The Project Gutenberg EBook of History of the Catholic Church in Paterson,
N.J., by Charles A. Shriner

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Title: History of the Catholic Church in Paterson, N.J.
       with an Account of the Celebration of the Fiftieth
              Anniversary of the Establishment of St. John's Church

Author: Charles A. Shriner

Release Date: January 9, 2013 [EBook #41805]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Demian Katz and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at (Images courtesy
of the Digital Library@Villanova University


Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII




Account of the Celebration of the Fiftieth Anniversary



"Press" Print.



An Account of the Celebration of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the
Establishment of St. John's Church


"Sanctuarium tuum, Domine, quod firmaverunt manus tuæ; Dominus regnabit
in æternum et ultra."—Exod. xv.

Press Printing and Publishing Company, 269 Main Street.



HE records of the early Catholic Churches in this part of the country are very meagre and to the historian most of them are almost useless. There are, however, still living in this and other cities a number of old people of intelligence and good memory and to these the author is indebted for most of the facts narrated in this sketch of the growth of the Catholic Church in Paterson. In many instances it was found that the memories of these old people were at fault and it was only after repeated comparisons of the numerous dates and diligent search among such records as could be found that the author was placed in a position to give to the public at least a tolerably accurate account of the remarkably rapid growth of Catholicism in Paterson and its vicinity. Whenever any doubt existed as to the authenticity of records or the accuracy of memory the reasons of the author for adopting what he believed to be the true version are given.


Paterson, N. J., November 15, 1883.

[Pg 5]

Crown and Cross

History of the Catholic Church.


Early Persecutions on Manhattan Island.—Missionaries from New York.—The Freedom of the Country and of the Church Established.—The First Missionaries in New Jersey.

"History repeats itself" is an old adage and one which has stood the test ever since the sage first uttered it. The first chapter of the history of the Catholic Church, take it as a whole, or in whatever country or nation you like, is written in blood, the precious blood of the martyrs who died for their God and their faith. The second chapter is one of adversity, of persecutions; one in which the property and worldly comfort of the devout are frequently sacrificed to the bigotry of the infidel or the heretic. Thus it goes on from chapter to chapter, from generation to generation, but the hand of God is with his followers and it raises them from the depths of tribulation from which they looked imploringly but confidingly to the God who had created them, to the God who had made himself known to them through the Holy Catholic Church.

The first Catholic missionary who came to Manhattan Island and who traveled through the adjacent country was the Rev. Isaac Jogues, a Jesuit. In 1642 he was taken prisoner by the Indians, who tore off his finger-nails and cut off the thumb of his right hand; in 1646 he was killed by the Indians. To-day there is scarcely a hill in that part of the country from which the cross of a Catholic Church cannot be seen.

In 1658 a French Catholic was fined twelve guilders in a place now within the city limits of New York because he refused to contribute to the support of[Pg 6] a Protestant clergyman, and even in 1778 Father De La Mote, an Augustinian friar, was locked up in prison because he celebrated mass in New York. To-day the triumph of Catholicism in New York is marked by hundreds of churches and scores of converts.

It is a peculiar coincidence that the freedom of this country was established in the same year with the freedom of the Catholic Church, and that consequently this, the semi-centennial of the establishment of St. John's Church in Paterson, is also the centennial of the enfranchisement of the Catholic Church in this country. By the New York State Constitution of 1777 Catholics coming from foreign countries were excluded from citizenship, but Congress overruled the action of the New York Convention. "With this attempt," says the late Archbishop Bayley in his History of the Catholic Church in the Island of New York, "to keep up the intolerance of the English colonial government, all legislation opposed to the free exercise of the Catholic religion ceased; and such Catholics as were in the City of New York at the time of its evacuation by the British troops, in 1783, began to assemble for the open celebration of the officers of religion."

In 1786 St. Peter's Church—the first Catholic Church in the Diocese of New York—was erected on the corner of Barclay and Church streets. In 1809 the corner stone was laid for St. Patrick's Cathedral and at the consecration in 1815 by Right Rev. Bishop Cheverus, of Boston, the Mayor and Aldermen of New York City and a number of the State officials attended divine service in the new cathedral.

In the Catholic Almanac for 1822 was published the following list of the clergy in the diocese:

Rev. Dr. John Connolly, St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York.
Rev. Michael O'Gorman,""
Rev. Charles French,St. Peter's, "
Rev. John Power, ""
Rev. Mr. Bulger, Paterson.
Rev. Michael Carroll, Albany and vicinity.
Rev. John Faruan, Utica and vicinity.
Rev. Patrick Kelly, Auburn, Rochester, and other districts in the
     western part of the State.
Rev. Phillip Larissy, attends regularly at Staten Island, and
     different other congregations along the Hudson River.

Such is the brief outline of the early history of the Catholic Church in this part of the country and it will thus be seen that shortly after the Catholics were first permitted to worship God in their own way Catholicism took root in New Jersey.

The following concerning the first Catholic missionaries who visited New Jersey is taken from an article which appeared in the Catholic World in 1875:

"About this period (1757) there were a few Jesuit priests in Maryland and Pennsylvania; and the earliest account that we have of Catholics in New Jersey is in 1744, when we read that Father Theodore Schneider, a distinguished German Jesuit who had professed philosophy and theology in Europe, and[Pg 7] been rector of a university, coming to the American provinces, visited New Jersey and held church at Iron Furnaces there. This good missionary was a native of Bavaria. He founded the mission at Goshenhoppen, now in Berks County, Pennsylvania, about forty-five miles from Philadelphia, and ministered to German Catholics, their descendants and others. Having some skill in medicine, he used to cure the body as well as the soul; and travelling about on foot or on horseback under the name of Doctor Schneider (leaving to the Sinelfunguses to discover whether he were of medicine or of divinity), he had access to places where he would not otherwise have gone without personal danger; but sometimes his real character was found out, and he was several times raced and shot at in New Jersey. He used to carry about with him on his missionary excursions into this province a manuscript copy of the Roman Missal, carefully written out in his own handwriting and bound by himself. His poverty or the difficulty of procuring printed Catholic liturgical books from Europe, or, we are inclined to think, the danger of discovery should such an one with its unmistakable marks of 'Popery' about it (which he probably dispensed with in his manuscript), fall into the hands of heretics, must have led him to this labor of patience and zeal. Father Schneider, who may be reckoned the first missionary in New Jersey, died on the eleventh of July, 1764. Another Jesuit used to visit the province occasionally after 1762, owing to the growing infirmities of Father Schneider, and there still exist records of baptisms performed by him here. This was the Rev. Robert Harding, a native of England, who arrived in America in 1732. He died at Philadelphia on the 1st of September, 1772. But the priest principally connected with the early missions in New Jersey is the Rev. Ferdinand Farmer. He was born in South Germany in 1720, and, having entered the Society of Jesus, was sent to Maryland in 1752. His real name was Steenmeyer, but on coming to this country he changed it into one more easily pronounced by English-speaking people. He was learned and zealous, and for many years performed priestly duties in New Jersey at several places in the northern part, and seems to have been the first to visit this colony regularly. In his baptismal register the following among other places are named, together with the dates of his ministrations: a station called Geiger's, in 1759; Charlottenburgh, in 1769; Morris County, Long Pond, and Mount Hope, in 1776; Sussex County, Ringwood and Hunterdon County, in 1785. The chief congregation at this period was at a place called Macoupin (now in Passaic County), about fifteen miles from the present City of Paterson. It was settled in the middle of the last century by Germans, who were brought over to labor in the iron mines and works in this part of the provinces."

"After the evacuation of New York by the British in 1783, there was a prospect of collecting the few scattered Catholics on Manhattan Island into a congregation, and the venerable Father Farmer used to go twice a year to visit the faithful there, across the northern part of this State, stopping on his way to officiate at Macoupin. On the 22nd of September, 1785, the[Pg 8] Rev. John Carroll, who had been appointed by the Pope Superior of the Church in the United States and empowered to give confirmation, set out on a tour to administer this sacrament at Philadelphia, New York and (as he writes to a friend) 'in the upper counties of the Jerseys and Pennsylvania, where our worthy German brethren had formed congregations.' In this year Rev. Mr. Carroll computed the number of Catholics under his charge at sixteen thousand in Maryland, seven thousand in Pennsylvania and two thousand scattered about the other States. The number of priests was nineteen in Maryland and five in Pennsylvania."


The First Mass said in Paterson.—Interesting Anecdotes Concerning Father Bulger.—Prejudice against the Catholics. The Old Church on Congress and Mill streets.—Origin of St. John's Congregation.

The first priest who placed his foot within what are at present the corporate limits of the City of Paterson was Father Philip Larrissy, a Franciscan monk who came here from New York. Just what year he came here is not positively known but it seems to be tolerably well established that he was here for some years previous to Father Langton. The first mass in Paterson was celebrated in the residence of Michael Gillespie, which stood in Market street on the site of the present Godwin homestead. Father Larrissy was a missionary priest who travelled between New York and Philadelphia and visited Paterson every few weeks. He generally arrived on Saturday evening and as soon as he reached Mr. Gillespie's house a messenger was sent to notify the Catholics that mass would be celebrated the following morning. Up to that time Catholics were compelled to go to New York, frequently performing the journey on foot, in order to attend divine service.

Father Langton was the second priest who celebrated mass in Paterson. The Gillespies had removed to Belleville and so a room for the holding of divine service was fitted up in the residence of Barney McNamee on the corner of Broadway and Mulberry street. Here the Catholics attended mass for several years. Father Langton was also a missionary priest, going from New York to Paterson, to Macoupin, Bottle Hill and other places; then returning to Paterson, which was a more important Catholic settlement than any in this part of the State. On his return to New York from Paterson Father Langton stopped at the residence of Mr. Gillespie at Belleville and after celebrating mass there proceeded to Newark, where there were very few Catholics, and from thence to New York. This seems to have been the route taken by the[Pg 9] earlier Catholic clergymen, for even Father Bulger, who was not ordained until 1815, said mass in the residence of Mr. Gillespie.

Father Richard Bulger was educated at Kilkenny College, Ireland, and was ordained a priest in 1815 by Bishop Connolly. He was for some time the assistant pastor of the Cathedral in New York but spent most of his nine years of priesthood in administering spiritual consolation to the Catholics in Paterson and vicinity and continuing the work in which Fathers Larrissy and Langton had preceded him. It was he who in 1820 erected the first building used exclusively for divine service by Catholics in Paterson and he was the first parish priest in this city. Previous to this time he followed in the footsteps of his predecessors in journeying from place to place, preaching the Word of God by the way and saying mass and administering the rites of the Church whenever opportunity afforded. In 1821 Mr. Roswell L. Colt in behalf of the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures offered to all the various denominations in Paterson ground on which to erect houses of worship. This generous offer was accepted by the Catholics and in this way they came into possession of a piece of property situated on the southwest corner of Congress (now Market) and Mill streets. The deed was given to the Catholics "for the purpose of erecting, maintaining and keeping a building or house for the public worship of God," a clause in the deed providing for reversion of the property to the donor as soon as the property was used for any other purpose than that of divine worship. There were at that time only twelve Catholic families in Paterson, but the prejudice against the Catholic Church which characterized its earlier history in this country had subsided, and the Catholics received aid from persons of other denominations. This, added to their own generous gifts of money and labor, produced a building 25×30 feet in size and one story high. The room was furnished with a plain altar and a number of wooden benches without backs, which served as pews, and the attendance on Sundays did not exceed 50, unless there was an influx of Catholics from some village not supplied with a church. Mass was celebrated every Sunday morning and vespers in the afternoon. The church was named after St. John, the Baptist, and the building still stands where it was erected in 1821, although it has been considerably altered. Father Bulger was taken sick in 1824, while assistant pastor at the Cathedral in New York, where he died in November of that year. He was buried in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral.

Although Father Bulger's years as a priest were few they were devoted to the cause of the Lord with an energy and faithfulness which made him so prominent a figure in the early history of the church in Paterson. Many are the anecdotes told concerning him, some of which are illustrative of his character, and among these the following appear of more than ordinary interest:

Archbishop Bayley's book on the History of the Catholic Church contains the following: "The Rev. Mr. Bulger was first sent on the mission to Paterson, in New Jersey, where he labored with great fidelity. During his missionary expeditions through various parts of the State, he was often exposed to insults, and underwent many hardships, which his ardent zeal and buoyant spirits enabled him to bear, not only with patience, but cheerfulness.[Pg 10] A large stone was thrown at him through the window of his bedchamber, which nearly cost him his life. On this occasion he published a letter addressed to the inhabitants of Paterson, which excited a great deal of attention, and made him many friends even amongst those who had been most opposed to him."

In the same work appears the following: "He was accustomed to tell many laughable stories of his adventures. Trudging along one day on foot, carrying a bundle, containing his vestments and breviary, under his arm, he was overtaken by a farmer and his wife in a wagon. The farmer invited Mr. Bulger to ride; but it having come out in the course of the conversation that he was a priest, the wife declared that he should not remain in the wagon, and he was consequently obliged to get out and resume his journey on foot. It should be added, that the farmer afterwards applied to Father Bulger for instruction, and was received into the Catholic Church."

This same story is corroborated by persons still living, and was told to the author of this work with more details. It was a very cold day in winter and there were several feet of snow on the ground. Father Bulger was walking from Hohokus, whither he had gone on a pastoral errand. He was in delicate health and so, when about half way between Hohokus and Paterson, he felt considerably relieved at hearing a wagon approach behind him. It was the wagon of a farmer residing in Paterson. Father Bulger was asked to ride but immediately after he had taken his seat the farmer and his wife suspected that he was a Catholic priest. They plied him with numerous questions to which Father Bulger gave evasive answers, for he was sick and fatigued and anxious to reach Paterson. They asked whether he was married and had children and he replied in the affirmative, adding that he had numerous children. The suspicions of the farmer and his wife increased and Father Bulger was finally asked whether he was not a Catholic and a priest. Rather than deny his faith Father Bulger would have faced death and he replied in the affirmative. He was compelled to leave the wagon and walk to Paterson. When he arrived here he told of his adventure; the brutal treatment he had been subjected to so incensed a number of Catholics and others who were employed in a quarry that they resolved to thrash the inhuman farmer. Father Bulger heard of this project and it was due to his entreaties that it was not carried out. This heroic conduct on the part of Father Bulger was reported to the farmer, who concluded that a religion, whose priests so faithfully carried out the Christ-given doctrine of "Return good for evil," could not deserve the opprobium heaped upon it by Protestants; he applied to Father Bulger for instruction and became a convert to the Catholic religion.

The first number of the Sacred Heart Union published at Newark in March, 1881, contains some interesting reminiscences of an early settler near Macopin and among these is the following: "Our next priest was Father Bulger, a native of Ireland, a tall, handsome man, but with a beardless face. He was ordained by 'little Bishop Connolly,' as he was called, and came to us about 1820. Mr. Littell had been notified to expect a priest, and vainly looked among the passengers of the mail-coach for his Reverence. The[Pg 11] driver told him that a passenger had booked for Macopin the night before, but had failed to put in an appearance. Late that afternoon a stranger drove up to the shop on horseback and thus addressed Mr. Littell:

"'Did you expect a visitor, sir?'

"'I did, sir.'

"'How did you expect him?'

"'By the mail.'

"'Might I ask whom you expected?'

"'Well,' said Mr. Littell, somewhat nettled by this cross-examination, 'I expect a Catholic priest.'

"'Well, suppose you take me for a Catholic priest.'

"Surveying the beardless youth from top to bottom, Mr. Littell tartly replied:

"'Go back to your wooden college, sir, and get more beard on your upper lip before you come to palm yourself off on me as a Catholic priest.'

"'Well,' said the stranger, 'beard or no beard, you must take me for a priest.'

"'Perhaps,' thought Mr. Littell, 'I may after all be mistaken; he may be a priest,' and giving him another searching look he inquired:

"'Am I talking to Father Bulger?'

"'You are,' said the young Father, smilingly; and his laughter drowned the apologies and put to flight the discomfiture of good Mr. Littell.

"Father Bulger was a regular apostle; he travelled through Hudson, Passaic and Sussex counties. I remember he was once invited to preach in Newton, and the Presbyterian Church was offered to him. But when the day came for the lecture, the bluelights feared to admit the papist into their sanctuary. To the dismay of the most prominent member of the congregation—an Irishman—they gave a point blank refusal to allow him to preach in their church. Chagrined but undaunted, the Irishman went to the judge who was then presiding over the Sussex Circuit, related to him all the circumstances, and asked him to adjourn the Court so that the priest might give his lecture. Court was adjourned; the judge and a host of legal fledglings, who have since arisen to fame and honor, listened to the young priest's masterly handling of the doctrine of the Real Presence.

