History of St. Vincent de Paul Church in Rosiere,N.Y.
The church was built in 1832. Dedicated to St. Vincent de Paul, the parish was incorporated on August 3, 1871 as St. Vincent’s Congregation.
In the early 1800’s, through the influence of James Le Ray de Chaumont, many people who were faithful to the exiled Napoleon Bonaparte were driven from France and settled in Cape Vincent and Rosiere. They came from Rosiere, Aubercy, Sembry and St. Marcel. Among the first settlers were ancestors of families still found locally, including Aubertine, Laurent (Lawrence), Cornaire, Branche, Gosier, Mussot, Chavoustie, Favret, Margrey… Thanks to the influence of LeRay, people of German descent also settled in the area soon after the arrival of the French. Both groups were Catholic. Since James was himself a fervent Catholic he donated land for the building of the church, paid for one-quarter of the expense and loaned the rest of the money. Remarkably he had also given churches to Quakers in Philadelphia, Presbyterians in LeRay, Baptists in Evans Mills and Catholics in Carthage.(At the time, Bishop John Dubois was responsible for the diocese of New York, which comprised the entire State of New York and part of the State of New Jersey. He was born in Paris in 1764 and died in New York in 1842. During the French revolution soon after his ordination to the priesthood he was obliged to leave France. In May 1791 he landed in Norfolk Virginia, with commendatory letters from Marquis de LaFayette. He resided for a time with James Monroe and received lessons in English from Patrick Henry. During his stay in Virginia, he celebrated mass in the State House at Richmond. In 1826 he was consecrated Bishop of New York, at which time he received his ring and pectoral cross from Charles Carroll of Carrollton, the last of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.)
The first mass in Rosiere was celebrated by Fr. Simon in 1832. For the next five years the parish was served by priests from Kingston, Canada. During the summer of 1832, while visiting the Catholic population in the North Country, Bishop Dubois accepted the invitation of James Le Ray de Chaumont to come to Rosiere and bless the corner stone of St.Vincent de Paul Church on what is now Dezengremel Road. On that occasion, James presented this new parish with one hundred acres of land a short distance away. (As part of the original church a Seminary was built, which was later moved to a bigger facility in LaFargeville. But parents did not like to send their children to such an isolated area so that, on July 18, 1840, the Seminary was transferred to Rose Hill Manor, Fordham University, where it was named St. Joseph’s Seminary.)
In the absence of a priest, a Catholic layman, Mr. Dezemgremel, taught catechism to the children and assembled the congregation each Sunday for hymns and prayers. He had full control. However, when Father Francis Guth became pastor of Rosiere (1837-1843), Clayton, Cape Vincent and LeRaysville in the late 1830’s, the layman resented the loss of his leadership and organized his friends and relatives into a splinter group.
Father Michael Guth was the first resident pastor (1843 to 1847). His assistant, Father Ancet, was given the responsibility of building a church in the village of Cape Vincent. In 1851 Father Louis Lapic (1851-1861) was placed in charge of the parishes of Cape Vincent and Rosiere while Father Michael Guth served the parishes of Clayton and LaFargeville. Both priests resided in Rosiere. In 1869 Father Victor Ritter (1869-72) was appointed pastor. He was responsible for the building of the rectory in Rosiere on the land donated by James Le Ray de Chaumont. In 1872, Edgar P. Wadhams became the first bishop of the newly established Diocese of Ogdensburg. Because of the large number of French speaking Catholics in Jefferson County, he invited the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC) from France to come to Watertown. Father Joseph-Fernand Durin was the first superior of this new religious community. Soon after his arrival in 1876 he also ministered to the people of Rosiere and Evans Mills. By then the Rosiere congregation had outgrown its church located on Dezemgremel Road. So he immediately began to plan for a new one. It would be located near the railroad station on parish property on the present County Route 4. The corner stone was laid in 1878. Two years later, when Father Sherry was pastor (1877-1883), Bishop Wadhams dedicated the handsome new church erected on parish property near the railroad station. The old stone church fell into ruin soon after it was abandoned. A monument stands across the road from the location where the church stood next to the graveyard for many heroes of Austerlitz.
In 1905 Father John F. Byrnes completed the elegant parochial residence near the church. It is worth noting that Rosiere was a mission of Cape Vincent in 1884, from 1897 to 1902 and from 1986 till 2004 when it was merged with Cape Vincent and Chaumont.
