1829 Aug. 3; Marshall, Francis X., Somerfield, Pa. to John F. McGerry, Emmittsburg, Md

From the Archives/ Special Collection of Mount Saint Mary's College, Emmitsburg, Maryland, transcribed by Edward L. Marshall, 29 May 1996,

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)


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