"'I did not believe,' said an ex-United States Senator, still living among us, 'that the Catholics had such solid proofs for their doctrines.'"

Father John Shanahan succeeded Father Bulger. Father Shanahan had been educated at Mount St. Mary's College and had been ordained in 1823 by Bishop Connolly. He remained but a short time and left Paterson to take charge of a mission in Utica, New York, and from thence he went in 1850 on a mission to California. He subsequently returned to New York, where he died in St. Peter's parish.

Father Charles Brennan came next. He had been educated in Kilkenny College, Ireland, and had been ordained by Bishop Connolly in 1822. He conceived the idea of erecting a new church, as the Catholics were rapidly increasing in numbers, and proceeded to carry his design into execution. He[Pg 12] made a number of tours through the surrounding country soliciting subscriptions and it was while thus engaged that he was taken sick. He went to New York, where he died in March, 1826, and his remains were interred by the side of Father Bulger.

While Father Brennan was lying sick in New York Father John Conroy—uncle of the late Bishop John J. Conroy of Albany—was sent to Paterson to look after the welfare of St. John's congregation. Father Conroy was educated in Mount St. Mary's College and was ordained by Bishop Connolly in 1825. He was subsequently assistant at the Cathedral in New York and assistant at St. Lawrence's Church in Eighty-fourth street, New York. He died when chaplain of Cavalry Cemetery, New York.

Father Francis O'Donoghue was the next priest. He took up the work left unfinished by Father Shanahan and collected money for the new church. The construction of the Morris Canal at this time brought to Paterson a large number of Catholic Irishmen and it was found that the congregation of St. John's received such numerous accessions that it was necessary to construct a gallery in the church building on Congress and Mill streets. Mr. Colt, on behalf of the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures, showed a disposition not to extend to the Catholic Church any favors he had not shown to congregations of other denominations and at first refused to give the church any more property or permit the sale of the real estate on which the church was situated. Rt. Rev. Bishop Du Bois then came to Paterson and he and Father O'Donoghue called to see Mr. Colt. After a conference Mr. Colt was induced to withdraw his objections to the sale of the Mill street property and the congregation obtained from him the tract of land on Oliver street on which stands the church in which St. John's congregation worshipped nearly a third of a century.

The consideration mentioned in the deed from the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures to the Trustees of St. John's Chapel is $2,000, but this amount is charged to Roswell L. Colt on the Society's journal, folio 153, so that the Oliver street property was a gift from Mr. Colt himself. There is a clause in the will of Mr. Colt by which his executors are directed to donate to charities one-tenth of his estate unless it shall appear that he during his lifetime had already disposed of one-tenth of his estate in this manner.

Father O'Donoghue was greatly assisted in his work by a young man named Ambrose Manahan, who boarded at Mr. Hugh Brady's house and who received his instructions for the priesthood from Father O'Donoghue. Mr. Manahan was a young man of brilliant genius; he subsequently went to the Propaganda at Rome, where he was ordained a priest on August 29th, 1841, by Cardinal Franconi and made a doctor of divinity; he subsequently returned to this country, where he became President of St. John's College and pastor of St. Joseph's Church in New York. His remains lie buried in New York.

The following inscription is found in the Visitors' Book of the Passaic Falls, dated July 25th, 1828:


[Pg 13]

Ioatros kai cheirurgos en enianpto tes chagilos, 1828. F. Frankiskos O'Donogue, Iereus tes ekklesias tes Romes, os oikei ente polei tes Patterson kai episatei ente ekklesia epikalumen tes agiou Ioannou.

Reverendus Franciscus O'Donoghue, sacerdos Ecclesiæ Romanæ, atque Thomas Joannes O'Flagherty, M. D., venerunt visum, videruntque cum maxima attonitu ingentem flumenis Passaici defluxum, vigesimo quinto mensis Julii, anno Salutis Humanæ 1828. Vivat America, quamdiu sub auspiciis aquilae Reipublicanæ auram vitalem carpit.


Early Catholic Families in Paterson.—Men and Women of Prominence who Assisted in Establishing the Church in this City.

To give a complete list of the Catholics who assisted in the propagation of the faith in Paterson and give each one his or her share of praise for the noble work done in the Lord's vineyard would be a difficult task. Most of the pioneers have passed away to reap in another world the reward for their faithfulness and energy; others removed their families to other States, where their descendants are still prominent in the affairs of the Church. Some of those who did the hardest work when the light of the Catholic Church first dawned in this country are more than dead; they are forgotten, and their names and the remembrance of their existence have passed away; no historian has chronicled their brave deeds, their fortitude and their sufferings; no tombstone records the day of their birth and the day of their death and marks the place where rests the clay which was once imbued with life and vigor and zeal in the service of God. Their deeds are recorded on pages more faithful than those of the historian, more glorious than the tablets of the sculptor, and an omniscient God, who saw their sufferings and comforted them in the midst of their tribulations, has taken them to himself to share with him the perfection of righteousness and happiness. There are, however, still living men and women who figured prominently in the early history of the Church and who remember the names and doings of those who took an active part with them in building up that splendid edifice, the Catholic Church of Paterson. A glance at the families who constituted the Catholic Church in the times of Father O'Donoghue and his predecessors, a glance through the memories of some of the old Catholics of the present day at the Catholic Church of Paterson in 1830 and thereabouts, will undoubtedly be of interest to a great many. The following list is not complete, for the information therein contained was derived not from records but from the memory of human beings. It will, however, show to the rising generation to whom they are indebted for the success[Pg 14] of the church in Paterson: who the men and women were whom God made his instruments in establishing Catholicism in Passaic County.

Agnew, Patrick, was among the earliest Catholic settlers in Paterson. He was for some time employed in the Phœnix Mill but subsequently kept a store in Cross street. His son John is in business in this city; his son Thomas is in business in San Francisco and his daughter Margaret is the wife of Charles H. O'Neill, of Jersey City.

Bannigan, Peter and Michael, were two brothers. Peter was a trustee of the old church in Mill street and also of the Oliver street church and resided in Ward street; he was the father of Mrs. Robert Hamil. Michael lived in Cross street, near White's alley; he subsequently erected the brick buildings at No. 19 Marshall street and there he died.

Binsse, Dr. Donatian, practiced medicine. He was brought up by Rt. Rev. Bishop Du Bois and in Paterson resided on the corner of Hotel and Market streets, and subsequently in the old bank building in Main street. He left Paterson but his remains were returned to this city for interment. His two sons are still living but not in Paterson.

Bradleys, three sisters, kept a boarding house for some years on Market street, near Mill. Father O'Donoghue boarded with them, as did also several other priests; they left Paterson about 1832.

Brown, John P., was one of the trustees of the Oliver street church when it was building. He was in partnership with Joseph Warren in the leather business in lower Main street and married a daughter of Mr. Warren.

Burke, Thomas, was a contractor. He built a house adjoining the Catholic Church on Market and Mill streets. His house burned down some years after it was erected and his wife perished in the flames. His only son John was a constable and died some years ago.—Edward Burke, no relation to the foregoing, kept a store on the corner of Oliver and Mill streets. He subsequently removed to New Orleans. He has no descendant living in Paterson.

Burns was the name of a man who was employed in the Phœnix Mill with Patrick Agnew. He had resided in Paterson only a few years when he died.

Butler, Patrick, built a house next to that of Thomas Burke in Market street. He kept a tavern for some time and subsequently became a contractor. He was the father of Mrs. Stephen Wall, Mrs. Dr. Quin, Richard H. Butler, Nancy Butler and Louisa Jane Butler, who are still residents of this or New York city.

Chapman, Philip, died a few years ago at the age of eighty years. He was the tender of the water gates of the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures at the Falls and his descendants still reside here.

[Pg 15]

Conwell, a distant relative of the late Rt. Rev. Bishop Conwell of Philadelphia, was employed in a cotton mill. He resided in Jersey street and his descendants still live in this city.

Corrigan, Patrick, who still resides in Mechanic street with his child, was also employed in the cotton mill.

Coughlin, Richard and Patrick, were two brothers. Patrick for many years drove a stage between Hoboken and Paterson. He died in this city. Richard is still alive and is the trusted messenger of the First National Bank.

Devlin, Arthur, was a school teacher, and resided in Prospect street. He removed to Rhode Island, where his sons still reside.

Dimond, James, was a cotton weaver, and resided on Main street, near Fair. He died in Paterson and none of his descendants reside here now.

Doherty, Robert, Hugh and James, were three brothers. Robert was a school teacher who came here in 1828 and left in 1848 for New York and there started in the livery business. He was a bachelor. Hugh was also a bachelor, and resided in Paterson from 1828 to 1850, when he left the city. He died in 1867, and in his will he bequeathed the property No. 89 Cross street to St. John's Church. James lived here about as long as his brother, and was the youngest of the three. His widow still resides in Pine street.

Doris, James, was a blacksmith, who had a shop in Market street, near Mill. His daughter married John O'Brien, the father of the late ex-Assemblyman John O'Brien of the Second District.

Dunn, the father of James Dunn, was among the earliest settlers here and for a long time resided in Van Houten street.

Fanning, James, was a trustee of the Oliver street church for some time, and was employed in the cotton mill. He resided in Jersey street, near Market.

Finnegan, Francis, was a contractor who lived in Main street, near Slater. He subsequently removed to Rhode Island and none of his descendants live in Paterson.

Farnon, Michael, resided for many years in Prospect street, and was the father of Thomas Farnon, of this city, and Peter Farnon of Philadelphia.

Fulton, was the father of Mrs. Patrick Agnew. He has other descendants still living in this city.

Gallagher, Andrew, resided for many years in Prospect street. He was a shoemaker and subsequently a constable.

Gillespie, Michael, resided for some years on Market street, near Prince, and it was in his house that the first mass was celebrated by Father Larrissy. He subsequently removed to Belleville, where Fathers Langton and Bulger repeatedly said mass. He afterwards moved back to Paterson and took up his residence in Market street, near Cross, where several of his descendants still reside. He was employed in the foundry of Godwin [Pg 16]& Clark. At that time the Catholics had no cemetery in Paterson but Mr. and Mrs. Gillespie, rather than see the body of one of their children buried in unconsecrated ground, journeyed to New York with the remains, where they were interred in a Catholic Cemetery. Mr. and Mrs. Gillespie were the parents of nine children, of whom one still survives, Mrs. Connolly, who lives with the Gillespies in Market street.

Griffith, Andrew and Michael, two brothers, lived on the corner of Cross and Van Houten streets, opposite Colonel Kerr's residence. Michael died unmarried, but Andrew, who was a trustee of the Oliver Street Church when it was in course of erection, had numerous descendants. His children were Mary, wife of Hugh Brady and mother of Mrs. Michael A. Harold, who still resides with her daughter in Marshall street; George, at one time Captain of the City Blues, whose widow is still alive; Margaret, wife of James Shorrock, who died some years ago; Sarah, Michael and Andrew, who died unmarried, and Elizabeth and Augustine, who still live in Paterson.

Haggerty, John, who still lives with his wife and child on Market street, near Beech, was in his earlier years employed in the foundry of Godwin & Clark.

Hamil, the father of James, John and Robert Hamil, was among the early settlers in Paterson. He is dead now as are also his three sons, but the work that they did still remains and is too well known to need further reference in this work.

Hawkins, James, was a machinist, who resided in Marshall street, near Slater. He removed with his family to California, where he died.

Hughes, some of whose descendants still reside in Paterson, in his earlier years resided in Van Houten street and was employed in a cotton mill.

Kelly, Patrick, was a constable, who subsequently removed to New York, where he died. His daughter is the wife of Matthew Nealon, of this city.

Kerr, Colonel John, was one of the most prominent figures in early Paterson. For some time he kept a grocery on the corner of Cross and Van Houten streets, but his principal occupation was that of a contractor. As such he constructed portions of the race-ways and roads for the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures. He also built a number of houses for himself. He had two daughters and one son, who subsequently left Paterson and took up their residence in New York City. He was Colonel of the military of Paterson, and was buried with military pomp, his horse, bedecked with the trappings of mourning and the empty cavalry boots hanging on its sides, following the coffin to the grave.

Kiley, James D., was one of the first trustees of the Oliver street church.[Pg 17] He taught a private school for some years in Passaic street and then removed to Virginia where his son became Mayor of Richmond.

Lynch, Bernard—the father of Andrew, Bernard, James, Thomas, Mary and Nancy, all of whom were prominent in church affairs—and his wife lie buried in Sandy Hill. Bernard Lynch, his wife and children are all dead, but their descendants still reside in Paterson. The second wife of Andrew, the oldest son, who was one of the first trustees of the Oliver street church, still resides in Market street, near Cross, with his two sons, James and Bernard. Thomas left Paterson and took up his residence in New York City, where he died.

Magennis, Arthur, came to Paterson from Matteawan, and was the father of the late Comptroller of the City of Paterson. He kept a store here for some time and subsequently was employed in his son's factory.

Mallon, John, was a laborer on the Morris Canal. His children are John, Alderman from the Eighth Ward; Felix, of Jersey City; Mrs. Roe, the wife of a police officer; Mrs. Michael Campbell, wife of the Alderman from the Fifth Ward, and Mrs. Patrick Fitzpatrick.

McCarthy, John, was one of the first butchers in Paterson. He died here but his descendants have left Paterson.

McCollom, three brothers, were employed as cotton spinners. Their descendants have nearly all sought other places to labor in.

McCrossen, Daniel, resided in Prospect street and had a portion of the original contract for the construction of the Morris Canal. He has a number of descendants residing in Paterson. His widow subsequently married William Bacon.

McGivern, Thomas, and his brother were employed in the Phœnix Mill. They both died here but none of their descendants are at present residents of Paterson.

McGrogan, Thomas, was a machinist who died in Paterson, but whose descendants have since left for other parts.

McKenna, Arthur and Hugh, both died in Paterson. Arthur had no children. Hugh had three children, of whom one became a Christian Brother and the other is Andrew McKenna, an ex-Alderman.

McKeown, Edward, was a machinist, who, after laboring for some years in this city, went to the South, but subsequently returned to Paterson where he has several children living. He first resided in Elm street.—George McKeown, no relation to the foregoing, was a teamster on the railroad. He died in Paterson and his children still live here.

McKiernan, Cornelius, was a contractor and subsequently kept a store. His widow died in this city a short time ago. He has several sons living in Paterson.—Dennis, was no relation to the foregoing.[Pg 18] He was a laborer and a contractor and subsequently engaged in weaving cotton. A number of his children are dead but some are still residents of Paterson. Among his children were Christopher, John, and Samuel.

McLean, Thomas, was a cotton weaver residing in Elm street. He subsequently went to New York where he died suddenly in a store while making some purchases. His daughter is Mrs. Hugh Rooney.

McNally, Daniel, kept a hotel for some years which was made famous by the fact that General Lafayette stopped there for some time. He built the large hotel on Market street, running from Hotel to Union street, which was subsequently destroyed by fire. He died in Paterson but left no children.

McNamee, Robert, was a laborer who resided on the corner of Broadway and Mulberry street. His son, Bernard, subsequently occupied the same building and it was here that Father Langton celebrated mass. Both the McNamees were cotton spinners and died in Paterson. There are no descendants of the family in this city.

Morgan, Daniel, was a laborer who came to Paterson in 1826. When a short time afterwards work was to be begun on the Catholic Church in Oliver street he and a number of other laborers were sent to the site. Before they began to dig the superintendent inquired whether there were any Catholics among the laborers. Mr. Morgan stepped forward and the superintendent said to him:—"Then you dig the first shovelful of dirt," and Mr. Morgan did so. Mr. Morgan is still alive and resides at No. 77 Jersey street. He is the grandfather of Mrs. Dr. O'Grady.

Morris, Michael, came to Paterson from Godwinville and was at first employed as a cotton weaver, but subsequently devoted his attention to dealing in waste. He was well known to nearly every Catholic in Paterson and vicinity, and his death, which occurred a short time ago, was lamented by all. He has two sons living, Michael J. Morris and the Rev. John P. Morris. His only daughter died, leaving one child.

Mooney, Terence, was employed in the cotton mill, and resided on Main street, near Slater. He died in Troy, N. Y., whither he had removed with his family; several of his sons are now in Florida.

