Rev. Severin A. Muller was born July 24, 1888, in Cologne, Rhineland, Germany. He was educated at the Universities
of Bonn, Rhineland and Louvain, Belgium. He was graduated and was ordained to the Catholic Priesthood July 9, 1911.
He has been pastor of St. Peter's Church, Oswego, N. Y., since January, 1925.
St. Peter's was first organized during the Civil War. The history of the parish commences with the year 1863. In
that year several well known and influential German Catholics, with the permission of the Ecclesiastical Authorities,
broke ground on "Oak Hill" and a little chapel was erected. The Rt. Rev. John McCloskey, Bishop of Albany,
gave the church and the congregation in charge of the Minor Conventuals of Syracuse, who regularly came to Oswego
to conduct divine services. Among the several Franciscan Fathers, the Rev. Fidelis Dehm, O. M. C., was most prominent
in the affairs of the young parish in Oswego and became afterwards Bishop of Roumania in Europe.
In 1870, the congregation engaged the first resident pastor in the person of Rev. Joseph Ottenhues. Among his successors
the Rev. Herman Wibbe, who for over ten years had charge of the parish, should be mentioned not only as a religious
leader and administrator, but also as a famous scientist and botanist. In his days the grounds around the church,
which in the meantime had been enlarged, were an attraction for nature lovers from all over, who came to Oswego
to see the wonderful flowers, trees and plants. The precious herbariums of Father Wibbe are preserved in the State
Museum of Albany. The Rev. Joseph Lechner, now pastor of St. Mary's in Utica, N. Y., and the Rev. George Heisler,
now pastor of St. Mary's in Rome, N. Y., were both former pastors of St. Peter's in Oswego. In the meantime many
of the descendants of those first sturdy German Catholic settlers in and about Oswego moved out West, other people
lost interest, and the once so prominent parish saw its last pastor leave in 1917. From that time to October, 1923,
all that was left of a formerly flourishing and most active parish, which had accomplished so much good in the
upbuilding of the City of Oswego, was only the mere name.
In October, 1923, the Rt. Rev. Bishop Daniel Curley, of the diocese of Syracuse, sent the present pastor as assistant
to the old St. Paul's on the east side in the City of Oswego with the understanding that Father Muller should endeavor
to reorganize the dying St. Peter's parish. Father Muller and the few remaining faithful members took up the work
with great zeal and enthusiasm. People from all over the city returned to the old church on Oak Hill, many new
members joined and there was joy and jubilation when in January, 1925, Rev. S. A. Muller was appointed acting resident
pastor and the parish was re established. Ever since, St. Peter's has been growing steadily and as of old the parish
is once more a most influential factor in the religious and civil life of the "Lake City." In 1929 and
1930, the old frame building was remodelled and brick veneered, the interior of the edifice was redecorated, new
stained glass windows were installed, a new organ was built and a glorious resurrection has come to the old little
church on the hill. There is a firm assurance in a still brighter future of St. Peter's. The church on "Oak
Hill" will continue to work for the welfare of a better and bigger Oswego.
The North Country
A History, Embracing
Jefferson, St. Lawrence, Oswego, Lewis
and Franklin Counties, New York.
By: Harry F. Landon
Historical Publishing Company
Indianopolis, Indiana 1932
Oswego County, NY
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