Near New Ulm in Brown County, Minnesota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
Father Valentine Sommereisen
Pioneer Missionary Priest
This is the site of St. Joseph Church, the first Catholic church in Brown County, completed in 1861. Fr. Sommereisen celebrated the first Mass. He ministered to Catholics in nearby Leavenworth, Sleepy Eye, St. George, and St. Peter. During the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, he joined Doctor W.W. Mayo in New Ulm 21–25 August caring for the defenders and their families. Fr. Sommereisen accompanied Fr. Ravoux, baptizing and consoling
Fr. Sommereisen moved west in 1871 to Yankton, then the capital of Dakota Territory. From there he visited various forts and stations along the Missouri River. On one occasion in 1873, he provided services as chaplain to general George Armstrong Custer on his Yellowstone Expedition.
In 1876 Father Sommereisen was appointed pastor at Hays, Kansas, with the care of six nearby Volga-German settlements and various railroad towns along the Kansas Pacific. After another appointment at Cottonwood Falls, Kansas, 1878-79, he retired to a homestead near Hays, where he was a successful farmer, orchardman, and vintner. Briefly, during a period of drought, he worked as a section hand on the railroad. He died 25 January 1897 at age 67, and is buried in St. Joseph's Cemetery in Hays.
Dedicated by Bishop John M. Levoir and composed by Bishop Cretin Assembly of The Knights of Columbus, Fr. Eugene Hackert, & George L. Glotzbach
Erected 2011 by the Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus Bishop Cretin Assembly, with research done by Fr. Eugene Hackert and George L. Glotzbach.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Cemeteries & Burial Sites • Churches & Religion • Settlements & Settlers • Wars, US Indian. A significant historical date for this entry is January 25, 1897.
Location. 44° 16.133′ N, 94° 27.168′ W. Marker is near New Ulm, Minnesota, in Brown County. Marker is on County Highway 25 west of 140th Avenue, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: New Ulm MN 56073, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Adams Park (approx. 1˝ miles away); Junior Pioneers of New Ulm and Vicinity (approx. 1.6 miles away); The Wallachei (approx. 1.8 miles away); Cottonwood Twp. Evangelical Church and Cemetery (approx. 2.2 miles away); 2011 Centennial of The Church of St. Mary (approx. 2.7 miles away); Hermann Monument (approx. 2.8 miles away); Turner Hall (approx. 2.9 miles away); Waraju Distillery (approx. 2.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New Ulm.
Also see . . . Historian chronicles pioneer priest. The Journal. "Sommereisen was credited with the idea of creating what looked like a cannon by putting together two sections of stovepipe on a wagon and making a small fire, during the Dakota attacks on New Ulm in August 1862....it was convincing enough to (Submitted on June 6, 2014.)
Credits. This page was last revised on October 21, 2020. It was originally submitted on June 6, 2014, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 830 times since then and 56 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. submitted on June 6, 2014, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin.