History of Teutopolis, Effingham County
Zur Person

The History of

St. Francis Church, Teutopolis, Effingham Co, 1839

St. Francis Church is situated in Teutopolis, in the Township of the same name, about three miles east of Effingham, the County Seat. Though now famous chiefly as a center of Franciscan activity, its history dates back to about 1837. In that year Mr. Clement Uptmor and a number of other German emigrants, mostly from Oldenburg, Hanover and also from Westphalia, desiring to acquire their own homes at a reasonable cost and to preserve the faith more easily for their children, conceived the plan of founding a German colony in the West. They organized the "German Land Company" (Deutsche Landkompagnie). Each member paid monthly $5.00 until a sufficient sum had been collected. From nine charter members the number soon increased to one hundred forty-one. A committee consisting of Clem Uptmor, I., John Ferdinand Waschefort, and Gerard H. Bergfeld was sent out to find a suitable site for a colony. Setting out on April 17, 1837, they crossed Indiana (via Vincennes), explored a large part of Illinois, and came as far a Chillicothe, Mo. Disgusted with slavery in Missouri, the party returned via Quincy and Jacksonville, went to Vandalia, then the capital of Illinois, examined the books of the Land Office and chose the spot where Teutopolis now stands. The reason for this choice seems to have been the desire to get a sufficiently compact stretch of land and of woodland, because they were under the impression that the prairie land, then very swampy, was unhealthful and unproductive-like the heath of their nave land which was barren. They then returned to Cincinnati after an absence of fifteen weeks to report to the Company. They were silent about the site of the location, lest some speculator or disloyal by the land in question and make them pay a higher price. A commission was now appointed to examine the land. Messrs. Henry Bergfeld, George Meyer and Henry Roennebaum were selected and Mr. Clem Uptmor led them to the place now called Teutopolis on the old national road. After examining the plot of land, they purchased at Vandalia about ten thousand acres, paying $1.25 per acre except eighty acres for which they had to pay $5.00 each. The land belonged largely to veterans of the Black Hawk War.

On September 21, 1839, the new town was platted by John Waschefort, and recorded on November 27, 1839, at Cincinnati, Ohio. The forty-eight blocks have nine lots each with a frontage of fifty feet and a depth of five hundred thirty-three feet. Lots were set aside for Church, cemetery and market places. The eastern part of the present town was incorporated later on. The plat was recorded in Vandalia, June 9, 1841

In the fall of 1839 the lots, etc, were raffled in the old engine house at Cincinnati. Mr. J. F. Waschefort made out the deeds. The new town had to have a name. Various names were suggested but finally the name of Teutopolis was adopted at the suggestion of Most Reverend John Baptist Purcell, D.D., Archbishop of Cincinnati, since "Germantown" and "Hanover" had already been taken. Now the exodus from Ohio to Illinois began. Among the first members of the German Land Company to arrive at Teutopolis were Messrs. Hy Vormor (the only one who possessed a team of horses and a wagon) Hohn Herman Bergfeld, John Henry Uptmor and family and Mr. Toebee (Green Creek). Vormor lived for a short time at Gennivers (where is not he B. Overbeck farm near the Salt Creek, east of Effingham). John Hy Uptmor was the first one to own a house in Teutopolis and thus became the first citizen of the town. Meanwhile his brother, Clement, at Cincinnati married Mary Elizabeth Niehaus and with his wife, and with together with Clem Vahling and wife, and with his brother Herman Hy Uptmore and daughter Mary (Mrs. Theodore Pruemmer) cam to Teutopolis December 21, 1839. In 1839 or 1840 came H. Brummer, Joseph Ostendorf, Franz Moritz Masquelet, B. H. Vogt, Joseph Woermann, John Steinkes, Jacob Doedtmann; Mrs. J. F. Waschefort (1840), and J. G. Korfhagen in February, 1841.

To take care of the spiritual welfare, provision had probably been made at Cincinnati. On November 26 we find Father Masquelet baptizing one Elizabeth Boeckmann, born October 13, 1839. This must have been at Ginnevers (Barney Overback's farm). In February 1840, the Reverend Pastor, with five or six men, went into the forest north of town to fell the first trees for the log church. The fist on to be baptized in it was Henry Uptmor, "The Soldier."

As Father Masquelet insisted on getting a subscription for his salary before he would hear the confessions of the people, he got into trouble and began to build a second church about a mile and a half west of the village on Mueller's place between the railroad and the National Road.

Settlers living in the vicinity before the arrival of the Germans were: Messrs. Nick Radley; Bresley; Leavet; Genivers; H. Stallings, a Catholic; and Williams, a passionate hunter. (Thus old settlers informed Father Eugene in 1900.)

In April of 1840, the officers of the German Land Company at Teutopolis were Messrs. Clem Uptmor, Joseph Brockmann, and J. Herman Bergfeld who were authorized to receive new members. On June 1, 1840, Teutopolis numbered four houses. In 1842 a post office was begun and Mr. Clemet Uptmor, Sr., appointed the postmaster with his son Clement as Deputy postmaster. He held the office twenty-seven years. His successors were Jos. Habing, April 1869; Chas. Eversman, Mrs. M. Vonderheide, Daniel Ordner, Von Oy, Mr. Nuxoll, John Weiss and Mrs. John Weiss. The first saw mill was built by Mr. T. Pruemmer and Mr. Franz Schleper at Salt Creek. In 1842 Uptmor Brothers built a windmill on the present college grounds. Later on in 1857, Mr. J. Waschefort built a grist and saw mill operated by steam. In 1882, Uptmor and Siemer built a steam roller mill with a daily capacity of three hundred barrels. About 1845 or 1846 Teutopolis was incorporated as a village. It then numbered eight citizens and all except one were honored with an office. The nearest markets were first Terre Haute, and then St. Louis; later on Vandalia was added. Fever was epidemic. The earlier doctors were Brady Schinkel, Lange, Koch, and Eversman. Lather on Drs. J. and I. Brumleve, Westhoelter, F. J. Hoffman and Weisenhorn. Dr. F. Eversman came from Cincinnati in 1852.

Nor was education overlooked. In 1840 a log schoolhouse was put up and Mr. J. H. Raben was the first teacher. About six to seven attended the first school. On February 9, 1848, a severe storm uncovered all roofs in town except two. The church was uncovered exposing the altar, but the crucifix on the altar remained undamaged.