Mulholland, Charles, a cotton weaver, resided on the corner of Prospect street and White's alley. He died in Paterson and his children removed to other places.—James Mulholland, another of the pioneers of the Catholic Church in this city, died some years ago after a long and active life. His descendants still reside in Paterson.

Murphy, Patrick, resided on the corner of Pine and Grand streets and was in the employ of the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures. His children still live in Paterson.

[Pg 19]

Murtagh, Michael, was the first superintendent of the Paterson level of the Morris Canal. His son Bernard is dead, but his other son John is in business in this city and some time ago represented the Eighth Ward in the Board of Aldermen.

O'Callaghan, Jeremiah, was employed in a cotton mill. He left three daughters, but no sons. One of his daughters is in business in this city; another is the wife of Thomas Dynan and the third resides in Baltimore.

O'Donnell, William, another employee of a cotton mill, removed from Paterson many years ago and went South. None of his descendants reside in this city.

O'Keefe, Thomas, resided in Ellison street, near Lynch's alley, and was employed in the Phœnix Mill. His descendants subsequently removed to New York and elsewhere.

O'Neill, Charles, came to Paterson in October, 1828, and went to work in Prospect street as a shoemaker. Assiduous attention to his business impaired his health, and his physician advised him either to take a sea voyage or obtain some employment in which he could have outdoor exercise. Mr. O'Neill went into the lumber business to which he subsequently added coal and building material. He has always been prominently connected with Catholic Church matters in Paterson, and was one of the first trustees of the Oliver street church. Although eighty-two years of age he still enjoys the best of health and vigor. His son Charles Henry is in business in Jersey City and has held a number of offices, including that of Mayor, to which he was elected for three terms. His second son, Thomas E., assists him in his business, and a third son, John, died some years ago, leaving a wife and three children. His daughter, Susan, is the wife of John Agnew; another daughter is Mrs. Catherine Sharkey and a third Mrs. Dr. Kane. Another daughter, Theresa, has taken the veil and is in the convent at Madison. Ellen and Esther still reside with their parents in Mill street.—John and Barney O'Neill were brothers of the foregoing. John established the shoe business conducted by his sons at No. 122 Main street. He and his wife are dead, leaving three sons and three daughters. Barney married a daughter of James Wade; he was an insurance agent, a justice of the peace and a lay judge of the Court of Common Pleas in this county. Three daughters and two sons still survive him.—Charles and Patrick O'Neill, two brothers, no relation to the foregoing, were employed in a nail factory which stood where the Gun Mill is now situated. They resided in Prospect street and none of their descendants at the present day live in Paterson.—Edward O'Neill, of another family from the foregoing, was also employed in the Phœnix Mill and has several descendants living in Paterson.

[Pg 20]

O'Reilly, Edward, kept a dry goods store, and subsequently removed to New York city, where he married and where he is still in business.

Powers, James, for some years kept a store in Cross street, opposite Elm, and erected the brick building situated just below Dr. Quin's office. His only surviving son is ex-Alderman John Powers. His daughter, Margaret, became a Sister of Charity and adopted the name of Sister Regina. She died while at St. Agnes' Institute in this city, and her remains rest in Paterson. Another daughter of Mr. Powers is Julia, wife of William McNair.

Quin, Patrick, was a contractor and resided in Passaic street. He was for a long time one of the trustees of the Oliver street church. All his children left Paterson after their father's death.—Arthur Quin resided near Clifton and was a contractor, the principal field of his operations being New York city. He subsequently removed to Paterson and put up a number of buildings in West and Main streets. One of his sons is still alive and is a resident of New York city. Dr. John Quin is distantly related to Arthur and Patrick Quin, who were brothers.

Rafferty, Peter and Philip, were two brothers. Peter removed to California, returned to Paterson for some time, but again turned his face to the Pacific coast; he is now a resident of San Francisco. He was married in Paterson to Miss Susan Russell, a niece of Charles O'Neill. Philip was for many years trustee of the Oliver street church. He was the junior member of the firm of Todd & Rafferty, and died in this city. His first wife was a daughter of Joseph Warren, and his second a daughter of Hugh Brady.

Riley, Hugh, kept a grocery on the corner of Cross and Market streets. None of his descendants live in Paterson.

Rossiter, Martin, whose tragic death by being carried over the Falls in the freshet of 1882 was deplored by all, was for many years a farmer in the employ of the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures. His son Richard is still in the employ of that corporation; another son is a priest belonging to the order of Passionists, and a daughter is a Sister of the Sacred Heart. Paul and George, two sons, are employed in New York.

Shea—or Shay—Brian, was one of the first Catholics who settled in Paterson. He had a private school on the old York road where it strikes the river near the present site of the Cedar Lawn Cemetery. Among his scholars was Henry P. Simmons, of Passaic, recently Lay Judge of the Common Pleas of this county. The building on the York road was used partly as a school and partly as the residence of the teacher. The rising generation of those days referred to it as "The Bellows," from the fact that the wind blew in at the many crevices in the building. Mr. Shea[Pg 21] had a son, James, who studied law in New York, and a daughter Harriet. He subsequently owned the property adjoining the Oliver street church, and sold it to McKinney, from whom the church obtained it.

Shields, Christopher and Patrick, two brothers, were in the dry goods business for some years on the corner of Main street and Broadway. They removed from Paterson and have no descendants here.

Slavin, John, kept a bowling alley on the corner of Ellison and Prospect streets. He died in Paterson, but none of his descendants live here at the present day.

Taggart, Peter, was employed in the cotton mill. His widow, a daughter of Joseph Warren, died quite recently, and his daughter is still living in Paterson, the wife of William S. Kinch.

Tilby, Dr. John, practised medicine in Paterson and resided in Cross street, near Market. He died in this city, but his two sons and one daughter removed to other places.

Velasquez, J., a Spaniard, owned the Phœnix Mill, and subsequently formed a partnership with John Travers and embarked in the manufacture of cotton. He subsequently sold out and left Paterson.

Wade, James, according to the most reliable accounts, enjoyed the distinction of having been the first Catholic Sunday school teacher in Paterson, having a class in the old church building on Mill and Market streets. He lived at the corner of Cross and Ellison streets. His daughters are Mrs. B. O'Neill of this city, Mrs. See of Totowa and Mrs. Coughlin of Hoboken. Mr. Wade was a cotton spinner by occupation.

Ward, Peter and James, two brothers, were engaged as butchers, although James for some time worked in the Phœnix Mill. Both subsequently removed to Rochester, where they died and where their descendants still reside.

Warren, Joseph, in partnership with Brown, conducted a tannery and a leather store in lower Main—then Park—street, almost opposite Bank street. Mr. Brown's grandson still resides there. Brown boarded with Warren and subsequently married his daughter, after which the family removed to Division street. Mr. Warren was one of the trustees of the Oliver street church when it was building.

[Pg 22]


The Erection of the Oliver Street Church.—Doubling Its Size.—Sketches Of the Lives of Its Pastors, Fathers Duffy, O'Reilly, James Quin, Thomas Quin, Senez, Beaudevin and Callan.—A Priest's Heroic Death.

The arrangements for the building of a new church in Oliver street were made in 1828, the year in which the trustees of St. John's Church obtained the grant of the land from Mr. Colt. Rt. Rev. Bishop Du Bois, who had so generously interested himself in the welfare of the congregation, solicited subscriptions and among others obtained one of $2,000 from a Southern gentleman. Father Duffy and the trustees of the church were indefatigable in their efforts and in 1829 the foundation of the new church was laid, the work being done by Thomas Parker. It was intended to erect a church fifty-five feet front and one hundred feet deep and the work progressed favorably until the foundation wall had been erected and the lower window frames fixed in their places. Unfortunate dissensions among the members of the congregation then arose and to this was added the debate of the question whether church property in the State should be held by trustees, as had hitherto been the case, or whether the title to the church property should be vested in the name of the Bishop of the diocese. The result was that the work on the new church was stopped for the time being and the congregation continued worshipping in the old church, on Market and Mill streets, which had been somewhat improved. In 1832 the trustees of the church were Charles O'Neill, John P. Brown, Joseph Warren, Andrew Lynch, James D. Kiley and Andrew Griffith. There was no question that the church on Market and Mill streets was too small and that something had to be done to accommodate the constantly and rapidly increasing congregation. So in the early part of 1833 the trustees above mentioned, together with a number of other gentlemen prominent in the church, held a meeting in the yard of the old church on Market and Mill streets and deliberated what to do. It was soon apparent that there were two factions. The one faction favored doubling the size of the church on Market and Mill streets and abandoning the Oliver street enterprise. The other faction, of which Mr. O'Neill was the leader, insisted that a new church be erected on Oliver street and Mr. O'Neill argued strongly in favor of this project. The meeting finally adjourned without having come to any conclusion. The friends of the Oliver street church then visited their opponents at their residences and by dint of argument and persuasion finally induced them to give their consent to the new project so that at a meeting held two weeks after the first meeting it was resolved to go on with the work on Oliver street. It was then discovered that some of the trustees and a portion of the congregation[Pg 23] favored constructing the church on the foundations as originally built in 1829; the larger and more conservative element considered the limited resources of the church and finally prevailed. Changes were made in the plans, a portion of the foundation was taken down, so as to bring the windows nearer to the ground, and the second Catholic Church in Paterson was erected. The church on Mill and Market streets had been sold for $1,625. There were two bidders for the work to be done in Oliver street, but James Galbraith being $700 lower than his competitor, the contract was awarded to him and he erected the church. Subscriptions came in better than had been anticipated and the church was compelled to borrow but little; that little was raised on the individual notes of prominent Catholics, but when the church was completed there was very little debt.

The work on the church was done under the superintendence of the trustees and Father Patrick Duffy, the pastor of the church. Father Duffy had no clergyman to assist him but his energy and untiring zeal were equal to all occasions; and when he left Paterson in 1836 it was with the sincerest regrets of all the members of the congregation, and the most hearty wishes for his future welfare followed him to the new scene of his labors, Newburg, Cold Springs and Poughkeepsie, N. Y. Catholicism had not as yet taken deep root in that vicinity and Father Duffy had a large field but a small flock. With the increase in the number of the Catholics more priests were needed and Father Duffy confined his labors to the City of Newburg, where he died on June 20, 1853.

Father Duffy was succeeded by Father Philip O'Reilly, who still lives in the pleasant recollections of hundreds of citizens of Paterson. He continued until 1845 as the sole shepherd of St. John's congregation. He was a large and powerfully-built man, of commanding presence and very social qualities. He mixed a great deal with persons of other faiths, and by his sociability, brilliancy and powerful arguments succeeded in destroying a great deal of prejudice which had previously existed against the Catholic religion. Father O'Reilly belonged to one of the oldest and most respectable families in Ireland. He was born in the town of Seraba, county Cavan, a county which was once called O'Reilly's county. Father O'Reilly traced his ancestry back to beyond the time of James I., and at the time of Father O'Reilly's labors in Paterson some of his kinsmen were still in possession of the estates which had belonged to the family for centuries. Father O'Reilly was educated in Spain, being a member of the order of St. Dominic, and travelled through Italy, France and England. For some years he was chaplain to the Duke of Norfolk, a position of ease and honor. The duties there were, however, not enough for the restless and untiring spirit of Father O'Reilly, and so when less than thirty years of age he left Europe to seek for sterner duties in this country. He was first stationed at Poughkeepsie and then came to Paterson. From this city he went to Cold Springs, N. Y., where he built the first Catholic church. He was then removed to West Troy, and afterwards placed in charge of St. Bridget's Church in New York. As pastor of this church he died in the 62nd year of his life on the 7th of December, 1854. His remains[Pg 24] were interred on the 9th of the same month in St. Patrick's Cathedral, the funeral being attended by a large concourse of admiring and sorrowing friends, both of the clergy and laity.

In the latter part of the pastorate of Father O'Reilly the congregation of St. John's had so increased in numbers that it was found necessary to enlarge the church. Steps were accordingly taken in this direction, but the project was not carried into execution until some time after the advent of Father James Quin, who came to Paterson in 1845. There was considerable discussion concerning the plans of the addition and the work was not begun until 1846. Instead of erecting the church to the size of the old foundation walls—which had been entirely torn down and used in the construction of the first part of the church in 1833—the building was made thirteen feet longer, so that the present size of the church is one hundred and thirteen feet deep and fifty-five front. The original plot of land obtained from Mr. Colt would not have permitted of the erection of a building of that size, and so an arrangement was entered into with the county—which at that time was contemplating the erection of the present county jail—by which the congregation deeded to the county a gore of land in return for another gore of similar size. The addition to the church was built by Colonel Andrew Derrom, and resulted in a vexatious law suit which was decided in favor of the congregation. Shortly after the completion of the addition the seating capacity of the church was considerably enlarged by the erection of a gallery on the sides of the church. The seating capacity of the church was about 1,300. As was the case with the first half of the church building the moneys needed for the construction came in in a very satisfactory manner so that the church had very little debt when the structure was accepted from the contractors.

When Father James Quin came to Paterson to take charge of St. John's congregation his brother, Thomas, was preparing for ordination, and after Father James Quin had been here about a year he was joined by his brother, who came to Paterson as soon as he had been ordained. Father James Quin was of delicate health, and in addition to the assistance of his brother had the occasional services of Rev. Dr. Cummings, who frequently came to Paterson from St. Stephen's Church. Father James Quin died on the 13th of June, 1851, being at the time pastor of the church. He was the only priest who died in Paterson, and his remains are interred in the cemetery on Sandy Hill. Father Thomas Quin succeeded his brother as pastor of the church and remained about a year. He was educated at St. Joseph's Seminary, at Fordham, and was ordained by Right Rev. Bishop Hughes on June 14, 1849. His remains are interred at Rahway in this State, of which place he was pastor. His sister, Mrs. Bridget Smith, widow of Michael Smith, still resides in this city on Mill street, near Slater.

Father Thomas Quin was succeeded by Father D. Senez, who came in 1852 and remained until 1858. In the latter part of his pastorate he was assisted frequently on Sundays by Father G. McMahon. Father Senez came here from Newark and when he left he went to Jersey City, where he built St. Mary's Church, of which he is still the pastor. He made a number of improvements[Pg 25] to the Oliver street church in this city and it was with the greatest regrets that the Catholics of Paterson saw him depart for other fields.

Father Victor Beaudevin succeeded Father Senez in 1858 and remained until October, 1861. He was a scholastic of the Society of Jesus and was ordained a priest by Rt. Rev. Bishop Hughes on May 25, 1850. When he left Paterson he rejoined the Order of Jesuits and is at present in Canada. He was assisted by Father J. Schandel, who was subsequently the first pastor of St. Boniface's Church of this city, in the erection of which church he received material assistance from Father Beaudevin.

Father Callan came to St. John's congregation in 1861 and remained about two years, leaving here in October, 1863. He was one of the most energetic priests that ever came to Paterson. He was quiet and unassuming but continually busy with projects for the benefit of the Catholic Church. His death constituted one of the most romantic episodes in the history of the Catholic Church in this country. Some time after he left Paterson he went on a mission to California traveling thither by boat from New York. While going from San Francisco to his mission in Santa Barbara the steamer on which he was was discovered to be on fire. The wildest confusion ensued and an attempt to run the vessel ashore failed. While most of those on board were busy devising plans for their personal safety and resorting to all kinds of expedients to save their lives Father Callan buried himself giving spiritual consolation and administering the last sacraments and rites of the Church. He had ample opportunity to save his life but the poor distressed on shipboard, who had been injured by the explosion which had taken place, and some of whom were dying, called for the consolations of religion and Father Callan remained to dispense them. He died while in the discharge of his duty—the death of a hero and a martyr.


The Edifice on Grand and Main Streets.—The Erection of the Present Church of the Congregation.—The Corner Stone Laying and The Dedication.—A Description of the Church.

In 1863 Father William McNulty, the present pastor of St. John's congregation, came to Paterson and took charge of the fortunes and spiritual welfare of the constantly increasing congregation. The Oliver street church had become too small and could no longer hold the large numbers which crowded to it every Sunday for the purpose of attending divine worship. Father McNulty consequently set to work preparing a new edifice. It was his intention to provide a church which should be large enough to afford every Catholic in the city all the conveniences of attending mass and receiving the sacraments[Pg 26] and at the same time he intended to erect a structure which would be a credit to the liberality and enterprise of the congregation. He accordingly entered into negotiations with the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures and in 1865 he purchased from it sixteen lots on the corner of Grand and Main streets. The new enterprise seemed to infuse new vigor into the members of the congregation and the full amount of the purchase money of the real estate was raised in two months. Preparations were made for the construction of the new church and on September 10, 1865, the corner stone was laid.

