• Telephone exchange: 883-xxxx
  • Zip code: 63670 (Ste. Genevieve)
  • Township: Ste. Genevieve
  • Population: 614
  • Location: Highway A & Zell Rd



        Zell was first settled in 1798
when 1000 arpents [a French measurement of land, similar to an acre] of land
were granted to Pierre Charles Dehault Delassus Deluziere, he called it the
Prarie Gautier Tract.  In 1819, this land, after Pierre’s death was sold to
his son, Charles Dehault Delassus (upon the closing of Pierre’s estate by Marie
Philipe LeDuc), and was soon sold again to Charles’s nephew Felix de St. Vrain. 
Other land transactions and settlers are as follows:
        1833 – 100 acres sold to Anthony
Yogerst (Jogerst)
Anthony (Anton) Fallert [actually bought from the Ziegler estate]
        1837 – Michael Jokerst (just north of
        1838 – Joseph Sweint (Schwent)

        1844 – Lawrence Kirchner
Jonas Palmer
        1845 – 125 acres sold to Valentine
– 200 acres sold to Anton Fallert
        1846 – John Basler
        1849 – Leopold Winter

        1851 – Joseph Sauer
        1859 – Simon Koller

        Zell was first known as the
"German Settlement" or sometimes as New Offenburg or the Establishment. 
Zell was finally named after a town in Baden, Germany, most of the settlers at
that time, if not all, having come from Baden.

        In the mid 1800’s, a Mr. King
built a general store which had a cave beneath it.  The gave was used for a
beer keg cooler, a barber shop, and a dance hall.  In 1881, permission was
granted for a post office to be opened in the general store.  The store was
bought in 1910 by Lawrence "Pop" Huck and his son Valentine "Fish" Huck took
over the store in 1946 after Lawrence’s death.  Valentine kept the store
until his own death in 1979.  The building still stands, but I believe it
is currently vacant.


The Zell Store today

        Around 1900, there
was also, across from the general store, a creamery that was built by Lawrence
Huck and managed by Casper Stolenburg.  Also in town was a blacksmith shop
(John Glaser), a hall (for nearly everything), and a wagon maker ("Mr." Kuhne).

Zell Farm Alliance



The Church
        The Catholic Church in Zell is named
St. Joseph.  So far, the only St. Joseph I have found on the Catholic
Church’s website (listing of Saints) is Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus. 
So for now, I assume it is after him this church was named.


        Peter Richard Kenrick,
bishop of St. Louis began work to erect a free Roman Catholic church for the
area people.  Land was granted for the building and cemetery by residents:

  • Anton Fallert: 1 May 1845, about 1.25 acres (specifically church)
  • Anton Fallert: 1 Aug 1845, about 90,000 to 135,000 square feet area
  • Charles Fallert: 29 Aug 1865, about .5 acre
  • Severen Eckenfels: 30 Oct 1872, about 1.29 acres
  • August Baechle: 14 Apr 1873, 1 acre

The trustees of the cemetery were:

  • Lawrence Sucher
  • Florian Huck
  • Joseph Schilli
  • Anton Fallert
  • Isadore Grieshaber

        The church’s corner stone was laid
on 2 Jun 1845 by Fr. Gandolofo (who had also helped establish churches in French
Village "Little Canada," and River Aux Vases).  The church was then
organized and the building completed in 1847.  Up until this time, the
residents had held Mass in their homes.

        The front steps of the church had an
inscription that read: "Heir!  in und Vor Gottes Tempel, Schweiget und
betet an
."  In other words, "Here!  In God’s Temple, Silence and
        Parish records at St. Joseph’s begin
in 1848 with 632 parishioners, 18 baptisms, 5 marriages, and 5 deaths.  The
first baptism was Mary Ann Feth on 11 Jun 1848, the first marriage being William
Friedman to Mary Ann Gegg and the first funeral that of fourteen year old
Elizabeth Friedman.

The pastors of St. Joseph’s Church (through 1995) were as follows:

1. Father Francis X. Weiss

  • Spring 1848 until Jul 1862

Interim: Fr. Anselm, until Jan 1863

2. Father Joseph M. Theodore Stein

  • Jan 1863 to 1 Mar 1876 (resigned & went back to Germany)
  • Had the stone convent was built in which the Sisters of the Most Precious
    Blood from O’Fallon came and held a school on floor 1 while they lived on
    floor 2

3. Father Bernard Stemker

  • Mar 1876 to Oct 1876 (left)
  • Was there only 7 months, but had 11 funerals!

