The History of St. Yves Mission

Harmony, Washington

1914..........................................................1964

 

"Our Lady of the Valley & Saint Ives " Catholic Church

at Harmony Bridge on Mayfield Lake.

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Jubilee Program

August 2, 1964

 

9:00 AM - High Mass of Thanksgiving and Jubilee Sermon.

 

12:30 PM - Potluck Dinner and Parish Social at the

Mossyrock School (Multi-purpose Room).

 

3:00 PM - Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament

and Hymn of Thanksgiving (Harmony Church).

 

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A hearty welcome to all our visitors on this

occasion and a special blessing on the members of the

Third Order of St. Francis, joining us in the

celebration of this day.

 


The 'Early History; from, 1914 - 1964

 

by Father Roger Agostinelli, O.F.M.

 

Here are a few points of history of the Harmony Community which have been gathered from the very meager records at the Cowlitz Mission and from the memories of the living descendents of the early pioneers in this territory.

 

Father Ewald Soland, O.F.M. was the first Franciscan priest whose name appears in the Baptismal records of Harmony. The first Baptism recorded is that of Irene Flynn, May 29, 1910, "in the Harmony School," and on the same day "in the home," those of Lillian and Rose Schmitt.

 

From 1911 to 1914 the name of Father Aegidius Herkenrath is found in the Baptismal records of the following names: Catherine, Mary and Anne Schmitt (1911), Mary Flynn, Thomas, Otto and John Schmitt (1912), Joseph Flynn, Myrtle Schmitt, Michael Kelly, Margaret Mulligan (1913), Phillip Kelly, Donald Burke, Francis Schmitt (1914), 1915, Dan Flynn (the first in the new church).

 

Before the church was built at Harmony, the priests would come occasionally from St. Francis Mission on the Cowlitz Prairie to say Mass in one of the private homes or in the school house.

Mrs. Charlotte Shuler, a daughter of the pioneer Flynns, gives us the following notes on the early days of Harmony: "One year we went down to St. Francis Mission for Confirmation. Four wagons and teams took the Hadallers, Schmitts, Dunns and Flynn. It took all day to make the trip. They had just finished the new priests' house at the Mission; so we camped in the old one that night and returned the next day. Fourteen were confirmed by Bishop Edward O'Dea.

The Dedication of the original St. Yves Church in 1914.

Dedication of St. Yves Church, 1914.

We began work on having a church at Harmony. Mr Schmitt donated the ground for the church and cemetery. There were ten families: Anton Hadaller, Tom Schmitt, Henry Schmitt, John Kelly, John Gershicks, Ed Dunn, Bill Dolphin, John Flynn, James Mulligan and Mike Kalnoski.

All were asked to donate money and work. John Flynn asked everybody; he wrote to Sears Roebuck in Seattle (they donated twenty-five dollars), also the banks in Chehalis, and the Catholic Church Extension Society (Five Hundred Dollars). Carl Freund, from Evaline, built the church. Henry Schmitt was his helper. Some of the lumber was from the Stinson Mill at Riffe; but most everything else had to be brought from Chehalis by wagon and team. Every trip took two days. Our first pews came from the church in Napavine.

It was 1937 before we got the debt paid off. The ladies made quilts and we sold chances and had a dance at Salkum to help achieve this.

 

After the church was built we had Mass when a fifth Sunday came in the month; but the children and some of the grownups would gather at the church every Sunday for Mass prayers, rosary, catechism and Bible History. Katie Schmitt had gone for a year to St. Mary's Academy. so she led the prayers.

In 1922 we began to have Mass once a month; but we still gathered every Sunday for prayers and catechism; years later Mass was said in our church twice a month, and since 1953 we have had Mass every Sunday."

For the years that followed 1937, very little is recorded, leading us to believe that no extraordinary events took place at Harmony. There are a few notes on Vacation Schools being held in the early summer, at which an average of 40 children were given two weeks instruction. There were parish picnics on the church grounds later in the summer.

On Christmas, 1945, the first High Mass was sung in the Harmony Church. Father Raymond Smith was the celebrant, the high school girls from Harmony, under the direction of Sister Emilene, of St. Mary's Academy, sang the choir parts, and according to Father Raymond's note. this was "very well done ."