The following account of the corner stone laying of the church is taken from the Paterson Daily Press of September 11, 1865:

"An immense concourse of people, numbering probably ten thousand, gathered at three o'clock at the site of the new Catholic Church of St. John the Baptist, to witness the ceremony of laying the corner stone of the edifice, by the Rev. Bishop Bayley, Roman Catholic prelate of this diocese. Music was furnished by the band attached to the Church of the Assumption at Williamsburgh, and a large choir of male and female voices. The procession of clergy, preceded by a cross, and accompanying the Bishop in full and splendid canonicals reached the southeast corner of the church about half past two, at which time the pressure was fearful. The corner stone after being crossed and blessed by the Bishop was then laid with the ceremonials prescribed in the Pontifical. It is carved with a cross on the two exposed faces, and has a cavity within, wherein were placed the following articles:

"Specimens of the United States currency, gold, silver, copper and paper; also copies of Paterson Press and Guardian of Saturday, copies of the New York Tablet and Herald, and the following document:


"Lapis hic angularis Templi ad Dei Unius Omnipotentis cultum, sub Patricinio Sancti Joannes Baptistæ in hoc Patersoniensis urbe ædificandi ab illustrissimo et Reverendissimo Jacobo Roosevelt Bayley, hujus Novarcensis dioceseos, Episcopo Pio IX P. M., ecclesiam, per orbem regenti, Patricio Moran Vicario Generali, Gulielmo McNulty Parocho, Jacobo D'Arcy sacerdote coadjutore.

"Fœderatarum Americæ Septemtrionalis Provinciarum Preside Andrea Johnson, Novae Cæsareæ Gubernatore Joele Parker, urbis hujus Proctore Henrico A. Williams, Architecto Patrico C. Keely, ædificationis, delectis Carolo O'Neill, Roberto Hamil, Gulielmo Watson, Michaeli Morris et Patricio Curran. Benedictus et positus est III Idus Septembri, Anno Salutis MDCCCLXV. Hoc operato, concionem, maxime facundam magna civium adstantium corona, habuit jam laudatus præsul decus gregis, quem diu sospitem nostro sæculo servet,


"Cui sit honor, laus et gloria in Sempiternum.

"The Bishop, and attending clergy, then traversed the foundations of the edifice, the Bishop blessing them and sprinkling them with holy water.[Pg 27] Then returning to the corner-stone the Bishop proceeded to deliver the following address:—'It is the custom of the Bishop in laying the corner-stone of a new church to say something upon the occasion, and it is always a source of great pleasure for me to lay and bless the corner-stone of a new church. The circumstances, it is true, are not always the most agreeable, the ceremony being performed in the open air, and it is sometimes too hot, and sometimes too cold, or it may rain, although to-day the sun has shone out most opportunely. But these, after all, are slight inconveniences. As I officiate upon these occasions, it is impossible for me to separate them from the source of the blessings to follow to the individual and to society. The thought that is always uppermost in my mind when I lay the corner-stone of a church is of those wells in the desert spoken of so beautifully in the old Scriptures; those fountains in the dry and sandy deserts of the East, made by the old patriarchs, which still spread beauty and fertility around them, and still refresh the weary traveller. The wild Arab ranging the desert as he sees and drinks of those living waters, blesses the names of those old patriarchs who made them flow. So it is with the Church of Christ. That Church is, indeed, a fountain of living waters in the desert, spreading fertility and blessings around it and refreshing and blessing the weary traveller on his journey through life. It is indeed a great and a good work we are engaged in. It is a work for the glory and honor of the Good and Supreme Ruler of all things, and it cannot fail to bring down blessings on ourselves and all who come after us. The erection of a church is a noble and substantial act of faith; not expressed in words but built up in enduring brick and stone, and thus stronger and more complete than mere words. It shows that you honor God and love your religion; that you are anxious for the glory of the House of God, and wish its rites to be fitly celebrated. It shows, too, that you are anxious that those who come after you shall bow at the same altars, and be guided by the same precepts that you are guided by. Some would say, looking at the foundations I have blessed to-day, Why an expense that seems disproportionate to the means! It is, perhaps, a natural question, and yet it is one that always sounds badly to the Catholic ear. We should not speak of cost in connection with the house and glory of Almighty God. The question I allude to was first asked by Judas, concerning an act of charity and love done for our Divine Master. Let us recognize by our generosity, by the size, cost and magnificence of the temples we erect to Him, that God is ruler not only over the world, but in our hearts. If you will visit Catholic cities you will find the most beautiful buildings erected, not to purposes of science and art, but to the glory of God, and for works of charity done in His name. The Catholic Church has always been a church builder. She began with the Catacombs, which you will find in many parts of Europe and particularly at Rome. To those places the faithful were wont to flee from the light of day to offer their rites and worship God in their own way. As you pass along those corridors, cut from the solid rock and lined on either side with the bodies of the dead, you find in places they expand into chambers where church rites were held. I recall[Pg 28] one near Naples, a church called after St. Agnes, near the scene of her martyrdom, where there is a beautiful church, with an altar and a seat for the Bishop. In some of these churches where the light of day does not shine the walls are decorated with frescoes, from subjects of the Old Testament. I need not say that when the Church came up to worship God in the light of day she continued to erect noble edifices to the glory of God, hence those noble basilicas, churches and cathedrals we see in the old countries. Those noble structures have been stigmatized as creations of the Dark Ages. Some of you may have seen them. Those who have not can form no idea of their beauty and grandeur, which impress even those of other faiths who enter them. They are truly noble poems, built in stone under the light of Heaven. It would be quite as easy for an ordinary person to compose a stanza of Paradise Lost, or Dante's Divina Comedia, as to construct even the slightest portion of one of those beautiful works. It has been the theory of a certain school, now I am happy to say fast passing away, that these noble buildings were the result of superstition; that they were built by men of habits of great violence and crime, who compounded with God, as it were, to keep a portion of their stolen goods, while with the remainder they erected those noble churches and monasteries. This theory was entirely false. These were men like unto ourselves, as regards human nature: when they did wrong they might offer reparation, but it was no superstition that found means to build these churches. In our days men are recognizing a better theory; that it was faith, piety and love for God that prompted these works. Those men in erecting their churches gave expression to their faith, and showed their love to God as you are showing it now.'

"(The Bishop said he could not enter into a description of these churches. He would only refer briefly to one, the Cathedral of Chartres, France, of which he found it noted in the chronicle of Haman that it was seventy years in building. One is not surprised that it should have been so, when he looks upon it. It has suffered from the tooth of time, but many of its interior features, and especially its noble old stained windows, are very perfect still. He had been told by an archæologist that it would cost three or four millions of francs to restore it. This noble cathedral was built not by the rich and titled, but by the hands of poor men. There must have been thousands working on it night and day for those seventy years. Thousands of noble persons were busy in supplying provisions to the laborers. Delicate maidens might have been seen carrying stones for the church. The whole population labored, not merely the citizen, but the dweller in the province, to erect that building that should stand until the end of time.)

"'They did not build in vain. Their time was well spent. That church has been a constant sermon telling for over a thousand years the glory of God. Who may tell what force such a church may add to a preacher's words? Such churches have stood bearing witness against heresy and false doctrine and helping Catholics to keep the faith. They have been beacon-lights to warn men who wished to serve the true God from their false philosophy. The spirit shown in the project of the large and costly church[Pg 29] here commenced is that which has always animated the Catholic heart. I congratulate you, then; I congratulate your zealous and faithful pastor; I congratulate you all; Catholics of this city, and Protestants too; for this is a matter which concerns the interests of all who believe in and love God, who reverence law, order and public security, because all these are founded upon religion. In the place where people do not believe in God, there must be degradation, violence, insecurity and sometimes anarchy. Here we erect another bulwark against irreligion, indifference and vice, which all must acknowledge are spreading over our fair republic. He did not feel the necessity of spending any more breath in exhorting them to carry on generously and faithfully the great work they had undertaken. The rubric in the Pontifical which I hold in my hand imperfectly translated says that it is the duty of the Bishop before he lays the corner stone of a church to take care that means are provided for its completion, and for the support of its clergy, and the proper celebration of worship. But the times are not as they once were. Now we do not find it necessary to wait until all the means are provided. We depend now upon the wide-spread liberality of our people, many of whom, it is true, are poor. We saw to-day a woman, who from her dress and appearance, was evidently casting her all into the treasury of the Lord's House. I cannot condemn her, since the Lord once blessed such an act as hers. How dear will this spot be henceforth! Here you shall worship God; here receive the holy sacraments; here come to hear the words of eternal truth. May it indeed be to you in the language of the old Patriarch, the House of God and the Gate of Heaven. May you here obtain the grace of a good death and be hence admitted to everlasting glory, to a habitation not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.'

"While the address was in progress, baskets were passed among the crowd for contributions, a handsome sum being realized. The congregation was dismissed with the Pontifical benediction."

The erection of the walls of the church was at once proceeded with. P. C. Keely, of New York, was the architect, but every day while work was going on Father McNulty was present supervising the erection and attending to the many matters which require attention in the construction of so large a structure as St. John's Church. The building was erected by day's work and is one of the most substantially built churches in the country. Father McNulty was assisted by an advisory building committee consisting of Charles O'Neill, Robert Hamil, William G. Watson and others. The stone used in the construction of the church was brought by canal from Little Falls and dressed on the ground as required. The slate used in the roof was imported from England. The chime of bells, the only one in the city, which had been used in the Oliver street church, was transferred to the new edifice. Before the completion of the main building a neat little chapel was built on the north east corner of the property; this was at once fitted up and is at present used for confessionals and other purposes. The total seating capacity of the new church is 1750. The following brief description of the church is taken from the recently published History of Bergen and Passaic Counties:

[Pg 30]

"The church is eighty-eight feet front and one hundred and eighty feet deep; twin turrets rise on each side of the front to the height of the peak, ninety feet, but are to be carried thirty feet higher; on the Grand street side there is a square tower, about one hundred feet high at present; it is to be adorned with a spire rising to the height of two hundred and twenty-five feet from the ground. The main entrance is on Main street, through a fine doorway, the arch of which is about thirty feet high. The roof is supported in the interior by graceful stone columns, sixty feet high, from which spring stout arches of wood painted to resemble stone. The ceilings and walls are decorated in the mediæval style by two celebrated artists from Munich, Messrs. Lang and Kinkeln. Symbolic paintings adorn the side walls, depicting the twelve stations upon a background of gold flecked with blue. The windows are of stained glass each contributed by some member of the congregation."

The sanctuary also contains five masterpieces of the painter's art, being representations of the five principal mysteries of the life of Christ, the Annunciation, the Birth, the Institution of the Holy Eucharist, the Resurrection and the Ascension.

The following are the positions of the windows and the names of the persons or societies who donated them:

Rev. L. G. Thebaud, Rev. W. McNulty.
John Agnew, Charles O'Neill.
W. G. Watson, S. H. Wall.
Miss E. Carr, Mrs. M. Freel.
Christopher McKiernan. 
Robert Hamil, Mrs. B. Mack.
St. Agnes' Society, Rosary Society.
St. Patrick's T. A. B. Society,     Mrs. C. Cameron.
United Sons of Erin, United Sons of Erin.

P. J. St. Lawrence, In memory of P. McKenna.

The stained glass windows in the chapel were given by Elizabeth Mooney, Mary Freel, Anna Sullivan and Hannah St. Lawrence.

The following is the estimated cost of the various parts of the work:

Cutting of the doors, windows, columns, corbels, &c. $ 30,000
Interior decorations 7,000
Main altar—a gift from a member of the congregation 2,000
Windows 8,000
Organ 10,000
Masonry and rest of the work 143,000

The present debt of the church is $27,000, and its annual income about $30,000 from all sources, barely sufficient to meet all the large and numerous[Pg 31] demands on the treasury. The number of Catholics in the city is estimated at 20,000, more than one-third of the population.

The church was dedicated on the 31st of July, 1870. The following account of this ceremony is taken from the Paterson Daily Press of the next day:

"Yesterday was a great day for the Roman Catholic population of Paterson, and a proud day for the Rev. Father McNulty, the energetic pastor of St. John's Church, to whose remarkable energy and zeal his people are indebted for so grand a design as the erection of the splendid church which was solemnly dedicated yesterday with all the pomp and magnificence of the Roman Catholic ritual. Before the hour for commencing the services an immense throng had collected in the vicinity of the old and the new church in upper Main street to witness the ceremonies outside while the church was crowded by a vast congregation, admitted by tickets at one dollar each to see and hear the splendid service within. Of the church itself, its main architectural features, dimensions, etc., we have so often spoken that we need not refer to it particularly here save to notice what has been added by the way of furnishing and decorations. The building is yet far from completion and no doubt its full embellishment will be the work of years. It already, however, gives promise of being a very beautiful church. It is frescoed in stone colors, crimson, green, blue and gold. The sculptured capitals of the stone columns are elaborately decorated and gilded. The arches of the clere-story are stone color, edged with maroon, and gold stars, the tracery in relief being light green. The side walls are salmon drab. The seats are of hard wood, walnut, ash, etc., seemingly fashioned more for durability than beauty. The altar, reached by two steps, is placed in a spacious chancel, flanked by commodious chapels. The walls and ceiling of the chancel are frescoed in the same colors as the body of the church, and contain numerous paintings of scenes in the life of our Savior and St. Peter, and other saints. Its large east window has not its glass in yet. The other stained windows of the church are complete. They are very beautiful, and each bears the name of its donor, some of the faithful of the congregation having contributed the money for each, and as long as the church stands the indelible record of their generosity will endure. The chancel is covered by a handsome carpet of brown and blue. The altar is painted white, mauve and gold. It is elaborately ornamented with vases, pictures and flowers, and hung with white lace embroidered with gold grapes. A wreath of vivid green leaves, interspersed with white lilies, is twined in the front. It contains a multitude of tapers, and is surmounted by a figure of Christ upon the cross. The pulpit placed within the body of the church is small, and far from imposing in its appearance.

"The ceremonies of dedication commenced outside of the church, where a procession was formed of the clergy and societies, the latter consisting of the Sons of Erin, and the St. John's and St. Patrick's Temperance Societies. The procession was headed by two taper bearers and a crucifix bearer, several of the officiating priests, and the Right Rev. Bishop Wood,[Pg 32] of Philadelphia, who conducted the ceremony of dedication. The Bishop was clad in magnificent robes of white satin superbly embroidered in gold devices, and silk flowers of glowing colors. He wore his mitre and carried a gorgeous crozier. The procession marched around the church chanting the Miserere, the Bishop sprinkling the walls with holy water. It then entered the front door and proceeded up the centre aisle to the alter, the Bishop and procession chanting alternately the Litany of the Saints. The Bishop and attendants then traversed the interior limit of the church, the walls of which were sprinkled with holy water by the celebrant, the priests solemnly chanting the while. During this ceremony the candles on the altar were lighted, and all was made ready for the celebration of a solemn mass in the presence of a Bishop. This was celebrated with the utmost pomp. The Bishop commenced the mass and proceeded as far as the Confitieor when the celebrant, Father Senez, of Jersey City, proceeded in the usual form. Father Hennessy, of Bergen, acted as Deacon, Dr. Garvey, of Hackensack, as sub-Deacon, and the Rev. P. McCarthy, of Seton Hall, as Master of Ceremonies. Among the clergy present were the Rev. Monsignor Seton, Chaplain of the Convent at Madison; Dr. Corrigan, President of Seton Hall College; Father Corrigan, of St. Peter's, Jersey City; Father Byrne, of Camden, and the clergy of the church, Fathers W. McNulty, Thebaud and Vescelle. The Bishop's secretary and several of the seminarians of Seton Hall College were also present.

"The sermon was preached by the Rev. Mr. Byrne, of Camden, from the 6th Chapter of the Second Book of 'Paraleipomena,' or 'Book of Things Omitted,' and was an earnest and eloquent appeal in behalf of the Catholic faith, which he said makes sermons even of stones, and by its grand and solemn services impresses the mind even of the stranger. The preacher told an anecdote showing how powerfully a Baptist lady had been impressed while visiting Bishop Wood's Church in Philadelphia, so that she dropped upon her knees and prayed as fervently as any. The speaker paid a glowing compliment to the zeal and generosity of the congregation, and especially to the worthy pastor, for the erection of this noble offering to God. It was beautiful architecturally, but it had a beauty for the child of faith, the earnest Catholic, before which all its outward beauty vanished as the glory of the earth before the glory of the heaven. It is the glory and beauty of the indwelling of Christ.

