Wednesday, September 28, 2016

St. Joseph's Catholic Church - Toussaint, Carroll Twp., Ottawa County, Ohio

After receiving the photograph below, Sandra Zenser researched and wrote the following history of the St. Joseph's Catholic Church - Toussaint in Carroll Twp., Ottawa County, Ohio. We welcome Sandra's guest post.

St. Joseph’s Catholic Church - Toussaint
by Sandra L. Zenser

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The photo shows St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, parishioners, church leaders (believed to be l-r: Father Thomas McCarthy, Bishop Samuel Stritch1, and Father Albert Fate), with the church parsonage in the background. The celebration is possibly a first communion, ca.1922. The picture was donated to the Carroll Township History Committee by Betty Youster Dubbert, granddaughter of Fred and Akie Swope, and hangs on the wall of the historic 1880 Carroll Township hall/museum. Church records have the Swope family as members in 1860.

The church was located next to the Catholic Burial Ground, now known as St. Joseph’s Cemetery on Duff-Washa Road in Ottawa County, Ohio. Early church records have the Toussaint pastor as Rev. Amadeus Rappe in the year 1841. The Mass would have been celebrated in members' log cabins. Eventually in 1845 a log chapel was built on a half-acre tract at this location. The log chapel served its purpose until 1861 with the erection of this wooden structure. In 1944, the St. Joseph’s Church building was thought to be in danger of collapse and the Bishop felt that the small number of parishioners did not have the resources to build a new church. St. Joseph’s Church was torn down in 1945, one of the oldest parishes in the diocese, the first church in Carroll Township ceased. Catholics living in the Toussaint territory would become part of the Bono parish (Lucas County). 

What remains are the cemetery, privately owned by the Catholic Diocese of Toledo, and the parsonage home (built in 1916 according to diocesan history), a private residence since 1942.

Catholic Church records refer to this parish as Toussaint, French word meaning “All Saints”. However, to the locals it is Frenchtown as it was a French Canadian settlement where early settlers gained their livelihood by hunting, trapping, and fishing. Possibly the reason for the church not referring to this area as Frenchtown is because of  Frenchtown, Michigan and a St. Joseph’s Catholic Church there. The Toussaint River is just south of this property and Toussaint being a French‑Catholic name. So to eliminate confusion in the diocese, it opted to call this parish Toussaint.

 1Bishop Samuel Stritch, bishop from 1921 to 1930, later becoming a Cardinal as Cardinal Stritch Catholic High
  School is named after him on east side of Toledo in Oregon.