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Sacred Heart Catholic Church
Dalton City, Illinois

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During the late 1880s, St. Isidore in Bethany had grown to over 500 members.  Families in nearby Dalton City desired their own facility. A controversy arose about whether to build a new structure in Bethany or establish a new church in Dalton City. A decision was made to do both. The cornerstone for Sacred Heart was laid in 1891.    The original families who donated stained glass windows to the church were:

James & Elizabeth Henneberry     Patrick & Julia Henneberry  Memory of Peter Dunn
 Patrick & Ellen Griffin      Michael and M. A. Duggen    Memory of Ed & Catherine Nolan
Edward & Mary Bresnan  John & Margaret Foley James Foley
Memory of  Richard & Anna Delahunty     Memory of M. E. & J. E. Welsh    Memory of Michael & Margaret Dwyer


Bell donated by James Hennebery and Wife and Michael Dwyer and Wife.
 Bell manufactured by the Hy Stuckstede Bell Foundry of St. Louis in 1892.

Monument in St. Isidore Cemetery
Sacred Heart Church
Dalton City, IL



A major financial support for the church was derived from the annual church pew rental.  The fee was $10 in 1904, 1905 and 1906 for Lizzie Dunn, a widow with three small children (see receipt above:  Note:  the receipt dated Dec. 15, 1906 was for the 1906 fee, a check was written three weeks later to Fr. Finnegan on Jan. 6, 1907 for the 1907 fee).  The fee for a family with a husband and wife was $15 per year.  

Parish Priests for Sacred Heart Church
source:  The Saga of St. Isidore, Vincent Griffin, page 67.

M. J. Sweeny 1881-1892
John A. Clancy 1892-1894
Thomas J. Morrow 1894-1895
Joseph O'Rourke 1895-1899
William J. McGuire 1899-1905
Michael J. O'Connor 1905-1906
Joseph Finnegan 1906-1908
M. J. O'Flagerty 1908-1914
Peter D. Curran 1914-1929
Daniel O'Grady 1929-1931
E. A. Broadman 1931-1940
Arthur Thies 1940-1949
Cornelius Horn 1949-1963
Charles Englum 1963-1967
Robert Heinz 1967-1967
Daniel Daily 1967-1969
William Maul 1969-1973
Francis Corbett 1973-1975
Charles F. Kreuger 1975-1979
James Hughes 1979-1980
Larry Munie 1980-1984
Joseph Diezel 1984-1987
Joseph Simburger 1987-1992
John Solm 1992-1995
Kevin Van, Administrator 1995-June 1996


Interior of Sacred Heart Church: courtesy Bresnan Family.


                                                    Windows donated by James and Patrick Henebry

Early Marriages in Sacred Heart Church

Feb 23, 1892.  William Delahunty and Ellen Griffin  were the first to married in Sacred Heart Church  by Rev. M. Sweeny.  
Oct 11, 1892.  Edmond Kinney of St. Isidore Parish and Miss Emma Jane Heneberry of Dalton City were married by Rev. John I. Clancy.
Oct 19, 1892.  Thomas McGowan of Decatur Parish and Lizzie Dunn of Dalton City.
Dec 28, 1892.  Philip Jacob Vollmer of Dalton City and Ella Foley of Dalton City.
April 4, 1893.  Owen B. hughes of Dalton City and Nettie C. Conley of Dalton City.
Nov 29, 1893.  Lewis B. Dunn of Milan and Lizzie Henebery of Dalton City.  Rev. J. Clancy
Sep 28, 1897.  Bernard Bresnan, son of John Bresnan and Kate Conlin was married to Agnes Hennebery, daughter of James Hennebery and Elizabeth Magner.  Rev. J. O'Rourke
Oct 20, 1897.  Mike McCarthy, son of Cornelius McCarthy and Mary Dwyer was married to Nellie Dunn, daughter of Peter Dunn and Mary Dempsey.  Rev. J. O'Rourke.
Jan 10, 1898.  John Dunne, son of Peter Dunne and Mary Dempsey was married to Kate Hughes, daughter of Owen Hughes and Mary Duffy.  Rev. J. O'Rourke.
Feb 15, 1898.  William Dunne, son of Peter Dunne and Mary Dempsey was married to Ellie Nolan, daughter of James Nolan and Anne Kelly.  Rev. J. O'Rourke.
Oct 30, 1899.  John R. Fitzgerald, son of M. C. Fitzgerald and Ellen Delahunty married Jennie Griffin, daughter of Patrick Griffin and Ellen Mullins.  Rev. W. J. Maguire.
April 24, 1900.  Thomas Sheehan, son of Martin Sheehan and Mary Kane married Elizabeth Nolan, daughter of Edmond Nolan and Catherine Henneberry.  Witnesses:  Martin Sheehan & Alice Nolan.
Sep 5, 1900.  Martin Sheehan and Margaret Bresnan.  Witnesses: C. E. Bresnan & Loucie Bresnan.
May 28, 1902.  Frank Hogan, son of Patrick Hogan and Catherine Duggan married Mary Nolan, daughter of Edmond Nolan and Catherine Henneberry.  Witnesses:  John Hohan & Agnes Duggan.
March 17, 1903.  James Taylor, son of Wm. Taylor and Annie Doolin married Lucy Bresnan, daughter of Bryan Bresnan and Catherine Ryan.  Witnesses:  Bryan Bresnan, Jr. & Frances Black.

