Dedicate yourselves to thankfulness. Colossians 3:15

Monday, March 31, 2008

History of St. Patrick Catholic Church in Mount Savage, Maryland

The complete History of St. Patrick Catholic Church in Mount Savage, Maryland is available for purchase from the author. Cost is a $15 donation to the church. Make check payable to St. Patrick Catholic Church and mail to Nancy E. Thoerig, P.O. Box 455, Mount Savage, MD 21545. Questions: Post a comment. Thank you.

Dedicated to the Holy Trinity
– Father, Son, Spirit –
– strength, love, wisdom –
the best in each of us.

With much gratitude to
Sister Joan Minella,
my second grade teacher and good guide,
for opening this project to me
and for being a thorough and thoughtful editor,
and to
Father Doug Kenney
for seeing it through to completion,
and to everyone
who contributed and cooperated
to make it happen.
Hoping it brings enjoyment.

History of St. Patrick Catholic Church
in Mount Savage, Maryland

Table of Contents

Milestones iv

Part 1: From the coming of the first Catholic immigrant
to Fort Cumberland in about 1758 to the laying
of the cornerstone for St. Patrick in late 1863 1

Part 2: From the blessing of the cornerstone for St. Patrick
on April 23, 1865 to the retirement
of Father Michael Smyth in June 1967 15

Part 3: The pastorate of Father Mackey,
a tribute to the religious ordained from St. Patrick
and a time of transition for the parish 31

Part 4: A new direction 47

Part 5: The lay heritage 53

Conclusion 56

Bibliography of Sources 57

in the History of St. Patrick Catholic Church
in Mount Savage, Maryland

circa 1758 John Mattingly, first Catholic in Allegany County, settled in the vicinity of Fort Cumberland. The Mattingly family would purchase land at Arnold’s Settlement, to become the town of Mount Savage.

1791 First Catholic death in Allegany County (established in 1789) recorded as John Arnold (April 26, 1791).

1793 First Catholic Mass celebrated at Arnold’s Settlement by Rev. Stephen Theodore Badin, first priest ordained in America, in travels via Braddock’s Road from Baltimore to Pittsburgh.

1795-1799 Mass celebrated infrequently at Arnold’s Settlement by Rev. Demetrius Augustine Galitzin, second priest ordained in America,
a circuit rider.

1799-1810 Mass celebrated occasionally at Arnold’s Settlement by Rev. Felix Brosius of Taneytown, Galitzin’s traveling companion.

1810-1812 Mass celebrated occasionally at Arnold’s Settlement by Rev. Nicholas Zocchi of Taneytown.

1812-1819 Mass celebrated occasionally at Arnold’s Settlement by Rev. Matthew Ryan of Hagerstown.

1819-1825 Mass celebrated regularly (three or four times a year) at Arnold’s Settlement by Rev. Timothy Ryan, a missionary, named pastor at
St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Cumberland, in 1822.

1825-1828 Mass celebrated four or five times a year) at Arnold’s Settlement by Rev. Francis Ruloff.

1828-1835 Mass celebrated more regularly by Rev. Francis Xavier Marshall, an ex-Jesuit, who built a new brick church at Arnold’s Settlement and dedicated it to St. Ignatius, founder of the Jesuit order.

1835-1840 Rev. Fathers Henry Myers and Bertrand S. Piot served St. Ignatius as a mission of Cumberland, though the Mount Savage congregation was larger.

1840-1845 St. Ignatius mission served by Rev. Leonard Obermeyer, stationed
in Cumberland.

1845-1855 Rev. Charles C. Brennan assigned first resident pastor at St. Ignatius.

1856-1861 Rev. James Carney promoted from assistant pastor at St. Patrick in Cumberland to pastor at St. Ignatius.

1861-1868 Rev. Richard Brown leads parish in building a new church. Excavation begun late 1862. Cornerstone laid late 1863. New church named St. Patrick in tribute to Irish immigrants. Cornerstone blessed April 23, 1865.

1868-1875 Rev. Jeremiah Hendricks makes improvements to church building and grounds, re-dedicated October 5, 1873. Father Hendricks first to be buried at lot at east side of church.

1875-1894 Rev. Patrick Francis O’Connor expanded church grounds, built hall behind rectory, installed new stained glass windows and belfry, led blessing celebration October 9, 1892. Died April 30, 1894. Buried next to Father Hendricks at churchside.

1895-1904 Rev. Edward A. Williams, native of Ireland, raised money and established a school at St. Patrick. School opened September 9, 1896 in old hall behind rectory by Ursuline Sisters. School Sisters of Notre Dame opened classes on September 5, 1899. On May 14, 1900, ground was broken for a new school. Father Williams enlarged and embellished the sanctuary and beautified grounds.

