IAGenWeb Project - Allamakee co. Church records
updated 02/21/2015

St. Pius Catholic Church
Cherry Mound Parish

Linton township

St. Pius, Cherry Mound - google image

First Holy communion Class at Cherry Mound - 1912

Will Nicholson, Leslie Gaynor, Mike O’Hara, Donald Elliott, Norbert Kelly, Don McCormack, George O’Hara, Will Donahue, Ervin McGeough, Ed. Glynn, Don Kelly, Frank McCormick, Catherine O’Brien, Irene Molitor, Helen O’Hara.

Archbishop Keane of Dubuque confirmed a class of 60 at Lycurgus Oct. 25th. That evening at the Armory opera house, Waukon, he spoke to a packed house on the subject “The Divinity of Christ.” Hon. W. S. Hart was master of ceremonies, the K.C.’s his escort and music furnished by little Virginia Montgomery, Messrs. Miller and Jeglum with Mrs. E.A. Howes at the piano. Saturday the bishop confirmed 104 children and 17 adults at St. Patrick’s church.

~Allamakee Journal, October 30, 1912
~Contributed by Diana Diedrich

First Holy communion Class at Cherry Mound - 1930

The following boys and girls received the first holy communion Sunday at St. Pius' Catholic church in Cherry Mound, the pastor, Rev. D.J. Neenan officiating at a high mass:

Clarico Molitor
Margaret Charland
Alberta Unterberger
Emmet McCormick
Clement Larkin
Jerry Cahalan
Raymond Huffmann
Urban Larkin

~Telegraph-Herald and Times-Journal, Dubuque, Iowa, Thursday evening edition, October 23, 1930
~Contributed by S. Ferrall

Cherry Mound - Established by Tappist Monks of St. Melleray in 1855 Near Wexford
by Florence A. Clark

The Trappist monks of St. Melleray near Dubuque had hopes of establishing a monastery at Wexford in Allamakee county, and in the early 1850's a group came from the St. Melleray Abbey and built a hall at Wexford to house the brethren. The venture did not turn out as they had hoped, and the monks returned to St. Melleray - all but the Rev. Francis Walsh, who at his request was dispensed from his monastic vows so that he might stay and serve the Wexford parish. He remained at Wexford as priest two years, and then rejoined the Trappist order.

Father Walsh in 1855 directed the erection of Cherry Mound church a few miles from Wexford. The pastoral name St. Pius was given the church, but the parish had come to be commonly known as Cherry Mound because of the large number of wild cherry trees growing on the mound chosen by the pioneers as the site for their church and cemetery. After 95 years the church is still "Cherry Mound" church.

The first church was a small frame building with only rough benches for seats. By 1875 this original structure had become too small for the growing congregation, and the present larger one was built. A novel way was used to dispose of the old church. Chances were sold on it, and it was raffled off at a dance and was won by a non-Catholic, who razed it.

The church at Cherry Mound was a mission church until 1891, when it received its first resident pastor. The church is in Linton township of Allamakee county. the fine parish house, situated just across the road, is in Paint Creek township. The white frame church, rising as it does from a knoll in the heart of a fine farming section, can be seen from several miles away by travelers of state highway 13. The present pastor [1950] is the Rev. Francis Cassidy.

~Cedar Rapids Gazette, April 4, 1950
~transcribed by S. Ferrall


130 Year-Old Foundation Remnants Remain of Original St. Pius Church
by Madonna Storla

The St. Pius parish began in the early 1850's and no one is sure of the exact date. It is the oldest Catholic parish in the area except the one located at Wexford. The first church was made of logs with the original foundation laid by Louis Manderfield, Peter Ryder and Mr. Bradshaw. Foundation remnants are still visible inside the cemetery to the left of the gate. A large cross was moved from the center of the cemetery to the old church site where the altar stood. The foundation is an historical marker and a stone altar was erected on a concrete slab.

Wooden benches served as pews and Mass was held about once a month whenever the priest from Wexford was able to make the trip. This was a 15 mile trek. News was spread by word of mouth so people would know when the service would be held. Parishioners walked, rode horseback or in wagons. The priest came through the timber on horseback or with an ox team and wagon. People endured hardships to get to church. They often crossed streams to get there. Everyone was on an equal economic basis. They all had log homes which were located near water supply, and lived on small farms, usually about 40 acres.

The fathers worked on the railroad or on other jobs. The mother cared for the crops, the gardens and the children. When the father came home, he often tried to improve the farms by clearing more land and building rail fences. Wood was cut and sold for fuel. Few Indians inhabited the area, but they were friendly. Everyone helped each other. Coffins were made of lumber cut from nearby trees.

The first parish priest was Father Horsfield, and this was his first parish. The recorded date was 1891. There was no parish house. In 1874 it was decided that the church was too small to accommodate the congregation, so a new building was in the offing. Some wanted to build on highway 13 and some had a spot 3/4 mile from the cemetery chosen. The majority ruled and the edifice should be built a few hundred feet from the site of the old church. Frank McGeough and his son, Mike, who were stonemasons, built the wall for the foundation.

Mary Brennan (Mayme) Hart was the first baby baptized and her name is inscribed on the back of the altar.

The new building was heated by 2 round heating stoves. Fires were started by someone living close to the church. Huge chunks of wood provided the fuel. The stoves got red-hot and sometimes clothing was scorched when people stood too close to the stove. Many were not in favor of furnaces, but later on, one was installed. Money for operating expenses was raised by raffles, parish dinners, bazaars and other events which were often held under the shade trees. There was always an abundance of food and the parish ladies cooked it all on old cook stoves. Tableware and dishes were brough to use for the occasions. In case of rain all was lost.

Popcorn and lemonade were available. Water was hauled in tanks from the spring to use in cooking and dishwashing. Horseshoe and other games provided the entertainment. Seven members of the Cahalan family provided music for dancing. In later years, 3-day bazaars were held in the Woodman Hall in Waterville. Oyster stews were another source of income. the cost was 40 cents for a quart and the stew sold for 25 cents a bowl. Farmers furnished the milk and butter.

After the arrival of Father Horsfield, plans were made to build a parish house. People from Pleasant Ridge in Clayton County came to Cherry Mound across Yellow River and up through the timber at a distance of 7 or 8 miles. They came there instead of going to McGregor because they felt they were not well dressed enough to go to church in town.

In 1920 when roads were bad, the Waterville people rode the train to a spot within 3 miles of the church. After services, they walked back to the train for a ride home. If they were late, the train waited for them.

In 1958, the Rossville School was purchased and converted into a hall. It is used for parish functions as well as other activities. In 1960, the road between the church and the rectory was rebuilt. Lawns and a parking lot was made. The church was redecorated and the furnace replaced in 1960. New pews were installed and a Celtic cross was put up. In 1961 a kitchen 12X36 was added along with a new water system. The church recory is located in Paint Creek while the church is in Linton Township.

The parish was named Cherry Mound because of the vast number of wild cherry trees near the parish site. It has been known as Cherry Mound parish ever since.

~Postville Herald, July 23, 1986
~transcribed by S. Ferrall


Zwingle, Ia -The Rev. Francis P. Cassidy, newly appointed pastor of St. Theresa and Assumption parishes, was installed Friday evening, Rev. E. Loosbrock, dean, officiated. Father Cassidy came here from Cherry Mound, near Waukon.

~Jackson Sentinel, January 5, 1951 (Jackson co. IA)
~Contributed by Ken Wright


St. Pius Catholic Church Death Register 1932-2012

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