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DIAMOND JUBILEE
1863 - 1938
ST. AUGUSTINE CHURCH
Pittsburgh, PA


St. Augustine's Church is now (2011) known as Our Lady of the Angels. It is located on 37th Street, Lawrenceville, PA



(Contributed March, 2011 by Nancy J. Smith, nangelbuddy@com-nospam-cast.net)


(Continued)


HISTORY OF SAINT AUGUSTINE'S PARISH


CHAPTER I


The School—1854

Wisdom is glorious. . .and is found by them that seek her.—Wis. VI, 13.

Pittsburgh, one of the leading industrial cities of the world, lies between a barrier of hills at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers. Its history begins in February, 1754, when the English at the suggestion of George Washington, began the erection of a blockhouse near the forks of the two rivers. The stay of the English, however, was short, for by April 16, their French rivals had driven them away and themselves had built a fort called first Fort Assumption, then Fort Duquesne in honor of the Governor of Canada. In 1758, the French in turn fled from the English who built another fort which they named Fort Pitt after William Pitt, the English statesman. It is from William Pitt, therefore, that Pittsburgh derives its name.

  From the very beginning the settlement bid fair to prosper. At the end of the Revolutionary War colonists settled in great numbers in the "City of the Forks" so that by April 22, 1794, Pittsburgh ranked as a borough. By March 18, 1816, consequent upon the opening of the iron, glass and nail factories, the borough had sufficient population to justify its incorporation as a city.(1)

  About three miles above the confluence of the two rivers on the east bank of the Allegheny began the little town of Lawrenceville. Like the great city of which it is now a part, Lawrenceville has an interesting history. It is commonly admitted that the first man to traverse this district was no less a personage than George Washington, the Father of our country. Having explored the French Fort Le Boeuf, now Waterford, Pa., Washington and his companion Christopher Gist crossed the Allegheny from Wainwright's Island and arrived at Bullitt's Hill on December 29, 1753. The journals of Washington and Gist recording this fact have been frequently published in historical works. (2)

  According to local tradition, the site of Washington's crossing is about three blocks east of the present St. Augustine's Church. The Washington Bridge spanning the'Allegheny at Fortieth Street commemorates the historic event. So far as we know, Washington's Journal contains the first written reference to the district which later developed into Lawrenceville.

  Till the year 1811 the future Lawrenceville lay slumbering in its cradle of wilderness. In the latter year William Barclay Foster, a wealthy and public-spirited man and father of Stephen C. Foster, the famous songwriter, came up from Virginia and purchased a vast tract beginning about three miles above the confluence of the two rivers. This he parcelled out for prospective settlers. At first the elder Foster intended to call his vast estate Fosterville, but sacrificed his ambition in favor of Captain James Lawrence, who on June 4, 1813, died a hero's death in Boston Harbor as a result of the encounter between his ship, the "Chesapeake", and the English frigate "Shannon". The dying words of Captain Lawrence: "Don't give up the ship," thrilled America and moved William Foster to call his newly acquired tract "Lawrenceville."(3)

  About this time William Foster sold to the United States Government thirty acres of his land for one of the arsenals which Congress had decided to establish shortly
 

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(1)  A. A. Lambing, foundation Stones of a Great Diocese, Pittsburgh,  1914, p. 51.
(2) History of Pittsburgh and Environs, New York and Chicago, 1922, vol. II, pp. 253, 512.
(3) Ibid., pp. 59, 512.




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after the outbreak of the War of 1812. The Allegheny Arsenal was established in 1814 and from this date the history of Lawrence-ville begins. Foster himself supervised this arsenal which during the Civil War was to become one of the mainstays of the Northern Army. Until January 1, 1867, Lawrenceville was a borough totally independent of Pittsburgh. However, the Act authorizing its incorporation had been passed on April 6, 1866 with the proviso that it be effective the following January.

