The History of Our Cradle Land
by Thomas H. Kinsella

Transcribed by Sean Furniss

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Reverend Maurice Burk succeeded Father Taton on August 15, 1903, and remained pastor until December 4, 1914. This was the second time that he became pastor of Paola. In the interval he had acted as private secretary of Rt. Rev. L. M. Fink, Bishop of Leavenworth. He was made pastor of Axtell and, on the transfer of Father Taton to Axtell he requested to be appointed to his old place in Miami county. The request was granted as a reward and the young priest reentered on his pastoral duties with alacrity and also with much additional experience. His immediate predecessor had left the parish and missions in fairly good condition. The school building was finished, the rectory and church completed, and improvements carried out also in the Osawatomie chapel. Then, too, new families had been moving into these districts during the past few years so that the Catholic body had now become an important element in the population of the county.

Holy Trinity congregation might be regarded at this time as a well equipped parish with a bright future. It is needless to say that Father Burk was a contented and happy shepherd, surrounded by a flock that appreciated his worth.

The situation was almost ideal when, lo! as from a clear sky came a thunderbolt of misfortune. The cry of fire rang out on the chill night air and the town and county was soon illuminated by the lurid flames that shot up from the roof and tower of the beautiful church of Holy Trinity. Every effort to save the venerable building proved fruitless and in a few short hours it was reduced to ashes on the night of January 14, 1906.

The cause of the fire has never been ascertained. The regret felt by the people in general and by Father Burk in particular can well be imagined. It was, indeed, a serious loss financially, but more touching if not more important were the hallowed memories that perished in those flames.

A generation had worshipped there since 1881. The baptisms, the marriages and funerals of twenty-five years rendered the old church a landmark in many lives. Nine pastors had ministered to them within its walls and the joys and sorrows of a struggling people were there made known to God.

The hour of trial had come, but, as events will show, a kindly providence "tempered the winds to the shorn lamb."

The pastor arose to the occasion and met the shock manfully. Surrounded by a body of masterful men on the following Sunday he laid the plans which gave to Paola its present splendid temple and to Miami county its finest church.

The following records of the committee meetings are very interesting both in style and matter:

Secretary's Record of the Building of the New Holy Trinity Church in the Paola
Parish of the Leavenworth Diocese of the State of Kansas, the Right
Reverend Bishop Lillis in Charge.

The old brick building burned on Sunday night, January 14, 1906, and on Sunday, January 21, 1906, the following building committee was chosen by the congregation present, after Mass, in the lower room of St. Patrick's school house; on the church plat, the north half of Block No. 113, in the city of Paola, Kansas: Jacob Koehler, Henry Allen, Peter Theno, Peter J. Keenan, John Sheehan, P. W. Goebel, Wm. Schwartz, Martin Langan, M. Fenoughty, Bernard Harkin, John Morris, James Riley, James Dalton and B. J. Sheridan. The committee was duly approved by Reverend Father Moritz Burk and upon the unanimous request of the congregation present, Father Burk was made a member of the committee and agreed to act.

Adjourned to meet on Monday night, January 22, 1906.

Monday night, January 22, 1906, half past seven o'clock, the Building Committee met in the office of the Western Spirit newspaper. Present, Rev. Father Burk, Wm. Schwartz, Peter Theno, P. J. Keenan, B. J. Sheridan, Jacob Koehler, P. W. Goebel; absent, Henry Allen, James Dalton, John Sheehan, Martin Langan, Bernard Harkin, M. Fenoughty and John Morris. On motion of Mr. Sheridan, Mr. Koehler was elected chairman and on motion of P. W. Goebel, B. J. Sheridan was chosen as secretary. Mr. Koehler accepted and so did Mr. Sheridan. The latter after first explaining that he must be absent from town much of the time the next six months, or more, and agreeing to do the work when he could be on hand, provided Jno. W. Sheridan be authorized to act and work in his place in cases of absence. This was agreed to.

It was unanimously resolved to proceed at once with the work of building a new church. Then after some discussion, it was agreed that the building should be 55 feet wide and 90 feet long, of stone and brick, Gothic architecture and modern in every way, with basement, furnace and steam heat, to stand on the old site and the steeple to be about 130 feet high. Peter Theno was appointed to get men and superintend the taking down of the old walls, saving all material of use or value. Reverend Father Burk was directed to correspond and find out who would be a suitable architect.

