On the Porch

In 1955, the Church of Saint Edward in Minneota celebrated its Diamond Jubilee. Parishioners compiled the church’s history and a pamphlet was produced. The pamphlet includes copies of letters from the Archbishop of St. Paul, John G. Murray; Auxiliary Bishop of St. Paul, James J. Byrne; and Pastor of Saint Edward’s, Vincent J. Hope. The pamphlet also includes history of the 1881 church building, the 1914 church building (the present building), the cemetery, the parish school, the rectory, organizations in the church, and a list of parishioners at the time of the Jubilee.

In July of 1879, 45,000 acres in the vicinity of Minneota had been placed under the control of the Catholic Colonization Bureau of St. Paul. In 1880, the Catholic families living there at the time were Martin Leester, James Cahill, Michael Cain, James Steele, Barney Agnew, Peter Piekels, and Peter Tumulty. The first mass was by the Rev. Michael Haney, who had been assigned as pastor of the Church of Saint Edward and its missions in 1880. Mass in those days was conducted in an old school house, the depot, and an old log house one-half mile west of Minneota.

In August of 1881, the Rev. Louis Cornelis was appointed pastor, and he immediately started to build the first church and parish house that fall. The church cost $900, which was built on borrowed money. Before the debt was cleared, another $900 had been paid for interest on the debt, because of the strained financial conditions of the early pioneers. Robert Culshaw and family played a very prominent part in securing necessities for the church, and through his influence, the church was named St. Edward the Confessor.

On Oct. 28, 1912, ground was broken for the new church building. On July 9, the cornerstone was laid for the new building. On Feb. 8, 1914, the first mass was said in the new church. On Oct. 11, 1914, the church held a formal dedication service for the new church. Archbishop Ireland officiated and preached the sermon. The photograph featured this week shows the interior of the church at the time of the dedication in 1914.

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