History & Tradition

St. John the Baptist parish was established in 1836, with the arrival of Father John Neumann as its first resident pastor.

Father Neumann arrived in this area on July 12, 1836, and took up his residence in Williamsville, while he served an area including North Bush (presently Ken-Ton) and its environs. On his first visit to North Bush (July 20, 1836), he found a log chapel which had been built three years earlier. Seven months later, he moved here and took up residence at the home of Mr. John Schmidt. Eventually a rectory was built for him, and Father Neumann continued his priestly ministry in this area until 1840.

In 1849, the log chapel became too small to accommodate the people of the parish. Some of the people established a new congregation (St. Joseph’s Parish), and others built a stone church (now the renovated St. John Neumann Chapel) on our triangle. The North Bush church was closed in 1892, and for a time it was abandoned and almost forgotten.

The rebirth of the parish began in 1927, when Rev. Charles Klauder was appointed as the second resident pastor. At that time there were very few children in this country area. These children were taken by bus to attend Mount St. Mary Elementary School.

In 1931, the first section of St. John the Baptist School was completed and the Sisters of St. Mary Namur staffed the school. Its enrollment at that time consisted of 200 students. As the years went on, additions were made to the original building and lay teachers entered the community. Three additions were made to the original building in 1940, 1949, and 1956 with a last addition to the school proper made in the 1960.