The following boys of Teutopolis took part in the Civil War; H. Uptmore, Jos. Bussman, John Eversman, Geo. Weiss, and John Zerrusen. The last two were killed in battle. Dr. Hy Eversman was a surgeon with an officer's rank.

In 1868 the Teutopolis Mutual Fire Insurance Company was founded. On April 6 of the same year, the citizens voted to take Railroad Stock to the amount of $15,000.00 in the Vandalia & Terre Haute railroad. On November 1, 1869, a freight train brought the first freight to Teutopolis. Mr. J. F. Waschefort passed away on January 18, 1879. Mr. Clemet Uptmor, IV, (teacher and merchant) followed him on the following day; Clemet Uptmore I went to his reward in August 1893. His brother, Henry, had preceded him on June 5, 1884.

St. Peter's Church, Teutopolis, Illinois 1840-1858

Pastor: Rev. Joseph Masquelet, (November 1839-43). According to Clem Uptmor II, his father, Clemet Uptmor I, Messrs. Waschefort and Bergfeld obtained the consent of Father Masquelet while they were yet in Cincinnati to be their pastor in the new colony. According to Mr. C. Nake, a brother-in -law of Father Masquelet, the priest lived with his parents near Greenup for two years and from there alternately attended Piquet's Settlement (St. Marie) and Teutopolis. He now moved with his parents to Teutopolis. At first he seems to have boarded at Ginnevers, (Judge Barney Overbeck's Farm) where Father Masquelet also baptized several children.

In February 1840, he began to cut trees for the log church, the exact dimensions of which are unknown, probably being 32x38 feet. The log church was surmounted by a low steeple in, which hung a bell, shipped from Cincinnati and said to have weighed seven hundred pounds. When Father Masquelet got into trouble about his salary, the people complained to the Right Reverend Celestine De. La St. Hailandiere, then bishop of the diocese, that the Pastor did not know Low German which a pastor at Teutopolis needed because the old people understood High German but imperfectly. And the priest must needs explain some things to their children in Low German. Father Masquelet now built a church one and one-half miles west of Teutopolis and started a cemetery there. Charles Eversman hints that perhaps he would eventually have started a town there; but this is uncertain. Father Joseph Masquelet labored later on in New Orleans, Louisiana, and eventually returned to France (Alsace). He came back again to visit Teutopolis first in 1855 and again in the seventies (from France) and gave a sum of money and a number of vestments to the Teutopolis church. Soon after his return to his native country he passed away.

While Teutopolis was without a resident pastor, a number of priests came occasionally from the Diocese of Vincennes to administer to the most pressing spiritual needs of the settlement. They were: Fathers Charles Joseph Oppermann, rector of the Priests' Seminary at Vincennes, Indiana; T. N. Mullen, O.S.A., of Newton, who did not understand the language of the Germans; Roman Weinzoepflen, O.S.B., then a young and zealous secular priest who had become famous because he became the innocent victim of black mail and owing to bigotry was detained several years in the penitentiary of Indiana until the wife of President James K. Polk, U.S.A., induced the governor to pardon the innocent priest. Mrs. Schmahl afterwards confessed to the fraud perpetrated by her, the purpose of which was to extort money. In 1890 Father Roman, O.S.B., celebrated his Golden Jubilee as a priest. His end came in 1895. The Eudist Father, J. Vabret, baptized several children in 1844. Finally, Teutopolis received a resident rector in the person of ev. Joseph Kuenster, (November 20, 1845, to July 1850). He signs himself "The First Resident Pastor." After leaving Teutopolis, he labored zealously at Quincy, Illinois, where he died in 1857. The Reverend Francis J. Fischer came over from time to time from St. Marie, Illinois, to administer the Sacraments to the Teutopolitans and neighboring Catholics of Effingham, Green Creek, etc., at Teutopolis. In November 1850, to June 1854, we find another priest residing at Teutopolis-the Reverend Joseph Zoegel. As the old log church had proved to be inadequate long before, Father Zoegel carried out what his predecessor had been unable to accomplish, the building of a new and more substantial brick church. Great was the difference of views over the site; a majority was for the old site about two blocks west of the present mill, but a low and swampy place; The determined minority who are said to have used unfair means to get the church for the eastern part of town, succeeded. Four trips on foot to Vincennes by the majority leader proved unavailing as the old place was too low and swampy. The new Bishop, Right Reverend James Oliver Vandevelde, of Chicago, was in favor of the new place and the matter having been decided by him, the day was set for laying the Corner-stone, July 20,1851. It was a splendid celebration. Father Zoegel sang the High Mass while his Lordship delivered the English sermon and Father Buschotts preached in German. About one hundred persons partook of the banquet served. In the evening there was a torchlight procession. All seemed happy. Mr. Caspar Nolte of St. Louis was contractor for the new church. The edifice as planned, perhaps the finest in Southern Illinois, was 110x60, the wall 30 feet and the steeple to be 180 feet high. The stone work was done in 1851. On March 27, 1853, divine Service was held for the first time in the still unfinished church. A number of parishioners, disgruntled by the site on which the church was built, refused to do their share. Bitter dissentions for many years delayed the progress of the Parish. At least twice the church was on the verge of being sold for debt. Some cherish land was sold to defray expenses, and as Mr. Huels had suggested a Mission was given by the Jesuit Fathers Weber and Patschowski, which helped to establish harmony. Father Weber remained a few weeks before returning to St. Louis, Missouri

Reverend Charles Raphael was the next resident Pastor. During his administration (July 1854, to November 1856) he organized St. Mary's Society for Married Ladies. He also said Mass occasionally at Bishop Creek School. Father Raphael died as Chaplain of the convent of the Good Shepherd at Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

After the rather short pastorate of Reverend H. Liermann (November 1856, January 1857) the Reverend Charles Zucker succeeded him. After three weeks he shook the dust of the town from his feet to seek a more congenial place of activity. Reverend T. Frauenhofer, who had been appointed the first resident Pastor of the neighboring Green Creek Parish, took pity on bereft Teutopolis and served during the interregnum.

The next resident priest was Reverend Joseph H. Fortmann mentioned in the records (August 1857m to January 1858) He took up a subscription for the erection of a rectory. For a time, the Pastor had lived in house belonging to Mr. J. F. Waschefort. The subscription amounted to $723.64. Soon after the Pastor had left for Peoria, he passed to his eternal reward on March 9, 1858.

