Mrs. Innocent Ryan, a widow, headed the contribution list giving $100 to the cause. Other subscribers were John Erwin, Michael Hogan, Patrick Deane, Thomas Howe, James Howe, Michael Howe, John Nash, John Lundigan, Michael Ryan, Con Ryan, Patrick Ryan, William Delaney, Michael Lenaham, Patrick Hartigan, Pat Sheeran, and Mike Kelly.
Father Dumortier purchased the site for the church for $50 from John T. Price in September, 1859. The property was appropriately located near the post office, the Butterfield Stage Barn, and the government road frequented by soldiers and westward travelers.
Construction of the church began in 1861. Although the native limestone could be quarried nearby, all the lumber, windows, doors, and nails had to be hauled from Leavenworth--155 miles miles away--most of it by ox teams. Most of the construction work was done by volunteers in their spare time. Some of the men had gained masonary experience while working on the construction of Fort Riley. The window jams, doors, floor, and ceiling joists were all of native walnut, and the oak shingles for the roof were hewed by hand.
Because of the war there were constant material and manpower shortages which delayed the volunteer construction effort. The first recorded service was held in December 1864 and actual completion was not until 1866. When completed the building had no pews. Instead, chairs were brought in for Mass and other occasions.
The first furnishings for the church consisted of a small alter and a melodeon lent by Mr. George Snyder who owned a nearby store. Miss Mary McDonald was the first organist. The first wedding to take place in the little church was that of John and Mary Howe, performed by Father Dumortier on November 23, 1865. The first alter boy was T. J. Foley in 1869. When the church was first built, Mrs. Andrew Foley of New York came to visit her mother, Mrs. Innocent Ryan, and on her return home, told her pastor and the nuns of the "poor little church on the Kansas prairie," so on her next visit they sent with her the necessary vestments and altar linens. In 1866, Father Dumortier lists the Chapman's Creek mission parish as numbering 145 members. Title to St. Patrick's and the adjoining cemetery was assigned to Bishop J. B. Miege, the Vicariate of the Territory East of the Rocky Mountains in 1865.
For several years, St. Patrick's served as the settlement's schoolhouse. Miss Mary McDonald was the teacher. This continued until the formation of the District 12 school to the west of town and the District 4 school to the east.
Throughout the twenty years it was regularly used for service, St. Patrick's never had a permanent pastor. Rather, it was considered a mission station. As such it was assigned mission priests, who travelled circuit over designated territories.
In the summer of 1867 cholera broke out at Fort Harker, which was located near Ellsworth. Since this was part of his mission territory, Father Dumortier went to the fort to help administer to the sick. He fell victim in July, 1867.
Following Father Dumortier's death, other mission priests were assigned to cover the mission during its period of active use. Father John Fogarty was assigned until 1872. He was known as a dedicated and driven priest. On several occasions he was seen forging the swollen waters of Chapman's Creek, riding up to the front door of St. Patrick's and marching in to say Mass. Father Fogarty was succeeded by an even more interesting priest, Father Aloysius Carius. Father Carius served as an army chaplain in the Mexican War as well as in the Confederate Army during the Civil War, and finally in the United States Army for several years before coming to Kansas. "He was known for his eccentricity of dress; he would never wear a Roman collar but preferred a black string tie." Father Carius served the mission until 1882.
Although the subsequest missionaries assigned to St. Patrick's were strong and colorful figures in their own right, St. Patrick's has always been closely associated with Father Dumortier under whose zeal and organization it was constructed and promoted.
In 1883 a new Catholic church, St. Michaels, was built in Chapman to accommodate the rapidly growing congregation. For the next half century, St. Patrick's stood abandoned and prey to the ravages of time and weather. In 1931, the Daughters of Isabella, a Catholic organization in Chapman organized a fund-raising drive to restore the little mission church. The group held food sales, sold magazine subscriptions, and gave card parties to raise money for the work. The effort was a success, and St. Patrick's avoided the wrecking ball which eventually struck down Father Dumortier's other mission churches.
Restoration on St. Patrick's was again undertaken in 1962 under the direction of Monsignor Vincent LeMoine. Until this time, St Patrick's still lacked pews. During the 1962 restoration, pews from the 1883 construction of St. Michael's were installed in St. Patrick's. A statue of St. Patrick which was orginally in the mission church was found in St. Michael's and reinstalled. In addition to the pews and statue, an altar designed to match the original was built by Monsignor Vincent LeMoine and some local carpenters from pieces of an old altar donated by the Lutheran Church at Russell Springs. The crucifix and candlesticks of the church were the original ones provided by Father Dumortier.