The last pastor to reside in Rosiere was Fr. Victor LaMore (1986-1989). The rectory was sold in 2011 after being occupied by retired Father Eugene Kelly and later by Deacon Robert Ruddy and his wife Judy.
The establishment of the Le Ray de Chaumont Knights of Columbus Council # 2148 on July 11, 1920, greatly influenced the life of the parishioners. The members first met in a large hay barn located on the land that had been donated by Le Ray. A few months later the council bought a half-acre of land directly across the road from the church and built the K of C Hall.
In 1929 the parish purchased ten beautiful stained glass windows from Haskins Glass Studio in Rochester, NY.
On September 5, 1932, more than 6,000 participated in the celebration of the centennial of the church. The pastor, Father Matthew Sweeney ((1930-1935) had put together a planning committee, chaired by State Senator Perley A. Pitcher of Watertown, including among other dignitaries Watertown Mayor John B. Harris, prominent church designer and Knights of Columbus Grand Knight David D. Kieff, Watertown Daily Times Editor and Publisher Harold B. Johnson. This was a full day event that began with the confirmation of 200 children from Clayton, Cape Vincent, Chaumont, Sackets Harbor and Rosiere by Ogdensburg Bishop Joseph H. Conroy. The mass main celebrant was Father Richard Blackburn Washington, a descendent of President Washington’s brother, Lawrence. About 400 people from around the north country made up the cast of the Labor Day pageant, playing roles to help depict nine episodes in history. On that occasion a plaque was attached to a monument across the location of the first church and the cemetery on Dezengremel Road. It reads:1832- 1932 In Memory of James D. LeRay De Chaumont, Rt. Rev. John Dubois, DD and French & German SettlersFather Michael Kelly was pastor from 1935 until 1945. In 1953, while Father Walter J. Charbonneau was pastor (1945-1964), the church underwent major renovations. In 1992, during the pastorate of Fr. Eugene Kelly, the last resident pastor, ownership of the K of C Hall was transferred to the St. Vincent de Paul Church as the K of C was no longer able to cover the cost of insurance and taxes.
In 2001, the rectory was also remodelled under the leadership of Father John Silver (1997-2002).
In 2002, Fr. Pierre Aubin, Missionary of the Sacred Heart (MSC), was appointed pastor of Cape Vincent, Rosiere and Chaumont. On July 1, 2004, with the approval of His Excellency Gerald M. Barbarito, bishop of Ogdensburg, St. Vincent of Paul Parish in Cape Vincent with its Mission, St. Vincent de Paul in Rosiere, and All Saints Parish were merged to form The Roman Catholic Community of Cape Vincent, Rosiere and Chaumont. The three churches (worship sites) and their assets became the property of this new legal entity.
From 2002 on, many improvements were made. The rectory and the church got new roofs, the rectory chimney was rebuilt, a more efficient furnace and an upgraded sewage system were installed. The stained glass windows were all renovated at a cost of $5,000 each. Benefactors made donations in memory of loved ones to cover the cost of some of the windows.
In 2004, the parish sold most of the 95 acres of land adjoining the church and cemetery, reserving parcels to enlarge the cemetery and to provide for a parking lot. It was bought by Timothy Wiley for $30,000.
In 2005, Deacon Ruddy, chaplain at the Cape Vincent Correctional Facility, moved from Theresa to the rectory in Rosiere and was assigned to our parish. Two years later he built a house on the St. Lawrence River. He died prematurely in 2014. He was much appreciated for his affability and love of the liturgy. The rectory was then rented until it was sold in 2012.
St. Vincent de Paul Church celebrated its 175 anniversary on July 29, 2007. Activities included a mass presided over by the Bishop of Ogdensburg, Most Rev. Robert Cunningham, a luncheon in the former K of C Hall and a visit of the history room prepared for the occasion at the entrance of the Hall. In preparation for the celebration, thanks to the leadership of Mickey Orvis, volunteer parishioners completely upgraded the old cemetery on Dezengremel Road and restored the monument across the road. The celebration ended with a special blessing at that location by Bishop Cunningham.
