In May 1910 Antone & Marie Hadaller moved from Winlock to Harmony, 30 miles east of Winlock. They found 4 Catholic families living there. They were very poor. While at Winlock, Antone helped the people found a church in St. Urban 4 miles east of Winlock. Being a devout Catholic he had contacted the Cowlitz Mission. I was born in 1907 & baptized at the Mission. They named me Joseph in honor of Joseph the Worker. My father's patron name was in honor of St. Anthony the miracle worker. During his hard life he relied on St. Anthony for help. He never failed him.
Being in touch with the mission priest, the priest came to our home on horseback, a 5 hour ride. Staying over night and held mass for the people. Some children were baptized. A need for a church was expressed. Mr. Schmitt would give a plot near the Cowiltz River where he lived on the hill above. They would watch the church. The bishop approved their request. He put a request to the Catholic Extension Society of Chicago. A man named Yves Parish gave $500.00 which was ample for the church. It was built and dedicated in June 1914. Mass was held once a month. Soon Sunday School was held. I was now an altar boy. The priest & I walked to the oxen road to our home 2 miles up the hill. John Flynn made the church benches & vestment cabinet. The cabinet is still in use.
My mother had a successful surgery in 1920. In thanksgiving, we bought a statue of Mary for the church. In 1929, I married and lived with my parents. In 1934, a big wind storm damaged the tallest fir tree. It was lodged against a big tree near by. Should the tree roll out by a south wind it would strike our house. Said tree was 9 feet on the stump and 323 feet tall. Our house was 200 feet away. All that could be done was to set it afire. We all slept in the barn. On the 3rd day it had burned the stump out and not the tree. At 11 o'clock the tree started to roll for the house. We watched and prayed. My father held the crucifix high. When the tree was coming he ran toward the tree invoking St. Anthony. The tree made a loud sound while still in the air and broke. The top falling side ways. Not a limb touched our house. My father with joy cried, "Miracle, Miracle." With joy we went into the house & prayed. When the roads were cleared the priest came and examined the broken tree. It was sound and 3 1/2 feet thick at the break. Indeed it was a miracle he said. He urged us to buy 2 statues for the church. One for St. Anthony and St. Joseph. These are still in St. Yves.
In 1939 my father died. For the next decade others also died. Only a few people came to church. In 1951 the Bishop ordered the church closed. At my father's funeral the priest said for me to care for the Church which I had all my life. Therefore, I objected in boarding up the church. Also 3 other families objected. I told the priest this depression wasn't going to last forever. I would rather see to it to be remodeled. Also, I would pay all the costs as God had been good to me. I was logging and made a profit. I said I would have a report made up what I thought could be done. I gave the report to the priest. He sent it to the Bishop.
I guess maybe because there was no cost to the mission he accepted my idea. In December 1951, the priest hired a carpenter. We would start May 1, 1952. I quit my logging. Ordered the lumber I thought needed. On the last Sunday of April our priest announced this would be the last mass. To me explained, the carpenter couldn't come for 2 months due to the labor strike. I explained the limber would be delivered as ordered. Also, I had laid off my logging. I would start to dismantle the sanctuary and get it ready so we could go ahead with the building. A few people came to help me after they had time. However, I ran into more work than I expected.
The foundation of the north end of the Church was also decayed. Therefore it was necessary to replace all the foundation up to the 2nd window, also blocking under the remaining floor, because it was too damp. This took longer than I expected. Having the new foundation laid I decided I could go ahead with the new sub floor. I seem to have no problem although I had never seen anyone do that. The 2 months went by but no word when the carpenter would be here. I then laid out the new addition. And putting down the frame foundation by guess. To my surprise this new floor would be exactly one step higher than the church floor. I wished the carpenter were here now. However, I decided to let it [stay] that way. I then put down the sub-floor. My 14 year old son helped me nail it down. It was now mid-July and the priest came to see how I was getting along. There was no complaint about the floor. They informed me it would be some time yet before the carpenter could come. I decided to put up the walls with the aid of my boy. I seemed to have no problems. Just used my talent; putting in the floors and windows as I saw it fit. I did build a barn before.
The carpenter came in October. They helped me one week, mostly putting down the floor. They looked over my work especially the sanctuary but there was no complaint. I simply did what came to my mind. With the shortage of labor, no one could be hired to put in the furnace or plumbing or painting. Some women did help with the rooms. When the whole church was painted and the old floor smoothed, I had the light put in, copied the lights at the court house. Later on ordered 22 benches copied partly from the mission church. Also I made a new cross a few years later.
We now had mass each Sunday. I started the furnace 2 hours before mass. In [about] l970, Fr. Roger Agostinelli was our priest. He loved St. Yves and spent all week doing work & boating here. He had a friend, who was a retired carpenter. They put in the balcony. Also, he did other improvements. Thanks be to them! In the last decade other improvements have been made. The ramp is wonderful! There are things out standing about St. Yves that I admire namely the beauty of the sanctuary at Christmas time, the balcony & the ramp. And of course the fine new people that care for the church. While I spent many days with the church I saw the possibilities of two 13 foot wings added to double the seating and still have our historical church. That will be up to those in charge.
The centennial will soon be here. 2014 isn't far off. Will you rejoice in a big celebration? I promise St. Yves will grow, for we are no longer poor. God is with us as he has been with me. God works miracles through man. Love one another!
Dated May 2nd, 1988
This was written just a year before the fire that destroyed the original pioneer church and is used with Mr. Hadaller's permission. Joe is still a vibrant active member of the parish community. He is the last of the group that helped to build the original church.
Photographs have been added from the parish archives.
Copyright 1997,Joe Hadaller, all rights reserved.
For more information about St. Yves Church return to the History of the Catholic People on the Upper Cowlitz River, and look at the parish material at The East Lewis County Catholic Community, or look at all the pages sponsored by our community at the site map - index.