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The Story of the Mountain
Mount Saint Mary's College and Seminary

Mary E. Meline & Edward F.X. McSween

Published by the Emmitsburg Chronicle, 1911

Chapter 53 | Chapter Index

Chapter 54: 1868-1870

Doctor Shore was the third physician who had the care of the Mountain and St. Joseph's. The first was Dr. Wells, the second Dr. Robert, assisted by Dr. Daniel Moore. On Dr. Shorb's retirement from general practice, a few years before his death, he was succeeded by Dr. William Patterson, also an alumnus of Mount Saint Mary's College. Dr. Shorb's first assistant had been his brother-in-law, Dr. Felix McMeal; then Dr. J. Grover and Dr. Timothy Sweeny. Dr. Patterson's assistant was Dr. John Brawner, who for many years and still (1908) fills this honorable place.

Mr. William Seton 2d, '12, the son of Mother Seton, died on the 13th of January, 1868. His son, Mr. William Seton 3d, '55, wrote requesting permission to make the interment in the Mountain graveyard ; this was granted and the remains brought on. They reached the Mountain on Tuesday evening, January 28th, in the dim twilight, coming by rail from New York in charge of this son. It had been the father's earnest wish, through life and at death, to have his remains laid at rest at Mt. St. Mary's, the home of his schoolboy affections and the shrine of his oft-repeated pilgrimages. When the approach of the hearse from Frederick was signaled, toward the end of the five-o'clock recreation, the slow tolling of the bell gathered the boys to attend the cortege to the graveyard. Owing to the lateness of the hour but few of the neighboring people, and only two of the community from St. Joseph's, Sisters Martha and Bernard, was present. These venerable ladies were among the first of Mother Seton's spiritual daughters. The sacred ministers and the seminarians, in surplice, met the corpse at the church door and walked in procession to the grave. Not a gust of wind stirred the flicker of the candles as the last prayers were said; a thin veil of snow covered the noble landscape to the distant mountain chain that bounds the horizon, and from the hillside could be faintly seen the outlines of the little Gothic chapel in the convent graveyard, beneath which Mother Seton reposes.

Music Hall

Abp. Spalding writes from Baltimore, January 20, 1868, thanking the administration for a "very handsome present of beef, mutton, turkey, butter, etc.," and sending in return a copy of the Comedy of Convocation. Mrs. Semple, of Montgomery, told the chronicler at Christmas, 1905, that Abp. Spalding advised her, ''take your boys to the Mountain." Two of them, Henry and James, were graduated in 1871.

That many non-Catholics still continued to send their boys to the College would seem to be the inference from the fact that Father McMurdie on May 20 baptized six boys; Joseph Atkinson, aged 14; Jesse Clagett, 17; James R. Graves, 16; Richard Hughlett, 17; William Ratliff, 20; and William Thompson, 19.

There were six graduates in 1868 and the valedictory was "a perfect gem, thanks to George [George Miles] who is kindness itself," as Father McMurdie writes. [We trust Mr. Miles did not write the paper however.] The valedictorian was James C. Fenlon, of Latrobe, Pa., and one of the graduates was the future president, Father Hill.

The honors were awarded in Second Collegiate (Junior Class) to Thomas L. Coulehan; in the Third to Robert H. Ward; in the Fourth to Henry.C. Semple; in First Prep, to William Shaw; in the Second to Thomas M. Compton; in the Third to Nicholas Maher.

The Archbishops of Cincinnati, Baltimore and New York were present at this Commencement, three of the seven Archbishops then in the country. Dr. McCaffrey and each of the Archbishops made addresses, and the dinner was "a capital affair." Next day they went to St. Joseph's and Abp. McCloskey speaking there half predicted that some of the gay, laughing girls would imitate those now wearing the cornette whom he well remembered in his boyhood " as merry as crickets."

On the 16th of August Father Thomas Becker was consecrated Bishop of Wilmington, Del., and Father Edward Fitzgeral, '57, Bishop of Little Rock.