  Here it may not be out of place to refer to one of Lawrenceville's famous sons, Stephen Collins Foster. He was born in the Foster manor located on Penn Avenue and Thirty-sixth Street. Here the talented composer lived and wrote his songs till his parents moved to Allegheny, Pa. On the death of his mother in 1860, he moved to New York where he died on January 14, 1864. His remains were returned to Pittsburgh and interred in the Allegheny Cemetery.

  But it is now time to turn to the religious history of this interesting city. It is stated that Father Denis Baron, a Recollect Franciscan, had offered the holy sacrifice of Mass in the neighborhood of the forks as early as April 17, 1754. Friar Baron was the military chaplain to the French garrison at Fort Duquesne from April 16, 1754, till after the close of  1756. The Register of baptisms and burials kept by Friar Baron from June 28, 1753 - December 27, 1756, was first published in the original French by Shea and in 1885 in both French and English by Msgr. A. A. Lambing. (4) Besides Friar Denis Baron, the Recollects, Friar Luke Collet and Friar Gabriel Anhauser or Haneuser, also visited Fort Duquesne at this time. Friar Luke Collet signed the Register on July 13, 1755, and stated that he had officiated with the permission of Friar Denis Baron.(5)

    Other priests who visited Pittsburgh during this period were the Carmelite, Paul de St. Pierre in the spring of 1785, and the Irish Capuchin, Charles Whalen in 1787, shortly after the War of Revolution when the French Recollects had withdrawn from Fort Duquesne. In 1805, if not earlier, the Capuchin, Peter Helbron, visited Pittsburgh and said Mass there. The following year he collected the first money for the erection of "Old St. Patrick's." (6) In 1804, the saintly Father Gallitzin said Mass in Pittsburgh, but only fifteen Catholics attended, a proof of their small number at that time. Nevertheless, since the natural advantages of Pittsburgh had attracted many settlers, it was only reasonable to suppose that soon the number of Catholics would also increase. Indeed, it was this conviction that prompted Father William Francis Xavier O'Brien, appointed pastor of Pittsburgh in 1808, to undertake the building of a small church, the "Old St. Patrick's," at the corner of Liberty and Epiphany Streets, in front of the present Union Depot.(7)

  Here in Old St. Patrick's both German and Irish Catholics worshipped until 1834, when the Irish took over the newly erected St. Paul's leaving St. Patrick's to the Germans. (8) Finally, in 1839, at the invitation of Bishop Francis Patrick Kenrick of Philadelphia to whose diocese Pittsburgh belonged, German Redemptorists settled in Pittsburgh. These good Fathers devoted themselves especially to the Germans and with their co-operation erected the large church on Fourteenth Street and dedicated it to St. Philomena on October 3, 1846.

  Due to the apostolic zeal of the Redemptorist Fathers, St. Philomena's became the fruitful mother of many other churches in Pittsburgh. Both the flourishing industries and the presence of a German parish continued to attract the German Catholics to various parts of the city. Soon their number increased to such an extent that the Redemptorist Fathers found it impossible

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(4) Historical Researches in Western  Pennsylvania, vol I. Reprint entitled:  Register of Fort Duquesne, Pittsburgh, 1885.
(5) Lambing, Foundation Stones, p. 58.
(6) Ibid., pp. 74, 75.  Lambing, A History of the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Pittsburgh and Allegheny (Hereafter abbreviated: Church in Pittsburgh and Allegheny), New York, 1880, pp. 29-40.  Norbert   Miller, O.M.Cap.. Pioneer Missionaries in the United States (1784-1816), Franciscan Studies, No. 10. New York, 1932, pp. 176, 181, 202, 217.
(7) Bernard Beck, C.SS.R., Die Redemptoristen in Pittsburgh. Rochester, Md., 1889, pp. 77, 87.
(8) Ibid., p. 95.