Reverend Thomas Frauenhofer of Green Creek, Illinois, once more administered St. Peter's Parish until the Reverend Bartholomew Bartels, recently from Germany, was appointed to fill the vacancy at Teutopolis. As a rectory was a real necessity, he took up another subscription and began work on it, when the Bishop assigned the Franciscan Friars of the Saxon Province of the Holy Cross-to this Parish.

St. Peter's Congregation

Administered by the Franciscan Friars

The Friars arrived on September 23 and 26 respectively, and were hospitably received by the Pastor. They took formal charge of the Parish on October 3, 1858. Father Servatius Altmicks first gave a number of Missions in Southern Illinois, while the Superior, Father Damian, administed the parish. At the end of December, the Friars had moved into the rectory, which served as the first monastery. Father Capistran now succeeded Fr. Frauenhofer at Green Creek while Father Servatius took Father Fraunhofer's place at Effingham. When Father Damian Hennewig arrived, the Teutopolis church was little more than four bare walls. The steeple had not been built and the interior was just then being plastered. The altar was a temporary one, the boards being covered with cloth. A new large bell in honor of St. Peter was installed on September 22, 1860. On September 23, the church was consecrated in honor of St. Francis of Assissi with St. Peter as second patron. The heads of the families had pledged themselves to pay all debts. On July 28, 1867, two more bells were blessed in honor of St. Mary Immaculate and of St. Rose of Lima. Father Damian, in seeking to beautify the House of god, did not neglect the spiritual welfare of the Parish entrusted to his care. This needed even greater attention than the material and financial part. Owing to bitter dissentions and frequent change of Pastors or the absence of them, the spiritual condition of the people was far from satisfactory. In a letter dated May, 9, 1859, Father Damian writes to the Very Reverend Provincial in Germany: "Before the Mission, the Parish seemed to be a barren field. Hardly anyone showed a desire for the (frequent) reception of the Sacraments. Only to those in danger of death we were frequently called; for just then many were sick and not a few died. But after the mission, new life became apparent. The faithful learned to know us and we to know them. They are really an impressionable people, susceptible of good." The zealous shepherd next introduced the scapular and the Stations of the Cross. The Devotion of the Forty Hours was introduced with Episcopal approbation during the carnival days of 1859 and has been kept up since. Father Damian was also very anxious about good teachers and the higher education of the young people. He tried to get religious teachers from Europe, Brothers of III Order. The Notre Dame sisters came to Teutopolis at his invitation, December 7, 1861. Father Damian also built St. Joseph's College at the request of the Right Reverend Bishop. The Confraternity of the Sacred Heart of Mary for the conversion of sinners was also introduced by the saintly Father Damian. After his term of three years as superior, Father Damian was succeeded by the Reverend Mathias Hiltermann as Pastor and by Father Kilian as Superior while he took charge of the Green Creek congregation. Father Mathias, full of priestly zeal, labored indefatigably like his predecessor. He organized St. Joseph's Reading Club and Singing Society until some misunderstandings with the Bishop induced his transfer to St. Louis, Missouri.

Reverend Damian Hennewig was once more placed in charge of St. Francis Parish. For a lot adjoining the church $395.00 was paid on August 14, 1865. Mr. W. Stilleke was teacher and organist, May 1865-68. A new communion rail was installed. (Paid to Clem A. Riemann $25.60 for 128 staves for Communion Rail). On November 20, $100.00 was paid out for decorating the church. He planned the erection of a new school building but death prevented him from carrying out his plans. During his dying hours, he appointed Mr. Clemet Uptmor I as one of the Building Committee and requested through Father Mathias a donation of $50.00 for "A Good Cause" (probably for the school). As Father Damian suffered with consumption, he was often represented by Father Kilian or Father Eugene or Father Francis Moenning. The first Superior was also the first of the Fathers to pass away and the first to be buried in the newly constructed vault or mortuary chapel in the monastery garden. The Right Reverend Ordinary, Henry Damian Junker, D.D., Bishop of Alton, came to preside at the obsequies and deliver the funeral oration.

Reverend Mathias Hiltermann, O.F.M., was now recalled from St. Louis and took charge in December 1865. Father Mathias erected the Girl's School and Academy. The Cornerstone was laid on May 21, 1866. At the Solemn Dedication on August 15, 1867, the Commissary Provincial, Killian Schloesser, O.F.M., officiated and Reverend P. Servatius Altmicks came expressly from St. Louis, Missouri, to give the festive sermon for the occasion. The sisters moved into the new building on August 24. On May 1, 1868, the chapel in the convent, dedicated to the Sacred heart of Mary, was blessed by Father Killian who also read the first Mass in it on the same day and donated some of the most necessary equipment. Probably prior to November 1867, the present organ was installed by Mr. Cratian of Alton, Illinois. To this event clings the famous romantic story of the "Dutchtown War." It is hare to find reliable data of this curious episode and we can not vouch for all details of the humorous account in "The History of Effingham County." It seems, however, that some Yankees from the woods southwest of Teutopolis had observed at Effingham the unloading of the boxes containing the organ pipes and as they looked similar to the boxes in which Uncle Sam shipped guns and ammunition, the suspicion arose that the Dutch were importing arms to use against the Americans. Some Low German wag may have encouraged the hoax and the alarm caused, almost led to serious trouble. When, however, scouts examined the monastery and the church and found the mysterious cases to contain only organ pipes, the war was at an end "And Johnny Came Marching Home" waving the olive branch of peace. This seems to be the gist of the famous "Dutchtown War." Father Mathias also put up the steeple. The Society of Men paid for it.

In the summer of 1873 Father Mathias was succeeded as Pastor of St. Francis by the Reverend Gerard Becher, O.F.M. He enlarged the cemetery and had a walk built thither. At his invitation, the Reverend Franciscan Fathers Vincent Halbfas, Pancratius Schulte, and Matermus Mallmann preached a successful mission.

