History of Assumption Parish

Grant Township

The History of Assumption Parish goes way back to 1848, when a family named Radigan built a log cabin house and because it was the largest home in the Community, Mass was said in the home beginning in 1852.

     Father Brozill, Pastor of St. Ambrose in Des Moines, encouraged families to settle out here in 1871.  Father Brozill rode a a horse out to hold meetings in the Radigan home and there decided to build a Church.  Mr. Patrick and Mrs. Walter Moran donated a plot of land located 3 miles West of today's community of Granger.

     The first Church was 30 feet by 50 feet, built of rough lumber and sawed at the settlement of Zenia.  The finished lumber was hauled by team from Des Moines, a 22 mile journey.

     Assumption was a mission of Dallas Center when the Church was built.  Father Gaul was the first Pastor.  The first Mass in the new church was offered by Father Monihan.  Succeeding Pastors of the old church were Father Toner, Father Harney, (who extended the Church by 12 feet), Father Burke, Father Hallinan and Father Malone.

     Then, on August 5, 1900, Father Malone held a meeting to decide the future of the Church since it had become too small.  Now Granger was growing, had a railroad and was showing good promise as a town.

     Many say Granger was named after a man called Ben Granger, an official of the Milwaukee Railroad and some say the name was Granger because it's definition was farmer, so the decision to build the Church on the present site.

     The Dallas Center Church, of which Granger was a mission, is the oldest Catholic Parish in Dallas County.  The Dallas Center Parish was declining in size and Granger was growing.  Father Malone moved the Parish from Dallas Center to Granger and the former mission relationship was reversed.

     Father Malone traveled to France and Italy, where he studied various structures.  He sketched features that were outstanding and brought back the design for the present Assumption Church.  The Church was completed in 1901.

     The Coal Mines of Scandia and High Bridge brought in many strong Catholic families.

     Father Moran succeeded Father Malone in 1905 and in 1926 Monsignor Ligutti came to Granger and in 1930 built the present school.  In 1934, Monsignor purchased St. Ann's Chapel at Moran, which then became a Mission Parish of Assumption Church in Granger.

     Monsignor Ligutti as then responsible for the homesteads being built in 1934 and 1935 with 51 homes, right west of Granger.

     Father Gorman came as an assistant to Monsignor in 1936.  The Rectory was built in 1937 under the direction of Father Gorman.

     On January 1, 1941, Monsignor Ligutti resigned to devote his full efforts to work the National Catholic Rural Life.  Then later, Monsignor was called to Rome for an executive position in connection with the Vatican.

     Father Gorman succeeded as Pastor in 1941 and continued to serve the Assumption Parish for 33 years.  During this time the school was enlarged by adding a gymnasium and two classrooms, and a modern convent was built for the Sisters of the school.

     The Sisters of Mercy taught Assumption School for a time, then the Franciscan Sisters came and are still teaching at Assumption at this time.

     Father Gorman was assigned a new Parish in 1969, and Father Leto was appointed Pastor of Assumption.  Father Leto worked hard to get a larger enrollment and to up-date the curriculum.

     Then in 1971, Pastor Leto was assigned a new Parish and Father Lawler was appointed Pastor on December 1, 1971.

     Father Lawler was assigned a new Parish in Council Bluffs in 1978 and Father Wayne Gubbles was assigned Pastor of Assumption Parish in Granger, and to date is still Pastor (as of August 1979).

     There has been many people involved in making Assumption Parish what it is today.  The Priests who were Pastors were Father Gaul, who said the first Mass in this area, then on the Father Monihan, Father Toner, Father Harney, who was the first Pastor of the Church in Beaver, then Father Hallinan, Father Malone, Father Moran, Monsignor Ligutti, Father Gorman, Father Leto, Father Lawler and now Father Wayne Gubbles.  As well as those Pastors there were many Assistants after the school was built.

     Many family names have come from many different places, and nations of the world to be a part of the Christian Community of the Assumption Parish and eternal happiness for all the people who worked so hard in the past, present, and future to make Assumption Parish to God's liking.

     Assumption covers about 250 square miles and six towns, Bouton, Woodward, Moran, Polk City, Grimes and Granger.  One thing to be sure the best is yet to come with the help of the Lord.


 History provided by Velma Renfrow, written August 1979.  

Contributed to Dallas Co IAGenWeb March 2012.

If you have more information, history or other documents you would like to contribute, please contact the county coordinator.


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