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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5th of July Father Weis again received a second assistant, this
time in the person of Father Henry Frost, who however, re-
mained only until Aug. 29th, when he was transferred to Ste.
Marie in Jasper county.

From Nov. 28-30th of this year a fair was held at the
school hall, in which unusual interest was shown by the parish-
ioners and which netted in consequence the neat sum of $1,452.64.

About this time the three altars of the church, which had ac-
quired considerable dirt, were repainted and regilded by Geo.
Starmann assisted by John A. Sohm, the cost of the improve-
ment, $1,000.00, being defrayed by Mrs. Geo. Fischer, who also
presented to the church a beautiful set of six new candlesticks
for one of the side altars, whilst for the other Mrs. Geo. Star-
mann made a similar donation.

Before the close of the year a new sanctuary carpet was do-
nated by the Ladies' Society, at a cost of $128.63, it being the
same one which is still doing service there.

On July 1st of 1908 Father Frank Lucius came as second
assistant at St. Boniface, but left again on Aug. 31st, to exchange
places with Father John Marion, assistant at Newton, who ar-
rived here on Sept. 2nd and remained until June 30th, 1911, when
he became pastor of St. Alphonsus Church at Brighton, after
having devoted himself especially to the care of the sick, with
whom he was in great demand.

In this year the beautiful gold-plated sanctuary lamp which
is now aglow before the tabernacle, was donated by Mrs. Joseph
Freiburg, Sr.

In the course of the summer of 1908 improvements amount-
ing to $4,485.66 were made in the school. These improvements
consisted in laying in a steam-heating plant to be operated with
city steam, and in converting the southeast corner of the base-


ment of the building into two sanitary toilet rooms for the
children. The plans and specifications for this work were drawn
by Architect Ernest Wood, after which the following contracts
were awarded : Plumbing to Ernst & Winking for $3,666.50 ; car-
penter-work to Baltas Schullian for $149.00 ; brick-work to Hy.
Konefes for $55.00 ; painting and glazing to George Starmann
for $260.00 ; concrete-work to Roeder & Greemann for $246.00 ;
plastering to Emil Schmitz for $197.00. The work was begun in
the middle of July and completed in the beginning of September.
These improvements in the school were continued the following
year when metal ceilings were put into the three class rooms and
the sodality chapel on the second floor, and all the rooms were
kalsomined and fitted out with electric lighting, the following
contracts having been awarded : Metal ceilings to George Wink-
ing, $348.35 ; electric wiring to the Gem City Electric Co. for
$134.18; kalsomining to George Starmann for $254.75.

In June, 1909, Mr. Willhauck resigned as teacher and or-
ganist at St. Boniface. The vacancy in school was filled by en-
gaging an additional Sister whilst the organist's position was
temporarily filled by Mr. Huck who acquitted himself of the
task imposed upon him with pristine brilliancy and would gladly
have been retained as permanent organist had he consented to
accept the proposal. As it was, Mr. Deringer, who had been
engaged in a similar capacity at Fort Wayne, Iowa, was finally
given the appointment and was organist from Sept. 1909, to Jan.
1910, when he was succeeded by John L. Jung, who had shown
great ability as organist at Milwalkee and Superior, and who
was achieving similar success at St. Boniface when he resigned
Sept. 1st, 1912, to accept a more lucrative position in Los An-
geles, Calif. He was succeeded by Prof. John Kieffer, who is the
present organist and also the teacher of the highest grade of

In August, 1909, occurred at St. Louis, Mb., the ordination
to the holy priesthood and the First Mass of Rev. Herman Tenk,
the son of the late John Herman Tenk and a former member of
St. Boniface.

But the principal event to record this year is one of a dif-
ferent nature entirely, it being the death of Father Weis, the
saintly and zealous guardian of his flock. For some years al-
ready, the health of the venerable pastor had shown a decline.