Adjourned to meet on Sunday after Mass in the St. Patrick's school building.
BY B. J. SHERIDAN, Secretary

Sunday, January 28, 1906, the committee met pursuant to adjournment in St. Patrick's school house, which by the way, is now used as a house of worship. Jacob Koehler was in the chair and in the absence of the Secretary, P. W. Goebel acted as Secretary pro tem.

In the matter of subscriptions to the building fund, it was ordered that they be made one-third cash, one-third due in October, 1907, and one-third due in October, 1908, with interest on notes at 6 per cent from October 1, 1906, at 6 per cent per annum.

On motion, Jacob Koehler was chosen Treasurer. He was ordered to pay bills upon the O. K. of Peter Theno, and of Reverend Burk, or either of them.

Ordered that the pay of Peter Theno, who is in charge of the work now be fixed at 25 cents an hour.

Adjourned to meet Sunday at 2 o'clock p. m., February 18, 1906; those present were Mr. Koehler, Mr. Schwartz, Mr. Goebel, Mr. Allen, Mr. Theno, Mr. Morris, Mr. Riley, Mr. Sheehan and Rev. Burk.
P. W. GOEBEL, Sec. pro tem.
By B. J. S.

Sunday, February 18, 1906, the committee met pursuant to adjournment in St. Patrick's school building: present, Chairman Koehler, Secretary Sheridan and Messrs. Allen, Goebel, Schwartz, Rev. Father Burk, Rily, Theno and Fenoughty.

Father Burk read several letters from architects and for one hour there was a general discussion as to the size of the building. Most of the architects held that the dimensions adopted at the first meeting 55x90 feet, with the steeple 130 feet high, are not proportional. That 50x100, with steeple about 100 feet high is better.

The matter of deciding whether the steeple should be in the middle of the north end or at the corner were left for future decision. Ordered that the basement extend under the whole structure. Ordered that the excavating be done by the day--dirt sold, and rock crushed under the supervision of Peter Theno. The rock crushing to cost, not to exceed 75 cents a yard. Also, Mr. Theno was directed to quarry rock and to get the same on the ground, employing men and teams by day to do the same.

Father Burk was appointed a committee of one to see about freight rates on material.

Adjourned to meet at 2 p. M., Sunday, February 25th, in school building.
B.J. SHERIDAN, Secretary.

Sunday, February 25, 1906. Met in St. Patrick's school building, present, Rev. Burk, Jacob Koehler, P. W. Goebel, Peter Theno, Henry Allen, William Schwartz, James Riley, P. J. Keenan and M. Fenoughty; also Thomas McGrath was present by invitation of the secretary. Ordered that Wm. Ryan be employed under Peter Theno, as foreman of the stone quarrying at $1.75 per day. Plans of different structures were examined and on motion, it was ordered that the decision as to whether the steeple should be in the center, or on the side of the north wall, go over till the next regular meeting.
B. J. SHERIDAN, Secretary.

Special meeting, February 27, 1906. Met to hear from Mr. Hair, the architect. Present, Jacob Koehler, P. W. Goebel, Wm. Schwartz, Peter Theno and P. J. Keenan. Mr. Hair not having plans with him, nothing was done.

Adjourned till regular meeting, Sunday, March 4, 1906.
B. J. SHERIDAN, Secretary.

Sunday, March 4, 1906. Regular meeting held in St. Patrick's school building. Present, Rev. Father Burk, Jacob Koehler, Wm. Schwartz, Thomas McGrath, Geo. Toelle, Henry Allen, Peter Theno, P. J. Keenan, ------- Riley, M. Fenoughty and Jno. W. Sheridan, proxy for B. J. Sheridan. Mr. Hair, of the firm of Hair & Smith, was present with plans and specifications of proposed new Catholic church. His drawings were gone over and discussed, and Father Burk stated that the plans must be presented to the Bishop for his predilection and then to the congregation, so Mr. Hair was told that he would be notified, within a week as to what had been done. The next architect's plans submitted were those of Washburn & Son, the firm being personally represented by the Junior member. Mr. Washburn's drawings were examined and the same were left with the committee, he to be notified of the acceptance or non-acceptance of plans submitted within a week from Monday, or March 12th.

