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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as pastor of the "black sheep" of the flock of Christ in Quincy, in
which capacity he labored with Apostolic zeal until Nov. 28,
1889, when on account of the apathy indifference of his charges,
he was transferred by his superiors to a more promising field
in Chicago. Here he held service for his people in St. Mary's
Church, until a gift of $10,000 by Mrs. Anne O'Neill of that city,
where he continued his good work amongst the members of his
race, until a sunstroke caused his death, July 9th, 1897. His
remains were brought to Quincy where, after solemn burial
service was held at St. Peter's Church, they were interred at St.
Peter's Cemetery, there to wait the final summons of Him, be-
fore whom there is no distinction of color or race, who is the


Universal Father of all, and has called his children from all the
corners of the earth to a common heritage in heaven.

From July 27th till Aug. 6th of this year, Prof. John Singen-
berger, President of the American Cecilia Society, arranged a
course of lectures on church music at St. Boniface, which was
attended by over forty priests and laymen from every part of the
country, who were most hospitably received and entertained es-
pecially by the members of the church choir. The order of the
day was as follows: At 7.:30 A. M. Holy Mass; from 8 to 9 A.
M., lecture on the theory of music; from 9 to 10 A. M. lecture
on the sacred liturgy ; from 10 :30 to 12 A. M. lecture on plain
chant; from 2 to 3 P. M. lecture on the accompaniment of plain
chant ; from 3 to 4 P. Ml lecture on musical direction ; from 4 :30
to 6 P. M. exercises in direction ; 8 P. M. rehearsal of plain chant.
The lectures on the sacred liturgy were held by Fathers Locher,
Wienker and Bruener. On the last evening of the course,
a sacred concert was given in church followed by a short sermon
and Benediction with the Most Blessed Sacrament, after which
a social gathering was held at the school hall, which was great-
ly enjoyedjby all who were present. Before returning to their
homes, the assembled teachers were invited to return the next
year on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of the parish. The
invitation was accepted, and at the proper time, the gentlemen
were present in full number and contributed greatly towards the
solemnity of the celebration with the beautiful songs which
they rendered as well as the good cheer which they diffused
amongst the crowd.

Before the close of the year 1886, another very successful
mission occured at St. Boniface, which was conducted by the
Jesuit Fathers Schnitzler, Simeon and Suermann, and lasted
from December 5th, to 14th.

In the spring of 1887 an important improvement was made
on the third floor of the school. The stage, which hitherto had
occupied the south side of the hall, was changed to the
east, whilst the space thus vacated was partitioned into several
rooms to be used for kitchen, pantry, dining room, etc., with the
result that the facilities for elaborate entertainments were great-
ly increased and the acoustics of the hall, which had been very
bad, were much improved. The plans for the change were
drawn by architect Tubesing. The entire contract, except


painting, was awarded to Gottlieb Burge for $690.00, the paint-
ing by John Sohm was to cost $150.00. At this same time gas
and water connections were also made in the building, which
entailed an additional outlay of $100.00. Just then the so-called
"Park Theatre", on Fourth and Maine streets had gone into
bankruptcy, and when its splendid stage equipment was thrown
on the market, it was bought by the parish for $225.00. To
defray the expenses for these improvements, St. Joseph Young
Men's Society donated $100.00; St. Boniface Society, St. Nich-
olas Branch W. C. U. and Hi. F. J. Ricker followed each with
$100.00, and the balance, with the exception of about $200.00,
was collected by Father Pesch from other individuals. The re-
modeled hall was opened May 24th, with a performance by the
Dramatic Club. In the same year a new marble floor was laid
in the sacristy on the west side of the church and in the vestibule
under the tower, by a St. Louis firm, Pickel & Co. for $400.00,
a part of which was paid by the Ladies' Society. A new com-
munion rail was also ordered from Henry Schenk for $168.00,
of which Mrs. Frances Hense paid $100.00 ; whilst repairs on the
organ cost $130.00.

On June 12th of this year the parishioners of St. Boniface
were privileged to attend another First Mass, which was cele-
brated by Father Bernard Schlotmann, who was born in Olden-
burg, August 7th, 1860, began his studies privately, came to
Quincy, October 1st, 1880, and after attending St. Francis Col-
lege completed his studies at St. Meinrad, Indiana, where he was
ordained to the priesthood June 9th.

