History of St. Joseph in Apple River
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
February 4, 2021
St. Joseph Parish in Apple River began after early Catholics in the area had been attended by priests from Galena and Freeport. 
One missionary, Father Peter Corcoran, supervised the building of a church in Apple River in 1863. The first resident pastor, Father C. Shilling, was appointed there in 1868. He and second pastor, Father Patrick McElhearne, served the parish for one year each. In 1870, Father Joseph Kindekens came and during his eight years there both enlarged the church and established a parish cemetery. The renovated church building was blessed and placed under the protection of St. Joseph on Nov. 21, 1871.
Additional pastors included Father John E. Shannahan (1885-1901); and Father Joseph S. Gallagher (1901-1902) who purchased a house and established it as the rectory.
Father Thomas F. Leydon (1902-1907) had a new foundation constructed, had the church moved onto it, and remodeled both the church and rectory. Father William M. McGuire (1914-1918 and, after service as an army chaplain, from 1919-1926) built a new, brick church that was dedicated by Bishop Peter J. Muldoon on July 1, 1923.
Other pastors were Father John T. Egan (1926-1929), Father Edward J. Connolly (1929-1933 and 1950-1952) Father Russell J. Guccione (1932-1940), Father Flavian C. Voet (1940-1950), and Father Norbert M. Richter (1952-1957). Various improvements to the parish hall, the church and the cemetery were made over those years, and Father Richter’s time included the installation of a new organ.
Father Daniel D. Tranel (1973-1983) was pastor when parishioners donated their time to put a new roof on the church. Under Father Everett J. Hiller (1985-2000), the church became handicapped accessible, air conditioning and new lighting was installed, and the rectory sold as priests serving the parish resided in the nearby town of Warren.
Other priests who have served the parish as administrators or pastors include: Father William Budden (1983-1984), Msgr. David Kagan (1984-1985), Father Miroslaw A Reikowski (2000-2002). Father Anthony Pantyra (2002-2005), Father Brian Grady (2005-2007), Father Stephen Folorunso (2007-2009), Father Max Striedl (2008-2014), and now Father Andrew Skrobutt.
In 2019, St. Joseph Parish had about 60 registered families. 2020 figures are not yet available.
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