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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 70 | Chapter Index

Chapter 71: 1896-1897

On February 22, 1896, Rev. Peter A. Goad, '90, came to join the Faculty, replacing Rev. Thomas L. Kelly, '79, who had left at Christmas.

On the 17th of March, 1896, Rev. Bernard J. Bradley, '88, entered the Council.

A national flag presented to the public school at Mount St. Mary's by several friends was raised on Tuesday, April 14, 1896. Father George Flaut, Pastor, started a school here in 1847, about six hundred feet back from the present (1896) building, and the government which then was establishing schools took it off his hands. Other private schools, however, taught by Catholics, of Irish name chiefly, had existed right along in the parish. Rev. John B. Manley, the energetic pastor of the parish, which had the year previous been detached from the College, was present; so was Prof. Lagarde, as well as the trustees of the school and the relatives of the pupils; the children also of this school and of the private school in the neighborhood assembled, almost all being Catholics. At the opening of the exercises two minutes were devoted to private silent prayer, after which a reverend member of the College Faculty delivered the formal address, Messrs. Lagarde and Sebold, ex '79, spoke and the children sang Hail Columbia, America and My Maryland. Miss Martha Corry was teacher of the public school, her sister Anne of the private one, and Emma Moore managed the musical programme.

Rev. John J. Doherty, ex-59, died April 7, having by will left five thousand dollars to found the first scholarship mentioned in the history of the College.

1896. In May Dr. William Seton, 3rd, presented an exquisite miniature of his father, Captain William Seton, '09, U. S. A., son of Mother Seton.

At this time for a couple of years "bicycles" were numerous among the boys, but the fad did not last long, the steep hills in the neighborhood having perhaps something to do with their disuse.

The College had been saying one hundred Masses annually for the soul of Father James Bradley, '30, of Newry, Pa., a benefactor, and it was now decided to do the same indefinitely for the benefactors of the College.

McCaffrey Hall was raised two stories this year, and the apartments therein laid out to a certain extent in modern style, a most radical departure from ancient simplicity and poverty.

The Mountaineer for May tells how Father Richards, S. J., president of Georgetown College, in an address at a recent reception to Cardinal Satolli, Apostolic delegate, said: "... Among the sisterhood of colleges, the closest friend of Georgetown has ever been Mount St. Mary's, the dear old ' Mountain,' which is controlled exclusively by secular priests."

Rev. W. J. Fogarty, ex-'90, a young priest-student at the Catholic University, fell from the window of his room there on the day of his examination for degrees, and died June 13. He was a printer who entered our College under the agreement that he was to pay his way by his art.

At the Commencement June 24, 1896, Abp. Elder, '37, presided, and the graduates wore cap and gown, the first time in the history of the College. They were seven in number.

A Mountaineer gave in the Pittsburg Catholic of July 9th his views of what a college journal should be, to wit, the "ingenuous, amateurish work of boys; raw, crude, unfinished, but honest, genuine, true. The pages of some of these journals are used to air the learning, wit and wisdom of the teachers. . . . The amateur stamp is the proof that his theme has been handled by himself, that its thought and expression are original, and this is exactly what we want. . . ."

Charles Augustus Leloup, a graduate of St. Mary's College, Baltimore, class of 1828, was a professor at the Mountain from 1872 till within a few years of his death, which occurred at the College July 5,1896, in his 86th year. He was a native of Baltimore, where a street bears his name. His grandfather was commander of the ship that brought Lafayette to America, and helped at the victory of Yorktown. Prof. Leloup will never be forgotten by any who had the happiness of his acquaintance, being a man of principle, scholarly and gentlemanly in a high degree, loving the classics and cherishing the sentiments of the ancienne noblesse. He was never "reconstructed," but remained to the last a lover and a defender of the "Lost Cause," and nothing so quickly and surely aroused his Gallic nature as any allusion to Plymouth Rock and its claims to being considered the corner-stone of this nation. It was told of Mr. Leloup that on one occasion he was listening to a lecture on Paris by a Frenchman, and politely corrected some inaccuracy of the speaker, although he himself had never crossed the ocean, but his father was French Consul at Baltimore, and thus he also became thoroughly acquainted with France. Mr. Leloup was a man of extreme but inoffensive candor, and his utter simplicity furnished amusement, as such traits will, in the domestic circle at the College, for it was always easy to get him to fight his battles (real or imaginary) over again.

Prof. John J. Crumlish, '89, had joined the Faculty in 1890, but retired after a few years, and came back this fall to take charge of the commercial department.