However, the principal event of the year was the celebration
of the Golden Jubilee of the parish, which occurred in August.
It was ushered in with Forty Hours Devotion, which was held
on the 13th, 14th and 15th, and during which the sermons were
delivered by two Jesuits of former acquaintance, Fathers
Simeon and Schnitzler. At the close of the devotion, Father
Bruener, having obtained special faculties from Rome, imparted
the Papal Blessing, with plenary indulgence for all who had re-
ceived the sacraments.

The next day the entire parish set about with wonderful
enthusiasm to make the immediate preparations for a grand and
impressive outer celebration of the Jubilee, decorating their
homes and business places, yes, even the streets, with garlands


and banners and lanterns of every shape and color. On Wednes-
day, Aug. 17th, at 4 o'clock P. M., the children of the school gave
an enjoyable entertainment, the principal features of which were
a touching medley of song and recitation by the girls, composed
by Sister Tarsilla especially for the occasion and entitled "Die
Mystische Rose" ("The Mystical Rose") followed by a very
laughable comedy by the boys that bore the title "Ei, so beiss !"
("Why don't you bite !") In the evening at 8 o'clock there was
a reception for the attending guests, about 100 in number, at
which Mr. Ricker, president of the day, gave a short address of
welcome, after which Father Bruener entertained the audience
with a speech that was full of pithy, witty remarks and allusions,
whilst the teachers' choir, under direction of Prof. Singenberger,
as well as the church choir and the "W. C. U. Band" added to
the pleasure of the evening, with a number of appropriate selec-

On the following day, Aug. 18th, the celebration began
already near the hour of seven, when a monster parade was
formed, in which the school children and societies of all the
parishes took part, followed by the clergy and church boards in
carriages. 5

At 10 o'clock there was Pontifical High Mass, celebrated by
Bishop Katzer of Green Bay, assisted by Fathers Johannes and
Schlotmann as deacon and sub-deacon, and Father Anselm
Mfueller, O. F. M., as master of ceremonies, after which Bishop
Marty of Dakota delivered an eloquent sermon, in the course of
which he reviewed the work accomplished during the fifty years
now past, and exhorted all to show their gratitude to God by
striving to do still greater things in the future. At 12 o'clock
was served a banquet in the school hall. At 3 :30 o'clock Pon-
tifical Vespers took place, followed by Benediction and "Te
Deum." In the evening, after dark, the guests were taken
through the city in 24 open carriages, followed by a guard of 300
men, to view the decorations and the illumination, which, accord-
ing to daily papers, greatly surpassed every previous attempt in
that direction ever made in the city.

On Friday, Aug. 19th, a Solemn Requiem Mass was offered
for the deceased members of the congregation, and this con-
cluded the Golden Jubilee celebration.

As a Golden Jubilee gift from the Ladies' Society and the


Young Ladies' Sodality the church received that rare work oi
art, the sanctuary carpet, measuring 20 feet square, which on ac-
count of its priceless value is used on the most solemn occasions
only, and may be seen in the sanctuary during the coming cele-
bration of the Diamond Jubilee. The design of this masterpiece,
which is copied from the famous drawing of Prof. Klein for St.
Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna and which was artistically
executed by the Misses Joerres of Munich, is typical of the
Church and the means of grace laid down therein by Jesus
Christ. The ark in the center, into which every species of
animal is entering for refuge from the deluge, is a figure of the
Church, in which all who enter can find salvation for their soul,
the enclosed altar from which issue flames, being an emblem of
the Sacred Heart of Jesus burning with love for men. The nar-
row bridge over which the animals pass into the ark, and the
dragons lying beneath molesting them, remind us of the narrow
path to Heaven and of the hellish monsters seeking our destruc-
tion. Above the ark there is a fountain which with its seven
streams that are flowing from it, is the emblem of the merits of
Christ which come to us through the Seven Sacraments, symbol-
ized in the various figures around the ark. Quotations of Scrip-
ture and from the Office of the Feast of the Sacred Heart, which
are skilfully woven in between, give further explanation of the
beautiful conception underlying the whole. Truly a triumph of
Christian art!

