Fayette County History & Genealogy

History of Fayette County

From R. S. Dills' History of Fayette County



Catholic worship in Washington Court House was begun, and for sometime maintained, under very trying circumstances. Rev. Father Blake first celebrated mass in 1852, in a shanty occupied by Michael Flynn, while engaged in constructing the C. & M. V. R. R. The attendants were principally railroad men, most of wliom left when the road was completed. The following, however, remained, and became the pillars of the present flourishing society: John Coghland, and his brother Thomas, Michael O'Garrath, Martin Brannan, John Saunders, Patrick Burke and mother, Mr. Grady, and Michael Flynn. Of these all are living except Brannan, and all are citizens of this county, except O'Garrath and Brady, who moved to Lancaster in about 1859. Father Blake continued to preach occasionally, until the road was finished, after which Father Duffey, who was stationed at Circleville, came once a month, bringing with him a choir from that place. He first celebrated mass at Flynn's house, but shortly after, Ely's Hall, then just completed, was engaged, and Father Duffey continued to come till his death, which occurred at Circleville about one year after his first services at Washington.

After Father Duffey's death. Father Reagan, stationed at Lancaster, came occasionally during one summer, and ministered to the small flock. After him. Father Everett, of Lancaster, paid it one visit; and he was followed by Father Fitzgerald, of Columbus, who celebrated mass once. Father Pindar, who was stationed at Circleville, then came once a month for about a year, and mass was celebrated at Ely's Hall, but confessional was held at John Sanders' house.

Near the close of Father Pindar's services, the Catholic church on Main Street, now owned and occupied by the colored Methodist Church, was completed, and was dedicated by the Rev. Archbishop Purcell, of Cincinnati, who in his remarks on the occasion explained the origin and mission of the Catholic Church.

Father Pindar and Father J. B. O'Donohue were present at the dedication. Pindar remained with this charge about one year, when he apostatized, married, and became an Episcopal minister. Archbishop Purcell appointed Father J. B. O'Donohue, stationed at Morrow, to take charge of the congregation.

About six months after Father O'Donohue's appointment, he proposed to the congregation the erection of a more commodious, place of worship, in a part of town more suitable for a cemetery. Accordingly, the church property on Main Street was sold to the colored Methodist Episcopal congregation, for the sum of two thousand dollars, and three acres of land were purchased of Judge D. McLain, at one hundred dollars per acre, east of town, near the C. & M. V. R. R., just outside of the present corporation limits, on which a substantial two story brick church, 40x62 feet, was erected.

In the fall of 1879, Father Felton, by nativity a German, succeeded Father O'Donohue. During his pastorate a fair was held, which was attended largely by Protestants, and $1,700 were cleared to the congregation, which was to be appropriated toward purchasing a residence for the priest. In August, 1880, Father Felton was transferred, and Father Michael O'Donohue was sent from Hillsboro, Ohio, to supply his place, and still remains. At present the church is in a flourishing condition, with a membership of two hundred and upwards.

Union Township