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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
August 12, 1988     The Message
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August 12, 1988

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00ureh, Ireland EVANSVILLE .Y EAST DEANERY ! urch founded in 1891 by German Catholics Townspeople wanted to call it "American City," but another settlement had already claimed that name. "Ireland" was the name chosen, instead -- in honor of the homeland of many early settlers, according to a golden }ubilee history published for the parish in 1941. The land on which the town was laid out was originally purchased from the federal government by John Stewart in 1816, the year Indiana became a state. A son, ]ames G. Stewart, was one of the town founders. Dubois County was a midway resting point between Louisville and Vincennes, on the old Buffalo Trace which provided the route for early settlers. Ireland may claim a place in history as the second settlement in Dubois County; only Portersville was founded earlier. Ireland was granted a post office, July 26, 1853 Catholics were not among the early settlers, who were predominantly Presbyterians, of Scotch-lrish descent, who came from Kentucky, v irginia, Maryland and the Carolinas. Early C Ltholics in Ireland were not Irish. ThOse who gathered in 1899 to discuss forming a new parish were Joseph Schuetter, Andrew Schmitt, James Schuler, Phillip Schwenk, Martin Semersheim, Andrew Fritch, Michael Steinhart, Pauline Hurst, John Renner and William C. Rennet. They were members of St. Joseph Church, Jasper; they hoped for a church more convenient to their homes. I Later, St. Mary Church was known familiarly as "Baby of Jasper" -- the new parish about three miles away fl;0m the parent St. Joseph Church. Hope led to planning. Planning led to action A building committe was formed; the members were ]ames Schuler, Andrew Schmitt and Phillip Schwenk. After consulatation with area pastors, they approached Abbot Fintan Mundweiler of St. Meinrad Abbey for his advice. They bought land from Albert H. Stewart, in the name of Bishop Francis Silas Chatard of Vincennes, April 24, 1890. The first church building was a neat frame structure, completed in 1891. Father Fidelis Maute, O.S.B., pastor at Jasper, was appointed to attend to the needs of the new parish at Ireland. A school was also started in 1891. The first teacher was Katie Radernacher, followed by Mary Schmitt and Lena Burger. Benedictine Sisters from Ferdinand came to teach in 1899. :, r" Benedictine Fathers Dominic Barthel and Martin Hoppenjahns, professors at Jasper College, helped until 1903, when Father Anthony Michel, O.S.B., was appointed first resident pastor. No {ime was wasted toward building a bigger church for the growing Catholic community. The cornerstone was laid, See ST, MARY page 11