It was on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee that Father
Bruener published his famous "Kirchengeschichte Quincy's"
("Church History of Quincy"), a record of Catholic activity
throughout the city from its origin to his own day, in the prep-
aration of which the author made the most exhaustive researches,
with the result that he has given to the Catholics of Quincy, and
especially to the members of this parish, an historical work of
most interesting as well as invaluable information, whilst for
himself he has placed a monument more durable than stone or
bronze, and has merited the title "The Historian of St. Boniface."

But whilst the joyful Jubilee celebration was going on,
Father Bruener was harboring other thoughts, which he care-
fully concealed, however, from even his most intimate friends.
But the wily Father Pesch surmised the secret, and when on the
10th of November, the feast day of Father Bruener's patron

Temporary Chapels of Primitive Days

\Vln-i < the First Mass \V r as Said in Quincy

This little brick house stood on the east side of Fourth street, about 100 feet north of
Jersey street, and was erected about 1832 by Adam Schmitt. In the front room his wile
conducted a little variety store, whilst the rear was used tor a living room. When Father
Lefevre made an occasional visit to Quincy, this room was used as a chapel, where he per-
formed his priestly ministrations and offered up the First Mass that was ever said in Qnin-
cy. Sometimes when this room could not be vacated, he would transfer his headquarters
to the little carpenter shop of Mr. .Schmitt, that stood in the rear, and there the Holy Sacri-
fice was offered, witli a carpenter's bench for an altar.

"Chapel of the Ascension of Christ.*'

From a Drawing by G. Frank Wellman.

This two-story frame building, located cm the northewst corner of Eleventh and Broad-
way, was erected by the same Adam Schmitt, in 1837, and occupied by him for some time
as a residence. When Father Brickwedde came to Quincy in August, the upper story was
fitted out as a chapel, which was dedicated under the title of the "Ascension of Christ."
The entire district, which was thus the cradle of the future St. Boniface Congregation, be-
came very appropriately known as "Bethlehem."


saint, he was sent to invite the priests of the city, as well as the
trustees and directors of the church, to spend a social evening at
the rectory, he hinted to them his suspicions that the "party"
being planned by his pastor would turn out to be one of farewell.
The assembled guests soon began a rigid cross-examination of
their generous host, and before the evening had advanced very
far, they obtained from him an open confession that he was about
to leave them to join the Franciscan Order. The teacher and
organist at that time, Mr. Huck, had also received a 'tip" from
Father Pesch, and soon he arrived on the scene with the choir,
who had assembled to give their beloved pastor a last
serenade, and then to bid him a fond adieu. In the meantime,
about 10 o'clock, Father Michael Weis, the new pastor appointed
by the bishop, arrived, and Father Bruener, after introducing his
successor, sets out that very night for Teutopolis, where under
the name of Father Leo he assumes the habit and becomes an
humble son of St. Francis.


The Financier oi St. Boniface.

Nov. lOth, 1887 Nov. 9th, 19O9.

A great reduction had already been made in the debt of the
church through the strenuous efforts of Fathers Janssen and
Bruener. A continuance of this good work was one of the prin-
cipal issues that confronted Father Weis when he became their
successor. And so bravely did he undertake the work, so suc-
cessfully did he carry it through, that in the course of only five
years he had canceled over half of the debt, and in spite of the
many costly improvements which he was compelled to make
since then, he left only $7,023.40 to be paid by his successor,
thus meriting the title which we have given him above, "The
Financier of St. Boniface."

The main increase of the parish income came from house
collections, of which in the first nine years he took up eight, with
an average return of over $1850.00, as also from the annual pic-
nics, festivals and other entertainments, which in the same
period of time brought an average revenue of more than $1300.00
a year. But let us follow the new pastor from the beginning of
his career at St. Boniface.


The first occurrence of importance, not only for this parish
but for the Church at large, was the Golden Jubilee of Pope Leo
XIII, who on Dec. 31st, 1887 had been ordained priest just fifty
years. The outer celebration at St. Boniface took place already
on December 28th, the feast of the Holy Innocents, and con-
sisted of two entertainments, the one in the afternoon being
given entirely by the children, whilst the other in the evening
was mainly in the hands of their elders, with addresses in
German and English, a number of musical selections by the choir,
and a little playlet by the boys of the school, on the program.
The church celebration of the Jubilee, however, had been set
by Father Janssen, who since the death of Bishop Baltes, was
administrator of the diocese, for the following Sunday, January
1st, when the parishioners were invited to offer up Communion
for the Holy Father, and a solemn "The Deum" was chanted
after the parochial Mass.

On December 1st of this year our able and zealous sacristan,
George Schmeing, assumed his duties, being the successor to
August Menke, and now that be is about to celebrate his 25th
anniversary in that capacity, let us say that he has always been a
hard and willing worker, ready to lend a helping hand wherever
he can, making himself useful at many different trades and there-
by saving the parish a great amount of expense, respected and
loved on account of his genial ways by young and old alike,
who could ill afford to get along without "George."

About this time was organized our celebrated "Columbia
Dramatic Club" (the name however being of later origin), which
since then has been a permanent adjunct to the Young Men's So-
ciety and through it to St. Boniface Church at large, and through
its brilliant theatrical performances given at regular intervals
has done much to foster the best interests of both. It lists in its
repertoire a score or more of the greatest successes in recent
years, and through its masterly interpretation of the same, has
placed itself on a plane that is reached by very few similar or-
ganizations of amateurs, and which many professionals can not
even retain. In its early history the Columbia Dramatic Club
elected no officers outside of its director, which position is still
held with ever increasing merit by its original organizer, Will H.
Sohm. For some years however, the organization has had its
regular staffs, the following being the present incumbents :

St. Boniface Church in Former Days

First Church, School and Parsonage, Erected 1838.

Second Church Erected 1839-184O.


John A. Ohnemus, President; Dr. Albert H. Sohm, Vice-Presi-
dent; Will H. Sohm, Director and Electrician; Frank X. Hell-
mer, Ass't. Director; Geo. Seifert, Stage Manager; Hy. Stein-
kamp, Stage Carpenter and Property Man ; John L. Otten, Chief

On April 25th, 1888, occured the consecration of Father
Janssen, former pastor of St. Boniface, as the first bishop of the
Belleville Diocese, whilst the diocese of Alton, was
to receive a new head in the person of Father James Ryan of
Ottawa in the diocese of Peoria, whose consecration had been set
for May 1st. On the previous Sunday, which was April 29th,
a meeting of all the men and young men societies of the parish
was held to make the final arrangements for an excursion to
Alton for the occasion, at which both Father Weis and Father
Pesch his assistant were present. On June 16th, the newly con-
secrated bishop comes for the first time to Quincy, where he is
met by members of the various societies, and after celebrating
Pontifical High Mass the next day, administers the Sacrament
of Confirmation.

On August 15th of this year Geo. P. Willhauck becomes the
successor to Oscar P. Huck as organist and teacher, which
double position he filled most ably, taking great interest not only
in his work in church and at school but also giving invaluable
assistance in preparing the various parish entertainments, as well
as in the management of different societies, until after a severe
attack of pneumonia he resigned his position in June, 1909 to
take a much needed rest and regain his strength.

On February 27th, 1889 the first diocesan synod was con-
vened by Bishop Ryan at Alton, and Father Weis was present
for the occasion. The feast of St. Boniface, June 5th, was ob-
served with a High Mass, followed by procession with the relic
of the Saint, after which the parishioners paraded to Kaiser's
Garden, to enjoy a genuine German "Volksfest.." The principal
items of expense for the year were $414.83 for laying the sewer
on Maine and Hampshire streets, and $549.05 for repairs on the
various parish buildings, including the church and school.

On June 8th, 1890 a mass-meeting of members of all the
German parishes was held at St. Boniface School Hall for the
purpose of devising means to defeat the notorious Edwards'
School Bill, which besides the provision for free text-books,


that would mean a great increase in taxes, also contained a
clause to the effect that all children of the proper age must at-
tend a school approved by the State, in consequence of which
our parish schools would either come under State control or be
compelled to close their doors. Needless to say the bill was
never put into effect.

On June 25th of this year Father Francis Xavier Schonlau
comes to St. Boniface as assistant to Father Weis, to succeed
Father Pesch, who left on the following day.

