More information extracted from the now-defunct SAM Cluster website is archived here: History of St. Sebastian Church.


     St. Sebastian's congregation at Bismarck is composed entirely of German farmers and was organized in 1846. Previous to that year the Catholics living in Sherman township-which gave its original name to the settlement ; only since 1882 has it been known as Bismarck-were identified with the congregations of Peru and Thompson. On July 2, 1846, their first church, a small building constructed of rough hewn logs, was opened for Divine service. From that time until 1860 the mission of Sherman was attended by the Sanguinist Fathers from Thompson, five miles distant. At first the attendance was monthly, and finally, as the mission grew, Mass was said every Sunday and Holyday. The following Sanguinist Fathers had charge of the mission between 1846 and 1868 : The Revs. F. S. Brunner, P. A. Capeder, M. A. Meier, M. Kreusch, S. Ganther (1849-52), A. Dambach, E. Glueck, P. Wilhelmy, R. Schuele, V. Haussner, J. Ringeli (1860-66), E. Ruff and A. Laux. In July, 1868, the Rev. J. M. Thoma, C. PP. S., was appointed first resident pastor of Sherman, remaining until July, 1869. The settlement was then again attended from Thompson as a mission until December of the same year. Since that time the congregation of Sherman (Bismarck) has been in charge of secular priests, the first being the Rev. John P. Puetz, who remained until November, 1872, when he was obliged to resign because of ill health. The Rev. V. Haussner. formerly a Sanguinist, but at this time a secular priest, was again given pastoral charge of Bismarck, as successor to Father Puetz. In April, 1870, he was succeeded by the Rev. John F. Koehn. He too was obliged in October of the same year to give up pastoral work owing to illness. He died at Bismarck on January 24, 1880. The present pastor, the Rev. Theodore Litterst, took charge of the congregation in November, 1879.
     The original log chapel was replaced in 1857 by the present brick church, 40 x 72 feet in size. Its cornerstone was laid on August 5 of that year. The present pastoral residence and school, both brick buildings, were erected between 1867 and 1868. A frame school house was built in 1862, about two miles from the church, for the convenience of the children in that section of the parish. No notable improvements were made in or about the church property for a number of years, until 1894, when the church was thoroughly renovated, both exterior and interior, and thus made very attractive, which it is even at the present time. In 1897 a $1,400 pipe organ replaced
the old time worn instrument.
     The two parish schools are taught by lay teachers.

Excerpted from "A history of Catholicity in northern Ohio and the diocese of Cleveland from 1749 to December 31, 1900" by George Francis Houck (Cleveland: Cleveland Press of J. B. Savage, 1903), viewed at

St. Sebastian Catholic Church
St. Sebastian Church, Bismarck, Ohio