IAGenWeb Project - Allamakee co. Church records
updated 07/06/2020

St. Joseph's Catholic Church
New Albin

St. Joseph's Catholic church, New Albin, undated
The old St. Joseph's Catholic church, New Albin, undated
~source: 'The First 100 Years of New Albin', 1994, contributed by Errin Wilker

Interior, St. Joseph's Church, New Albin, Iowa
~undated postcard, contributed by Mark Lanning


Prior to the winter of 1867 when the groundwork began for the construction of a church, the pioneer Catholics went to Lansing or Wexford to attend to their religious duties. In 1867, under the guiding hand of Father Cornelis of Lansing, a church was constructed on a site three miles southwest of New Albin which had been donated by John Hurley for the church and cemetery. In June, 1867, the church and cemetery were dedicated and received the name "Holy Cross."

The little church served the people of the area until 1875 when the old Holy Cross Church was replaced by a frame structure in the village of New Albin under the supervision of Father Jacoby of Lansing. The new church, which received the name "St. Joseph's," stood on the present church parking lot.

Father G.L. Haxmeir of Lansing served New Albin from June 5, 1880 to 1903, coming once a month by train.

The first resident pastor of St. Joseph's was Father John F. O'Doherty, appointed by Archbishop J.J. Keane in 1903. A parochial residence was purchased from Mike Moore on lots adjoin­ing the church property.

Reverend Edmund Ryan was appointed pastor in 1905 and served until his death in 1922. In 1910, the present brick church was built and the bell dated 1877 was moved from the old church to the new one.

The old church was purchased by D.J. Ryan and moved to the business district. Through the years, it has housed a variety of stores, a restaurant, a hospital and in more recent years, an apartment house.

On May 3, 1912, a site for a cemetery was purchased from Thomas Rebum about 1-1/2 miles south of New Albin. A beautiful statue marks the grave of Father Edmund Ryan who requested to be buried in the Catholic community which he loved and served for 17 years.

Following the completion of the new Catholic church in New Albin, the small St. Patrick's Church in southeast Minnesota was closed and the rural congregation became a part of St. Joseph's Parish in 1914 or 1915.

Upon the death of Father Ryan, Father Lawrence Hayes was installed as pastor of New Albin and served until his retirement in October, 1950.

The Right Reverend Monsignor Scharphoff of Lansing had charge of St. Joseph's after the retirement of Father Hayes until the appointment of Father John Costello in December, 1950.

After Father Costello's retirement, the following served as administrators from August, 1955 to March, 1956; Father Carl Manternach; Father Thaddeus Woksjky, O.M.M.; and Father Richard A Kiemer, O.F.M.

Father Louis Grunewald served as pastor from March until December, 1956.

Father John Fagan was appointed pastor in April, 1957, but remained only until January 29, 1958.

Reverend Joseph Krocheski assumed the duties as pastor on January 29, 1958. Within a period of the first five months of his pastorate, Father Krocheski and the faithful accomplished the task of completely remodeling and modernizing the rectory.

On September 1, 1960, Father Krocheski was transferred and replaced by Father Edgar C. Ko1fenbach.

In August, 1962, Father Robert Levenhagen was appointed as assistant pastor of St. Joseph's. Besides serving on the staff of St. George High School, he assumed the direction of the church choir.

The Schettler Studios of Carroll, Iowa began the task of remod­eling St. Joseph's Church on August 1, 1966. It was completed in September of 1966 in keeping with the Constitution on the Liturgy of Vatican II.

In August, 1967, Father Levenhagen was transferred to Ossian, Iowa as assistant pastor at St. Francis DeSales Parish and principal of DeSales High School.

In August of 1967, Father Gerald Condon was sent to succeed Father Levenhagen as assistant pastor at St. Joseph's. He also served as principal and instructor at St. George High School.

On September 24, 1967, St. Joseph's Church celebrated one hundred years as a parish. Mass was offered by the Most Reverend James E. Byrnes, Archbishop of Dubuque. Concelebrants with the Archbishop were: Father Joseph Krocheski, Father Ralph Meyer, Father Carl Manternack, Father La Verne Gerleman, Father Donald Bakewell, Father Robert Levenhagen, Father Gerald Condon and Father Edgar Kolfenbach.

