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|St. Joseph Catholic Church
Quite early in the history of Preemption township, the Conways, Odays,
Brenens, and a few others of the Catholic faith, settled in and around
the southeast part of the township, and to them occasionally priests
from Rock Island would come and minister, holding meetings at the cabins
of the early settlers. This was continued up to 1875, when steps were
taken to build a church, which was soon accomplished. On January 23,
1875, a subscription was drawn up by Daniel Mack, who subscribed $100.
This was followed by several other $100 subscriptions. The Macks, the
Conways, the McManises, the Dooleys, and the Lucuses, leading. Many of
what might be termed outsiders and members of other churches also lent a
helping hand to the enterprise; foremost among whom was William W.
Johnston, who donated twenty-five dollars. On January 30, 1875, the
contract to build a church, in size 30 X 42, of good material, with
stone foundation, was let to Mathias Schnell, who completed the work the
This congregation has its beginnings with the Irish immigrants who
came and settled in Preemption Township. In 1875 they decided to erect a
building, and Joseph Conway, one of the first seventeen men to settle in
the area, gave the land for a church site, a cemetery, and a school.
Subscriptions were raised from the families, a building was erected, and
on October 9, 1875, the building was dedicated by the Reverend Mr. J.P.
Rolles of Rock Island. This building cost $1,600, and the vestry was
added in 1878 at an additional cost of $166.
Here are directions to St. Joseph's Cemetery where many of the first Macks who settled in Mercer County are buried:
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