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The History of Platte County Nebraska


In May, 1901, the structure was completed and the church dedicated on May 24th.

At the dedication service the English sermon was delivered by Reverend W. J. Jungles, and the German sermon by Reverend Ladislaus Czech.


The Holy Family School was opened in September, 1900, by the Order of Franciscan Sisters of Charity from Wisconsin. There were two teachers, and the first school had an enrollment of fifty-one pupils.

In 1905 a new three-story brick school was built at a cost of $19,218.69. The dimensions of the school were thirty-six by seventy feet. The building had a basement and two class rooms. The school was dedicated May 28, 1905, and opened for classes January 9, 1906. An addition to the school was built in 1917 and the eleventh and twelfth grades added to the high school curriculum. The new building was dedicated on November 14, 1917; and the first high school class graduated in 1919.


George Hauck and Mrs. Mogan each donated an acre of land southeast of Lindsay for the parish cemetery. The first burial there was that of Mrs. Theresa Warth on June 9, 1901,


The Franciscan Friary was established at Lindsay on January I, 1916.

At that time an assistant Franciscan Father was assigned to the parish. He also had charge of the Cornlea Mission. The Van Ackeren residence was bought, moved near the church and remodeled for the Friary.

On June 31st the building was blessed, and the event celebrated by a home-coming of all of the former parish members.

PASTORS 1895-1949

Reverend Herbert Stotter, O. F. M., 1895-1896.
Reverend Philemon Toepfer, O. F. M., 1896-1897;
Reverend Walfried Rompe, O. F. M., 1897-1899.
Reverend Sabinus Mollitor, O. F. M., 1899-1901.
Reverend Lullus Seeboth, O. F. M., 1901-1904.
Reverend Marianus Glahn, O. F. M., 1904-1904, (May-September).
Reverend Rabanus Thill, O. F. M., 1904-1909
Reverend Raymond Holte, O. F. M., 1909-1911.
Reverend Clemens Moormann, O. F. M., 1911-1914.
Reverend Ewald Soland, O. F. M., 1914-1914 (January to July).
Reverend Columban Valentin, O. F. M., 1914-1919.
Reverend Odilio Eichenseer, O. F. M., 1919-1920.
Reverend Justinian Kugler, O. F. M., 192O-1927.
Reverend Germain Heinrichs, O. F. M., 1927-1930
and Right Reverend Monsignor John L. Zaplotnik, 1930-1949.


Among the 1948 parishioners of the Holy Family Church were Leo Barer; Michael P. Gaspers, Joseph Geilenkirchen, Bernard Hegeman, William J. Kurtenbach, Henry Melcher, Anton Oberhauser, Bernard Wiese, Women's Society; Donald Borer, Children's So (sic) - Winkler, Joseph Moravec, and Lambert Lapour


Right Reverend Msgn. John L. Zaplotnik, pastor.

Tony Oberhauser and Lawrence Beller, church trustees.

The Cemetery Board consisted of the pastor and church trustees.


Henry Luetkenhaus, Men's Society; Mrs. Henry Wiese, Women's Society; Donald Borer, Children's Society; Mrs. Joseph Lindhorst, Church Organist; Frank Heiman, Choir Director; Sister M. Celesta, Superior of the Holy Family School.


St. John Nepomucene Catholic Church is located in Joliet Township, near Lindsay, Nebraska.


St. John's parish was the third Catholic parish in Platte County. Joliet Township was organized as the Looking Glass Precinct in 1873.

John Walker was the earliest Catholic settler. He came from Lindsay, Canada, and later named the town of Lindsay after his Canadian home town. Walker Township was named for him.

Other early settlers from Lindsay, Canada, in this vicinity, were: M. Caraher, Joseph Cady, J. Ducey, M. Farrell, J. H. Gogan, M. Maher, John Noon, J. Rivet, William and James Noonan, and others, most of whom were Irish.

From 1860-1872, St. John's Church in Columbus was the only Catholic church in the county. However, mass was frequently said by a mission priest in the homes of the settlers, at St. Patrick's on Shell Creek, and in homes near Lindsay. Later, the church services were held in the District School House near the St. John's Church.

In the early days, the district school houses were used by all denominations for their religious services.

The first missions were served by Reverend Father J. M. Ryan and Reverend J. M. Smyth, and later by Reverend John Flood.

In 1882. the St. John's parish was re-organized, and a frame church built on eight acres of land donated by John Deegan. The church was named St. John Nepomucene, to honor John Deegan.

In 1884, other parishioners besides those named were: John Galligan, Martin Maher, Frank Walker, James Keogh, Anthony Cady, Daniel Wilson, Michael Sheridan, Thomas Farrell, W. H. Dress, M. Sweeney, John Sweeney, L. Callahan, X. Forgette, Daniel Hayes, M. Clark, Edward Connelly, John McPhillips, and Daniel Holloran.