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to shepherd them properly. Moreover, so many lived at such great distances from St. Philomena's Church and School that attendance became a serious problem for both adults and children. At length, when the German Catholics of the various localities were able to erect their own churches and schools, they obtained permission from the Bishop to undertake the task. First' to break away from the mother church in 1846 was St. Michael's on the Southside. St. Mary's in Allegheny followed in 1848, and Holy Trinity in Riceville in 1857. The next in order was St. Augustine's whose story we are about to relate.

  It has been said that one of the proudest distinctions of the early German Catholics in the United States was their staunch devotion to the parochial school. Experience in the Fatherland had taught them that a Catholic child must grow up in a Catholic school and that the first act of the day must be the Mass. The German Catholics of Lawrenceville were eloquent exponents of this noble tradition. Indeed, while the origin of the average parish is ordinarily associated with the building of a church, St. Augustine's Parish has the distinction of beginning with the establishment of a school.

  About the year 1850 we find a goodly number of German Catholics scattered throughout Lawrenceville, a neighboring town of Pittsburgh, then rapidly developing into an outstanding industrial city of the world. These Germans were faithful members of St. Philomena's Parish on Fourteenth Street. Some of their children attended the school of the English-speaking parish on Forty-sixth Street, but most of them went to St. Philomena's. With the old-fashioned schoolbag thrown knapsack-like over their shoulders, these latter children trudged many a weary mile to worship at the shrine of learning. But in the fall of 1854 a seed was sown and destined to strike root and grow and develop into both educational and religious advantages for the children of many generations.
 
   Midway between St. Philomena's and Sharpsburg there lived at 4807-4809, Butler Street, a pious German family by name of Helbling. Franz Xaver Helbling and his wife, Mary Teresa Knipschield, were of sturdy German stock and at that time the parents of eleven bustling children. Mr. Helbling was a butcher by trade and had a stand in the city market. Few, if any of our present parishioners passing the double house still standing opposite the Allegheny Cemetery, appreciate the important part that house played in the history of their parish. Here it was that the first school, the forerunner of St. Augustine's School, was opened for the German Catholic children of Lawrenceville. It came about in this way.

  The Redemptorist Fathers of St. Philomena's were well acquainted with the Helbling family. Indeed, the home of this hospitable couple was a welcome haven for them, especially in unfavorable weather and when travelling to and from Sharpsburg. Doubtless, as these grateful Fathers broke bread at the Helbling table, they discussed with their genial host's the hardships of the children on their long way to St. Philomena's school. What prospects were there to better the children's lot? The fall of 1854 brought the answer when Father John Hotz, C.SS.R.,(9) called at the Helbling home and asked the hostess if she would be willing to board a teacher who in return would teach her children and spare them the long walk to St. Philomena's. Mrs. Helbling replied that she would first consult her husband. This done, the offer was accepted and a room on the second floor was set aside to serve as a school. Shortly after this arrangement, the teacher arrived.

  In the beginning the only pupils were nine of the eleven Helbling children. Their names were: Elizabeth Barbara, Francis X., William, Philomena Rosana, Catherine Josephine, Mary Sophia, John Baptist, Joseph Anthony, and sometimes Bertha Louise who was but two or three years old. The teacher, tall, thin and middle-
 
 
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(9) Born Aug. 28, 1818, at Baar, Switzerland. Came to the United States on Jan. 8, 1844. Ordained Aug. 24, 1844. Curate at St. Philomena's from 1815-1848, and again from July 15, 1851-Aug., 1855. Rector of St. Philomena's, 1855-1862. Attached to St. Peter's, Philadelphia, 1862-Aug. 21, 1893, when he died. Cf. Beck, op. cit., pp. 216-227. Cf. Enzlberger. Schematismus der Katholischen Geistlichkeit Deutscher Zunge in den Vereinigten Staaten Amerikas, Milwaukee, 1892, p. 232. Hoffmann's Catholic Directory, Milwaukee, 1894, p. 37.