In January, 1969, the Released Time Program was launched and lay volunteers assumed the task of teaching classes in religion to the children from the parish who attended public school. In the fall of 1969, the Area Religious Education Program was organized with lay volunteers as C.C.D. teachers, assisted by the Sisters of Lansing.

On July 12, 1970, Father Gerald Condon was trans­ferred to Immaculate Conception Church at Wexford.

Father Kolfenbach left St. Joseph's on July 7, 1971, for his new assignment at Sacred Heart Church in Dubuque.

Father James McBride assumed duties as pastor of St. Joseph's on July 7, 1971, and also served as a member of the staff of St. George High School. During 1971, the church aisles, sanctuary and entry were carpeted and modem glass outside doors were added to the church.

Father McBride's dream of an electronic bell system for the church became a reality when $4,028.00 was raised. The bells ring automatically at set times and hymns are played in the evening.

St. Joseph's elected its first Parish Council in September, 1973.

A Religious Education Board was organized by the parishes of Lansing, Lycurgus and New Albin in 1973.

In the summer of 1974, a second entrance was added to the parish hall and, in order to provide more space for Religious Education Classes, accordion doors were installed as room dividers.

Father McBride was transferred to North Washington on July 29, 1975. On that same date, the new pastor, Father Linus Rasing, assumed his duties as pastor of St. Joseph's and St. Mary's Lycurgus.

In July, 1982, Father Linus Rasing was transferred to Sacred Heart Parish, Manly, Iowa. Father Robert Rahe replaced Father Rasing as pastor of St. Joseph's in July, 1982. He served as pastor of St. Joseph's and St. Mary's Lycurgus until his retirement on July 9, 1987.

On July 9, 1987, Father Henry Chariper assumed his duties as pastor of St. Joseph's, replacing Father Rahe. He is also pastor of St. Mary's Hanover and St. Mary's Dorchester.

Some church improvements were made in 1989. A group of men decided to build a ramp for the convenience of the handicapped. The ramp was built by the men for the purpose of entering the church. It is also used for funerals to avoid the church steps.

The old oil furnace was replaced by two propane gas furnaces in 1990 in the church basement, which has made a big improvement in the heating system.

In the spring of 1993, the interior of St. Joseph's Church was painted and redecorated by an architect. The furnace room was remodeled for more kitchen space. New kitchen cabinets and working space were added to the room.

In July, 1993, Father Henry Chariper was appointed for six more years to be pastor at St. Joseph's, New Albin; St. Mary's, Dorchester; and St. Mary's, Hanover.

St. Joseph's Catholic church
St. Joseph's Church

~source: 'The First 100 Years of New Albin', 1994
~contributed by Errin Wilker

Laying the cornerstone ca1910, St. Joseph's Catholic church
Laying the Cornerstone, ca1910


First Communion - undated
(if you can date this list please notify the Allamakee co. coordinator)

On Sunday, June 20th, the following children received their First Holy Communion at St. Joseph's Catholic Church, New Albin, at the High Mass in the morning: Joyce Ernst, Mary Lou Hammell, Carol Ann Peterson, Janice Hammer, Evelyn Strub, Belva Burroughs, Eleanor Buege and Leo Thimmesch.

The ladies of the parish honored the occasion by serving one of their excellent dinners, which was attended by a large crowd. The remainder of the afternoon was spent playing bingo, after which supper was served. A neat sum was realized for the church treasury.
~newspaper clipping, undated
~contributed by Errin Wilker


Confirmation - 1950

The Most Rev. Archbishop Henry P. Pohlman, of Dubuque, made his triennial visit to St. Joseph's Church, New Albin, last Monday, May 8th, at eight o'clock in the evening. He was greeted by a large congregation as a testimony to their loyalty to him and he gave an eloquent instruction about the Sacrament he was to administer. With the assistance of Rev. Frederick Heles, his personal secretary, Rev. F.J. Norris, Dorchester, Rev. Joseph Krocheski, Hanover, and Rev. L. Hayes of New Albin, he confirmed the following: Duane Lawrence Bakewell, Joseph Francis Hartley, Gerald Clement Darling, Raymond John Whalen, Lloyd Moses Pottratz, Lawrence Joseph Lager, Robert Joseph Buege, Gregory John Bina, Leo Joseph Thimmesch, Patrick William Griffin, Ronald John Burke, Ulrich William Gantenbein, Ed. John Meyer, Mary Esther Beeler, June Ann Spinner, Mona Catherine Donovan, Gayle Catherine Ryan, Grace Mary Buege, and Sandra Ann Donovan.

