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Saint Joseph's Catholic Church (Somerset, Ohio)

Saint Joseph's Catholic Church (Somerset, Ohio)

5757 State Route 383, Somerset (OH), 43783, United States

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(740) 743-1317

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Description Saint Joseph's Catholic Church is a historic church in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus, located in Somerset, Ohio. It is the oldest Catholic church building in Ohio and home to Ohio's oldest Catholic parish which has been served by priests of the Dominican order since its foundation. Built in 1843, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.HistoryIn approximately 1798, Jacob Dittoe, a German-Catholic pioneer, moved to the Ohio wilderness in the area near modern-day Somerset. About seven years, Dittoe began petitioning Bishop Carroll of Baltimore (the only Catholic bishop in the United States at the time) to send priests to his growing Catholic community. In a letter dated Feb. 1, 1808, Dittoe informed the bishop of the locals' needs for the Sacraments, and asked if a Catholic lawyer could validate marriages in the absence of a priest. Apparently, this letter moved the bishop to act. He sent Dominican priest, Father Edward Fenwick from Kentucky to find Dittoe and serve the religious needs of his community.Fenwick traveled from Kentucky to Ohio along Zane's Trace, and learned of Dittoe's whereabouts when he reached New Lancaster. Lost on the poorly marked road, Fenwick followed sound of an ax cracking through the wilderness to reach the home of Jacob and Catherine Dittoe in September 1808. From that time forward, Fr. Fenwick attempted annual visits. One notable exception was in 1812 when Bishop Flaget of Bardstown and Father Stephen Badin lodged with the Dittoes en route to Baltimore. Of the occasion, Flaget wrote:
  • 5757 State Route 383, Somerset (OH), 43783, United States
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