In December 1876, Father Gerard was assigned to St. John Church, Joliet, as Pastor and as the first Superior of the new residence there. His place at Teutopolis was now filled by the Reverend Master of Novices, Damascus Ruesing, O.F.M., (December 1876.) He procured the new Stations of the Cross, the Christmas Crib (except the Three Kings) and began to erect the Boy's School east of the church. When he was appointed one of the first Definitors of the Province of the Sacred Heart, the Reverend Dominic Florian, O.F.M., heretofore rector of St. Michael Parish at Sigel, was mad Pastor at Teutopolis. He changed St. Mary's Society of the Ladies into a Christian Mother Society and St. rose Young Ladies' Society into a Marian Sodality. He also finished the School and Hall begun by his predecessors.

Reverend Paul Teorerde, O.F.M., was the next Pastor of Teutopolis, (July 1879). He renewed the roof of the church, installed new windows, renewed the steeple in 1886, invited the Capuchin Fathers Capistran, Ignatius and Damian to give a Mission; enlarged the cemetery, bought a fine set of vestments for $500.00, ordered the statues of St. Louis and of the Guardian Angel, added steps to the Boy's School, enlarged the organ gallery and in 1886 installed a new tower-clock which came from Mr. Pollhans in St. Louis, Missouri, and cost $750.00. The St. Joseph's Men Society, St. Peter's Men Society, the Christian Mothers, and the Young Ladies' Sodality paid for this in part. Mr. J. Funnemann donated $100.00.

When the six years as guardian were up, Father Seraphin Lampe, O.F.M., was given charge at Teutopolis congregation and monastery. He had the organ built at an expenditure of $1020.00, and shade trees planted around the church, schoolyards, and in the cemetery. After a year and one-half, his predecessor became his successor (January 1888).

Father Paul Teroerde completed the crib by adding the figures of the Three Kings-the whole crib costing about $400.00; it was paid by the Christian Mothers. Father Paul put steam heat in the church in 1889; he also put up the Sacred Heart Altar and regulated the salary question. Heretofore, the Fathers accepted no cash salary, but took up two collections ("Termine") per year- one in the spring, another in the fall. Various victuals: meat, eggs, wheat, potatoes, etc. were collected. Father Paul was ably assisted by the Reverend P.Domasus, Francis Haase, Francis Albers, Eustace Brueggemann, Anselm Puetz, and Cletus Gierschewski. In 1882, the seventh centenary of the Birth of St. Francis was solemnly commemorated. During Father Paul's second term, the dreaded influenza snatched a number of victims. Father Paul himself was very sick, but recovered.

At the expiration of the second term, Father Paul was called to be Pastor and Superior at the new Franciscan residence at Washington, Missouri, entrusted to the Franciscans by Most Rev. Archbishop J.J. Kain, of St. Louis, at the request of the Jesuits who had long been in charge. At Teutopolis he was followed as Pastor and Superior by the kind P. Polycarp Rhode, O.F.M. (August 1894). Father Polycarp had been a teacher in Germany and sought to win the young people. He won the hearts of all by his amiability. Father Polycarp installed the new Communion railing and the new pulpit. When he was called to St. John's at Joliet, the people at once made up a purse to be used at his pleasure. With the permission of the donors he used the money to pay for a window in the poor church of his native city.

The new pastor was the Reverend Casimir Hueppe, O.F.M. (January 1899). He was to do great things at Teutopolis and his pastorate is one of the most remarkable of all in the annuals of the "Duetske Staadt." In fact Father Casimir was a typical Low German and it took a man of stubborn determination to accomplish what he achieved. He repaired the school and hall and in 1900 erected the beautiful crucifixion group in the Cemetery. This cross cost about $300 and is a gift of St. Peter's Men and St. John's Yong Men Societies. Father Casimir also organized the St. Aloysius Sodality for boys and the St. Agnes Sodality for girls and the Holy Family Society so strongly recommended by the Pope. He, moreover, induce the Men's and Young Men's Societies to affiliate with the "Katholische Vereinsbund von Illinois." As the fiftieth anniversary of the laying of the Corner stone of the present church drew near, Father Casimir began to plan what his predecessors had often wished, viz., to transform the plain unattractive church with its flat ceiling into a more artistic House of God. He at first met with great opposition; but finally he prevailed, and he so thoroughly remodeled the edifice that little remained of the original temple but the walls. The steeple, already showing signs of decay, was taken down and rebuilt to a height of 173 feet. The walls were raised and three naves of Gothic design replaced the flat ceiling. The Friars erected their choir on the east side of the Sanctuary in order to have a view of the altar during Divine Service. This enabled the Pastor to move the Communion railing and the new High Altar farther to the south. This beautiful altar is from the studio of Mr. Hy. Dreisoerner, then at Quincy, and cost $1,000.00 It is a gift of the John Funnemann family. When the interior remodeling was done, the church was tastefully decorated by Mr. William Kloer, a St. Louis artist, while Mr. Scheidgen of Chicago, furnished the paintings, the granting of the Portiuncula Indulgence (over the triumphal arch) according to Fred Overbeck and the Paintings of St. Bernadine of Sienna and of St. John Capistran. The four evangelist painted on copper plates are a fine ornament of the front of the High Altar. The old Romanesque altars purchased by Reverend P. Damian were sold to Reverend William Healy of the Scared Heart Church, Effingham. For the present, temporary side altars were installed. As these many changes took more time than first anticipated, the Jubilee celebration had to be postponed until January 1902. As a remote preparation, a Mission had been preached by Reverend Francis Albers, O.F.M., and Rev. Francis Haase, O.F.M. Meanwhile a Golden jubilee Souvenir was edited entitled "Beitraege zur Geschichte von Teutopolis und Umgegend unter besonderer Beruechsichtigung des Wirkens der dortigen Franziskaner." The material was gathered by Reverend Eugene Hagedorn, O.F.M.; it was edited by other hands.

The Golden Jubilee of the Laying of the Corner stone of St. Francis Church, 1851-January 6,7,8,9, 1902.