1904-1923 Rev. John W. Dowling constructed present rectory, erected wall around church property, built parish hall in 1921.

1923-1932 Rev. George H. Tragessor devoted efforts to parishioners’ spiritual welfare, “sewing the seed of many religious vocations.”

1932-1940 Rev. Francis J. Egan maintained parish financial stability through end of Depression, made improvements to school and church buildings.

1940-1943 Rev. Joseph T. Lane continued to reduce debt and make needed repairs to buildings.

1943-1967 Rev. Michael S. Smyth, native of Ireland, paid off debt and made repairs, built Marion Shrine (dedicated September 26, 1954). Third pastor buried in church plot, St. Patrick’s Day, 1971.

1967-1992 Rev. John J. Mackey made many improvements to church, hall, rectory, cemetery. School closed with last graduating class June 13, 1969. Celebrated silver anniversary of ordination in June 1974, chaired by distinguished parishioner Mary E. Murray. Together, Father Mackey and Miss Murray planned a celebration October 28, 1990, to honor Cardinal Mooney and other religious who came from Mount Savage. St. Patrick parish in Mount Savage is known in the Archdiocese of Baltimore as producing at one time the greatest number of religious among its population.

‘Til May 1992 Rev. Thomas Bevans

May 1992-
Summer 1993
Rev. Edward Henricks focused on evangelization, development of youth groups, growth of the religious education program.

Summer 1993-1995 Rev. Brendan Carr began church renovation and purchased new organ.

1995-1996 Rev. Fathers David Lawlor and Bill Craig completed renovation.

April 1997-
January 31, 2003
Sister Joan Minella, SSND, former teacher at St. Patrick School, assigned Pastoral Life Director for St. Patrick in Mount Savage and St. Ann in Grantsville. School demolished, hall renovated.

Februay 1, 2003-
June 30, 2003
Deacon Loren Mooney, serving St. Patrick in Cumberland, assigned Temporary Administrator/Pastoral Leader

July 6, 2003-
Rev. Doug Kenney, native of Frostburg, assigned Associate Pastor/Pastoral Leader.

Summary of
History of St. Patrick Catholic Church
in Mount Savage,
by Nancy E. Thoerig
(c) April 5, 2004
Chapater 1: John Mattingly, first Catholic immigrant
Hard work and determination, perseverance and riding the waves of time comprise that combination of personal habits and detached surrender to God’s will that bring us from past to future, with the present being a passage of choice and circumstance.

Those who go before us and come after us struggle, as we do day to day, to do what is right and best for all, utilizing the resources at hand—environmental and human—available, and willing, to promote the welfare of the community.

John Mattingly was one such man: A frontiersman, a family man, a Catholic, seeking fortune, perhaps land, adventure, independence. The fur trade originally brought settlers, including Mr. Mattingly, west from the Conococheague to the region of the Potomac. The desire to develop rich natural resources here and west to the fertile Ohio valley was the reason for English expedition and brought on the wars with the French and their Indian sympathizers, the most significant in our area being the last that occurred in the years 1754 to 1763.

Mr. Mattingly may have reminisced in his days with friendly old Indian Will and his wife Eve about customs of the Algonquin and Shawnee, long gone and known then only by folktale and remnants of tools and burial grounds. He may have bartered with Thomas Cresap, whose trading post was the center of activity in present-day Oldtown and who, with Indian scout Neamcolin, helped cut the route from Wills Creek to the Forks (Three Rivers at present-day Pittsburgh) for the Ohio Company. He may have learned some trade from famed wilderness scout Christopher Gist, who with Nemacolin improved the first road that later would be used by General Braddock in his ill-fated march to Fort Duquesne.

He must have known John Frazier, whose fur trade was based about four miles from Fort Cumberland at the mouth of Evitts Creek and whose sturdy wife Jane, captured from their home in a bloody raid by the Miamis and held at their camps in Illinois, wisely bided her time to escape and make her return here by foot 17 months later.

John Mattingly himself settled near Fort Cumberland sometime before the close of the last French and Indian war. He may have been about 25 years old in about 1758. He was the first Catholic immigrant to what is now the City of Cumberland; by the turn of the 18th century, members of the Mattingly family owned as many as five land parcels at Arnold’s Settlement, later to become the town of Mount Savage. John Mattingly’s faith was to lead many Catholics and other settlers in trusting in the light of God’s way in the wilderness.

* * * * *And so here we are...Catholics in Mount Savage...we’ve a rich legacy inherited from the devoted and pioneering Catholics who came before us and a new legacy to develop and pass to be continued by those who will be our progenies.