Following this came the regular meeting, called to order by Mr. Koehler. It was moved and carried that the stone be quarried from the McGrath farm, east of town, and as much as possible be used in the construction of the water table. Henry Allen moved that a purchasing committee, consisting of 5 members on the building committee be appointed to look up material of masonry, lime, sand, etc., and also investigate freight rates. This motion was carried and the following were chosen to act on committee: Jacob Koehler, Father Burk, P. W. Goebel, Wm. Schwartz and B. J. Sheridan. It was moved and motion prevailed, that Peter Theno be instructed to see how many stone masons were procurable and present names at next meeting.
JNO. W. SHERIDAN, Acting Secretary.

Sunday, April 8, 1906. In regular meeting the following were present: Jacob Koehler, Rev. Burk, Wm. Schwartz, Peter Theno, P. J. Keenan, James Riley, Henry Allen, M. Fenoughty, P. W. Goebel and B. J. Sheridan. Mr. Hair, the architect, was present and gave the following estimate:

On motion, Wm. Schwartz, Peter Theno and Jacob Koehler were appointed a sub-committee to go over the estimates with Architect Hair. Peter Theno was asked how many yard of broken stone he had for concrete and said about 100 yards. Mr. Theno also reported ordering 2 cars of sand. The railway companies would give no cut on freights. The matter of brick came up and the wish was unanimous to get all brick in Paola that could be gotten which would fill the bill. The drawings of the building were shown by Mr. Hair and unanimously approved.
B. J. SHERIDAN, Secretary.

Western Spirit Office, May 12, 1906.

Committee met pursuant to call of Father Burk. Present, Chairman Koehler, Secretary Sheridan and other members, Rev. Burk, P. J. Keenan and Peter Theno. Ordered that an advertisement be sent to the Kansas City Journal for bids on the brick work, and the carpenter work of the church, to be received on June 1, 1906; also, that bids be advertised for in The Miami County Republican and The Western Spirit of Paola, Kansas. The plans and specifications to be on file at the store of Jacob Koehler, Chairman. Bids to be received till noon on June 1, 1906. It was decided that the painting would not be let with the other work, but later. The matter was discussed of letting the brick, iron and woodwork separate or all together, and the general opinion was that best satisfaction would result in letting all to one man.

Adjourned to meet upon the call of the chairman or upon the call of Rev. Father Burk.
B. J. SHERIDAN, Secretary.

June 12, 1906. Committee and several bidders met to open bids. Prior to this date it had been agreed upon by the sub-committee to extend the time for receiving and opening the bids.

Committee present, Chairman Koehler, Secretary Sheridan, Schwartz, Theno, Langan, Fenoughty, Keenan, Riley, Dalton, Rev. Father Burk and J. Sheehan; absent, Goebel and Morris. The bids were as follows:


Fordyce Bros., Paola, Kansas, according to plans and specifications, excepting the sash, glass, iron, hardware, sash-cord, painting, brick, cutstone and mortar. We, Fordyce Bros., furnishing all lumber, including frames, doors, brick, work setting cutstone, cleaning walls, plastering, metal work, nails and carpenter work $9,644.00
Add to this if slate is used, main roof, $357.00; towers, $112.00, total 469.00
Galvanized shingles on tower 92.00
Basement carpentering 70.00
Bid of J. H. Petty, Paola, Kansas, same specifications as recited in Fordyce bid:  
According to specifications, etc. $9,374.00
Add, if slate is used, main roof and towers 700.00
On towers 215.00
Metal 195.00
V. Bauer, Horton, Kansas, according to specifications $10,450.00
J. F. Hoover, Paola, Kansas, according, etc. $10,395.00
Towers with slate roof, add $140; main roof with slate, $433 573.00
J. Q. McAfee, Garnett, Kansas, according to specifications, etc. $10,383.00

As some bids excepted the sash and others included sash, also as the committee had not yet decided whether roof would be shingle or slate, it was moved that the matter of awarding contract be postponed until Sunday, June 17, 1906. Carried and Committee adjourned. Before adjourning Wm. Schwartz, Jacob Koehler and Peter Theno were appointed committee to go over bids.

Sunday, June 17, 1906. Committee met in St. Patrick's school building, pursuant to adjournment. Present, Jacob Koehler, Chairman; B. J. Sheridan, Secretary; P. W. Goebel, Wm. Schwartz, Jas. Riley, M. Fenoughty, Peter Theno, Rev. Father Burk, Peter Keenan.

Moved by P. W. Goebel that the towers and main building be covered with slate, seconded by Peter Theno. Carried. Father Burk said that the matter of bids on sash was next. Wm. Schwartz reported that the committee on examination of bids had found and concluded that the contract lay between Fordyce Brothers and J. H. Petty, all depending upon whose bid for sash was cheaper; that McAfee of Garnett, Hoover of Paola, Bauer o Horton, all were much higher than Fordyce Brothers and Petty.