A three days' mission proceeded the grand Jubilee as a fitting preparation. On Monday, January 6, 1902, took place the consecration of the new High Altar by the Right Reverend bishop John Janssen, D.D., of Belleville, Illinois. A solemn High Mass followed closing with Sacramental Benediction and Te Deum. In the evening, the college boys, under the able direction of Rev. Valerius Nelles, O.F.M., rendered an excellent musical program in honor of the guests. On Tuesday, January 7, cannons announced the break of the great day. At 9:00 o'clock the brass band of Effingham arrived and formed a procession to the college, to escort the Right Reverend Bishop Ryan, D.D., to the church. Here Pontifical High Mass was celebrated; the Jubilee sermon was preached by the Very Reverend Hugolinus Storff, O.F.M., Provincial. The banquet was served in the College Gymnasium by the ladies of the Parish. This over, the poems on "Teutopolis" composed by the Reverend Francis Albers for the occasion were sung again and again. Next was the Fair with its comic scenes. At 5 o'clock supper was served; at 6:30 the children rendered a fine program in the school hall, after which the Fair continued. On Thursday January 9, the Fair was kept up partly inside, partly outside in a tent, in front of the school Supper was served again; at 6:45 a large concourse of people-from 600 to 700 -marched in the torchlight procession through the main streets past the college and Sisters' School; in front t of the church a halt was called and, after giving three cheers for Father Casimir and Teutopolis and singing "Grosser Gott," the people disbanded.

In the fall of 1902, the church was furnished with new pews and with a new floor. The following year many contracted smallpox from a person at a dance, and business houses and even the church were closed for a time. Two children died; one adult only had to be anointed, but recovered. In the fall of 1903, Father Casimir, with the approval of the Bishop changed the highest class of boys and girls into a parochial school. Mr. Louis Rieg, who had served the Teutopolis Boys' School so long and well, was replaced by the Sisters de Notre Dame. The school directors were henceforth to pay the Sisters $650.00 to which the Parish added $150.00. Besides, it was agreed to furnish the Sisters with fuel. The position of organist was filled by Miss Carrie Young.

The year of 1904 brought the fiftieth anniversary of the declaration of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. Besides a High Mass every month, a triduum preceded the Feat of the Immaculate Conception. Almost the whole Parish received the Sacraments and tried to gain the Jubilee indulgence. On December 8, the celebration reached its climax. Reverend Roger Middendorf preached the festive sermon. In the afternoon there was a procession with the statue of Mary Immaculate carried by the young ladies, dressed in white. St. Agnes Sodality and the Franciscan Community took part in the service. The church was decked in festive array, with wreaths and inscriptions on the pillars. Among the Jubilee gifts was a beautiful new cruciform Monstrance imported from Kevelaar. Alas, it was received a few days after the celebration.

The Golden Jubilee of the Advent of the Friars Minor

At Teutopolis- September, 1858-October, 1908

The Golden Jubilee of the arrival of the Franciscan Fathers was another occasion of great rejoicing in Teutopolis. It was united with the celebration of Pope Pius X's Golden Sacerdotal Jubilee and with the meeting of the Effingham County Distritsverband. This time the Parish could celebrate in its own hall for Father Casimir had purchased the necessary land from Mrs. Hackman and had erected "Society Hall" 1907. It was dedicated on June 28, 1908. At the time there was much opposition, and the Pastor, in fact, built it against the will of the majority. The vision of Father Casimir in providing the Parish with such a spacious hall can only be properly understood now after the lapse of years. The excellent Jubilee program was opened with Pontifical High Mass on Sunday, October 4th. Right Reverend John Janssen, D.D., Bishop of Belleville, was the celebrant. A powerful sermon was delivered by the Very Rev. Michael Richardt, O.F.M., a most popular preacher. Dinner over, the Delegates of the District's Verband held their meeting. After a short devotion, the parade of the delegates and societies from the neighboring Parishes took place. The streets were appropriately decorated with bunting, streamers and inscriptions. At the hall, Mr. Brumleve gave the address of welcome. Very Reverend Provincial Cyprian Banscheid delivered the address on the Pope's Sacerdotal Jubilee and Mr. F. P. Kenkel spoke on St. Francis and the Social Question. Reverend John Pennartz of Sigel closed the meeting with an address on the "Purpose of the Districksveband." At 7:00 o'clock in the evening, the school children, under the direction of the Sisters, gave a delightful entertainment to a crowed house. It is claimed that on this occasion there were five thousand persons in Teutopolis. Besides the regular trains, which were crowded, a special train from Newton and Dieterich brought a large delegation. On Monday, Solemn High Mass was sung at 9:30. Father Francis Albers, O.F.M., delivered an excellent sermon on the Religious State. At 2:00 o'clock in the afternoon a meeting was held during which Father Hoffmann and Mr. Nosbisch gave reports on conventions attended. At 7:30 P.M. St. Rose's Sodality presented a fine drama entitled "The School of Sorrow." On Tuesday afternoon the children gave an entertainment to a crowed hall. At 6:30 the P.M. a Chinese Torchlight procession took place through the brilliantly illumined streets. Then followed a reception given to the Franciscan Fathers. A number of addresses gave evidence of the love and esteem in which the Fathers are held. Finally, Father Casimir thanked all who had aided in making the celebration such a success. Father Michael closed the evening's program in his popular vein. The next day a Requiem Mass was chanted for the souls of the departed Friars.

On Thanksgiving Day, November 30, 1911, was celebrated the Fiftieth Anniversary of the arrival of the Notre Dame Sisters to this town. The exact date is December 7, 1911. As the Sisters have deserved very well of the Catholic youth of the parish, there took place a plain but heartfelt celebration. Very Reverend Provincial, Benedict Schmidt, O.F.M., was celebrant at the Solemn High Mass and Reverend Rector Hugolinus Storff, O.F, M., of St. Joseph College, preached the sermon for the occasion. Afterwards the ladies served a dinner for the Sisters.

In 1909 a concrete block wall was put up on the northwest corner of the church block at a cost of $525.00. Mr. Frank Schultz furnished the blocks. After so many and great achievements of Father Casimir, we need not wonder that he was given a notable farewell reception, when the chapter of 1912 transferred him to St. Bernard, Nebraska. He left in July. Father Theodosius Plassmeyer, O.F.M., who had been professor and subrector at St. Joseph College for many years, was assigned to the congregation of St. Francis. He soon installed anew gas light system at a cost of $800.00. Mr. Ben Weber and Brother Ewald Richardt, O.F.M., put in the plant. The men and young men did the excavating gratis. The Young Men's Sodality was reorganized, and a large library purchased and opened in December 1912. A Young Men's Social Club was also organized. On February 2, 1913, the Reverend Charles Brumleve, a boy of the Parish, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Alex Brumleve, said his first Mass in his native town. The addition to the Sister's School was begun in the year 1913 and blessed by the Pastor on January 11, 1914.

