St. Thomas’ Church, Ivy Mills.
The Catholic residents of Aston for many years attended worship in St. Mary’s Church, the noted chapel in the mansion of the Willcox family at Ivy Mills, in Concord township, but in time the congregation grew so numerous that it became necessary to erect a sanctuary at a more convenient location for those living in Rockdale and its neighborhood. Hence to that end a tract of land was purchased from Nicholas F. Walter on Aug. 26, 1852, the deed being made to the Rt. Rev. J.N. Newman, bishop of the diocese of Philadelphia, which lot was to be held in trust for the congregation of Ivy Mills. On Sunday, Aug. 29, 1852, the corner-stone of the church of "St. Thomas the Apostle" was laid, Rev. Mr. Sourin, of Philadelphia, conducting the ceremonies. The imposing church edifice was finished in 1856, and on Oct. 20, 1856, Rev. Charles Joseph Maugin was appointed the first pastor. In 1858 he was succeeded by Rev. Nicholas Walsh, and in the latter part of that year a frame parsonage was erected, at a cost of two thousand four hundred and forty-four dollars. In 1860, Rev. Thomas Kyle was in charge, and in 1862, Rev. Henry Wright. He was succeeded by Rev. John Wall in 1864, and in 1866, Rev. James J. McElroy became the pastor of St. Thomas’ Church. The latter, in 1868, gave place to Rev. James F. Kelley, and he in turn, in 1870, to Rev. John Cox. In 1872, Rev. Michael Lawlor was its pastor. On Tuesday night, Feb. 4, 1873, the parsonage was totally destroyed by fire, originating in a defective flue. The contents of the building were saved, and by the utmost exertions the church edifice, which stood in close proximity, was rescued from the flames, which threatened its destruction. The following October Rev. John J. Wood was in charge, and during his pastorate a substantial brick parsonage was erected. He was followed, in 1875, by Rev. Andrew J. Gallagher, and on Oct. 14, 1877, the present pastor, William F. Cook, was installed. The congregation now numbers about fourteen hundred persons, and a mission chapel is attached to this church, located near Elam.
A place to gather and share information about the Thomas Willcox and Elizabeth Cole Willcox Family of Ivy Mills, PA. For more information see the Home page link above or contact Deniane Kartchner at Denianek@gmail.com. My husband is a descendant of Thomas and Elizabeth's son James who married Prudence Doyle. Their son John's daughter Prudence married John Christopher Kartchner.
Note: This is a work in progress! I am trying to verify everything before I post, but feel free to send me corrections and/or suggestions. It’s also not a complete history of Ivy Mills or a website for current operations, although I will gladly try to answer any questions and/or lead you to the right information.