© 2010 | St. Joe | 309 Perry St. | Wapakoneta, OH | 419-738-2115
After the forced removal of the Shawnee from the lands at Wapakoneta (1832), a new village was platted here in January 1833. In the same year a German-Catholic immigrant named John Ruppert purchased a half section of land in Pusheta Township. In 1836 a log church and parsonage were built on this land, at the corner of Cemetery and Santa Fe-New Knoxville roads. The church was dedicated in honor of the Apostles Peter and Paul, and served the German-Catholic settlers to the area, including those to the north, in and near the newly-established village of Wapakoneta. By 1839, however, Wapakoneta residents had established their own parish and built the first church, located at the corner of Pearl and Blackhoof Streets. The parish was called St. Joseph (although its original name was Holy Family).
History of Saint Joseph Church
The Catholics at Petersburg were first served by Father Johann Wilhelm Horstmann, who was himself an immigrant from Germany. When St. Joseph was established as a separate parish, Father Horstman continued to minister here. Although the congregations at Wapakoneta, Petersburg, and throughout much of west-central Ohio would meet weekly, an itinerant priest might be present to celebrate Mass just once a month, since they served such a wide geographical area.
In C.W. Williamson's History of Auglaize County (1905), he writes about these Catholic pioneers:
Those years were comparatively ignorant times, when prejudice was strong and it required an effort that the present generation can hardly appreciate to keep the light of faith burning in the hearts of the people.
Nothing but the most indomitable courage, perseverance, and love of God and their church could have brought them out triumphant over the obstacles that rose in the way of every step.”
The parish was placed under the auspices of the Society of the Precious Blood in 1850. The first Precious Blood pastor to serve St. Joseph was Father Andrew Kunkler.