 

An addition to the church was planned in 1952, pratically doubling the capacity of the body of the church, enlarging the sanctuary and providing a sacristy, utility and furnace room and a fair sized meeting room. Water from a local spring was piped into the newly added sacristy and the lavatories. Then an automatic oil burning furnace was installed. Joseph Hadaller was the main "moving force" on this project.

 

The new altar, tabernacle and communion rail came in 1955 and 1956. Then followed the new pews, the new tile covering on the floor, new curtains; etc. The ladies of St. Ives Altar Society have always taken such excellent care of their little church that the first remark of every visitor on entering it is always a compliment to neatness.

 

In Spring, 1952 the Centralia Daily Chronicle had this to say about the Harmony Church: "Pioneer Harmony residents chose as a site for their church a spot on a side hill above a narrow and deep rockcut gorge through which the Cowlitz River rushes on its way to the prairies. The river was bridged at this point many years ago, and although there are not many homes in the immediate vicinity of the church, it is centrally located for the families on both sides of the river. There are about twenty-five Catholic families in the Harmony area who worship at this church."

 

The exterior of the church is still reminiscent of the church of the pioneers; but the interior gives evidence of a faith and devotion that have grown and developed in present day living for God. The pioneers on 1914 would indeed be glad to see how fruitful their efforts have been and how the original "little chapel by the raging river" had developed and come to be, by the quiet waters of a new lake, an attractive, peaceful, interiorly lovely shrine of their children's faith and dedication to the things of God.

The interior of the original St. Yves, before the fire in 1989.

Interior looking towards the entrance at Christmas time.

 

JUBILEE MESSAGES
from some of the former pastors of Harmony.

 

"Harmony was only an infant church when I was pastor back in 1919. It had few parishioners; but they were wonderful people, the Schmitts, the Hadallers. I will be with you in spirit on August 2nd." Father Lawrence Mutter, O.F.M.

 

"Though tucked away in an obscure place and serving only a small congregation, the Harmony Church has helped to keep the Faith and promote it among not a few and has been the scene and means of many spiritual blessings, that in the course of fifty years have accumulated into a mountain of good accomplished. Its Jubilee is an occasion worth celebrating. My only regret is that I cannot be there personally; but I rejoice with the congregation in spirit. My best wishes to all at Harmony." Father Andrew Bucher, O.F.M.

 

"I hope that you will have a very successful celebration. Give my best regards to all the good people of Harmony. They are a very fine group." Father Donald Gander, O.F.M.

 

"Best wishes to all the good people of Harmony. " Father Maurice Moore, O.F.M.

 

July 26, 1964

 

(Jubilee letter of Father Aegidius Herkenrath, O.F.M. addressed to the parishioners of Harmony. on the occasion of the 50th year since the building of the Mission church, July 1914.)

Headstone"Jubilee congratulations and hearty good wishes and blessings upon the humble sacred shrine of Our Lady of the Valley and St. Ives, at Harmony, and upon its good parishioners, -- the beloved pioneers of the past and the faithful parishioners of the present. Greetings to those living, many of whom I have blessed in the sacred font of Baptism, shriven in the holy Sacrament of Penance and united in the bonds of Christian Marriage; and on this day also a prayerful remembrance of the dear departed whom I have placed in the consecrated soil of the peaceful little cemetery on the bank of the river, far away from the heat and haste of this restless life. I am thinking of you, one and all, and praying that through your continued loyalty to God and His Church we may meet again at the eternal throne of God.

 

Fifty long years have passed since a small number of faithful people began the heroic task of building this humble yet attractive little shrine beside the turbulent river, in the midst of the virgin woods. To my mind come the names of men like Anton Hadaller, sturdy pioneer of this land, and Tom Schmitt, the donor of the church lot, and John Flynn and other pioneer settlers and their devoted women folk. All of them were zealous and courageous workers in the clearing of the land and the building of this humble but sturdy little house of God. The ladies of the district lent their time and talent to furnish and finish the interior. After several months of heroic work, these early settlers of the foothills of the mighty Cascades had the joy of seeing their dreams realized and the new chapel was officially dedicated to God on July 12th, 1914.