An old pupil writes to Dr. McCaffrey September 20, 1868, this letter from Memphis, Tenn.:

My dear Sir: In this age of photography and pictures I will be much obliged if you can tell me where to purchase one of the old Mountain? It is now over twenty six years since I was first under your kind and careful cue. As I grow older I only appreciate the more the benefits of a good school. My own boy. now nearly nine years old. with his lessons every night, takes Be back to my own days, and a few years hence I must be looking for a school for kn, for I believe you do not take Protestants any longer. There are none of your old pupils here but myself. Farrell died about a year ago. McLaughlin is in business at Nashville, Ferguson made quite a fortune in the hardware business during the war he died a few years since. During the war saw several of the old boys, Billy Orme was a Brig. General in the Federal service and I saw him afterwards as an Agent in the Treasury Dept. He is since dead. I saw Frank Clack at Corinth just before Beauregard retreated. He commanded a Battalion, from La.; Dick Winchester was also a soldier in an Artillery Co. I write you at your old home as all the Catholics here of my acquaintance are not posted in such matters. We have only Dominicans, except one church lately started. I had always hoped that you would have been made Bishop of this State. I see that many who were your pupils are now Bishops. In several years past I have been very anxious to visit the Mountain, but time and money have both been rating. I pass for a Catholic with all the Episcopalians here but it is only because I correct some of their notions regarding your belief, and I only wish that I could say that I was a good and consistent Catholic. Should you have the tine I should much like to hear from you. Yours truly, James Correy, Jr., '46.

Betsy Peterman, who had charge of the Infirmary, and had been at the College from early times, died this year, 1868. Dr. McCaffrey shed tears as he spoke over her corpse in the Old Church on the Hill, for the hardships of early days made people very dependent on each other's kindly offices, and Betsy had shown herself genuine metal.

1869, April 12. The College authorities heard today that "it might be proposed at the approaching Council of Bishops of the Province of Baltimore to make the Mountain some kind of an institution under the immediate patronage of the Bishops of the Province." He asked for authority to speak for the Body Corporate in case such a proposition should be made. After some talk on the subject it was decided that in case such a proposition came officially from the Bishops, the President was authorized to say that no objection would be made when the matter was presented in regular form.

There were one hundred and twenty-two boys on the roll in June, 1869, and twenty-two seminarians. Four students were graduated, the valedictorian being Thomas L. Coulehan, who took the honors of his class. In the other classes of the Senior Course these went to Reginald W. Jenkins, Henry C. Semple and Thomas M. Compton. In the Junior to Thomas J. McTighe, Joseph M. Atkinson, James McCullough.

Prof. Ernest Lagarde entered the Faculty the fall of 1869. He was a native of Louisiana, who had lost all by the war, in which he followed the fortunes of the Confederacy. He had been a teacher at Randolph-Macon College in Virginia, but the faculty had struck because they could not have Jefferson Davis, ex-President of the Confederate States, for president, and so he entered Mt. St. Mary's. Prof. Joseph Black, a Scotchman, also became a member of the Faculty.

Doctor McCaffrey's name is found among the Rural Deans this year.

September 9, 1868. It was agreed in Council to take five thousand dollars' stock in the Emmitsburg Railroad. If the road interfered with our farm we would claim three thousand dollars damages, or we would pay two thousand dollars cash and give it the right of way if it had to pass through our farm.

September 16, 1868. The St. \7incent's Library Society of Emmitsburg (sic) invited Dr. McCaffrey to lecture for their benefit at St. Vincent's Hall, that village. Needless to say that a like favor was often asked, and from every point of the compass.

October 9, 1868. Rev. Harry A. Brann, D. D., at the instance of the Archbishop of Baltimore, sent his manuscript to be examined by Dr. McCaflrey or by Dr. McMurdie, "in whose judgment every one has confidence."

One who became very honorably distinguished amongst the sons of the Mountain gives an insight into student life and the penal code of the period we are recalling. He writes, January 2, 1899:

"Editors Mountaineer: A few days ago I ran across an old 'Jug Book' for 1868-69, my first year at the Mountain, and it proves so entertaining to me that I felt certain a few quotations would occasion at least a smile from some of the dear old offenders whose names I have chosen as victims of this letter, and mayhap something broader from some of their friends.

"Many a happy incident was recalled to my mind as I turned over the pages, and many a sigh of regret escaped me as there met my gaze the name of a companion long since sleeping the sleep that will know no waking.

"For a wonder my name does not appear in the book (this is true), although I must confess that Mr. Hayes, my first Greek teacher, had me in Jug the first week of my college career, just after Billy Maher had finished my 'loaf,' because I was unable to decline 'Neanias,' up to that time the toughest 'young man' I had met. The prefects that year, as set forth on the cover of the Jug Book, were Messrs. K覧, Mc覧, H覧 and F覧, all of whom are dead.

