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Earliest Church Records

Although I am sure that many baptisms, marriages etc. were performed in the early history of Indiana, many priests carried their sacramental records with them, mainly because there was no church to deposit the records into. [One example of this would be the Sacramental Record carried by Simon Lalumiere]

However, it is always a mark of true ‘stability’, if you will, when a sacramental record ‘stays put’ in one place. With that in mind, today we honor the memory of at least three people who helped to make that ‘stability’ happen. On April 21, 1749 The marriage of Julen Tratier and Josette Marie was witnessed by Fr. Sebastian Louis Meurin S.J.

Martin Spalding, Bishop of Louisville and later Archbishop of Baltimore wrote about this event in 1852:

The church records of Vincennes open April 21,.
1749. They begin simply and absolutely, without title
page or introduction, with a certificate of marriage
between Julien Trattier, of Montreal, Canada, and
Josette Marie, the daughter of a Frenchman and an
Indian woman. This record is written on a detached
sheet, afterwards appended to the Register by the resident
clergyman, with the proper certificate of its genuineness.
The only baptisms recorded during this year
are those of two Indian adults.
The residing priest, a Jesuit, was then F. Sebastian.
Louis Meurin; . who, the Register states, performed also.
the functions of the civil court. There was, even at
that early period, a rude church or chapel; and the
young woman, whose marriage is the first recorded in.
the Register, was buried in the cemetery adjoining, in.
December, 1750: -her grave is under the present
cathedral. 1

This is the oldest church record preserved at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral in Vincennes 2

  1. Life, Times and Character of the Rt. Rev. Benedict Joseph Flaget, First Bishop of Louisville, 1852[]
  2. Cauthorn p.228[]

Categories: Postings.