On Dec. 6, 1818, the first Catholic church in Ohio was blessed in Somerset by Rev. Edward Dominic Fenwick and Rev. Nicholas Dominic Young from the monastery in St. Rose, Ky.
Dedicated to St. Joseph, the church was a one-room log building with a dirt floor.
Somerset in central Ohio was the site of the first permanent Catholic settlement in the state. Fenwick - a Dominican friar who would later be the first bishop in Ohio - visited the small group of Catholics there in 1808 and returned periodically to conduct Mass.
The first church was built on land donated and cleared by Jacob Dittoe and neighboring German Catholic families. Later, they built a second log structure of two rooms to serve as a rectory.
Soon after, two more Catholic churches were built - one in Zanesville and one in Cincinnati.
In 1820 Fenwick estimated the number of Catholics in Ohio at 3,000 - mostly German and Irish.
The diocese of Cincinnati was established in 1821 with Fenwick as bishop.
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