But being a man of exceptionally strong will, and considering his
frequent indispositions merely the natural result of advancing
age, he paid very little attention to it, at least so far as inter-
rupting his daily work was concerned. In the meantime the
actual cause of the trouble (cancer) was steadily gaining
ground, until in the spring of 1909 his condition was such that
he was simply compelled to leave his post and go to St. Mary's
Hospital. Here he stayed from April 30th until July 21st, when
he made a change to St. Vincent Home. But in spite of the most
conscientious care on the part of the good Sisters of both institu-
tions, his strength was growing less from day to day, as could
be seen especially when he paid an occasional visit to St. Boni-
face, as for instance on the 23rd of May, when he came to give
First Communion to the children, and on Sept. 29th, his patron
feast, when he came again to sing Hjigh Mass and attend the
children's celebration in his honor. Within the next month al-
ready his condition grew so bad that the end was almost daily
looked for, which, however, did not come until Tuesday, Nov.
9th, when at the hour of 12 he peacefully passed to his reward,
edifying all present with the heroic patience amid the most ex-
cruciating pains, in which he persevered until the end. The
tolling of bells of all the Catholic churches announced the sad
message that Father Weis was dead, and the universal gloom
that overcast the city, showed the love and esteem in which the
venerable pastor was held by all. Special services for the repose
of his soul were arranged at once, consisting of a daily Requiem
Mass in the morning and the Rosary at night until the day of the
funeral. The precious remains were at once removed to the par-
sonage, where they lay in state from Sunday afternoon till Mon-
day, when at 3 o'clock they were borne in procession to the
church, to be viewed by the public until 8 :30 A. M. of the follow-
ing day, the time set by the bishop for the burial service. A full
account of this is given in an entry of Edward Sohm, Sr., secre-
tary of the church board, in the parish records under date of
Nov. 16th, from which we quote the following:

"Early this morning the various societies met at the par-
sonage, from where, at 8 :30 o'clock they marched to St. Boniface
Church and took their respective places. At the appointed time
the Office of the Dead was said, folowed with the Solemn
Requiem Mass, celebrated by Rev. Bernadine Weis, O. F. M., a
brother of the deceased, assisted by Rev. Joseph Meckel, of





Alton, 111., and Rev. A. Zurbonsen of St. Mary's, this city, Rev.
A. G. Kunsch, of St. Boniface, master of ceremonies. Rt. Rev.
Bishop James Ryan, of Alton, 111., assisted at the throne. Fol-
lowing the Mass, Rev. Joseph Meckel delivered a short and
tender tribute to the memory of the deceased, in which he re-
called the many functions in which he took part, the Baptisms
and Marriages, and the many Communions he administered to
children and older members of the parish. After the sermon the
Rt. Rev. Bishop Ryan conducted the Absolution. This concluded
the services at the church, and the casket was closed and carried
by the pall-bearers, Edward Sohm, George Fischer, Joseph
Lubbe, Frank Sonnet, Oscar P. Huck, Jos. Jacoby, John Sohm
and Frank Hellmer, from the church to the hearse, which was
drawn by four white horses.

The funeral cortege slowly moved toward St. Boniface Cem-
etery. The entire funeral was under the direction of Joseph J.
Freiburg, while Joseph H. Sohm was the chief marshal, assisted
by Hy. Wiskirchen and Wm. Krewet. Each society was in charge
of its own marshal. The funeral procession was headed by a
cross-bearer and twenty-five altar boys, followed by the school
children numbering 204. Next came the societies in rotation as
follows : Young Ladies' Sodality, St. Elizabeth Ladies' Society,
St. Boniface Men's Society, St. Joseph Young Men's Society, St.
Nicholas Branch, No. 1, W. C. U., St. Peter's Branch No. 16, W.
C. U., St. Aloysius Orphan Society. All societies were well rep-
resented. The mourners all walked four abreast, the hearse
being followed by the principal mourners, the local and visiting
clergy, and Sisters of the various institutions of the city in car-
riages. After the solemn procession reached the cemetery, the
mourners opened rank from the entrance to the grave, to where
the casket was carried, followed by the principal mourners, after
which the procession joined and closed in, the choir singing the
Miserere on the way to the grave. After the usual prayers, the
casket was lowered and the solemn service came to a close, after
which all had an opportunity to drop the sprig of cedar which
each carried, into the grave. Besides the bishop, Rt. Rev. James
Ryan, a great number of visiting priests were present. As a
finale it may be said that old St. Boniface Church was filled to
overflowing at the funeral, many were compelled to stand, and
during the entire night previous to the funeral, where the corpse
lay in state, a continuous stream of citizens passed the bier to


give the last farewell look to the distinguished priest and

On the same day the following beautiful tribute to Father
Weis appeared editorially in the Quincy Herald :

"Today a cititzen of Quincy, who for a quarter of a century
had occupied a prominent place in the lives of hundreds of
Quincyans, was borne to his grave. No municipal politician, no
famed financier, no giant in the world of business, was the man
who was given today the distinguished honors of a most stately
and solemn burial. Even in this age honors are given to the
man who has consecrated his life to other than earthly and nat-
ural pursuits. Citizens of Quincy, regardless of religion, will
revere the memory of Dean Michael Weis. To the members
of the parish he was indeed a father, and they feel keenest the
grief of his passing. To others, not members of St. Boniface, and
to the entire city, Dean Weis had been known as a good priest,
a saintly man, whose life, as nearly as can be in this age, was
dedicated to the service of God.

