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Ann Arbor

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Parent Issue
Day
29
Month
March
Year
1894
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

XXV. St. Thomas (RomaxCatholic) Church. The great stretch of territory which is now embraced within the State of Michigan was flrst oocupied by French Catholics. The Jesuit Fathers began their work among the Indians of the Upper Peninsula as early as 1641. It might be laid down as a general truth. the exceptions to which would be few, that since the founding of Christianity Christian missionaries have been the first totranscend the lines which have separated civilized from savage humanity. About tho stations which they have established have soon settled traders and thus civilization has followed the lead of missions. So it was in Michigan. Sault St. Marie, Mackinaw and Detroit may bo taken as the earliest of these stations to develope into villages, or towns. The class of men known as "courricrs des bois" formed the medium of commercial intercourse between the towns, or settlements. These trading-posts were scattered along the water-ways and it is worthy of notice that one of them anticipated by fourteen years the beginning of the agricultura! occupation of Washtenaw county. I refer to the so-called trading-house of Gabriel Godfroy where Ypsilanti now stands. Godfroy had two partners, Francis Pepin and Louis Shambre, alj doubtless Catholics, but having their church home at Monroe, as probably al so the homes of the families with the exception of the one in charge of the post. This house was established in 1809. The settlement of Irish Gatholies in the county bogan soon after the founding of Ann Arbor and had its beginning in Northfield and Superior. Their first organization for worship was in Northfield. It can be traced from 1830, when a few scattered families were visited bv Kev. Father Kelly, whose trations among them extended to the year 1835. For flve years af ter this latter date Father Morrissy ministered to the religious wants of their scattered people, including Ann Artaor, both of the.se priests residing in Northfield, which still remained their centre. In 1840 Father Gullen succeeded to the pastoral care of the scattered flock and labored with more special reference to a church in Ann Arbor. Previous to the completion of the church edifice in 1843, services were held wherever places could be found, often in private houses. For a considerable time an oíd building on Washington, between Fourth and Fifth streets was occupied by them. But Father Cullen's range of labor was a large one ; for his care was extended over the Catholic people froin Ypsilanti to Kalamazoo. It is worthy of remark that the mater, nal body in Northfield remained strong enough after the establishment of sep. arate worship in Ann Arbor to continue its worship and greatly to enlarge its resources for the purpose. This is exceptional. The Baptist church was first formed at Geddes, but the worship was there abandoned when it was begun in Ann Arbor. The Germán Lutherans began in Scio, but is now no longer kept up there. There is now no other church of any donomination so near the city as the Catholic church in Northfield and there a substantial brick ediíice has succeedcd to the wooden one of earlier days. This suggests the duty of the various Christian bodies to establish religious worship and iustruction in the 'arming distriets around, which seem to be falling into increasing neglect of attendanoe on religious services. Here correction should be made of an error in my sketch of the Luthoran church. It was observed in that, in regard to Pastor Schmid's period of pastorial service, that it extended to more than doublé that of any other pastor ever settled here. Father Cullen's services in St. Thomas' Parish must be cxcepted in this rcmark. He remained from bis arrival on the ground in 1840 to his death in 1862. He was buriod beneath the church which had been built undor his direction ; but the remams were in July, 1892, removed to St. Thomas' Cemetery west of the city, by Rev. E. D. Kelly, the present pastor. Father Cullen built also a house which was hisown property and descended toa ni'phow and niece. The small space in front of it was iinely adorned with trees and shrubbery. This house stood and still stands on División street. It is the first on the east side of that street and northward of North or Kingsley street as now called ; but in the recent ing of División street, the front yard, with its adornments, was sacrificed, loav. ing scarcely room for steps between the side-walk and the front door of the house. The purpose announced will bo adhered to in this class of sketches and none will be carried at present beyond the year 1844. They include mere beginnings. Developments will be taken up at a later date.

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Subjects
Old News
Ann Arbor Register