When, during the World War a neighboring editor and others began to attack the loyalty of the German-Americans and their descendants, a monster Loyalty Meeting was held, April 18, 1918, and it was so well attended that the large Society Hall could not hold all the people and an overflow meeting had to be held outside. The main speakers were: Father Theodosius who blessed the Service Flag; Reverend Joseph C. Meyer; Mr. H.S. Parker, an Attorney of Effingham; Mr. E. Schneider of Saline; Judge W.B. Wright; Hon. G. M. LeCrone, and Dr. C. F. Burkhardt of Effingham.

Father Theodosius, moreover, turned his attention to the finances of the Parish and reorganized them and improved the receipts greatly. As some of the windows in the church were in great need of repairs, the expert consulted thought it wiser to waste no money but to buy new windows. Father Theodosius now conceived the idea of making the church genuinely Franciscan by depicting in its windows the principal scenes of the life of St. Francis as a constant sermon. The first window installed was the Triumph of the Franciscans, a gift of Mr. Joseph Plassmeyer, the father of the pastor. It cost $1,000,being the largest of the windows. The others were donated by various families and are the most artistic ornaments of the church, which is now, one of the finest in the State.

Another problem Father Theodosius had to solve was the reorganization of each schools especially the High School. He succeeded with the help of the County and State Superintendents of Schools and that of Sister M. Ethelbert de Notre Dame.

On May 27, 1923, Father Theodosius had the happiness of commemorating the twenty-fifth Anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. The Reverend Rector Philip Marke, delivered the festive sermon.

When his Superiors sent Father Theodosius to Waterloo, Iowa, Father Bartholomew, O.F.M., of St. Augustine's, Chicago, was chosen to administer the congregation at Teutopolis, (August 1923). Electric light was finally put into the church and other building s and a second German sermon per month reintroduced. As the voice of the new Pastor was rather weak, a change was made after one year and the Rev. Hildebrand Fuchs, O.F.M., appointed to the pastorate. After six months, in January 1925, he was transferred to Cleveland, Ohio.

His successor was the Reverend Guardian, Father Isidore Fosselman, O.F.M., a former assistant at St. Francis. He has already, as a preparation for the Diamond Jubilee in 1928 caused the whole church to be cleaned, pews to be revarnished, statues cleaned, etc., at an expenditure of $2,500.00 The organ is being electrified and thoroughly modernized. A souvenir for the Jubilee is in preparation.

In 1918 the High School was reorganized (and in 1925 another year added.) At present the primary and intermediate grades occupy a building which is also equipped in accordance with the requirements of the State of Illinois, whose inspectors have placed the sign "Standard School" above the front door of each building. Up to the present year, a standard three-year course was recognized by the State Department, and this year a fourth year has been added, thus meeting all the requirements for official recognition. There are at present thirty-eight students in the Senior High School, and 217 in the grades.

On Thanksgiving Day, 1911, the Venerable Notre Dame Sisters celebrated their Golden Jubilee at Teutopolis. The Very Reverend Provincial, Benedict Schmidt, O.F.M., of St. Louis, Missouri, was officiant at the Solemn High Mass while Reverend Hugoline Storff, O.F.M., Rector of St. Joseph College delivered the festive sermon. On July 2, 1912, Sister M. Verena celebrated at Milwaukee her Golden Jubilee. The ladies of the Parish brought presents and the Parish installed a gasoline engine in the Sister's Laundry.

Served Their Country

Fifty-seven of our men served in the World War: Alber Adam, Hubert Adam, Leo Adam, Louis Adam, Ben Althoff, Frank Bertram, Leo Bourgeois, Edw. Borries, Bro. Pacific Brunk, Anthony Broeringsmeyer, August Brumleve, Ralph Brumleve, Sylvester Brumleve, Allen Brewer, John Buenker, Edw. Buenker, Lawrence Burford, Edw. Busse, Ferd. Delker, Alphonse Esker, Edw. Funnemann, Ferd. Gardewine, Mike Graser, John Hawickhorst, Joseph Hess, Ferd. Hoedebecke, Frank Jurgens, louis Kahtz, Wm. Kahtz, Edw. Kliesner, Bernard Kenter, Wm. Kenter, Allie Kemme, Louis Knabe, Theodore Lau, Alfred Meyers, Bro. Martin Marek, O.S.F., Ewald Niehaus, Lawrence Niendiek, Edw. Poeppelmeyer, John Probst, Edw. Pruemer, Hy.B Pruemmer, Frank Rieder, Anton Ruesken, Herman Runde, Albert Schoenhoff, Joseph Schoenhoff, Leo Schoenhoff, Ferd. Schlanser, Aloys. Schmidt, Edw. Stumbord, Allie Thoele, Oy Carl Von, Bernard Weber, Edw. Willenborg, Lawrence Willenborg, Ferd. Zerrusen, and Revs. Zyrinus Schneider, O.F.M., and Isidore Fosselman, O.F.M., Chaplins.

Gold Star List

Henry B. Juregens, died October 4, 1918, at Fort McHenry, Maryland; Alfred Meyers, died October 11, 1918, at Winchester, England. Hubert Adam, died October 10, 1918, at Camp McClellan, Anniston in Al. Ferd. Delker, died November 10, 1919, at Marcheville, France, and Edw. Buenker, died June 28, 1919, at St. Sulpice, Gerondo, France.


