Archives & Museum

371 SE Main Street, Sublimity, Oregon 97385

We're in the old convent building across from St. Boniface church, the second oldest original church building in continuous use in Oregon. Sublimity is 12 miles SE of Salem on Highway 22.  Sublimity map  Area map (zoom in)
Open (free) 9:00-noon every Wednesday of each month and by appointment, by calling Charlene Pierce at 503-508-0312. For anyone wanting to visit at any other time, we will schedule an opening of the archives and museum by appointment, by calling or texting: Charlene Pietrok Pierce at 503-508-0312.

Our mission is to discover, preserve, and share the history and heritage of Sublimity and its environs:
- 1840s. First settlers arrived - Darst, Denny, Hobson, Hunt, Morley, Porter . . .
- 1850s. Wagon train pioneers settled Sublimity and the Waldo hills.
- 1852. (Sept) Sublimity was made an Oregon Territorial post office. (Oregon became a state in 1859.)
- 1857. United Brethren's Sublimity College was founded. Its president was Milton Wright, father of Wilbur and Orville.
- 1870s. Railway immigrants from the midwest founded St. Boniface church in 1879, Fr. Peter Juvenal Stampfl pastor.
- 1886. The Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon religious order was founded in the former college building.
- 1889. The present St. Boniface church was built on the former Sublimity College site.
- 2004. 125th Anniversary of Saint Boniface church
- 2006. The St. Boniface Community Archives & Museum was founded in February.

We chronicle church and community history up to the present in this place uniquely named Sublimity. This is a large collection of original and selected articles and photos. It's assembled as one long page so you don't miss anything as you explore downward. It keeps growing, loosely organized by subject headings, like a magazine.
Who are we?    Questions/Suggestions?   Browsing tips

An Illustrated History Of Sublimity from the 1850s on  © Henry Strobel 2003-2014.
(A separate, earlier web page in chronological order; it can also help relate the items on this main page.)

THE ARCHIVES RECORD  (Read our weekly newsletter)    Reflections & Directions   
2021    2020    2019    2018    2017    2016    2015    2014    2013    2012   2011   2010   2009   2008   2007   2006

Simply scroll down, clicking on what you like, or "jump" to these sections.  Stayton  Miscellaneous  Military  Settlers  Ssmo  Ochs  Other  College  Reference  Cemeteries  Family

Click to magnify; zoom to suit. Use arrow keys, scroll bars, or mouse to move around.

1893 Threshing crew on the Porter farm near Aumsville. Left to right, H. C. (Henry Clay)) and Roy Porter on far wagon, possibly Sherm Wilcox on one wagon, Sam Darby with apron, Jim Andrews' wife, Ann Rucker, Ivy Porter, Ada Porter and Glenn, Ella (Mrs. Sid) Porter, Silas Read on engine, Wm. H. Porter on engine, J. H. Porter, Henry Von Behren, Frank Porter on water wagon, C. K. Read on separator, Floyd Porter on near bundle wagon. A wonderful original photograph thanks to Donald Porter of Stayton, Oregon, a charter member of the St. Boniface Archives & Museum.

Large property map of north Sublimity area. This detailed old map is still interesting and useful, showing most of the early pioneers' donation land claims and settlers' farm locations.
Large descendants chart of Nebuzaradon (born 1790) and Elizabeth (Easley) Coffey, The Downings and several more families - including that of Daraleen Philips Wade, thanks to Ralph Fisher, Sublimity, March 2014.
Upper half property map of Sublimity area, Nov 1929, by Charles F. Metsker
Lower half property map of Sublimity area, Nov 1929. by Charles F. Metsker

The earliest photo of St. Boniface Church in Sublimity, at its dedication in September 1889. (Thanks to Dr. Raymond Heuberger). The 1908 rear extension is of course not shown. Note the twin stove chimneys and the upper sashes of the windows lowered for ventilation. A man and a child can be seen in the choir loft through the rightmost window. Click on the photo to magnify it; explore the congregation!

Lists of St. Boniface church buildings, pastors, priests, sisters, etc. by Evangeline Ripp
St. Boniface, Apostle Among Pagans by Dr. Brennan Pursell, Crisis Magazine 2012. A good new readable life of Boniface!
The Historical St. Boniface and his Times  Saint and Martyr, "Apostle of Germany," 680-754 AD
History of St. Boniface church and Sublimity  by Evangeline Ripp, 2004
Album-1   Album-2   Album-3     Browse through captioned photos of sample artifacts, documents and people, in no particular order. (Click on any photo to enlarge it.) These may be interesting to both locals and expatriates of the community that collected them, and to its descendants and neighbors.
Examples of What's in the (physical) Archives  by Charlene Pierce, 2014. It's not practical to show, or even list everything in the collection on this web site, but you will find here very representative photos and documents. To ask about other historical items or to contribute such things, email Evangeline Ripp (photo) or another archivist.
Some founders, members, and guests at a typical meeting. L-r front row: Francis Hendricks, Tony Beitel, Elmer Etzel, milddle row: Charlene Pierce, Carol Zolkoske, Henry Strobel, Donald Porter, back row: three visitors from Washington state, Evangeline Ripp. Photo by Joseph Spenner, August, 2011. (Rest in peace: Tony and Elmer 2013. )
Sublime at 103, Tony Beitel marks another year of country living, by Denise Ruttan, StatesmanJournal, May 2012.

