Jay County Indiana Biographies
Rev. Charles W. MARR. The parishes under the ministration of the Rev. Father MARR include the Church of the Immaculate Conception at Portland, St. Mary's at Dunkirk and St. Patrick's at Redkey, the pastor maintaining his residence at Dunkirk, having a very comfortable parish house adjacent to the church. Historically, the first mass celebrated at Portland was under the ministration of Rev. Joseph DWENGER, later bishop of Ft. Wayne, who visited the few Irish Catholic families in that neighborhood and at stated intervals preached in the old court house which then was open to the services of all faiths. In 1873 the Rev. Paul RENTER came down on horseback from St. Mary's Home near New Corydon and celebrated mass once a month on a week day in the home of F. V. GIGANDET, northwest of Portland. On April 3, 1875, Father RENTER called a meeting of all the Catholics of Portland and vicinity, consisting then of about seven families, and at this meeting it was determined to erect a church. Upon notice of this intention there was a generous response in the community, quite a number of non-Catholics being included in the list of contributors to the church fund, and in a short time $600 was secured. A lot was bought on East Walnut street for $25 and in 1876 a frame structure, 28x40 feet, was built under the direction of the Rev. George FLEISCH at a cost of $1,185, and from that time until 1888 services were conducted in that church on two Sundays of every month by the Sanguinist Fathers from Ft. Recovery and from St. Mary's Home. In 1888 two additional lots were bought by the Rev. Joachim BAKER, on one of which stood a cottage which thereafter was used as the priest's residence. In 1906, under the direction of the Rev. L. A. EBERLE, the church was remodeled by the addition of 28x32 feet to the nave and a new sacristy 15x15 feet, this giving- the church a seating capacity of about two hundred. In 1903 Father PAQUET had the priest's house remodeled, a kitchen, bath room and pantry being added. As noted above, this parish was served by Fathers of the Most Precious Blood until 1888, when in July of this year the Rev. Joachim BAKER was installed as the first resident pastor. He served until October, 1891, and was succeeded by the Rev. Anthony J. STRUEDER, who served until in October, 1894, and was succeeded by the Rev. Constantine MAUJAY, whose term of service covered six years, or until in October, 1900, when he was succeeded by the Rev. J. P. LASHER. On July 1, 1901, Father LASHER was succeeded by the Rev. Thomas M. CONROY, who served for just one year and was followed by the Rev. L. R. PAQUET, who remained until in February, 1904. In March of 1904 the Rev. Paulinus TROST entered the field, but he did not remain long, being succeeded in the following July by the Rev. Lawrence A. EBERLE, who served until July 25, 1907, when he was succeeded by the Rev. T. J. TRAVES, who remained for ten years, or until in July, 1917, when he was transferred to St. Mary's at Anderson, Ind., and was succeeded by the Rev. F. N. VURPILLAT who in August of the following year, 1918, was succeeded by Rev. Charles W. MARR, the present rector. Under the direction of Father MARR numerous improvements have been made in the church edifice, which has been somewhat remodeled along more modern lines and new pews installed at a cost of $1,300. There are about thirty families in the parish, numbering about 200 souls. The church is out of debt and all departments of its work are reported flourishing.