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St. Joseph Catholic Church (Fremont, Ohio) - MS 848 mf

Introduction | Agency History | Order of Microfilming

 Introduction

The records of St. Joseph Catholic Church, 1858 - 2001, were transferred for microfilming to the Center for Archival Collections, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio 43403, with the cooperation of Very Reverend Ronald J. LeJeune of St. Joseph Catholic Church, Fremont, Ohio.

The collection consists of baptisms*, first communions, confirmations, convert register, marriages*, interments and deaths. Due to inconsistencies in pagination and transcription of data, researchers are encouraged to refer to all volumes within each series. (See order of microfilming for a detailed list of these records.) Some records are in Latin, Spanish or German.

Janet Kennedy, graduate student, compiled the register for St. Joseph Catholic Church in April, 2001.

*There is a seventy (70) year access restriction on baptism and marriage records. No restrictions apply to the remainder of this collection.

 Agency History

The first Catholic Church of Fremont, Ohio was Saint Ann Catholic Church however, by 1857 language began to be a barrier for the German parishioners. Father Louis Molon founded Saint Joseph parish on December 8, 1857 on the northwest corner of Croghan and Clover Streets. Two years later the parish began a school. Father Molon resigned in March, 1861. The following two pastors, Fathers George Peter and Nicholas Moes did not advance the position of St. Joseph, but worked to bring unity among the congregation.

Father Seraphin Bauer D.D. served the longest pastorate (1862 - 1911) at the parish. Under his direction, St. Joseph's experienced a significant amount of changes. In 1864, St. Ann and St. Joseph parishes purchased about fifteen acres of land on Cleveland Avenue, Fremont, Ohio for a new cemetery eliminating the use of the original cemetery, located about five miles, outside of town on County Road 41. In 1876, the Sisters of Notre Dame replaced the lay teachers of the school. The school experienced steady growth and on September 27, 1908 a new building was dedicated to accommodate the 405 students.

As a result of the work being performed by the Sisters of Notre Dame in the school, the church purchased land on Clover Street for a convent. In 1909, this building was sold and the Sisters occupied a new building. The same religious community continues to serve the school today.

The growth of the parish mirrors that of the school. In 1873, it became obvious that the congregation had outgrown the old church. A collection for a new building began. On September 18, 1881 contractors broke ground and the cornerstone was laid April 30, 1882. The congregation began using the new building in March 1891, however the church was dedicated until July 9, 1893. The new building was 71 feet wide and 162 feet long at 709 Croghan Street. As a result of an interior fire, the congregation converted the old church in a hall in November 1893. The congregation continued its steady growth.

Father Bauer died in 1911. Father Gustave H. Rieken took over until 1921, followed by Father Joseph Waechter (1922 - 1936). In December 1914, Saint Casimir's Catholic Church was established for the Polish citizens of Fremont. St. Joseph lost some of its parishioners as a result. In 1916, the interior of the church was decorated. Upon the completion of the renovation a consecration ceremony was held on October 12, 1917. The hall (originally the first church) was converted into a gymnasium and assembly rooms in 1920. It is during this time period that the decline of the German influence can be seen. The Reverend only delivered one sermon in this language a month. The school implements a four-year high school plan in September 1922. The pastors purchased land for further growth of the church and school.

Father James Arnoldi became appointed pastor of St. Joseph's in 1936 and remained there until 1959. Under his direction, St. Joseph parish continued its steady growth. In 1949, the brick convent was moved to the corner of Court and Clover Street. A new high school was completed in 1950 at 702 Croghan Street. During the mid-1950s, the grade school and high school received additions to accommodate the students. The old school building was razed to make way for a new rectory to the east of the church in 1954 - 1955. In 1956, another parish was formed in Fremont, Sacred Heart, and St. Joseph's lost some parishioners to this new congregation. In 1967, Bishop Donovan defined parish boundaries for the four Catholic Churches of Fremont.

Since 1959, Saint Joseph Catholic Church has experienced steady growth. In 1971 under the administration of Father Russell Gillig, the building underwent complete renovation to conform to changes administered by Vatican Council II. On July1, 1976, all four Catholic Churches voted to centralize the high school. Since then, the pastors of Fremont have served as superintendents. In May 1977 the parish debt was paid off, reflecting the strong community established by the parishioners of Saint Joseph Catholic Church.

(From The History of the Diocese of Toledo. pp. 98 - 104.)

 Order of Microfilming

Roll 1

  1. Record Book, 1858 - 1873
  2. Baptisms, 1862 - 1889
  3. Baptisms, 1889 - 1918
  4. Baptisms, 1907 - 1913

Roll 2

  1. First Communions, 1863 - 1910
  2. First Communions, 1914 - 1960
  3. First Communions, 1961 - 2000
  4. Confirmations, 1862 - 1907
  5. Confirmations, 1911 - 1927
  6. Confirmations, 1930 - 1959
  7. Confirmations, 1956 - 2000

Roll 3

  1. Convert Register, 1938 - 1973
  2. Marriages, 1862 - 1918
  3. Marriages, 1908 - 1913
  4. Interments, 1862 - 1920
  5. Interments, 1921 - 1998
  6. Deaths, 1998 - 2001

Roll 4 (RESTRICTIONS APPLY)

  1. Baptisms, 1919 - 1941
  2. Baptisms, 1942 - 1949
  3. Baptisms, 1949 - 1959

Roll 5 (RESTRICTIONS APPLY)

  1. Baptisms, 1960 - 1966
  2. Baptisms, 1966 - 1975
  3. Baptisms, 1975 - 1984
  4. Baptisms, 1984 - 1994
  5. Baptisms, 1994 - 2001

Roll 6 (RESTRICTIONS APPLY)

  1. Marriages, 1918 - 1941
  2. Marriages, 1941 - 1963
  3. Marriages, 1964 - 1984
  4. Marriages, 1985 - 2001

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