Catholic Church in Butler County Catholic Church in Butler County
Historical and Genealogical Research:
The Roman Catholic Church in Butler County, Ohio

  • The Founding of Catholicism in Butler County
  • Listing of Roman Catholic Churches & Cemeteries in Butler County
  • A History of Catholic High Schools in Butler County
  • Catholic Parishes in Butler County: Historical Texts
  • The Founding of Catholicism in Butler County: Excerpts from the History of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati 1821-1921 by Rev. John H. Lamott

    Early Catholic Influences:

    The first priest to preach in Hamilton was Rev. John Austin Hill, who in 1825 preached at the Butler County Courthouse in Hamilton. In 1829 Rev. James Mullon and Bishop Edward Fenwick also preached at the courthouse. At this time it was said that there was only one Catholic man in Hamilton (Sebastian Fromm), and thirteen Catholics in the entire county. Rev. Stephen Badin, Rev. Stephen Montgomery, Rev. Joseph Kundeck and Rev. Joseph Ferneding also preached in Hamilton. Even though few Catholics lived in Hamilton at the time, in 1830, two lots were purchased for the amount of $400. On these lots a Catholic church was begun in 1831. The church was forty by sixty feet, and was dedicated on August 21, 1836 to St. Stephen. Shortly after the erection of the church, another building housing the parsonage and school was built. By 1844 the number of Catholics in Hamilton had climbed to around 600.

    The Founding of a Catholic Church in Hamilton: St. Stephen's in 1831

    The second filial church of the cathedral of Cincinnati outside the city of Cincinnati, the third parish of the archdiocese as it is at present confined to southwest Ohio, bears a unique history in its organization. For in response to the teaching of 1829 of Bishop Fenwick and Father Mullon in the courthouse at Hamilton, the inhabitants of the town, though there was but a solitary Catholic man, Sebastian Fromm, in it, took up a subscription for the purpose of buying ground and building a church in their midst. The ground was bought, the deed of conveyance was presented to the bishop, and a building to cost $2, 000 was begun in 1831. The building was completed in 1836 and was dedicated to St. Stephen. This was the mother-church of the churches in Butler, Preble, Miami and the central part of Shelby county.

    The Founding of a Second Catholic Church in Hamilton: St. Mary's in 1847

    With the increase of Germans, Father Hallinan, St. Stephen's pastor in 1847, advised the formation of a second parish. In July 1847 a society was formed were monthly dues were to be paid for the building of a church. Instead of building a church the Germans offered $3,000 to the English-speaking Catholics, who bought the Episcopalian church and dedicated it to Mary on July 23, 1848.

    The Founding of a Third Catholic Church in Hamilton: St. Joseph's in 1865

    In 1865 St. Joseph was organized by Father Nicholas Wachter, O.F.M. of St. Stephen's. In 1867 the Franciscans gave up the church and Father Steinlage took charge and pushed for completion of the church. 

    St. Stephen Church, 224 Dayton Street, Hamilton

    The Founding of other Catholic Churches in Butler County

    From St. Joseph's three parishes were formed: St. Veronica (located in East Hamilton), 1894, St. Peter (located on the West Side of Hamilton), 1894 and St. Ann (located in Lindenwald in the sourthern part of Hamilton), 1908. St. Veronica and Peter were organized by Father Varelmann of St. Joseph's and were given Father Proeppermann as their pastor. Father Holthaus organized St. Ann. Father Halinan visited Middletown, but his successor, Father Kearney organized Holy Trinity in 1852. In 1872 the Franciscans of St. Stephen's built a church in Middletown and dedicated it to St. Boniface. In 1882 the name was changed to St. John the Baptist. In the early 1850's there were a number of Catholics north of Middletown at Franklin were Father Terence Smith organized the congregation of St. Mary in 1854. The congregation did not have a church till Father Boulger of Middletown built a frame church at Franklin. St. Mary's of Oxford is a filial parish of St. Mary, Hamilton. Father Kearney visited the area in 1852 but his successor, Father Jeremiah O'Connor organized the parish, buying a house on Poplar and Collins and dedicating it to Mary.

    First Communicants, St. Mary Church, Hamilton, May 13, 1934

    Catholic Institutions in Butler County

    Hamilton Catholic High School

    In 1909 Hamilton Catholic High School opened its doors at the old Morey Mansion in Hamilton. Sixty men were enrolled under the direction of Bother Edward Knust, Society of Mary. Within a few years the building became too small for the school's uses and a fund was begun for the building of a new school. In 1924 the new school at Sixth and Dayton Streets was opened. This building served the purposes of the school until 1966 when the school merged with Notre Dame Academy to form Stephen T. Badin High School.

    Notre Dame Academy, Hamilton

    Notre Dame Academy for young women opened in 1887 under the the direction of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. The school was located at South Second and Washington Street across from St. Joseph's Church. This building served the purposes of the school until 1966 when the school merged with Hamilton Catholic High to form Stephen T. Badin High School.

    Stephen T. Badin High School, Hamilton

    Stephen T. Badin High School first opened its doors the fall of 1966 to become the first coeducational Catholic high school in Butler County. Named after the first priest ordained in the United States and former Hamilton pastor Stephen T. Badin, the school was formed from Hamilton Catholic High School for men and Notre Dame High School for young women. At its founding, Badin High School had the unique circumstance of being staffed by Sisters of Notre Dame, archdiocesan priests, other religious orders and committed lay persons. The school was located on Hamilton's West Side on New London Road where it continues today.

    Bishop Edward Fenwick High School, Middletown

    By 1942 it became apparent that there was a need for a centralized Catholic high school in Middletown. In 1950, Archbishop Karl J. Alter met with Middletown pastors to decide the future of the proposed school. It was decided that the school would be named after Bishop Edward D. Fenwick, the first Bishop of Cincinnati. The first site of Fenwick High School was the Old South School which had been vacated by the public school district. After neccessary improvements were made to the building, the school opened in 1952 with Father Julian Krusling acting as the first principal. In 1959 a fund drive was initiated to finance the building of a new school. In 1962 the new Fenwick High School opened.

    Mercy Hospital, Hamilton, Ohio

    The Founding of Mercy Hospital, Hamilton, Centennial History of Butler County, 1905.

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    This site was created by David J. Endres. Those with questions, comments, or additional information are encouraged to contact the compiler.

    1998-2007 by David J. Endres
    This site was created on December 28, 1998.
    This site was updated on 20 September 2007.