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aged, was a peculiar man whose main occupation seemed to be to pray before a picture of Our Lady of Gaudelupe and to teach the children prayers. He never left the house save on Sundays when he went to Mass and then he wore a long black robe like a priest or brother. He was eccentric, very abstemious, spoke little and wore a cingulum. Mrs. Helbling thought he might be a priest but on asking Father Hotz, was assured that he was no priest. Strange as it may seem, the teacher's name was never revealed and the family simply addressed him as "Teacher". The teacher's knowledge of English was meagre as can be gathered from the following instance. One day Mrs. Helbling sent Bertha Louise to fetch some corn-cobs from the yard and on returning the child said to her mother: "I got them." The teacher, associating this remark with a well-known curse word, was horrified and said: "Bertha Louise is surely going to hell."

  Little wonder that the Helbling children soon disliked and feared their stern, austere teacher. Indeed, the elder Helblings, too, became ill at ease in his presence. Finally, after some months, Mrs. Helbling, dreading that the teacher might lose his mind, asked Father Hotz to dismiss him from her home. Accordingly, Father Hotz transferred the teacher to a school in Sharpsburg. Here the unfortunate man actually did lose his mind and had to be removed. From that time on nothing more is heard of the teacher. The Redemptorist chronicle records no item on this "nameless" teacher but everything seems to point to the fact that he was or perhaps had been a Redemptorist lay brother. (10)

  With the passing of the "nameless" teacher the school was not abandoned but efforts for its continuation became stronger. Father Hotz provided another teacher in the person of Mr. George Ruland, an able man who also boarded at the Helbling home. By this time news of the primitive school had spread and many parents applied for the admission of their children. The room, however, was too small to accommodate all who applied, hence, like the good soul he was, Mr. Helbling fitted out his unused storeroom for a school room. A goodly number of pupils attended especially children by the family name of Kalchthaler, Stein, Bischoff, Fleckenstein, Burckhardt and others. The first scholastic year might have started a little late in the fall of 1854 and had but a short interruption between the departure of the first teacher and the arrival of the second. On the third Sunday after Easter, April 29, 1855, the following announcement was made in St. Philomena's church:

  Some months ago a Catholic school was opened in the home of Xaver Helbling, near the cemetery (Allegheny) in Lawrenceyille. Since a larger and more suitable accommodation has been now provided by the same Mr. Helbling, we admonish all the parents of Lawrenceville and the neighborhood who have children of school age, to send them to this school so that they may be trained to be good Christians. We ourselves shall take interest in this school and shall visit it from time to time.(11)

  The second school year began probably at the usual time in September, 1855, as we learn from another announcement at St. Philomena's: "Since the Catholic school of Lawrenceville has already commenced and a good opportunity is offered the children of school age to acquire virtue and knowledge, the parents living there are requested to send their children as soon as possible."(12) However, with the opening of the second school-year the "Helbling School" was abandoned for Squire Nickle's Mansion, a larger and more centrally located building at 4016 Butler Street. This building, sometimes called the "Nickle's School" and "Old Town Hall" was used as a house of worship by some of the sects and also as a meeting place for political groups. It was a two-story stone mansion standing on a high plateau about eighty feet from Butler Street. The first floor was adapted for school purposes while the second floor was used for a hall, external steps leading thereto from the front of the building. During the time of Teacher Ruland some people referred to
 
 
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(10) St. Augustinus, Oct. 1921, pp. 1-3.   Hereafter abbreviated St. Aug.   Hyacinth Epp. O.M.Cap., "Die Gemeinden  der Pennsylvanischen  Kapuziner-Provinz"  in  Seraphischer Kinderfreund, vol. IX, pp. 2-5, 56-S7.
(11) St. Aug. Oct., 1921, p. 3.
(12) Ibid.




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this school as "Ruland Hall". Later, however, it was dignified by the pretentious title of "The Lawrenceville Academy".