'' Mr. F覧 was perhaps the best hated prefect who ever enjoyed that important office at the Mountain. He was small in stature, but he could run like a deer, and he was a terror to raiders to ' Mrs. Burke's cash variety store.' In fact he practically broke up the raiding system.

"He never bothered a boy on his way out. He waited until the aforesaid boy had acquired all Mrs. Burke's best cigars, 'kinnikinick,' rice paper, etc., and had loaded his pockets and shirt so he could not run, and then F覧 would waylay the poor fellow and capture him bag and baggage. In the quiet of the prefect's room F覧 would sit and enjoy all the contraband articles, the poor, vanquished raider, confined in the lock-up adjoining, getting only a smell for his labor and money, while F覧 would devil him in telling in his hearing at great length the short facts about the raid. I will not stop to tell what he did to me once, but I got even with him in after life. He left the Seminary and became a lawyer, and I was his 'best man' at his wedding.

"The first and second were just ordinary mortals, but I would not like to begin to write about Mr. Hayes. There are too many nice things to say about him. Everybody loved him and thought him an angelic prefect; but we have had them at the Mountain, Pat Dufty and a few others.

"Now for a few cullings from my book. A覧 is the first to gallop into prominence and to stay there. He was a holy terror.

" 'A覧 for shooting stones through the study-hall window at the lamps will write 250 lines, Caesar, p. 86 ; Prefect.'

"Eight next to the above is this :

"'G覧, study Latin lesson and write 100 lines of Sallust; Mr. O'Hanlon.'

"'A覧, for cutting benches in class room and refusing to give up knife when told, will write 150 lines from Caesar, p. 20, and go in lockup during dinner.'

"'A覧, laughing in class, write 125 lines Caesar, p. 25; Mr. Mullen.' . . .

''' C覧, always talking in ranks and prayer benches, go to lockup during breakfast; Mr. Redman.' . .

'' Who could forget our old friend G覧 ? Certainly not the Prefects.

"'G覧, refusing to take note out of the dormitory, will write 350 lines Caesar, Book 2d; Mr. O'Brien.'

"'G覧, for throwing into the study-hall last evening, through the windows, during the studies, write 350 lines Caesar, p. 48; Mr. Redman.'

"Of course, our genial friend H覧, could not escape a good thing when it was going about. In fact, he got up and rushed for it.

"'H覧, for running downstairs, write 100 lines Sallust, p. 80; Prefects.'

"'H覧, write 75 lines Caesar, chap. 10, for loafing out of English class.'

"'H覧, loafing in study-hall after night prayers, write 100 lines of his Latin author; Prefect.' . . .

''And poor J覧 I Just imagine this quiet, inoffensive boy, interviewing the great Dr. McCaffrey; probably, too, at a time when the Doctor was suffering with a swelled face.

"'J 覧, continually laughing and causing disorder in French class, will see the President and go in lockup; Mr. Gillet.'

"Then appears J覧's dear little brother K覧, my chum and classmate, and one of the noblest boys that ever lived. Of course he could not help laughing continually when his big brother was amusing him.

''' K覧, continually laughing in French class, write 100 lines French; Mr. Gillet.'

"These (he gives two-score of them) are only a few samples, but they will convince any one how much better we were then than the present generation of young men, and that is all I wish to do on this occasion. If any one has anything against me my address is as usual. X覧, '75."

To this detailed indictment one of the " offenders," "H覧," submitted what he called a "Demurrer," from which we select a paragraph or two:

New York, March 24, '99.

Editors Mountaineer: On reading X覧's notes from an old "Jug Book" in your January number, the smile he predicted came and quickly broadened into a regular old-time grin, accompanied by those irrepressible chuckles which stir and warm the heart. I said to myself, '' I will answer that immediately if I can find time, for X覧's camera was pointed the wrong way, sure, or else the plate was not developed properly and got fogged."

Without having the mendacity to assert that I was never punished, I do say that when I was, it was for something more worthy of a little ingenuity than the paltry malefactions noted by X覧 , . . In the first place, I did not usually take the trouble to run down stairs. It was much easier to slide down the hand-rail, and slide I did, even though it involved landing on the floor with a bang.

In the second place I never " loafed out of English class." I was too much interested to do so. If that Jug-book man had reference to Greek class, or English history, I might not be so positive. As a matter of memory however, I do not believe I was guilty of that particular crime.