Remembering Carol Zolkoske, board member of the Santiam Historical Society and Saint Boniface Archives

Early Stayton Newspapers, 1889-1910 - Great stories!  Eight selected Issues reprinted gratis by St. Benedict Press, Mt. Angel, Oregon at the dedication of the rebuilt Stayton Church of the Immaculate Conception in 1952.
The Town and the Catholic Church in Stayton, Oregon:
pg 1  pg 2  pg 3  pg 4  pg 5  pg 6  pg 7  pg 8  pg 9  pg 10 from the Souvenir of Dedication, June 22, 1952
The Hobson-Gehlen building in Stayton, Oregon  Nomination (accepted) for the National Register of Historic Places Excerpts for readability and interest. Fascinating for it's Stayton history as well as architectural details.
Mt. Pleasant Community Church of 160 years, Compiled by Henry Strobel, 2014
The History of Stayton by Mathilda Siegmund-Jones 1955 The classic and the best local history. See my footnote on page 5.
Autobiography of My Childhood (1926) and Social Life (nd) are fine short pieces also by Mathilda Siegmund Jones, born in 1880 on the family farm east of Stayton. She was the great aunt of Walter A. Siegmund, who has beautifully compiled them on his web site. Her home life was typical enough for the time and place. Her telling of it was surely not! An outstanding lady, school teacher, and writer. You will enjoy reading these.
Jacob and Mary Klumb Siegmund family. Standing L to R: Caroline Olivia Siegmund Rossiter, William Marion Siegmund, Edward George Siegmund, John Christopher Siegmund, Andrew Rudolph Siegmund, Louis Klumb Siegmund, Julia Mary Siegmund English. Seated L to R: Mary Margarethe Klumb Siegmund, Henry August Siegmund, Mathilda Anne Siegmund Jones (front-center), Francis Alfred Siegmund, Jacob Siegmund, Jr. Courtesy of Oregon State Library: The family settled on a Donation Land Claim above Stayton in the mid-1870s. There were eleven children, ten of whom survived to adulthood. The Siegmund Collection is a group of photographs taken between 1888 and 1891 by Andrew and Louis Siegmund.

Travis' true tale Travis Bauldree is our member and favorite story teller.
Santiam Heritage Foundation: The Charles and Martha Brown House, Stayton, Oregon 1902, Story by Carol Zolkoske
"Who were born in the Brown House when it was a hospital?"  A near complete list by Carol Zolkoske, 2013
Brief biographies of Abner Davis Gardner, W. H. Hobson and and Uriah Whitney Portrait and biographical record of the Willamette valley, Chicago 1903. Business pioneers of the area.
The Stayton history you've never seen! Told by family members who were there. See if you can match up the narrators with these Stayton, Gardner and Thomas family trees compiled by Henry Strobel July 2013.

Shaw, Oregon A good friend of Sublimity.
The Waldo Who sired America, by Pat Wilkins, West Side Newspaper, November 2011 (click to enlarge)
The Stayton (or Farmer's) Hotel, Stayton, Oregon, a turn of the century photo essay:
1- Large view of the Farmers Hotel, Stayton, Oregon (built ca. 1885?, later renamed the Stayton Hotel), photo courtesy of Elmer Etzel. Point to a face and click to magnify it; read the notes on the photo. Zoom if you like to magnify more.
A. J. Richardson, 1834-1907, was the owner. The Richardsons were noted for (at least) two things - patriotic names (Andrew Jackson?, George Washington, Mary Washington, and R. E. [Ralph Emerson ?] Richardson), and involvement in the local area Churches of Christ. The family burial plot is in the Wisner Cemetery on the Kingston Road, just SE of Stayton.
4- Stayton Hotel, ca. 1908, Frank Lesley, hotel owner, and his Ford runabout, Stayton's first automobile which he purchased in 1906. Note the steering wheel on the right hand side.
5- (The Star Theater was built later in the same year.) from a 1978 Stayton Mail clipping.
6- Stayton Hotel and Star Theater, 1920, from a 1978 Stayton Mail clipping.
7- Stayton Hotel and Star Theater, a note about the previous photo (no. 6) by Sharon Barnes, Stayton, 2011
The Richardsons (See Farmer's Hotel above.) Portrait and biographical record of the Willamette valley, Oregon, 1903.
The Spaniols of Stayton Why is this article here? It seems that George Spaniol was also an owner of this hotel of several names, as well as the founder of an important Stayton family.

Clarence Hill's Stayton School Autograph Book from 1887. Completely filled by his classmates and teachers with rhymes, greetings, or sayings typical of the time (1887-94). You have to read this great stuff! Click on a page; back arrow to return; click another page . . .   
Front  Title  W. Jones  Mattie Jeter, Teacher  Adelbert Balsley  Chester G. Mack  Herschel L. Mack  Albert B. Lathrope  C. A.  E. A. Bennett (teacher)  Abe ? Stayton  Leila E. Copeland  Annie Queener  Ollie  Maude  Deane Kitchen  Eva Landrum  Clyde Peebles  Bud  Bertie Adams  Edith Caspell  Addie Peebles  Maud Worley  W. ? Ledgerwood  Miss Eva Decker  F. Gesner  Earl Landreth  Pearl Hunter  Mable Hendershot  Minnie Shepherd  Hattie Beard  Fred Landreth  Harry Hunter  Maude Hargrove  Edgar Watters  Grace Hargrove  Ina Smith  Sarah Miller  George Darby  Edna Queener  Frank Jones  Millard Hill  (erased)  Betty Saunders  Arthur Elder  Mummie Mangle  Eddie Jarman  Glen Mangle  Allie Henline  Warren Richardson  Prof. Roy E. King  Mattie Peebles  Bill Jarman  Gert Cartwright  Ethel Rickey  Your Teacher, Lottie French Ethel Gardner  Gilbert Graham  Wade Thomas  Claude Darby  Daisie  Jessie Gisner  Arthur Ward  Sena C. Whitney  Alice Balsley  Ella Balsley  W. D. Hill  Nora Jenkins  Eva Cooper  Bertha Keene  Elsie  W. F. Smith  Back (contributed to the Archives and © Henry Strobel 2011)
The Stayton Cornet Band, 1890  Image courtesy of the Oregon State Library.

