Brief History of Catholicism in Floyd County, Indiana

In the late 1700ís, pioneers began settling along the Falls of the Ohio.  Among these early pioneers were Roman Catholics from Maryland.

The early settlements were along the Ohio River and other Kentucky waterways.  After the capture of Fort Sackville at Vincennes, the Buffalo Trace (Hiway 150) became a major inland route for settlers.

Father Benedict Joseph Flaget (later Bishop of Bardstown) said the first Mass in Floyd County (1792) at a private home in New Albany.  He was going to Vincennes and making a circuit of his parish.  This "circuit on horseback", stopping at private homes, continued until 1823 when St. Marys of the Knobs was built.

Roman Catholics in Floyd County saw a priest infrequently, until 1836 when Father Louis Neyron was assigned as pastor of Floyd County.  He founded Holy Trinity, his residence, in 1836.  Once a month or less frequently, Father Neyron traveled to St. Marys of the Knobs, tending to the spiritual needs of the county residents.

The St. Marys of the Knobs congregation grew to such a size, that in 1845 the parish was divided.  The new parish was dedicated "The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary" (Often called Little St. Marys or St. Mary Navilleton.)  As these St. Mary congregations grew, they were further divided and the new parishes were formed:  St. Mary Annunciation (New Albany--1852); St. Joseph on the Hill (1853); and St. John Starlight (1861).

St. Mary Navilleton was treated as a Mission Church (for the most part) until the twentieth century.  Priests from nearby parishes performed the Sacraments and recorded the recipients as members of the nearby parish.  Therefore, when researching for St. Mary Navilleton Records prior to c.  1889, consider the following parishes also:  pre 1845-- St. Marys of the Knobs; c.  1845 to 1864 -- Holy Trinity (records housed at St. Mary New Albany); c. 1852 to 1864 -- St. Mary, New Albany; c. 1864 to 1890 -- St. John Starlight.

Transportation was limited in the 1800ís.  Therefore many ethic groups married "their own kind" from the same settlement.  The Germans of Navilleton were no exception.  Most of the Germans buried at Navilleton, are frequently related.


St. Marys of the Knobs 1823 to 1973 (directory)
Lipps National Printing Co.; New Albany, Ind.

St. Mary Navilleton, 1977 (directory)

The Centenaty of Catholicy in Kentucky by Ben. J. Webb original printing 1884 reproduced by Unigraphic, Inc.; Evansville, Ind. 1977

Submitted by Gail Parish

Census of St. Mary Catholic Cemetery, Navilleton, Indana

Index A-G
Index H-K
Index L-P
Index R-T
Index U-Z

Tombstone Numbering System

Floyd County, Indiana INGenWeb site