"After the close of the mass, the Bishop addressed a few words of congratulation to the congregation. He said they had reared a beautiful and spacious temple and had reason to be grateful to God who gave them so earnest and devoted a pastor to lead them. It is an evidence of His special love. They should have but one sentiment. Thanks be to God; from God all good things come. They must give him all he asks with grateful hearts. He regretted that their own noble Bishop was not there and yet he ought not to regret it, for in that case he (the speaker) should have probably lost the great pleasure of being there. Remember the more God bestows, the more he requires. Their struggle here will only cease with life. There are[Pg 33] signs on the horizon, that a special struggle may be coming following the action of the General Council now in session. The storm may come but God will direct it, and it will pass away, and be succeeded by a longer and more glorious sunshine.

"The music of the mass was remarkably fine, under the skillful direction of Prof. Davis, the organist of St. John's church. Only a small temporary organ had been set up, it being the intention to order a superb new organ, of dimensions suitable for the church. The full effect, therefore, of the pieces could not be given, but they were rendered with great skill and effect. The Kyrie and Gloria were by Cerutti, the Offertory by Millard, the Credo by Farmer, the Sanctus by Mercadante, and the Agnus Dei by Farmer. The solos were finely rendered by Misses Graham and Maggie O'Neill and Mr. Hensler, bass, and Nauwerck, tenor. The latter is the only one who does not belong to the regular choir of the church. The other members, all of whom did admirably, are Misses Theresa O'Neill, Bowen, Quin, McGuire, Sheehan and Hawley.

"The entire services were very impressive and occupied three hours in all. Among the crowded congregation were a great many prominent citizens not of the Roman Catholic faith. The ushers attended with great courtesy to the comfort of all."

The time occupied to build the church as it stands at present was fourteen years.

In 1872 the congregation purchased four lots of land on Grand street, east of the church building, from the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures, paying therefor the sum of $10,800. The property was bought for the purpose of erecting a parsonage and work on this was begun soon after the acquirement of the real estate. The parsonage is a handsome structure built in the same style as the church and of similar materials. The mason work was done by Patrick J. St. Lawrence, the price being $7,000. The erection of the building cost altogether about $15,000.

The congregation retained the old church property in Oliver street but a number of important alterations were made. The building was changed into a hall for lectures, concerts, entertainments and the like and is known as St. John's Hall. A portion of the building is used for school purposes to relieve the parochial school which adjoins it.

[Pg 34]


Sketch of the Pastor of St. John's Church.—A Silver Jubilee.—A Life Devoted to the Service of the Almighty.—The Choir of the Church.—Various Societies of the Congregation.

No person in Paterson has done harder and more energetic work in the cause of Catholicism than the reverend pastor of St. John's congregation, Father William McNulty. His pluck, untiring zeal, kind disposition and many other laudable characteristics have endeared him to all. Never was this more plainly shown than at the celebration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of his ordination. On this occasion, August 6th and 7th, 1882, the clergy, of whom there were nearly half a hundred present presented Father McNulty with an address giving a short sketch of his life and paying him tributes which he had so richly deserved. As this address faithfully depicts the character of the worthy priest and tells of some of the many worthy and more prominent actions it is here reproduced in full:

"We are met here to-day to congratulate you on this auspicious occasion, the twenty-fifth anniversary of your elevation to the sacred priesthood. Not to many is it given to see your years in the holy ministry, though years constitute no merit; but to few indeed is it granted to accomplish works such as you have achieved, for you are fuller of works than of days.

"Imbued with the missionary spirit of your countrymen, you early left your native land, 'the island of Saints and Apostles,' bidding 'adieu to Ballyshannon and the winding banks of Erne.' Arriving in New York in 1850, you entered the celebrated halls of the Jesuits at Fordham, where you drank deep of classical and philosophical lore; and graduated with distinction. Thence you repaired to that illustrious seat of learning, so justly styled 'the nursery of priests and bishops'—Mt. St. Mary's College, Emmettsburgh, Md., where for four years, guided by the spirit of the saintly Dubois, and the indomitable Brute; under the tutorship of the learned McCaffrey and the gentle Elder 'you were nourished up in the words of faith and good doctrine.' There, under the peaceful shadow of 'the old mountain,' you were taught the chief characteristics of a true minister of Christ; who, according to the Apostle, should be 'of blameless life, sober, prudent, of good behaviour, chaste, modest, not quarrelsome, not greedy of filthy lucre, holding the mysteries of the faith in a pure conscience, an example of the faithful in word, in conversation, in charity, in faith.'

"Thus prepared, and having received ordination at the hands of the late lamented Archbishop Bayley, you went forth five and twenty years ago to-day, 'to labor as a good soldier of Christ' in the Diocese of Newark.

"You were first selected to assist as Vice-President the present distinguished[Pg 35] Bishop of Rochester in conducting at Madison the college of Seton Hall which has since developed into the far-famed institution at South Orange, much of whose success may be traced back to the fact that you reproduced at Madison the zeal which you had seen exercised, and the discipline which you had seen enforced at your mountain 'Alma Mater.'

"You were afterwards placed over the missions of Morris county, including Mendham, Basking Ridge and other neighboring stations, where you erected churches and attended to the spiritual wants of that extensive district, at the same time discharging the office of chaplain to the infant community of the Sisters of Charity at Madison, and assisting them very materially in the management of their temporal affairs.

"In 1863 the church of St. John the Baptist, Paterson, was without a pastor. The Right Rev. Bishop, knowing the importance of this growing city, which has since become one of the most successful manufacturing centres of the country, and thoroughly appreciating its religious wants, cast his eyes over his clergy, to find one capable of holding the reins of its destiny with a vigorous hand. He knew that in large manufacturing cities, there were numerous dangers to souls, and none more to be dreaded than those arising from intemperance. With that correctness of judgment which always marked his appointments, he fixed his eyes on the Vice-President of Seton Hall, and commissioned him to enter on a new sphere of labor on the banks of the Passaic. Here, indeed, you found a field not wholly uncultivated, for zealous priests had preceded you. That veteran missionary and church-builder, Father Senez, now the highly esteemed pastor of St. Mary's, Jersey City, had labored some years on this mission with distinguished success. The lamented Fathers O'Reilly, Quinn and Callan had left the impress of their zeal and piety on the Catholic population of Paterson. Here you found a spacious church, and a large congregation of generous and devoted Catholics. Nevertheless your penetrating mind soon perceived that the wants of your growing flock were not sufficiently provided for, and that the church was too small to accommodate the crowds which presented themselves Sunday after Sunday for divine worship. In 1865, therefore, having purchased a most suitable location, you laid the corner stone of this magnificent temple, one of the noblest monuments of religion in the United States. After five years of ceaseless toil, at night collecting from your generous flock the necessary funds, by day laboring even with your own hands in the quarry, measuring the stone, mounting the walls, and giving directions to the builders, with untiring zeal and unremitting effort, after an expenditure of $200,000, you at length beheld your church ready for dedication to God. The Archbishop of Philadelphia in the absence of your own ordinary, did you the honor to come from his archiepiscopal city to consecrate this magnificent edifice to the worship of the Most High. This was indeed a proud day not merely for yourself and your devoted people, but also for the entire population of Paterson, all rejoicing that they had in their midst a pastor capable of conceiving and executing so grand a work.

[Pg 36]

"Had you rested here you had done enough to enshrine your name and perpetuate your memory in the grateful hearts of the people of Paterson. But happily this was only the first of your great achievements in their behalf. Having completed the new church of St. John, you next turned your attention to the wants of the orphan, and the need of a suitable cemetery for the burial of the Catholic dead. In 1868, you purchased the beautiful site two miles from the city on the banks of the swift flowing Passaic. Here you erected St. Joseph's Orphan Asylum, and laid out the cemetery of the Holy Sepulchre. In that asylum, under the direction of the Sisters of Charity, ever ready to care for the fatherless, you have every year maintained nearly a hundred orphans, while the cemetery of the Holy Sepulchre, so charmingly situated, and so elegantly laid out bids fair to become one of the most admired repositories of the dead in this State. Finding in 1870, that notwithstanding the immense proportions of St. John's Church, the entire Catholic population could not be accommodated within its spacious precincts, you purchased a very desirable property on Broadway, whereon you erected St. Joseph's Church, which you attended for seven years, and which when ready to be erected into a regular parish, you found to have a value of $30,000. The good work which you began there was successfully carried on by the lamented Father Molloy, and is now being continued with no less success by the present distinguished pastor, the zealous and learned Dr. Smith.

"A few years afterwards, perceiving that the Catholic population on the left bank of the Passaic had increased very considerably, you purchased a suitable plot of ground at Totowa, and erected thereon a commodious brick edifice, making the lower story answer for religious, and the upper for educational purposes. At the same time you introduced, and provided a residence for the Sisters of St. Dominic, to take charge of the schools there. Three years ago, after accumulating a property of $20,000, for the new foundation, you recommended the Right Rev. Bishop to erect this second daughter of St. John's into a regular parish church, and had the satisfaction of seeing appointed to its first rectorship Rev. Father Curran, the courageous founder and indefatigable editor of the 'Paterson Times.'

"One of the most pressing needs in a great city like Paterson, where in consequence of extensive manufactures there is great liability to accident and disease, was a hospital for the sick and wounded, to the establishment of which in 1869, under the management of the Sisters of Charity, you largely contributed. Under your fostering care and liberal encouragement, this institution of benevolence has gone on for fourteen years in its career of mercy, sheltering the sick and disabled without distinction of country, creed or color. Long may it prosper in its Godlike work, and long may you be spared to be a father and guide to the self-sacrificing sisters who so successfully conduct it.

"In 1874, the old pastoral residence having become too small for the accommodation of the clergy, you erected at a cost of $15,000 this elegant parsonage, which forms a fitting appendage to the church of St. John, at[Pg 37] the same time converting the old rectory into a home for the good sisters.

"But amid all the excellent works of religion in which you have been engaged, not one has claimed more of your attention than the providing of sufficient school facilities for the education of your children, for you have been thoroughly convinced that without the solid groundwork of a sound Catholic education, the Catholic faith cannot take a firm hold on the hearts of our people. Hence from the very commencement of your administration, your most strenuous efforts have been directed to promote the welfare of your numerous spiritual children in this respect. In 1880, although your school facilities were by no means contemptible, yet you saw that the growing wants of the parish demanded more school room, and you accordingly gave orders to your architect so to alter old St. John's Church as to afford you additional school accommodation for one thousand children, while at the same time you entered into negotiations with the Brothers of Mary to conduct those of your schools which were designed for the larger boys. You have now the satisfaction of knowing that, with the Sisters of Charity to teach your schools for girls and smaller boys, and the Brothers of Mary to direct the schools for the larger boys, there are few if any parishes in the diocese that can claim the same advance in education as you can in this great city of Paterson. Again do we say long may you be preserved to preside over the destinies of the Catholic education in this portion of the diocese of Newark.

"In 1873, flying from the tyranny of a Bismarck, the Franciscan Fathers, bidding adieu to their native land, arrived in the City of Paterson, friendless and well nigh penniless. Learning that it was their intention, with the permission of the Right Rev. Bishop, to establish themselves in this city, and anticipating no small good to religion from the presence of so zealous and self denying a body of religious men, you extended to them a friendly hand, gave them every encouragement, and permitted your generous people to aid them in the erection of their beautiful church and monastery on Stony Road. Thus St. John's church has had the satisfaction of beholding another of her children snugly ensconced on the banks of the Passaic.

"Three years ago, finding that the city was largely extending itself in the direction of the new hospital, and there were numerous children who resided too far away from St. John's schools to avail themselves of their advantages, you erected a frame building for the accommodation of these children, placing it in charge of the devoted Sisters, ever ready to second your efforts in behalf of Catholic education, and it is believed that in a short time the spiritual wants of that portion of the city will enlist your zeal for the erection of a new church and the foundation of a new parish in that section. We may also be permitted to allude to the new church now in course of erection near the river for the Catholic Hollanders under the zealous care of the Rev. Father Hens and not without your encouragement and cooperation. Thus, then, we may on this day congratulate St. John's church upon being the joyful mother of a numerous offspring, which cluster round about her on every side, and may indulge the hope that while each is guarded by its own titular saint, the[Pg 38] spirit of the Baptist will still hover over them all. In addition to your labors within the limits of Paterson, you did not fail to extend your pastoral zeal to the neighboring missions of Hohokus and Pompton, where you built churches, and for many years attended to the spiritual wants of the Catholics of those extensive districts, which are now under the zealous charge of the Fathers of St. Boniface's church.

"There is another department of your labors to which we cannot close this address without referring. We allude to your efforts in the great temperance movement, which indeed we may say you were the first to inaugurate both in this city and throughout the diocese. Upon your taking possession of this great parish, you were not slow to perceive that one of the greatest evils, and one of the most formidable stumbling blocks to the advancement of religion in your parish was the prevalence of the soul destroying vice of intemperance. We do not by any means wish to insinuate that Paterson was worse in this respect than any of the other great cities of the diocese, but it will be easily understood that in a city like this where the manufacturing interests are so extensive, requiring the employment of so many men and women, and even boys and girls, and distributing such liberal amounts of money in compensation for labor, the temptations to the abuse of intoxicating drinks are indeed very great. Your earliest efforts, therefore, were directed to the restraint if not the total destruction of the vice of drunkenness in your parish. Hence you were not slow to organize temperance societies, not merely for the older men and women, but also for the young men, and even for boys, and from the very day on which you entered the City of Paterson, up to the present moment, you have never relaxed your energies in the promotion of the cause of temperance, and in checking the ravages of intemperance in your parish. And it is not by means of temperance organizations alone that you have succeeded so well in this noble work, but by your personal exertions in visiting the home of the drunkard, in entering the rumshops even at the dead of night to chase away to their homes the resorters of these places, and to reprimand with the boldness and freedom of the Gospel the keepers of these dangerous haunts. Often have you been seen after a hard day's work on the Lord's Sabbath parading the streets of Paterson as if with police authority, to see whether any of your people were staggering along the sidewalk, after filling themselves with drink, or gathered in the beershops indulging in the noise and riot for which such places are notorious. In this persevering effort to maintain sobriety and good order you have had the countenance and support not merely of your own people, but of the entire population of Paterson, and for this work you have received from your fellow citizens, without distinction of creed, the esteem and gratitude it has so eminently merited, while your name has become a household word in Paterson. Even in times of riot and disorder, when the civil authorities found them unable to cope with violence, they did not fail to call upon the pastor of St John's to co-operate with them in the re-establishment of peace and order.

"The very children as you move about the city, without distinction of religion, never fail to recognize their dear 'Father Mac,' and you yourself make[Pg 39] it your special delight to stop and salute these children. And if by any chance you passed by without noticing them, even Protestant children would run after your carriage and say 'Father Mac, you know me.' Nor did you neglect the young men and the young women of your parish. For the former you provided suitable halls with libraries and reading rooms, and organized them into literary and benevolent societies, where, drawn away from the temptations of the rumshop, and the professional billiard-room, they might have harmless recreation and innocent enjoyment. Many of these young men under your fostering care and liberal encouragement entered the ranks of the priesthood, and are now edifying the Church in various positions of the Diocese, while others similarly favored, are now fitting themselves for the sacred ministry in the principal seminaries of the Church. The young women you gathered into pious sodalities under the direction of the saintly Sisters, and the patronage of the Immaculate Virgin, thus furnishing them with every safeguard against the numerous temptations to be found in populous manufacturing cities, and your labors for both classes have been crowned with success, as any one can see, on Sundays in St. John's Church, whose altar rails are crowded with those devout young men and women, coming forward to nourish themselves with Christ's life-giving bread. Of these young women, not a few, under your fatherly care, and liberal patronage, have joined themselves to the good Sisters, devoting their lives and energies to the teaching of the young and the nursing of the sick.

