: This photograph shows an exterior image of St. Joseph's Church and Priory, Somerset, Ohio, ca. 1935-1943. St. Joseph's Church, a log cabin erected in 1818, was the first Catholic church built in Ohio. This Gothic structure, which dates from 1843, is the third St. Joseph's Church erected on the site. The attached priority was dedicated in 1882. The church and priority are situated at the top of a gradual incline, behind an expanse of lawn and trees.
Father Edward Fenwick (1768-1832), a member of the Order of Friars Preachers (commonly known as the Dominicans), traveled from Kentucky to Ohio as a missionary in 1808. A year later Jacob and Catharine Dittoe deeded 320 acres of land to Father Fenwick for the site of a church. The first church was a small log cabin dedicated on December 6, 1818, by Father Fenwick and his nephew, Father Nicholas Dominic Young. It had a dirt floor and measured only 18 feet by 22 feet. In 1821 Father Fenwick became the first Bishop of Cincinnati, a new diocese.
Membership in St. Joseph's Church continued to grow, as did the number of priestly vocations. In 1828 a brick church replaced the log cabin, and a priory for resident friars was completed in 1837. A college for the education of future priests was completed in 1854. In 1843 the current Gothic structure was dedicated, four years after its construction began.
In 1864 fire destroyed the priority and left only the church's brick shell. The church was rebuilt three years later, and the college was demolished to make way for the 1882 priory.
St. Joseph's Church was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.
View on Ohio Memory.
: AL06172 Subjects
: Church buildings--Ohio; Perry County (Ohio); Fenwick, Edward D. (Edward Dominic), 1768-1832; Dominicans; Somerset (Ohio); Cultural Ohio--Education; National Register of Historic Places Places
: Somerset (Ohio); Perry County (Ohio)