The land and its people, 1876-1981: Deaf Smith County, Texas Page: 534
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ST. ANTHONY'S CATHOLIC CHURCH
Named in honor of St. Anthony of Padua, the
first Catholic chapel in Hereford was established
sometime in 1911 in the district courthouse on the
second floor of the old county courthouse.
In the fall of 1910, Father J. A. Campbell came
to Umbarger and from there he ministered to the
Catholics, scattered from Canyon to Farwell. In
November of that year he bought the old county
courthouse planning to establish a church and a
Late summer of 1913 Father Campbell settled
in Hereford, using some rooms in the old courthouse
as his residence.
The records show he traveled over a wide area
of the Plains. A report sent to the Bishop of Dallas
in 1914 states that St. Anthony Parish had ten
families. In 1917 it was reported that the Parish
had grown to seventeen families.
Four Sisters of Atonement came in August of
1917 to open a school. A house was purchased and
moved beside the courthouse on 4th Street to
serve as a convent for the nuns.
Father Campbell's health began to fail in 1917
and in 1918 he was obliged to give up his work in
Hereford. For almost the next two years,
Hereford was without a resident priest. During
this time Father J. J. Dolje, pastor of St. Mary's
Church, Umbarger, came every Sunday and once
during the week to minister to the spiritual needs
of the people and the nuns.
Father Salvator and Brother James, coming
from Graymoor, New York, arrived in June 1920.
Their first task was the building of a church. It
was estimated that a church could be made from
the old courthouse for about $5000.00; however
by the time the task was completed in 1922 the
cost was close to $25,000.00.
The first Mass was offered in the new church
on December 1921. On June 13, 1922, the church
was dedicated by Most Reverend J. P. Lynch, D.
D. Bishop of Dallas.
For the next twenty years this church had ample
space for the congregation but growth of the
parish brought with it the need of a larger church
and school facilities.
Father Albert Heald succeeded Father
Nathaniel Madden in 1943. It was his task to plan
St. Anthony's Catholic Church and School
for future expansion. A building committee was
formed in 1944.
Parishioners subscribed generously to the
building fund and by 1947 a new St. Anthony's
was assured as soon as post war conditions would
Many problems were encountered in obtaining
materials as well as with the type building to be
constructed; so it was in May of 1950 before the
ground breaking ceremony took place. 0. R.
Walker of Lubbock was the architect and Clifford
M. Hicks of Hereford was the builder. The church
was built without a contract.
Dedication services for the new St. Anthony's
Church were held October 1951.
At this time Reverend Xavier Butler, S.A. is
the pastor and Reverend Boniface Riedmann,
S.A. is serving as associate pastor.
ST. ANTHONY'S SCHOOL
From the time. that the first few Catholic
families gathered in Hereford, it was their desire
to have a Catholic school for their children. The
1981-82 school year marks the 64th year of
Catholic School in Hereford.
Father Campbell came to Umbarger in 1910
and a year later bought the old Deaf Smith County
courthouse, planning to make a church and
Through Father's efforts, school opened in 1914
with ten families represented. The next year there
were 14 families, but school was open only two
In 1917, four Sisters of the Atonement came to
open the school. They had thirty pupils, one
through six grades. The first year they taught in
the old courthouse building. The second year they
taught from their home, on 25 Mile Avenue, now
St. Anthony's Catholic Church
Constructed from old Courthouse finished
the site of the St. Anthony's rectory. They continued
to teach here, even boarding students, and
in two different buildings at 4th and Sampson,
now the site of Hi Plains Savings and Loan
Association, until 1926.
There were now twenty-two families and fortynine
students, a new building was needed. On
June 1927, a red brick building with four
classrooms and a basement was dedicated. It is
now the Deaf Smith County Museum.
The Graymoor Sisters taught until 1938. The
school was then staffed by the Sisters of the Incarnate
Word and Blessed Sacrament from Victoria,
Texas, until 1942.
The Franciscan Sisters of Mary Immaculate
now came to teach eight grades, two to each
classroom. In 1952, the basement was remodeled
to accommodate the increased enrollment and a
cafeteria. The next year a garage was converted
into a first grade classroom. A larger building was
A new school, costing $170,000.00 at the present
site was dedicated in 1955. In 1969, a library
and science laboratory were dedicated.
St. Anthony's School became, after more than
fifty years, a fully accredited school with 220
students in a kindergarten through eighth year
In 1972, another change came. The seventh and
eighth grades were discontinued. In 1973, a state
law made kindergarten mandatory for accredited
school, hence kindergarten became an integral
part of the school system.
St. Anthony's school has become a vital force in
the community. The enrollment this year is 235
students, supervised by fourteen teachers and
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Deaf Smith County Historical Society. The land and its people, 1876-1981: Deaf Smith County, Texas, book, 1982; Deaf Smith County, Tex.. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth16010/m1/538/: accessed June 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Deaf Smith County Library.