About 1.5 miles North of Jackson is the abandoned site of “Old St. John’s,” one of the first towns established in Dakota County.
The town site was settled on June 2, 1856, by Father Trecy; a colony of 60 people, with eighteen ox-drawn covered wagons. The site was surveyed and platted June 24, 1856, and the town was named St. John’s, in honor of St. John the Baptist.
The Colony was led by Father Jeremiah Trecy, a young Catholic Priest from the Garryowen Parish Near Dubuque, Iowa. Consisting mostly of Irish immigrants, it constituted the first Catholic parish in Nebraska. The town of St. John’s grew rapidly and by 1858 it had two hundred inhabitants.
In 1860 Father Trecy went to Washington seeking permission to establish a mission among the Ponca Indians. Meanwhile the Civil War began. Father Trecy became an army chaplain and never returned to his beloved Colony.
In the early eighteen sixties, the Missouri River began to threaten St. John’s. The people began moving their buildings to the new town of Jackson. By 1866, all buildings were gone and the town site was abandoned.
The site of St. John’s still exists as a symbol of courage, hope, and of the religious faith of a dedicated people.