Hewson Peeke wrote in his 1916 edition of A Standard History of Erie County, Ohio, that during the Cholera epidemic of 1840, Father Machebeuf secured a home to be used as a children’s home for the children left orphans during the epidemic. Catherine Bissonette, from La Prairie, Sandusky County was the matron of this home. The 1850 Census for Erie County, Ohio lists a “Projectus Maschbuff,” along with a female named Mary, an adult male, and four children named John Sheibley, Fanny Mahoney, and Barney and James McCormick residing on the west side of Sandusky. An article on the February 22, 1883 Sandusky Register gives an account of Father Machebeuf’s strong teachings on temperance. When Father Machebeuf would hear of one of his parishioners “getting on a spree and neglecting to support his family, he used to arm himself with a rawhide and finding the chap in a saloon, he could then and there draw forth the rawhide and give him a sound flogging. It is said he was never resisted and that the priest’s unique temperance lecture was in more than one case effectual.”
In 1850 Father Machebeuf left Sandusky for the western United States. He worked as a missionary priest in New Mexico and Colorado, and he was appointed Bishop of Denver on August 16, 1868. Willa Cather based the character of Father Joseph Vaillant in her 1927 book Death Comes to the Archbishop on the life of Father Joseph P. Machebeuf. Mount Machebeuf was named after Father Machebeuf, and Bishop Machebeuf School is considered a top school in Denver, Colorado.
Two biographies of Father Joseph Machebeuf are found in the genealogy collections of the Sandusky Library: Life of the Right Reverend Joseph P. Machebeuf, by Rev. W. J. Howlett, and Death's Deceiver, by Lynn Bridgers. Father Joseph P. Machebeuf died on July 10, 1889, and he is buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery in Jefferson County, Colorado.