The Little Cities Archive

Shawnee, Ohio

St. Malachy Corning

Posted by JRW on September 14, 2010

from the Bulletin of the Catholic Records Society, April 1981

On the county road from the present Corning to Millerstown (Millersburg today), just outside of Ferrara (now part of Corning), was located St. Malachy’s Chapel, the second church in Monroe Township, Perry County, Ohio, and the first for the Corning area. The location is west of the present Corning, on the north side of the road. The cemetery, well cared for, is all that remains. The first church in the township was St. Francis of Assisi, Chapel Hill, a little over two miles northeast of Corning. The  sketch is from a large Plat Book in the Diocesan.

It was one hundred years ago that beginnings were made for a Catholic parish near Ferrara (now part of Corning), Monroe Township, Perry County, Ohio. St. Malachy (d.1148), famed archbishop of Armagh, was chosen as the parish’s patron saint, probably at the suggestion of its first pastor, Rev. Bernard M. O’Boylan, a native of Ireland.
The Population growth in the Corning area was rapid. Coalmines had been opened as early as 1832. But coal was sold mostly only to the farmers who to get it. With the arrival of the railroads in 1879 and 1880 the area began to thrive. The Irish came in from nearby Chapel Hill; and apparently a number of Hungarian miners were newcomers. There was also a settlement of black people at Rendville just north of Corning who worked in the mines there. Among the growing population was a number of Catholics.
Accordingly, in at the request of Thomas Corcoran and John Monahan, Bishop Watterson visited the area (1). The necessity of a parish was evident. Catholics thereabouts had been going to St. Francis, Chapel Hill (earlier known as Thompsonville). The pastor there had been visiting the Catholics around Ferrara which was layed out in lots a few years before Corning. Bishop Hartley states in his” history of the diocese that the parish was established in 1882. However, Father O’Boylan, the first pastor, made the first census report of the parish a..nd dated it “from September 1, 1881, to September 1, 1882.” And his first financial report covered the period of Jan. 1, 1882, to July 1, 1882. Apparently he was there functioning as pastor by the first of 1882.
It is noteworthy that Father O’Boylan wrote on his first census report concerning the number of baptisms, deaths, and first Communions, that the totals were for two years, from Sept. 1, 1880, to Sept. 1, 1882.
Father Bernard M. O’Boylan was born in Ireland and began his studies there. He continued them in Montreal, New York, and at St. John’s University, Minnesota. He was ordained by Bishop Rosecrans Jan. 30, 1875, and served for a while as assistant at St. Patrick’s, Columbus. He was then sent to st. Augustine’s, New Straitsville, from whence he was transferred to Corning.
In his first census report of Sept. 1, 1882, Father O’Boylan stated that the “proposed new church will be dedicated to st. Bernard,” adding that “at present we have only st. Malachy’s school for Mass.” Apparently there must already have been a chapel. But “on all Sundays and holydays we celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. in the school house.”
Already there were families, including single men who were in the majority. The total “includes the German portion also” (2). There were 244 males, 115 females, 191 boys and 164 girls, for a total of 714 souls in the parish. All were practical Catholics. There were “about seventy” children in catechism classes which were taught every day in the week except Saturday.
Societies in the parish had already been organized. They were the Ancient Order of Hibernians (A.O.H.), the Confraternity of the Holy Family and the
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Living society. There was $400 insurance on the church and $500 on the parochial residence, further indicating the church to be of chapel size. Property reported by Father O’Boylan included “5 ac., 3 rds. land, 1 Pastoral residence, 1 school House.” The first deed recorded for parish property is dated April 14, 1882 (4), and was acre, more or less. The deed for the five acres listed by the pastor was not signed until July 31 of the following year. This second piece of property was bought from A. Corcoran and husband. On it was the Chapel, the rectory, a barn and the cemetery [See illustration].
In the school that year were 92 students. “Grammar and mathematics” were the “studies in the highest class.” There was one teacher and “the Rector himself teaches occasionally.”
The pastor complained about the poor support “out of the large congregation which I have,” Only 82 paid any dues, and prices there were “higher than other town in the state.” He gave his residence as “Mount Pleasant, Corning.”
Father O’Boylan’s first financial report was for “St. Malachy’s Chapel, Corning, Co., Ohio, from Jan. 1, to July 1, 1882.” Receipts totaled $782.96 and included $186.50 from “Subscriptions to woods chapel and improvements.” Due for chapel fixtures was $256.00. Due on the cemetery account was $200.00 and on the $530.00.
That the cemetery-was purchased before 1883 is evident from a note Father O’Boylan made on his financial report July 1, 1882, to Jan. 1, 1883. He wrote: ‘The Rev. will please note that I purchased 5 acres of land adjoining Pastoral Residence since last report and also in above debts that debt is included.”
This second financial report is designated as for “St. Malachy’s Church.” Receipts for the six months totaled $1,806.13, a considerable sum for that day. It included receipts from a parish fair amounting to $1,796.13.
In the next financial report, for the first six months of 1883, receipts were $530.43. The debt was $1,013.14. For the last half of the year, however, receipts totaled $1,530.69, including $899.99 from a fair. Among expenditures for property repairs was included a fence for the cemetery.
The census report for the year ending Sept. 1, 1883, was for “St. Malachy’s, Corning, and St. Boniface, Buckingham.” (5) Mass was celebrated every Sunday and Holyday in Corning and twice monthly at Buckingham. The number of families had now dropped to 158, with 96 being in Corning and Rendville, and 62 in Buckingham and Berbick [Berboc]. Total number of souls was 632. But there had been 50 children baptized and five adults. The average attendance at catechism was 105.
Apparently the school was not in operation since all the children in Corning were attending the public school. In Buckingham there was one teacher. A committee controlled the school there and paid the teacher “per capita”. Five acres had been purchased in Corning during the year, and eight lots in Ferrara. A picket fence around the cemetery was almost complete, and a marble cross would soon be erected in the center. “My parish is now well united,” O’Boylan reported.
There is no financial report extant for 1884. The census report is for St.
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Malachy’s, Corning; St. Francis’, Chapel Hill, and St. Boniface’s, Buckingham. Mass was celebrated every second Sunday in the two missions. There were 625 souls in 210 families under the pastor’s care. Of these 59 families, with 256 souls, were at Chapel Hill.
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8 Responses to “St. Malachy Corning”

  1. MaryJo Stevens said

    I am trying to find this cemetery…St. Malachy west of Corning. Can someone give me direction?

    • littlecitiesarchive said

      Take state route 13 into Corning. Turn onto State Route 155 into downtown Corning. Follow 155 up the hill approximately one half mile. The Cemetery sits back on the right. You will have to park and walk to get to it. Good Luck.

  2. ruth rocco said

    Do you know where I can find records of patrons from St. Francis Church in Chapel Hill. I am looking for old records between 1860 and 1870. Are there cemetary records available, as well as birth records.

  3. ruth rocco said

    Please contact me

  4. JRW said

    Just posted Marriage Records from St. Francis 1841-1857. The only other source for documents that I am aware of is the Perry County Library Genealogy room in New Lexington

  5. betty said

    is there any way to access the census records taken by rev o boylan

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