Bean Pickers in West Stayton, Oregon, Aug 3, 1933,  Brown's Studio, Salem. You have to see this. Summer work for school kids. Nowadays the workers would likely be Hispanic. These are not necessarily locals, however; in those days they might be mobile children from the Midwest. But let us know if you recognize someone!

  Photo 1  The original cross and ball (world)
  Photo-2  Removing the original cross and ball
  Photo-3  The metal bottom of the ball shows holes from the rifle bullets sent heavenward by the pastor in the 1920s to discourage roosting birds, but later providing access for bees. The center wooden shaft of strong Douglas fir is the base of the cross.
  Photo-4  The new cross and ball begins its ascent.
  Photo-5  The new cross and ball is attached.

Letters From Betty (Beitel) to Grandma - 22 June 1936 "Grandma Cecile" had reached her relatives back in her home village of Nieder-Mohrau, Czechoslovakia. She had crossed the United States by train, from Oregon on the Pacific coast to New York on the Atlantic coast. The Europa, a ship with the North German Lloyd ship line, had carried her across the Atlantic Ocean. She had reached her destination of Nieder-Mohrau and had written some letters back home. At the same time, her family back home wrote letters to her. All of those letters would take about three weeks to arrive at their destination. On the same day that Grandma had written to everyone back home, her young daughter Betty had written to her. The Beitels were parishioners of St Boniface Catholic Church in Sublimity. In the normally sleepy, small town of Sublimity, Oregon, there had been some excitement, and not of the best kind.

A black bear of Stayton Shall we eat him or grieve him? Note.
The stage pulls into Prang's Store, Sublimity
A Sublimity post card to Miss Fannie Pratt of Illinois.
A Statesman Journal feature artcle on Sublimity by Virginia Green and Thomas Green Jr. 2013.

AUDIO Virginia Green explores Sublimity in the studio with Sam Brentano, Carrie Adams Corcoran, Carol Zolkoske, and Henry Strobel, KMUZ FM, 2013, 1 hr.
AUDIO - 100th Anniversary of St Boniface Church, Sublimity, Oregon, Archbishop Cornelius Power's address, 1979
AUDIO Tim Bielenberg of the Annual Dinner and Carol Zolkoske and Henry Strobel of the St. Boniface Archives interviewed on the air by “Radio Ray” Pietz of KGAL Albany, Oregon, 2006
Community Thanksgiving Service, November 19, 2006 Ecumenical Service and hyms at St. Boniface church

Charcoal Drawn Portraits from the Ripp-Odenthal family of Sublimity, Oregon. Such were normally the work of itinerant anonymous artists. Ann and Peter, at least, were by the same artist, identified on the back as "Lot 1, No 7197, 7199, Artist 18." Courtesy of and Copyright © 2012 Evangeline Ripp
Anna Gertrude Schauff b. 1825 Stommeln, Germany, d. 1882 Sterling, Illinois
Peter Joseph Odenthal b. 1825 Butzheim, Germany, d. 1913 Columbus, Nebraska. Anna and Peter are Fred Ripp's great grandparents, parents of his grandmother Elizabeth Odenthal Ripp.
Theodore Ripp b. 1851 Blatzheim, Germany, d. 1918 Sublimity, Oregon Fred's grandfather and husband of Elizabeth Odenthal Ripp
Theodore Odenthal b. 1851 Stommeln, Germany, d. 1903 Sublimity, Oregon Fred's great uncle, son of Peter Joseph and Anna Gertrude Odenthal and sister to Elizabeth Odenthal Ripp
James Ripp (Fred's father)'s eighth grade graduation diploma, 16x21 inches! Signed by pastor Anthony Lainck and teacher Sr. M. Imelda. In the fine print we read: Pantagraph Ptg. & Sta. Co. Bloomington Il. Interesting that it's still in business, as is The Pantagraph newspaper, founded 1837, also in Bloomington.

