My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in the History of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania published in 1889 by A. Warner & Co.   These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

* * * *

REV. JOHN B. DUFFNER, rector of St. Peter’s German Catholic Church, Pittsburgh (South Side), was born June 19, 1843, at Schoenenbach, Baden, Germany. He commenced his studies in Switzerland, and came to the United States in October, 1867, where he completed them. He was ordained for the diocese of Pittsburgh Jan. 25, 1868, and is the founder of St. Peter’s (South Side) congregation, which he has tended eighteen years—ever since the first mass was celebrated.

The German Catholic St. Peter’s (South Side) congregation is in that part of the city of Pittsburgh of which is said the houses grow out of the soil as by magic. In November, 1871, the present rector of the church, Rev. John B. Duffner, was ordered by Rt. Rev. Bishop Domener to this, at that time, thinly settled place, then known by the name of Ormsby borough, to see if a congregation could be started. A storeroom called Wolfs halle was engaged and fitted out for church and school purposes as could best be done. The number of the families was then fifty, scholars twenty-eight. This room was only for temporary use. In 1872 a larger church was built, large enough to accommodate two hundred families, and a separate school-building, in which two hundred children could be instructed. The school was then under the direction of Stephen Schmill, teacher, and who is still with the congregation as organist. But soon these buildings proved too small, and in 1873 another church edifice was commenced and was finished and dedicated in November following year. The building is 175 feet long by 72 wide; at the same time the old church was changed into a two-story school building, with four large schoolrooms. Two large additions have been built since to the schoolhouse, also a fine residence of twelve rooms for the priest; a convent for the sisters has also been completed. Lately the congregation bought a tract of land, six acres, which serves as a cemetery and is nicely laid out in lots. This congregation is at present in the southeast part of the city of Pittsburgh (South Side), has over seven hundred families, five hundred pupils at school and nine teachers.

* * * *

This family biography is one of 2,156 biographies included in the History of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania published in 1889 by A. Warner & Co.

View additional Allegheny County, Pennsylvania family biographies here: Allegheny County, Pennsylvania Biographies

Use the links at the top right of this page to search or browse thousands of other family biographies.