At noon, on November 18, 1895, this area was opened for settlement. The first to rush to their chosen homesteads in what is now called Greencreek were Barney Stubbers and Joseph Nuxoll. They say that all but two of the first homesteaders in Greencreek were Catholics. These people came, for the most part, from Effingham, Teutopolis, Bishop and Greencreek IL. We are all indebted to these brave and hardy pioneers who had the foresight and spirit to not only work the ground, but to build a church for worship and a school for learning.
Fr. Aloysius Soer, S.J. was the first priest to celebrate Mass in Greencreek. The first Holy Masses were in the home of Joseph Sohn. He placed a cross on the top of his home to designate it as the place for Mass. Mr. Sohn had studied for the priesthood for a while, and he was educated enough to be the first teacher in this area. He would ride his horse, “Johnny”, to the different farm houses in the area to read for the families.
On May 8, 1899, Fr. Louis Mueller, pastor at Keuterville, called a meeting of the Greencreek parishioners to plan the establishment of a parish. Joseph Schmidt donated the land for a church, Edmund Sonnen donated land opposite the church site for a school and Joseph Nuxoll donated land for a cemetery. On October 20, 1900, the church was dedicated and the cemetery was consecrated by Bishop Alphonse J. Glorieux. Fr. Mueller was the first pastor. In October 1904, came the appointment of Fr. J.L.M. Campbell to St. Anthony Parish. During this time, the first rectory was built and the church was improved with donations from the parishioners. In 1905, the parish school was constructed.
On October 13, 1907, Fr. Martin Baerlocher came to serve, and remained here for 39 years. He remodeled the church, added new statues and installed a bell tower in 1911. He started the production of plays by the Youth Sodality Group.
In 1913, the Sisters of St. Joseph were called to teach the children. Prior to this, the parish school had been taught by lay persons who deserve a great deal of credit to keep alive the love for study and education. In 1917, the Benedictine Sisters from the Monastery of St. Gertrude, Cottonwood, took over the teaching. This continued until 1970, when the schools in Greencreek, Ferdinand, Keuterville and Cottonwood were consolidated.
Fr. Cyprian A. Bradley was assigned to St. Anthony Parish in 1946 after Fr. Baerlocher resigned because of failing health and advanced years. The new rectory was built in 1948 and the church was painted and repaired in 1949.
Fr. Richard C. Bauman became pastor on July 27, 1950. At this time, the parish had about 400 members. During his pastorate, the Sisters were refused permission to teach in the public schools. On of the Greencreek schools was bought for a Catholic school and taught by Sisters for half the grades and the other school remained a public school staffed by lay teachers.
In September 1955, Fr. James Shinnick was assigned to the parish. During his stay, the church burned to the ground on the afternoon of August 14, 1960. The Community Hall was used as a temporary church wile plans to rebuild were being made. On December 8, 1961, Bishop James J. Byrne laid the corner stone. September 25, 1962, was dedication day for the new church by Bishop Sylvester Treinen. It was during this time that the high schools were consolidated into a central high school at St. Gertrude’s Academy. There still remained a; public high school in Cottonwood.
Fr. Victor J. Lustig was assigned to Greencreek in October 1969. He had been baptized at St. Anthony Church, went to school in Greencreek and was ordained from this parish in 1942. After spending more than 20 years in the United States Military Service, he retired and became pastor of his childhood parish.
Carpeting was installed in the main body of the church in 1976. Remodeled confessionals came next. The following year the sanctuary railing was removed and carpet installed throughout the sanctuary.
From 1978 to 1982, Fr. Francis E. DeNardis was assigned to St. Anthony Parish. Carpet in the entry way, glass heat-saving partition behind the choir loft, a different organ and carpet in the winter chapel took place during this time. Fr. Liam Davitt served the parish 1982 to 1987. In June, 1982, Bishop Treinen stated that Greencreek, Ferdinand and Winchester would be sharing one priest. Fr. Thomas Mathes came in 1987 to continue with the three parishes until 1992.
The parish repurchased the brick building which was the Sister’s house, built in the 1950’s. Mary Arnzen had owned it for several years. The old rectory was moved to Cottonwood.
Fr. Simeon Van De Voord was assigned here briefly in 1992. Fr. Canisius Hayes, S.J. came in 1993 until October 6, 2000. Renovation on the church started with a new organ, steeple repaired, new speaker system, fence at the cemetery, church interior repainted, lawn sprinkler system installed, widened the sidewalk to the hall and a statue and sign placed in front of the church.
When Fr. Hayes passed away, the parishes of Ferdinand and Greencreek were under the care of the Cottonwood pastor. Fr. Andrew Schumacher served the three parishes until his retirement in 2004. Then Fr. Camillus Temba, ALCP, became pastor, being reassigned June 2007.
On July 1, 2007, Fr. Richard S. Haldane was arrived to the parish. To make easier planning, the councils were combined from the parishes – pastoral, finance, and liturgy. Individual parish programs were also combined – youth ministry, adult faith formation, and religious education for students. Construction started in the fall of 2011 for a four-classroom building located across from Prairie Elementary School, for religious education and meetings/social gatherings.
Father Richard Haldane retired in July 2012. Father Paul H. Wander moved to the Camas Prairie to pastor the Tri-Parishes, he moved her from St. Charles Parish, Salmon, Idaho.