Early Baptismal Records from Sacred Heart Church

Nov 29, 1900.  Mary Ronella Kinney, daughter of Edward Kinney and Emma Henneberry.  Born Nov 1, 1900.  Sponsors:  David Foley and Mary Foley.
Jan 6, 1901.  William T. Bresnan, son of Daniel Bresnan and Margaret Nolan.  Born Dec 29, 1900.  Sponsors:  John Nolan and Annie Bresnan.
March 3, 1901.  Aimee Elizabeth Dunne, daughter of Louis Dunne and Elizabeth Hennebery.  Born Feb 2, 1901.  Sponsors:  Edward Kinney and Elizabeth Krump.  Rev. William  J. Mcguire.
Aug 18, 1901.  Wm. Wayne Hennebery, son of John Hennebery and Annie Dunne.  Born July 27, 1901.  Sponsors:  Robert Welsh and Mrs. Welsh.
Nov 17, 1901.  Gertrude Nolan, daughter of Michael Nolan and Anna Bresnan.  Bory Nov 10, 1901.  Sponsors:  John Welsh and Lucie Bresnan.
Dec 22, 1901.  Wm. Patrick Delahunty, son of Wm. Delahunty and Nellie Griffin.  Born Dec 5, 1901.  Sponsors:  Michael Dunne and Catherine ??
Dec 25, 1901.  Catherine Bresnan, daughter of Daniel Bresnan and Margaret Nolan.  Born Dec 10, 1901.  Sponsors:  Thomas Sheehan and Elizabeth Sheehan.
Oct 24, 1902.  Patrick Vincent Fogarty, son of Patrick Fogarty and Agnes Kinney.  Born Oct 19, 1902.  Sponsors:  Wm. Fogarty and Mary Fogarty.
April 16, 1903.  Everett Vincent Hogan, son of Wm. Hogan and Catherine Fitzgerald.  Born April 13, 1903.  Sponsors:  Ellen Fitzgerald and Michael Fitzgerald.
July 14, 1903.  Thomas Everett Corcoran, son of Albert J. Corcoran and Mary Delahunty.  Born June 4, 1903.  Sponsors:  James Delahunty and Catherine Delahunty.
Sep 6, 1903.  James Earle Vollmer, son of Peter J. Vollmer and Ellen Foley.  Born Aug 1, 1903.  Sponsors:  James Foley and Lizzie Conlin.
Sep 6, 1903.  Edward Francis Vollmer, son of Peter J. Vollmer and Ellen Foley.  Born Aug 1, 1903.  Sponsors:  Bernard Bresnan and Agnes Bresnan.
Sep 20, 1903.  Daniel Ambrose Kinney, son of Edward Kinney and Emma Henneberry, Born Sep 11, 1903.  Sponsors:  James and Elizabeth Henneberry.
Sep 20, 1903.  George Harry Wemhoff, son of John Wemhoff and Lizzie Foley.  Born Sep 3, 1903.  Sponsors:  James Foley and Lizzie Dunn.
Oct 11, 1903.  Maria Helen Henneberry, daughter of John Henneberry and Annie Dunn.  Born Sep 14, 1903.  Sponsors:  Peter Dunn and Mrs. James Corcoran.
Oct 25, 1903.  Margaret Bresnan, daughter of Daniel Bresnan and Margaret Nolan.  Born Oct 16, 1903.  Sponsors:  John Kinney and Mattie Doolin.
Nov 8, 1903.  Anna Margaret Dunn, daughter of Michael Dunn and Anna Griffin.  Born March 8, 1903.  Sponsors:  John Fitzgerald and wife.
March 21, 1904.  Mary Ellen Hogan, daughter of Michael Hogan and Margaret Delahunty.  Born March 7, 1904.  Sponsors:  Catherine and William Hogan.
April 3, 1904.  Anna Bernata Taylor, daughter of James Taylor and Lucy Bresnan.  Born March 11, 1904.  Sponsors:  Martin Sheehan and Margaret Sheehan.
Dec 25, 1904.  Elizabeth Frances Sheehan, daughter of Thomas Sheehan and Elizabeth Nolan.  Born Dec 17, 1904.  Sponsors:  J. Nolan and Mattie Doolin.
NOTE:  The source of this material is unknown.  I have copies of four pages dated May 1975, Vol. III No. 2.  pages 43-46, copied by Shirley Lynn.

