Louis L’hiver

St. Brendan the Navigator Parish, Camden, Maine. Rev. Fr. Louis A. L’Hiver, pastor, 1868-1872.

The 1880 United States census showed Louis Lhiver (age 53, priest, born in France) living in Grand Forks, Dakota Territory.

Rev. Father L’hiver, the pioneer Catholic priest of North Dakota, has recently returned from his tour to Europe, where he did good work for the land he loves so much and reports wide-spread interest in it over the water and a prospect of large emigration. (The Saint Paul Daily Globe, Friday Morning, April 4, 1884, Volume VII, Number 95, Page 2)

St. Michael’s Catholic Church was organized in 1877, by the Rev. Peter C. Hubert. It was incorporated under the laws of the Territory, October 18, 1883. The congregation worshipped for some time in the public school house. Father Lhiver succeeded to the pastorate in 1879. During his administration a temporary house of worship was erected, and later the present church edifice was commenced. Father Ahne became pastor in 1883, and during his stay the church was completed, at a cost of nearly $20,000. It is the largest as well as the finest church edifice in North Dakota. (Grand Forks and North Dakota Manual for 1885, William L. Dudley, Plaindealer Book and Job Rooms, Grand Forks, 1885, Page 54)

Father L’hiver, the pioneer Catholic rector of Grand Forks, writes from Dunseith that the old settler is not dead yet, and that he is watching the coming of the N. P. railway with anxiety. He is active and cheerful as of old. His friends here hope Father L’hiver will not wait until the N. P. is completed before he visits Grand Forks. (Grand Forks Daily Herald, Friday Evening, October 4, 1889, Volume XV, Number 285, Page 4)

A GOOD DEED. Father L’hiver and His Adopted Daughter. Father L’hiver, formerly rector of St. Michael’s church and now Catholic pastor at Dunseith writes the HERALD that little Mamie Leahy, whom he adopted after the death of her father P. Leahy, is now in her ninth year and attending the academy of the presentation nuns at Fargo. Father L’hiver has secured also for the same academy Miss Annie Kotcshevar, the daughter of his friend Jaques Kotschevar grocer and general merchant in Dunseith. The young ladies will remain at the academy indefinitely. Several others will go to the academy under the auspices of Father L’hiver. The parents of Mamie Leahy were well known in Grand Forks in 78, 79, 80 and 81 and their old friends express delight and gratitude to Father L’hiver for his kindness to the young daughter. Father L’hiver is a great hearted genial soul and has a strong hold upon the affection of people here. (Grand Forks Daily Herald, Friday Evening, October 4, 1889, Volume XV, Number 285, Page 4)

Father L’hiver, of Dunseith, is out in an interesting letter booming the coal fields of the Turtle Mountains, which are said to yield a quality of lignite of 56 per cent carbon. 7 per cent more than any other coal yet discovered in the state. (Grand Forks Daily Herald, Sunday Morning, March 22, 1891, Volume XX, Number 118, Page 4)

Page 266. Among the pioneer missionaries of Dakota Territory who yet remain to bless this state by their unselfish labors, is the Rev. Father L’Hiver of Dunseith, whose missionary life began in the extreme north of Maine on the upper St. John river. In April, 1877, he came to the city of Yankton, then the capital of the territory, and under the jurisdiction of Bishop Grace with Bishop Ireland as coadjutor, both residing in St. Paul, began this twenty-five years of loyal service. There was then no priest west of him in Dakota, none north; east was Father Bonher in Jefferson, six or seven miles west of Sioux City. Father L’hiver radiated from Yankton north and west, ministering to the white settlers. The Indian reservations on the Missouri river were under the care of Father Martin Marty, who was living then at Fort Abraham Lincoln. It was Father Marty’s custom while recruiting for the western mission fields in the east, to send to Father L’Hiver the priests he had engaged in the state for the service of the reservations, to receive instructions from him in their new and strange duties among the Indians.

Father L’Hiver left Yankton in 1878 and was appointed to Grand Forks by Bishop Seidenbush of St. Cloud, Minn., there being then but few Catholics there. There were then no missions either north or west of Grand Forks. Father L’Hiver was besides in charge of northern Minnesota, Crookston, etc. In October, 1878, he built the first church in Grand Forks for the fifteen Catholic families then living there. In 1882 he built the present church under the direction of Bishop Marty. In 1884 Father L’Hiver visited France where he remained six months. Upon his return to this country Father Marty, who was then vicar apostolic of Dakota Territory, sent him to Larimore, where he remained until October, 1884, when he went to Dunseith, where

Page 267. he has remained ever since, laboring amid difficulties with zeal and efficiency, in his Master’s cause, and serving without salary on account of the few people and unsettled condition of that new country. Such men as he are leading lives of heroes, and the world should show them honor and tender consideration while they are yet among us. (Collections of the State Historical Society of North Dakota, Volume I, Tribune, State Printers and Binders, Bismarck, 1906)

The largest number of people of any one race in the county [Rolette] is that of the French. The French came to Rolette county at the solicitation of Father L’hiver, and almost none have become dissatisfied. (North Dakota Magazine, Popular History of North Dakota, Clement A. Lounsberry, December 1906, Volume I, Number 5, Page 32)

Father L’Hiver Is Dead. Pioneer Priest of Grand Forks Passed Away at Devils Lake, Aged 82 Years – Many Friends Mourn. Father L’Hiver, who was the second priest of the Catholic parish in Grand Forks, died yesterday morning (October 25, 1907) at the Mercy hospital in Devils Lake. News of his death caused profound sorrow among his many friends in this section of the state. He was 82 years old but was quite vigorous up to the time of his death. His work among the Indian settlers in the vicinity of Dunseith has been notable. Father L’Hiver came to Grand Forks in 1879 and remained in charge of the parish here until 1883. While in this city he built a temporary church. Speaking of his career an old settler of the city stated yesterday. “The members were not numerous at that time but Father L’Hiver was a faithful guardian of the church’s intent and as soon as a new member arrived in Grand Forks he was given the glad hand and welcomed to his church home. The reverend father looked well after the spiritual intents of his parishioners. In his daily life he was a friend of every man and he made many friends for the church. He was a pioneer in every sense of the word, suffering all the privations of the old pioneers. “Having put in the foundation for a good work in Grand Forks and leaving the work in fine condition, the church thought he could do good pioneer service on the front, so he was sent to Dunseith, where he has labored faithfully for several years until stricken with paralysis from which he never recovered. “The old settlers have lost a staunch friend and the church a faithful worker. May we all profit by our remembrance of his many kind deeds.” (Grand Forks Daily Herald, Saturday Morning, October 26, 1907, Volume XXVI, Number 309, Page 6)


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