By 1780, the Mattinglys and seven more Catholic families were settled west of Fort Cumberland. We recognize the names of Burns, Dugan, McKenzie, Frost, Arnold, Porter, Logsdon. The total number of Catholics in the United States of 1790 equalled 30,000. More than half – 16,000 – resided in Maryland.

In the home and hotel of the Arnolds, farming families and travelers along the Turkey Foot Trail gathered on occasion to share their Catholic traditions. John Mattingly likely was among them and likely headed the Roman Catholic Society begun in 1791 that was instrumental in purchasing the lot in Cumberland to build the first Catholic church in Allegany County. John Mattingly may have been at the Arnolds’ hotel on a summer day in 1793 when the Rev. Stephen Theodore Badin, first priest ordained in America, stopped on his way from Baltimore to Kentucky to visit the gathering Catholics and celebrate Mass, the first of many, though intermittent.

Many know the story of the gallant Rev. Prince Demetrius Augustine Galitzin, son of the Russian ambassador to Holland, a zealous and dedicated Catholic convert. Second priest ordained in America, at 25 years old, Father Galitzin had lived in America only three years before he began riding a circuit by horseback that served Catholic missions from the Susquehanna to the Potomac, into Upper Maryland and Virginia. Some days, he rode on horseback up to 50 miles to reach all his people.

Around 1820, a small parlor-sized church was attached to the Arnold Hotel; but not until close to 1835 would the growing congregation of Catholics gather in a church building. The Rev. Francis Xavier Marshall, an ex-Jesuit, and pastor for Arnold’s Settlement, as well as for St. Mary’s in Cumberland, oversaw the building project and dedicated the sturdy church in the name of the Jesuit order’s founder, St. Ignatius. The lots for the church and yard and addition to the church made in 1836 (situated in what is now the old portion of St. Patrick Catholic Cemetery) were donated by the Arnolds.

The Industrial Revolution was fueled in Mount Savage by coal and iron ore. By the mid-1830s most of the townspeople lived in several hundred Maryland & New York Iron and Coal Company houses in the valleys and on the hillsides surrounding the industrial area burgeoning along Jennings Run.

With the hammering of the first iron rail in 1838 came great demand for improved technology: The first iron rail was rolled at Mount Savage in 1844. In the years to follow, demand for miners and skilled laborers seemed unstoppable. Opportunities here lured immigrants fleeing the potato famine in Ireland; and workers relocated here from the mines in Pennsylvania or from construction jobs on the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal and the B&O Railroad: They found stable employment and quality of life in Mount Savage.

By 1863, the Cumberland & Pennsylvania Railroad linked its passenger line with the Baltimore & Ohio; and our town became the hub of activity in the western end of Allegany County. The farmers at the old Arnold’s Settlement end of town were enjoying prosperity, as well. Produce was in demand.

At St. Ignatius Church in the old settlement, Father Marshall’s congregation had grown rapidly, as the town grew, to accommodate the influx of immigrants and laborers. Most of the newcomers were Irish: Most were Catholics. Still considered a mission of Cumberland, the size of the congregation at St. Ignatius at Mount Savage was much larger. This was the only Catholic church in this rapidly developing region west of Cumberland; devoted Catholic families walked notable distances to attend Sunday Mass; and they needed more space....

At the new center of town, land was donated by Mr. Henry Thomas Weld, a member of the Mount Savage Iron Works and a man of Catholic heritage: Excavation for a new Catholic church began near the end of 1862. With laying of the cornerstone at the end of 1863, the Rev. Richard Brown changed the name of the parish patron to St. Patrick, a tribute to the generosity and sheer number of Irish immigrants. The coming few decades brought continued prosperity to the town and to St. Patrick Catholic Church: The building and its grounds were expanded and beautified to become a showplace. By the turn of the century, there was interest in building a school.

Fund raising was begun by the Rev. Edward A. Williams during Christmas week 1895 to prepare to foot costs for school construction. Less than six months later, nearly an acre of ground in front of the church was purchased. Beginning of construction was four years away; in the meantime, school opened on Wednesday, September 9, 1896 in the old hall built east of the church by the Rev. Patrick Francis O’Connor, with the Ursuline Sisters in charge and 168 youths in attendance. The Ursulines were withdrawn in 1899; but on September 5 that year, six School Sisters of Notre Dame oversaw the first day of school; about 160 youths attended. The parishioners’ and the sisters’ commitment to Catholic education in Mount Savage was confirmed.

Ground for the new school was broken on May 14, 1900. After laying of the cornerstone on July 4 that year, the congregation marched to Moss Cottage Grove and held a picnic.

