Fr. Marvillo, S.J. visited the area twice to celebrate Mass in 1883. This was the first activity for the Catholics who were moving into the area known as Keuterville. In July 1884, the townsite was pre-empted by Anton Hendricks, and the patent secured in 1889. The first store was erected by Mr. Keuter in 1888, and this was followed by a blacksmith shop by John Maugg in 1889, and in the early ‘90s came Henry Greving with a general store. The post office was established in 1888.
Anton Hendricks donated the ground for the Holy Cross Church. It was erected in Keuterville in 1886 under the direction of Fr. Diomedi, S.J., and the same summer a considerable immigration of German farmers flowed in. At that time, the church was furnished with a table as altar, but had no pews. John Uhlenkott had brought a statue of the Blessed Virgin with him. Services were held once a month. They also brought the articles necessary for Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, so afternoon services were held on Sundays, beginning in the fall of 1887. In April 1888, Fr. Soer, S.J., celebrated the first High Mass.
In the early years, when the priest could come so seldom, Fr. Diomedi had suggested to the people that they assemble to pray even when they could not assist at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on Sundays. This they did. Mr. Hendricks aided Mr. Uhlenkott in leading the Rosary and Litany, and in reading the Epistle and Gospel of the Sunday, with an explanation. Between prayers and the reading of the sacred texts, the whole congregation united in singing hymns.
Fr. Kroeger took care of the Keuterville parish from November, 1892 to November, 1987, the time of his death. His mortal remains lie buried in the Keuterville Cemetery.
The Jesuits called the mission at Keuterville “St. Peter’s” but when the bishop came to bless the church, he called it “Sacred Heart Church.” When the church was built in 1911 and dedicated, the bishop said, “I have too many Sacred Heart churches in my diocese; I will call this one Holy Cross Church.”
The second church, which was built in 1897, was destroyed by fire May 3, 1911. The church was built again and stands firm and tall in the heart of Keuterville. Although the Holy Cross parishioners were incorporated with St. Mary’s Parish, Cottonwood, in 1992, the church is still used for special occasions – weddings, baptisms, funerals. During the time that the first church was planned, 1883 until 1992, when it was renamed a chapel, there were fifty-three priests assigned to this parish. The parish house was moved and sold to a private family. The hall still stands, and is used for receptions, dinners and the like. Each year the parish holds the St. Mary’s/Holy Cross Dinner and Raffle the second Sunday in February. It is still a successful event.