"The extent or the exact nature of the work which a man
like Dean Weis does for a community, is difficult to determine,
yet silent and far-reaching are the results of the faithful, religious
ministrations of a good priest. In the quarter century in which
Dean Weis had been at St. Boniface, the world has been fast
losing its religious moorings. To men like the Dean, who was
buried today, has been given the great mission to keep humanity
out of the ruins and unhappiness of the life of sordidness and
self-gain. The honest and sincere man of religion leaves a last-
ing impression and influence for the good in the community in
which he has worked. Citizens of Quincy, Protestant and Cath-
olic, are scattering the flowers of informal eulogies over the body
of Dean Michael Weis. Peace to his ashes."

Just a week later, a letter was received from the bishop, in
which Father Kunsch was appointed acting rector of St. Boni-
face until July 1st, of the folowing year, the date set for the ap-
pointment of a new permanent pastor, and in which was inclosed
the subjoined communication to be read to the parish on the fol-
lowing Sunday:

Dear Brethren of St. Boniface:

The sympathy of the whole diocese goes forth to you in the
death of your pastor, the venerable Dean Weis. The years of his



priesthood covered in very large part the years of the diocese
itself. He began amidst its early struggles and hardships, and
was always well at the front in all its works and labors. He
held many offices, and filled them all with the same devoted ex-
actness and marked ability as you have witnessed in his care of
this large and important parish for more than twenty years.

The animating motive, the overmastering principle of his
life, was the thought of duty to do the holy will of God, to walk
in the way of His commandments and the precepts of His Holy
Church; and, in the spirit and requirement of his high vocation
to lead all within his care and influence to do likewise. In the
laxness and looseness of the time such a life of unswerving
duty, day in and day out through so loug a course of years, is
sublime in its lesson to us all. The genuineness of the heart of
the man and the true priest of God showed itself especially in
the care of the school and his constant fatherly interest in the
children and all that pertained to them the last effort, the last
strain of his physical powers was to be with them in their little
festival of honor.

We accompany him with the Holy Sacrifice and our prayers
to the footstool of God, confident that few go forth from the
world better prepared. The sense of his great work, my breth-
ren, grew upon you with the years, and what impressed most in
the magnificent Requiem, with which you consigned what was
mortal of him to the grave, was the knowledge that your whole
heart was in it. In the words of Holy Scripture: Blessed are
the dead, who die in the Lord; for, behold, now they have rest
from their labors and their works do follow them."

JAMES RYAN, Bishop of Alton.

To the beautiful tribute contained in these words the writer
wishes only to add the statement that he considers it one of the
greatest graces of his life to have had the privilege of beginning
his own priestly career under the guidance of so saintly as well
as learned a man as Father Weis.

During the time which elapsed between the death of Father
Weis, Nov. 9th, 1909, and the arrival of his successor, July 1st,
1910, nothing of special importance occurred in the parish. As
an item of interesting information we might mention that on
April 4th, 1910, the Sisters of St. Vincent Home celebrated the
25th anniversary of their arrival in Quincy, which occasion was


celebrated by all the Catholic parishes conjointly, in each of
which a special house collection was taken up for the Home,
which resulted in a total of $2,073.00, of which $530.45 came from
St. Boniface.

About this time the organ of the church was again in need
of repairs consisting of tuning and the adjustment of its action,
which caused an outlay of $70.60, but left the instrument in better
shape than it had ever been before.