Peter Joseph Ripp's Sublimity Diary (1904-1920)
A Katie VanHandel memorial that tells of life on their self sufficient farm.
William W. Van Handel.
Portrait of Peter Joseph Ripp Drawn from his photo by Raven O'Keefe, Stayton, Oregon in 2006, her copyright.
St. Boniface Church, Sublimity, Oregon, The Treasure Within, by Claire Susbauer Rohan
The Wedding of Peter J. Etzel and Bertha Hendricks, Sublimity - A wonderful early 19th C. picture. Point to a face and click to magnify it. The bride and groom have been labeled. We will label as many others as we can, with your help.  Email us
Turner Tabernacle, Turner, Oregon, large photo courtesy of Henry Strobel Jr. Point to a face and click to magnify it. ("fit to width" in your browser must be off.) Do you see the boy in the front row holding his cat?
Photos inside the Shrine built in 2009 beside St. Boniface church   
Videos:     How it began, part 1     How it began, part 2     Credits

St. Boniface Church History Project, Sublimity, Oregon by Diane Welter, 2005.
  Pages 1-29. This is the most comprehensive collection of personnel, real property construction and transactions, bells, buildings, earthquake, etc in St. Boniface that you will find.
  Pages 30-35 is a less formal, somewhat quirky, telling of the early history of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon, founded in Sublimity in the old College building. The teller of these tales, signed "Capellanus" (Latin for chaplain) was apparently Fr. Valentine L. Moffenbeier, the editor of Sunbeams & Shadows, ca. 1974.

("Oral history" - We have recorded the stories of Jenny Riesterer, Genevieve Hendricks, Vera Boedigheimer, Tony Beitel, Fred Schwindt, Doris Owen, Joseph Spenner, and Rita Young, etc. These are valuable and fascinating. Watch them at the DVD viewing station in St. Boniface Archives.)
Velma Lulay Russell Photos This is only an experimental sample. We have in the archives many more scanned family photos. (This is a handy viewer, with several commands - Show all, Lightbox, Album view, Previous, Next, or click on any photo to magnify. Click it again to unmagnify.)

A remarkable panoramic photo of Company A, 1918 Oregon Guard  Thanks to the Santiam Historical Museum, gift of Leonard Thoma, Adeline (Thoma) Rainey, Luella Jacoby, & Donald Thoma Point to a face and click to magnify or move it. ("fit to width" in your browser must be off.) Or use the arrows or scroll bars depending on your browser.) Thanks to Carol & Gary Zolkoske for adding the names per "Whitey" Dozler's notes to the photo.
Did you know that the men in this photo were not lined up in a straight line. The antique panoramic camera rotates in an arc from left to right. The men are arranged along a corresponding arc, so in the photograph they appear to be standing in a straight line.

1918 November 11, Armistice Day   Stayton joins Salem in celebration, courtesy Statesman Journal
1918 Stayton Mail Guard-related articles
About National Guard Company A as reported in Peter Joseph Ripp's Sublimity Diary ca. 1918

WWII Memorial in the Sublimity park. Rear left is the Archives & Museum building.
The phenomenal Servicemens' Bulletin, May Neitling, Editor; Ed Bell, Publisher 1942-1945 introduced by Henry Strobel

The Servicemen's Bulletin Excerpts, 1943-1945 Many more servicemen's letters and local news items selected and presented by Sharon Barnes, a life long resident of Stayton who knew many of the families.
The Stayton Mail 1945, List of local men who died in WWII Thanks to Charlene Pietrok Pierce.

Paul Darst, Early Settler in the Sublimity, Waldo Hills area Portrait and biographical record of the Willamette valley, Oregon, 1903. Arrived with his brother William Darst and John Morley in 1847, was a veteran of the Abiqua Indian "war" and twice Marion Cty Assessor.
John Denny, Early Settler, Credited with Naming Sublimity by Grace Ditter in the Stayton Mail, about 50 years ago.
1850 Wagon Train Census and genealogy of the Heater-Scott and Cooley-Jones pioneer families to the Sublimity-Union Hill area, courtesy of Sublimity pioneer descendants and Archives committee members Dick and Mary Hottinger Heater.
A History of the Hunt Family from the Norman Conquest, 1066 A.D, to the year 1890, George W. Hunt, Sarah Hunt Steeves, McDonald, Gill,& Co., 1890. Settled in the Waldo Hills - Sublimity area. Note connections with An Oregon Trail Diary, the Glovers, Stantons, and of course the Hunts. Read page 29.
An Oregon Trail Diary, 1852   A great story with a Sublimity connection.
Another Oregon Trail Diary, 1852   Crossing the Plains, narratives of the scenes, incidents and adventures attending the overland journey of the Decatur and Rush county emigrants to the "far-off" Oregon in 1852 by Origen Thomson and Sutherland McCoy.  (book starts at page 6; suggest switch to presentation mode) This is a much more extensive diary with many "appendices" telling in detail of the same wagon train as the previous. (Mary Jane Watkins is in both diaries.) Peter Thomson of Boston, MA told me (Henry Strobel) it was "written by my great grand uncle Origen Thomson with an introduction by my great grand aunt Camilla Thomson Donnell in 1852 and published by my great grandfather Orville Thomson in 1896 in Greensburg , Ind., Decatur County."
Notes on the Glovers (and Stantons) of Sublimity   An informal compilation by Henry Strobel, 2010-2011.
"Philip Glover's Sublimity Family" This is one of the 150 or so family histories in Sarah Hunt Steeves' Book of Remembrance - How little we would know of many of these early pioneers had she not written their stories down! She describes here Philip Glover Sr, Philip Glover Jr, Charles Peyton Glover, and Travis Johnson, Colored Slave. The Glover home place and cemetery is a mile north of Sublimity. See also Notes on the Glovers (and Stantons) of Sublimity above.
A Portrait of Sarah Hunt Steeves, author of the Book of Remembrance of Marion County Pioneers 1840-1860, The absolute best writer and resource on early Sublimity area settlers. An abbreviated index is included (Beaver Briefs, Vol. 29 No. 2). Wish we could put the book here! (Image courtesy of the Oregon State Library)
1848 Letter from William Porter on the Oregon Trail to his father, David Porter, in Illinois "How to run a covered wagon" Thanks to Donald Porter of the St. Boniface Archives & Museum
The Porters and Coffees, Pioneers of 1848 by Daraleen Philips Wade. The author, a prominent Marion County historian, notes how she is also connected with this migration.
1872 Letter from Oregon Settlers to their Home in Iowa (contributed to the Archives and © Henry Strobel 2011)