St. John's Church was a Mission Church of St.. Patrick's Church, on Shell Creek, and Reverend John Flood was its pastor until 1884. It then became a Franciscan Mission Church, and was served by the Franciscan Fathers until 1930. The first Franciscan priest was Reverend Maximilian Klein, O.F.M. In 1932, it


became a Mission to St. Anthony's Church, and was served by pastors from there.

In 1892, Reverend Salvator Lehman, O.F.M., planned the transfer of St. John's Church to Lindsay. However, many of the parishioners at that time wanted the church to remain in the country, and took the matter up with the Right Reverend Bishop Scannell, Bishop of Omaha.

After the church was returned to the Diocese of Omaha in 1930, it was incorporated in 1931. The articles of incorporation were signed by: Right Reverend Joseph F. Rummel, Bishop of Omaha; Reverend James W. Stenson, Vicar General; Reverend J. L. Zaplotnik, pastor; John McPhillips and Andrew Moleyk, laymen.

The articles of incorporation were filed for record on September 29, 1931. Reverend Ernest R. Helemba was the Mission Pastor from 1942-1948.

The 1948-1949 church trustees were: Emory Jarecki of Lindsay, Nebraska, and John Noonan, of Humphrey.

The members of the 1948-1949 choir were: Michael Zoucha, Charles McPhillip, Pascal McPhillip, Donald Korus, Joseph Sampek, Cyril Zoucha, John P. Noonan, Mrs. Michael Zoucha, Mrs. Ferd Greisen, Rose Mary Noonan, Adeline Zoucha, Bernice and Rose Mary Sempek. Mrs. John Noonan was the Organist.


St. Mary's Parish, organized in 1874, has the distinction of being the oldest Catholic parish in Platte County, still maintaining its identity. The Church is located about four and a half miles southeast of Humphrey, in section five of Grand Prairie Township.


Grand Prairie, until about 1872, was called Stearns Prairie after Mr. O. E. Stearns, who settled in the year 1869, about three miles south of the present St. Mary's Church. Mr. Stearns established a store there, followed it with a hotel, and was soon made postmaster of the settlement. Within a year he was followed by the Regan Brothers and John Peter Braun, the first Catholic settlers in the community. Robert Gentleman, from Canada, was another pioneer Catholic settler.

John Peter Braun was born in Germany, immigrated to Wisconsin in 1848, and in the fall of 1871 he came to Grand Prairie Township. Here he homesteaded and took a timber claim. He was one of the organizers of the first parish for German speaking Catholics in Platte County, and with his wife, donated liberally toward the support of the church.

Among the people settling in Stearns Prairie there were about sixteen families of German, Austrian and Dutch extraction. Most of these people, who spoke German, had first migrated to Dane County, Green Bay, Wisconsin, and then to their Nebraska home. These Catholics were at first without any of the consolations of their religion, since they lived eighteen miles or more from Columbus and Father Ryan in Columbus did not speak German

In their search for a German speaking priest who could minister to them, they finally contacted Reverend Friederich Uhing of West Point, Nebraska. He paid his first visit to Stearns Prairie in March, 1872, and conducted religious services in the sod house of John Peter Braun. These people were visited occasionally by other early missionaries such as Father Ryan of Columbus, Reverend John Bernard, later Father Alexius, O.F.M., Reverend F. Schulack, S.J., and Reverend Otto J. Groenebaum of Omaha.

At the advice of Reverend Father Uhing these settlers met at the home of Augustine Wieser on March 22, 1874, for the purpose of organizing a parish and building a church. Three of them offered land for this purpose - Augustine Wieser, William Eimers, and John B. Senecal. After much debate the land of William Eimers was finally selected and a building committee composed of John P. Braun, William Eimers and Ignatz Zach was appointed.

In checking over the number of people that lived in the territory of the proposed church, the committee found the following families, all of whom became the founders of St. Mary's: John P. Braun, Augustine Wieser, Ignatz Zach, John Pfeifer, Mrs. Mary Pfeifer, Matthew Fuchs, William Eimers, Leonard Widhalm, Paul Faber, Frank Pfeifer, Anton Pfeifer, William Tieskoetter, Richard Olmer, Timothy Tracy, J. B. Senecal, M. Kiloran, Ignatz Veith, and Robert Gentleman.

Several families in Iowa, near the town of Festina, also showed an interest in the building of this first church and helped along by sending money. Those who donated funds and later joined the parish were: Henry Scheidmantel, Bernard Konert, Frederick Unger, Henry Lohaus, Joseph Wemhoff.

