ST. MARY 1897

The First St. Mary`of the Assumption built in Neoga in 1897 and an interior photo of that church.

ROBERT BENEFIEL HAS PROVIDED THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION REGARDING THE HISTORY OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN NEOGA: "The first St. Mary of The Assumption Church was dedicated in 1897 at the corner of Walnut and Seventh Streets in Neoga, Illinois.  It was the first Catholic Church in Cumberland County.  Neoga Catholics had been attending Mass in Shelby County at St. Patrick's Church in Trowbridge since it was founded in 1863.  It was abandoned and razed in 1975.
The old rectory was completed in 1901 just south of the church.  It was replaced by a new Bedford stone rectory in 1955.  Meeting rooms for catechism classes and a small dining area for parish functions was in the basement.
The new church in Neoga was completed in 1962.  In 1989, Assumption Hall and a sizeable parking lot were constructed south of the rectory.  It's used for related church functions and by the entire Neoga community." Robert has stated that this info (dates, etc.) was taken from a parish history written by Agnes Voris and Kathy Proffitt in a Centennial Booklet dated 1997.

"In 1863, the Franciscan Friars from Teutopolis, Illinois, established a mission parish on a site three miles southwest of Neoga, in Trowbridge, Shelby Couny, Illinois. Seven Acres of timber land having been donated by Patrick McAndrew, a white clapboard frame building 54 x 30 feet was constructed by Catholic families under the supenision of Fr. Kilian Schloesser, O.S.F. This was the first building in America designed and built by the provincial architect, Brother Adrian Wewer, O.S.F.
Neoga Catholics attended Mass at this rural church until St. Mary's Church was built in Neoga in 1895. The Neoga parishioners again attended senices at their "mother parish", St. Patrick's, from 1960-1963 when St. Mary's was razed and a new church was built.
In 1889, a diocesan priest was appointed to serve both parishes with the residence to be in Neoga. The Edgewood parish of St. Anne's was a mission of Neoga, served twice a month (with the pastor traveling by train) beginning in 1863 until 1907.
The Trowbridge church property also consisted of a group of white clapboard buildings including a one-room schoolhouse, a storage shed, and men and women's out-houses. A parish hall was built in the 1950's and served the communi!y until it was torn down around 1981. Although no buildings remain on the property, the one-room school house was bought by Alfred Hardesty and moved to his farm adjoining the church property.
St. Patrick's Cemetery has existed behind the church from the beginning and is still maintained by a cemetery board for the use of present and future generations. At his request, Father Michael J. Crowley (who served Neoga and Trowbridge for over 27 years) is buried (along with his sister, Hannah) in St. Patrick's Cemetery."
Br. Adrian Wewer . Fr. Francis Schlesser. Divine Intervention


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