Saint Ann Catholic Church

Warsaw, Missouri


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Rev. Urban J. Landall, C.PP.S.

Dedication, Saint Ann Catholic Church, March 3, 1946

Find Priest's Body





Image 2, Reprint from Local News Paper


Body of Father Betrand J. Walton Found In Autrieth Pasture By Searching Party Saturday Afternoon. Missing Since May 10, 1946.


Priest Had Apparently Become Lost And Exhausted In Heavy Sleet Storm. Pastor At Saint Ann Since May  10, 1946.

The frozen body of Rev. Bertrand J. Walton, 36, pastor of Saint Ann’s Church at Warsaw and Saint Bartholomew’s, Winsor, was found Saturday afternoon on John Autrieth farm six mile north of Warsaw on U.S. Highway 65. Rev. Walton has been missing since December 31.

Discovery of the body ended a two day search by officers. The body was found by Magistrate Joe Berry near a large hedge tree about 200 yards north of where the Catholic priest’s 1947 Ford Coach and trailer had been abandoned in the Autrieth pasture.

In the searching party were Trooper Glenn Means, Deputy Benny Jenkins, Deputy Sherman Place, Marshal Roy Burton, Judge Lem Bird and Mr. Autrieth.

Lost In Storm

Mr. Autrieth, 79, related that a stranger driving a car and trailer drove into his yard about 5:00 pm Wednesday afternoon during a sleet and rain storm. “I asked where he was going” Autrieth said, “and I understood him to reply that he wanted to turn around”.

Autrieth opened a large board gate through which Father Walton drove the car and then continued through another gate that was opened into a pasture where the car stalled in the brush.

Autrieth told officers that the man got out of the car and was attempting to move the fallen branches from in front of the car.

“I invited him into the house but he replied that he would stay in the car awhile”, Mr. Autrieth said.

“I went to to finish my chores and returned to the car but the man wasn’t to be seen. I took my flashlight and looked around for him but could find no trace in the storm. A few minutes before I heard a car stop and honk on the highway and I though perhaps he had decided to leave the car and catch a ride back to town.

Autrieth said that he searched the pasture the following morning but due to the snow could nind nothing. As all telephone wires were down, he was unable to notify officers at Warsaw until Friday afternoon when he drove here in his car.

Magistrate Berry and Deputy Place search the Autrieth pasture Friday afternoon but the snow hindered their efforts.

Exposure Verdict

The body was examined Saturday afternoon by Dr. Lee Hurt, Prosecuting Attorney F. M. Brady and Sheriff Harrison Eaton. Magistrate Berry, acting coroner, gave a verdict “death due to coronary thrombosis and exposure”. It was known that Father Walton had been in frail health following a nervous breakdown three years ago.

On the afternoon of the tragedy Father Walton had driven from Windsor with Woodrow McCoy, appliance dealer, to Warsaw where they installed a gas furnace in the church. They worked at the church until about 4:30 when Father Walton left in the car.

It was though possible that Father Walton had mistaken the Autrieth driveway for the road one mile north, leading to the Ben Hessefort farm where he was to pick up a butchered hog presented him by the Hessefort family.

Cap Is Found

Investigation by Trooper Means indicated that Father Walton apparently became lost and exhausted in the pasture. Scratches on his face and hands were no doubt from walking through briar patches. Both knees were skinned.

A badly torn raincoat was found fifteen feet from the body. His cap was found about 100 feet north.

The body was removed to the Reser Funeral Home and then taken to Kansas at 4:30 a. m. Sunday morning.

Services Wednesday

Father Walton had been pastor of Saint Ann’s since May 10, 1946. He also served the Windsor church where he made his home. He was ordained in 1936 in Albany, N. Y. and formerly was assistant pastor of Saint Agnes Church in Springfield and Saint Peter’s Church in Joplin.

Mass for Father Walton was held at Saint Ann’s Sunday morning with Father Ilmsberger, pastor of Saint Louis Church, Kansas City, Readying the service.

