The above is an image of an old article about the fire which destroyed the original Stone Church

PRUSSIAN SETTLEMENTS "STONE CHURCH" BECOMES ST. MARY'S Part II  Boonville Herald c. 1970 (continued from previous page )

   For many years the sermons were always preached in German. Soon after  Father Divinity's arrival (1924) It was decided to build a new church at West 
Leyden with St. Peter and St. Paul Church at Fish Creek as it's mission  Church.The beautiful statues which had been placed in the church in it's early  days by the faithful members ,in memory of their loved ones were taken down and  carried with love and reverence to the new church in West Leyden for the 
dedication ceremony. Reverend Divinity did not stay to the West Leyden church  finished as he was transferred to Constableville. The first mass in the new  St.Mary's was celebrated Christmas Eve 1926.
   The reverend F. J. Connors was the first resident priest in  West Leyden
and through his efforts the church was finally completed.   Abandon the little
stone Church stood surrounded by the graves of many of it's  former faithful
members ,until late one afternoon in the spring of 1940 when  smoke was seen
coming from the roof of the church. Donald and Jerome Wilbert  ,the last two
people to enter the church,rushed to the church hoping to put out  the fire or
save some of the contents.the two men were soon driven back by the  flames and smoke.In a very short time St. Mary's Church was burned to the  ground.
     A year or two later ,the superintendent of  highways for the town of
Lewis,Phillip Swancott,moved the town stone crusher up  to the pile of stone
which once had been a beautiful little church and crushed  all the stones and used them in building the nearby town road. Today a beautiful  macadam road passes the little well kept cemetery which was back of the  church.Road connects west Leyden to Osceola. May 30-1967 a beautiful black and  brown plaque was placed on the site of the old Stone Church in the cemetery  bearing this inscription:
                           St. Mary's Church
                                                               built 1861
                                                      in appreciation of a
                                                             safe journey
                                                      from their native land.
                                                         Closed in 1926
                                                    donated by Mr. and Mrs.
                                                         William Wilbert

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contributed by Michael

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