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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 73 | Chapter Index

Chapter 74: 1902

As the College was situated but three miles or so from the Pennsylvania line, occasions were not wanting when a sick call came to us, or a pastor of the adjoining diocese desired our help, so, in order to facilitate matters, Bishop Shanahan, of Harrisburg, granted to priests attached to this College the faculties of that diocese, and his letter, dated January 11, 1902, may be found in the College register of the period.

Early this year Rt. Rev. Dr. Byrne, ex-President, was invited to write the history of the College, which it was proposed to prepare for our centenary in 1908, but felt obliged, owing to his duties as Vicar General of Boston, to decline the labor. His scholarly pen, already exercised in the History of the Church in New England, would doubtless have added grace to the chronicles of his alma mater.

Some one proposing to give us thirty thousand dollars on condition of receiving a certain annuity, it was decided to offer five or six per cent., or even seven percent., if the person be over sixty years old. The early part of this history shows what a poor bargain the College authorities struck in this species of financial arrangement. It was also decided to introduce steam heat into Brute Hall and McCaffrey Hall. Nearly thirty years had passed since this subject was first broached, but pecuniary conditions made it impossible to adopt modern methods, and we continued till now to care for our hundred stoves.

Dean McNulty, ex-'57, of Paterson, N. J., sent us five hundred dollars this spring. Owen Lamb, of Philadelphia, left us a like sum, and Henry T. Coleman, '44, showed his customary generosity.

The athletic field mentioned further back was opened with a game of baseball in the spring of 1902, Father Bernard J. Bradley, treasurer of the College, its designer, pitching the first ball. Sixteen ploughshares were broken in laying out on the stony mountain-side this playground, which measures one hundred sixty thousand square feet. When the gymnasium was opened, October 18, 1903, the boys noticed its splendid echo to their cheers and called the place Echo Field. It would be hard to find in all the country a college campus with such a beautiful setting as this, "greenwalled by the hills of Maryland." The rudimenta of the beautiful church, begun in 1857 but never finished, were smoothed over in June, 1903, the stones being mostly used up in building the gymnasium. The structure had been raised to a height of six feet from the terrace on the north, and twelve feet on the south side. It was Gothic and built of cut brown-stone. When the war of 1861 broke out work was suspended and the walls were covered with boarding, which, rotting away in time was not replaced, and they lay exposed to the weather till their demolition in 1903. This church was a building immediately in front of the 1908 chapel.

The boys were occasionally exempted from night studies and used to divert themselves with an impromptu entertainment in the play-room. We give a sketch from the Mountaineer of one for the enlightenment of posterity:

Through the kindness of our Very Rev. President, the students enjoyed a playroom entertainment on Tuesday, the 23d ult., and it has been a long day since there was so much feeling and good-fellowship shown as on this evening. Everybody was in his element, and after a few persuasive words from the "grads," readily came forth and entertained the boys as best he could. John V. McCann opened it up with one of his masterly elocutionary pieces, and was accorded tremendous applause. He was followed by Emmet B. Kennedy, Thomas J. McCann, John Zboyovsky, Kehoe, who rendered some very catchy songs, demonstrating that the Mountain will have a surfeit of excellent singers here this year. John T. Conley rendered some very good parodies on some of the latest songs, and told a few original stories. If appearances count, we think John will surpass his brother Bill as a comedian when he becomes better acquainted. The roaring success of the evening was James Smith, hailing from the antique region known as the "Meadow," who gave a few of his many steps and clearly proved that he can hold his own with any dancer in the business. After a few selections on the cornet by Deshon and Loughran, the bell rang for bed, and it was with a feeling of regret that all left the room where they had enjoyed such a delightful treat. Let us hope that we shall have many more play-room nights like the last one, and that all will contribute their share to the entertainment of their fellow-students who are so unfortunate as not to possess the ability to entertain, but who are enthusiastic spectators. Besides the acts above mentioned, boxing, club-swinging, etc,, were sometimes offered and received with all the more welcome and enjoyment for their very informality.

Archbishop Corrigan '59, died this year, 1902, Archbishop of New York. The account of his funeral by Julian Hawthorne is of wondrous beauty and may be found in Dr. Smith's [LL.D. '95] History of the Catholic Church in New York.