The building of the church was delayed because of the grasshopper devastation in 1874 and a lack of funds. In June of 1875 the building was begun and completed in late fall; the title of the new Church was "St. Mary of the Angels."

List of the original members of St. Mary's from the baptismal records to the year 1880:

Joseph Widhalm and Theresa Wiemer; Cornelius Heesacker and Johanna Minten; Gerard Gronenthal and Adelaide Krings; Jacob Labenz and Caroline Hollatz; William Kleve and Genevieve Wittmer; John Hoffmann and Mary Fischer; Paul Faber and Mary Stoffel; Henry Mausbach and Margaret Berrenhott; Peter Jaixen and Josepha Paar; Leonard Widhalm and Anna Pfeifer; Joseph Feik and Theresa Falk; Michael Costello and Helen Carrol; Lawrence Wassenberg and Anna Marie Heesacker; Ferdinand Ripp and Catherine Reiss; Bernard Wilde and Petronella Heesacker; Francis Fugger and Frances Neubauer; Joseph Wemhoff and Apollonia Krenz; Mathias Gothen and Elizabeth Poelles.

Henry Lohaus and Mary Elpers; Samuel Wilson and Elizabeth Tracy; William Scheidmantel and Gertrude Delsmann William Diedrich and Juliana Diedrich; Francis Pfeifer and Barbara Radler; John Pfeifer and Mary Pfeifer; Richard Olmer and Mary Pfeifer; Aloysius Kosch and Johanna Hanschel; Joseph Haschke and

The History of Platte County Nebraska

Theresa Kober; Henry Neisius and Catherine Bohr; Frank Schmid and Mary Schiebel; Ignatz Veith and Juliana Zach; Thomas Herman and Catherine Wiechorek; Frederick Unger and Magdalene Fischer; Patrick Condon and Elizabeth Kearney; Joseph Braun and Josephine Scheidmantel.

Anthony Pelle and Catherine Wilde; Gerard Biedinger and Theresa Fischer; John Schmitt and Mary Ann Babcok; Jerome Cleveland and Mary Molini; Paul Klas and Christine Teut; Anthony Pfeifer and Mary Glaser; Henry Gebeke and Mary Ante; Henry Wassenburger and Catherine Heinrich; Frank Feik and Cecilia Montag; Ignatz Steiner and Anna Finsterle; Joseph Kruse and Caroline Hey; Michael Fischer and Caroline Vest; Henry Wilde and Agnes Pfeifer; Bernard Konert and Mary Treimer; George Rollmann and Eva Blahak; Ignatz Zach and Anna Braun; John Bruckner and Theresa Offertille; Fred Hyttereck and Mary Maron; Albert Starcz and Mary Chochon; Adam Rollman and Theresa Haschke; Valentine Herman and Catherine Coswinski; John Braun and Mary Wieser; Joseph Schmid and Julia Franzel.

Divine services in the new Church continued rather intermittently until the arrival of the Franciscan Fathers in Nebraska in the early part of 1877. Reverend Ambrose Janssen, O.F.M., came from Columbus on February 14, for the first time to minister to the growing community. Later Reverend Anselm Puetz, O.F.M., came to St. Mary's and in August, 1877, was appointed as the first Pastor of the parish. On November 2, he blessed the new cemetery and in the following year he enlarged the church to accommodate the increasing number- of parishioners. On November 19, 1878, the Right Reverend James O'Connor, Bishop of Omaha, administered the Sacrament of Confirmation to a large class at St. Mary's.

In October, 1879, Reverend Meinoiphus Schmitz, O.F.M., came as Pastor and immediately made plans for the erection of a school. The work on the first frame school began on September 19, 1881, and was completed by the end of the year. The Franciscan Sisters of LaFayette, Indiana, had accepted the task of beginning a school and arrived at St. Mary's on December 3, 1881. The first school was formally opened January 3, 1882, with forty-four pupils. Venerable Sister Magdalene was the first Superior at St. Mary's and Sister Ignatia and Sister Mathea were the first teachers.

In succeeding years, the parish of St. Mary's continued to grow, even though many families had joined the new parish at Humphrey. The first church was now too small, so on June 29, 1893, the corner stone was laid for a larger church, a frame building with a brick veneer. It was dedicated on October 24, 1893, by the Right Reverend Richard Scannell, Bishop of Omaha. On the same day the parish was incorporated according to the laws of the State of Nebraska as "St. Mary's Church of Grand Prairie Township." The incorporators were: the Right Reverend Scannell, Bishop of Omaha; the Very Reverend William Choka, Vicar General of the Diocese; Reverend Valentine Dorenkemper, O.F.M., pastor of St. Mary's; Joseph Kruse and Vincent Wieser, lay trustees.