  Why was the school transferred from the Helbling home? There were various reasons for the transfer. First of all, the Helbling School was too far for many of the smaller children. Then the Helbling store had no provision for heating and the school room was too cold in winter. Finally, the storeroom was too small for the increasing number of pupils. These reasons seem cogent enough to explain the change of location. Teacher Ruland did not continue long as teacher in the new school. He resigned most probably in 1856. Rumor had it that his resignation hinged upon disappointed matrimonial aspirations to the hand of one of Mr. Helbling's daughters.

  The next teacher was a lady whose name we could not ascertain. The lady was probably an Alsatian for she spoke both German and French. During her teaching term she boarded with Mr. Alexander Wirth on Willow Street. How long she remained is not known but very probably she held the post for some months until the arrival of Teacher Mertz sometime in 1856.

  Teacher Mertz was of small stature and in the thirties and is said to have limped. He had crossed the ocean in the company of his sister who died on ship. He kept her jewelry and was fond of displaying it. The report we have of him is not very flattering. He was neglectful of personal appearance, his hair and beard not used to the comb or brush. He was fond of playing cards and drinking beer. Hence he was seldom fit to teach and when he fell asleep during class periods the pupils had a jolly recess. He was no disciplinarian and the pupils soon realized this for on the occasion of an altercation between the teacher and an older pupil, the latter forcefully ejected the teacher from the room. Undoubtedly, Teacher Mertz had been reprimanded for his misconduct but instead of reforming he became defiant and ultimately refused to teach the catechism or to give religious instruction in any form. Indeed, he finally succeeded in wrecking the Lawrenceville Academy for a time, as we learn from the Announcement Book of St. Philomena's:

  Since the former German Catholic teacher of Lawrenceville intends to start a private school, saying that he leaves the religious instruction and catechism to the priests and parents while he teaches the other branches, we consider it our duty to tell you that we cannot recommend such a school and that Catholic parents of Lawrenceville and of the neighborhood must send their children of school age either to the English school of Father Gibbs or here to Bayardstown until another Catholic school can be provided. (13)

  Accordingly, the German Catholics withdrew their children from the Lawrenceville Academy and sent them either to St. Mary's on Forty-sixth Street or down to St. Philomena's. This condition prevailed for about a year and a half.

  At length new interest awakened, due to the efforts of the Redemptorist Fathers. On August 22, 1858, the following announcement was made in St. Philomena's:

  Since the roads in fall and winter are especially bad for the children of Lawrenceville, it is certainly necessary that a school be established there. Hence we request the men of the Lawrenceville district to meet this afternoon at four o'clock in the old school near the residence of Mr. Fleckenstein—4012 Butler Street—to discuss the school question.

  The outcome of this meeting was the opening of another school in Robinson Hall at 4121 Butler Street. Here a spacious room on the second floor was engaged for a school room. Again the Redemptorist Fathers appealed to the parents of Lawrenceville to send their children to this school:

  Since the schools in Sligo and Lawrenceville are established again, the respective parents are urged to send their children to these schools, and to contribute to their support. Without a good Catholic school little good may be expected in life either from the children or from the parents.(14)

  The teacher hired for this school was Mr. John Beck. He was tall, of swarthy complexion and of affable manners. He was forty-five years old and married. Unfortunately for the school, he fell ill and died on February 6, 1859, some months after beginning his work, and was buried from



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(13) Announcement Book, March 11, 1857.   Bayardstown, i.e., the district of St. Philomena's Parish, Fourteenth Street and thereabouts.
(14) Ibid., Oct. 3, 18S8.   Sligo was the local name of the section settled by the Catholic Irish, i.e., Forty-sixth Street and the neighborhood.