A hand-ball alley was built in the Seminarians' garden, a reverend member of the Faculty contributing five hundred dollars for the purpose, while another reverend member of the Faculty gave to the chapel a statue of the Sacred Heart.

Michael Morley, '88, died October 1 "at home," as he said, in the College infirmary. He loved his alma mater and came to her when dying, making her his residuary legatee.

The seminarians' Gaudeamus, interrupted in the hard days of '81, was revived December 8.

1897. The college gave, February 14, one hundred dollars to furnish one room at the new Dunwoodie Seminary, New York.

It having come to the knowledge of the Council that the President, Father Edward Alien, '78, had been appointed Bishop of Mobile, we expressed our good wishes and asked him to accept one thousand dollars, with regrets that we could not make it more. Father Bradley was elected assistant-treasurer.

It was decided to try to get our neighbors to agree to our closing the road immediately in front of the College which cut through our property, beginning and ending therein.

We read in the second chapter of this history how in January, 1818, Father Brute went to Annapolis, the capital of the State, and "succeeded in stopping the projected 'street' by the college." About the year 1897 we began to remove the very obnoxious fences which surrounded the terrace, and to plan an athletic field adjacent to the buildings, for the boys had been obliged to go down to the pike, about a fifth of a mile, for their sports. This improvement made necessary the closing of the county road which ran across in front, east of the gymnasium, a result which was accomplished, as we shall see, after three years of endeavor and as many legal decisions, in 1900, the College agreeing to provide another road for the convenience of the inhabitants. This was done at considerable expense, and at last the stone wall was torn down and the laying-out of the athletic field, a three years' job, begun. Closing of roads is always difficult of accomplishment. At this very period the Queen of England, wishing to close one passing through her estate in the Isle of Wight, was obliged not only to open another one, but to provide a library and other public utilities, and this although her residence on the island was itself of immense profit to the people there. A rich New Yorker had similar trouble in achieving a like result at this time also, farmers being extremely conservative and jealous of their rights and customs.

1897, March 9, Rev. Dr. Doherty, '63, of Honesdale, Pa., who had left five thousand dollars for a scholarship, left also two thousand dollars, the interest of which was to go to help in vacation seminarians needing such aid.

On the feast of St. Joseph this year, 1897, Abp. Martinelli, Apostolic Delegate, visited the College, and in his rich Irish brogue addressed the students. He was a most approachable man, respecting those far inferior to himself in rank, and conversing with them in the frank manner of a gentleman.

At this time Greece had declared war against the Turk and a Philhellene Association was formed at the College. The boys sent an address to the students of the Athens University as well as a contribution in money. The address was turned into Greek and published in the Atlantis of New York.

The graduates and seminarians were allowed to go to Baltimore for the consecration, on Sunday, May 16, 1897, of President Alien, who had been appointed Bishop of Mobile. Cardinal Gibbons was consecrator and Father Philip Garrigan, Vice-Rector of the Catholic University, preached. The Cardinal was assisted by Bishops Fitzgerald and Harkins, and seven other bishops and many priests were present.

The procession was composed of sixteen boys in red cassocks attendant on the Cardinal, and sixteen in purple waiting on the Bishop-elect; then twenty students in cap and gown, eleven of them belonging to the graduating class of this year and seven being Mountaineers at the Catholic University ; then four hundred seminarians in cassock and surplice, forty of them from the Mountain. After these the priests, mainly Mountaineers from the various dioceses; then the acolytes and ministers of the Mass; then the visiting bishops with their chaplains ; then the bishops-elect with his sponsors; then the consecrating prelate. The clergy dined afterwards at St. Mary's Seminary, the hospitable home of the gentlemen of Saint Sulpice, to which body belonged the first founders of the Mountain.

In the evening Bishop Alien sang Vespers and a sermon was preached by Rev. D. J. Flynn, '80, who was destined to succeed the new bishop in the presidency eight years later. Father John McGovern, '92, entered the Faculty. Richard M. Reilly, '80, of Lancaster, Pa., offered an annual prize for American history in memory of his deceased brother, William.

V. Rev. William L. O'Hara, L.L. D. 14th President

At the annual election held this year, 1897, Rev. William O'Hara, '83, was chosen President; Rev. Dominic Brown, Vice-President; Father Bradley, Treasurer; Father McSweeny, Secretary. Bp. Alien accepted the invitation to continue a member of the corporation. Cardinal Gibbons, being thanked for his extreme interest in the College, and reference being made to the graduation to-day of the third nephew of his, whom his influence had sent to us, made a strong address in which he recalled the great trials of the house and emphasized his desire to aid the institution. This although since 1882 no member of the Faculty belonged to the diocese of Baltimore.

