The Bullitt County History Museum

Joseph Aud and the St. John's Chapel

The following article by Charles Hartley was published on 26 Apr 2015. It is archived here for your reading enjoyment.

Joseph and Ann Aud brought their four children to Kentucky sometime prior to 1810, and settled in far eastern Bullitt County. Here Joseph purchased about 300 acres of land along Rocky Run from Henry Crist and his wife Rachel. As we've mentioned before, Crist was a Revolutionary General, an Indian fighter, one of the early settlers on Salt River in Bullitt County, a member of the Kentucky Legislature, and a Congressman from Kentucky.

Henry Crist Home

It seems that Joseph Aud was a stonemason by trade, and Crist hired him to design and construct a new home on the other side of Rocky Run, a dwelling that still stands, although in deteriorating condition.

The Auds were Catholics, and had journeyed from Maryland to be near cousins who lived in and around Bardstown, an early center of the Catholic faith in Kentucky. Here they planned to rear their four children, three girls (Elizabeth Jane, Ann, and Mary Eliza) and a son, Ignatius.

Joseph Aud's ambition was to construct a church next to his property, so that the faith might be extended into Bullitt County, and his family might have a local place to attend, and sacred ground for a cemetery. It appears that he began construction in 1811, and in May 1814, he deeded a ten acre tract of land to the Reverend Benedict Joseph Flaget, Bishop of Bardstown, for a church and cemetery. It sat on a little rise above the creek that he called Assumption Hill.

The church was named St. John the Baptist Church, perhaps in honor of the saint himself, or, as a descendant has stated, it may have been named for Ann Aud's grandfather, said to be John Baptist Cissell.

In 1950, Sister Mary Philippa (Mary A. Henderson), who was a great, great granddaughter of Joseph Aud, wrote an article for the Filson Club History Quarterly about this church and cemetery. She stated that Reverend Charles Nerinckx of Belgium, who founded the Sisters of Loretto, negotiated the building of St. John's Chapel and laid out the cemetery adjoining it. The first priest in charge of St. Johns was the Rev. Guy Ignatius Chabrat.

Joseph Aud barely lived long enough to see his ambition a reality. He died in 1815, and is likely the first to be buried in the new cemetery.

The small chapel continued to serve its local congregation until 1851 when St. Gregory's at Samuels, Kentucky was constructed. Because St. John's was in a remote and isolated place, most of its early members left for St. Gregory's.

Thereafter, mass was only said in the chapel occasionally. Following the tragic death of Father Eugenio Bertello in the 1917 train wreck at Shepherdsville, the church was completely abandoned. According to one source, the wooden structure was removed for use elsewhere, leaving only the limestone foundation today.

Of Joseph and Ann Aud's children, their son Ignatius married Nancy Leewright and they moved west, first to Missouri, and later apparently to Texas; daughter Ann Aud married Philip B. Troutman and they later settled in Indiana with their large family; Mary Eliza Aud married Henry C. M. Cartmell, but died young; and Elizabeth Jane married Levi Magruder who would later own all of the 300 acres of Joseph Aud's land. I'll write about them later.

A decade ago, George Earl Meyers, an Aud descendant, visited the site of the church and cemetery, and made the excellent sketch of the site that you see here. It may be found in his book, Lincoln & Clark: Kings, Kin & Kentucky pioneers.

And two years ago, Patsy McGee, Kayce Humkey and the Cox's Station DAR crew visited the cemetery site and photographed the stones still available. You may view them here.

I think Joseph Aud would be pleased to know that his efforts and devotion have not been forgotten.

Copyright 2015 by Charles Hartley, Shepherdsville KY. All rights are reserved. No part of the content of this page may be included in any format in any place without the written permission of the copyright holder.

The Bullitt County History Museum, a service of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is located in the county courthouse at 300 South Buckman Street (Highway 61) in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. The museum, along with its research room, is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Saturday appointments are available by calling 502-921-0161 during our regular weekday hours. Admission is free. The museum, as part of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization and is classified as a 509(a)2 public charity. Contributions and bequests are deductible under section 2055, 2106, or 2522 of the Internal Revenue Code. Page last modified: 13 Jan 2024 . Page URL: