by John G. Hinrichs
May 20, 1949
In the summer of 1867 quite a number of the Irish families of the west end and northwest Davenport held a meeting to decide about building a new church which was needed very much. The meeting was quite successful and the people were happy. A committee went to call on Father Pelaumorgus the vicar-general at St. Anthony's Church and he gave his consent and blessing.
Judge G.C.R. Mitchell and Mrs. Mitchell gave them a fine plot of ground at 6th and Fillmore which is at the head of St. Mary's Cemetery. They started to build right away and the church was completed the next spring, 1868, and was dedicated as Ave Maria, or St. Mary's. They also built a lovely home for the pastor.
The first pastor, Father Maurice Flavin, served the parish until death in 1872. He was loved very much. Then his brother, Father Michael Flavin, took over the parish and did splendid work. He built a school and the parish grew during his pastorate. After several years at St. Mary's he was called to Des Moines, Iowa, to take over St. Ambrose Church where Father Brazil had died. Later he became vicar-general of the Des Moines diocese.
Msgr. J.P. Ryan was the next pastor of St. Mary's and continued the good work of Father M. Flavin. The parish grew under his leadership. He was an able speaker and good messenger. In time the congregation built a new school and Sisters' home across the street of the church as the old school was two blocks away which made it very hard for the Sister of the children to attend church. A two-year high school course was added to the regular grades which made St. Mary's a very popular school.
On the death of Msgr. Ryan, Father R. Renihan was appointed pastor of St. Mary's and he continued the good work of Ryan and and worked hard for the good of the people and Holy Mother Church. After a lingering illness, Father Renihan died with great sorrow in the parish, who loved him.
Father William Guinen, an elderly priest, was appointed pastor and he kept up the good work of Father Renihan and the parish respected and loved him. After eight years in the Lord's (Mary's) vineyard he died.
Father Leo Kerrigan was the next appointed pastor. He came from St. Ambrose College where he was teacher of speech and loved very much by the students. St. Mary's parish was lucky and happy to get him as their new pastor. He has continued the good work of the last pastor in church and school and is loved by old and young. The bad fire of the church one and one-half years ago has been repaired and the church is very beautiful again.
Some of the first members of St. Mary's Parish:
James Coffey family, William Lavery family, Mr and Mrs. Martin O'Brien, C.O'Brien family, E.Trainor family, E. Collins family, P. Kennedy family, James Kennedy family, Michael Malone family, J. Noonin family, John Powers family, Mr. and Mrs. Formog, J. Martinnele family, T. Michael Lee family, J. Tuberty family, T. Currey family, King family, Mrs. Graham family, Daniel Whalen family, James Clancy family, D. McLane family, H. Lamb family, Hugh Tuhey family, T. Hayes family, P. Killien family, James Togue family, J. Riorden, Patrick Malone family, Hugh Brady family, Thos. McCann family, Mrs. Susan Kelly family.
J.F. Barron family, Patrick Murphy family, Thos. Mooney family, M. Lawton family, Robert Donnelly family, Wm. Finefield family, M. Flynn family, Mrs. George Davenport family, Mrs. Fejibary family, Glynn family, M. Kirwen family, Mrs. P. Walsh and son, Patrick H. Cottrell family, Dennis McGrath family, P. Hennesey family, T. Bolland family, Martin Hennesy family, Dan Costello family, Geo. Taylor family, Thos. Kelly family, H.J. Toher family, Bernard Keating family, Richard Collins family, Abraham Cottrel family, McGann, J.C. O'Brien family, Michael O'Brien family, D. Powers family.
Patrick Garvey family, Thos. O'Brien family, John Mahan family, John Turner family, Martin McCarthy, Wm. Laughlin family, Martin McGuire family, Martin McMann, Mrs. Ellen McGrath family, Thos. O'Brien family, Elisa McEnery family, Simon Garvey family, O'Daugherty family, J. Gerke family, Wm. Meunig family. P.F. McCarthy family, James Timothy, Margaret Logen and Mrs. K. Swift family, Bernard Keading family, J. Flanegan family, D. Lynch family, Thos. Herlehy family, Wm. McCrossen family, P. Foley family, M. Maloy family, D. Conley family, J. Daley family, Mr and Mrs. Jos. Wolter, M. Murphy family.
Martin Ford family, Cannon family, J. Powers family, H. Kohl family, J. Burke family, J. Shields family, M. Keagan family, A. Kelly family, Thos. Kelly family, Thos. Kelly family, T. Powers family, M. Henahan family, M. Dunn family, Mrs. Clark Hall family, Mrs. M. Byron family, Charles E Coen family, Mark McGrath family, Patrick McGrath, John Long family, Dan Moriarty, Mrs. B. Brown family, Michael Kinney family, James Connoly family, Steve Costello family, P. Lyons family, Timothy family, Wm. Backus family, Dennis Hough family, D. Hederman family, Mrs. E.C. Laughlin.
St. Mary's parish can be proud of the accomplishment in giving Holy Mother Church so many girls for the convent and young men for the holy priesthood:
Father L. J. Enright Father H. J. Toher Father George Toher Father Urban Ruhl Father Harvey Finefield Father Edward Taylor Father John Collins Father Paul Hart Father Raymond McGrath Father James Kelly Father Edward O'Connor Father Arthur Toher Father William O'Connor Father William Meyer Father Harold O'Connor Father L. Mork Father George Volz
Should anyone have been overlooked in the above enumerations of families and individuals, we want to be known that it was certainly not by intention but rather by escape of memory.