Michael Augustine Corrigan entered Mt. St. Mary's as sophomore on the twenty-fourth of August. 1855, the scholastic year opening three weeks earlier in those days than has been customary in later years. He had been for two years previously at St. Mary's College Wilmington, Del., one of those many institutions of learning that wer2 started by Mountaineer priests in various parts of the United States.

Among the College mates of Archbishop Corrigan at the Mountain were Thomas McGovern, afterwards Bishop of Harrisburg; Harry P. Northrop, afterwards Bishop of Charleston; Rt. Rev. John F. Kearney, rector of the old Cathedral, New York; Monsignor Baasen, of Mobile; Edward D. White, associate Justice Supreme Court of the United States; James McSherry, Chief Justice of Maryland; Michael Jenkins, merchant, of Baltimore, and a few hundred others less known to fame.

The Archbishop, as we learn from one of his college-mates, now pastor of one of the great churches in the metropolis. ''was one of the best boys in the College. Not only a good student, but a model in every respect, and so regarded by all the others." During our time at college there were three boys who had never ' tasted jug.' The late Archbishop was one of these three." The writer goes on to describe him as rather timid in sports, never taking part in football or such, (though the Rugby was not played then and our baseball did not exist), entering the gymnasium only when the rest of the boys had left, and rather delicate in build, a poor one to swing on the trapeze or climb the pole. His associates called him a "hard student," and well they might if we can judge from the Catalogue.

The future Archbishop was this year a member of the Mountain Literary Society, later known as the Purcell Lyceum. At the end of his sophomore year he took ex aequo in Latin, was fourth in Greek, second in history and ancient geography, first in French and was mentioned in mathematics. At the close of his Junior year, 1856-7, he came out first in Logic, first in Latin translation, first in Latin composition, first in Greek, first in history and geography.

The following year, '57-'58. he did not come back to the Mountain, but traveled abroad, returning hither in the fall of 18-53. The late Edward Boursaud, of the Jesuit Order, and Father Thomas S. Lee, of Washington, were at the College then, as was also Father Harry MacDowall, of New York : the latter two were in Rome at the same time with the subject of our sketch.

This year Michael Corrigan was in the Philomathian Society. He took the medal this year also, and was first in Latin, first in philosophy, first in Greek, first in English and first in English composition. At commencement he delivered an oration on the " The Uses of Beauty." The title of this discourse is very characteristic of the man, one of whose traits was neatness, order and love of the beautiful. He was fortunate in having for his English teacher George H. Miles, the Mountain poet, and once on being presented a copy of '' Genr' from the lyrist's works, said to a member of the College Faculty that whatever taste or skill he himself might have in the use of his mother tongue he owed to George Miles.

An incident illustrating the severity of discipline in former days was thus related to the chronicler by a member of the hierarchy who was then a student here. A member of the graduating class threw a pebble during the exercises of corner-stone laying and struck somebody. He was at once expelled and his name erased from the highest prize, the class-medal which he was to have received the following day. Apropos of this medal it would appear that Michael Augustine Corrigan, afterwards Archbishop of New York, was next in merit. Being called out for the medal on Commencement Day, he advanced up the platform and received it from the bands of the Archbishop, but on returning to his place noticed that his own name had been substituted for the other student's, at once handed back the highest prize of the College to the very "awfulness of Dr. McCaffrey himself," as Bishop Northrop expressed it, and descended from the platform a full sized man, even higher in the esteem of the student body perhaps, than if he were the full-back of the foot-ball team returning victorious from the field.

Our illustrious Mountaineer went to Rome in the fall of 1859, where twelve Americans under the presidency of Rev. William McCloskey, director of our seminary and now Bishop of Louisville, began the American Ecclesiastical College. His record as a student in the Eternal City corresponded with the one he had made here. '' He was always quiet, even-mannered, studious, observant of rules," and when he was ordained priest he at once entered as a professor Seton Hall College, an institution founded on the principles of the old Mountain. He was afterwards president of Seton Hall, reaching this office in the twenty-eighth year of his age, and retaining it until he became Bishop of Newark, N. J. Our distinguished alumnus was always noted for his connection with educational institutions, the one which is considered his special monument being Dunwoodie Seminary. Thus did the man fulfill the promise of the boy, and the spirit of the Mountain, this "home of piety and learning," as the venerable Bishop McQuaid, of Rochester, first president of Seton Hall, called our alma mater, was evinced to the Church and to the world, in the learning, piety, regularity and gentle firmness of Michael Augustine Corrigan,' 59, the fourth of the Mountaineers that successively ruled the great See of New York.

