Where are the Catholic Church Records from New Madrid, Spanish Territory 1790-1805

+4 votes
in WikiTree Help by Glenn Oncay G2G Rookie (250 points)

3 Answers

+1 vote

I am assuming you are referring to New Madrid, in what is now Missouri.

They probably were all destroyed. The website of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in new Madrid, Missouri, states:

Fr. Pierre Gibault, the "patriot priest of the west," was the first resident priest in New Madrid, arriving in 1789. The first church, built in 1799, was dedicated to St. Isidore, patron of farmers and of Madrid, Spain. In 1811, from December of that year until February of 1812, the great earthquake changed the course of the Mississippi River. All the parish buildings were totally destroyed.
Fr. Gibault died in 1804 and visiting priests were assigned to attend the New Madrid Parish, visiting 3 or 4 times a year. In 1832 there were 60 families in New Madrid. The Sisters of Loretto served a school and monastery in New Madrid for 6 years and again in 1916 for 60 years. In 1837, a wood structure church was built and dedicated to St. John the Baptist. This church and its records were destroyed during Civil War battles. In 1869, a new wooden edifice was dedicated under the title of the Immaculate Conception. In 1878, Fr. James Connolly opened a parochial school, which has been maintained ever since. A new brick church was built in 1911. It served the parish until 1952 when it was condemned and torn down. A new, earthquake-resistant church was constructed and dedicated by Bishop Charles Helmsing, first bishop of the Springfield-Cape Girardeau Diocese on Passion Sunday, 1957. 

by Thomas Fuller G2G6 Mach 7 (79.9k points)
Not so quick to throw in the towel on this. Yes this is a tough question. I was hoping other researcher's with experience with New Madrid, (MO) during these years could provide some insight. Thank you for your quick reply. When in New Madrid, Fr. Gibault reported to the New Orleans Diocese.  Any chance that Fr. Gibault's records were sent to the Arch Diocese at his death in 1804? It was 6 years before the earthquakes.  Or did the Spaniards packed them when they moved out? I will look into the Biography of Fr. Pierre Gibault by Fr. Joseph Donnelly: published by Loyola University Press in1971.

I hope someone may be able to provide more insight to the records.The 1st church was built in New Madrid 1799. Fr, Gibault had to carry small diaries like in Vincennes to record his daily activities.

Thank You
0 votes
I would assume that some copies or an annual index of sorts would be sent to the bishop in New Orleans.  Most likely those would remain unless lost to flood or fire.
by Kathy Rabenstein G2G6 Pilot (257k points)
Yes I have a census that was ordered by Diocese of New Orleans: 1796-1797. Fr. Gibault provided this index of patrons of The Parish if St Islador.His response was delayed do to the bad winter of 1796.

I have seen the small journal that Fr. Gibault used at St Francois Xavier  at Vincennes. I would assume he used the same type of journal at New Madrid because of it small size. Again an assumption .

I still feel that upon Fr. Gibault’s desth the Church would have collected the Journal/s. We will see. Please look at the reference Mr. Peterson provided.

His reference will give me onsite to a previous researcher of this information. It appears to be Pre- computer era, so great to have Wiki Tree and the researchers there.

Thank you

0 votes

Hi Glenn,

A Google preview of pages 273-274 of "French and Spanish Records of Louisiana: A Bibliographical Guide to Archive and Manuscript Sources" by Henry Putney Beers (LSU Press, 1989) indicates that "Papers of Father Pierre Gibault, 1783-1801" exist from the time when he served at New Madrid/St Isidore, but that no registers of births/marriages/burials have been found.

by Rick Peterson G2G6 Pilot (148k points)
This is a great find. Thank you for the professional feedback. I will be checking this resource ASAP.  I have read Louis Houck’s  “Spanish Regime in Missouri.”  I discovered what appears to be an error, so I am researching Houck’s footnote reference. That will be my next question on Wikitree.  I found a few documents at St Louis Historical Library.  

Thank you again!  


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