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St. Philomena's Church on February 10. Again the Lawrenceville school was in a precarious condition and to prevent its failure a meeting was called for February 13, 1859. The Announcement Book says:

  Since the teacher, died last Sunday, we request all the men of Lawrenceville to meet this afternoon at four o'clock in the school. The purpose of this meeting is to take steps to prevent the discontinuing of the school.(15)

  The record of this meeting has not come down to us. It seems, however, that some Sisters, probably from St. Philomena's, came daily to prepare the children for first Communion and to teach during the remainder of the term. The St. Augustinus records the testimony of Mr. John Wirth, then one of the oldest members of the parish, that the Know-nothings and other bigots ridiculed the Sisters and spread caricatures representing the Sisters maltreating the children. The Sisters must have discontinued their work at the end of the school term of 1859. The next teacher, Mr. T. Feaux, was engaged for the fall term of 1859. We know nothing more of him than that he taught until sometime in 1860 or 1861.

  At this point a digression seems in place. The ever-recurring difficulties with the school proved the necessity of one thing— a better and more permanent organization of the German Catholics under competent leadership. This was all the more necessary since the population was growing, as is evident from the fact that in 1860 no less than seventy houses were built in the district and Butler Street was paved. Accordingly, the more energetic men of the German colony effected an organization of the German Catholics and called it a Gemeinde or congregation. In thorough-going fashion they drew up a constitution called: Constitution der Deutsch Römisch Catholisch. Gemeinde zu Lawrenceville. This happened toward the end of 1859 or in the beginning of 1860, when the school problem had become acute.

  What was the specific object of this organization? Evidently to take definite steps in the way of establishing a school and a church—a Gemeinde or parish for the German Catholics of Lawrenceville. To this end they selected three men of sterling character, Messrs. August Hoeveler, Alexander Wirth and Louis Unverzagt, and entrusted them with the task of securing suitable property.

  From the very outset Mr. August Hoeveler was the leader and director of the organization. John W. Jordan(17) furnishes the following incomplete biography of this interesting character. He was the youngest son of William and Clara Hoeveler and was born in Ankum, in the kingdom of Hanover, Germany, in 1820, and came to the United States when he was seventeen years old. Here he married Elizabeth O'Leary, daughter of William O'Leary, a glass manufacturer. Eight children were born from this marriage. The brothers of August went into the grocery business and soon increased the number of their stores to three. August, too, became a member of the firm and took charge of the wagon routes. Later he became sole owner of the store located in Bayardstown. In 1850 he abandoned the store and undertook the manufacture of glue, soap and candles. Together with Messrs. Edward Frauenheim and Leopold Vilsack he helped to establish the Iron City Brewing Company of Pittsburgh and was also associated with the German National Bank of Pittsburgh. Later he engaged extensively in the real estate business.

  August Hoeveler was a shrewd business man and a pioneer in laying out suburban property. His plan was to buy large tracts of unimproved land in desirable locations, divide it into building lots and sell it on reasonable terms. He was sagacious in his locations and the sites he chose soon developed into important sections of the city. He was a member of the borough council of Lawrenceville and when the borough was annexed to Pittsburgh he was elected to the City Council but died on December 20, 1868, before he could be initiated into the office.

  Entrusted by the Gemeinde to secure property, Hoeveler as head of the committee of three accomplished the task with marvellous dispatch. For, on April 20, 1860, by deed made between Robert Wray and
 

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(15) St. Aug., Oct. 1921, p. 7.
(16) Ibid.
(17) A Century and a Half of Pittsburgh and Her People, The Lewis Co., 1908, vol. Ill, pp. 236-237.






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Elizabeth Teese, parties of the first part, and August Hoeveler, Alexander Wirth and Louis Unverzagt, parties of the second part, all the land between Butler and Bandera Streets, Thirty-sixth and Thirty-seventh Streets(18) became the property of the German Gemeinde of Lawrenceville. The Committee paid $7,350.00 for this property. The committee, further, selected the most suitable portion of the property facing Butler Street between Thirty-sixth and Thirty-seventh Streets for church, school and pastoral residence. The remaining land was laid out in twenty-two lots and sold.

