GESENHUES is the present pastor of St. Clare's Catholic Church of Altamont, Ill. For a number of years the religious
services of this congregation were conducted at this place by the Franciscan Fathers, among whom were Rev. Michael
Richardt, Rev. Herman Wirtz, Rev. Clement Deymann and Rev. Florence Kurzer, from Teutopolis; Rev. Father Francis
Albers, Rev. Father Jerome Hellhake, Rev. Placidus Krekeler and Rev. Maurus Brink, followed by Rev. Stephen Scholz.
The first secular priest was Rev. John Gratza, who was succeeded soon after by Rev. William Michael. The next to
have charge of the church was Rev. P. A. Lyons, who in turn was followed by the present pastor, Rev. Herman Gesenhues.
The time of the latter's coming was on the 10th of July, 1891.
The congregation now numbers forty-seven families, thirty-three of whom reside within the village limits of Altamont.
The church building is a comportable and commodious edifice. The congregation is entirely free from debt, and under
the present pastorate a number of general improvements have been made upon the church property. In fact, the Catholic
Church interests in Altamont may be said to be in a growing and prosperous
condition. The present trustees, besides the pastor, are Charles Wittmeyer and Valentine Shab.
Rev. Herman Gesenhues is a native of St.
Louis, Mo., having been born on the 13th of December,
1858, in that city. After he had acquired his primary education he became a student in Teutopolis, and was there
graduated in literature and in the classics. He was graduated in philosophy and theology in St. Francis' Seminary,
near Milwaukee, Wis., and was ordained a priest by Bishop Baltes,
in Alton, Ill., on the 23d of October, 1881. Father Gesenhues'
first pastoral charge was in Bethalto, Madison County, Ill., and at the same time he celebrated mass at two missions,
Gillespie and Raymond. On the 4th of April, 1884, he became pastor of the parish at Hillsboro,
Montgomery County, and on October 4, 1888, was placed in
charge of the church in Bloomfield, near Quincy,
and of the congregations of Columbus and Mendon, Adams
County, Ill. As already stated, he came to Altamont
in July, 1891. Father Gesenhues has done much to promote the best interests of his church, both in Altamont,
Shumway and St. Elmo, where he has been called upon to labor.
Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and
Richland Counties Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors
of the State, and the Presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p. 206. Transcribed by
Judy Rosella Edwards.