Parish History

Early Settlers
The area has attracted people since prehistoric times, as evidenced by numerous stone relics found on or near the parish grounds near the present day Delaware Bend.

Ancient sign of the
Delaware Indian

During the Indian Wars in 1794, a Delaware Indian village located on the banks of the Maumee was destroyed and its inhabitants scattered.

After the war of 1812 settlers began to move up river and they shared the resources of the area briefly with these Indians who were encamped by the river. By the late 1830’s, the Delaware Indians had been moved from the area.

In 1834 The town of Newberg was platted on the southern bank of the Maumee River. Newberg never grew, despite the gradual influx of new settlers to the area. Travel in the early days was made difficult by the terrain. “a country covered with heavy timber for 40 miles and with water a foot deep” [1]
First Masses in Area
It was only until after the completion of the Erie and Wabash canal in 1843, that early

Bishop A Rappe

Catholic settlers had the opportunity for regular Masses which were offered in the by Father Amadeus Rappe beginning in 1846. He later became the first Bishop of Cleveland. Masses were held in an old log cabin on the edge of Newberg and in the homes of settlers in the Mud Creek (Marysdale) area.

In 1847 Rev Lois Goesbriand, a close friend of Fr Rappe visited the Catholics at Mud Creek and Newberg. He too was later consecrated a bishop. The Knights of Columbus in Defiance named their 4th Degree after Bishop Rappe.

From 1847 – 1850 the Fathers of the Precious Blood traveled from Glandorf to administer the sacraments to the handful of Catholic settlers in the area.

First Church at Newberg

By 1855 enough interest was shown and a small log church measuring 16 x 24 feet was built at Newberg and was subsequently deeded to Fr Rappe in 1856. This church served the congregation until 1879 when a fire reduced the church to ashes.

From 1850 – 1873 the Mud Creek area was ministered by priests from St Johns, Defiance. Father Westerholt, (1855-1858) and Father Aloysius said Masses monthly at the Batt home, located 1/4 mile west of the present day Marysdale church site.

Land Bought at Mud Creek
On November 19th 1866 a tract of 9 acres was bought for $125 from C.H. Buckinghouse . The deed of sale is signed by Edward Quinn, Sebastian Kretzer. Joseph Batt and Jacob Froelich. It was not deeded to Bishop Gilmour until December of 1872.
A frame house on this land was converted into a chapel where the first Masses were said.

Foundation parishioners were, Joseph Batt, Lewis Schwartz, Jacob Frohlich and Edward Quinn.

In 1873 Mud Creek became a mission of North Ridge (St Michaels Ridge).


New Church at Mud Creek
The new pastor, Fr Joseph Blosser commenced construction of a new church to replace the chapel, which was moved to the present day Gerald Singer farm on what is now State Rt 15, where it still stands as a farm building.

The new church was a frame building measuring 30 x 50 feet, built at a cost of $2000. This amount was considerable for a small mission but in his book, "A History of Catholicity in Northern Ohio and the Diocese of Cleveland from 1749 to December 31, 1900"  Father George Francis Houck points out that “these people were very generous.”

Mud Creek Church painting from circa 1920.

A listing of the parish families in 1873 includes some of the following

Joseph Batt, Ferdinand Boff, John Biderman. Anthony Hertz, Jacob Froelich, Jonas Mack, Sebastian Kretzer, David Moog, Peter Pahl, Anthony Peterman, Veit Niderlos, Emily Schick, Casper Schwaeble. Michael Wank, Joseph Zipfel, George Clouse, Bartel Gerber, Reisinger, Vincent Hammersmith, Bernard and Ulrich Ball. Charles Weber, John Straup, Sisco.

The first marriage in the new church was Louis Boff and Teresa Batt on September 30th, 1879. The first baptism was that of Theodore, son of Peter and Balbina Pahl. The first funeral that of Rosa, eight year old daughter of Jacob Froelich Sr.

The New Church at Delaware Bend
In 1879 after the raising of the Log Church at Newberg, there was much discussion on where to re-build a new church. With the completion of the railway to the north in 1874, the town of Delaware Bend was growing, while Newberg showed little growth. There was a dispute between those on the south side of the river and those to the north. The issue was resolved skillfully by the north-siders who hauled lumber to the proposed site to reinforce their side of the argument. The church was constructed at Delaware Bend and the dedication Mass took place in 1880.