  The plot reserved for parish property comprised more or less the central portion facing Butler Street between Thirty-sixth and Thirty-seventh Streets. The flanking lots and also the six large lot's facing Bandera Street in the rear of the parish plot were sold. On the parish plot there stood a small frame house badly in need of repairs. At first it was suggested to repair this house and use it for a school, but later the idea was abandoned. All the property was held in the name of the committee and not in trust because the Gemeinde had no priest and no official standing.

   It is interesting to know how the committee raised the funds for this extensive purchase. They had three sources of income: they contracted loans to the extent of $6,750.00 between April 21, 1860 and December 22, 1862 ;(19) they sold the superfluous lots, twenty-two in all, and when the purchaser was unable to pay in full the committee retained a mortgage at six percent interest; they held a picnic probably on the newly acquired property on July 4, 1860. The old Organization Book still preserved in the parish archives contains the minutes of three interesting meetings held in  preparation for the picnic. To show how detailed and formal were the preparations for the picnic, we shall give here the minutes of these three meetings.

FIRST MEETING, JUNE 7, 1860
  The  committee  for the  German Roman Catholic picnic has decided that:
  1. Mr. August Hoeveler be the president of this society.
  2. Teacher T. Feaux be the secretary.
  3. Mr. Benjamin Schmidt be the treasurer.
  4. The dinner and supper tickets be each twenty-five cents.
  5. Everybody pay ten cents at the entrance.
  6. Dancing be permitted July 4-.
  7. For three dances, everybody, be they German or English, pay ten cents.
  8. The president engage from four to six musicians.
  9. The secretary advertize this picnic in all German papers and send out invitations to all German Catholic societies.
10. Two constables be engaged.
11. The following men be appointed to keep order: A. Hoeveler, Louis  Unverzagt, Aug. Sterer, Anthon Barth, Alex Wirth, and Matthew Bader.
12. John Elsesser and George Engelking collect tickets and money for the meals.
13. Aug. Hoeveler and Frank Hawk provide all beverages.
14. The following men attend the bar: John Wirth, John Fleckenstein, Xaver Helbling, Heinrich Engel, Xaver Burkhart, Jos. Brentner, Joseph Bischof, Jacob
Helbling, Alex Ouoczalla, Michael Helbling, Xaver Loeffler and Frank Hawk.
15. Mr. B. Schmidt have the supervision of the money.
16. Messrs. Engel. T. Wirth. and Engelking arrange with the women for the fortune-wheels (Glückschafen).
17. Aug. Hoeveler and Alex Wirth look after the booths and platforms.
18. Frank Link and Albert Wirth collect the entrance money.
19. All members turn in the proceeds to the treasurer for a receipt.
20. Mr. Schmidt procure the prizes.



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(18)  In those days Bandera Street was called Bank Street; Thirty-sixth Street was Sycamore Street, and Thirty-seventh Street was Prospect Street.
             They borrowed from the following:
(19) John Wirth. $300 on April 21, 1860; Andreas Greilich, $700 on Feb. 8, 1861; Xavier Loeffler, $1400 on July 21, 1862; Xavier Helbling, $500 on July 25, 1862;  Fred, Mary and  Joseph Genth, $820 on Aug. 4, and $200 on Oct.  14,  1862: Michael Stiebich, $600 on Sept. 18, 1862; Heinrich Rettmann. $710 on Oct. 8,  1862; Gottlieb Wirth, $300 on Oct. 9, 1862; Johann Buetner, $200 on Oct. 14, 1862: Peter Junker, $100 on Oct. 25, 1862; Melchoir Koffeler, $470 on Nov. 28, 1862;  Peter Blimling, $400 on Dec. 2, 1862; Nickolaus Hay, $50 on Dec. 22, 1862. Cf. St. Aug., 1921, p. 6.





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21. The picnic committee meet again in the school next Sunday at seven o'clock. (Signed) June 7, 1860.

