IAGenWeb Project - Clayton co.
updated 11/07/2008

St. Mary's Catholic Church
Guttenberg, Clayton co. Iowa

St. Mary's  Catholic church - Guttenberg, Iowa - photographer unknown

Photo of the origional interior of St. Mary's church
Photo of the origional interior of St. Mary's church

The church is now on the National Historical Register. My great grandfather Joh. Joseph Wilms (Willms, Williams), who moved to Guttenberg in 1898,  is supposed to have been the original painter and gilder of St. Mary's in Guttenberg, as well as painting other churches in the area and across the river in Grant County, Wisconsin, where he settled after immigrating in May 1883.  The two living granddaughter's recall only that he did St. Mary's and in Wisconsin, St. Charles Borremeo.

Good luck and persistence in research has netted me lot of records in the Eifel region town of Blankenheim, Germany, where Joh. Joseph Wilms was born in 1856, "painter craftsman Joh. Joseph" married in 1882 to Anna Helena "Magdalena" Pauli / Pauly, and where their first child, a son Heinrich Joseph, was born Jan. 1883.    In March they sailed from Hamburg via LeHavre and arrived May 1, 1883 on the SS Gellert. I (by wonderful luck) have the text of 3 letters they wrote back to Blankenheim in 1883 and 1884.  In the 2 letters Joh. Joseph wrote, he wrote his friend Joseph Klein about going to Milwaukee to sharpen his skills under an English Master painter--and then wrote of his difficulty getting himself established in the small town of Glen Haven, Wis--saying perhaps he should have gone to a larger town when he immigrated.  However, I know that he had some Klinkhammer and Pauli family nearby Glen Haven. His wife's mother was a Klinkhammer, and his wife's father had a brother Joh. Joseph Pauli who had immigrated about 1852 and by at least the 1895 census, was living next door.  

The picture shown above is of the original interior work in St. Mary's in Guttenberg.  I (by more luck) met Carolyn Carrier in Guttenberg, as well as talked to the Priest Martin Bries. Mrs. Carrier sent me a small picture card of the church. The quality is not good, but it's better than nothing---must be enlarged to see the detail, scrolling in the vaulted ceiling ---and the frescoes on both sides of the photo. According to Mrs. Carrier, this is a picture of how the church looked originally. It has been repainted twice over the years.


~ history notes & interior photo contributed by Audrey Williams Stanaland, Loudon, TN. Audrey's email address can be found in the Surname Registry under 'Wilms'

Hrbert Heitman, Ordination to the Holy Priesthood

Hubert Heitman
Ordination to the Holy Priesthood

A Memento
of my
Ordination to the
Holy Priesthood
Sunday, December 14th, 1919

and of my

First Solemn Mass
to be celebrated in
St. Mary's Church
Guttenberg, Iowa
Thursday, December 18th, 1919
at nine-thirty o'clock

~contributed by a researcher who prefers to remain anonymous, as they have no connection to this individual

Also on this website:
1921 St. Mary's Graduation


Return to Church Index

Return to Clayton County Index