The Oldest Society is the St. Peter's Men Society founded on April 7, 1844, and beginning with twenty-eight members. Its purpose: "To support the church and adorn the altar." Reverend Paul Teroerde changed it into a Sodality. The letter of Affiliation dates back to October 30, 1888. The Society of married Ladies is next in age, having been founded by Reverend Charles Raphale in 1855. It was transformed into the Christian Mothers' Society in 1881 by Reverend Dominic Florian, O.F.M. Father Damian, who had been a teacher, in 1860 gathered the young people into the St. John's Young Men's Society and the Young Ladies' into the St. Rose of Lima Young Ladies' Society in the same year. Father Paul changed them into Sodalities in 1888, on October 30. Father Damian also introduced the Confraternity of the Sacred Heart of Mary for the conversion of poor sinners. The Society of the Holy Childhood was introduced at an early date. Father Mathias, O.F.M., was a great promoter of this society. The first members received into the Third Order of St. Francis were received in 1863, but the real organization seems to have taken place in 1864 by Father Kilian. Mathias Hiltermann, Director (Regelpater). St. Vincent Orphan Society ordered by the Bishop in 1866 was by the wish of the people united with St. Francis' Mutual Aid Society. St. Joseph's Society having for its purpose the education of talented boys of the parish to the Holy Priesthood and founded in 1873 on the Feast of the patronage of St. Joseph existed until about 1881. It was finally merged into the St. Francis Mutual Aid Society. St. Anthony' Reading Circle and Singing Society was organized on February 9, 1864, and existed until 1881 or longer. The Apostleship of Prayer was introduced by Father Mathias, April 2, 1871. The Confraternity of the Precious Blood dates back to about July 4, 1872, it seems. Father Paul, with the aid of Dr. Hy. Eversman, in 1892 organized the St. Mauritius Branch of the Catholic Knights of America, No. 670. The Confraternity of he Scapular of Mr. Carmel exists in the Parish since about 1859. (Father Damian.) The Confraternity of the Holy Rosary was introduced February 2, 1894, by Reverend Ludger Glauber, O.F.M., Master of Novices- 5,925 enrolled. Father Casimir Hueppe organized the St. Agnes Sodality for Girls and the St. Aloysius Sodality for Boys in 1899.

The Teutopolis Schools

The first school was built about 1840 and stood south of the cemetery. The second school seems to have been in Kalvelage's building, a little frame school. The third school house was a two-story frame building owned by Theodore Wilke, now Stumborg's. The fourth school was built in 1855 on Church property and was afterwards bought by Clem Uptmor IV, Mr. H. H. Hardiek's partner; he used it for a stock pen. Father Mathias wanted a parochial school and turned an old stable into a schoolhouse. This stood in the present church block about where the boiler house is. The Notre Dame Sisters lived and taught for several years in a house opposite the church. The Academy and Girl's School was erected in 1866-67. Father Damasus began and Father Dominic Florian finished the Boy's School and hall. Father Casimir built Society Hall, now used partly for a school (high school) and Father Theodosius built the addition to the Sister's school and residence (1913).

Venerable Sisters of Teutopolis

Teutopolis has furnished the following consecrate workers to the Church: There Franciscan Sisters; two Sisters of the Dominican Order; seventeen Sisters de Notre Dame; eleven Sisters of the Precious Blood; seven Sisters of St. Joseph up to January 1902. Since, there are eight other vocations from this Parish.

The Pioneers

The oldest list of Parishioners is found in Clemet Uptmor's, Sr., Account Book, beginning in 1839: The following subscribed for the support of Reverend Joseph Masquelet in December, 1839, and January 1840: Messrs. Ostendorf, Huemmeler, Bergfeld, Bruemmer, Debbe (Tebbe), C. Pundsack, A. Pundsack, Messmann, Uptmor, Vahling, Vormor, Bruemmer, Dependener, Remme, and Wehrmann (Woermann).


Messrs. Osterhaud, Dodenkamp, Kuester, Fischer, Sur, J.P. Uptmor, Kuester, Hackmann, H.H. Uptmor, Niemann, Mindrup, Suer, J. Pundsack, Boeckmann, Kabbis, Rickelmann, Arns, Veochtrup, H. Bermann, and Vogt. Soon after the following subscribed: Joseph Schroeder, Joseph Rabe, H. H. Schulte, W. Kabbis, H. Meyer, H. Kathmann.

The oldest settlers still living are: Mike Katz, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Korea, Joseph Ethel, Barney Ethel, William Ethel, Hiram Riesenbeck, Hiram Wernsing, Herman Wernsing, Anton Zerrusen, George Deymann, George Kreke, Joseph Siemer, Teresa Pals, Elizabeth Hackmann, and Mrs. Morhinners.

The following Stations were attended from Teutopolis Monastery or College (*) denotes founded by the Franciscans.

Green Creek, 1858-1893; Effingham, 1858-1871; Mt. St. John's or Piopolis, 1859-1870; Howard's Point or San Elma, 1860-1889; St. Patrick's, Big Spring or Trowbridge, 1862-1888; Bishop Creek, 1865-----; Edgewood, 1866-1879; Kinmundy, 1866-1879; Sigel, 1866-1867; Spring Point, about 1867; Pocahontas, 1870-1878; Greenville, 1870-1878; Island Grove, 1874-1922; Altamont, 1874-1889; Desotum, 1876-1884; Shumway and Stewardson, 1879-1888.

At present Bishop Creek and Montrose are attended from the Monastery and Casey from St. Joseph College. The same fathers visited Montrose at times since 1879 or temporarily attended Marshall, Illinois, Vandalia, Flora, Watson, Mason, Tonti, Farina, Centralia, and Salem. 


Joseph J. Thompson, editor, Diocese of Springfield in Illinois Diamond Jubilee 1853-1928 (Hartman Printing Company, Springfield, Illinois 1928), pp. 185-198


Reverend Joseph Masquelet

One of the oldest parishes of the diocese, next to Quincy, and Ste. Marie, is Teutopolis. Its history dates back to 1833. An organized body of Catholic Cincinnatians, who had been prospecting out west, had stated a colony there in 1837. They purchased a tract of land comprising 10,000 acres at $1.25 per acre. With the first settlers came a priest, Reverend Joseph Masquelet, a native of Elsace. The first Divine Service was held in this new settlement towards the end of November 1839. The following year, 1840, a small log church was built, 32x28, and dedicated to St. Peter. Friction and dissension, however, soon broke forth which induced the pastor to build a second log church at a distance of one and a half miles from the former. It was built on his own land, "Masquelet Place." The internal parish dissentions were, however, not allayed. On the contrary, they continued to grow for many a year, causing much discomfiture and annoyance to the various pastors, making the parish rather notorious for its stubborn opposition to the efforts of the clergy. Father Masquelet, tired of the ill feeling and opposition manifested toward him, left Teutopolis in 1842 for New Orleans. There he was assigned a parish and built a fine church. Twice her returned on a visit to Teutopolis, in November 1855, and again in the seventies, when he donated a set of costly vestments to the parish. After his last visit he returned to his native land, where he soon died.