  The next meeting took place on June 14, 1860. It was ordered that John Wirth get the ticket's from the president and distribute them; that after the picnic, the money be turned over to the treasurer for a receipt and that they meet again two weeks later. The third meeting was  held on July 1, 1860 and passed the following resolutions:

Decreed that:
1. Mr. Aug. Hoeveler have the right to appoint the men who are to keep order on the dancing floor.
2. Xaver Burkhart serve as butler and retail the beverages to the bartenders for cash payment.
3. Xaver Burkhart distribute the Deidesheimer wine to the bartenders for twenty-five cents and the Markgrãfler wine for twenty cents.
4. The teacher shall examine every article delivered and give a receipt for same.
5. Xaver Burkhart and J. Helbling collect all things for the picnic and haul them with their own teams  to the grounds. Frank Helbling, Johann Kalchthaler, Fred Kalb cut meat for the tables.
6. Anton Bischof provide lemonade.

  The proceeds of this much-heralded picnic are given as $403.41. From now on picnics and festivals were held periodically, for the organization was live and energetic. Rivalry among the workers was common. We are told, for instance, that the custom prevailed that the workers who were first on the grounds might select any stand they desired. Enthusiasm and rivalry ran so high on one occasion that some of the workers were on the picnic grounds as early as two o'clock in the morning so as to secure the stand of their choice. (20)

  But while busy with picnics and other money-making amusements to pay off the property debt, the Germans did not fail to struggle ahead with their school. In 1860 or 1861 they withdrew from the old Robinson Hall on Butler Street and placed the pupils in what was called the "Alley School" located in the alley between Thirty-sixth and Thirty-seventh Streets.  At that time the Alley was a much used thoroughfare since Thirty-sixth Street was in bad condition. The building used for school now stood on the fifth lot from Bandera Street and was owned by Mr. Patrick McCabe. There was nothing attractive about the location of this "Alley School". All along the lots there was a precipice due to a great washout of the past. The rear room facing Thirty-sixth Street rested on posts and the entire building was lower than the alley level. The main entrance faced the alley. The corner of the present Church Alley and Thirty-sixth Street seems to correspond with its location.

  The first teacher in the "Alley School" was Mr. T. Feaux who had taught in Robinson Hall. His successor was Maximilian Werder. For some unknown reason he was discharged and again the school had to close for some weeks until the new teacher, Mr. John Kraus. appeared on the scene. The "Alley School" reopened and continued to operate till January, 1862 when a new school was built.

  In recounting the story thus far we must not fail to pay a well-merited tribute to the Redemptorist Fathers of St. Philomena's. It was they who started the school and fostered its development during the first seven years of the parish history. With true missionary zeal they worked' quietly and persistently in the spiritual vineyard they had planted in Lawrenceville. While the records of heaven contain adequate details of their apostolic activity, their own chronicle records only the following few items of this period:

  As to our activity—it is about the same as in the foregoing years. Most of the German Catholics of Lawrenceville attend St. Philomena's Church, but some worship either at Sharpsburg or at the English Church in Lawrenceville . .The schools of Pittsburgh were visited by two priests twice a week. Once every week a Father visited the school at Sligo, and returning from Sharpsburg, he would visit the Lawrenceville school to impart religious instruction. But unlike the school at Sligo, the Lawrenceville school was not without frequent interruption owing to the frequent changes of teachers.

  With the organization and determination of the Germans to obtain their own independent parish, the active interest of the Redemptorists seems to have ended. Report had it that while they did not oppose the move for an independent parish in Lawrenceville, they did not countenance it with favor, and so far as the writer could ascertain, their name is nowhere mentioned in connection with the parish property. In 1861, an altogether new name appears in the records—that of Reverend George Kircher. His part in the further development of the parish we must now relate.




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(20) St. Aug., Nov., 1921, pp. 7, 12.




On to History of St. Augustine Church, Chapter II . . .


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