Michael Simmer, pastor of Holy Family Church, of Alma, was born in the Rhine province, Germany, in 1865, a son of Jacob and Elizabeth (Kirscht) Simmer. The father was born, reared, and spent his life as a farmer in his native country, where he died in 1882. Mrs. Simmer survived him until 1908, when she, too, passed away. They reared a family of six children, too[sic] of whom came to AmericaFather Simmer, the subject of this sketch, and Vitus, a farmer near Eudora, Kan. Michael Simmer was reared in his native province in Germany and there attended school. He early decided to dedicate his life to the church, and with this end in view entered college when only sixteen years of age at Treves. For eight years he remained at this institution, taking an excellent preparatory and collegiate course, then went to Belgium, where he spent one year specializing in philosophy and devoted three years to the study of theology, at the American College, located at Louvain. He was ordained there in 1892 and almost immediately after his admission to the priesthood came to New York. From there he was sent directly to Kansas and was placed in charge of St. Paul's, formerly Osage Mission. Five months later he was transferred to Florence, Kan., where he ministered three years. Leaving Florence, Father Simmer took charge of the Catholic church at Eudora, where he remained fourteen years before coming to Alma in 1909. The first Catholic church of Alma was started at an early day. In 1870 the Jesuit Father Remele, from St. Mary's Mission, gathered the few Catholic families of the neighborhood together and formed a congregation. By 1875 a church was partially completed, but there was no resident priest until 1880, the church being attended by Jesuit fathers from St. Mary's. In 1880 Father Hundhousen became pastor and had charge until 1891. He was succeeded by Father Hohe, who was not a resident priest but held services by going to Alma from Newburg for a year. In 1893 Father Bollveg was appointed to the parish and remained until 1895, when he in turn was succeeded by Father Cihal, who remained but a year. From 1896 to 1909 the church was under the care of Father Kamp. The first building was consumed by fire in 1899, but was replaced by a fine new edifice in 1900. A good parsonage of stone was built in 1881, but when the new church was contemplated every one was in favor of building it of the same material, which was done. The interior decorations are particularly fine, and the Alma church is one of the finest of its kind in eastern Kansas. The congregation consists of about fifty families, mostly Germans. In 1909 Father Simmer was given charge and is building up the church and congregation. He is a German himself, thoroughly understands the feelings of his parishioners, and is dearly loved by them.Pages 133-134 from volume III, part 1 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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