is decided to issue notes to Mr. Browning
for the balance due, and demand of him a deed for the property,
free from every qualifying clause ; also to borrow money to the
extent of $50,000.00 at the lowest rate of interest possible. This
first step already causes consternation in the parish, and delega-
tion after delegation calls upon the bishop to protest against the
proceedings and even to level charges against their pastor. But
being headed in most instances by the old trouble-breeders of
Father Brickwedde's time, the bishop pays no attention to these
delegations and afterwards refuses even to receive them. This
helps to bring the better people to their senses, and after a short
time quiet is restored, whilst Father Ostrop all the while is
making plans for building. That same year the pastor took up
subscriptions from his parishioners, and already on April 18th,
1874, ground is broken for a structure with 70 feet front and 90
feet depth, the basement and two lower stories of which should
consist of four rooms 26x36 feet each, with 10 feet corridors
between; whilst the third story is to contain a spacious hall 50x90,
flanked on the south side by a stage and east of it a kitchen, with
a small observatory to crown the whole. On August 10th the

Assistant 'Bastors



corner-stone is laid by Father Ostrop in the presence of all Cath-
olic societies of Quincy, whom he and Father McGirr address in
German and English respectively. Before the end of the year
the new school building is under roof; during the following
year the interior is finished, and on Nov. 7th, 1875, the whole
is solemnly dedicated by the pastor himself in the presence of
thousands of spectators.

The cost of the various items in the erection of this building,
as contained in a statement of Father Ostrop, dated April 26th,
1876, was as follows: Masonry, $1,460.00; stone from 5 quarries,
$6,095.00; stone-cutting, $12,127.00; brick (640,000), $3,638.00;
bricklaying, $2,570.00 ; lumber, $7,700 ; gas and water connec-
tions, $876.00; wood-work, $7,318.00; hardware, $3,200; plaster-
ing, $2,281.00; sand, lime and hauling, $1,340.00; glazing and
painting, $1,474.00 ; excavating and other labor, $1,196.00 ; mak-
ing a total of $51,275.00 Towards paying off this sum, the
income the same year had been as follows: From house collec-
tion and donations, $24,500.00 ; from fairs and entertainments,
$11,358.00; collection at laying of corner-stone, $360.00; whilst
$9,600.00 raised for the same purpose had been placed into the
church treasury, thus making the total receipts $45,818.00, a neat
little sum, it is true, but $5,457.00 short of the total expense.

On July 25th, 1877, occurred the ordination of Father
Jerome Hellhake, O. F. M., son of Henry Hellhake, who was born
in Quincy, Aug. 22nd, 1854, and is the first native priest of the

Whilst the magnificent school building was going up, other
matters of importance were not neglected. Father Ostrop
realized full well, that "the boy is the father of the man," and
hence he spared no effort in promoting the welfare of the young
men of the parish. The Young Men's Society, as well as the
Sodality, which he sought to fuse into one, received special
attention, and the effect was a revival of enthusiasm on the part
of all the members, that made the achievement of great things
possible. In all processions with the Blessed Sacrament, the
young men appeared in a body, about 150 out of 170 usually re-
sponding. At the annual fair of the parish, generally in the fall
of the year, the young men were accustomed to conduct a furni-
ture booth, from which they realized as much as $500.00.
Dramatic performances were given at regular intervals, and the


overwhelming crowds that attended, made it necessary more
than once to engage the theatre, on which occasions usually from
$400.00 to $500.00 were cleared. Even a musical organization
of some kind was created, which provided several concerts a
year, besides playing at the various parish entertainments.

Father Ostrop was also aware of the tremendous influence
for good or evil, of the press. Various German daily papers
had been published in Quincy since the appearance
of the "Stern des Westens" ("The Western Star") in
1847. The "Courier", published in 1850, was succeeded
for eight years by the "Tribune" and this, during Father Ostrop's
time, by the "Westliche Presse" ("The Western Press"). Ob-
serving that this paper was being made the vehicle of bigotry
and infidelity, our zealous pastor, toward the end of 1873, pre-
vailed upon a number of wealthy Catholics to buy it out; and
under the title "Quincy Germania," and with Dr. G. C. Hoff-
mann as editor, its publication was continued, rendering valuable
service to the Church in Quincy not only by refuting the preju-
dice and errors prevalent in those days, but also by keeping other
objectionable papers, like the "Teutonia" of later origin, out of

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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 3 of 12)