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History of Belle Rive and Dahlgren, Illinois And Surrounding Territory

Prepared by Continental Historical Bureau of Mt. Vernon, Illinois
December, 1960

Page D-7

St. John Nepomucene Church

According to the records, Mr. Charles Aydt of Piopolis moved to Cottonwood to engage in business.  He was followed by his brothers, Thomas Joseph, Solomon and Alphonse.  These families were the first settlers in this settlement, which was part of Piopolis Parish until 1893, when the first Church was built.  The village was later named Dahlgren in honor of Admiral Dahlgren, whose wife was a Catholic.

The first church was erected in 1893 by the Rev. J. N. Enzlberger, and was dedicated by the Rt. Rev. Bishop J. Janseen, December 5, 1893.  It was a frame structure with floor dimensions of twenty-three by sixty feet, with a seating capacity of one hundred fifty.  Rev. Henry Keuth, who had resident with Father Enzlberger for two years to attend the needs of the Parishes of McLeansboro and Dahlgren, became the first resident Pastor in Dahlgren.

The first Rectory was built by Father Keuth in 1896 at a cost of seven hundred dollars.

A two-acre cemetery plot which is located a quarter of a mile west of the Parish Church was purchased in 1900.  Previous to that time the parishioners were buried in Piopolis.

The Parish record begins in 1894.  The first baptism record is that of Teresa Florence Aydt (later Mrs. Frank Frey, McLeansboro) on January 22, 1894.  The first funeral recorded was that of Josephine Gaul on September 13, 1897.  The first wedding recorded was that of William Acks and Mary Shipley on November 12, 1896.

Today we find these family names on the Parish records: Aydt, Karcher, Wangler, Schilling, Durbin, Loehr, Rubenacker, Ripplinger, Glatz, Rapp,  Kiefer, Fleckenstein, Miller, Montgomery, Engel, Holdener, Keller, Friedrich, Reyling, Acks, Paul, Schuster, McGlynn, Hayden, Ewald, Birkner, Kelly, Glaeson, Phillips, Karlof, Greenwald, Hickey, McPherson, Heck, Gaul, Haggerty, Freeman, Farmer, Frey, Ellis, Dale, Meyer, Dagenhardt, Lambert, Stich, Kaufman, O'Leary, Mitzdarffer, Glenn, Herzing, Rost, Grew, Allen, Jines, Zachman, Birke, Heil, Kreher, Rawls, Nice, Spruell, Woods, Schuster, Smith, Schultus, Meyers, Walter, Trausch.

The parishioners are proud of the vocations to the Religious Life.  These include: Rev. Henry H. Aydt, ordained to the Holy Priesthood on June 13, 1920; Sister Colletta Aydt, Ad. PP.S (Sister died on June 22, 1914); Sister M. Irma Aydt, Ad. PP.S.; Sister Ewalda Ewald, Ad. PP.S; Sister Rosaine Rapp, O. S. B.; Sister Miriam Teresa Kiefer, Ad. PP. S.

In the year 1903 the Pastor, Rev. Henry Muenster, built a two story brick structure measuring fifty by thirty-five feet and providing four classrooms.  The bricks for this building were made in a kiln here in Dahlgren and the building was constructed by parishioners and men of the surrounding area who were interested in this building project.

In 1942, a new rectory was built by Father Frey.

In 1952, Rev. William Brandmeyer made plans for the construction of a parish hall.  Many interested parishioners sacrificed much of their time and labor to this cause.

The ground was broken for the New Church on August 25, 1958.  The corner stone was laid on October 4, 1959.  The dedication and First Mass were said on October 20, 1959.  The new church, of contemporary modified Gothic design, measures forty-two by one hundred thirteen feet and will seat three hundred in the nave, thirty-five in the choir loft and forty-five in the winter chapel.  The open tower in the southwest corner of the building houses the bell salvaged from the old Church.  A Wannemacher electric automatic bell ringing system provides for the daily angelus and weekday and Sunday schedule of masses.

The following priests have served as Pastors: Rev. Henry Keuth (1893-1901); Rev. Henry Muenster (1901-1915); Rev. Joseph Voll (1915-1923); Rt. Rev. Msgr. Rudolph E. Jantzen (1923-1926); Rev. John R. Goeltz (1926-1931); Rev. Bernard Loepker (1931-1941); Rev. Joseph Frey (194101944); Rev. William Brandmeyer (1944-1955); and Rev. Meinrad M. Dunn (1955- )

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