St Stephen's Delaware Bend

The new church was a beautiful Gothic style structure

In 1889, Father Lawrence Heiland was appointed resident pastor of Delaware Bend (St Stephens, The Bend). Part of his pastorate was the mission of Mud Creek.

In 1904 a vestibule was added to the church, a bell tower was moved from the church to the vestibule and a cross, fifty-five feet in height was moved from the vestibule to the church by the Rahl brothers.

Mud Creek Becomes Marysdale

Bishop Schrembs

In 1914 the name of Mud Creek was changed to Marysdale on the recommendation of Bishop Schrembs. The old parish hall of St John’s Defiance (built in 1869) which had also served as the school was purchased, dismantled and moved to Marysdale and became the parish hall.

That year also saw Father Joseph Hensbach, pastor of Delaware Bend given the missions of Continental, North Creek and the formation of a new mission at Cuba (which became the first St Isidore parish in the diocese). With this appointment, care of the mission of Marysdale was given to the pastors at Bryan.

In 1918 with the appointment of Father George May to Delaware Bend, the mission reverted to the care of the resident pastor at St Stephens. It remained this way for the next 17 years.

A Crescent News report in 1924, describes a funeral held at Marysdale for a local man and that 1000 people attended!

In September 1935 Marysdale became a mission of St Johns, Defiance under the pastoral care of Father George Lang. The assistant pastor at St Johns was appointed in 1935 and the Mission of Marysdale became part of his duties.

In 1938 the mission returned to the care of St Stephens, The Bend and remained so for another 56 years.

Renovations at St Stephens
In 1960 major renovations were undertaken at St Stephens church. The naves were added to give the current cross shaped floor plan and a basement with class rooms added below. Additional land was purchased to the East for a parking lot.

The New Church at Marysdale
In early 1963, a planning and finance committee was chosen to solicit pledges and donations from the parishioners and friends toward a new church to hold the 125 families of the area. Plans were finalized in 1964.

Groundbreaking ceremonies were held at 1pm on Monday June 15th 1964 for the new $150,000 church. On hand for the ceremonies were Fr John Lehmkuhl and member of the parish building committee.

The 90 years old frame church was replaced with a new church built of block with brick facing on both interior and exterior walls.
Adjoining the church and forming one building with it is a multi-purpose hall with kitchen. Folding doors can be used to divide the hall into smaller rooms for CCD classes and meetings.

The first Mass in the new church was the Easter Vigil mass of 1965.

Changes and Additions
After the Second Vatican council in 1965 the old high altar at St Stephens was replaced by a hand carved modern altar which was fashioned by Charles J Meyer. The Pastors residence was renovated and insulated and the parish hall was remodeled.

In 1970 a new bell tower was added to the church at Marysdale. A plaque in the vestibule shows contributors to this project.

In 1973, Marysdale church celebrated its 100 year anniversary. Fr Obergefell held a special outdoor Mass to celebrate the occasion.

In Novemeber 1980 the 125th Anniversary of St Stephens parish was celebrated by Fr Kill with concelebrants including Fr Robert Knopfle, Fr Joseph Jaros, Fr Ervin Rausch OSC, Fr Allen Fillman, Fr Donald Mueller and Fr Robert Armstrong.

New Cemetary for Marysdale
In December 1997 additional ground was purchased across the road to the west to extend the cemetery which was running out of burial plots. Two acres of the newly purchased land were planted with grass and concrete footers poured for the headstones. The new cemetery was consecrated by Fr William Martin on Sunday June 9th 2002, following the 10am Mass.

With the retirement of Fr William Martin in July 2002 Marysdale and St Stephens were clustered in a parish re-organization and again came under the control of St Michaels Ridge and its pastor Fr David Tscherne.

In June of 2004, Bishop Leonard P. Blair removed Marysdale from its cluster with St Michaels and St Stephens and Immaculate Conception was assigned to the care of Fr Charles Ritter, the pastor at St Patrick’s Bryan. St Stephens and St Michaels Ridge were twinned.

In March 2005 after a meeting with Bishop Blair and the combined parishes of Immaculate Conception and St Stephens, it was decided to merge the 2 parishes into one new parish. This new parish would have 2 worship sites to accommodate the Sunday liturgies. Both parishes ceased to exist on June 30th 2005. The new parish was then to be twinned with St Michael’s Ridge, still under Fr Dave Tscherne.