History of Aumsville, Oregon  "In April 1848, a wagon train left Illinois bound for Oregon. In that train were Stephen and William Porter and their families. Their trip is documented because of the diary kept by William Porter."
Pre-1900 Pioneer history of Churches of Christ in Marion County, Oregon  Northwest College of the Bible, Portland, Oregon
Church of Christ, Stayton, Oregon, 1881-1981 ". . . in 1856, a group of these Marion County pioneers organized the first church in the proximity of Stayton, then the territory of Oregon."

The Waldo Hills begin nine miles east of Salem and extend from Sublimity on the south to Silverton on the north, ranging in elevation from 400 to 800 feet. With a biographical note by Danielle Strom, Willamette
The Country Boy, by Homer Davenport,The illustrated, true, funny and evocative story of his youth. Read it here.
Homer Davenport, Oregon's Great Cartoonist, by Walt Curtis, Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission
The following three pages are courtesy of the Silverton Country Historical Society, Silverton, Oregon
Silverton Number - Oregon Magazine, Homer Davenport, front cover drawing by Murray Wade, who was a well-known newspaper cartoonist in California and Oregon and published the Oregon Magazine for 45 years
Silverton Number - Oregon Magazine, Homer Davenport, by Frank S. Bowers, 1872-1955, born to pioneer parents, Phillip and Samantha Geer Bowers on the Geer donation land claim. Was a political and historical cartoonist for papers in San Francisco and Indianapolis, p.15
Silverton Number - Oregon Magazine, Homer Davenport, by Frank S. Bowers, continued p.16

Sublimity: Shared Visions in a Rural Community  Thesis at Willamette U. 2008 by Beth A. VanVeen

Jordan Covered Bridge over Thomas Creek east of Scio in Linn County, Oregon, photo 1946. Maxwell collection, Salem, Oregon Public Library. Built in 1937 at a cost of $1850, 90 feet long. In 1985, the bridge was removed and rebuilt in Stayton's pioneer Park. More decorative than functional, this "dry bridge" burned In 1994, and was rebuilt with new wood in 1998. Further repairs are forthcoming. A concrete bridge now spans Thomas Creek where this old covered bridge once crossed the stream.
The John Bender Family of Jordan, A fine photograph! Left to righr: Sylvester, John, Aloysius, Josephine, Theresa, and August.
History of Jordan - Scio detailed in two new books  reviewed by Ed O'Meara, Books, Catholic Sentinel, June 14, 1985
100 years in the "promised land"  by Lewis H. Arends of the Statesman-Journal, Salem, Oregon
Trappists recall the monastery that was  by Ed Langlois, Catholic Sentinel, October 22, 2004

A New Year's Memory by Mary Owen in Our Town Monthly, January 2014. This is history to touch your heart. Zoom in to magnify the pdf.
Foundation of the Sisters of St. Mary at Sublimity, Oregon, excerpt from the Souvenir of Golden Jubilee 1886-1936, by Sister Mary Eugenia Eberhard, SSMO, Beaverton, 1936, an excerpt from These Valiant Women, History of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon, 1886-1986, by Wilfred P. Schoenberg SJ, which describes the celebrations of the Jubilee Year in 1936, in particular the Queen of the Valley Historical Festival and Pageant, and the dedication of the new chapel.
History of our Community Bell by Sister Fidelis Kreutzer SSMO 2009
A Letter to Sr. Fidelis
Founding members of the SSMO Most of these ladies came from Sublimity and/or Jordan, Oregon by way of Minnesota.
St. Mary of the Valley Cemetery Map

And So It Happened, And Not by Chance  by Sr. Pulcherria Sparkman SSMO The Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon began right here in Sublimity in 1886. Here is their story in two parts. Most of the founding sisters were from Jordan or Sublimity. You will see a couple of pictures of sisters in the photo Album-1, above. One is of Sr. Ruth Etzel vigorously ringing the angelus bell. This bell was given to the sisters by Bruno and Maria Boedigheimer, whose daughter was Sr. Cecelia, one of the founders, and whose grandson Raymond Boedigheimer is the husband of our own town historian Vera Hassler Boedigheimer. The other picture is of Sr. Fidelis Kreutzer, the archivist at Beaverton, who has been very helpful to us.
 Book One    Book Two

Handouts from the 2009 Oregon Catholic Historical Society Spring Event, Hosted by St. Boniface Archives & Museum:
St. Boniface Archives and Museum, Sublimity, Oregon by Henry Strobel, Oregon Catholic Historical Society Newsletter, Fall 2008
About Our Namesake by Charlene Pietrok Pierce
by Henry Strobel, on two sides of an 11x17in page used as a place mat for church dinners. It includes a brief history and an illustrated "Walker's Guide" to historic Sublimity. Available in the Archives office. Displays here in 8.5 x 11 in. pdf pages.


