Holy Trinity Catholic
Church and Holy Faith Cemetery
Researched and Compiled
by Kathy Niedergeses
On July 13, 1877, A. W. and S. H. Bentley deeded
approximately three and 156/160 acres to John Besch and Charles P. Meyer to donate to the Roman Catholic Congregation a sufficient
quantity of land to erect a Roman Catholic Church thereon and a burying ground, at the request of the said Trustees of the
Church. The tract of land was known as the Samuel Caldwell tract of land lying on the Waynesboro Road about ten miles west
of Lawrenceburg in the 7th District on the north side of the road. The deed was actually conveyed to the Right Rev.
Bishop P. A. Feehan, Bishop of Nashville and his successors in office. The deed was registered July 21, 1877. (Deed Bk. U,
p. 181-182.) The property is in what is today the Deerfield Community, but was known as the Beshville Community for
a short period of time. Holy Trinity Catholic Church was established as a mission church and the Holy Faith Catholic
Cemetery was located behind the church. Supposedly the road to the church and cemetery was where Mr. Glean Andrews fence runs
on the west side of his house.
Since this was a mission church, no regular priest
was assigned to it. Either the priest from Einsieldeln, known as St. John's, near Brace, or the priest from Sacred Heart
Catholic Church in Lawrenceburg held mass, weddings, funerals, etc. whenever possible. Also, being a mission church, there
were no records kept at the Holy Trinity Church. There might be several weeks when neither priest could come, especially in
bad weather. This is could be one of the reasons for many births and deaths not being recorded. Several people in this
community were from Poland, with the rest being from Germany.
The exact date of the first burial, how many
people are buried in the cemetery, or the name of the person buried in each grave is not known. The cemetery was in
use during the late 1870's until the 1930's or very early 1940's. The graves were marked with wooden crosses and the field
burned sometime in the 1940's or so. Several people have told me that some of the graves had fieldstones, but were bulldozed
into a ditch by one of the later owners of the property around the cemetery. Another possibility for disappearing fieldstone
markers would be farmers plowing the area or time taking its toll by depositing layers of dirt over the markers. The following
is a list of people the Ellis family believes to be buried at Holy Faith Cemetery. The Stermer family owned property in the
area and Anastasia Stermer married Frederick Ellis. The information has been passed down through the family. Mary Ellis
Alley remembers her grandmother taking flowers to place on the graves, but never asked how or if all were related; she does
not remember how many graves there were.
Most of the German and Polish families who lived
in the 7th, 11th and 12th districts
either came from one of the northern states or directly from their homeland. Some did not stay in Lawrence County very
long, but moved on to other states or back to one of the northern states. Also, many of the families moved to Lawrenceburg
about the same time, which did not leave enough members to justify even a small mission church with irregular services. After
the church discontinued using the building, Abner School utilized the building until a new one was built on the Central Turnpike
just west of the Little Buffalo River Bridge and the old school house turned into a grocery store.
Since no church records were kept, through research
of each family in cemetery records, census, marriages, newspaper announcements, obituaries, church records, contacting descendants,
etc., I have tried to prove where some of these families are buried. Some were buried at Holy Faith Cemetery, but I have proven
that other people thought by some to be buried here are in other cemeteries in Lawrence and other counties in TN and other
states. [There are several other cemeteries in the area.] The burial and/or death dates of some of the people who lived
in the community were recorded in the records of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Lawrenceburg, but no burial place is given.
Since I can not find these people in the cemetery records, it is possible they are buried at Holy Faith. There is also a possibility
that some of the people are buried in the unmarked graves at Calvary Cemetery in Lawrenceburg. The 15 surnames I mainly concentrated
on were on the list of people the Ellis family thinks could be buried here. These names were:
Schneider, Thessing, Geldreich, Orth (Peter), Stermer (3 yr. old child), Eckart, Baltz,
Henn, Kollefrath, Kemper, Cook, Ellis, Anthony, Gmeinweiser, Fischer, Feldhaus (2 children). Of these names, only those below have been
proven buried here or it is a possibility they are buried here.
Margaret Anna, mother of George A., born ca 1800 in Germany,
according to church records she died May 11, 1883
Gottfried, child of George A. and Mary Ann, born Nov. 8, 1866, died Jan. 9,
Infant of George A. and Mary Ann, no name and no date
Elizabeth Schneider, born ca 1814 and died/buried Nov. 18, 1882 Not sure
about this one, but if not buried here, she is buried in an unmarked grave somewhere else.
