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St. Joseph’s Chapel, located at Ashland in Greene County, is the oldest Roman Catholic Church in the Catskills.

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Ashland, Greene County

St. Joseph’s Chapel is the oldest Roman Catholic Church in the Catskills. The church was established around 1800 and is located on a hillside along Route 23 between the hamlet of Windham and the hamlet of Prattsville. It serves as a mission church for St. Theresa of the Child Jesus Church at Windham, and is part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany. The church is surrounded by a small cemetery which contains approximately 100 gravestones, many of them unmarked. The lack of a headstone and/or markings typically meant the family of the deceased did not have the money to purchase it. One memorial within the cemetery is marked as “Irish Colleens,” which is dedicated “in loving memory of the 14 Irish girls who came here from Ireland in the 1800s and who tragically lost their lives in a fire. They are buried here in a mass grave. May God bless and hold them in the palm of his hands.” The girls worked in the local cotton mills as weavers. Hanging inside the chapel is a poem titled “The Irish Colleens” by Robert W. Boughter (1896-1983), who is also buried at the cemetery. Although the church no longer offers regular services an annual service is usually conducted in the springtime by members of St. Theresa’s Parish of Windham.