At the time of the celebration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the parish, May 30, 1899, there were fifty families in attendance according to the report of the pastor, Reverend Edmund Roediger, O.F.M.

Reverend Romuald Rheindorff, O.F.M., who came to the parish in 1903, erected the present rectory, which was dedicated August 5, 1904. He likewise saw the need of a larger and more substantial school. The present large brick building was erected in 1908. Besides the necessary classrooms, it also had accommodations for the Sisters and those children who lived at a distance, could board there. The full basement contained a chapel in which the greater part of the parishioners could assemble for services in the winter months. The school, which cost about ten thousand dollars, was dedicated on Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 1908.

The present Church at St. Mary's was begun in the spring of 1924, the cornerstone was laid on May 25, 1924. The building committee consisted of Reverend Lawrence Pauly, O.F.M., Vincent Wieser Sr., Clement Wemhoff Sr., B. J. German, and Joseph Veik. Brother Leonard Darscheid, O.F.M., was the architect and Dan Egan of Ashland, Wisconsin, the contractor.

The solemn dedication of the edifice took place on April 29, 1925, in the presence of his Grace the Most Reverend J. J. Harty, D.D., Bishop of Omaha, and a large crowd of priests and people from neighboring parishes. -

The new St. Mary's Church, erected and furnished at the cost of nearly fifty thousand dollars, is one of the finest rural churches in this part of the state. It is of brick construction thirty-six by one hundred twenty-four feet, with a wing on either side eighteen by twenty-four feet. The tower to the base of the cross rises to ninety-six feet above the ground. Two of the three bells in the tower were donated by Mr. and Mrs. John P. Braun, the first settlers of the parish. The third bell was a gift of -Bernard Wemhoff, later Brother Paul, O.F.M. The nave of the church has a seating capacity for two hundred twenty adults and sixty children.

In the basement of the church is a spacious hall, thirty-four by seventy-six feet, and is used for all the social gatherings of the parish.

The golden jubilee of St. Mary's parish was solemnly celebrated on Sunday, August 9, 1925. Two years later Father Lawrence Pauly, O.F.M., who had spent eleven years in the parish, resigned because of ill health. He was succeeded by Rev. Maximilan Klotzbucher, O.F.M. Father Max, as he is known by his intimate friends, made many improvements at St. Mary's, especially the installation of electric lights throughout the buildings.

In January, 1930, Reverend Erwin Huntscha, O.F.M., took the place of Father Max as pastor of St. Mary's. He revised the heating system in the church, and in the school. When Reverend Erwin left in 1935, Reverend Alfred Tritz, O.F.M., spent one year in St. Mary's, and Reverend Oswald Gasper, O.F.M., three years.

In 1940, soon after the arrival of the Reverend


Paschal Rollman, O.F.M., a two-year High School was started, in order to give the children a better chance to obtain a higher education.

During the years of the recent war the people of St. Mary's did their share for their country. Twenty-five of their young men served in the armed forces and three of them gave their lives for their country. They were: Richard Wieser and Lambert Wieser, sons of Mr. and Mrs. John Wieser; and Emil Veik, son of Mr. and Mrs. Louis Veik.

The Diamond Jubilee of the parish was celebrated in 1949. Prior to this the church was redecorated, and among other improvements a new heating system was installed.

Though the parish of St. Mary's has seldom numbered more than forty-five families, there has always been a fine spirit of cooperation, among its members. The church and school, erected at the cost of many sacrifices, give testimony to the progressive spirit of its founders and their descendants.


St. Anthony's Catholic Church is located two and a half miles southwest of the village of Tarnov, in Burrows Township.


The early history of St. Anthony's Parish followed the early Catholic settlement in Burrows Township. Peter Ripp, whom history records as the first Catholic in the township, came to Platte County in 1869, and homesteaded in Burrows Township in 1871. However, he was joined there in a few months by Christian Greisen and his family, who arrived early in 1872.

Others who followed in that year were: Michael Regan, James Cooney, Peter Parr, and William Labenz.

The Catholic settlers during the next four years included: Patrick Fahey, Gerhard Gronenthal, Joseph Krings and Peter Jaixen, in 1873; John, Anthony, and Phillip Kramer, Frank Fuger, Mathias Schneider, John Kohlmann and Joseph Brausen, in 1874; Jacob Labenz, in 1875; and Frank Krings, in 1876.

These early German settlers first attended St. Patrick's Church, on Shell Creek, where they helped to build the church in 1873. In 1874, St. Mary's German Parish was organized. Three years later, in 1877, the Franciscans came into Platte County.

The first Franciscan pastor at St. Mary's was Reverend Anselm Puetz. He invited all of the German Catholic settlers in the Shell Creek Valley either to become members of St. Mary's Church or to organize a new parish of their own.

