- Telephone exchange: 883-xxxx
- Zip code: 63670 (Ste. Genevieve)
- Township: Saline
In 1881, when the town of Coffman was laid out in lots and blocks, railroad tracks were laid down by the Western Railroad Company, through Coffman. Coffman even had a railroad depot! However, by the mid 1920’s, no more trains went through; the tracks were then torn up for scrap during World War II.1
Ste. Genevieve Herald, Nov 13, 2002, p2
100 Years Ago – 1902
The Farmington Telephone Company is building a new line east to Avon and Coffman supplying all the farmers on the route.
‘It may be interesting to note that some 70 years ago, about 1850, a venerable Lazarist, either a Father Smith or Schmidt, journeyed from the Barrens on horseback to baptize and instruct the children for their First Communion. He lived with a family named Heberlie. He read mass in their home. He left vestments, an altar stone, missal and stand, with the intention that some other priest might pass this way and would want to say mass for them. A piece of land was given by the Herberlies to build a mission station. This station was three miles southeast from the present church. It was to this station that the Lazarist Father from Perryville came and said mass and attended to the needs of the people from this community. Several items, such as the pews, bell, and stations of the cross, were borrowed from this mission when St. Catherine’s was started on July 6, 1919.’
In 1919, Father John Walsh was appointed by Archbiship John Glennon as the first Pastor of Coffman and to lay the foundation of the new parish. There were 40 families. Prior to this, for many years, the spiritual needs of the parish were taken care of the parish of Sts. Philip & James. For example, when the parish school of River Aux Vases was built by Father Broeckelmann in the early 1900’s, children would board with local families for a school year in order to make their First Communion.
The first mass by Father Walsh was said in the grain warehouse of the Hauck Railroad, which had run 1905 to 1917 from Chester, IL to Farmington, MO. About 125 people attended this first mass. A few weeks later, the Velker Store was vacated and mass was said there until the church was completed. The groundbreaking for the church was on the feast of the Assumption, August 15, 1919. The land for the new church was donated by the John Gegg family.
The church was named St. Catherine by Fr. Walsh in honor of his mother, Catherine Walsh of St. Louis. The first Mass was said in the new church on January 18, 1920, followed by Benediction with the Blessed Sacrament.
In 1921, the rectory was built. It was furnished in the same way as the church – donations of money, labor, and lumber. There were no modern conveniences until sometime later when an electric generator was donated by a friend of Father Walsh. Father Walsh served as pastor from 1919 until 1928. The following priests later served the parish:
- Fr. John P. Daly, 1928-1936
- Fr. Henry Hoffman, 1936-1937
- Fr. McGrath, 1937-1942
- Fr. Flaherty, 1942-1947
- Fr. Haynes, 1947-1950
- Assistants from Ste. Genevieve, 1951-1961
- Fr. Joseph Wolf, 1961-1967
- Fr. Al Rehme, 1967-1980
- Fr. C. Krull, 1980-1980
- Fr. Al Lippert, 1980-1983
- Msgr. Bernard Boessen, 1983-
During the early 1960’s, the chruch was painted by a well-known artist from Ste. Genevieve, Charles Rinehart. The parish hall was also built at this time.
Three young ladies from the parish joined the religious order of the Sister of St. Joseph. They were Theresa Vogt, daughter of Andrew and Josephine Vogt, and Martha and Bertha Herman, daughters of Valentine and Mary Herman. Two native sons gave their lives for the freedom of our country, Elmer Herman and Edgar Herzog.
There family names appear in the family register of 1919: Basler, Bieser, Boyd, Evans, Gegg, Harter, Heberlie, Herman, Mertell, Rigdon, Rottler, Stevens, Staffen, Smith, Valle, and Vogt, representing 40 families.
Pine Log Church
The Pine Log Church, earlier known as the Christian Church of New Tennessee, is located between Coffman and Avon, MO. The Pine Log Church has a long and varied history. A deed dated in the late 1800’s between Joseph R. Coffman and wife, Jane L. Coffman, and church trustees, Thomas Bryan, William Swink, and George W. Griffith, indicates a sum of $60.00 paid for the 1.06 acres of land.
In a later deed, the same property was deeded to the Christian Church trustees, John T. Danieley, Jeremiah Haney, and James Everett Barron. In this conveyance it is stipulated, agreed, and understood that any other denominations of Christians shall have the privilege of meeting in the church house for the purposes of worship at anytime the people of the Christian Church do not desire to meet there.
Although there were a body of believers established as Pine Log Baptist Church in 1930, the final organization was on May 31, 1931 under the leadership of Phillip M. Grogg of St. Mary, MO with 25 members. He became the first pastor. They became affiliated with the Franklin Baptist Association and became known as Pine Log Missionary Baptist Church. Supposedly, their name was derived from the material used in this building, formerly owned and constructed in 1868 by the Christian Church of pine logs.
Nathaniel M. Boyd built the cedar pulpit for this church, which was later taken by the congregation to the current Baptist church across the road, and has since been retired as a pulpit to the main sanctuary. The “New Church” as it is known, is now the place of worship for the congregation. It is actively serving the community in the spiritual needs of its people. The old pine log building is used for community services, family reunions, and occasional wedding ceremonies.
The following are photos of the old Pine Log Baptist Church as seen by Valerie Holifield in 2006:
1. The District of Ste. Genevieve, 1725-1980; Lucille Basler
2. An unknown source