"During the long course of those twenty-five years, with the exception of two brief trips to your native land, you never found the necessity of taking any recreation, but felt it to be your pleasure to increase your labors for your flock. You have worked with the energy of one who truly loves his Divine Master 'Nullo fatigatus labore.' And your disinterestedness may well claim for you the words of the Apostle, 'Nulli onerosus fui.' Your patient self-denial, your affability to all, your readiness to listen to the tale of woe, and to relieve the cry of distress, your unflagging zeal in the confessional, your never failing attendance on the sick at the dead of night as cheerfully as at midday, your unwearied earnestness in preaching the word of God, 'in season and out of season,' holding up to your people the beauties and happiness of a virtuous life, and denouncing to them the terrible consequences of wickedness and wrongdoing, your ceaseless efforts to prepare your numerous children for the holy sacraments, all this entitles you to the praise and reward of a true apostle of Christ, and has endeared you to the hearts of young and old—'pueris senibusque carus.' In the exercise of your sacred ministry you have been ably seconded and encouraged by your bishops, by the lamented Bayley, the zealous and learned Corrigan, and the amiable, scholarly and energetic prelate who now rules the destinies of this diocese. Nor should we omit to mention the material aid which you have received from the many worthy assistant priests that have labored with you,—the indomitable Kirwan, the polished Moran, the lamented Darcy and Cantwell, the self sacrificing Thebaud, the gentle Zimmer, the hardworking Downes, the zealous Hanly, the laborious McGahan,[Pg 40] the eloquent McFaul, the historian Brennan, the courtly Whelan, the genial White and the patriotic Corr, and last but not least the energetic Hickie, most of whom are now filling with distinction the pulpits of flourishing churches. You have won from your fellow-priests the highest esteem and love, which they on this occasion endeavor to express, however feebly, by the accompanying testimonial. Commemorating to-day your five-and-twentieth year of ordination we earnestly hope and pray that your silver crown may be transmuted into gold on your fiftieth anniversary, and that the next quarter century of your ministry may be characterised by the same fruitfulness in good works which we however imperfectly have endeavored to record of the five and twenty years just ended.

"Eternal praise and thanksgiving be to the Great Head of the Church and Chief Shepherd of the Flock, Jesus Christ, who has given you the grace and the strength, the health and the perseverance to pass with so much profit to religion this long period of your ministry. Nor should we fail to thank in your name the people of St. John's Church, who for all this time have never faltered in their fidelity and generosity, always responding with liberal hearts to the numerous calls made upon them for religion, education and charity. Well may we conclude with the poet:—

"Non usitato congredimur modo
His in jugosis atque sacris locis
Hasque inter umbras hospitales
Insolitum celebrare festum."

The following is a list of the clergymen present at the silver jubilee: Rt. Rev. W. M. Wigger, Most Rev. M. A. Corrigan, Rt. Rev. Edward Fitzgerald, Rt. Rev. G. H. Doane, and the Revs. A. J. Thebaud, S. J., Isadore Daubresse, S. J., John A. Kelly, Thomas M. Killeen, Patrick Cody, Patrick Hennessy, James H. Corrigan, Patrick Leonard, M. J. Kirwan, Pierce McCarthy, L. G. Thebaud, Martin Gesner, Theodore McDonald, O. C., F. Feehan, O. C., Augustus Brady, P. F. Downes, Nicholas Hens, Louis Gambosville, James F. Salaun, John P. Morris, Dennis McCartie, James Curran, Patrick J. McGahan, Isaac P. Whelan, Daniel McCarthy, Michael J. White, Patrick Corr, Michael J. Hickie, Dr. Larkin, David B. Walker, S. J., John J. Sheppard, Michael A. McManus, Ferdinand Muller, O. S. F., and Hugh Murphy. Scores of letters and telegrams were received from priests and others who regretted their inability to be present at the celebration.

During his pastorate Father McNulty has been assisted in his labors by a number of priests. His first assistant was Rev. James A. D'Arcy, who was here in 1864. After this time Father McNulty had two assistants. The names of his assistants are Fathers L. G. Thebaud, T. R. Moran, M. J. Kirwan, P. McCahill, P. F. Cantwell, P. F. Downes, Joseph Zimmer, James Curran, James Hanley, I. P. Whelan, M. J. White, Patrick McGahan, James J. Brennan and M. J. Hickie. Of these, Fathers D'Arcy, Moran, Kinwan, McCahill, Cantwell, Downes, Curran, Hanley, White, McGahan and Hickey were natives of Ireland; Father Thebaud was born in New York City, Father Zimmer in Brooklyn, Father Whelan in Elizabeth and Father Brennan in[Pg 41] Newark. In addition there were priests who were assistants only for a few weeks, including Fathers McFaul, Corr and others.

Father McNulty's present assistants are Fathers McCarthy and Quin. Father D. F. McCarthy was born in Newark and educated at St. Charles College in Maryland and at Seton Hall. Father Thomas Quin was born in Ireland and educated at Seton Hall.

The first choir of St. John's church consisted of the Bradley sisters—elsewhere referred to—who sang in the old church on Market and Mill streets; their brother played the flute and at times James Powers assisted on the clarionet. A Professor Wedell was organist in the Oliver street church in 1853 and he remained until 1856, although for about a year of this time Professor Anthony Davis, a brother of the present organist, presided at the organ. Professors Burke and Becker came afterwards and in the first part of 1868 Professor Frank Huber played the organist. He was succeeded in October, 1868, by Professor William Davis, who is still in charge. Miss Ellen O'Neill also frequently presided at the organ in the absence of the regular organists. At the time Professor Davis took charge the choir consisted of Misses Howard, Murphy, Bowen, and Esther O'Neill, who sang soprano and Henry Hensler, who sang bass. Masses in two voices were rendered, until 1869, when, by the addition to the choir of Daniel Sheehan, tenor, the choir was enabled to sing masses in three voices; Misses Maggie O'Neill and Julia Graham, soprano, were also added to the choir. This state of affairs lasted only about one year when some of the choir withdrew and the vocal music for St. John's congregation was furnished for about six years by a quartette consisting of Misses Maggie O'Neill and Frances Lawless and Louis Schmerber and Henry Hensler. The latter died and Frank Hart was put in his place. About six months after this Professor Davis began to form a larger choir and of the original selection a number still remain. Among those who have left are Emil Legay, the present choir master in St. Joseph's church, and John Stafford, who is studying in Rome for the priesthood.

The present choir of St. John's Church consists of the following:

Organist and Director.—Professor William Davis.

Soprano.—Minnie Coniffe, Mary E. Drury, Minnie Dynan, Nora Gannon, Maggie Doyle, Lizzie Lavery, Lizzie Fitzpatrick, Nellie Clark, Mary Stafford, Maggie McCormack, Mary McLean, Ellen Odell.—12.

Alto.—Martha Drury, Frances Lawless, Alice Fitzgerald, Nellie Reed, Lizzie Constantine, Maria Hogan, Annie Beresford, Mary McAlonan, Nellie Dunphy.—9.

Tenor.—William Stafford, Thomas Canning, Edward Cavanagh, John Carlon, John Van Houten.—5.

Bass.—John Best, John Anderson, James Anderson, James Fitzpatrick, William Burns, Thomas Sheeron, Charles Lavery, David Forbes, Alexander Doyle, Philip Bender.—10.     Total, 36.

The following are the societies attached to St. John's Church:

Benevolent Society of United Sons of Erin. This society was founded in 1846 and incorporated in 1859. It has about 100 members and its objects are[Pg 42] the relief of the sick and assistance for distressed members, for which purpose it expends about $1,500 per year.

St. Patrick's Total Abstinence Benevolent Society was organized by Father McNulty in 1863 and has about 100 members. Its objects are the furtherance of the cause of temperance and the relief of the distressed, for which latter object about $600 per year are expended.

St. John's Total Abstinence Benevolent Society was organized in 1867 and has the same objects as the foregoing; it has about 100 members and expends annually about $600 for the relief of distressed members.

St. Joseph's Total Abstinence Benevolent Society has the same objects as the foregoing and about 40 members. It was organized in 1875 and expends annually about $300 per year in the relief of the distressed.

The Catholic Young Men's Literary Association was organized in 1873 and its object is indicated by its name. It has a library and reading room on the lower floor of the Catholic Institute in Church street. Its membership numbers about 100 and the entertainments it gives occasionally are for the benefit of its library or some charitable institution.

The Catholic Sunday School Teachers' Association was organized in 1874 by Father McNulty, who had found it difficult to obtain competent men to teach Sunday School. Almost immediately after its organization a number of its members resolved themselves into the Entre Nous Dramatic Club which gives entertainments for the benefit of its library or for charitable purposes. This dual society has about 100 members and occupies the upper floor of the Catholic Institute in Church street, property originally bought by Father Senez for an orphan asylum.

The Sodality of the Children of Mary was organized in 1862 and has about 250 members. It consists of young ladies and is in charge of Sister Regina.

The Sodality of the Sacred Heart has about 160 members and was organized about 7 years ago. It also consists of young ladies and is in charge of Sister Stanislaus. The latter has done a great deal of effective work during her 23 years' sojourn in Paterson as a Sister of Charity.

The Rosary Society is one of the oldest and most numerous of the societies of St. John's congregation and consists of persons of both sexes and all ages. It is in charge of Father McNulty.

The Society of the Sacred Thirst is a temperance organization, and embraces in its membership persons of all ages and of both sexes. It is in charge of Father McNulty.

The Society of Holy Angels was organized about thirteen years ago and has about 200 members. Girls from 10 to 16 are eligible to membership. It is in charge of Sister Angelica.

The Infant Jesus Sodality consists of about 200 little boys and was organized in 1869. It is in charge of Sister Stanislaus.

The Sodality of the Immaculate Heart of Mary was organized about two years ago. It consists of young ladies between 14 and 20 years of age, and is in charge of Sister Immaculata.

[Pg 43]

The Knights of the Sacred Heart are in charge of Sister Stanislaus. This society consists of 172 boys between the ages of 10 and 16 years.

Ave Maria Council, Catholic Legion of Honor, was instituted on November 16, 1883, and has about 50 members. Its object is the insurance of lives, and the amounts insured for are between $500 and $5,000.


The Daughters of St. John.—Churches which took their Origin in St. John's Church.—Young Men and Young Women from Paterson who have Devoted their Lives to the Service of God.

It has often been stated that the church at Madison—which in the early part of the century was called Bottle Hill—was an offspring from St. John's Church of Paterson; this statement has also been frequently contradicted, and it is certainly safe to say that it is doubtful whether Paterson can lay claim to establishing Catholicism in Madison. St. John's has, however, sufficient glory, for it is the undoubted source of the origin of a number of churches in this vicinity. There is no doubt that the same missionary priests who labored in Paterson also visited other places; thus it has been ascertained that Father Larissy, who according to well authenticated statements was the first priest to read mass in Paterson, subsequently attended the churches in Staten Island and a number along the Hudson places; still St. John's could hardly lay claim to the parentage of these churches, no more than St. John's could be called a child of the church in Newburg because Father Langton paid periodical visits to Paterson from Newburg.[A]

It will suffice for the purposes of writing a history of Catholicism in this county to take a glance at the churches whose origin was undoubtedly in St. John's congregation. As has been stated on a previous page, missionaries visited Macopin before they came to Paterson, but there is no doubt that a church was erected in Paterson long before the erection of the church in[Pg 44] Macopin. It was not until 1830 that the Catholics of Macopin proceeded to erect a building to be devoted exclusively to the service of God. This church, under the patronage of St. Joseph, was dedicated in 1830 by Rev. Dr. French, from New York, and Rev. Mr. O'Donoghue, from St. John's Church, this city. For many years this church was attended by priests from St. John's Church and subsequently from St. Boniface's Church. Even to this day it has no stated pastor and is attended by priests having charge of churches in the vicinity.

The German Catholics of this vicinity did a great deal towards establishing the Catholic Church on the firm footing it has found in this county and too much praise cannot be bestowed on the work of the early German Catholics and their priests. The most prominent figure in the work among the German Catholics is Father Nicholas Hens, the respected and zealous pastor of St. Boniface's Church in this city. This gentleman has spent the best days of an active and useful life among the German Catholics and his labors in the Lord's vineyard have borne excellent fruit. Rt. Rev. Bishop Bayley kept a journal of the more important actions of his life and from this journal the following extract is made:

"On Sunday, July 1st, 1860, at half past five, I laid the corner stone of the new German Catholic Church of St. Boniface, which Father Schandel is endeavoring to build. We went in procession to the spot—the cross before, with acolytes, children—Erin's Society as a guard—banners flying—the big missionary cross borne before my carriage by the Germans. There must have been from 8,000 to 10,000 persons present—hot and dusty, but no disturbance. I pitched into Martin Luther for the edification of the multitude."

The following is another extract from the same journal:

"December 1st, 1861, on Sunday, I blessed the new German church at Paterson."

Before this time, however, the few German families gathered once a month or once a fortnight in the basement of St. John's church in Oliver street to have special German services. Among those who attended were John Ratzer, Martin Bauman, Christian Geissler, Leander Kranz, Michael Thalhammer, Joseph Merklin, Joseph Durgeth, Philip Brendel, Mr. Zentner, Mr. Yost, Mr. Schnell and a few others. The services were conducted by Father Hartlaub as early as 1854. On April 18th of that year Father Hartlaub baptized in this church Joseph August Geissler, at present parish priest in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and on December 18th following Emma Mitch, who subsequently attained considerable renown as a singer, was baptized there. Father Hartlaub attended for four years to the spiritual wants of the German Catholics and was succeeded on July 18th, 1858, by Father Louis Fink, at present Bishop of Leavenworth, Kansas. About the first of August, 1859, Father J. J. Schandel succeeded Father Fink and was appointed permanent priest for the Germans. His first baptism was performed on August 11th, and the first marriage at which he assisted was on the 30th of the same month, the contracting parties being Michael Courtade and Miss Anne Mary Brotchie.[Pg 45] Father Schandel was very popular amongst all classes of people and his name is still frequently mentioned with reverence and affection. He worked very hard among his countrymen and it was he who conceived the idea and furthered the project of building a church for German Catholics. He purchased the ground on the corner of Main and Slater streets where St. Boniface's Church now stands, and erected that structure which has a seating capacity of 900. The German Catholics in Paterson were few in number and not blessed with worldly riches and Father Schandel was obliged to work for his support in outside missions, a labor to which he devoted himself with assiduity. For a long time he visited regularly every month St. Joseph's Church at Macopin; he also visited occasionally the Catholics in Ringwood and attended to the spiritual needs of the Catholics at St. Francis Church, Lodi.

In 1869 he visited Passaic regularly and secured ground for and erected St. Nicholas' Church. Before that time the Catholics of Passaic had worshipped in a room in one of the factories. The interest awakened in the Catholic Church by Father Schandel and the immigration of a number of German Catholics soon gave the worthy priest more to do than he could attend to. He accordingly asked Bishop Bayley for an assistant priest. His prayer was granted and on August 5th, 1869, Father Nicholas Hens, who had just been ordained, came to Paterson. This worthy priest followed in the footsteps of his predecessor, and Fathers Schandel and Hens worked together energetically and in the greatest harmony. The silk mills at this time attracted large numbers of persons to Paterson and Father Schandel concluded that it would be well to erect the Catholics in Passaic into a separate congregation. Bishop Bayley thought well of the plan and on July 21st, 1871, Father Schandel was transferred to Passaic and Father Hens was appointed pastor of St. Boniface's in this city. Father Schandel remained in Passaic until 1873 when he was succeeded by Father Schneider, the present efficient and well-beloved priest of the church. At present there are about 250 families in the congregation in Passaic, and the parochial school, in charge of the Sisters of Charity, is attended by nearly 300 children.

Being already in possession of a good and commodious church Father Hens devoted a great deal of time and energy to the establishment of a parochial school, that almost indispensable adjunct to every church. In October, 1871, he opened the parochial school in Main street with 35 children, the teacher being the organist of the church. The number of children continued to increase during the winter and in the following spring there was an attendance of over 80. An additional teacher was employed but during the summer of 1872 the Sisters of St. Dominic were engaged to take charge of the school. Father Hens at once provided a residence for the Sisters, purchasing the house and lot adjoining the church for $4,600. The parish grew rapidly under the able care of Father Hens. The modest church was improved and embellished both outside and inside; the school was enlarged several times and another story added to it. In 1874 the residence of the Sisters was rebuilt and in 1877 a chapel, 65×25 feet in size, was added to it. In 1879 the boys' department of the school was placed under the care of some Brothers of Mary[Pg 46] who came to Paterson from Nazareth, near Dayton, Ohio. In the same year the present rectory, in the rear of the church, and a residence for the Brothers was erected. About this time the congregation sustained a serious loss in its membership, twenty families leaving it to attend St. Mary's Church on Totowa for greater convenience and the thirty-five families residing in the Stony Road district allying themselves to St. Bonaventure's Church.