The Great Depression was difficult for the generous people rooted in Mount Savage. Much money and pride had been invested in St. Patrick Church and rectory, school and grounds. Parish debts accumulated, and parishioners’ personal resources became constrained. A public school opened across the street from the church entrance and drew students away from the parochial school. For the first time in the town’s history, young people were leaving Mount Savage to seek employment elsewhere. Management for the church and the school needed realigning....

The Rev. Michael S. Smyth, a native of County Cavan, Ireland, came to St. Patrick Church in Mount Savage in 1943 after serving 18 years at St. Michael’s in Baltimore. Father Smyth managed in a short time to pay off the parish’s long-standing debt, then make needed repairs. Father Smyth would retire Pastor Emeritus from St. Patrick after 24 years’ service in June 1967. He saw St. Patrick Catholic School lose 20 students when the new Mount Savage public school opened in 1952; and he saw the drafts for the Korean and Vietnam conflicts take young men from town in the 1950s and 1960s.

The Rev. John J. Mackey was assigned to the St. Patrick pastorate when Father Smith retired in June 1967. He was 46 years old and would serve here 25 years, retiring in 1992 to St. Patrick’s in Cumberland. During Father Mackey’s time, the dwindling numbers of religious available to teach and the continuing exodus of young families, combined with the rising popularity of public education, resulted in sadly diminished class sizes at St. Patrick School: It closed in June 1969. The convent was taken down in the early 1980s. Twenty years later the school would be torn down.

Since Father Mackey’s retirement, a number of pastors have served, perhaps among most notable being The Rev. Ed Henricks, who returned to this area after having served four years (1977-81) at St. Peter’s in Westernport in his first assignment after ordination (he took the pastorate at St. Patrick in May 1992), and Sister Joan Minella, SSND, who returned to St. Patrick in April 1997 as pastoral life director after having taught second grade here (1955-63) in her first assignment after professing her vows. Sister Joan would serve through January 31, 2003.

St. Patrick Church rectory was built in 1904. It is beautiful, and it has been home to the faithful religious who have served the parish. Today the rectory is the showplace of the Rev. Doug Kenney, Frostburg native and pastor at St. Patrick since July 6, 2003. Father Doug invited everyone to visit him in his home when it and St. Patrick Church were on the town tour of historic and interesting places this past Christmastime.

Our lives certainly seem much more comfortable and serene than we might presume that those of our predecessors were in the times of John Mattingly and the early Catholics in America. In fact, only our circumstances have changed. All of us who believe, in our moments of doubt or fear, call upon our God and our faith in His Son and His mysteries to guide us past the forest and the trees and back into the light of reason, justice and peace.

We’re no different from the first Catholics in Allegany County or in Mount Savage who tamed the wilderness for us and left us their legacy: Just the natures of the forest and the trees and the sources for our doubts and fears have changed. Hopefully we illustrate our centeredness in Christ in everything we do; and hopefully we will leave that legacy for our progenies and theirs to continue.
Copyright (c) November 29, 2004
by Nancy E. Thoerig
All rights reserved. This book, or any parts thereof, may not be used or reproduced in any manner without written permission of the author.

Lannie Dietle and Michael McKenzie report in their book In Searth of the Turkey Foot Road, edited by Nancy E. Thoerig and a publicaiton of the Mount Savage Historical Society, "Although we are not students of Mattingly genealogy, it seems likely that the John Mattingly who is cited on page 48 of the 1909 "The Catholic red book of Western Maryland" as being the first Catholic settler in the area at the time of the French and Indian War may not be the same John Mattingly who married Onea Arnold in 1797, and may not be the same John Mattingly who patented lots 3373 and 3374 (the present-day Amanda Paul farm) in 1819."

Dietle and McKenzie exound, "Although Mattingly genealogy is peripheral to this study, we note that Thomas A. Stobie of Overland Park Kansas has written on his genealogy website that John Mattingly, born
1773, was the husband of Onea Honor (Arnold) Mattingly who died in 1823

"Barry Thoerig reports that a William R. Mattingly had at one time posted information on the RootsWeb website that indicated that John Mattingly was born June 1, 1773 in Allegany County Maryland, and was married to Onea Honor Arnold who was bornMarch 3, 1776 in the same county. William R. Mattingly also reported that John and Onea had a son Sylvester born on December 17, 1817. (The Maryland Historical Trust's Inventory of Historic Propertieis)  indicates that Francis and Sylvester Mattingly inherited the present-day Amanda Paul farm from John Mattingly in 1845, and then Sylvester bought out Francis on September 26, 1846. This information on Sylvester Mattingly indicates that William R. Mattingly was researching
the same John Mattingly who once owned the present-day Amanda Paul farm. Sylvester