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Fr. Deydier and life in the “Missions”

I ran across this article, which appeared in the Evanville Courier, back in 1997. It concerned the early days of St. James Church in Haubstadt, Indiana. A German community visited by a French priest… These are the kind of things that usually are long forgotten unless someone writes it down…

Evansville Courier, The (IN) – Friday, July 25, 1997
Author: Anne Schleper

IN THE LATE 1830s and early 1840s, German Catholics, most of them farmers, in the Gibson County community now called Haubstadt were without a priest and a church.

In 1840, a priest from Evansville visited Catholic families and offered the sacraments to Catholics in Vanderburgh, Gibson and Posey counties.

It was a hard life for a priest in those times.

“Father Deydier slept quite often under a tree or on straw when he was out on a mission such as St. James. … he wore an old, torn coat, shoes in poor condition and mended trousers patched by the priest himself,” according to accounts in the St. James archives.

Deydier eventually founded Assumption Cathedral in Evansville, but the Catholics in Gibson County still longed for a church of their own.

A small log church was built and dedicated in 1845. Twelve years later a new Roman-style, brick church, built on land overlooking Gibson County farmland, was dedicated to St. James the Great and became known as St. James Catholic Church.


Categories: Postings.