Despite this defection the congregation of St. Boniface continued to grow, and soon the church was not able to hold all that wished to worship within its walls. On March 19th, 1882, the feast of St. Joseph, the patron of the Catholic Church, Father Hens bought a plot of ground on River street, near the crossing of the New York, Lake Erie and Western Railroad. Here the corner-stone of a new church was laid on September 4th, 1882, and on May 14th in the following year the new church was dedicated by Rt. Rev. Bishop Wigger. The church was placed under the protection of Our Lady of Lourdes. The erection of this church cut off from St. Boniface's congregation over one hundred German and Holland families, but their places were soon filled, so that at the present day, six months after the dedication of the new church, St. Boniface's congregation is as large as it ever was. Three masses are said every Sunday and the church is crowded every time. The number of families belonging to the church is about 400, and its parochial schools have an attendance of 350.

In addition to his many other duties Father Hens has since 1879 had charge of St. Luke's in Hohokus. The ground for this church was given in 1864 by John Jacob Zabriskie, and the erection of the church was the work of Father McNulty. A cemetery adjoins the church.

Father Hens's first assistant was Father Kars, who is now the pastor of St Mary's Church in Gloucester, N. J. Then came Father Dernis, at present pastor of the Catholic church in Salem, N. J. Father Dernis was succeeded by Father Geissler, who was the first person baptized in Paterson by Father Hartlaub. After Father Geissler came Father J. W. Grieff, who by his eloquence, affability and energy has made himself beloved and respected by all. Father Hens also derives material assistance from the Franciscan Fathers in this city. Complete baptismal and marriage records of St. Boniface's Church from 1854 are still in existence, and from these the following statistics were collected:—

Name of the Priest. Baptisms.      Marriages.
Father Hartlaub 88——
    "    Fink, O. S. B. 24 8
    "    Schandel 775187
    "    Hens 1,120221
    "    Dernis —— 1
    "    Geissler 109 13
    "    Dyonisius, O. S. F.      10——
    "    Fidelis, O. S. F. 5——
    "    Grieff 186 26
    "    Kars 29 7
               Total 2,346463

[Pg 47]

Bishop Bayley from 1869 to 1871 confirmed 109 persons of St. Boniface's congregation; Bishop Corrigan from 1871 to 1882 confirmed 448 persons, and Bishop Wigger from 1882 to 1883 confirmed 183 persons, making a total of 740 confirmations.

The following are the societies attached to St. Boniface's Church:

St Boniface's Benevolent Society was organized by Father Schandel in 1867 and has a membership of 70.

The Rosary Society was established by Father Hens in 1873 for the purpose of providing decorations for the altar. It has 115 members.

St. Aloysius' Boys' Sodality numbers 57 members and was established by Father Grieff in 1882.

The Children of Mary numbers 87 members and was established by Father Hens in 1874.

The Confraternity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was established by Father Hens in 1878.

The Confraternity of the Poor Souls in Purgatory was established in 1877 by Father Hens and numbers 107 members.

In 1867 Father McNulty bought a piece of property on Broadway near East Eighteenth street, running back as far as Fair street. In the front part of this property he erected St. Agnes' Institute which was very popular for a number of years. In the rear of the Institute Father McNulty erected a large frame building which was used as a church by the Catholics who had settled in the eastern portion of Paterson. In a very short time there was a large attendance and regular services were held every Sunday. In 1875 St. Joseph's parish was created and Father Nicholas Molloy assigned to it as regular pastor. Finding that there were more Catholics in a more southerly direction Father Molloy bought a tract of land on Market and Carroll streets and erected thereon the present St. Joseph's church. It is a frame building having a seating capacity of about 600. The lower floor is used for school purposes and the upper as a church. In 1880 Father Molloy left Paterson on account of ill health; he died shortly afterwards in New York city. Rev. Dr. Smith, one of the best scholars and most learned theologians of the country, is the present pastor of this church and he is greatly assisted in his many labors by the Franciscan Fathers.

In 1872 Father McNulty bought eight lots on Sherman avenue, near Union avenue, for the purpose of erecting there another Catholic Church. A substantial brick chapel was built, 40×90 feet in size, and two stories high, one floor being used as a chapel and the other for school purposes. The attendance was large from the first, and in 1880 the portion of the city near it was erected into a separate parish under the patronage of St. Mary. The first priest was Father Curran, who did a great deal of energetic work in Paterson, including the establishment of a Catholic weekly paper. In 1883 Father Curran was removed to Arlington, N. J., where he continues to edit The Catholic Times. He was succeeded in Paterson by Father Samuel Welsh, who has still charge of the church and who by devotion and ability is rapidly building up a large congregation.

[Pg 48]

Three Carmelite Fathers came to Paterson in 1873 and established themselves on Stony road, where they had purchased a frame dwelling. They erected a neat two-story brick house, the lower floor being used as a chapel and the upper as a residence for the friars. They were recalled to Europe, but on the 26th of August, 1876, two priests, three students, and four lay brothers of the Order of St. Francis came to Paterson and obtained possession of the property vacated by the Carmelites. The Franciscans came from Fulda, in Germany, from which place they had been driven by the German government. In February of the following year Rt. Rev. Bishop Corrigan gave them charge of the Catholics in the vicinity with authority to form a parish under the patronage of St. Bonaventura. On November 24th, 1878, Bishop Corrigan laid the corner-stone of a new church in the presence of a large concourse of people. The Franciscan Fathers went to work with a will and when the new church was completed the property was not encumbered by any mortgage or other claim, as the small debt that remained was in the shape of a note. The Catholic Church provides for the dedication of churches that are not paid for, but no church can be consecrated to the service of God as long as there is a claim on it the prosecution of which might result in the sale of the property and its conversion to other uses. St. Bonaventure's Church, a large and handsome structure, was consecrated on July 4th, 1880, by Bishop Corrigan. Fathers McNulty and Hens, who by their influence had done a great deal towards securing the success of the new project, acted as deacons of honor; Very Rev. Aloysius Laur, Provincial Superior of the Order of St. Francis, as assistant priest; Fathers Muller and Trumper as deacons, and Father Burk, from St. Mary's Church, Hoboken, as master of ceremonies. The cost of the new church was about $30,000. The congregation increased steadily and more priests and students arrived at the monastery, and to-day the order as well as the congregation is in a flourishing condition.

For a long time the French and Italian residents of Paterson worshipped in the churches which were most convenient to them, and no attempt was made to provide for them opportunities to attend services in their own language. In 1882 Father Hens induced some of the Fathers of Mercy from New York to come to Paterson occasionally, and services were for some time held in French and Italian in St. Boniface's Church. The numbers of attendants at these services increased, and in 1883 they rented a room in the Smith and Jackson building in Market street. Here religious services are held every Sunday, Father Porcille, one of the Fathers of Mercy in New York, coming to Paterson every Saturday and returning to New York on Monday.

The oldest Catholic church in Bergen county, and one of the few Catholic churches out of debt, is St. Francis de Sales' Church in Lodi. It was erected in 1855 and dedicated by Bishop Bayley. It has been attended ever since its organization by priests from Paterson and Hackensack.

St. Joseph's Catholic Church at Carlstadt is another daughter of St. John, and was organized in 1872, January 1st, and in the same year the church was built at a cost of $11,000. It has a flourishing congregation and a numerously attended parochial school.

[Pg 49]

The Catholics of Hackensack at one time formed a part of the congregation of St. John's, but in 1861 Father Annellie erected a small church. There were then only 25 Catholic families in Hackensack. In 1866 the corner-stone of the present church was laid, and the building was completed under the pastorate of Father P. Cody. The congregation is steadily increasing.

A few months ago Mr. Robert Beattie, of Little Falls, donated enough land to the Catholics in that village on which to erect a church. The corner-stone was laid by Right Rev. Bishop Wigger, and the church is now nearing completion.

Catholic priests and religious fraternities have undoubtedly done a great deal for Paterson, but the city has not been ungrateful, and a number of young men and young women from this city have devoted themselves to the service of the Almighty. The following are the priests who grew up in St. John's congregation:—

Father John P. Morris was educated at the American College at Rome and is at present pastor of the Catholic Church at Avondale, N. J.

Father M. A. McManus was educated at Seton Hall and is parish priest in Newton, N. J.

Father Robert E. Burke was educated at Seton Hall and is parish priest in Mt. Holly, N. J.

Father John Sheppard, also educated at Seton Hall, is parish priest in Dover, N. J.

Father Alphonsus Rossiter was educated in the convent of the Passionist Fathers at Pittsburgh, Pa., and is at present Superior of that institution.

The following young men from the congregation have joined the Christian Brothers in New York:

Hugh J. Gallagher—Brother Joseph, 1877.
Robert J. Foley—Brother Charles, 1877.
Joseph Fitzpatrick—Brother Daniel, 1878.
John S. Thornton—Brother Clement, 1879.
Arthur McKenna—Brother Felix, 1879.
Jeremiah A. Maher—Brother Andrew, 1880.
Patrick Lawlor—Brother B. Joseph, 1880.
Thomas Hone—Brother B. Edward, 1881.

The following are the names of Sisters of Charity at Madison, N. J., who were born in Paterson:

Sister Mary Agnes O'Neill, entered the community, Nov. 26, 1858.
"        "        died, Nov. 9, 1877
Sister Mary Ambrose Sweeney, entered, May 24, 1862.
"            "        died, Feb. 19, 1868.
Sister Mary Rosina Flynn, entered, July 21, 1862.
Sister Adele Murray, entered, Sept. 27, 1862.
"        "    died, April 14, 1871.
Sister M. Angela O'Brien, entered, Feb. 19, 1863.
[Pg 50]Sister M. Genevieve Gillespie, entered, July 18, 1863.
Sister M. Regina Powers, entered, Nov. 26, 1863.
"        "      died, June 26, 1873.
Sister Teresa Angela O'Neill, entered, Sept. 24, 1866.
Sister Margaret Clark, entered, Feb. 12, 1869.
"        "    died, Aug. 23, 1874.
Sister Mercedes Sweeney, entered, July 17, 1879.

The following are the names of other Sisters of Charity in the same institution who were not born in Paterson but who came from St. John's congregation:

Sister Mary Peter Daly, entered, July 19, 1863.
Sister M. Lucy Blake, entered, July 20, 1868.
Sister Frances Dougherty, entered May 6, 1869.
Sister M. Christina O'Neill, entered, Nov. 8, 1869.
"            "        died, Dec. 5, 1875.
Sister M. Pelagia Mackel, entered, June 15, 1871.
"            "    died, Oct. 30, 1876.
Sister M. Adele Sheehan, entered, Aug. 15, 1871.
Sister Marie Vincent Mitchell, entered, April 20, 1872.
Sister Borgia Hanley, entered, August 15, 1873.
Sister M. Clandine Van Nort, entered, July 19, 1876.
Sister M. Placida Hunt, entered, April 30, 1878.
Sister M. Francis Lewis, entered, August 1, 1879.
Sister M. Barbara Bushill, entered, Feb. 27. 1879.
Sister M. Fidelia McEvoy, entered, July 17, 1880.
Sister M. Clotilda Kehoe, entered, July 19, 1880.

The following is a list of the names of the young ladies from St. John's congregation who joined the Sisters of St. Dominic:

Entered, 1874, Sister Bridget Margaret Mahoney.
Entered, 1876, Sister Angela Julia Phelan.
Entered, 1877, Sister Emmanuel Mary Phelan.
Entered, 1877, Sister Eustochium Katie Phelan.
Entered, 1879, Sister Baptista Nora Phelan.
Entered, 1870, Sister Innocence Bridget Duffy.
Entered, 1880, Sister Evangelista Mary Meaghar.
Entered, 1880, Sister Sylvester Katie Meaghar.

[Pg 51]


[A] It may be proper to state that there are grave doubts as to the spelling of the name of the second priest in Paterson. In some of the earlier prints he is referred to as Father Langam, Father Langham, and Father Langrey. Mrs. Connolly, in whose father's house the first mass was said in Paterson, calls him Father Langdale, and the fact that a priest named Langdale travelled through the western part of New York State in the early part of the century, after Father Langton had disappeared from the missions in this part of the country seems to corroborate Mrs. Connolly. The late Barney McNamee, who was personally acquainted with Father Langton, in a conversation had some time before his death with Mr. William Nelson assured that gentleman that the name of the first priest he remembered was Father Langton; Mr. McNamee was positive on this point. Mr. Nelson made some researches, and these convinced him of the accuracy of Mr. McNamee's memory. It is for these reasons that the author of this work adopted the spelling Lang-t-o-n in preference to others.


Catholic Cemeteries in and about Paterson.—The Orphan Asylum at Lincoln Bridge.—St. Joseph's Hospital.

The histories of the Cemetery of the Holy Sepulchre and the Catholic Orphan Asylum are so closely connected that they will be treated together. The history of the cemeteries in and about Paterson was written some years ago by Mr. William Nelson and published in pamphlet form. To this history the author of this work has little to add. The following are such selections from Mr. Nelson's history as concern the burial places of dead Catholics:—

"Paterson is one of the very few cities in the country—perhaps the only city in the Eastern States—where it has not been usual for the churches to be surrounded by grave-yards. No church has ever been built here, since the city was founded, in 1792, with this appendage, so universal elsewhere. The old Dutch burying-ground at Totowa met the needs of the people in this respect for twenty years after the town was established. The First Presbyterian church being organized in 1813, the Trustees looked about for a suitable cemetery, and with wise forethought selected a spot far remote from the built-up portion of the village. In 1814 they obtained from the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures, a triangular plot of about half an acre, at the corner of Market and Vine streets. This became at once the burial-ground for the whole town, and people of all denominations, Protestants and Roman Catholics, were interred there. In the course of the next ten years or so, the Methodists bought a plot on Willis street, 121×333 feet; and the Roman Catholics secured a burial place, 100×175 feet, on the north side of Willis street, near William, by gift or purchase. In 1826 the Presbyterians bought of the State (which in 1816 had taken 300 acres of land at Sandy Hill and thereabout, in exchange for $100,000 of stock in the S. U. M., subscribed for by the State in 1792) three acres adjoining the first cemetery, the sale being authorized by act of the Legislature of December 28, 1824. In 1835 the Society U. M. sold to the Reformed church a burial plot on Willis street adjoining that of the Methodists, and in the same year the Episcopalians bought of the State (by virtue of an act of February 14, 1833), five acres of land lying at Sandy Hill, between Oak and Cedar streets. Under the authority of an act of February 2, 1838, St. John's R. C. church bought of the State three acres adjoining the Presbyterian cemetery; and the First Baptist church bought three acres near by. In 1851, the Methodists enlarged their cemetery on Willis street by the addition of a plot about 143×333 ft., bought of the S. U. M., and adjoining their first burial ground. Their old cemetery not being popular, in 1854 the Presbyterians bought another tract of 3.74 acres, on Market street,[Pg 52] north side, a short distant east of their first purchase. This completes the history of the location of the 'Sandy Hill' cemeteries."

"The deed for the Roman Catholic plot on Willis street has not been found on record.[B]

"In the Roman Catholic cemetery there are 871 lots, 9 x 12 ft. in area, all sold, and containing fully 3,000 graves.

"The Roman Catholic cemetery at Sandy Hill being filled, and all the lots sold, the authorities of The Catholic Church of St. John the Baptist bought, January 30, 1866 for $21,000, what was known as 'the Lynch Farm,' sixty-nine acres, at the southeast corner of Market street and Madison avenue, for a cemetery. One or two interments were made, when, March 27, 1866, an act of the Legislature was approved prohibiting the location or establishment of cemeteries or burial grounds 'within the distance of six thousand feet from the street monument, as established at the corner of Market and Willis streets,' in the city of Paterson, and the proposed cemetery was abandoned, and the property sold. In the Fall of the same year, on September 7, 1866, Mr. William G. Watson bought at an auction sale of the estate of Cornelius P. Hopper, deceased, 24.92 acres of land, on the east side of Haledon avenue, and north of East Main street, and the next day conveyed it to the same church, for $10,770, the object being to locate a cemetery there. A few interments were made in the new grounds, but an act of the Legislature, approved February 26, 1867, prohibited the location or establishment of 'any cemetery or burial ground within the limits and boundaries for the city of Paterson,' and further prohibited the use 'for the purposes of burial,' of 'any cemetery or burial grounds established within one year within said city.' May 1st, 1867, the church bought of Bartlett Smith and wife, of $15,500, three adjoining tracts of land, embracing 73.19 acres in all, at Totowa, just west of the city line, and near the Lincoln bridge, extending from the river back to the Preakness mountain. Here was located the 'Cemetery of the Holy Sepulchre,' tastefully laid out, containing 3,208 lots (1,126 consecrated and 2,082 unconsecrated), and ornamented and improved as well as the exceedingly sandy soil will allow."

