|St. Mary's was not the first Catholic Church in what is
now Noble County. That honor belongs to St. Michael's in Carlisle,
Stock Township, which was built in 1841 by members of the Archer family.
The church was primarily used by Irish immigrants. After a cholera
epidemic in the community in 1847, few new Catholics moved into the
area, and attendance at St. Michael's declined.
Meanwhile, immigration of German Catholics to Enoch Township grew.
During the 1840s and 1850s, the community began attracting
German-speaking Catholics from Pennsylvania, present-day West Virginia
and elsewhere to settle in Enoch Twp. Church records have
been kept for Fulda since 1847. The original church building
in Fulda -- shown below -- was the centerpiece of Fulda's prosperity and
community pride. The church is prominently located on one of the
highest hills in the county. Archbishop Purcell himself dedicated
the church on September 1, 1853. A capacity crowd of 200 attended
a mass celebrated by Father J. C. Kraemer from Miltonsburg. The
old church was located just south-east of the present church, directly in
front of the cemetery.
The drawing of the old church below was provided by Leander Crock of
Noble County, Ohio. There are several incongruities about the
picture. Although the building appears to be hand-drawn, close
inspection of the people in front of the church suggests that they are
from a photograph. Also, the clothing of the women in the picture
is not appropriate for the time period. The old church was torn
down in the late 1870s, but the women's skirts end just below their
knees, a style that did not become popular until over 60 years later.
Finally, the cross on the church steeple does not appear to be at the
same angle as the church building. (The cross is shown face on, rather
than at a 45 degree angle.)
In the early years of the parish, Father Kraemer rode to Fulda from
Miltonsburg once a month to say mass. The first priest assigned to
St. Mary's was Father J. W. Bruemmer in 1857. A rectory (priest's
house) was erected for Father Bruemmer that year. Father Damian
Klueber, a native of Fulda, Germany, became the pastor in 1860. The
Fulda Parish now included the missions in Monroe, Washington, and Noble
counties, an enormous area for one man to cover on horseback. Five
years later, in 1865, Monroe became a separate mission and Fulda was
further reduced in 1871 with the removal of the missions at
Harriettsville and Fox Settlement. Father Klueber literally killed
himself with work, dying from the effects of overexposure after
prolonged horseback riding in 1883.
Over the next decade, the Fulda community grew rapidly. A new rectory
(now known as the old sister's house) was completed in 1869. By
1870, the church could no longer house the congregation.
Even with four masses on Sunday, all the residents could not be accommodated.
Plans were started for a new church.
The present church was completed in 1875. The old church was
torn down, and the bricks were used to build the present rectory, which
was completed in 1884. The previous parsonage was converted to a
residence to the Fulda school teacher.
Thanks go to George
Archer's Archer Cousins website (http://www.archercousins.com/ArcherAssn/churches.htm#churchrecords3)
for much of the information provided here.