Marian Estates owner remembered by Denise Ruttan, the Stayton Mail, June 13, 2012
(Ed: In 1955 the pastor of St. Boniface church established a home for the sick and aged in the peaceful setting of Sublimity. Minnie Hassler who had been looking after elderly folks in the old college/convent building donated it for Fr. Scherbring's Marian Home, run by a staff of six Servite nuns from Austria. Non-sectarian Marian Auxiliary, Inc. was incorporated in 1957 as a non-profit and was dissolved in 1975. Maurice Reece bought it and made it what it is today.)
'Time Capsule' discovered at Sublimity's St. Boniface by Carl Sampson, The Stayton Mail, Feb. 16, 2000
Mill City's century old church reborn by Denise Ruttan, the Statesman-Journal, Salem, Oregon, July 1, 2010
Fr. Dernbach by Ed Langlois, the Catholic Sentinel, Portland, Oregon, February 11, 2010
Class Explores Oregon's Catholic Roots   Fall 2010, Santiam Catholic Schools Newsletter
George Susbauer   A regular member of St. Boniface Archives & Museum
William O'Malley SJ   Obit. from the Spokesman-Review, Spokane. During his time in Sublimity Bill was everyone's friend, none better.
Cates' family cafe and bakery   by Denise Ruttan, Stayton Mail, February 4, 2009
Vera Boedigheimer, Town Historian  Obituary, Stayton Mail, 2009<
Backdoor Bentgrass by Pat Wilkins, the Independent Press, Mill City, Oregon, November 2009
Last Wish a Divine Legacy from the Oregonian, September 2009
Last Day of the Historic Kintz House Stayton Mail 2007The Kintz Family Photo and Note has been moved into An Illustrated History Of Sublimity, Oregon. (Scroll down to June 2007.)
The future of Sublimity's history is here by Clarice Keating, The Sentinel, 2009 
St. Boniface' 130th Birthday Party by Henry Strobel, The Sentinel, 2009
A Sublime Little Community by Lisa Daniels, The Oregonian, 2009
The Once A Month Band, Our Town Monthly
Catholic Roots Deep in Stayton, Sublimity by Dan de Carbonel, Statesman Journal, 2005
Something for the Soul by Mary Owen, Our Town Weekly, 2005
Towns' Histories Keep Debate Brewing by Capi Lynn, Statesman-Journal, 2004

From clarinet to lariat (Elmer and Shirley Etzel) by Ron Oburg, The Stayton Mail, August 1988
Rev. Anthony Lainck, where did he come from? The Centennial History of Oregon 1811-1912 Illustrated Vol. 2, by Joseph Gaston, Chicago, The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company 1812, pages 301-302
Program, St. Anthony Council 2439 Knights of Columbus   Dec.23, 1923. ("St. Anthony" was in honor of Fr. Anthony Lainck, pastor of St. Boniface church in Sublimity, Oregon for 32 years)
Blackberries   by Grace Ditter, Stayton Mail, Dec.3, 1974
Hobson-Whitney Cemetery Up-date, by May Neitling  from Beaver Briefs, October 1977
Spelling Out The Past by Courtney Dunham, The Stayton Mail, 1994
Russian Relief from Sublimity   The Stayton Mail, Stayton, Oregon, 1921-22
New Buildings Add to Stature of Valley City,   The Statesman, Salem, Ore., December 27. 1949
Looking Back, The Old Downing House, from a 1961 Stayton Mail column
Looking Back, Harvest Dinners (Silverton, Stayton), from an old Stayton Mail column
The Way We Were, Rural Mail Carrier, from a 1946 Stayton Mail column

Who's where in the Archdiocese of Oregon City ?  Pages from Hoffmans Catholic Directory 1888 with added notes
Old & Offbeat  ca. 1900. Stayton Mail, Capital Journal, etc. Curious and amusing articles cited by Sharon Barnes

An Act to establish a College at the town of Sublimity in the county of Marion, Laws of the Territory of Oregon, 1858 (We also have a copy of the original manuscript from the Oregon State Archives.) Additional notes on the Trustees by Henry Strobel.
Diaries, 1857-1917 by Bishop Milton Wright  published by Wright State University Libraries, Dayton, Ohio, 1999. Printed by Thompson-Shore, Inc, this is a massive 850 page book in very fine print. We have excerpted a modest five pages here, from the Sublimity period. You will want to read at least this much, and will be surprised to see how many of the names you recognize. (You will also appreciate the computer for magnifying it!)
Historian Vera Boedigheimer displays a door, perhaps the last remaining piece of Sublimity College.
A brief excerpt from Sublimity, The Story of an Oregon Countryside, 1850-1950 by Mark Schmid The Library Bookstore, St. Benedict, Oregon 1951. Written by a Sublimity native, the scholarly Mark J. Schmid OSB of Mt. Angel Abbey, it is easily the best (if not the only) book on Sublimity.
Sublimity has claim to Wrights' fame The Oregonian, Associated Press, 2003
About Milton Wright  Excerpts from The Bishop's Boys by Tom Crouch 2003, and Wikipedia
More about Milton Wright   Excerpt from FlightLines, Spring 2003 The Wright Family Album & Oregon's Little-known Connection
Early Oregon Colleges   Excerpt from Part 2 of 30: The Birth of Corvallis College by George Edmonston Jr. and Tom Bennett

While working to establish Mt. Angel, those busy Swiss Benedictines (Adelhelm Odermatt, Nicholas Frei, Barnabas Held, Anselm Wachter, Bede Horat, and Wernher Ruettimann) were also administering the St. Boniface church at Sublimity, riding there horseback from Gervais, preaching in German and English, and helping found the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon there.