A day of most happy memories for the writer was the Feast
of the Blessed Trinity, May 22nd, when he had the privilege, for
the first time in his priestly career, of admitting to their First
Communion a class of children whose names are as follows :
Richard Brandt, Otto Duker, Elmo Ernst, Arthur Gehring, Ed-
ward Gehring, Austin Jacobs, Walter Jansen, Carl Kaltenbach,
Emmet Kientzle, George Konefes, Frank Rexing, Frank Siepker,
Frank Steinkamp, Albert Schwarte, John Terliesner, Austin
Terwische, Edward Timpe, Joseph Ulrich, Lawrence Weltin.
M]arion Wilde, Helen Boedige, Elizabeth Brandt, Mary Brandt,
Elizabeth Buschmann, Elizabeth Entrup, Irene Feld, Gertrude
Freiburg, Martha Granacher, Clara Johannes, Edith Joseph,
Clara Loenker, Marie Mast, Marie Menke, May Bell Meyer,
Martha Meyer, Marie Mueller, Dorothy Rehm, Florence Rupp,
Mildred Schmitt, Leona Stegemann, Helen Timpe and Gertrude
Winking. May they ever persevere as pure and innocent as they
were on that solemn occasion !


The Renovator oi St. Boniface.

July 1st, 19 1O.

The gloom that had been cast over St. Boniface Parish at
the death of Father Weis. began to be dispelled when the parish-
ioners learned of the appointment of so worthy a successor as
Father Degenhardt, who for 31 years had filled a most difficult
charge at Collinsville, where, in spite of obstacles, however, he
had accomplished things that sent his fame before him. Father
Degenhardt was scheduled to arrive in Quincy July 1st, and of
the reception, both informal that same day, as well as formal on
the following Sunday, Secretary Edward Sohm gives the follow-
ing detailed account in his record under date of July 3rd:


"Father Kunsch was informed by Rev. Father Degenhardt
that he would arrive in Quincy Friday evening, July 1, 1910. and
by prior arrangement Father Kunsch and Edward Sohm were
appointed and requested to meet Father Degenhardt at Han-
nibal, Mo., to act in part as an advance reception committee. The
committee performed their duty and met our esteemed new
rector at Hannibal, where they had the pleasure of making his
acquaintance and bidding him a hearty welcome. On the train's
arrival at Quincy, Father Degenhardt was met by the other
members of the church board and conveyed in an automobile to
his new charge, his first visit being the entering of St. Boniface
Church, his new field of labor, and offering up a prayer, no doubt
asking God's grace, blessing and protection to successfully per-
form his arduous duties in the vineyard of the Lord. Afterwards
the party proceeded to the parsonage, where the ladies of the
parish had prepared a luncheon, which was enjoyed amid good
cheer by all, and the new rector was installed in his new home.

This evening, Sunday, July 3, 1910, the members of St. Bon-
iface Congregation gave a public reception at St. Boniface School
Hall to their new priest, Rev. H. B. Degenhardt, who arrived in
Quincy, July 1, 1910, from Collinsville, 111., to take charge of St.
Boniface Congregation. He was escorted to the hall by the trus-
tees and directors, where a large number of the congregation had
assembled to meet their new pastor. The hall was decorated
with palms and potted plants and various banners of the socie-
ties. Father Degenhardt was given a seat of honor in the center
of the stage, his assistants, Rev. A. Kunsch and Rev. J. Marion
seated on either side of him, while the trustees and directors oc-
cupied chairs on either side of them. Rev. Kunsch briefly intro-
duced Edward Sohm, one of the oldest members and for thirty-
two years secretary of the board of trustees. Mr. Sohm extended
a hearty welcome in behalf of the congregation, and then briefly
outlined the history of the church, mentioning incidentally that
St. Boniface Church was the oldest German church on the entire
Mississippi River. The church was founded in 1837, and two
years hence can celebrate its Diamond Jubilee which can be made
a most notable Catholic event in the Catholic history of Quincy.
Father Degenhardt responded in his quiet, modest manner, ex-
pressing his heartfelt thanks for the magnificent style in which
he had been treated since his arrival and for the reception ten-
dered, giving him an opportunity to meet his parishioners face


to face. Father Degenhardt also stated that he was particularly
thankful to the Rt. Rev. Bishop Ryan for the retention of Rev.
A. G. Kunsch as assistant priest at St. Boniface. Rev. Degen-
hardt's address came from the heart, and was so received by his
audience. After the formality of the reception had come to an
end the choir sang and the Columbia Orchestra rendered some
beautiful selections, during which the members of the church
were given an opportunity to shake hands with their pastor and
to exchange a few words with him."

