St. Thomas the Apostle parish came to be in the year 1846 in a place known as North Barrens, about 4 miles west of Crystal Lake along Route 176. The actual site of the first Church, a log structure, was on the grounds of Mount Thabor Cemetery. It was Rev. McMahon who organized the Mission Church. The structure was called the Little Church in the Bush by the Algonquin Township residents around Crystal Lake, and the Little Church in the Woods by the Grafton Township residents of Huntley. Both areas attached themselves to the Church. It served approximately 20-25 families. The Mission Church was served from Woodstock by the following Priests from 1855-1885: Rev. Bernard O’Hara, Rev. James Meager, Rev. Terrance Fitzsimmons, Rev. James Ryan, Rev. J.M. Riordan, Rev. T. Quigley, Rev. T.L. Lightner, Rev. John Carroll, & Rev. Thomas Leyden. A large influx of Catholics into the Crystal Lake area came in 1846. The congregation grew rapidly, and it became a Mission Church of St. Mary Parish, Woodstock, when that church received its first resident Pastor, Father Bernard O’Hara in 1855. By 1877, when Rev. Thomas F. Leydon was Woodstock’s Pastor, weekly mass had to be said in the larger quarters of Fitch’s Hall (Virginia Street & Florence Street where the Mobile gas Station is currently) in Crystal Lake. Under the supervision of Rev. Leydon, property was purchased (from Thomas Leonard, Sr.) on Pierson Avenue and a frame church was constructed, with the first mass being said in 1881. The parish consisted of 65 families and the property value was $5,000.00. In 1905, Barrington and Crystal Lake separated from Woodstock congregation and each was made a separate parishes. Each town had its own church; both communities contributed financial to build the rectory which was located in Barrington. During these latter years, St. Thomas parish was unique in that Mrs. T.F. Leonard, a parish member and gifted artist, decorated the church in the fashion of old country cathedrals. Inspiring murals frescoed the walls, and holy pictures covered the ceiling. The subsequent sale of the building for a homesite found these works of art destroyed, but the impression of their beauty and inspiration remained.