Immaculate Conception (Van Horne, Iowa)


Immaculate Conception (Van Horne, Iowa)


“The Catholic Church in Benton County began with the deeding of two sections of prairie near Keystone, Iowa, to the University of Notre Dame in Indiana in January 1863. Francis Murphy, a Benton county pioneer, gave those 1,280 acres in return for education of his two sons. In the spring of 1866, the provincial of the Holy Cross Fathers sent Father Paul E. Gillen together with Brothers Matthew, Cesaire, and Aloysius, to take possession of the tract of land and to care for the spiritual needs of settlers in the area, and eventually to open a college there if it is found advisable. Father Paul, a Civil War chaplain, drove his old war horse “Sarsfield” all the way from Indiana with his Mass kit and other needs in a buggy. The Brothers drove two yokes of oxen with wagons loaded with implements to break up the fertile prairie and raise potatoes to supply the community and students at Notre Dame.”

- Rev. Msgr. Edgar Kurt, “Parish Profile #93: Immaculate Conception, Van Horne,” Dubuque: The Witness, 2 October 1988.


The Archdiocese of Dubuque.
The Center for Dubuque History at Loras College.


Burback, Emily. Burns, Daniel. Gibson, Michael. Oberfoell, Carol. Waldmeir, Helen. Waldmeir, John.


Various primary and secondary sources.




Loras College
Kucera Center for Catholic Thought
Frank and Ida Goedken Series: "Spiritual Life in the Upper Mississippi River Valley"


History of the parish over the span of 152 years, including information about its priests and parishioners.

Table Of Contents

Annual Financial Statement 1925, 1929, 1930, 1932, 1936 (5 booklets)

Annual History Report 1990-1991 (3 documents)

Holy Card for Frater Leland M. Barry, S.S.J., 1940 (1 document)

Holy Cross Cemetery in Keystone, Iowa (2 documents)

Historical Data, Reid 4/1/88 (1 packet)

Letter regarding Baptismal Book Record Request 1947 J. Remair Jones

Letter regarding Christmas and welcome letter 14 December 1970 (1 document)

Letter regarding grave of Ellen Crothy 10 August 1945 (1 document)

Letter regarding Archdiocese History Rev. Churchhill to Rev. Byrne (2 documents)

Pastor List (2 documents)

Cullen, Brother Franklin, C.S.C. “Holy Cross in Iowa, Five Apostolates – 1944-1977.” Brothers of Holy Cross, Mountain View, California, 1989.

Martin, Mrs. John. “History of Immaculate Conception Church.” A.C.C.W. Parish History Project, ca. 1960. (2 copies)

“Started by Notre Dame: Early Iowa Church Just a Memory.” Dubuque: The Witness, 10 May 1956.


“Immaculate Conception (Van Horne, Iowa),” Loras College Digital Collections, accessed July 23, 2024,