St. Joseph Mission

ST. JOSEPH MISSION, Blanchet  The first [Catholic] church established in Grant County was St. Joseph Church at Blanchet. The Bouscaren family came to Kentucky from Guadeloupe in 1850, and settled at the present site of Blanchet. They named their Grant County estate Caribbean Farm, in remembrance of their former home in the Caribbean Islands. Priests visiting the Catholics in Grant County, during the early history of the Diocese, offered Mass in the Bouscaren home. The scattered Catholics of the vicinity, numbering about forty, were gathered together at the Caribbean Farm for Mass and instructions. The hospitality of Caribbean Farm was extended to all. Reverend John Bowe of White Sulphur managed to be there every other month for divine services. Bishop Toebbe often visited the Bouscaren home and encouraged them in their noble work. On his visits he always found converts ready for Baptism and First Communion. In the Bouscaren home, too, he administered the Sacrament of Confirmation.  On March 19, 1871, Marie Bouscaren (later Mrs. George Dungan), and her sister Georgina (later a nun of the Visitation Order at Washington, D.C.), began a campaign for the building of a little chapel. After the two young ladies had made a beginning, the subscription list was turned over to Mr. H.L. Blanchet, who had been a liberal contributor, and he carried on the fund raising project among his friends in Williamstown, until the necessary funds were available. Mr. Bouscaren donated the ground for the new church and also for a cemetery. The erection of the church was begun about the middle of August in 1871, under the general direction of Father Bowe, and a member of the Bouscaren family, who was at the time engaged as an engineer in the construction of the Cincinnati Southern Railroad. The cornerstone was laid by Bishop Toebbe in September of that year, assisted by Father Bowe. On September 21, 1872, Bishop Toebbe, assisted by Father Leo M. Lambert, dedicated the church in honor of St. Joseph. The little cross on the church, peering gracefully above the giant oaks and poplars of Caribbean Farm, always attracted the attention and admiration of the travelers along the Cincinnati-Lexington Pike, and the Queen and Crescent Railroad.  Among the priests who served St. Joseph Mission were Father John Bowe, who built the church; Father Thomas C. Moote, who had it plastered; Father Leo M. Lambert, who erected the altar and donated Stations and a picture of St. Joseph; and Father Edward Donnelly.  In 1875 and during the construction of the railroad, Fathers Brossart, Quinn, Major and Clermont were frequent visitors at Caribbean Farm. From 1893 to 1906, Father George C. Bealer visited St. Joseph Mission regularly, as did Father Charles Rolfes from 1906 to 1912. Other priests in transit who celebrated Mass at St. Joseph Mission were Fathers Burns, Sullivan, O’Neal, Coleman and Kathman. The little church served the Catholics of Blanchet, Williamstown, Corinth and Mason.  In 1912, when Williamstown received a resident pastor, St. Joseph congregation at Blanchet became a mission attached to Williamstown and has remained such ever since. 


by Rev. Paul E. Ryan, excerpted from his History of the Diocese of Covington, Kentucky, on the Occasion of the Centenary of the Diocese, 1853-1953