According to Ellis/Stermer descendants, there are two or more Stermer family members
buried at Holy Faith; possibly both infants. One is the infant of Andrew and Annie Stermer. I do not know what happened
to Zera F. age 12 in the 1880 census. She could possibly be buried here.
Jacob Geldreich died approximately 1887 and is either buried in Holy Faith or in an unmarked grave
John Geldreich, son
of Jacob and Margaret, either buried in Holy Faith or in an unmarked grave in Calvary.
Jacob Eckart/Eckert, died/buried Feb. 14, 1873, according to church records, but the records do not state
which cemetery. Possibly in Holy Faith or in an unmarked grave in Calvary, Mt. Lebanon, Fish Trap or Clayton Cemeteries.
Mary Gemeinweiser Fischer is
buried in Clayton Cemetery.
Her husband either
died just before they came to Lawrence Co. around 1880, or just after arriving, since she is already a widow in 1880,
but was still in Indiana when the last child was born. It is vaguely possible he is buried in here.
John Gemeinweiser, father of Mary Gemeinweiser Fischer, was
age 61 in the 1880 census. Do
not know where he is buried; possibly buried at Holy Faith, Calvary or Pleasant
Grove in an unmarked grave.
Jacob Gemeinweiser, son
of John and brother of Mary, was age 31 in the 1880 census. No burial place found for him either; possibly buried Holy Faith,
Pleasant Grove or some other Cemetery
in the area.
Charlie Gmeinweiser, husband of Cynthia, died several years before her, but
have not found a burial place for him. Could possibly be buried in Calvary, Holy Faith, Pleasant Grove in an unmarked grave.
1 adult - Margaret Schneider
1 adult - Elizabeth Schneider
1 adult - James C. Anthony
1 adult - Ike Kollefrath
1 adult - Jacob Geldreich
1 adult - John Geldreich
1 adult - Jacob Echert/Eckart
1 adult - John Gemeinweiser
1 adult - Jacob Gemeinweiser
1 adult - Charlie Gemeinweiser
1 child - Gottried Schneider
1 child - Zera F. Stermer
1 child - Orth (?), Stermer or Ellis (not sure)
1 infant - Schneider
1 infant - Ellis
1 infant - Ellis
1 infant - Stermer
1 infant - Stermer (?)
1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930 Lawrence Co., TN Census
1850, 1860 Baltimore, Maryland Census
1870 Hamilton Co., OH Census
1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920 Lewis Co., TN Census
1880, 1900, 1910 Davidson Co., TN Census
1900, 1910 Bell Co., TX Census
1900, 1910 Falls Co., TX
Lawrence County, TN Marriages 1870 through 1960
Lewis County, TN Marriages
AT REST Cemetery Records of Lawrence Co., TN, and Supplements I and II
Lewis County, TN Cemetery Records
Giles County, TN Cemetery Records
Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Lawrenceburg, TN � births, deaths, and
marriages for some families
St. Patrick's Catholic Church, McEwen, TN
St. George's Catholic Church, Kenosha, WI
St. Mary's Cemetery, Westphalia, Bell Co., TX (also church records for
Westphalia and Lott, TX)
Sacred Heart Catholic Cemetery, Lott, TX
Church records from various churches in Germany
Obituary Books 1846-1994 compiled by Nancy Crowder from all past newspapers
of Lawrence Co.
Obituary Books 1995-2004 compiled by Josephine Pickard from Advocate and D-U
Schneider Family records kept by family members for many years
Feldhaus Family records kept by family members for many years
Lawrence Co. Deed Bk. R, p. 174-176, deed from Mortimer H. Holtsford to Peter
Lawrence Co. Deed Bk. U, p. 181-182, deed from A. W. and S. H. Bentley to John
Besch and Charles P. Meyers for Catholic Church, 1877
Lawrence Co. Deed Bk. W, p. 885, Peter and Ellen Orth to C. A. Edwards, 1883
Catholic Church Histories
Lawrence Co. School Records 1880-1930
Thesing 1741-2000, A Family Road Map compiled by Buck Thesing, 2000.
During Jun 2006 Dan Allen, an Archeologist, relocated the remains of those buried in the Holy Faith
Cemetery near Deerfield Community of Lawrence County to a mass grave in the Calvary Cemetery in Lawrenceburg. While
the remains were placed in a mass grave, they were not co-mingled, but rather placed apart in specific locations in the mass
Read the below 100 page report by Dan Allen of the relocation project.