“A personal note from Henry Strobel - I too was taught by Benedictines, first the sisters in grade school, then the monks at St. Meinrad Abbey. When I think about Mt. Angel I naturally think of St. Meinrad too. Both abbeys were founded from Switzerland - St. Meinrad in Indiana from Einsiedeln in 1854, and Mt. Angel in Oregon from Engelberg in 1882. I grew up in Indiana and ended up in Oregon. Both abbeys suffered early disastrous fires. My father was born at St. Meinrad, (see the scene below, taken at his birthplace, © Henry Strobel 2000). As a youth he labored in the reconstruction of the sandstone abbey church.
Another set of parallels involves St. Boniface, whose name adorns our organization, and St. Boniface church in Fulda, Indiana, near St. Meinrad, attended by my father, who later married my mother at St. Boniface church in Lafayette, Indiana. When we moved to Oregon in 1985 we chose St. Boniface church in Sublimity. There my son George married Amy of the Schwab family that was connected with the beginning of Mt. Angel. For me these coincidences resonate."

Mt. Angel Abbey. The Oregon Encyclopedia - A Project of the Oregon Historical Society by Brother Cyril Drnjevic, OSB
Mount Angel Seminary celebrates 125th Anniversary, 26 March 2014 by Robert Pfohman, Catholic Sentinel
1976 Catholic Sentinel Article on Mt. Angel by Graham Hogan in three parts, March 12, 19, May 28. Thanks to Louis B. Schwab Jr for preserving this in his book The Schwab Family, as chapter 7. (The 82 page book is in the Archives & Museum.)

Mount Angel, Oregon 1848-1912  by Sister Ursula Hodes, University of Oregon Thesis Series No. 20, 1932 (Reproduced 1940 by the WPA) Rich in details and perspective on Mt. Angel's beginnings, town, abbey, schools, people. Copious citations. An interesting note on page 28 is that Fr. Odermatt, despatched to America in 1875 to found the new abbey, first went to St. Meinrad to polish his English!
(Click a page; click to magnify if needed; go back; click another page, etc.)  
Title Page  Printing  Table of Contents  Introduction  2  3  4  5  Beginnings of Settlement  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  The "Narrow Gauge" Ushers in Change  21  22  23  24  25  26  27  Arrival of the Benedictines  29  30  31  32  33  34  35  36  37  38  39  40  Mt. Angel Attains Adulthood  42  43  44  45  46  47  Economics and Social Conditions, 1893-1912  49  50  51  52 53  54  Conclusion  56  57 Bibliography  59  60  61  62 
28 photos (front and back) of the Paris Woolen Mill, with descriptions by Greg Etzel, 1981 (If this doesn't display in your browser, download it to the default pdf reader.)
alt Guide to the Paris Woolen Mills Records circa 1911-1990, Oregon Historical Society cache in Portland, Oregon
City of Stayton Inventory of Historic Sites Context Statement, February 1993


Biennial report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Inspector of Factories and workshops of the State of Oregon 1914-1916 Don't let the title put you off. E-book format; hover the mouse over the navigation symbols to learn to magnify (zoom), turn pages, etc. For example, search for "Sublimity." Apparently 1914 was not its finest hour. The cities of Marion County are all described in pages 171-179.

Books of Biography
The Centennial History of Oregon, 1811-1912 Vol.1 by Joseph Gaston Monumental work, numerous biograpies. Illustrated. Excellent E-book format; hover the mouse over the navigation symbols to learn to zoom, turn pages, etc.
Portrait and biographical record of the Willamette valley, Oregon, containing original sketches of many well known citizens of the past and present .. (1903) Chapman Chicago 1600 pages. Another indispensable source of good biographies and portrait photos. No author is listed - interviewers visited the subjects, who are generally pampered.

Willamette Valley Heritage Highlights Introducing St. Boniface Community Archives & Museum.  "That's us."
Oregon Heritage Commission at "Connecting to collections"
Historical Commission of the Archdiocese of Portland's Bishop Leipzig Award
Search for Early Oregonians (prior to 1860), Oregon Public Records Database
Genealogical Forum of Oregon, Oregon Donation Land Claims
Oregon State Library Oregon Trail Emigrant Resources, Oregon Trail Bibliography by Sandra Graham and Evelyn Gatlin, Oregon State Library Volunteers, November 2008
Orego State Archives Historical Marion County Records Guide   Includes fine Marion County scenic images
City of Sublimity  Web site
Marion County Historical Society,  part of The Willamette Heritage Center at the Mill in Salem, Oregon
Aumsville Historical Society Web site Silverton Country Historical Society, Silverton, Oregon
St. Paul Mission Historical Society, St. Paul, Oregon  Church established in 1839 at St. Paul, Oregon Territory
The Catholic Church at St. Paul, Oregon by Rev. Msgr. Gregory Moys, President, Oregon Catholic Historical Society (OCHS). French Canadian Catholic settlers built a log church here in 1836. On January 6, 1839, Father (later Archbishop) Blanchet celebrated the first Catholic mass in Oregon at St. Paul. St. Paul Roman Catholic Church was built in 1846 and is the oldest brick building in the Pacific Northwest. In comparison, the Methodist mission of Jason Lee near Salem was built in 1840.
Mt Angel Historical Society, Mt Angel, Oregon
Scotts Mills Historical Society, Scotts Mills, Marion County, Oregon