The Archbishop concluded the services by giving Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament, after which the choir, under the able leadership of Miss Gladys Ryan, sang, "Holy God We Praise Thee."
~newspaper clipping, hand-dated 1950
~contributed by Errin Wilker


First Communion - 1961

New Albin, Ia.—Two weeks of Bible school at St. Joseph’s Catholic church ended last Friday. Teaching the children were three Visitation Sisters of Dubuque: Sister Mary Gervase, Sister Mary Irene, Sister Mary Alacoque and Karen Meyer and Margaret Ingles of this place. Those receiving their First Holy Communion Sunday morning were: Joseph Burke, Jerome Colsch, Kerry Darling, Edward Hammell, Stephen R. Imhoff, James L. Imhoff, Michael Rouster, Terry Skilling, Fred J. Wiemerslage, William J. Zoll, Mary A, Bradshaw, Linda K. Buege, Anita Carroll, Martha Griffin, Marion S. Hammell, Julie Heiderscheit and Madonna Sue Becker. The First Communion class and Sisters were guests at the breakfasts served by the ladies of the parish at the church hall.
~newspaper clipping hand-dated June 18,1961
~contributed by Errin Wilker


Confirmation Services Held at St. Joseph's Church - 1963

Confirmation services were held at St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Wednesday, April 17th, with Bishop Biskup of Dubuque, officiating. Those confirmed were: Carver and Sam Smerid, Jerry Metzdorff, Alan Mauss, Mrs. Floyd Waters and son, Harold, Dennis Pottratz, Delbert Welper, Kenneth and Barbara Donovan, Joe Carroll, Mary Ellen Schulte, Angela Imhoff, Mrs. George Smerud, Dale Donahue, Anna and Eddie Hammell, Charles Hartley, Jr., Bobby Becker, Larry Knight, Liz Jordan and Rose Marie Griffin.
~source: 1963 Allamakee Journal newspaper clipping
~contributed by Errin Wilker


Confirmation Services Held at St. Joseph’s Church - 1965

A class of twenty-seven was confirmed by James J. Byrne, Archbishop of Dubuque, at 7:30 Mass on Saturday evening, February 20, 1965, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, New Albin. Members of the class were: Joseph Burke, Joseph Colsch, Kerry Darling, Michael Donovan, Edward Hammell, Robert Heiderscheit, James Imhoff, Donald Mauss, Daniel Mauss, Paul Mauss, James Schulte, Gordon Smerud, Fred Wiemerslage, Michael Zeimet, William Zoll, Mary Ann Bradshaw, Susan Becker, Janice Burke, Linda Buege, Anita Carroll, Martha Griffin, Marion Hammell, Julie Heiderscheit, Mary Sue Heiderscheit, L’Louise Kester and Mrs. Lawrence Mauss.
~source: scrapbook clipping, 1965
~contributed by Errin Wilker


New Albin Priest Honored

The parishioners of St. Joseph’s Parish, New Albin, gathered at the parish hall Sunday evening, January 31, 1965, to honor Father Edgar Kolfenbach on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of his ordination. A dinner was served by the St. Joseph’s Rosary Society and a gift from the members of the parish was presented to Father by Leon Hosch. Out of town guests were Father Gerald Condon, Cedar Falls; Father Ralph Meyer, Waterloo; Father Thomas Schwinn and the Franciscan Sisters of Lansing. Father Kolfenbach was ordained at the Cathedral in Dubuque on February 3, 1945, and has served the New Albin parish since September of 1960.
~source: scrapbook clipping, 1965
~contributed by Errin Wilker


St. Joseph's Death Register 1957-1986

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