In 2010, in the lower level of the former K of C Hall, the dining room and the kitchen were painted and made more user friendly. In 2012 the K of C was responsible for a new metal roof on the hall and in 2014/15 for the building of an access ramp to the main floor. A bathroom was built on that floor and plan were made for the addition of a kitchen. Thanks to Mickey Orvis, the K of C members with the help of the prisoners of the Cape Vincent Facility cleaned the brush on the west side of the cemetery to make more room for the cemetery and to move the road away from the graves.
Since 2013 the church has been closed from November till May except for the Christmas Eve celebration. During that period, the anticipated mass is celebrated in Cape Vincent instead of in Rosiere.
Edited and updated by Fr. Pierre Aubin, MSC, Pastor 11-23-16
History of All Saints Church in Chaumont, N.Y.
On January, 1896, All Saints Church was incorporated under Father J. A. Hagerty and the trustees Joseph Charlebois and Augustus Solar. The property where the present church stands was purchased from John and Emma Ely on February 17, 1896. It consisted of a house, a shop, and a quarter acre of land on what is now Madison Street. The parishioners volunteered their time to convert the house into a small church. Mass was then offered twice a month on Sundays. Priests served Chaumont from Brownville. As the population was increasing Bishop Joseph H. Conroy decided in 1922 to make Chaumont a parish with Dexter as a Mission.
With the appointment of Father Edward H. Bernier as the first resident pastor of All Saints in 1924, parochial life was greatly enhanced. In 1929, the house adjoining the church property was purchased for use as a rectory. On August 21, 1930, a large portion of the village was destroyed by fire, including the little church. The rebuilding began immediately so that the church was completed on time for the Christmas celebrations that same year.
Father E.J. Pierce who became pastor in 1937 was known for his ecumenical spirit and was much appreciated by both Protestants and Catholics. During the pastorate of Father Edward Burns (1946-1959) the increase of permanent and summer parishioners continued. He purchased a new organ and began fund raising for stained glass windows.
Father Gerald Sharland became pastor of the Chaumont parish in 1959. At that time the Mission of Dexter was joined to Brownville. He was responsible for a number of improvements to the facilities, in particular for the addition to the church of a new parish center dedicated by Bishop Thomas A. Donnellan on June 21, 1964. Since then a number of pastors have contributed to the well being of the parish. More recently Father Michael Gaffney purchased new pews, Father Steven Murray replaced the steeple for the church and put a new roof and new siding on the church and the parish center.
Father Pierre Aubin, MSC, became pastor in 1999. In the years following a new organ was purchased, the inside of the parish center was remodelled and the roof repaired, the church was painted, a new furnace was installed and the rectory got a new roof. After an energy audit, measures were taken to save on heating and lighting.
In 2002, while remaining pastor of Chaumont, Fr. Aubin assumed responsibility for the parish of Cape Vincent and its mission in Rosiere. Early July 2002 he moved to the rectory in Cape Vincent. In 2004, All Saints, St. Vincent of Paul in Cape Vincent and St. Vincent de Paul in Rosiere were merged to become known as the “Catholic Community of Cape Vincent, Rosiere and Chaumont”. That year Sister Anne Hogan, SSJ, was appointed pastoral assistant for the new parish entity and assumed residence in All Saints former rectory. Very involved in the community at large, she was well known for her musical talents and greatly appreciated for her ecumenical outreach and her devotion to the poor, the sick and the shut-ins. She retired at the Sisters of St. Joseph in Watertown in 2014, but remained active in the parish for a long time.
In 2015 the interior of the parish house was renovated and a new roof installed on the garage.
Edited and updated by Fr. Pierre Aubin, MSC, Pastor 11-14-16
All Saints Church of Chaumont Jefferson County N.Y. was incorporated on January 3, 1896. The second Bishop of the diocese, Henry Gabriels, dedicated the church on October 5, 1902. Father Hogan from St. Patrick’s Church in Watertown celebrated the first mass on record in Chaumont in 1868. It was on the occasion of the funeral of a railroad worker. It took place in the house where he boarded. In the following ten years visiting priests held services in various homes throughout the community. In 1877 the Mission of Chaumont was joined with Clayton. At that time, through the kindness of Hiram Copely, mass was said in the Le Ray de Chaumont house and later on in the Dayton Hilts home. In 1895 the Chaumont congregation was joined to the Brownville and Dexter parishes.
History of St. Vincent of Paul Church in Cape Vincent, N.Y.