A meeting was called at St. Mary's by Father Anselm, and at that time, it was found that the majority of the group favored the establishment of a new parish. In the fall of 1877, a meeting was held at the home of Christian Greisen, and St. Anthony's parish was finally organized.

The first parish membership record lists twenty-four Germans, fourteen Poles, and three English speaking members. The first church services in the St. Anthony's community were held in the Christian Greisen home. After the Sunday Mass, the new parishioners were guests of Peter Ripp, for dinner.

The first Church Trustees elected were: Peter Ripp and Frank Krings.

Peter Ripp bought a forty-acre tract of Union Pacific Railroad land, payable in ten annual installments of twenty dollars each, which ran for a period of nine years. A new church was built on this ground. The first pastor was the Reverend Sebastian Cebulla, O.F.M.

After the parish was organized, John Fuchs and John Knapp came in 1878, and Mathias and Henry Schumacher in 1881, John Rudischer in 1882, and B. Kuhlen in 1883.

In 1880, the Polish group withdrew from the parish and organized St. Michael's Polish Catholic Parish, and built a church in Tarnov.

In 1883, St. Anthony's Church was destroyed by a windstorm. While it was being rebuilt, the parishioners attended Mass at St. Michael's Church, in Tarnov.

In 1888, an addition was built on St. Anthony's Church.

The St. Anthony's Church Choir was widely known for its Gregorian chant, which was started under the leadership of Reverend Godfrey Hoelters, O.F.M., in 1884, and continued through 1927.


In June, 1902, the Parish celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary, with a three-day Silver jubilee, on August 19, 20, and 21.

In June, 1928, the Golden Jubilee was celebrated.

The reason for the additional year was the finishing of extensive church improvements. -


The Franciscans who served as pastors from 18781930 were: 1878-1882, Reverend Sebastian Cebulla, O.F.M.; 1882-1883, Reverend Rudolph Horstman, O.F.M.; 1883-1884, Reverend Maxmilian Klein, O.F.M.; 1884-1892, Reverend Godfrey Hoelters, O.F.M.; Reverend Titus Hugger, O.F.M.; 1892-1894, Reverend Marcellinus Kollmeyer, O.F.M.; 1894-1897, Reverend Jerome Hellhake, O.F.M.; 1897-1902, Reverend Bartholomew Feldmann, O.F.M.; 1902-1913, Reverend Thomas Wilgenbusch, O.F.M.; Reverend Desiderius Von Frenz, O.F.M.; 1913-1916, Reverend Maurus Eberle, O.F.M.; 1916-1917, Reverend Eusebius Helle, O.F.M.; July-September, 1917, Reverend Vitus Braun, O.F.M.; 1917-1918, Reverend Simeon Freitag, O.F.M.; 1918-1919, Reverend Servatius Rasche, O.F.M.; 1919-1921, Reverend Innocent Schlueter, O.F.M.; 1921-1922, Reverend Humilis Zwiesler, O.F.M.; 1922-1927, Reverend Hilarion Duerk, O.F.M,; 1927-1930, Reverend Berard Zehnle, O.F.M.

In 1930, the Franciscans gave the church to the Diocese. It was then served as a Mission Church from Platte Center for two years, under Reverend Leo Mainzer. .

In 1932, it was assigned a regular pastor who also

The History of Platte County Nebraska

served St. John's Mission Church, near Lindsay. The following pastors, were: 1932-1939, Reverend Joseph Bornauer; 1939-1940, Reverend Kuippen; 1940-1942, Reverend F. X. Renner; and 1942-1948, Reverend Ernest R. Halemba.

The church trustees for 1948-1949 were: Anton Diederich, of Monroe, Nebraska, and Otto Schmidt, of Platte Center.


St. Michael's Catholic Church is located in Burrows Township, at the village of Tarnov, Nebraska.


The establishment of St. Michael's Parish, seventy years ago, was the outgrowth of the early Polish settlement in that part of Platte County.

In the late 1860's, John and Joseph Burrows, after whom the township was named, settled there. They were followed by Richard Babel, George Lamb, James Noonan, A. M. Buckley, Christian Greisen and others. In August, 1873, the township polling place was located at the old Greisen home, now in the St. Anthony's parish. The first school in the township, District 14, was opened that year. The first acting school board included: George W. Galley, Sr., Director; Samuel Galley, Treasurer; and Jacob Guter, Moderator. All of these officers lived in District 9, Columbus Township.

