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Dedicating memories: Church bell finds final home

Posted: Monday, Jul 15th, 2013

CONTRIBUTED The first picture shows the former St. Patrick’s Catholic Church bell hanging from a metal stand built on the site of the church. A granite monument to hold the bell has been erected at the church cemetery near Cavour, and the new monument will be blessed during a ceremony July 28. Next, Eileen Ohm, looks through boxes filled with ledgers recording the history of the church and cemetery. PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED

A brass bell that hung from the steeple of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Cavour will find its final resting place on a monument erected in the church cemetery on July 28 — one hundred years exactly from the date it was purchased in 1913.

A monument created from black granite from Germany has been built to hold the bell at the cemetery. The monument has been engraved with a history of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, as well as the names of those who served the church.

The celebration will begin with Mass at 10:30 a.m. at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Huron, with Bishop Paul Swain as celebrant. Following Mass, the public is invited to meet at St. Patrick’s Cemetery for the dedication and blessing of this historical monument.

The cemetery is located 8 miles east and 1 1/2 miles north of Huron.

Lunch will be served at the former St. Patrick’s Hall in Cavour following the blessing. Many of the church record books dating back to the late 1800s will be on display, as well as the original bill of sale for the bell — which cost $347.54.

Five members of the 1913 congregation who donated $50 each toward the bell’s purchase have their names engraved on the bell. They include James Fernan, Daniel McCarty, Francis Baye and Fred Gabel.

Seventy-five other families donated from $1 to $25, for a total of $1,199.40.

St. Patrick’s Catholic Church celebrated its final Mass in 2010, and the church was torn down and the land sold in 2012.

Father Terry Anderson of Holy Trinity Catholic Parish, said the cemetery will be an enduring testament to the vitality of the small church. “The only thing left is the cemetery, which will still stay and remain,” Anderson said. “They wanted to put up a monument to remember there was a church in this area at one time.”

When the church was torn down, a metal monument had been erected near the site of the church to hold the bell. Members of the St. Patrick Cemetery Board, consisting of Mike Farrell, K.O. Kauth, Ron Rounds and Eileen Ohm, wanted to provide a permanent home for the bell.

With the help of Family Memorial By Gibson in Sioux Falls, the idea developed to build a granite monument to encase the bell and also to share significant history of St. Patrick’s Catholic Parish.

“Through the forethought of previous generations that donated money to the cemetery for the upkeep, this is able to become a reality and kind of a final resting place for the bell.”

Ohm, whose family has kept records for the cemetery for more than 50 years, said the yellowed bill of sale for the bell was found among boxes of cemetery records.

Dated July 28, 1913, the bell was ordered from the Henry Stuckstede Bell Foundry Co., of St. Louis, Mo. It was shipped by train and arrived in Cavour Sept. 28, 1913.

Ohm and her husband, Randy, have retired to Nebraska, and the cemetery records and maintenance responsibilities will be passed on to David Farrell.

“There has never been a physical map of the graves,” Ohm said. “Randy and I worked on that last fall. In doing so we came across several unmarked graves, and graves that we knew who was there but there was no marker.

“Markers have been placed on all of those now, with the names of the people we knew and an ‘Unknown’ marker on the others,” she said.

Quoting one of the memorial inscriptions on the monument, Ohm added: “This memorial is dedicated to the memory of the pioneers who brought faith to the Dakota prairies and to the clergy who shared their trials while working and living among our ancestors — they preserved for us a priceless heritage.”

For the complete article see the 07-14-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 07-14-2013 paper.

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