The development of St. John the Baptist Parish is closely linked to the growth and settlement of the western frontier. As Irish Catholic immigrants fled famine and persecution in their homeland and brought with them their devout Catholic faith, Catholic parishes in the Nebraska territory began to expand and grow. Clusters of these immigrants settled in southeast Washington County in the area between Florence and DeSoto. The names of Kelly, Fenton, Fitzgerald, Shinnick, Sully, Leehy, and Keegan are but just a few of those early pioneers who helped establish St. John the Baptist Parish.
Since its founding in 1883 our parish has grown and flourished. The first couple married at St. Johns was in 1895, Fitzgerald - McCarthy. The old wooden church stood until 1990. The new church was complete in 1982. Some 30+ priests have been appointed to the parish since 1883, including Fr. Jim Schwertley who was appointed resident priest in 1982 and retired in June 1999 after serving 17 years.