Some time this year, the "St. George's Literary and Athletic
Club" was organized by Prof. Willhauck, for which the follow-
ing officers were elected : President, Arnold Dreisoerner, Vice-
President, Frank Moller; Secretary, George J. Heintz; Treas-
urer, Frank Hellmer; Instructor, William Thoele. This Club
was formed especially for boys from 12 to 16 years of age, who
were not yet eligible to membership in the St. Joseph Young
Men's Society; and its object in accordance with the old saw
"a sound mind in a sound body" was by means of
athletic exercises, to develop physical strength in its members,
whilst their powers of mind were to receive new stimulus from
recitations spelling-bees, debates, dramas and the like which
were provided at regular intervals. Beginning with April 21st,
1898, a paper with Frank Weisenhorn and Joseph Fisher as
editors, was published whenever these gentlemen "saw fit," the
first three numbers of which are in our possession, and form very
interesting reading matter, the very first issue, for instance, al-
ready giving the final solution of the important and perplexing
question, whether a hen "sets" or "sits" on an egg. Much in-
terest was taken in the Club during the entire period of its ex-
istence, the membership usually ranging from 75 to 100, until in
1904 it turned over its effects to the newly organized St. Boni-
face Social Club, and ceased to exist as an independent organi-

The following extraordinary expenditures occured in the
course of the year: June 17th, $540.16 to E. Best & Co. for lay-
ing a sewer; August 30th, $2231.00 to H. N. Farrar for paving
on Hampshire street; September 2nd, $145.00 to E. Best & Co.
for putting water pipes in the cemetery ; October 1st, $740.37 for
paving on Maine street.

At a meeting of the church board, January llth, 1891, it was

Present St. Boniface Chnrch

Corner-Stone laid May 26th, 1847

Consecrated by Archbishop Kenrick of St. I v ouis, October 12nd, 1848.
Present Spire built in 1882.


decided that the organ in church should be repaired as soon as
possible, which work was allotted to the Lancashire-Marshall
Organ Co. for $300.00. It was also agreed that the parochial
residence should be remodeled by adding several new rooms in-
cluding a kitchen, and putting in new windows, the plans for
these improvements to be drawn up by Henry Schenk. Finally
provision was made to take away some of the soil surrounding
the church and parsonage, so as to lead the water away from the
walls and render them less moist ; also to have sewer connections
made for all the parochial buildings not yet so equipped; the
total cost of these improvements amounting to over $1100.00.

On July of this year, the corner-stone of the new St. Mary's
Church was laid by Bishop Ryan, and the various societies of
St. Boniface Parish attended the ceremony in a body.

On August 21st of the following year, the laying of the cor-
ner-stone of St. Rose's Church takes place, again the societies
attend in numbers, the St. Joseph Young Men's Society headed
by its new banner which had been solemnly blessed by Father
Weis that very same morning after Mass.

On Oct. 7th, 1892, the property on Seventh and Jersey
streets, with the building that had served successively as a Meth-
odist church, St. Boniface School and St. Joseph's Negro Church,
was sold to Messrs Meyer & Tacke for a consideration of $2,800,
of which $800 was paid in cash, the balance being secured by a
mortgage which was released April 10th, 1911, when the place
was transferred to John MHisolino, the well-known fruit dealer.
who has since erected a warehouse on the site.

In this year, 1892, occured the 400th anniversary of the
discovery of America by Christopher Columbus, and in obedi-
ence to the wishes of the Holy Father expressed in a special
encyclical "Quarto Abrupto Saeculo" dated July 16th, 1892, the
occasion was celebrated at St. Boniface Church with a special
High Mass in honor of the Blessed Trinity on Sunday, October
16th. On Friday, October 21st, the eve of the landing of the
great Catholic discoverer, a public celebration took place in
which the children of all the schools took part, 1400 of the 6000
being Catholic. But since in these common exercises the re-
ligious element had to be excluded, the Catholics of Quincy
held another celebration for themselves in the evening, the
feature of which was a monster torch-light parade, in which
the men and young men of all the parishes, to the number of over


2000 took part, followed by an enthusiastic mass-meeting in
Washington Square, where several appropriate addresses were
made, a hymn composed by Prof. Singenberger especially for the
occasion was sung, and a solemn "Te Deum" closed the day.
A special dispensation to eat meat on this day had been granted
by the Holy Father.

On December 8th, the new St. Marys Church was dedicated
and various organizations of St. Boniface again attended.

The Young Ladies' Sodality this year made a present to
the church of the beautiful baldachin or canopy, which is still

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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 5 of 12)