Rev. L. Schenkelberg
Rev. L. Schenkelberg, pastor of St. Boniface Catholic church at Charter Oak, ranks among the most successful and popular clergymen of Crawford county.
He comes of sturdy German parentage and is a native of Rhein province, having been born February 9, 1874. He attended school in Germany until fourteen years of age and later crossed the ocean, arriving on the shores of the new world April 28, 1892. He came direct from the ocean port to Carroll county, Iowa, where he was received by relatives who had preceded him to this country. After two years, having determined to prepare for the priesthood, he became a student at Mount Calvary, Wisconsin, where he continued for four years and then took the required philosophical course at St. Joseph's College, Dubuque, Iowa, graduating from that institution in 1900.
He next went to Montreal, Canada, and entered Grand Seminary, where for three years and three months he pursued the theological course leading to the priesthood. On December 19, 1903, he was raised to the dignity of priesthood by the Most Rev. Paul Brushesi, archbishop of Montreal. On December 24 of the same year he was made assistant at St. Joseph's church, Le Mars, Iowa, and after fourteen months was transferred as pastor of the parish of Ogden, Iowa, where he continued for three and onehalf years. After a short period of service at Merryhill, Iowa, he came to Charter Oak, October 28, 1908, and has since presided as pastor of St. Boniface Catholic church.
The history of St. Boniface parish dates from early in the 80s, when a few Catholic settlers began the organization of a center for religious services and secured a tract of forty acres about five miles northeast of the present town of Charter Oak. In 1886, however, the town having shown evidences of prosperity and permanency, it was decided through advice of Rev. B. C. Lenihan, then pastor at Denison, to sell the property and secure a site in the town upon which to build a church. Accordingly the land was sold and three lots were purchased at Charter Oak, and a neat little church was erected at a cost of twenty-five hundred dollars.
Father Lenihan was the first priest to celebrate mass, this event taking place in one of the public school houses south of Charter Oak. As soon as the new church was completed the present pastor at Denison, Rev. M. Farrelly, was given charge of the congregation. He continued until 1896, when Rev. M. Costella, now of Livermore, was appointed as first pastor. Two years later Rev. L. Cooper, now of Alvord, Iowa, came to take charge and remained until December I, 1905, during which time the church at Ute was built, of which he also assumed charge.
In December, 1905, Rev. H. Eckert became pastor and remained until October 28, 1908, when Father Schenkelberg was appointed to the pastorate. The old church having burned down August 5, 1908, it became necessary to erect a new place of worship and the members of the congregation decided upon selling the former site and securing a new location. Accordingly they bought a beautiful four acre tract south of town, upon which they erected a new brick church, forty-four by eighty-seven feet in size and also a new parsonage of twenty-eight by thirty-four feet, supplied with all modem conveniences. The church property is one of the most beautiful in Crawford county and reflects great credit upon all who have assisted in the purchase of the site and the erection of the buildings.
Father Schenkelberg has proven highly efficient and under his administration the church has flourished and the interest of the members is constantly growing. He is a. gentleman of pleasing address, a thorough scholar and a sympathetic shepherd whose energies are devoted conscientiously to the good of his flock.
Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.