A record of settlement gives 1873 as the year of the arrival of Thomas Wichlacz, who settled just north of the present village. Other Polish settlers who followed were: Andrew Grzechowiak, Frank Kowak, Charles Barnas, Simon and Mary Jaworski and their son, John. In 1877, Valenty Wichlacz, a brother to Thomas; John and Thomas Torczon, John Ciochon, Frank Paprocki. In 1879, Joseph Paprocki and wife; Bartholomew and Mary Barnas; Paul, John and Henry Torczon, natives of Galicia, Poland.

John Sliva immigrated to Platte County in 1877, and lived two years near Columbus and two years near Oconee, before settling in Burrows Township, in 1881. Andrew and Augusta Konis also arrived about that time. John Kush and John Prorok came about 1884. The former had previously lived seven miles south of Duncan, and the latter had lived west of Platte Center. Others who followed included: Andrew Grzechowiak; John and Agnes Placek; Paul and Thomas Maslonka; Walenty, William and Catherine Torczon; Joseph and Magdalene Matya; Matthew Jarosz; Valenty Jarosz and wife; Joseph Jazwiec, Ladislaus and Bartholomew Bogus; John Sawica; Paul Gawer; M. Aügustyn; Adam Worzala; Frank Lutomski; Anton Marron and wife; Frank Hustek and wife; John Czarkowski; John Kapustka.

About this time, John Liss, a carpenter, came from Duncan. He later built the church. Albert Zoucha, Thomas and John Olszowka came from Chicago. Stanislaus Mostek came directly from Europe; Jacob and Joseph Cielocha and their wives, Mathias and Peter Bryg, John and Albert Starzec, and Jacob Syslo and his wife also arrived during that period.


The first Catholic settlers, both German and Polish attended either St. Patrick's Church, on Shell Creek, or St. John's Church, in Columbus, until 1877. They then attended St. Anthony's Church, in Burrows Township where the first priest was the Reverend Father Sebastian Cebulla, O.F.M.

However, when language differences arose between the Germans and the Poles, St. Michael's Parish was founded under the direction of the Reverend Father Cyril Augustinsky.


At first, a crude, unplastered building without a foundation served as a Mission Church for St. Michael's parish. The Sunday Mass was conducted there every other week by a Mission priest from Columbus, Platte Center, or nearby St. Anthony's.

In 1887, the parish was assigned a Mission priest from Humphrey.


The first Baptism at St. Anthony's Church was that of a Polish child, Paulina, daughter of T. Hermann and Catherine Kowinska. She was baptized on April 3, 1878. The sponsors were John Jaworski and Catherine Hermann.

On May 26, Frances, daughter of Philip and Maryanna Browna Micek, was baptized. Her sponsors were Thomas Hermann and Sophia Paprocki.

Other baptisms in 1878 included: Anthony Jaworski, Anna Szawica, and Michael Ciochon, the son of John and Catherine Gembala Ciochon. Michael's sponsors were John Starzec and Tekla Taurocka.

Other charter members from church records in 1881 were: John and Maryanna Augustyn Torczon; Jan and Anna Szavica Jaworski; Valenty and Catherine Konwinski Wichlacz; Adalbert and Catherine Mosgol Mostek; Paul and Maryanna Bogus Torczon; Joseph and Magdalene Augustyn Mayta; Andrew and Catherine Szavica Grzechowiak; John and Agnes Liss Placek; John and Maryanna Warzala Stack; Paul and Regina Kielbasa Maslonka; and all of the other early Polish settlers in Burrows Township.

Besides the church, the other parish buildings included a parish house finished in 1883, for the pastor; St. Michael's first school, built in 1887; and a residence for the sisters, completed in 1891.


In 1889, the Union Pacific Railroad Company sent a representative to the Polish settlement to confer with the Reverend Anastase Czech, O.F.M. Father Anastase acted as agent between the railroad company and the owners of the property. The result of this conference was that Bartholomew Barnas, a Polish landowner, donated forty acres of his land to the Union Pacific Railroad Company.

The town of Burrows was then platted by Thomas L


Kimball, president of the Union Pacific Land Company, and thereby the railroad company was induced to erect property buildings. The contract gave every second lot in the village to Mr. Barnas, as a return for his land.

In 1887, seventy people presented a petition to the railroad for the erection of a depot. The first depot was very crude. In 1889, the railroad built a side track and elevator.

Many of the Polish settlers came from Tarnov, in the province of Galicia, Poland. On this account, in 1890, the village of Burrows was renamed Tarnov, and the United States Post Office was established there in July of 1891, with A. C. Liss as the first postmaster.

The village of Tarnov was incorporated in 1905, after the petition signed by A. Volz and twenty-nine others was passed by the County Board of Supervisors.

On July 16, 1905, the County Board appointed A. Volz, the Reverend Dennis Czech, John Flakus, A. C. Liss, and J. E. McDaniel as the first village trustees. Their term of office was to continue until successors were duly elected and qualified for office.


On October 22, 1901, St. Michael's New Gothic Church was dedicated. The church records show that the first couple married in the new church was John Ciochon and Mary Jaworski.

For the next nine years, the old church building was used as a school. In 1910, the new St. Michael's School, Pastor's Home, and Sisters' Home were erected.


The pastors who served the church from 1880-1948 were all priests of the Order of Franciscan Monks. They were: Reverend Cyril Augustinsky, from 1880 through October, 1882; Reverend Anastase Czech, December, 1882-July, 1887; Reverend Ladislaus Czech, August, 1889-August, 1894, and December, 1896-November, '903; Reverend Rembert Stanowski, August, 1894-November, 1896; Reverend Dennis Czech, December, 1903-July, 1913, and July, 1924-July, 1929; Reverend Knute Lobinski, July, 1913-July, 1924, and again in the 1940's; Reverend Narcissus Tarkowski, July, 1929, into the 1930's.

From 1930 to 1948 the pastors besides Reverend Tarkowski were: Reverend Flavius Kraus, Reverend Paw Muszelewicz, Reverend Wenceslaus Krzycki, and the Reverend Knute Lobinski.

Among the parishioners of 1948 were the Pioneer names of: Stanislaus and John Barnas, Stanislaus Torczon Michael Jarosz, George Jarosz, Michael Ciochon, Andrew and Frank Jaworski, John Kuta, John Gorka, Frank Hanzel, and Frank Sliva, all of whom came to Tarnov over fifty, sixty and seventy years ago.

In 1947-1948, church trustees were: John Kwapniowski, Alois Ciochon, Henry Paprocki, and Dennis Silva.

The Order of Nuns of St. Michael's School is the Poor Sisters of St. Francis Seraph. The Superior in 1947-1948 was the Venerable Sister M. Palladia.

The church cemetery is St. Michael's Cemetery. The cemetery board consists of the pastor and trustees of the church.


The St. Bernard Catholic Church is located in St. Bernard Township at St. Bernard.


The story of the settlement and growth of St. Bernard Township is unique.

In 1873, a few German Catholic settlers filed on homesteads there. Among these settlers were: John Dieter, Joseph Steibly, John Melcher, M. Bentz and Mathias Classen. From 1875-1877, they attended mass at the German Mission of St. Mary's on "Steam's Prairie."

In 1877, the Franciscans came into Platte County and organized a German Catholic parish in Columbus, and at the same time took over the German Mission of St. Mary's.

The opportunity for the Franciscans to establish a Catholic colony came that year, when the Fremont, Elkhorn, and Missouri Railroad offered them the privilege of forming a German settlement on railroad land, providing that the land would all be sold within a period of two years.

About that time, in 1877, Bernard Schroeder, Michael Jonas, Victor Jung, and Frank Wiebler came into the St. Bernard settlement. Father Ambrose Janssen at once interested Bernard Schroeder in the project. The railroad land comprised over thirty sections in Platte and Madison Counties. The price range was from two dollars and fifty cents to five dollars per acre. The payments for the land were to be paid in ten equal annual installments, without interest. If the land was paid for within a two year period, a forty percent discount would be given to the purchaser. The railroad company allowed Bernard Schroeder fifty cents an acre for his work. One fourth of that amount was to be given to the Franciscans.

Father Ambrose Janssen and Bernard Schroeder agreed to ask fifty cents more per acre, than the stated price, from each settler in the St. Bernard Colony. This money was to be used for the building of a church, school, and sisters' home at St. Bernard.

According to the records of the colony kept by Father Ambrose, Godfrey Frischholz was the first to make application for land in the colony; and Joseph Heimen was the first to pay cash for his land.

Among the first group in the colony were: Matthew Gilsdorf, Henry and Herman Wegner, Killian Ottis, Joseph Janssen, Anton and Fred Loeffler, Andrew Boesch, Clemens Niebur, John Sand, Joseph Heiman, John Dohmen, Joseph Albracht, Bernard Hawk, Michael Schaefer, and Anton Batliner.

The parish of St. Bernard was organized in 1878. At the organizational meeting, it was decided that both the parish and village should be named St. Bernard, in honor of Bernard Schroeder. The inland village of St. Bernard

The History of Platte County Nebraska

was platted in 1878 by R. L. Rossiter, County Surveyor. Bernard Schroeder opened the first hotel, store and blacksmith shop in the village, and a post office was located there until the advent of the Rural Free Delivery, when it was moved to Lindsay, Nebraska.

After the township was organized, it was given the name of the settlement, St. Bernard.

