Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name




Degree Program

History, MA

Committee Chair

Crothers, Glenn A.

Committee Member

Krebs, Daniel

Committee Member

Clukey, Amy

Author's Keywords

Catholic; German; Irish; church; Kentucky; Owensboro


This thesis examines the development of the German and Irish Catholic communities of Daviess County, Kentucky. The primary focus of the work is the church building process and the separation of Catholic ethnic communities. Although they shared the same faith, American Catholics were divided by nationalism and ethnic hostility. Already isolated in the United States, immigrant Catholics formed cultural communities that adapted their foreign identity to their new surroundings. Scholars often analyze Catholics in the United States during this period as a unified group, but this approach is flawed. Catholics developed hostilities against members of their own faith along ethnic lines. This study investigates how these divergent relationships affected the development of Catholicism in western Kentucky as well as in the United States. In-group hostilities in addition to the malice of native-born Protestants intensified the immigrants’ attachment to their foreign identity generations after their forebears arrived in the U.S.

Included in

History Commons