of Jefferson County
East Pleasant Plain
"EAST PLEASANT PLAIN. Secs. 11 & 12, Penn Township.
Plat, p. 18, 1909 Atlas. P.O. Est. 25 Nov. 1907, Nellie M.
Noe, postmistress, Later Lewis T. Baitinger was p.m. for 20 years. Home
of St. Joseph's Catholic Church."
The above information was compiled by Mary Prill and published in the Hawkeye Heritage, July 1967.
The following information comes from the book "Glimpses of Yesterday" by Dixie Richardson, published in 1999 and copied here with her permission. The book contains histories and personal memories of Richland, Iowa, and the surrounding area. Copies of the book are available from Dixie Richardson, 556 South Davis, Ottumwa Iowa 52501-5301 for $13.00 and this covers postage and handling as well.
A mile east of Pleasant Plain in Penn Township is the little village of East Pleasant Plain. East Pleasant Plain was platted in April, 1902. East Pleasant Plain grew after the Rock Island Railroad straightened its track and changed its right of way to the south of Pleasant Plain. It was first called Stake Town. The name was later changed to East Pleasant Plain. Many of the businessmen from Pleasant Plain moved their businesses to East Pleasant Plain. Besides the businesses and homes moved from Pleasant Plain, a two-story brick structure was built. This structure had living quarters and a telephone company on the top floor. It had many businesses in the bottom story over the years. East Plain has had several businesses over the years. It had a stockyard, depot, L. W. Pickard and Son Lumber yard, two funeral businesses, restaurant, jewelry store, two hotels, East Pleasant Plain Savings Bank, two general stores, livery barn, and blacksmith shop. A cheese factory, which was later made into a button factory, feed store and elevator, a DX gas station. The post office was in the store run by A. L. Supalla. Today a machinery repair business is located in East Pleasant Plain.
St. Joseph's Catholic Church
St. Joseph's beginnings start in 1854 when Old St. Joseph's Church immigrants from Germany came to America and on to Iowa. They came from Burlington to Walnut Township in Jefferson County settling near the community of Germanville. Immigrants from Poland came to the same area between 1860 and 1870; in 1864 ten acres of ground was purchased from Felix Reck to build a Catholic Church near Germanville. The church was erected in 1869. The catholic congregation at Germanville became divided when the Polish Catholics received permission to build St. Mary's Church at Polishville.
When the Rock Island Railroad changed its right of way, East Pleasant Plain came into existence. It was thought that this would be a better location for a church. Permission was requested and granted to build the church in the fall of 1900. Rev. Bernard Jacobsmeier was the mission pastor serving the area. He along with Fred Arndt, John Fritz, Jacob Kaska and Peter Kurtz were to oversee the building of the new church. In 1902, a 38 feet by 70 feet church building with full basement and side with white clapboard was erected. The corner stone was laid and dedicated in September 1902. The building was built by Harry Inkman of Fort Madison at a final cost of $2734.00. It was decided that St. Joseph would be the patron saint of the church.
Pastors serving the parish were Rev. Guinan and Reverend Sueppel. Both were from St. James Church in Washington. St. Joseph's was a mission Parish until 1913 when Father Heller was appointed as the first resident pastor. A rectory was built in 1913. On June 6, 1944, the church was destroyed by fire. It was not known what caused the fire. As it was summer time Mass was held outdoors or in case of inclement weather Mass was held in the school gym. The Baitinger store was also used for Mass and for a parish hall.
In 1947 a temporary Quonset building was erected. This building was used for church until 1960. A new brick building with full basement was erected in 1960. The new church building was dedicated on September 14, 1960.
On July 15, 1971, St. Mary's Church at Polishville was destroyed by fire. The Bell of St. John Nepomucene that had been installed in 1883 at Polishville escaped being destroyed in the fire.
It was suggested that as a memory to the church at Polishville that the bell be hung in a tower to be erected at St. Joseph's church. An eight sided tower, 48 ft 6 in. tall with a diameter 6 ft 5 1/4 inches, was erected and dedicated in 1972. The spire of the tower is translucent and can be lighted.
Three natives of the St. Joseph's congregation have chosen to become priests and receive Holy orders from the church. They are Father Charles Manhardt, John Scannell and Father Eugene Benda.
Some of the pastors who have served at St. Joseph's are Reverends Guinan, Sueppel, Heller, Courtney, Sendbeuhler, E. P. Seidel, Shaffer, Scherff, Wetzstein, Henry Geers, Edward Shepherd, Francis Bass, Louis Leonhardt, Robert Busher, Joe Rogers, Tim Bernemann, John Stack and David Brownfield. Father Paul Connolly is currently serving as pastor.
Return to the Towns Page
Return to the Jefferson County Main Page