The first religious services in St. Bernard were held at the home of Michael Jonas, on August 15, 1878. Other houses in which Mass was read and religious services were frequently held before the church was built were those of Bernard Schroeder, John Dieter, and Victor Jung.

Father Ambrose baptized many children of the parish while celebrating the Mission services in the homes.

Plans were made for the building of the new church in 1878, and the lumber was hauled from Columbus by the parishioners. Reverend Ambrose Janssen directed the building operations. Damien Buschgen, O.F.M., helped in the construction, assisted by William Duesman, John Heinrichs, Nick Thill, P. Beyers, and Frank Gores, the latter was a carpenter from Columbus.

The buildings were completed in November of 1878. The St. Bernard Church School and Sisters' Home were dedicated on November 2!, 1878.

By December, 1879, the colony had increased to seventy families. A Friary for the pastor was erected in 1880. Previous to that time, the church was served as a Mission from Columbus.

On September 9, 1883, the corner stone for the second church was laid. The church was dedicated on June 29, 1884. The second Friary was built in 1908.


The pastors from 1878-1931 were: 1878, Reverend Ambrose Janssen, O.F.M.; 1879-1881, Reverend Cyprian Banscheid, O.F.M.; 1881-1889, Reverend Pancratius Schulte, O.F.M.; 18911894, Reverend Rufinus Moehle, O.F.M.; 1894-1899, Reverend Florentius Kurzer, O.F.M.; 1899-1901, Reverend Herbert Stotter, O.F.M.; 1902-1908, Reverend Stanislaus Riemann, O.F.M.; 1908-1911, Reverend Romuald Rheindoff, O.F.M.; 1912-1914, Reverend Casimir Hueppe, O.F.M.; 1914-1915, Reverend Clement Moorman, O.F.M.; 1915-1921, Reverend Cyriac Stempel, O.F.M.; 1921-1927, Reverend Germain Heinrichs, O.F.M.; 1927-1931, Reverend Raymond Holte, O.F.M.


The twenty-fifth anniversary of the settling of St. Bernard and the organizing of the parish was held October 1, 1903.

On May 30, 1923, the new St. Bernard School was dedicated.

The fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the parish and community was observed on August 22, 1928.


The St. Francis of Assissi Catholic Church is located in Humphrey, Nebraska.



The early history of St. Francis Parish is part of the story of the town of Humphrey. A post office was established there in August, 1871, with Mrs. Nancy Leach as its first Post Mistress. Mrs. Leach came from Humphrey, New York, hence the origin of the name.

In 1879, the Railroad to Norfolk was built through the present townsite and its depot was located on the west edge of Humphrey Township. The town of Humphrey, which lies in the Townships of both Granville and Humphrey, was platted on the William Tieskoetter land. Thomas Ottis bought forty acres of land from Tieskoetter in 1880, and laid out two additions to the original town plat. He later gave ten acres of this land to St. Francis Parish.

Among the early settlers in the town were: William and Herman Tieskoetter, William Eimers, W. Eschelbacher, Jacob Ripp, Newell South, and Thomas Ottis.

William Eimers started the first drug store and warehouse in 1880. He had two sons, F. H. and W. B. Eimers, who ten years later succeeded their father in business. Thomas Ottis came to Humphrey in 1880, and opened a general store, elevator and lumber yard there.

The Catholics in the Humphrey vicinity early foresaw the need for establishing a church to help in the makings of the new town. This group was largely made up of Germans who settled the area around Humphrey, between the years 1877 and 1879, as a part of the St. Bernard Colony.

Humphrey is about half way between St. Mary's and St. Bernard, so that the Catholics at Humphrey were divided between the two parishes.

In 1881, while enroute to the parish at St. Bernard, the Right Reverend Bishop O'Connell, of Omaha, paid a visit to Humphrey. At this time, a group of Catholic men from the Humphrey vicinity spoke to him in regard to the founding of a new parish in the town. However, two years passed before the Bishop gave his consent to the organization. In the meantime, through the work of the pastors and the cooperation of the parishioners, the parishes of St. Mary's and St. Bernard were placed on a sound financial basis, and a parochial school was built at St. Mary's.

The parish of St. Francis was organized in 1882, with seventy-six charter members.

Under the direction of Reverend Theodore Arentz, O.F.M., pastor of St. Mary's excavation on the new church began December 10, 1882, with the Reverend Seraphin Lampe, O.F.M., of Columbus, in charge of the Dedicatory Services.

A large number of people, both Catholic and Protestant, were present at this ceremony.

In the evening, the ladies of the parish presided at their first parish social function when they served supper at the new Steffes Hotel.

Brother Adam Werner, O.F.M., was the Provincial Architect who drew the plans for the new church and Frank Brockhaus was in charge of the con-

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