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Descriptions of the Early Church in Northern Indiana 1836

Researching the early Church in Indiana is much like researching one’s genealogy. When you go to the sources, you sometimes find information that you weren’t looking for.

We were recently searching for information on Fr. Simon Petit Lalumiere the “First Priest” of Bishop Brute, we ran across an article in the “Catholic Telegraph” of Cincinnati, which was, basically, the only Catholic newspaper in the area of the Diocese of Vincennes.

The article gives us a glimpse of the condition of the Church in Northern Indiana in 1836:

We are requested to state that, notwithstanding the absence of the zealous Bishop of Vincennes, 1 the word of God is spreading through his diocese. Near Blue lake, in the northern part of Indiana, in particular, the land is said to be of good quality and the inducements, temporal and spiritual, to steady and industrious farmers and mechanics, with or without capital, to settle there, probably as great as in any other section of the country. At Fort Wayne, a beautiful church, 60 by 86 feet, is now building, and it is hoped will soon be finished. A church is already built at Peru, Miami county, since last summer.

Arrangements have been likewise made for commencing new churches at Logansport, Legros, and Huntington, during the next spring, the Catholics, along the entire line of the canal, are regularly visited by Rev. S. Lalumiere, who resides at Vincennes, and will cheerfully furnish any information that may be required by persons looking for eligible locations near a Catholic church. Indeed, from the liberality evinced by the legislature during its present session, it is impossible but that this state should hold out superior advantages to settlers. The Senate have passed the Internal Improvement bill, as it passed the House, by a vote oy 18 to 12. The bill provides for a canal down Whitewater to Lawrenceburg—one from a point above Indianapolis, down the valley of White river to Evansville, on the Ohio; for a continuation of the Wabash and Erie Canal to intersect the White River Canal below Indianapolis at some convenient point; for a railroad from this place to Lafayette, by way of Indianapolis and Crawfordsville; for a turnpike road from New Albany to Vincennes; also a turnpike from New Albany, by way of Bedford and Bloomington to Crawfordsville. Ten millions to be borrowed to pay for these works. 2

  1. Bishop Brute had begun his trip to Europe to recruit clergy. These included 2 future Bishops of Vincennes[]
  2. Catholic Telegraph – Thursday, January 28, 1836[]

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