4. Father Henry Pigge

  • 1875 to 12 Apr 1912 (died)
  • He was the first priest to be buried in the cemetery
  • He was noted to have been a very tall man weighing 300 pounds
  • He sometimes traveled to Weingarten while they were without a priest
  • 1893 – the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood left
  • 1893-5 – the school was taught by Camilla Dupont
  • 1895 – the Sisters Adorers of the Blood of Christ of Ruma, IL came – they
    are still there teaching
  • 1909 – Pigge erected the steeple and church entrance

Interim – Fr. Adelrich Thum

5. Fr. Engelbert Heimerschield

  • 1912 to 1918 (died)
  • He came from Sacred Heart in Ozora, MO
  • 1918 – he set out to repair and enlarge the church
  • It was finished that year and the consecration was due to take place on
    Thanksgiving Day, 28 Nov 1918; but Fr. Heimerschield died and the consecration
    was put off until Spring of 1919

Interims – Fr. John Karselleers & Fr. H. Fabry

6. Fr. Francis X. Weinig

  • Oct 1919 to Summer 1938 (left)
  • He came from Lawrenceton and French Village

7. Fr. Charles Weinig

  • Jul 1938 to 15 Dec 1944 (died)
  • Was the brother to Francis X. Weinig (who gave him requiem mass)
  • Is buried in the St. Joseph’s cemetery
  • In Jan of 1940, met to build a new school building

8. Father Edmund J. Venverloh

  • 16 Dec 1944 (administrator); 5 Jun 1945 (pastor) to 21 Nov 1949 (left to
    Ste. Genevieve Parish
  • 1945 – centennial of the church, celebration postponed until 28 Sep 1949
    (war & condition of the church building)
  • 29 Feb 1956 – became Monsignor

9. Father Herman J. Schuessler

  • 1950 to 14 Sep 1959 (retired)

10. Father Arthur B. Leibinger

  • Jul 1959 to Apr 1966 (left)
  • 1960 – tore down old convent and build new one
  • 1962 – renovated interior of church (included electric heat in the floor)
  • 1964 – built new rectory after parishioners tore down the old one

11. Father Frey

  • Apr 1966 – was there only 23 days before he had a heart attack and "had to
    be replaced"

12. Father Kenneth Jaas

  • Apr 1966 to Aug 1966 (left)

13. Father Charles Hofer

  • Aug 1966 to Jun 1975

14. Monsignor Thomas Durkin

  • Jun 1975 to Nov 1876 (left)
  • Started the Altar Society

15. Father Homer Noser

  • Dec 1976 to Oct 1981
  • 16. Rev. Col. William Wetzel
  • 7 Oct 1981 to Sep 1986
  • Was a retired Army chaplain

17. Father Harold Voelker

  • Sep 1986 to Nov 1994

18. Monsignor James Hanson

  • 25 Nov 1994…

Local families whose children entered service through the Zell church (2 or
    Peter & Josephine Naeger – 4 daughters

    Henry & Elizabeth Flieg – 3 daughters
    Henry & Julia Meyer – 2 daughters
    Joseph & Mary Figge – 2 sons
    Frank & Mary Figge – 2 sons


1. The Story of Old Ste. Genevieve: An Account of An Old French Town in Upper
Louisiana, Its People and Their Homes; by Gregory M. Franzwa, 1987 (4th ed), The
Patrice Press, St. Louis, MO

2. Celebrating 150 Years (1845-1995); St. Joseph’s Parish, Zell, MO; 1995


  1. I was born in 1947 I lived in zell right beside the old store. I remember the old cave. Fish used to take people down to show them the cave. The cemetary and school playground was on the other side of where we lived. Our yard had 4 pecan trees. Across the road live the Baumans. My god parents were Marie and Ollie bauman. Herman and grace brown lived on the hill. I remember father shuestler I had many happy memories oh also the old maulberry tree next to the cemetary. It was cut down because a little boy got his foot stuck in it while climbing after the berries. We used to pump drinking water from the old Cysterine. That was on the side of the store. We lived there until. I think I was in the 4 the grade. I always loved that little place. It reminded me of a story book village.

    1. I remember going into a tavern with my parents and grandfather, Ralph Nugent, who lived in Brickeys. It was wonderfully cool with the opening of the cave right in the building. Before AC, it was a wonder to experience when the heat was staggering.

      1. My Aunt Janet Braun married her neighbor Kenny Bauman

        1. I remember the Brauns. Grace and herman. Bobby. Tootsie. Norman. Janet. And I believe Francis. I remember the day Bobby got married. And I remember a lot of other little things.

      2. Jackie did you ever hear anything about our family.The Hensons?

    2. I wish i was old enough at time to remember all that stuff sister

  2. Wonderful article about our wonderful little community!
    There is a discrepancy in the names of families with 2 or more children who entered a vocational service. It should say Frank and Theresa Figge (Not Mary), and they had three sons who became priests. They were/are my Uncles, and one of them is still alive after spending most of his life doing missionary work in Denmark, Greenland, and Copenhagen.

  3. I was born in Zell,Missouri 1951 so i heard.I would of been a baby.Heard a Doctor Clapsaddle delivered me
    So i just remember what i been told. Zell s a small and beautiful place. I drive down there sometimes.Not very often.I would of loved going down in the cave and even look in the store.I would love to see pictures of our house that we lived in. when i was a baby.There is no pictures.No pictures of our house we once lived in.No pictures of the people that was once our neighbors.Nothing.If people have pictures of our family and our house .They do not realize how important it is to my family that we would like to see them.My parents name is Thelma Marie Henson and Fred Henson.Sisters Darla Henson and Brenda Henson.Brothers Freddie Ray Henson and Larry Henson.I heard my brothers were alter boys for the church.My younger sister Darla Henson did not live in Zell.My oldest sister Brenda Henson went to school in Zell.I am 67 years old now and i still know nothing about my life in Zell.i would appreciate any imformation or pictures
    You can message me on here or email me at
    (Enable Javascript to see the email address)

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