One day in August a fire broke out at the washhouse and the new hose was used, but the pressure, 90 Ibs. to the square inch, was hard to manage and the force of the stream upset the staid housekeeper, to the entertainment of every one else.

A great advance in luxury was the substitution of chairs for backless benches in the boys' diningroom.

The College this year paid the last honors to an old servitor, William (known as Billy) Welty, who man and boy had worked in it for seventy-six of his four score and five years. All the professors who could do so attended his Requiem on the Hill and one of them pronounced his funeral oration. When the corpse was borne out and along the graveyard and had reached Priests' Row, the coffin was at the widow's request opened once more, as if to let his old clerical acquaintances take a last farewell. Then the sun was shut out from the face of the dead and he was laid away with his fathers.

October 26, 1897. Today the comely new church of St. Anthony, the cornerstone of which had been laid May 2, was dedicated by Cardinal Gibbons, Abp. Elder saying the Mass and Bps. McGovern and Chatard assisting, with twenty-four other priests, one of whom, Father George W. Devine preached instead of Bp. Curtis, who was stormbound on Solomon's Island. A stone at Clairvaux marks where, as we saw, the great grandfather of Abp. Elder had raised " the first altar to the living God" in this locality, and one of the marble altars of this new temple was built by the Abp. and inscribed "The Elder Memorial." Ten thousand five hundred dollars was the contract price for mason and carpenter work alone.

The mention of debt and the elevation this year of the thirteenth President of the Mountain to the hierarchy makes it proper to introduce a sketch of his career.

President Edward Patrick Alien, a native of Low ell, Mass., entered Mt. St. Mary's College, September 15, 1873, and was graduated June 26, 1878. The following year he entered the Seminary, and on August 26, 1880, received Minor Orders from Rt. Rev. John Watterson, Bishop of Columbus, 0. In September, 1881, Subdeaconship and Deaconship were conferred upon him by Rt. Rev. Jeremiah F. Shanahan, of Harrisburg, Pa., and in December of the same year he was ordained priest in the Mountain church by Rt. Rev. Thomas A. Becker, Bishop of Savannah, Ga. After his ordination Father Alien remained at the College as professor until called home the following spring by the Archbishop of Boston. His first appointment was to the Cathedral as assistant, and later he went to Framingham, Mass.

In the vacation of 1883 he returned to the College to take charge while Father Byrne, Father Mackey and others were collecting for the institution. In the spring of 1884, at the urgent invitation of the President and Faculty of the College, Father Alien again returned to his Alma Mater to make his home there. In June, 1884, he was elected Vice-President and Treasurer. As Dr. Byrne had been recalled to his post in the Archdiocese of Boston, almost the entire work of administering the affairs of the College devolved upon the newly-elected Vice-President, and thus his position became a peculiarly trying one. However, with the unanimous support which the Faculty gave, he went to work energetically in the performance of the duties of his office. In 1885, at the close of the scholastic year, he was chosen President.

During his administration many improvements were made in and about the College, and the number of pupils in both College and Seminary greatly increased. The Faculty was augmented and made more efficient.

The college debt, which in 1884 was about $65,000 was reduced by 1893 to $10,000, and further improvements were made. In February, 1889, on the occasion of their centennial celebration, the faculty of Georgetown College conferred the degree of Doctor of Divinity on Father Alien. Although kept busy, even in vacation, Dr. Alien on two occasions, visited Europe during the summer first in 1889, when he made a tour through the British Isles and France, and again in 1892, when he went to Rome and had the satisfaction of visiting the Holy Father and obtaining his blessing for the college. All these things he afterwards related to the boys in some of the illustrated lectures frequent at this period.

It were impossible to exaggerate the services of President Alien to his alma mater. As collegian and seminarian from 1873 to 1881 he became thoroughly acquainted with the professors of the former generation and did his share in aiding to raise the reputation of the College both as a student and as a fellow of the Faculty. When he yielded to the desire of all and assumed the burden angelicis humeris formidandum of the presidency, he continued the work of Fathers Fitzgerald, Byrne and Grannan, and being, as a village Hampden called him, "kind, patient and persevering (qualities that always succeed)" was enabled by modest sacrifice of self and God's help to do for many a year the work of three separate and weighty offices, being at once president, procurator and prefect of studies, and pastor of the parish also. Although he is still alive and well, we feel bound in justice to set down in this chronicle our appreciation of those labors by which he assured the continued life and prosperity of the Mountain he loved so well. ad multos annos!

Chapter 72 | Chapter Index

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