A priest, his class-mate, thus writes, May 20, 1902, of the deceased prelate: "If you take the analysis of his character, his virtue and conduct, as given by Archbishop Ryan in his masterly funeral sermon, and transfer it to his life at the Mountain, you will have as truthful a picture as can be produced. I can remember how he appeared then as vividly as if it were but yesterday. On the terrace, in the chapel, on our walks, in the study hall, everywhere and every way, he was a model student. In all that crowd of two hundred from all sections of the country, there was not one who commanded greater, nor, I sincerely believe, equal respect. The regard was for him exceptional and universal. Aside from his brilliant talent and urbane manner, the secret of all this, I dare say, lay in the complete absence of anything even remotely akin to ostentation. There was no jealousy of him amongst his fellows, for the first place was conceded to him as a matter of course. If anyone had a difficult passage in the classics or a hard problem in mathematics, he instinctively went before class to Michael Corrigan for the solution. His piety, too. was so unostentatious as to make all, young and old, look up to him with the greatest reverence. His professors often spoke to us, out of class, of his brilliant parts and exact knowledge. His graduation speech I well remember for its singular beauty of style and originality of thought. Some months after he had gone to Rome it was published in a leading journal, though without name or place. We learned afterwards that Prof. George Miles and others of the College Faculty, considering it far beyond the average college oration, had given it to the public. In the old Philomathian Society he took the leading part, and once, being pitted against two of the best debaters, Devereux of Louisiana, and Tracy of New York, he simply astonished us, who thought we knew his parts, and drew from the critic, a member of the Faculty, the declaration that it was the most learned debate he had ever heard amongst collegians. The question was: "Is Christian Art Advancing or Retrograding?'' and he doubtless made special study of those esthetic matters, especially as he had spent the year 1857-8 in European travel. May he rest in peace, and may student readers of these pages take to heart the example of this admirable youth, of this Mountaineer!"

Charles H. Jourdan, PH. D. Professor of Mathematics

This year 1902 a great strike took place in the coal regions of Pennsylvania and several Mountaineers bore prominent part in its settlement. Bishop Spalding ex '58, was one of the arbitrators appointed by the President of the United States; Father Power '72, rode in a barouche with John Mitchell, the leader of the miners, a personal friend of his, and Father O'Donnell '97, gave testimony before the Board of Arbitrators.

Father Goad was this year chosen Vice-President, the other officers being continued in place.

St. Joseph's Academy, Mother Seton's foundation, was this year empowered by the legislature to grant University degrees. Although cap and gown have been frequently in evidence since the Academy became a College, it was not till August, 1907, that the title became "St. Joseph's Academy and College."

Rev. Charles P. Grannan S.T.D. formerly professor of Sacred Scripture and Dogma at the Mountain was named a member of the Biblical Commission appointed by the Pope, being the only member from the United States.

Rev. William Hill '68, a former President, spoke from the altar of his parish church of St. Paul, Brooklyn N. Y., saying that he was a Knight of Columbus and recommending people to join this "most excellent organization." This is a "fraternal" society which originated under priestly auspices at New Haven, Connecticut towards the close of the nineteenth century, and spread rapidly throughout the country.

Dr. Daniel Quinn '83, was made Director of the Leonine Lyceum at Athens. His essays on Education in Greece and The Language Question in Greece were published by the U. S. Government. He wrote also for Harper's Magazine, the Catholic World, etc. His brother John, ex-'94, also went to Greece for purposes of study, married a Greek lady and came home to teach Greek in Pittsburgh.

