(The following entry in “The History Of Our Town” by Lucille Basler was published in the March 1, 1968, edition of the Ste. Genevieve Fair Play. The Herald in 2015 began publishing in order the series of articles written by Basler, which began publication in December 1966.)
(The Catholic Church — Continued)
The Old Village of Ste. Genevieve was at first ministered to by three Jesuit missionaries. Fathers P. F. Watrin, J. B. Salvendure and L. Lamorenie. The oldest parish record of a marriage was the marriage of “Sierr Andre” de Guire ditto LaRose, Captain of the militia and Marie LaBoissiere of Fort de Chartres, February 26, 1759. The first Baptism recorded was a daughter born to Francois LeBeau and Marguerite Partius, his wife.
Many priests served this village during the next fifty years, probably the most colorful being Father James Maxwell who was Pastor of Ste. Genevieve and Vicar General of Upper Louisiana in 1796. He was an Irishman by birth and was sent to Ste. Genevieve by the King of Spain. He lived at New Bourbon which was considered the Spanish settlement. Three years after his arrival he obtained a large grant of land on which he intended to establish an Irish Colony. In all he obtained grants for over 110,00 acres in Ste. Genevieve and Reynolds County. One Saturday afternoon in May, 1814 after hearing Confessions he mounted his horse to return to his home in New Bourbon. The horse shied, throwing him against a fence. He died during the night and is buried under the church.
Following Father Maxwell as Pastor was Father D. Oliver from 1814 to 1816. Father Henri Pratte native of Ste. Genevieve was pastor from 1816 to 1821. Father Francis X. Dahmen from 1822 to 1840 and it was he who built the Rock Church to replace the original log building. Other Pastors were Rev. Jean Marie St. Cyr 1849, Rev. P.L. Hendricks 1862 and Rev Francis X. Weiss 1865.
One last piece of Property owned by the Church was given to the Church by Mrs. Odile Valle widow of Felix Valle in 1879. The consideration was “$5.00 and other diverse valuable considerations and reasons here thereunto moving.”
The Deed was made to the Trustees of the Roman Catholic Church of Ste. Genevieve. Part of the tract was laid aside for a Cemetery.
On February 24, 1879 the following Ordinance was passed by the Board of Alderman: “No new cemetery shall be established at a less distance than one mile from the city. It has become apparent that the number of interments being made in the Cemeteries of the City of Ste. Genevieve, is such as in the near future will completely occupy all space within said Cemeteries. Be it ordained by the Board of Alderman of the City of Ste. Genevieve as follows: That after the first day of Mar A.D. 1881, all Cemeteries now situate within the limits of the City of Ste. Genevieve be and the same are hereby declared to be a public nuisance and that the said Cemeteries be closed to future use as burial places.
On July 28th, 1880 the following minutes are found: “Rev. Francis X. Weiss on the part of the Board of Trustees of the Catholic Church of Ste. Genevieve offers to give to the City for a City Cemetery 3.60 acres of ground on the Valle Spring Tract, subject alone to the condition of the passage and the keeping in force of an ordinance granting permission for the interment of the remains of Mrs. Odile Valle after her death in the tomb of her late husband Felix Valle deceased in the old Catholic Graveyard in the City of Ste. Genevieve. Said proposition being carefully considered by the Board is accepted.”
On the 2nd of August 1880 the following Ordinance was passed “Whereas Mrs. Odile Valle of the City of Ste. Genevieve has among her many other public and private charities to the public and citizens of the City of Ste. Genevieve given to the Board of Trustees of the Roman Catholic Church of Ste. Genevieve, a valuable tract of land for a Cemetery:
And Whereas, said Mrs. Odile Valle is desirous that her remains after her death may be deposited alongside of those of her deceased, beloved husband Felix Valle in the old Catholic Cemetery in the City of Ste. Genevieve in a vault heretofore provided for that purpose, but by the provisions of Ordinance No. 229 of the City of Ste. Genevieve to which this is amendatory all interments in said Cemetery are prohibited after the first day of May A.D. 1881.
Be it ordained by the Board of Alderman of the City of Ste. Genevieve as follows: Any priest of the Roman Catholic Church is hereby permitted and authorized to conduct and officiate at the burial and cause to be buried or interred the remains of Mrs. Odile Valle, widow of Felix Valle deceased, after her death, in the graveyard or Cemetery now used by the Roman Catholic Congregation of Ste. Genevieve, in the City of Ste. Genevieve without becoming liable under the provisions of this ordinance.”
On May 5, 1880 the deed to the City was executed.
In July of 1888 Mrs. Valle joined the Trustees and the Pastor in deeding the property to Rev. Peter Richard Kenrick, Archbishop of St. Louis.