In 1908, Father J.S. Dobson, resident priest in Sidney, came to Dalton to say
Mass in a hall that had been built by Herman Armuth (the present Senior Citizen's Center).
About a dozen families attended, and they met with Fr. Dobson after Mass. They decided to
buy suitable property and build a church in Dalton.
After some investigation and consideration, they purchased six lots from A.H. Carow for $125. The men proceeded to excavate a basement and lay a foundation. Mr. Pritchard was contracted to guild the church for $1,200. This was completed in August of 1908.
In September, Fr. Dobson dedicated the unfurnished building for public worship. Soon the sanctuary was finished and altar and pews were in place. Fr. Dobson cam from Sidney once a month to say Mass. The cemetary was purchased from J.E.L. Carey.
The congregation in 1908 included these families: Herman Armuth, John Brown, James Connelly, W.E. Edwards, J.H. Ernest, M. Flood, Rose Johnston, Herman Kalhoff, Peter Koepp, James McNulty, J. Saali, L. Saali, Louis Siemer. B. Strotman, Edward Walsh, Catherine Ward, and Frank Weibel. The first council members were Herman Kalhoff and Edward Walsh.
Fr. A. Kampman and then Fr. Anton Link were the priests from Sidney who served the Dalton mission from 1912 to 1916.
In 1916, Bishop Duffy assigned the first resident priest, Fr. M.L. Ballou, to St. Boniface Church in Dalton. He rented the McNulty house west of the church to be the rectory.
Fr. C. Keyser came in 1917. At this time, the church building was extended. The tower was built and a furnace was installed.
In 1919, Dalton become a mission to Bridgeport. Fr. Jarka, Fr. Hinzman, and Fr. Maron were pastors from 1919 to 1922.
Fr. F. J. Tschida was assigned to serve Dalton in June of 1922 - first as a mission and later as a resident. On November 14, 1927, the parish was incorporated as St. Mary's. The council members were F.J. Jennett and J.A. Vogt. The two story brick rectory was built. In 1928, the full basement of the church was finished and furnished.
Mary and Edward Walsh donated the block south of the church to the parish in 1930.
Fr. J.P. Fullam was St. Mary's parish priest from 1932 to 1954. Fr. Vincent Pelster, son of Ben and Elizabeth Pelster, was ordained and returned to St. Mary's to say his first Mass in March of 1943. The Fr. Leander Lecher and Fr. Jacob Bauer served briefly.
Fr. Cletus Semper came July 1, 1955. Under his guidance, the new church was planned and became a reality. Ground was broken on March 8, 1959; the cornerstone was laid by Pishop Paschang on June 14; the solemn dedication was on October 16. The church mortgage was burned in March 1964.
The first baptism in the new church was John Raymond VanAnne. The first marriage was Daniel Talber and Stella Fillis. The first funeral was for Mary Magdelena Troidl.
After Agnes Walsh moved from the parish to Denver, CO, she became a nun: Sister Julia Ann.
Fr. Bryan Ernest, son of Dom and Phyllis Ernest, was ordained on May 21, 1982 in Grand Island, NE. He celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving in his home parish of St. Mary's on May 23, 1982.
Priests who served the parish next were Fr. Walt Phillips, Fr. Janovec, Fr. Max Valdez, Fr. Andrew Gonda, Fr. Reggie Urban, Fr. Christopher Keith and Fr. Dave Rykwalder.
Fr. C.P.Varghese currently serves our parish, along with Bayard and Bridgeport.
Many additions and changes have been done to St. Mary's over the years. The parish did some remodeling of the altar. The Tabernacle was placed in a Blessed Sacrament room. Pews were slanted inward toward the altar, and the first two pews were shorted to allow room for caskets during funerals. Painted arches now accent the statues and windows of the church. The white-washed wood of the cross, pews, Stations of the Cross were darkened to a more natural color.
In memory of Leonard Deaver, a new altar and lecture stand were built. Air conditioning and an elevator lift were also added. A Reconciliation room was built and the old confessionals were converted into storage. The basement has been textured and painted. It has been host to many dinners, receptions and catechism classes.
At St. Mary's Cemetary, changes have also occurred. Robby Reilly received an Eagle Scout Award for his fence project. The white fence serves as a border along the west side. Mitch Ernest also received an Eagle Scout Award by adding a flagpole to the cemetary. Both boys had help from their respective troops. Lemoyne Myers replaced the old wooden cross behind the Pieta statue that was donated by his grandfather, Carl Baker. He built a metal cross and painted it gold. These have all been great improvements to our Catholic cemetery.