The third annual session of the Catholic summer school was held at the hamlet of Mount St. Mary's from August 10th to the 24th, 1902. The exercises began on Sunday, the 10th, with a solemn High Mass in St. Anthony's Church. The president of the school, Rev. Martin O'Donoghue, of Baltimore, preached. He outlined the advantages to be derived from the summer school.

The session was successful from a literary and a social standpoint. There were moonlight drives through the beautiful surrounding country, dancing at St. Anthony's Hall, euchre parties, trips to Pen-Mar, to Gettysburg, and to the famous Indian Lookout, and many very pleasant gatherings on the lawn which surrounds St. Anthony's church and rectory.

Ernest Lagarde, L.L.D. Professor of English Literature

During the first week Prof. Ernest Lagarde, of the College, lectured on "Books" and on "The Training of the Mind" in his customary acceptable manner.

Rev. Dr. Tierney, of the College, was the celebrant of the Mass at the close of the session, and several other members of the Faculty helped the enterprise both by lecturing and by clerical assistance. In other years of its existence other distinguished clergymen and lay scholars from all over the east took part in its program, among them Dr. McSweeny's nephew, Rev. Thomas P. McLoughlin, S. T. L., of New York, who had a repertory of American, Irish, Italian, Scotch and English songs, with which he delighted audiences throughout the country.

In September, 1902, the priests of St. Vincent de Paul celebrated the Golden Jubilee of their taking charge of the Emmitsburg church. Cardinal Gibbons sang the Mass and Dr. Flynn, of the College, preached. At the conclusion of the triduum Bishop Alien officiated. Father Brown and the students' choir had charge of the music, while the seminarians assisted in the sanctuary.

This church is a monument to the apostolic virtues of the McCaffrey brothers. Dr. John built the church in 1842 and his brother, Father Thomas, was for several years its pastor. The last-named priest was extremely unselfish, and, as we saw, going from the College to visit some of his former parishioners in the village during the cholera of 1853, died of the plague, a martyr of charity. He is buried on the Hill and his epitaph runs as follows:

Pray for the soul of Rev. Thomas Augustine McCaffrey,

A teacher of youth who made virtue attractive, A devout client of Mary, who inspired many with Love for his Blessed Mother.

Pastor at Emmitsburg, his birthplace, for six years.

Six years the most fruitful in blessings to a devoted congregation The Father of the poor The friend of little ones The Good Shepherd who laid down his life for the flock In the 41st year of his age, on the 5th day of August, 1853, at a time of pestilence and panic he fell a martyr to his charity His sorrowing friends and pupils erected this Cross over his Grave.

Rev. John J. Tierney, L.L.D. Professor of Dogmatic Theology and Sacred Scripture

September 6, 1902. Rt. Rev. Alfred A. Curtis, former Bishop of Wilmington, visited us for the purpose of giving Orders. He was now Vicar General of Baltimore, and an occasional visitor to these parts. As a minister of the Protestant Episcopal denomination, he used to reside at the Catoctin Furnace, nine miles south of us, and traversed the mountains widely, but never, as far as we heard, had he come into touch with the Faculty of this house.

September 7. Acknowledgment was made of an invitation to the golden sacerdotal jubilee of Bp. William McCloskey '52, of Louisville, formerly Director of the Seminary and first President of the American College at Rome.

September 12. Six clerics of the Holy Cross Congregation from the Catholic University out on an old-fashioned walking tour supped and slept with us. They had taken in Harper's Ferry, Hagerstown and Gettysburg, before reaching which last place they slept a night in a barn, having had neither tea nor coffee for supper, nothing but the water and milk of the hospitable farmer who entertained them. How delightful, for students especially, such trips! When abroad our own professors and students after the manner of the place used to take them in the Alps and Apennines.

The "Dogmatic Theology" of Father Tanquerey of the Sulpician Order was introduced as a text-book. We may say here that many a time since the Second Provincial Council of Baltimore first appointed " the presidents of Saint Mary's Baltimore, Mount St. Mary's and Georgetown, to select text books for Catholic colleges and schools," have attempts been made to secure uniformity in this respect, but up to the present with­out success. In the philosophical and theological faculties it is the same, and every institution has its own way in the choice of books. The elements of our population are too many and too heterogeneous for uniformity.

