St. Thomas the Apostle Parish is located along the long and winding Osage River. Before this rugged territory was settled in the early 1800’s, the Little Osage Nation called it their hunting grounds where wildlife abounded.
The Indian Territorial Government established Cole County in 1821, paving the way for eager settlers to purchase this fertile land. Perched above the river bottom and close to today’s parish cemetery, German immigrants built a small log church for the families that lived in the area. Fr. Ferdinand Helias, S.J. began ministering to the needs of Catholics in this area in the early part of the 19th century. A larger frame church was built to support the Indian Bottom Settlement. As the city of St. Thomas took shape further east of the river, Father Peter Eysvogles, S.J. persuaded the families of Indian Bottom to move the church to this growing community.
In 1869, St. Thomas the Apostle Parish was established by Archbishop Peter Kenrick of the St. Louis Archdiocese. Our present brick church was erected in the heart of St. Thomas in 1883.