Interactive Walk through the the Old Cemetery at St. Boniface Church. Find and see the graves and markers close up, mapped and photographed by Carol & Gary Zolkoske, 2009

St Boniface Catholic (Sublimity) Cemetery - Marion County, Oregon (presumably from the above)
Historical cemetery gets a little TLC Catholic Sentinel April 2011
Linn County Tombstone Transcription Project See especially the Jordan area cemeteries mapped by Cathy Morgan. See next.
Bender Catholic Cemetery, Jordan, Oregon Spelling not corrected. Were the errors in transcription or on the stones?
Hobson-Whitney Cemetery, Sublimity, Oregon
Mt. Hope (Hunt) Pioneer Cemetery,
Rocky Point / Anderson / Lone fir cemetery (Darst, Downing, Simpson, Humphreys)
Marion County, Oregon Cemeteries
Cemeteries near Sublimity, Oregon  Good - In addition to Places here, see Books, Images, Blogs
Vital Records by name, place, SSN, cemetery, etc.
There'a a lot here - birth, death, cemetery, immigration, marriage & divorce, military, genealogy, first & last names !

We are not involved in genealogy as such except as it relates to community history and heritage, but we gladly assist those interested in discovering and sharing theirs, as part of our story. The following, and more, are in the archives building in Sublimity. They vary widely in content from a few photos to extensive trees; most are digitized. email the archivist.

Albus, Basl, Bauldree, Beitel, Bender, Bentz, Boedigheimer, Cremer, Denny, Ditter, Doerfler, Dombrowsky, Domogalla, Downing, Dozler, Duchateau, Duckart, Etzel, Forrette, Freres, Gardner, Gehlen, Hafner, Hartmann, Hassler, Heater, Hendricks, Heuberger-Highberger, Hottinger, Kerber - Gross, Kintz, Kufner, Lambrecht, Laux, List, Lulay, Merz, Minten, Morley, Mutschler, Neal, Neal-Duffy, Odenthal, Pape, Porter, Reuf, Pendleton, Pietrok, Rauscher, Riesterer, Ripp, Roeser, Rohwein, Schindler, Schmidt, Schrewe, Schumacher, Schwindt, Silbernagel, Sitter, Smith, Spenner, Steffes, Streff, Steinkamp, Stuckart, Susbauer, Thomas, Tinsley, Titze-Kloetsch, Toepfer, Trimbor, Van Handel, Velma Lulay Russell, Weissenfels, Welter, Wolf, Young, Zielinski, Zimmerman, Zolkoske, Zuber

Some family histories to read here on the web
The P.C. Freres Farm at Fern Ridge, by Junetta Freres Pietrok and Charlene Pietrok Pierce Dec. 2005. Charlene is an active board member of the St. Boniface Community Archives & Museum. She is also connected to several other notable local families as Freres, Etzel, Forrette, Silbernagel, Gehlen, Parrish. The area of Fern Ridge, about 7.5 miles N.E. of Stayton had originally been settled by Jacob Siegmund. It even had its own registered Post Office within his house, later occupied by the Heater family. This account is most interesting for its detailed description of daily life and work on the farm.

Two visitors and some Steinkamps by Henry Strobel, 2014, Catherine Steinkamp Busch.

The Beitel-DeAngelis website was a good example of a family history web site. It's no longer online, but here are some of its Sublimity-related pages, thanks to Elizabeth Beitel DeAngelis. Some of these documents ask for a password. Type the word sublimity into the box.
Albracht Family Tree
Album 1 Beitel Reunion 2001
Album 2 Beitel Reunion 2001
Cecilia Beitel's Trip to Austria
Descendants of Jacob John Allmaras
Descendants of Alois Beitel
Frank Allmaras Family Tree
Group Photo Reunion 2001
Koenig Family Tree  Also Beitel, Weiser, Keimig, Hamling, and Bernt families.
Krantz Pedigree
Descendants of Ludwig Allmaras
Mom's 1930 Canada Trip
Old Sublimity scene
Schiebel Family Tree
Elizabeth's new blog from 2014

Ancestors of Glen Walter Morley by Linda Morley, 2003. John Morley arrived in 1847, traveling with Paul and William Darst. Includes the Morley, Heater, Carter, Patten, Scott, Given, and John Wheeler Thomas families and many more. Goes back to the 1840s "covered wagon" pioneers to the Sublimity area, who, like the Porter, Downey, Hunt, Glover, King, and Stanton families, preceded the Catholic railway immigrations of the 1870s ff.
More Photos from Linda Morley

George & Agnes Etzel Family Photo (Back: Alex, Joe, John, Front: George Jr, George Sr, Agnes, Peter J.)
P. M. Hermens from The Centennial History of Oregon, 1811-1912, Volume 3 By Joseph Gaston
Germans from Russia in Marion County, Oregon, from
Descendants of Peter Ditter Also Trimbor, Steffes, Hottinger, Roeser, Leverman, Susbauer
Center for Volga German Studies Burghardt, Etzel, Hafner, and Lambrecht from Pfeiffer, Russia, Toepfer from Fischer, Russia

Back to the top

Email   Copyright © Henry Strobel 2006-2014