The last service at Sacred Heart was held on June 14, 1996, and the church was demolished later in the year.   St. Marys church in Lovington was closed on March 13, 1988. The need to have churches, schools and other facilities within a three to five mile radius has long since passed.  A shortage of Catholic priests has caused more small churches to close.  The school in Dalton City is closed, and the once thriving business district in Bethany is almost abandoned. Many families now drive about 15 miles to the larger city of Decatur to shop. School districts have been combined, farms are much larger and farm families are much smaller.  Agriculture areas that once had twenty farms now have one large farming complex.  The same area that had a population of over 150 in the 1890's,  now has only two.  The parishioners who had numbered over 500 in 1890, had dwindled to less than 50 in 1996.

Farming remains an essential part of the communities. The parish priest stated recently, "The only things we need right now are an organist and some rain."

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Letter from Attorney William G. Patterson of Sullivan, IL to Edward Bresnan of Dalton City.
Letter dated July 17, 1891 regarding a church in Dalton City.

Edward Bresnan Esq.

    My Dear Sir:

"Since I saw you, and Father McGowan (sp), I have thought much, as to where the new church should be built.  Whether at Dalton, or at its present site.   You know I am not a Catholic but a Literalistic Episcopalian (sp), next door to Catholicism, and who in the near future may need its Consolations.  The hour of death brings equality.  Let this be my excuse for Submitting to you my views on the question of the Church Site, which when we talked on the subject, I gave no opinion, because I had not studied the question.  You were pleased to give me yours but I am compelled to differ with you for the following reasons.

1st Dalton is only a village of probably two or three Catholic families.  Its inhabitants are not over two or three hundred mostly Carmelites, Agnostics, Methodists a few Presbyterians and one Episcopalian.  (Mrs. Ferry if she has not changed).   Therefore from Dalton City the church could get no more support than it does now.   Nor are the Catholic families in and near Dalton ____to any incontinence by having the church where it is.  You and I might want a church at our door, but young people, boys and girls, prefer to drive four or five miles, in young American fashion. 

2nd  reason.  Dalton City will at least for the next fifty or one hundred years be nothing more than a Railway Station of few inhabitants because it is too near Decatur, and because the Chicago and Alton R.Rd Co who are forced to have an Eastern outlet are about to build a new rail (sp) from Terre Haute to Road House in Green Co. Ills which must pass between Todds Point and Penn Townships in Shelby Co and a station on this new railway will not be more than five or six miles distant from Dalton.  In fact Dalton may diminish rather than increase in population.

3rd reason.  To move the Church to Dalton would discommode and be unjust in equity to the Catholics of Lake City and vicinity and to my old friend Pat McDermot and his family who left my farm who is ______money because he wanted church private and because without these his children were growing up to be "heathens and idolaters" as he tells me.

4th reason.  Catholics should unite with their priest as one man.  In small communities it is very unwise to be disunited, because in worldly matters union is strength.  When Pope Hildebrand went out to meet Attila the Scourge of God.  The Pagan knew that his holiness had a united people behind him.  Hence rome was Saved.  It was by means of a united people that your Church has stood as a pillar of fire in the Wilderness of Time.  and oh! what a hard time she has had!

5th Reason.  Two churches so near each other means two priests in one locality in the near future.  This might be expensive.

6th Reason.  In Ireland the holy men and woman never thought of erecting a church in a town or City, but selected rural out of the way places and they were right.  Did St. Bridget ever build a convent in or near a town.  No!   Did St. Patrick?  I answer no.  The truth is, you are a growing people your land is fertile, and you are blessed with abundance.  What do you or I know at our time of life what may happen.  We must judge by the past and so judging, I believe you will before 50 years have a College of Christian brothers.  Just on the 40 acres.  Which is now devoted to a church and Priests home.  Will the People of Dalton donate to you 40 acres of ground upon which to build a Church, a school, or Convent.  They will not do it,  until they do that.  Let the Church be where it is and your grandchildren will bless your memory for it."

Your Friend
    W G Patterson.


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