ACatholicMission.org is working on an interesting project with St. Paul native Randy Dunavan. Randy was a member of the class of 1971. After graduating from high school he studied in the seminary at Warrenton, Missouri and Neosho County Junior College; and served a hitch in the United States Navy. He eventually ended up in Texas were he had a long career in sales for an automotive and motor-sports company. Now retired, he can spend more time on his life-long interest — history and genealogy. 
The project is "Who's Behind the Window." In part, it examines a period around the turn of the 20th century when there were many improvements being made at St. Francis de Heironymo Catholic Church.  One of the improvements was replacing many of the clear glass windows with stained glass. At the time Father Boniface asked parishioners to assist with paying for seventeen of the tall, double panel windows in the outer walls of the building. Such a donation would help the parish, and would "...leave a monument indelibly burnt in the glass to go down to generations yet to come."
The end product of Who's Behind the Window will be a book about the migration of Catholics from Maryland into central Kentucky and other areas, and then into Osage Mission. Many of these people are our ancestors. Much of the book will feature very detailed profiles on each of the families or persons named on the St. Francis windows. The names that are being revealed from this study Go Well Beyond Those On The Windows Themselves. They are St. Paul's earliest residents and hundreds of familiar families are represented in the book. Some of the content will also be summarized on this website.
Below is a sketch of the church floor plan with numerical reference keys to some quick 1900 demographics shown in the table that follows:
The information show above is not a scientific assessment of the area population at the time. But it does provide insight into the parish and city demographics in 1900. Perhaps as important as nationality is the fact that only one of these people had been here very long. The town of St. Paul (Osage Mission) was barely thirty years old. Father Schoenmakers arrived in 1847 and founded the mission, our parish and the town. The others were relative newcomers
Some Background and Reference Information:
1. Randy is serious about genealogy and has been at it for more than thirty years. He started chasing Dunavan links in the late 1980's when research involved physical visits to libraries, church offices, cemeteries, etc. Today, research methods have improved significantly with on-line research sources and databases. His own, personal database includes nearly 270,000 individuals and that number increases almost daily. Nearly all of those names have connections with St. Paul that reach across the world, especially Europe; and reach back into 14th Century Europe. He has written 37 publications many of which are in the reference shelves of our local Graves library and the Osage Mission - Neosho County Museum.
Why the interest? One answer might be; he comes from very interesting bloodlines. For example: The Jarboe side of his family were among the founders of Westport, now Kansas City. When the Lorettos came to Osage Mission in 1847 ... "Father Schoenmakers provided a comfortable two horse lumber wagon, and placed them under the care of Mr. Jarboe, a Kansas City merchant, who very kindly acted as their conductor." (from Father Ponziglione's memoirs, Chapter XII).
More about Randy as the project progresses, but I think folks in southeast Kansas and other locations will find his work interesting.
2. St. Francis Church was dedicated in 1884, but there was still work to do. The church had taken more than thirteen years to complete, largely because of funding. After the Passionists assumed control of the parish in 1893, they began to plan several improvements, many of which were completing the original project. For some background on the overall building project, follow THIS LINK.
3. The Henry Miles O'Bryan window was moved. It was originally on the west wall of the church at the northwest corner. When the Passionist monastery was built in 1912, that window opening was used as an entrance to the first floor sacristy and the second floor of the church; and a new window was added to the north wall of the sacristy. When the monastery was razed, the original opening was filled with masonry leaving a "scar" of sorts. Think for a moment about relocating a window in a stone building with nearly two-foot thick walls.
Thoughts 'n Things
Some 'Thoughts' and short articles about past and present-day St. Paul and the Southern Kansas - 4 State Region.