The ball alley which had stood on the lower terrace from 1826 was removed this summer and the gymnasium in front of the College erected on the north side of the athletic field.

Dr. James A. Mitchell of the Faculty was buried on October 20. The Requiem was sung at Emmitsburg by V. Rev. Dr. O'Hara, Rev. Dr. Tierney preaching, and the Faculty and seminarians assisting in the sanctuary and the choir. The seminarians and students, the graduates in cap and gown, marched through the town escorting the corpse and came back in funeral procession to the Hill where the interment took place.

Dr. Mitchell, learned and genial Irishman that he was, was much loved by his pupils, and they and others will enjoy the story of one of his class-trips which took place on May 1, this same year. It is from the pen of a member of the class.

"It was May day that we started on our survey, and a more glorious morning could not be. About 8 o'clock we left the College, amid the applause of the student body, and, after passing through Emmitsburg, stopped for the first time at the old Flat Run quarry; about half a mile north of the town. Dr. Mitchell, in his most eloquent manner, explained the beauties of geology when studied as we were studying it, and then we proceeded to examine the rock. At this quarry the old red sandstone is found in exceedingly regular strata, whose dip is about 36 degrees eastward. There are traces of iron and other minerals in the rock, which is weathering with comparative rapidity where exposed. At one point a thin layer of carbonaceous shale crops out. This, no doubt, is the imbedded remains of vegetation that flourished just previous to the period of those magnificent Cretacean seas and estuaries that enveloped our American continent tens of thousands of years ago vegetation that was once the "staff of life" for many wonderful species of vertebrates, such as the ichthyosaurs and dinosaurs and pterosaurs, whose size was as enormous as their present-day names are imposing. Think of one of these monsters being able to say "Good morning, Carrie." into the nineteenth story of our skyscraper and without "rubbering," at that! Surely, this old world of ours must have been a sight in those days. If human beings existed, they must have been a fleet-footed race, aye, wing-footed, a la Mercury. Certainly none would have dared straddle the neck of an Agathaumas or make a pet of a Dinosaur ! With regard to the rather unamiable character of the latter specimen, tracks of which our Dr. Mitchell recently discovered at this very Flat Bun quarry, it may be interesting to quote the following editorial from the Baltimore American, which appeared after the Doctor had published an account of his discovery:"

"'When Dr. J. A. Mitchell, the learned and energetic professor of geology at Mt. St. Mary's College, found footprints of a member of the Dinosaurian family in a sandstone quarry near Emmitsburg, he made a notable addition to information regarding the rocks of Maryland and the prehistoric inhabitants of the State. The Dinosaur, according to the best information that can be secured regarding him, was not pretty. Neither in face nor form could he be counted among the world's beauties. From the best of photographs that have ever been made of him, and they probably do him justice, although he never sat before a camera for them, he was about the ugliest-looking animal that ever came on earth, stayed a while and then got off it.

The chief characteristic of this mezozoic alligator was his appetite. That was enormous, even for his big body. He seemed to be eating all the time, and to have a fancy for everything that came along. All food seemed to look alike to him. When he tired of such herbs and plants as he found growing loose in Fred­erick County, he started in to eat animals that were smaller than himself if he could get away with them. There was but one fate for such a glutton, and it came to him. Some big animal, probably twice his size, came along and ate him up, and it served him exactly right, even though he must have been pretty tough food. So he and his kind met the fate they deserved, and got off the earth to make room for successors of a little more respectable class.''

"Of course, it was highly interesting for us to see the spot where the Dinosaur had left ' footprints on the sands of time'; but we could not tarry long at the quarry. After noting the structure of the rock formation, and indulging in a few moments of practical measurements with the clinometer, we re-entered our coach-and-four and proceeded in the direction of Rocky Ridge, which we reached after a most delightful drive of about ten miles. Nothing could have been enjoyed more than that drive, made all the more pleasant, as it was, by the balmy freshness of the spring morning that infused a spirit of song and repartee into usually our sedate and dignified band. Arriving at the bridge spanning a railroad cut, we prepared to descend to the tracks below and study the section of a dike that had been exposed by the grading for the road-bed. Here a new discovery was made not of a geological nature, exactly.

