Biographies and Obituaries
In loving memory
Joseph P. Matthews
History of the Catholic Church in Indiana
Logansport: Bowen, 1898
Rev. Joseph P. Matthews, pastor of St. Michael's church, Daviess County, with his post office at Trainor, Ind., is a native of this county, was born October 30, 1859, and is a son of Michael and Eleanor (Owens) Matthews, of whom further mention is made in the biographical notice of E. W. Matthews, a brother of the reverend gentleman whose name heads this sketch. Rev. J. P. Matthews, at the age of fourteen years, was confirmed by Bishop de St. Palais. He was educated primarily in the common schools, and later attended the school of the Sisters of Providence at Loogootee. In 1876 he entered St. Meinrad's College in Spencer county, where he remained two years, and in 1878 began a classical course of study at St. Joseph's college, which ended at the close of three years. In 1881 he entered Preston Park Seminary, Wayne County, Pa., where he completed his theological studies in 1884, and, June 10th of that year, was ordained priest by Bishop McCloskey, of New York. His first appointment was as assistant to Rev. D. O'Donaghue, of St. Patrick's church, Indianapolis, but eighteen months later was transferred to the church of the Holy Trinity, at New Albany, as assistant to Rev. John B. Kelly, and, in 1887, was placed in charge of his present parish of St. Michael, with the mission of St. Joseph, in Martin county, ten miles distant. When he assumed his duties at St. Michael's, the congregation comprised thirty or forty families, while that of St. Joseph's was constituted of eighty families. With these two charges, Father Matthews labored arduously for seven long years, when he relinquished his charge of St. Joseph's and has since devoted his entire attention to his duties at St. Michael's.
Prior to the coming of Father Matthews to St. Michael's, services had been held by the Venerable Father Piers in the homes of the leading members of the congregation. Although the erection of a church edifice had been discussed, the project had discouraged by both Father Piers and the bishop; but Father Matthews, aided by Nicholas Ryan, John Daily, Thomas Wade, and other determined and ardent members of the congregation succeeded in raising funds sufficient to pay for the erection of the present frame church building at a cost of $3,500, and this was dedicated by Bishop Chatard in 1888. A year or two later a parsonage was erected at the cost of $1,600, and of the total, $5,100 not one cent is now unpaid. The present congregation numbers about sixty families, or 300 souls, and is in a most flourishing condition
Contributed by: John D. McMullen