Thunder Butte

July 14, 2008

Saint Bartholomew Church in Glad Valley

My father recalls that his family (before he was born) used to attend church in Brayton, but that the church relocated to Glad Valley after a big wind storm. At least, this is what his family told him. After that, until most family members moved to California early in WWII, the family attended church at Glad Valley. I don’t know whether something was lost in the telling of the story about the church, but a volume that I located, “Builders of God’s Kingdom: The History of the Catholic Church in South Dakota” by Sister M. Claudia Duratschek tells a slightly different story about wind storms and the founding of the Catholic church in Glad Valley.

Catholics in the Glad Valley area had been served out of Isabel from 1914 to 1922. In 1918, Saint Bartholomew Church was formally established at Glad Valley and a small frame church was built. According to Sister Duratschek, “It could not withstand the 1922 tornado blasts and was wrecked…. A church building was moved in from Brayton, remodeled and improved to serve as St. Bartholomew Church.” However, following “two years of uncertain services, 1924-26, the parish became a mission of Isabel.”

Memories can be a tricky thing, and it certainly is possible that the story as Sister Duratschek tells it is correct. Or, perhaps my Dad’s version hones closer to reality. It is difficult to tell for certain. The difficulty of finding out about the church is also evident in my search to see what became of the church building, which is no longer at Glad Valley. Last year, Rex Witte, one of the few remaining residents of Glad Valley, could only tell me that the building had been hauled away years ago.

An anonymous commenter to this blog said in May 2008, “I have always been told that the Glad Valley Catholic church is now located in Isabel and is used as the Hope Reformed Church. It is located one block east of the Hardware store.” I emailed Father Lane, who heads the parish of Saint Luke at Thunder Butte [community of, not the butte] to see what he might know. Father Lane’s secretary checked with her daughter-in-law who lives in Glad Valley, prompting this reply from Father Lane, “[she] says the glad valley church became the Isabel Church of God. They only have occasional services because of small numbers of people.”

Hope Reformed Church or Church of God? Perhaps knowing with certainty awaits my next trip to Isabel, which could be months away. Notwithstanding, I would like to see for myself the church that my Dad, his siblings, and mother and father all attended.

--Mike Crowley

Editor’s note – To be fair, Father Lane’s secretary also emailed me separately, but one doesn’t always know who might or might not be bothered about being quoted online. Hopefully, Father Lane doesn’t mind!
Mike Crowley Monday, July 14, 2008


According to the book "Isabel Frieds and Neighbors 1961-1986." Under the entry for the Hope Protestant Reformed Church it states the following, "The original church building was replaced with a Catholic Church building which was moved from Glad Valley. This was put on a basement and remodeled. The former chuch had also been a school that Jake and Ephriam Reichert, attended. This building was moved to the E. Reichert lots and is now being used as a repair shop."
From the Book Isabel Territory by Verla Jewett, published in 1960 on page 235, it has the following entry and picture of the church.

In the early days, form 1912 to 1916, Father Kipp, the parish priest at St. Mary's in Isabel, came out once a month, usually on a week day and said mass in the home of one of the parishioners. In 1917 St. Bartholomew church was built on the Wm. Boeding farm, one mile north and one and one half miles east of Glad Valley, Father Anthony O'Hara was the missionary priest at that time.

In 1922, Father Simons came out to establish a parish and the parish house was built. On June 14, 1924, the church was completely destroyed by the cyclone that swept the area. The present church on the hill east of Glad Valley was moved in from the Joe Briscoe area was of Thunder Butte and in 1931 the parish house was moved to the church and Gather Edmund Kristinac became the resident priest. In 1934 he was replaced by Gather Raymond O’Hara, In June 1937 Father Godfrey Nau assumed the duties of St. Bartholomew’s and hold this position form eleven years until he was transferred to St. Mary’s in Isabel. St. Bartholomew once again became a mission of St. Mary’s
The Art Reichert family now owns the church in Isabel and can be reached at 605-466-2465
My father the late Clarence Doan told me that the Catholic church at Glad Valley was moved from Brayton. At one time Brayton was there address. Later they used Coal Springs for a address.

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