St. Lawrence Church


Several years before there was a St. Lawrence Catholic Church at Jessie, even before there was a Jessie for that matter, the homestead families, Pfeifers, Zimprichs, Fiebigers, Hovels, Dusbabecks, Resslers, Wilds, Becherls, and others met in homes or in the Zimprich School house as often as a priest would come from Sanborn; the nearest established church.  When the railroad came through Jessie, this became a Mission, but still had no church building.

In 1908, the church was built atop the highest hill, just above the schoolhouse at the northwest corner of town.  For several years, church was at that location.  Somehow the town did not grow sufficiently to surround the church so in 1925 the white frame church was moved to the northeast corner of Jessie.  This was located next to the Frank Arndt home, which was purchased in 1927 for a rectory.

These structures were paid for by generous donations of parishoners and generous portions of chicken, potatoes and gravy served by the Altar Society members.  These ladies would prepare and take meals (to say nothing of their own silver, dishes, tablecloths, and often tables and chairs) up the outside stairs to the hall over Dahl's Store to make extra money for building funds.  Later Father George Miller bought the Jessie Bank Building so the stair climbing was out.  In 1948 when Father Reman Ludwig was priest, the present hall was built and the carrying was down to the edible goodies, but show me any church and I will show you some hard-working women who augmented contributions with their chicken dinners.

It was during Father Ludwig's years that St. Lawrence was destroyed by fire and it was through his efforts that the present church was built in 1951.  Father Ludwig was followed by Father Joseph Heubsch and Father Edward Freuh who were resident priests.  In 1968, St. Lawrence became a mission of St. George and St. Lawrence rectory was not used by Father Adam Hasey, Father George Schneider, or Father Richard Rudd.

Throughout the years, there have been some of the original homestead families in the parish (at present it is mostly third and fourth generation) and there are also new members, so names and faces change, but St. Lawrence remains the church for those of Catholic faith in and around Jessie, North Dakota.

Source: Cooperstown, North Dakota 1882-1982 Centennial Page 159

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