It seems that the finding of the Dinosaur tracks by Dr. Mitchell had inspired a certain member of the class to do a little "discovering on his own hook," thinking, no doubt, to win undying fame should success meet his efforts. This was a fruitful field for operations, he thought, and forthwith he severed all connection with the ignoramuses of his class, and began rending the rocks with his little hammer, confident that he would soon uncover other fossil remains. And lo! presently the elated young zealot called lustily: ''Say, here it is, boys. Doctor, ain' t this the maxillary tusk of Dicyodon lacertipes?''

Well, the professor came up, glanced at the displayed piece of bone, smiled amusedly and said:

"A common 'ham' bone, sir," whereupon much confusion covered the young scientist, who thought the epithet "ham" trenched on the realm of personality, and the class gave a yell! As soon as the mirth occasioned by the downfall of "Hamlet" had subsided, we set to work and made a close examination of this interesting section of the dike, which runs across the whole country. Along the base of the section is a distance of about 175 or 200 feet. Starting at either end and going toward the center we find, successively, up-heaved layers of old red sand­stone belonging to the Jura-Trias period ; then a mass of rock metamorphosed by the heat of contact with the molten matter as it welled up during some disturbance along the path of the dike ; finally, at the highest and midmost part of the section is the magma, or dike proper, consisting of diabase, the texture of which is very consigned to coat pockets and used the year after as paper-weights on the desks of the embryo doctor, lawyer or professor, or as inkstands, like founts of ffippoerene, for the twentieth-century novelist or poet. After half an hour's study of this quarry rock a refreshing lunch was served beneath a giant oak tree's shade, and we set to with a gusto barely rational. I verily believe that the morning's drive and work, added to the lateness of the lunch hour, had given us the appetite of a menagerie freak, something on the style of the genial glass eater, who indulges in tacks, barbed wire and a few brickbats by way of dessert. In fact we had a pair of budding comedians in the crowd who essayed temporarily the roles of two characters in Plautus and made the luncheon lively by their sallies, "Ergasilus" closing the argument by saying that, no matter how others felt, he for one had come over a very "scruposam viam," and hence "cum calceatis dentibus" would he proceed to measure the depths of his " profundum." "Ergasilus" won the day, and to a man the class shouted "Them's my sentiments." The result of such unanimity was well, it would be revealing state secrets to let the rabble into the sacred pomoerium of that banqueting grove. However, in justice to the promoters of the excursion, I should say that, after our luncheon was over, a starving pup came upon the scene, sniffed about in despair, and alas, died. This incident made us feel sorry for having been so hungry, but sorrow could not long reign in that jolly band, so after burying the dog in one of the tracks of the Woonsocket dinosaur we settled down for a peaceful smoke and listened for an hour to the jokes and reminiscences of Dr. Mitchell. About 2 o'clock we set out for the Catoctin furnace, the iron and ochre beds surrounding which we visited. But it was of the greatest interest to see the working of the blast furnace, a sight never before witnessed by most of us. And yet methinks the class, magna ex parte, found the center of attraction in the testing-room of the chemist. "I wonder why?"

But indeed this pen of mine must now be sheathed. Like a sword, it has struck its mark and its work is done.

Having had some difficulty in getting certain men out of the chemist's laboratory and others off the free "trolley" line, we embarked for home, one party singing "The Girl I Left Behind Me," the other "We'll not go Home till Morning." Ah, what a day it had been! There had been earnest attention to all explanations of the Doctor; there had been genuine delight in the excursion itself; there had been fun galore. And not a man but declared, '' Doctor, I've learned more geology today than I have for eight months past!" Nor was this an exaggeration, I am sure. Therefore it is to be hoped that future generations will reap the benefit of such excursions ad multos annos.

At the Golden Jubilee, November 26, of St. Ignatius' Church, Baltimore, our Very Rev. President, Dr. O'Hara, was the principal speaker. This was another illustration of the cordial relationship between the Jesuits and ourselves, which has been referred to frequently in this chronicle. Dr. McCaflrey on September 25, 1853, had preached at the corner-stone laying of that same sacred edifice, and Father George Flaut, '30, then pastor of St. John's, Baltimore, was present on the occasion.

Chapter 75 | Chapter Index

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