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This Church, at Napoleon, Henry county, has been for nearly half a century a center of spiritual inspiration and helpfulness. In 1856 Bishop Rappe, finding eight families of devout and faithful Catholics among the settlers at that point, encouraged them to build a small church in which regular services might be held. The people were all poor, most of them having emi­grated but a few years before from humble homes in Baden, Germany, and as they had large families to support they could do but little for the cause of religion.
     However, there was among the settlers a liberal-hearted Frenchman, Augustine Pilliod by name, who was at that time unmarried and, being successful in his business of milling, he took the matter in hand and erected a small frame building, 24x40, with the assistance of James Brennan, together with such aid as could be obtained from the other Catholics and some generous outsiders. Owing to the scarcity of funds the church was not plastered until 1858, and when completed it was found that the cost had been about five hundred dollars. Augustine Pilliod named the parish after his patron saint, and for some time the services were conducted at stated periods by priests from Defiance, Rev. F. Westerholt being the first. From 1859 to 1861 Rev. A. G. Hoeffel officiated, and then the care of the little parish was given to the priests of Providence, Ohio, regular visits being paid by Rev. James P. Molony until July, 1863, and by Rev. John Martin Pütz from that date until September, 1864. By this time the congregation had so increased that Rev. J. P. Carroll was appointed as resident pastor, and under his administration an addition, 24x25 feet, was made to the church, and a tower erected in front, the latter being paid for by John H. Vocke. Later a small frame school house, 26x36, was built, and in 1865 Father Carroll organized a parochial school which he placed under the care of his sister, Miss Ellen Carroll, now a member of a religious order. From that time to the present the town has not been without a Catholic school. In November, 1868, Father Carroll was succeeded by Rev. N. A. Moes, under whose administration the congregations of Napoleon and Providence, which had been attended by one priest for nine years, were separated, each receiving a resident pastor.
     On October 18, 1870, the present pastor, Rev. Michael Pütz, took charge of the Napoleon church, which has steadily grown in usefulness and prosperity under his able and judicious management. He found it encumbered with a debt of one thousand one hundred dollars—about two-thirds of the real value of all its property—but he succeeded in clearing off all obligations and in raising about a thousand dollars more for furniture for the church. Later he determined to secure a better site for the church, and on December 21, 1875, a beautiful lot, 165 feet square, in the central part of the town, was purchased for the sum of four thousand dollars. It took the congregation three years to pay for it, and, as by that time the school was in need of better accommodations, it was decided to build a new school house on the lot before erecting a new church edifice. This was accordingly done in 1878, and at the same time the school, which had been previously conducted by lay teachers, was given into the charge of the Sisters of Notre Dame, at Cleveland, Ohio, and a house was built for them upon the same lot. As the congregation had still considerable each on hand, a new church was begun in the following year, the old building being sadly out of repair and in an inconvenient location, which was the more noticeable after the transfer of the school to the new lot. A handsome Gothic structure, 50x117 feet, was erected at a cost of twenty-two thousand dollars, and on June 19, 1883, was dedicated to the service of God by Right Rev. Bishop R. Gilmour, of Cleveland. These outward signs of prosperity are but an indication of a gratifying spiritual growth under which many have been added to the church, the congregation comprising about eighty-five families at the present time.
     Rev. Michael Pütz, the beloved pastor whose labors have resulted in such signal benefit to the church, is a native of Gilsdorf, Grand Duchy of Luxemburg, Germany, where he first saw the light December 29, 1845. He studied the classics in Luxemburg, and then, coming to America, took a course in philosophy and theology in St. Mary's Seminary, at Cleveland, Ohio. On March 7, 1869, he was ordained by the Right Rev. Bishop A. Rappe, of that city, and his first charge was at Fostoria, Ohio. Later he officiated for some time in the parishes of Findlay and Millersville, Ohio, until his transfer in 1870 to the church at Napoleon, the appointment being made by the Very Rev. Edward Hannin, then administrator of the diocese of Cleveland.



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