With the advent of Father Degenhardt as pastor, begins a
new era in the history of the parish, an era of progress and im-
provements, wherefore we have surnamed him "The Renovator
of St. Boniface." His first endeavor was to pay off the remain-
ing debt of the church, and for this purpose different means were
at once devised. In the fall of the same year he personally vis-
ited all the members of his flock, taking up a census and inci-
dentally a collection from which $3,614.00 was realized. An ice
cream social given by the Young Ladies' Sodality on Aug. 19th,
had already netted $100.00. The proceeds of the Thanksgiving
Day celebration this year reached the $1,000.00 mark. Also the
pew rent and the Sunday collections began to rise, whilst the in-
debtedness quickly fell, until now the parish is entirely free from

Simultaneously with the paying off of debts, a number of
extensive improvements were made in and about the premises
of the church. During the summer of 1911 a new granitoid side-
walk that cost $265.85 was laid in front of the church, whilst a
little later the east side of the entire property as far as the alley
received a similar improvement amounting to $440.72.

During the months of July and August, 1911, the whole in-
terior of the church was decorated by Hepfinger Brothers of Chi-
cago, at the cost of $2,500.00 exclusive of the scaffold, which was
erected and removed by Wm. Bauhaus for $231.00. The decora-
tion included the retouching of all the statues in the church, as
well as the stations and their frames. Eight new paintings in the
form of medallions for the ceiling were also comprised in the
contract. These medallions, every one a masterpiece, are the
work of Emil Frei, the well-known artist of St. Louis, who is fast
becoming famous for his beautiful designs in stained glass win-
dows which he makes his specialty. Two of these new paintings


are in the sanctuary and depict Malachias and Melchisedech, re-
spectively, who in word and type foreshadowed the Sacrifice of
the Mass. Of the six remaining medallions, the four in the front
represent the four Greek Fathers of the Church, SS. Athanasius,
Basilius, Gregory and Chrysostom, who naturally should be as-
sociated with the four Latin Fathers already portrayed in the
sanctuary windows ; whilst the two in the rear and near the choir-
loft show David and St. Cecilia, the Old and New Testament
patrons of music. To defray the expense of this work of decor-
ating the church, Father Weis, the late pastor, had left $800.00,
Mrs. Elizabeth Oenning had donated $800.00, Mrs. Theresa Tenk
$500.00, the late Henry Tenk $300.00. The balance was defrayed
by means of a second house collection taken up by Father Degen-
hardt in the fall of the year, which brought the sum of $3,252.30.

Whilst Hepfinger Brothers were frescoing the church, Sister
M. Engelberta of the Order of Notre Dame, as mentioned before,
went to work to retouch the beautiful paintings of the high altar
and of the baptistry, for which work the Misses Heuer contrib-
uted $100.00 and Mrs. Crescentia Surmeyer $50.00.

When the frescoing had been completed, the pews received
attention. The projecting panel mouldings, which for many years
had been causing discomfiture to the good parishioners of St.
Boniface, especially during lengthy sermons, were replaced with
smaller ones, after which the entire church furniture was re-
varnished. The carpenter-work of this improvement was done
by Wm. Bauhaus at a cost of $142.90, whilst the painter's con-
tract, awarded to J. E. Houchens, successor to Geo. Starmann,
called for $163.95. The pulpit, and the altar of the Sorrowful
Mother in the baptistry were also repainted and regilded, which
latter work was artistically executed by our own John Sohm,
who also painted the panel pictures for the pulpit, representing
the four Evangelists. Next the electric lighting system was per-
fected by adding a row of concealed lights with powerful re-
flectors on each side of the sanctuary, which throw a flood of
brightest light upon the altar, whilst a number of visible lights
of low candle-power were set into the frames around the paint-
ings of the high altar, the cross of which was illuminated in a
similar way. The old style carbon filament bulbs in the entire
church were replaced with the more satisfactory and economical
tungsten variety. These improvements were carried out by the


Gem City Electric Co., at a cost of $143.37, of which $100.00
was donated by Joseph J. Freiburg, the balance being made up
of smaller donations.

Finally the outer wood-work of the church received a new
coat of paint which cost $170.00, whilst the cross of the steeple
was regilded and the ridges repainted at a cost of $108.00 for
labor and $57.90 for material. This latter work was done by H.
B. Hayne, a steeple-jack of exceptional daring, who spurned the
idea of erecting a scaffold, simply using a series of ropes and
blocks to raise himself to his sphere of operation.

As an additional equipment for the interior of the church, the

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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 8 of 12)