Bids on sash were then opened.


J. H. Petty, Paola, Kansas $300.00
fordyce Brother, Paola $240.00
The bids were then gone over and carefully compared and found to be as follows:  
Fordyce Bros., Paola, Kansas, main bid $9,644.00
Slate roof for towers, $112.00; main building, $357.00 469.00
Sash 240.00
Total $10,353.00
J. H. Petty, Paola, Kansas, main bid $9,374.00
Slate roof on towers and main building 700.00
Sash 300.00
Total $10,374.00

(NOTE--total cost of building, including basement, about $23,000.) .

On motion, duly seconded, the contract was awarded to Fordyce Brothers, their bid being $21.00 lower than J. H. Petty's bid.

Wm. Schwartz and Peter Theno were appointed a committee to see the lumber and materials dealers in Paola, and adjust differences in regard to the prices charged for sand and so forth.

B. J. Sheridan and Wm. Schwartz were appointed a committee to have contract and bond made with Fordyce Brothers.

It was agreed that the time for completion of the church be fixed, if possible, at December 1, 1906.

B. J. SHERIDAN, Secretary.

There were various informal meetings of the committee not called regularly, yet some details were passed upon. All the terms of the contract with Fordyce Brothers were agreed upon and contract drawn in duplicate, signed by B. J. Sheridan, Wm. Schwartz, Jacob Koehler, Father Burk and Fordyce Brothers.
B. J. SHERIDAN, Secretary.

August 27, 1906.
Work was delayed some weeks owing to Mr. Sellers being unable to get cut stone from quarry, but it is now being pushed rapidly along.


The Bishop of This Diocese Consecrates the Foundation of the new Catholic
Church in Paola and Lays the Corner Stone.


Nine Priests Assisted in the Services and the Sermon Was Delivered in the Open
Air on Sunday Afternoon, May 27, 1906.

(From The Western Spirit.)

The completion of the foundation of the new Catholic Church in Paola was celebrated on Sunday afternoon, May 27, 1906, by the laying of the corner stone on which was chiseled, "Holy Trinity Church, 1906." Right Reverend Bishop Lillis of Kansas City, Kansas, whose charge is known as the Leavenworth Diocese, conducted the solemn service in which he was assisted by Rev. Father Kuhls, the oldest pastor in active service in the state, who has been at the head of the old Wyandotte parish for forty years; also by Rev. Father Jennings of Argentine, Rev. Father Beck of Armourdale, Rev. Father Dornseifer of Rosedale, Rev. Father Gormely of Garnett, Rev. Father Hohe of Wea, Rev. Father Michel of Frankfort, Rev. Fathers Burk and Eloe of Paola.

Music was furnished by the Wea church orchestra band and Bishop Lillis delivered the sermon from a temporary platform on the new foundation. Although in the open and the wind blowing some, every word was heard. Full 2,000 people listened to it. The Bishop's language was simple and his discourse was very impressive. He spoke 56 minutes, and without notes. He likened Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church to husband and wife, and inveighed against divorce. The necessity of religion was the necessity of the home--simple, pure and sanctified to God. He heartily congratulated the people of Paola on their moral and liberal character, and commended to them unity, charity and harmony in the upbuilding of their religious interests. Bishop Lillis is a young man, powerful in mind and rugged in body. He is of Irish blood, reared in Kansas City and thoroughly drilled to a high degree of scholarship. he is an ideal clergyman of ancient learning and modern finish, trained in thing aright and gifted in language. There's poetry in his sentences through his words are simple, and there's music in his piety while he talks like a man. Clear eyes, white teeth, a brow and upper lip indicating courage and firmness, dignity of carriage, a voice under perfect control and gestures few. Bishop Lillis combines the prelate and the advocate, the prophet and the orator.

In the box of granite stone were placed the following articles: A history of the parish, beginning with 1848, and down to the present time, prepared by Rev. Father Burk, a list of parishioners with notes; copies of The Catholic Register of Kansas City, the St. Louis Progress, the Miami Republican and The Western Spirit; a few coins, and a St. Benedict medal. "Holy Trinity," a cross beneath, and "May 27, 1906," is the carving on the face of the stone.

No collection was taken up. The church, when complete will cost about $25,000.


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