Prior to the building of the church, Cape Vincent Catholics held their religious services at the home of Augustus Duford. That house still stands on the corner of James and Lake Streets. In the early days, priests from Kingston, Ontario, Canada, and also from Watertown came to offer mass. Off and on the priests serving Rosiere attended to the needs of the people in Cape Vincent. In 1850 Fr. Louis Lapic, while still serving as an assistant to Fr. Michael Guth, the pastor of Rosiere, was ministering to the people of Cape Vincent. Fr. Guth at the time was facing a schism in his parish. A parishioner of Cape Vincent rallied a band of discontented parishioners who resented the fact that the pastor resided at Rosiere rather than in their village. Their determination to establish their own church was weakened when Fr. Guth persuaded them to request another pastor from the diocese of Albany.The Smith family gave the land for the construction of a church in Cape Vincent. Fr. Ancet began the construction of the present church. It was completed under the direction of Fr. Louis Lapic in 1851 at a cost of $5,000. The limestone used was donated by Louis Goler. Many local men helped to build the new church, including Peter and Ignatius Wiley who were stone masons. Thanks to them, parishioners are still able to enjoy the fruits of their labor. The church is in the gothic revival style. The main part of the church has a shallow-pitched tin gable roof. The recessed entry to the Church features a double five-panel door. The interior of the church retains the original pressed time cove ceiling, oak pews, moldings and an elevated choir loft.
During the years 1877 to 1883, Fr. James Sherry was pastor. He worked to obtain funds needed to purchase leaded stain glass windows. Several families contributed memorial gifts. Their names appear at the base of the windows. Also during Fr. Sherry’s tenure, a magnificent altar of Spanish design was built. Most of the funding for the altar came from the Peugnets, a prominent French family. During that time, a local merchant, John Grapotte, started a drive to raise funds for a church bell. Protestants, as well as Catholics subscribed and the bell was purchased for $419. The inscription on the bell reads, “With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the Lord our King.”
The first resident pastor was Father William S. Kelly (1890-1896). In June of 1890 Bishop Edgar P. Wadhams came to confirm a class of fifty children and adults. At that time he also blessed the new cemetery east of the village. In 1896 the home of Lorenzo Kelsey located on the St. Lawrence River was purchased for the sum of $6,000 to serve, and still does, as the parochial residence. Fr. Kelly, who was also the pastor at Rosiere often had to make the trip between these parishes by hand-car on the railroad tracks.
In 1901, at the time of Rev. Damase Guilbault’s tenure as Pastor, the St. Vincent de Paul Parish of Rosiere and the St.Vincent de Paul Parish in Cape Vincent were separated.
When Fr. Robert Duford was Pastor (1920-1932), the Rectory was renovated. He also purchased the Londraville Block on Broadway, which was used as a parish hall until it was sold in 1932. The pipe organ that is still in the choir loft, was purchased in 1921 from the Chicago home of railroad tycoon, George Pullman. The organ was delivered by train to the Station off Broadway. Maurice G. Fitzgerald and his son Louis transported it to the church on a sleigh pulled by a team of horses on one of the coldest days of that winter. The total cost was $4,075, including the purchase price of $2,400. Fr. Duford had a concrete altar built at the route 12 E cemetery where mass was said on Memorial Day. Following his death in 1949, Fr. Duford was buried in a vault beneath that altar. Fr. Joseph Tierney came as Pastor in 1932 and remained until 1939. During his tenure the heating system in the rectory was changed from coal to oil and the basement was furnished to provide a place for the card parties held during the winter months. The greatest improvement he made in the church was replacing the original chandelier and globe lights with the electric lantern type lighting system. A new confessional was built and the altar was raised a foot. Fr. Thomas Owen was pastor from 1939 until his death in 1945. He made major improvements to the rectory. In the church the kneeling benches were upholstered in green leather, adding greatly to the comfort of the parishioners. Fr. Owen is buried in the old cemetery back of the church.
Fr. Patrick Riley was pastor from 1946 to 1964. He was instrumental in having the pipe organ rebuilt at a cost of $3,000 and he purchased the chimes. Fr. Riley started an improvement fund, which was used to redecorate the interior of the church and to hire local contractor Len Gates and Son to build a sacristy of stone to match the rest of the Church. In 1947 Fr. Riley organized the ladies of the church into the Altar-Rosary Society with 69 members. St. Vincent of Paul Church celebrated its Centennial Anniversary on July 22, 1951. The Most Rev. Bryan J. McEntegart, Bishop of Ogdensburg, presided at the Mass. Followed a pageant held on the back porch of the rectory. The day ended at the church with Solemn Benediction.