Joseph J. Thompson, editor, Diocese of Springfield in Illinois Diamond Jubilee 1853-1928 (Hartman Printing Company, Springfield, Illinois 1928), p. 666


Reverend Joseph Kuenster

First resident pastor Teutopolis November, 1845-July, 1850

Father Joseph Kuenster is hardly entitled to be classed as a missionary in the sense of traveling about from field to field, but in the sense of bearing privations he ranks the most worth of them.

Father Kuenster's childlike simplicity was his outstanding characteristic and this is best told in the language of Father Larmar, who knew him very intimately. Father Larmar says:

Father Kuenster was located at Teutopolis, Effingham County, Illinois. Many curious but harmless stories the old priest used to tell about him. He was a German of the old but practical type. I have always had a profound admiration for the simple German character. Odd as it may appear to us, in early days it was allied with industry, piety, thrift and economy. All these were necessary in a new country, and they brought spiritual and temporal rewards. The German priests I our sense could not be called missionaries, attending many settlements. Indeed, the German character is one of fixity -will not cover much ground, but what it does is solid and lasts. The German priest, no matter how small the settlement they were appointed to, went about increasing it, and left the rest of the country to look out for itself.

Hence the German settlements became, from the start, places of comparative comfort, even for a priest, and the "German priest. With few exceptions, never experienced in Illinois the hardships of the Catholic missionaries. It is true, had other Catholic priests pursued the local improvement course of the German priest, few congregations would now exist in Illinois; but each people had its task to fulfill, and we must believe all was the order of Providence.

When Father Kuenster went to the prairies of Effingham County he found a few poor Germans. Like them he turned in to help himself and make the building of church and school light for his poor, but pious people.

Father Kuenster had his little piece of cultivated land, his garden and his fowls and geese, and I was told once he was called on to pay his cathedraticum or cathedral tax for the support of the Bishop. He astonished all by paying his cathedraticum or cathedral tax with a goose and a gander, carried by his own hands across the prairie. The good priest saw nothing funny about it, as he got only pay in kind, as there was little or no money in his settlement. As time passed Father Kuenster's flock of fowls and geese increased and so did the worldly possessions of his thrifty Germans. Even in their poverty they were exacting on the priest for his services, which he gave with satisfaction to all. His success did not escape the authorities of Chicago, and he was removed to take charge of the annoying parish of Quincy. His quaint rural ways from the prairies cause irreverent laughter from the young German Americans, but many of this ways put the old people in mind of rural life in the old country, ant they rather liked him. E was faithful and zealously demonstrative in the discharge of his priestly duties.

But the diocese being divided and a new bishop taking charge gave the restless a chance to make some complaint about him. His life had been so regular in Quincy that the complaints thought they must inquire at Teutopolis about him. They found a charge that stuck and was the laughing stock of Quincy outside the German church. The charge was this: When Father Kuenster was removed to Quincy, instead of selling his geese, of which he had a goodly number, he divided them into lots and arranged with his former parishioners to board them each for a cent a month. They declared, with emphasis, to the Bishop, such a worldly priest should not be allowed to officiate in Quincy.

Poor Father Kuenster was removed. This broke his heart, and he did not live long after.

There is a nice illustration of the fickleness of men in the life of Father Kuenster. As has been seen a faction of the Germans in Quincy opposed and baited him. In seeking to make out a case against him they had gone to such length that the Bishop of the diocese was impressed and taking the word of Father Kuenster's enemies the Bishop cam to Quincy and publicly disapproved of the good old German Priest. "This," says Father Larmar, quoting Father McElhearne, "exasperated the people who had him removed. They went around and gathered money, saying the Bishop's severity hastened Father Kuenster's death, and put up a monument to his memory."


Joseph J. Thompson, editor, Diocese of Springfield in Illinois Diamond Jubilee 1853-1928 (Hartman Printing Company, Springfield, Illinois 1928), pp. 129-130


Reverend Joseph F. Zoegel

After the transfer of Reverend Joseph Kuenster from Teutopolis to Quincy, in 1850, Bishop Van de Velde, of Chicago, sent Reverend Joseph Zoegel to be his successor. This priest had lately arrived in the diocese from Strassburg, Alsace. His appointment to that parish was by no means an enviable one, as strife, opposition and dissension had been of frequent occurrence and often embittered the lives of the various pastors. With the advent of Father Zoegel, things seemed to take a different turn. In his dealings with obstreperous characters he remained firm and assertive and succeeded in bringing many around to espouse his viewpoint of affairs ecclesiastical. Strongly he advocated the building of a large new church to which the people consented. In the selection of the site, however, serious contentions arose which finally were adjusted by Bishop Van de Velde. The corner stone to this (the present) church, was placed July 18, 1851, by the Chicago Bishop. Of This ceremony, Bishop Van de Velde;'s diary contains the following account: "The sixth Sunday after Pentecost was a happy day for the Catholic of Teutopolis. Early in the morning the people began to arrive from the country. Bishop said Mass at 7 o'clock and the procession was formed about 9:00; it was headed by the children of the parish, these were followed by the members of St. Peter's Society wearing their badges, and the latter by nearly the whole congregation, the men preceding and the women following the Bishop and his attendants. The procession moved amid the discharges of musketry from the old church. The Bishop walked under a canopy, bested in alb and cope, with mitre, and crozier and was attended by the Reverend Mr. Fisher, pastor of St. Mary in cope; Reverend J. Zoegel in chasuble, and Reverend Father Busschots in stole and surplice. The ceremonies of laying the corner stone were performed with the usual solemnities, during which the Bishop addressed the people in English, after which reverend Busschots delivered an appropriate discourse in German on the text: "Thou Art Peter." High Mass was sung by Reverend Father Zoegel, at which the Bishop assisted attended by the other two clergymen. All was joy and happiness. At night the good people of Teutopolis got up a torchlight procession and came to the priest's residence to thank the Bishop and his attendants. Thus terminate the joyful day which will long be remembered by the members of the congregation of Teutopolis."

From Teutopolis father Joseph F. Zoegel returned to Chicago in 1854. In later years he joined the diocese of Buffalo and became stationed in 1860 as pastor of Langford, New York.


Joseph J. Thompson, editor, Diocese of Springfield in Illinois Diamond Jubilee 1853-1928 (Hartman Printing Company, Springfield, Illinois 1928), pp.709-710 


Source: www.effingham.com/kperkins

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