In the third place, I never was so much in love with the old, cold dreary study-hall and its smoky lamps as to select it as a preferred spot for the dolce far niente with which the old book seems to charge me. I would be far more likely to be indulging in a quiet whiff at another locality where lamps were scarcer, windows less numerous, but doors plentiful a locality horribly lacking in all the requirements essential to a really enjoyable smoke, but one nevertheless in these grim days much patronized.

Besides all this, during a part of 1868 I had an older brother at the College, and in 1869 a younger brother.

As a matter of fact, I did have a few stunts to do from time to time. As an instance, I was once caught smoking inflagranle delectante (I had almost written it fragrante) under circumstances so aggravating to the second prefect Mr. McCullum (dead these many years) that I was read out on a Thursday morning in the "big boys playroom" to the tune of 1500 lines of English history, and to stay " in jug'' till I had the task done. And I was to pitch in an important match that very day : but I had a crafty inspiration and after breakfast went to the Prefect's room ostensibly to beg off, but really to carry out nay scheme. In the presence of the first prefect, Mr. Hayes, I was told the lines must be done correctly, and I must be able to read them.

Jim Howard helped me to do the trick. He came with me, read out the 1500 lines and I put them down in shorthand in which I was something of an adept just then. We finished the job in about five hours. This was not record time by a good deal, but it served. I was able to read any part to the Prefect when I staggered him with the sheets of fly tracks, but he was game and acknowledged the beat, and the "Irona" won the game that afternoon after all!

But I cannot use up the columns of your valuable space in an autobiography of crime, so I will merely admit that I was punished a few times for various causes, but I was not once punished for a tobacco raid possibly because I managed to evade discovery and capture, even with the great Vidoc F覧 on duty ; however once my trunk was packed and I was booked for the Gettysburg stage, but I got clear on a technicality.

X覧, is right in hinting at the superiority of the students of the former generation. Of course they were superior ! Wasn't he a student then? Wasn't I and a crowd of other good fellows ? Why of course.

The students of those days were certainly a hardy lot to go cheerfully through the long winters with one stove in the play-room, one in the study-hall, one in the class-room, one in the refectory and none in the dormitory. It took rich blood to stand it, and it is no wonder the blood effervesced on balmy days, and the jug-room caught the froth. H覧, '72.

Alas! the brilliant good-natured writer of this ''demurrer," who himself enjoyed the highest recognition his fellow-members of the Alumni Association could bestow, has passed out of this world like most of those whose boyish pranks he so wittily describes. Peace to his genial spirit!

Father Xaupi died July 11, this year, aged 83, and Father John Hickey, S. S., Dubois' earliest assistant and the first sacerdotal fruit of his labors, died also.

Among the College societies at this period we find the Philologian and the Dramatic Society, but we would call special attention to the Children of Mary, the rules of which were published in book form this year. The Sodality or Society of "The Children of Mary," as it was called, met on Sunday evening at 7 o'clock. It had a Guardian chosen from among the "priests or theologians," and four Angels, all to be elected by ballot. The Sodality had a library, and the members wore medals. The members visited the Blessed Sacrament together every day; they said the beads; they read a chapter of the Following of Christ; made the act of Consecration to the B. V. M.; recited the Memorare and the prayer to the monthly patron all these daily.

Every week they had a meeting, made an act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart and the prayer to St. Stanislaus. Every month they received Communion, and if convenient also on the festivals of the B. V.; they read the rules of the Sodality and attended on the second Thursday the public prayers for a good death. They contributed 25 cents yearly; assisted in keeping the Grotto in order; were bound especially to give good example; could not divulge unnecessarily the proceedings; offered up a Communion on the death of a member, and retained always a copy of the rules. At the weekly meeting the following was the order:

1. Opening prayer and rosary. 2. Hymns or Psalms. 3. Roll-call. 4. Minutes. 5. Signing the minutes as approved. 6. Self-accusations. 7. Narrations. 8. Guardian's instruction. 9. Postponed business. 10. New business. 11. Hymn and closing prayer.

This method of Sodality meeting resembles perhaps what regulars call a Chapter, and in our judgment there is something heroic about it.

Prof. Lagarde, who has been teaching at the College since 1869, tells us that Dr. McCaffrey commissioned him to collect fifteen thousand dollars due by Southern students and twenty thousand owing at the North. In the South he collected seventy-five dollars. In 1869, four years after Appomattox, of the one hundred and forty students at the College, eighty were from impoverished Dixie and sixty from Yankee land.

Chapter 55 | Chapter Index


Special thanks to John Miller for his efforts in scanning the book's contents and converting it into the web page you are now viewing.