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"History of Eau Claire County Wisconsin, 1914, Past and Present"

Chapter  38 - Eau Claire Churches

St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church

(-as transcribed from pages 511 - 512)

St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, Eau Claire. About 1850, a mission was founded by the English and German speaking Catholics of Eau Claire, under the supervision of the Rev. Father Smedding, of Chippewa Falls. During his administration he began the erection of the first church on the north side on what is now North Barstow street. At the expiration of two years he was succeeded by Rev. Henry Rheinhardt, who was the first settled pastor of the parish, and through his efforts, extending over many years, the church building was completed.

The Rev. M. De Bekee was appointed his successor in September 1867, who in turn was succeeded by Rev. Henry Kampschror in September 1868. The next rector was Rev. Joseph Moder, June 1869, and he in turn was succeeded in February 1873 by Rev. Father A. Koke, and in August 1874 came Rev. Joseph Keenan.  In January or February 1875, the Rev. G. Keller performed the duties of rector. About this time the German speaking members of the congregation separated from the parish and built a church and school house of their own on the west side of Dewey street. In March 1875, the Rev. Connolly was appointed to the rectorship on the north side. Previous to this period the school, which was removed, had been conducted by the Sisters Notre Dame from Milwaukee. He secured the services of the Franciscan Sisters of Joliet, who continued in charge up to 1893. Father Connolly, in February 1880, was succeeded by Rev. C. B. H. Conroy, who remained until September of that year. The Rev. John J. Collins, who followed September 1880, sold the church property to the city in 1882. Lots were purchased on Oxford avenue and Fulton street on the west side, and a new frame church erected thereon, the corner stone of which was laid with appropriate ceremonies June 26, 1882, and the church dedicated December 3, the same year. The church and school were destroyed by fire on October 8, 1884, and a handsome, spacious brick edifice was erected on the same site in 1885, with a seating capacity of about one thousand, being 150x65 feet. Father Collins was succeeded by Rev. T. A. Kelly, July 19, 1889, who died October 1891, and who was succeeded by the Rev. Arthur B. C. Dunne, the present pastor.  The present membership of the church is six hundred families or three thousand souls.

The parish school has five hundred forty-eight pupils, under the instruction of the Benedictine Sisters, nine graded teachers and two music teachers. The following are the societies connected with the church. Knights of Columbus, membership 220; Catholic Knights of Wisconsin, 100; Catholic Order of Foresters, 200; Women's Catholic Order of Foresters, 150; Parochial Society, N. W. and East Society, 3; Ladies' Club, Young Men's Club, Holy Name Society, 200; Junior Holy Name Society, 250; The Children of Mary, 250, and the Young Ladies' Society, 250.

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