Saint Isidore Parish is Born
On Saturday July 2nd 2005, the first Mass was celebrated by Fr Dave Tscherne. It was announced that Bishop Leonard Blair had decided the new parish would be called St Isidore (The Farmer) since the closing of St Isidore’s Cuba in 2004 had left the diocese without a church named in honor of the patron saint of farmers.

With the combination of the two parishes, it was decided to have 16 members on the first parish council. In subsequent years the number was reduced to the present number of 10 counselors.

In 2008 the CCD classes were combined with the elementary grades meeting at Marysdale and the Middle/High schoolers at the Bend.

May of 2008 saw the passing of Fr William Martin at age 83. He had been living in the rectory at the Bend since his retirement in 2002.
A large funeral Mass was held at Marysdale with over 30 priests concelebrating. He was laid to rest in the Delaware Bend cemetery.

In July 2009 Fr Robert Kill was appointed to be the pastor of St Michael Ridge and St Isidore’s parishes. Fr Kill had served prior to this at the old Immaculate Conception and St Stephens parishes as pastor from 1978-1988.

June 2013 after many months of planning, meetings and consultation with the Diocese of Toledo, a major roof project was undertaken at the Marysdale site. The flat roofs of both the sacristy and parish hall  were replaced with a new pitched roof similar in design to the roof of the main part of the church. The work was completed in mid August with the relocation of the air conditioning units off the roof and onto pads adjacent to the bell tower.

In November of 2018 Fr Kill let us know that he had begun treatment for cancer. During his treatment, the parish had a series of visiting priests that handled the weekend Masses. In December it was announced that Fr Jake Gordon would be assisting Fr Bob with the Masses at both St Michael Ridge and St Isidore.

In June of 2019 it was announced that Fr Jake Gordon has been appointed the pastor of both St Michael Ridge and St Isidore parishes. Fr Jake assumed duties of the pastor on July 1st 2019.


Pastors for St Isidore (Formerly St Stephens and Immaculate Conception)

SS = Pastor resident at St Stephens, Delaware Bend.
SJ = Pastor resident at St John's Defiance.
SP = Pastor resident at St Patrick's, Bryan.
SM = Pastor resident at St Michaels, St Michaels Ridge.

Rev Amadeus Rappe (visited 1846)
Rev Louis Goesbriand (visited 1847)
Fathers of the Precious Blood (1847 – 1850)
Rev Foliere
Sanguinist Fathers 1852 – 1855
Rev Patrick Hennebery
Rev Father O’Kieff
Rev Aloysius I Hoeffel 1866-1868 SM
Rev Joseph Blosser 1873-1877 SM
Rev G Rudolph 1868-1869 SJ
Rev C Viere 1869-1873 SJ
Rev Chintzmeyer SJ
Rev Anthony Eilard SJ
Rev J Sproll 1877 SM
Rev T P McCarthy 1877-1878 SM
Rev J Christophory 1878-1881 SM
Rev J.H. Muehlenbeck 1881-1886 SM
Rev G.C. Schoenemann 1886-1888 SM
Rev Father Kress
Rev Laurence Heiland 1888-1900 SS
Rev Henry Boesken 1900 SS
Rev Nicholas Espen 1900-1910 SS
Rev John Theiss 1910-1912 SS
Rev Joseph Hensbach 1912-1914 SS
Rev A.J. Bishop 1915 SP
Rev Philip A Schritz 1915 SP
Rev Father Goebel
Rev Charles Buettel 1915-1917 SP
Rev Alfred Metzger 1917-1918 SP
Rev George May 1918-1922 SS
Rev Carl Reineck 1922-1926 SS
Rev William Armitage 1926-1929 SS
Rev Anthony Moes 1929-1933 SS
Rev Paul Brissel 1933-1935 SS
Rev George Lang 1935-1938 SJ
Rev Robert Knoepfle 1938-1943 SS
Rev Leao Mahlmeister 1943-1953 SS
Rev William Pfeifer 1953-1962 SS
Rev John Lehmkuhl 1962-1967 SS
Rev Robert Armstrong 1967-1969 SS
Rev Joseph Jaros 1969-1971 SS
Rev Sylvan Obergefell 1971-1974 SS
Rev Donald Mueller 1974-1978 SS
Rev Robert Kill 1978-1988 SS
Rev William Martin 1988-2002 SS
Rev David Tscherne 2003-2004 SM
Rev Charles Ritter 2004-2005 SP
Rev David Tscherne 2005-2009 SM
Rev Robert Kill 2009-2019 SM
Rev Jacob Gordon 2019-Present SM