 

Besides the pioneer settlers of this region, we must not forget a good friend, Mr. Freund, who acted as architect and professional builder. Here also let me mention the generous services of the men who served as carriage drivers for the priest through the years following, when it took two full days to make the trip from the Cowlitz Mission and return. Not the least among these were the Hadaller boys, Otto, Paul and Joseph. For their devoted services to the priest and the people they should be eternally remembered.

 

My dear friends and parishioners of Harmony, I sincerely regret that I could not be with you today for this jubilee of the blessing of your and my chapel of Our Lady and St. Ives; but I assure you one and all,the young as well as the old, that you shall be remembered in my Holy Mass together with your dear departed pioneers.

 

Finally would ask you kindly to remember me in your prayers and in your jubilee Mass. God's blessings on you and your chapel of Our Lady and St. Ives."

 

Father Aeyidius Herkenrath. O.F.M.

 


 

(Owing to the failing health and memory of Father Aegidius. who is now 87 years old, there were many incomplete sentences in the original letter, many repetitions and typing errors. The message here represents a "revision of the letter" in certain passages it had to be an interpretation: but the thoughts, wishes and emotions expressed here are essentially those of Father Aegidius.) Father Roger Agostinelli, O.F.M.

Old St. Yves Church 1914 to 1989

The original church as it appeared in the 1980's before the fire. The classroom building came after the dams were built. The large "stump" is all that was left of four large poplar trees planted years before by a pastor, who instructed people to "never cut them down". They stayed until they were so old as to be dangerous.

 

(Click on the photo for more of the old St. Yves.)

 

August 2, 1964

Names to remember

 

The following list of Franciscan Priests includes the names of all who at some time served the people of Harmony. The years marked before the names indicate only the first year of their activity, as gathered from the records at St. Francis Mission. The years in parenthesis after the names will show the ones who are no longer living and give the year of their passing. For these especially the jubilee year should be an occasion of prayerful remembrance.

 

1910 - Father Ewald Soland (after 1912)

1911 - Father Aegidius Herkenrath

1914 - Father Francis Redman (1960)

1916 - Father Thomas Ziegan (1955)

1919 - Father Lawrence Mutter

1921 - Father Henry Stendebach (1954)

1922 - Father Daniel McNamara (1952)

1924 - Father Joachim Maier (1955)

1924 - Father Paschal Klaren (1940)

1925 - Father Roman Wolf (1954)

1927 - Father Felician Leibeling (1947)

1928 - Father Gabriel McCarthy

1930 - Father Jerome Luttenegger

1933 - Father Ambrose Tranbert (1957)

1935 - Father Luke Powleson

1940 - Father John Baptist Schunk

1944 - Father Leander Laner

1944 - Father Gratian Gabel

1945 - Father Raymond Smith (1956)

1947 - Father Dennis Mahoney

1949 - Father Peter Topic

1949 - Father Alphonse Weber (1963)

1952 - Father Donald Gander

1953 - Father Andrew Bucher

1955 - Father Tiburtius Wand (1962)

1958 - Father Fabian Gussenhoven

1960 - Father Benedetto Fedele

1961 - Father Maurice Moore

1963 - Father Roger Ayostinelli

1964 - Father Rudolph Schneider

 

Father Rudolph was allowed only a few months in the service of Harmony, filling in for Father Roger when he assisted in the administration of the Cowlitz Mission until a new pastor would be appointed. Since June 26, 1964 Father Roger was once more in charge of the Harmony area.

 

The St lves Parishioners Memorial.


For additional St. Yves History see

Fr. Cloquet's description of the period from 1964 to 1983.


Burned church foundation 1989.

Regrettably the church that had stood on this site since 1914 burned to the ground in 1989. In the photo on your left you can see the ramp and handrail that let to the door. The fire started in the furnace room and by the time it was noticed, and the firemen arrived, it had broken through the floor and the roof. Everything was lost except a sugar bowl and the church bell. It was a long difficult period for the St. Yves community. We celebrated mass in the Grange Hall at Silver Creek for four years until we could finally rebuild. The new St. Yves Church is pictured below. Click on the photo to the left to see another view of the damage.

 

This is the new St. Yves Church built after the fire destroyed the original. It was dedicated by Archbishop Thomas Murphy in 1993. (Roger J. Smith, ©1997).

Interior of the new St. Yves Church building. (Roger J. Smith, ©1997).

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