The origin of our parish dates back to 1860, when Catholic settlers worshiped at a small log church located
on a rocky hill today overlooking Route C, approximately ¼ mile west of the North Moreau Bridge, at a
place called Stringtown. The stone foundation of the first church still can be seen. There is still a small
cemetery located nearby in the woods. They were dedicated to St. Joseph. Fr. Henry VanDerSanden,
assistant pastor of St. Peter Church in Jefferson, would visit once every six weeks. The St. Peter parish
Priests came to celebrate Mass at Stringtown until 1884. One of the last missionaries to do so was Fr.
John Schramm. It was at this time that he saw a greater need for a parish in the area of Elston which
would be across the North Moreau. It frequently flooded, making travel from the north to St. Joseph
quite difficult. In 1885 Fr. Schramm was given permission by the Archbishop of St. Louis to open a parish
and was assigned to be the first pastor. St. Martin Parish was established at its present location, which
was then called Elston. However, Mass continued to celebrated until about 1894 in Stringtown.

On October 15, 1887, $100 was donated and paid to B. and Elizabeth McDavitt for a parcel of land
deeded to trustees of the Catholic Church, Cole County, MO. In the town of Russellville, for record on
October 26, 1887. Fr. Schramm symbolizing the intent to build a church and Catholic Parish, here laid the
same year a stone. Through the contributions of thirty-three people, a small frame church, surrounded by
gorgeous oak trees was built on the newly purchased 1 ½ acre lot. A cemetery was also established. The
new frame church of St. Michael was dedicated on October 22, 1890. On January 31, 1891, an additional
parcel of land was acquired from Peter and Elizabeth Dampf. In 1897, a school was established with a lay
teacher in charge. In 1906, St. Michael was established as a separate Parish. Until then, it had been a
mission of St. Martin Church.

Later, a large two story rectory was built in Russellville and there was a resident pastor for a period
of years, possibly up until the early 1930s when the parish was closed for several years. It is believed that
it was reopened around 1934, and Fr. John Bruemmer from St. Peter came to celebrate Mass.

Throughout most of the parish history, priests stationed at St. Peter, St. Martin’s, Cathedral or
LaSalette Seminary priests in Jefferson City served our parish. In September 1962, Fr. Norman J. Ahrens of
St. Peter in Jefferson City, was appointed administrator of the parish. In 1968, under his leadership, the
building we now use as our Parish Center was built. In 1969, Fr. Michael McHugh came to serve the parish
and remained until its closing by Bishop Michael F. McAuliffe in February 1970. St. Michael's remained
closed for almost 15 years. Through the deep faith and hard work of the Catholic community here, led by
an interim Parish Council, St. Michael Parish was reopened with the permission of Bishop McAuliffe on
December 24, 1984 with Fr. Mel Lahr of St. Martin’s as administrator.

On July 15, 1985, Fr. William Forst was appointed as Pastor. In September 1985, Sr. Lois Martens,
SSND was appointed Pastoral Administrator of the parish. This position has the pastoral responsibility of a
parish, except for the celebration of the Sacraments. Sr. Lois Martens, SSND served St. Michaels until July
1991. Sr. Donna Eggering, O.S.F., was then appointed and served the church until 2004. She oversaw the
construction of the current Church which was dedicated by Bishop John R. Gaydos on June 23, 2002.
Bishop Gaydos then appointed Deacon Robert DePyper together with his wife, Millie, to serve the needs
of our church until 2011. A new rectory was built in 2006. Sr. Mary Rost SSND took over as the Pastoral
Administrator in August of 2011 and remained with the parish until July 1, 2018 when she moved to
Immaculate Conception in Brookfield, Missouri. Bishop Shawn McKnight asked his new Vicar General,
Msgr Robert A. Kurwicki, who was pastor of the Cathedral for 14 years, to become our first resident Pastor
since the 1930s. Monsignor arrived on July 1, 2018. He is currently the chaplain of the Missouri House of
Representatives and member of the Russellville Ministerial Alliance.

In August of 2022, Darah Scott came to St. Michael as parish secretary/bookkeeper who
together with the parish and finance councils work to bring the Gospel to our 145 households.