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St. Mary of Guadalupe Church & Cemetery
This information is from Clark County Washington
Cemeteries Vol. 3 which was published by CCGS in 1987.
St. Mary's was the first of the Clark County Mission Churches. Its history takes us back to the days when it was established in the community known as West Pioneer, near what is now the Ridgefield Junction. Before buildings were erected, mission preiests celebrated Mass in homes or schoolhouses.
Early records of the Most Rev. Augustine Blanchet, Bishop of Nisqually, notes: "On the 5th day of September, 1869, we blessed the Chapel of the Lewis River Mission, and put it under the patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary Immaculate in honor of her Holy name."
Mr. John Mays donated the land for the Chapel. This land donation extends behind the Church across the creek and included the present church, cemetery and the woods south of where the first chapel was built.
The second church was built across the street from the present church in 1902, on land donated by Valentine Kapus. Mr. Kapus helped build the church. Others helping were: John Kane, Edward R. Dullea, James Carty, Philip Lee and Patrick Meany. The alter was hand carved by Joe Kapus of redwood brought from California by boat and unloaded at Pekin Ferry. The pews were made by Joe Gretsch Sr. and Mrs. James Carty donated the red sanctuary rug. Stations had been brought from the Nisqually Mission in 1869. The first Mass in the new church was celebrated by Fr. Wm. Paler on October 11, 1902.
John Malley, son of Casper and Catherine Malley of Spencerville (now known as Enterprise) celebrated his first mass at St. Mary's on January 1, 1904. A reception was held in the pioneer home of Valentine and Johanna Kapus. The first marriage ceremony performed by Fr. Malley was for his uncle, Joe Gretsch Sr. and his bride Katherina Koppl. It was held at the home of James and Annie Carty.
Some of the earliest burials in St. Mary's cemetery were people with Irish names: Connell, Carty, O'Leary, Conway, Costello, Carr, Cunningham, Lynch, O'Brien, Riordan, Ryan, McCarthy and many more.
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Last modified on Wednesday, August 15, 2007