From 1964 to 1971, Fr. John Kennedy was Pastor. He made many improvements to the church and to the rectory. In 1965 he spearheaded efforts to build an addition to the church to accommodate the increasing number of parishioners and to provide for a parish center. The stone came from the old Luke Dunlay farmhouse that sat on the Louis Doyle property on Gosier Road. Local contractor Floyd Gould did the stonework. Fr. Paul Whitmore served the parish from 1980 to 1983. As the church organ was in great need of repairs, he formed a committee chaired by Frank Peters to raise the $12,700 required for its renovation. Mark Resig was hired to convert the pipe organ into a solid/state relay system organ. Fr. Whitmore also had the new reconciliation room built.
Fr. Timothy Ladden was parish priest from 1984 to 1997. During that time the main part of the church was once again renovated. In 1988-89 Ted Docteur volunteered to repair and repaint the old wooden altar. Local contractor Todd Docteur, cousin of Ted, was then hired to do the major renovations to the body of the church. All new sheet rock was put up, the original tin ceiling repaired and painted, new carpeting was installed, the altar railing brass refurbished and the Stations of the Cross repainted. Mass was held in the Parish Hall until the work was completed. Many of the men and women of the parish volunteered their time and talents to clean and get the finishing touches done in time for the Easter Vigil Mass in 1990.
Fr. John Silver came to Cape Vincent in 1997. With hired help and the support of many volunteers, the rectory was again renovated. Fr. Silver was also instrumental in getting the stones cleaned and repaired in the old cemetery in back of the church and in having the old paint removed from the front doors to the church so that the beautiful natural wood was restored.
In 2002, Fr. Pierre Aubin, Missionary of the Sacred Heart (MSC), was appointed pastor of Cape Vincent, Rosiere and Chaumont. On July 1, 2004, with the approval of His Excellency Gerald M. Barbarito then Bishop of the Ogdensburg Diocese, St. Vincent of Paul Parish in Cape Vincent and its Mission, St Vincent de Paul in Rosiere, together with All Saints Parish in Chaumont were merged to form The Roman Catholic Community of Cape Vincent, Rosiere and Chaumont. The three churches (worship sites) and their facilities are now the property of this new legal entity.
That same year, Sister of St. Joseph (SSJ) Anne Hogan became pastoral assistant for the parish. She resided at the former rectory in Chaumont until her retirement in 2015 when she moved to the SSJ Motherhouse in Watertown. Her presence in the parish, especially in Chaumont, was greatly valued. Well known for her ecumenical spirit and her outreach to the poor and shut-ins, she continues to minister in Chaumont as much as possible. While living in Theresa, NY, Deacon Robert Ruddy became chaplain at the correctional facility in Cape Vincent. In 2005, he and his wife moved to the rectory in Rosiere after being assigned to our parish. Two years later he built a house on the St. Lawrence River. Well known for his affability and love of the liturgy, he was a great asset to the parish. He died prematurely in 2014.
Under Fr. Aubin’s leadership many improvements were made to the church and rectory in Cape Vincent. The interior of the church was repainted and the furnace was replaced. The eight stained glass windows were renovated by Brennan Stained Glass Studio of Syracuse, NY, at a cost of $5,000 each; a plaque next to each window gives the names of the benefactors who paid for its renovation. Thanks to a donation of $50,000 by Dr. Joseph & Helen Cannella, a summer parishioners at All Saints Church, the organ was completely rebuilt by David Raville of Brownville, NY. A rededication concert was held on August 7, 2011.
In the sacristy the windows were replaced and the bathroom redone. The church hall got new tables and chairs, the kitchen was completely renovated and a new entrance was built. The church and the church hall got new roofs. New side walks and extensive landscaping were done around the church and parish center. A beautiful sign was installed near the entrance of the church as well as spotlights that illumine the front of the church every evening. At the rectory improvements included a new roof, a new garage, a remodeled kitchen and extensive landscaping. In 2015 work was done on the decorative exterior woodwork of the rectory. Also, the window frames of the rectory and the church were either wrapped or scrapped and painted.
Edited and updated by Father Pierre Aubin, Pastor 11-16-16