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FINANCIAL ACCOUNT OF THE NEW ST. MARY'S CHURCH, GLASGOW, MISSOURI

Kenneth Westhues, from an email to Westhues cousins, 2015

CLICK HERE FOR PDF OF ORIGINAL DOCUMENT, 1914

I send this email only because I know many of you share my interest in our family's history, and will enjoy what I attach in PDF. It's a document from one century ago, the "Financial Account of St. Mary's New Church," as of January 1, 1914, when the building was complete.

Construction of the new church was a momentous event, since it was and remains the most imposing piece of architecture in Glasgow. By its size, grandeur, and location on Hereford Hill, it symbolized in a definitive way the shift in the town's culture away from the old elite Southern Protestant families, the plantation gentry, to new Catholic, mainly German immigrants, including Wilhelm and Theresia Westhues. The decades around the turn of the 20th century had been a time of prosperity for farmers, and the hard-working immigrants had done well, buying up piece by piece land owned earlier by the Lewis, Price, and other Southern families.

The financial account is of interest especially because it lists exactly who gave how much money toward the $40,000 that the new church cost. Almost 150 donors are listed. Apart from the pastor's donation, the single largest paid subscription was $600 from Wilhelm Westhues. (That's about $15,000 in today's money.) In addition, Wilhelm Westhues gave $150 for the Communion Rail. Theodore and the younger Wilhelm gave $120 and $100 respectively. Ben, just 21 years old when construction began in 1912, gave $6 for a chandelier.

Wilhelm Westhues came second in total parishioner contributions to the new church. In first place was Henry Flaspohler, who gave a subscription of $525 plus $400 for the Stations of the Cross. He and Wilhelm Westhues had a lot in common. Both were born in middle Germany, Wilhelm in Muensterland in 1848, Henry in Hanover in 1850. Wilhelm and Theresia had ten children. So did Henry and Dora. Henry's farm lay a little east of Wilhelm's. It was fitting that in 1919, in the new St. Mary's Church, Wilhelm Westhues's daughter Mary wed Henry Flaspohler's son Joseph.