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St Francis Church

251 N Clinton St, Aviston, IL 62216
(618) 228-7219 Additional Contacts
 
History : The first Catholic settlers in the territory of the present St. Francis Congregation of Aviston were emigrants from Northern Germany, Hanover, Westphalia, and Oldenburg. Among them were Bernard Huelsmann (1839), Diederich Overbeck (1841), He...read more
History : The first Catholic settlers in the territory of the present St. Francis Congregation of Aviston were emigrants from Northern Germany, Hanover, Westphalia, and Oldenburg. Among them were Bernard Huelsmann (1839), Diederich Overbeck (1841), Herman Henry Markus, Gerhard Feldmann (1848), Bernard Wempe, Henry Stroot, Henry Merscher, Herman Robbe, Carle Stuever (1849). They engaged in farming and by hard and persevering labor and by the practice of rigid economy converted the wild and weedy prairies of the region into rich and fertile farms. Their parish church was at Hanover (now Germantown), their Post Office was Aviston, located on the old State Route about one mile North of the present village of Aviston. When the Ohio and Mississippi (now B. & O.) Railroad was built through this territory in 1854, a station was located here through the influence and efforts of Mr. Samuel Hull, and called Hull Station. Some time later, because the mail was now transported by rail, the Post Office was moved to Hull Station, and the small hamlet became known as Aviston, after the name of the Post Office, and was later incorporated as ¿¿¿The Village of Aviston.¿¿¿ In the early 60¿¿¿s the number of Catholic families had increased to such an extent that a movement for the erection of a church and the organization of a new parish was general. At a meeting of the Catholics held in the depot building in the Spring of 1864 it was decided to seek the sanction of the Bishop for the formation of the new parish. A heated discussion of the question whether to build the church on the north or sough side of the tracks was finally settled by the generous offer of Samuel Hull, not a Catholic himself, to donate blocks 20, 21, and 28 on the south side, together with a cash contribution of one hundred dollars, provided the church would be built on one of those blocks. On an appointed day, Bishop Henry Damian Juncker, of Alton, came to Aviston accompanied by Father A. Reinecke, of Breese, and celebrated the first Holy Mass on Aviston Territory in a private residence. The house, which has since been replaced by a new building, was the first house north of the tracks on the west side of the west crossing. After the services the Bishop inspected the property of the proposed congregation, and decided that the church should be built on block 28. Encouraged by their Bishop, the doughty pioneers, without the assistance of a priest, began to build their church in the Spring of 1864. A brick structure 80 by 50 feet was erected by Gerhard Rolfmeyer and Henry Dillmann, local contractors at a cost of $11,741.25. Owing to many difficulties caused by outside interference, lack of pastoral leadership, and shortage of labor, due to the war, the building was not completed until September, 1865. Mr. Rolfmeyer, one of the contractors, while engaged at work in the construction of the church, slipped and fell from a height of fifty feet, and died a few hours later. When the church was completed, Bishop Juncker appointed the Rev. Henry Boecker as Pastor of Aviston and Trenton. He arrived at Aviston, October 2, 1865, blessed the church, and celebrated the first High Mass on October 4, 1865, the first patron feast of the new parish. The records of the church date from that time.
 
 

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History : The first Catholic settlers in the territory of the present St. Francis Congregation of Aviston were emigrants from Northern Germany, Hanover, Westphalia, and Oldenburg. Among them were Bernard Huelsmann (1839), Diederich Overbeck (1841), Herman Henry Markus, Gerhard Feldmann (1848), Bernard Wempe, Henry Stroot, Henry Merscher, Herman Robbe, Carle Stuever (1849). They engaged in farming and by hard and persevering labor and by the practice of rigid economy converted the wild and weedy prairies of the region into rich and fertile farms. Their parish church was at Hanover (now Germantown), their Post Office was Aviston, located on the old State Route about one mile North of the present village of Aviston. When the Ohio and Mississippi (now B. & O.) Railroad was built through this territory in 1854, a station was located here through the influence and efforts of Mr. Samuel Hull, and called Hull Station. Some time later, because the mail was now transported by rail, the Post Office was moved to Hull Station, and the small hamlet became known as Aviston, after the name of the Post Office, and was later incorporated as ¿¿¿The Village of Aviston.¿¿¿ In the early 60¿¿¿s the number of Catholic families had increased to such an extent that a movement for the erection of a church and the organization of a new parish was general. At a meeting of the Catholics held in the depot building in the Spring of 1864 it was decided to seek the sanction of the Bishop for the formation of the new parish. A heated discussion of the question whether to build the church on the north or sough side of the tracks was finally settled by the generous offer of Samuel Hull, not a Catholic himself, to donate blocks 20, 21, and 28 on the south side, together with a cash contribution of one hundred dollars, provided the church would be built on one of those blocks. On an appointed day, Bishop Henry Damian Juncker, of Alton, came to Aviston accompanied by Father A. Reinecke, of Breese, and celebrated the first Holy Mass on Aviston Territory in a private residence. The house, which has since been replaced by a new building, was the first house north of the tracks on the west side of the west crossing. After the services the Bishop inspected the property of the proposed congregation, and decided that the church should be built on block 28. Encouraged by their Bishop, the doughty pioneers, without the assistance of a priest, began to build their church in the Spring of 1864. A brick structure 80 by 50 feet was erected by Gerhard Rolfmeyer and Henry Dillmann, local contractors at a cost of $11,741.25. Owing to many difficulties caused by outside interference, lack of pastoral leadership, and shortage of labor, due to the war, the building was not completed until September, 1865. Mr. Rolfmeyer, one of the contractors, while engaged at work in the construction of the church, slipped and fell from a height of fifty feet, and died a few hours later. When the church was completed, Bishop Juncker appointed the Rev. Henry Boecker as Pastor of Aviston and Trenton. He arrived at Aviston, October 2, 1865, blessed the church, and celebrated the first High Mass on October 4, 1865, the first patron feast of the new parish. The records of the church date from that time.