Father Walton is survived by three brothers, Rev Robert E. Walton, pastor of Saint Stephen’s Church, Kansas City, Rev. J. Willis Walton, Kansas City, and Edward J. Walton, South Amboy, N. J. A fourth brother, Rev. James M. Walton died of a heart ailment in Kansas City last year.

Services were held at Saint Stephen’s in Kansas City at 10:00 a. m. Wednesday. Burial was in Saint Mary’s Cemetery there.

The Hirsch Family

The Hirsch family came to American from Niederschopfheim, Bauen, Germany, in the 1840’s seeking better living conditions. Jacob Hirsch was born in 1828 and Lugarda Fehr, also from Germany, was born in 1832, and they met in Madison, Indiana, and were married in 1852. Lugarda was Fifteen years old when she came to America, she came in a Sail Ship, taking 72 days to come over. Smallpox broke out on the ship and many died including here sister. The dead were thrown overboard. They had two daughters and two sons, all were born in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Emma (who died at the age of Twenty-Seven in 1887) and Ida Amelia, (a/k/a Mollie) died at the age of twenty-two, in 1894. Both died with Bronchitis. Jacob Hirsch died in 1911 and Lugarda Hirsch died in 1914. They were all buried in Old Warsaw Cemetery in East Warsaw. The two sons, William (father of Ernest Hirsch) died in 1936 and Joseph Christain (also known as Chris), father of Alma Hirsch, died in 1947.

William and Chris worked in Sedalia at a packing house where they picked up skills of a butcher. The entire Hirsch family moved to Warsaw in 1885 after hearing there was no butcher shop in Warsaw, there opened the first meat market in Warsaw which they successfully operated form more than Thirty years. The Hirsch Brothers killed and prepared their own beef. With their skill they made all types of sausage and lunch meats.

William Hirsch was married to Anna Schrader at Saint Bonbiface Church in Perryville, Missouri. They had three daughters and three sons.

Alma Hirsch and Ernest Hirsch are the only surviving members of the two families living in Warsaw at this time.

In early days they were the only known active Catholics in the Warsaw area and the priest from Cole Camp would come down on the train and stay all night and say Mass the next morning, using a dresser with the mirror covered and a special made Alter cloth made by Maude Hirsch. In the evening, before Mass, the next morning, he gave instructions to the children and would hear confessions of the older members. He would come at Christmas and Easter time. The Mass was said in the family home, where Ernest Hirsch currently lives.

The older children when to Sedalia and stayed two weeks and went to Sacred Heart School in preparation for their first communion. Later Alma just got to go to Cole Camp for two weeks instruction and preparation for First Communion and Confirmation. Then we had instructions after the Mass every Sunday by the priest. He would stay with Anna Stohr, Mrs. Adam Smasal and the Esser family.

Where cars and better roads came into existence we wento to Cole Camp every Sunday in good weather until Saint Ann’s Church in Wassaw was built in 1946. There were 16 people in Saint Ann’s

 the first Sunday that Mass was celebrated and a few of those came from Lincoln and Cole Camp as visitors.

It was know that the pioneer members of the Brady and Robb families were Catholic, but due to no church closer than Sedalia and no transportation, they did not get to attend services, but one of the recent generation became a priest, Father William Rochford, nephew of the late F. M. Brady of Warsaw, Missouri. He said hi first Mass at Saint Francis Xavier’s Church, Saint Louis, Missouri, on June 9, 1946.

Some of the first members of Saint Ann Church were:

Mr. & Mrs. J. C. Hirsch, Lawrence Hirsch and Alma Hirsch.
Mr. & Mrs Ernest Hirsch, Mary Patricia Hirsch, John William Hirsch and James Michael Hirsch.
Jane White.
Lydia Alice White.
Mr. & Mrs. Victor Mazzochini.
Mr. & Mrs. Charles Schwartz.
Mrs. Ralph Myers.
Mrs. Ellen Kelly.
Frank Morarity
Claudia Garton.

In The Beginning Of Saint Ann Catholic Church, Warsaw, Missouri


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