File card reads: "1829 Aug. 3; Marshall, Francis X., Somerfield, Pa. to John F.
McGerry, Emmittsburg, Md.: Describes life in the Allegheny Mts. Not a thing wanting except
a church, vestments, and a chalice. Plenty of building materials in the neighborhood, stone
and timber in abundance, but the mischief is that he has no money. Describes visitation
on the neighborhood -- plenty of wild things to eat -- ..."
The outside of letter is addressed to "The Rev. John F. McGerry, Prest. of Mount St.
Mary's Seminary, Near Emmittsburg, Fred County, M.D." The sender has identified himself
as "Rev'd Mr. Marshall, August 14th, 1829," given his address as "Somerfield,
Pa , August 5," and postage of "12 1/2" has been marked on the letter.
Allenghany Mountains, August the 3rd, 1829
Rev & Dear Friend,
Here I am in these hills, not a single thing wanting; except a Church, Vestments, a Chalice,
plenty materials to make a Church. Stone and timber in abundance but the mischief is that
I have no Clink (money - ELM), if I had a little of that, I think I should not long be without
a Church, there is not a thing wanting; though it is Alleghany Mountains the land is very
good and of course eating stuff plenty of every kind besides what is cultivated, there are
many things that grow spontaneously and are good eating - Strawberries, Raspberries, and
the like, and besides Mr. Smith often hunts Squirrels which are very good, and frequently
here him speake of venison which is good too if we had it - Huzza for the Alleghany, not
for Jackson ("Huzza"; a now archaic word meaning a cheer or expression of joy;
Andrew Jackson had just been elected President in 1828 - ELM).
The Congregation here is not large, not more than about one hundred. The people are truly
good pious Catholics, they are very kind and clever to me, at what is called the Mountain
Church there are upwards of two hundred members, and the Church in that place is large enought
to hold one half of them, and of course Frank will have to build another, but the tells
me that he has no Clink, or in other words what is called quaniaus bonus. Giving to you
much what the Dutchman said - My children, Iny und git money, und ven you gant git in onnothly
git in any how -
I do not think I shall be able to go to see you before November, at the Mountain Church
there are many young people who have not made their first comunion. I shall be obliged to
go there very frequently to instruct them and get them into the Church if they are not to
far gone. How are you all, give my best respects to the Rev'd Misters Purcel, Brunte, ?
, and the stranger I forget his name to Mr. Jamison and all the young men, yours respectivelly
Francis X. Marshall
P.S. I have lately obtained from the Arch B. (Archbishop - ELM) Facilities to bless and
indulge ? , but I have not in my Ritual the prayers proper for that, please to copy these
into your letter and send them to me. Mr. Smith told me that the good Mr. Egan is dead.
My third great-grand uncle lived in Somerfield in the late 1820's. He was a Catholic
priest serving the community there. He had been educated at Mount Saint Mary's College
in Emmittsburg Maryland. The following is a letter he wrote describing some of the
conditions in Somerfield. - Ed Marshall, Atlanta (ELeoM@mediaone.net)