The interments in this cemetery in 1867 were 17; in 1870 they had increased to 216, and at present they are about 300 per year.

The farmhouse situated on the property purchased from Mr. Smith was changed into an orphan asylum; since that time a number of alterations and additions have been made. There are about eighty children in the institution which is under the charge of the Sisters of Charity. These Sisters first came to Paterson in 1853 from Mt. St. Vincent, N. Y., and an orphan asylum was established in Church street. After the removal of the orphanage to its present location the building was changed into the Catholic Institute.

St. Joseph's Hospital, also in charge of the Sisters of Charity, was founded on September 11, 1869, the day on which the Sisters bought from the late[Pg 53] Alexander P. Fonda a tract of land lying on the east side of Main street, just north of the Newark branch of the New York, Lake Erie & Western Railroad. The tract of land had an area of nine and three-quarters acres, and only a fraction of the purchase money was paid in cash; the balance was secured on mortgage. In 1875 the Sisters, by hard work and economy, had reduced the mortgage to $46,000 and at the present date it is $41,000. When the property was bought there was on it a three-story house, 45×45 feet in size, which had been used as a residence. This was changed into wards for the sick poor, sleeping rooms for the Sisters and one room was changed into a chapel. In addition to this building there was a small barn. In 1871 the Sisters erected another building, two stories high and 130×24 feet in size. The good done by the Sisters in this city for the poor unfortunates who found themselves sick and homeless has been incalculable and has been exceeded only by the zeal and perseverance with which the good Sisters devoted themselves to their truly heroic work. In the first year after the establishment of the hospital 170 patients were cared for; in the past year 740 were received and treated. The money needed in the hospital for the care of these many patients is derived from the pay received by the Sisters who belong to the order and who are engaged in teaching school, and from collections made by the Sisters, as the institution has no endownment. Persons who cannot have the care they might desire at home in times of sickness and who can afford to pay for nursing and treatment may be received in the hospital, but experience shows that less than three per cent. of the patients received pay their board. The sick receive the attention of the ablest physicians of Paterson, who take turns in visiting them; in addition to this there is a house physician who resides in the hospital and who is annually appointed by the Board of Physicians after a very severe examination and who is generally some young physician. The physicians receive no pay for the work they do and thus form an able and very acceptable corps of assistants in the noble work of charity. The total expenses of the institution amount to $14,000 annually and for nearly the whole of this the Sisters are compelled to depend on their own individual efforts. The largest sum ever received from any one source came to hand a few days ago in the shape of a legacy of $1,000 from a Mr. Van Arsdale, who died a short time ago on Long Island. Mr. Van Arsdale was an almost total stranger to Paterson. Several years ago he visited some friends residing in the upper part of Passaic County and while there his attention was called to the noble work done by the Sisters; he paid a visit to the hospital and was so favorably impressed by the workings of the institution that he bequeathed it $1,000. Several months ago the Sisters also received $500 from a gentleman on condition that his name be not published, so that the present year was an unusually fortunate one for the Sisters. Large sums received in this manner are always applied towards paying off the indebtedness on the property. There are at present nine Sisters employed as nurses and in other capacities about the hospital and three are employed in teaching in St. Agnes' school which stands on a portion of the original plot purchased by the Sisters in 1869. St. Agnes' school belongs to St. John's congregation and was erected a few[Pg 54] months ago, the congregation having purchased four lots from the Sisters for $2,800. The school is a handsome brick structure and it is expected that in a short time it will form the nucleus to a new congregation.


[B] Although I have been unable to find any trace of the deed of this property I have been informed by several old persons that the property was obtained by purchase from a man named Post.—C. A. S.


Without doubt the most impressive religious ceremonies ever held in Paterson were those in commemoration of the semi-centennial anniversary of the dedication of the first building erected by Roman Catholics for church purposes in Paterson—the old St. John's church in Oliver street. The commemorative ceremonies began on Sunday morning, the 18th of November, in the present large and splendid church of St. John Baptist at Main and Grand streets, and ended on Monday morning with a requiem mass for the dead. At all the masses the building was thronged with Catholics, who at the earlier masses pressed forward to the altars in great numbers to receive Holy Communion.

The principal service on Sunday was at half-past ten in the morning, when a solemn high mass was celebrated. The edifice was crowded to its utmost capacity, and although benches in the aisles gave extra accommodation, hundreds stood patiently all through the long service. In the immense throng were many Protestants, attracted by the unusual preparations for elaborate music which had been made by Professor William Davis, the organist of the church, and by the announcement that the renowned Bishop McQuaid, of Rochester, was to preach a historical sermon.

The music was rendered by the church's choir of 36, reinforced by a boys' choir of 30: an orchestra of 20 pieces (including tympani bought for the occasion) and the great organ of the church, and was conducted by Prof. William Davis, with that perfect knowledge of his art and rare taste which equip him so well for his important position. The musical programme was no doubt the most elaborate ever rendered at a religious service in Paterson, and was carried out in a fitting manner. The singing was most creditable in its precision of time and accuracy of intonation, and the orchestral accompaniments left little to be desired. The programme of the morning was: prelude for orchestra and organ, "The Lost Chord," by Sullivan; Asperges Me, chorus with organ, by Werner; Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus and Agnus Dei from Haydn's second mass; Credo (scored for the occasion by Prof. Davis) from[Pg 55] Rossi's mass in D minor; Domine Deus, from same mass, as cornet solo with organ accompaniment; and after mass, a Gregorian Te Deum sung antiphonally by the church choir and sanctuary choir of boys, and for postlude, overture to Auber's "Masaniello," by the orchestra. Rev. Father MacCarthy was the celebrant and his intonation of the mass was most impressive. He was assisted by the missionary priest, Father Walker, as Deacon, and Father Quin as Sub-deacon. Father McNulty was assistant priest, with Fathers Murphy and Van Riel as Deacon and Sub-deacons of Honor. Rev. Dr. Larkin was Master of Ceremonies. The altar boys were arrayed in new royal purple cassocks, scarlet lined, and white gloves, and to each was assigned the care of a portion of the Bishop's vestments.

On Sunday evening the congregation was again limited only by the capacity of the edifice to hold those who came, hundreds being compelled to turn away, unable to obtain even standing room. The services were of deep interest, and the music was remarkably fine. After the prelude, by the orchestra and organ, Rossi's vespers were sung, followed by the "Salve Regina," by Spath; "O Salutaris," Giorza; "Tantum Ergo," Hattersly, and a triumphal march on the organ. The rendition of the "Magnificat," bass solo, by Mr. Anderson, the exceedingly brilliant alto solo, "O Salutaris," by Miss Lawless, and the tenor parts, as sung by Mr. Stafford, were commented upon as among the finest features of the evening service. The Papal blessing was imparted by Bishop McQuaid, to whom the duty was delegated by the missionary priest, Father Walker, who was compelled to absent himself, this prerogative being conferred upon missionary priests by the Holy See. Following came a very able discourse on the progress of the Church by Rev. Father Patrick Corrigan, of Hoboken, after which the usual benediction closed the evening services.

There was a larger attendance of priests at the service on Monday morning than at any time on the previous day, many being prevented by their ecclesiastical duties in their own parishes from coming before. Bishops Wigger and McQuaid were both present, and the service, which consisted of a solemn requiem mass for the dead of the congregation, was beyond description impressive. A portion of Singenberger's Requiem was rendered, Bishop Wigger officiating as celebrant, with Father Kirwan as Deacon and Father Morris as Sub-deacon. Rev. Father Larkin was Master of Ceremonies. The officiating Bishop was robed in black, as usual in saying masses for the dead. The service began with "Prayer for the Dead," by Dressler, after which came "Requiem" and "Dies Iræ," by Singenberger, "Domine Deus," by Ett, "Sanctus," "Benedictus" and "Agnus Dei," by Singenberger. Bishop Wigger wore a white mitre, instead of the usual golden one, during the services, until, at the close of the mass, the episcopal robes were removed, the incense was brought forward and the "Libera," from Ett's Requiem, was chanted, when absolution was solemnly pronounced by the officiating Bishop, following which came a funeral march by Chopin, and the services of the day were closed. The vocalism at this service was by about sixty children and ten ladies of the regular choir.

[Pg 56]

The following is a list of the prelates and priests who assisted or were present at the services:

Bishops Wigger and McQuaid,      Rev. M. J. White,
Rev. P. Corrigan, Rev. P. Corr,
Rev. L. Gambosville, Rev. Dr. Larkin,
Rev. J. Salaun, Rev. T. Macky,
Rev. M. J. Kirwan, Rev. Hugh Murphy,
Rev. P. Hennessy, Rev. D. F. McCarthy,
Rev. Pierce McCarthy, Rev. Thos. Quin,
Rev. Jas. Curran, Rev. Porcille, O. M.,
Rev. Father Van Riel, O. C., Rev. Gallant, O. M.,
Rev. D. B. Walker, S. J., Rev. M. Schacken,
Rev. P. F. Downes, Rev. I. Gillen,
Rev. J. P. Morris, Rev. S. Walsh,
Rev. L. P. Whelan, Rev. M. O'Connor.
Rev. J. Zimmer.

[Pg 57]

Historical Discourse

Delivered in St. John's Church, Paterson, N. J.,


Being The

Fiftieth Anniversary of the Building of the First Stone Church in 1833.


The why and the obligation of this celebration are found in the verses of Ecclesiasticus just read.

The latter half of this century may, with some propriety, be called an epoch of celebrations, commemorations and jubilees. Many of these are trivial in character and restricted in territory; others are full of meaning, cheering and ennobling to those who participate in them and to many who come within their influence. The celebration to-day is one worthy of a Christian people, commemorating a work wrought in God's name and for His honor, and fruitful of untold religious blessings to a devout congregation. The Church in the United States can, with justice and without a blush, hold up to the gaze of the world the record of her first days, humble and insignificant though they be; for, reversing the tablet, an exhibition of a century's work, partakes of the marvellous,—of the miraculous.

Relatively, the accomplishments of the Church in particular localities are as astounding and wondrous as in dioceses, or in the whole country. The beginnings of religion were the humblest conceivable. The priest to whose care was entrusted a territory now covered by one or more dioceses, journeyed from hamlet to hamlet and from house to house, wherever a child of the Church might have his home, to administer the consolation and the helps of the sacraments, and preach the word of life. His altar was a rough board or a table; his vestments and all needed for the mass were carried in a sack on his back, when no conveyance could be had. The conveyance might be an ox cart, a farm wagon, or a stage. It was such in all cases as the country in its days of[Pg 58] poverty and simplicity afforded. The heart of the priest was gladdened when he was able to bring the blessings of religion to children of the Church who, few in number and greatly scattered, still held tenaciously to the old teachings and prayers; as it was saddened when one of the faithful pointed out the homes of others who had apostatized, or who, blushing in their ignorance under the contumely heaped on their fellow-religionists, concealed God's gift of faith. These fallings-away from religion are not unknown to-day. We may pity the weakness of the unfaithful in those early times; there is no reason to extend pity to the apostates of these days.

In September, 1836, Dr. England, Bishop of Charleston, addressed a long communication to the Society of the Propagation of the Faith at Lyons in relation to the condition and progress of the Catholic Church in the United States. In this document the thoughtful and observant Bishop details the heavy losses the Church has suffered and is still suffering, and assigns the causes therefor with a straightforwardness and boldness eminently characteristic. He does not hesitate to assert that more than two-thirds of Catholic emigrants and their descendants had ceased to profess the Catholic religion, and of these most had united with some of the Protestant denominations. The causes he gives may be briefly summarised as follows:—

1. The large influx of Catholic emigrants into a new country unprepared for their coming.

2. The absence of Catholic schools for Catholic education.

3. Catholic orphans, picked up by proselytizing institutions, because there were few or no Catholic asylums.

4. The want of a clergy sufficient in number, and adapted to the peculiar circumstances of the country, often not able to speak correctly its language.

5. The sending to America of priests not wanted in the European countries.

6. Injudicious appointments to places of administration.

7. Diversity of nationality ending in jealousies and inefficient co-operation.

8. The active work of wealthy Protestant sects, united in hindering the growth of the Catholic Church, if in nothing else.

There are heavy losses to-day in the new portions of our country where priests and churches are few in number and far apart. This a disagreeable fact whose existence and disastrous consequences are not lessened by denial. It is a fact that comes home to the consciences of all concerned. The causes of these losses are somewhat modified from what they were in the days of Bishop England. The Protestant sects are weaker and less earnest in their efforts against the Catholic Church, and have enough to do to hold their own without going after others. The priests, whether born in America or elsewhere, are for the most part educated in the country, are in hearty sympathy with its political institutions, and most devoted to their ministerial duties. Schools, orphanages and hospitals arise so rapidly all over the land that a reasonable hope is cherished that soon no losses will follow through this cause. The broad liberality of treatment which freely grants to all large groups of Catholics the privilege of a church under a pastor of the nationality to which[Pg 59] they belong, gives all an opportunity of hearing the Word of God in the language familiar to them from childhood, and of enjoying church customs, music and ceremonies, peculiar to their native province, but not objectionable to established rule and discipline. The Catholic Church is broad enough for harmless peculiarities. The rights of the clergy and those of the laity being now better defined by wise legislation than in the time of Bishop England, there is less of that friction, jarring and revolutionary insubordination which he and others encountered. It is a singular note to make that but few of the first churches established escaped disturbances caused by the ambition, the ignorance or the infidel or heretical notions of a handful of the parishioners. And, what is again to be noted is that the leaven then infused worked for long years, and made itself felt in these parishes after the last of those disturbers had been laid in his grave.

It is an unsatisfactory task to try to write the history of one of those early missions or parishes. In those primitive times the wearied missionary made light of his acts and works, and failed to keep a record of his doings, or to write the history of the mission. It was great humility on his part, but it is very disappointing to us. He never dreamt that his humble beginnings would grow into monumental grandeur. It is hard to blame him. The wandering life he led; the lack of facilities in passing from place to place; the hardships he endured; the absorption of his mind in the daily routine of administering the sacraments filling up his whole time left him no inclination to write down what in his eyes seemed of little consequence, or of no special merit.

This defect in parochial administration is now in a great degree remedied by the canonical visitations of the Bishop of the diocese, whose duty it is to see that a historical record is kept in every parish, and that all important facts relating to the mission are duly written therein. The religious orders and chiefly that of the Jesuits, have been careful to keep a full history of their transactions in all their missions. It is to the "Relations" of the Jesuits that we owe whatever information we have with regard to the beginnings of Catholicity in New York and the New England States.

Wherefore, assembled in this monumental mother church, looking at her daughters, near and far off, beholding around her the fruits of her maternity—the churches, the schools, the hospitals, the orphanages, that have sprung from her loins, we grieve that a fuller account of her incipient struggles and successes is not at hand, and that due honor cannot, therefore, be rendered to the memory of the pioneers, clerical and lay, whose prayers and sacrifices blessed and helped the founding of religion in this town and neighborhood.

The story told of the beginning of religion in a particular district is much the same everywhere. It runs in this wise and generally has four stages: 1. One or more families drawn to a locality by the prospect of employment, clinging to the faith of their fathers in the land of their birth,—clinging to it all the more if the hand of oppression for conscience's sake weighed heavily on them at home, journeyed many miles, sometimes hundreds of miles, to New York City or to some other city equally fortunate in having a church and priest, to obtain the succors of religion. At the opening of this century, there[Pg 60] was the one church, old St. Peter's, in Barclay street, New York City,—the one star of hope, shining in the firmament which covers the states of New York and New Jersey. Thus, the Catholics of northern New Jersey, craving for the bread of life and the Word of God, from time to time found their way to old St. Peter's. Thus, as I have often heard in Western New York, the parents of ex-Senator Kernan brought their son from Steuben county to New York City for baptism; so also did the Klems of Rochester bring their child to New York City, a distance of 400 miles, where it was baptized by Bishop Connolly. It was a two weeks' ride. There were no canals or railroads in those days; nor were the wagon roads remarkable for smoothness, or well-adapted for speed. The Kernans were from Ireland; the Klems from Germany. They worthily represented a large class of intelligent and devout Christian people who believed and lived according to their belief. The descendants of both families are very numerous, and keep the faith.

The second stage of progress in the introduction of Catholicity is the occasional visit of a priest coming oftentimes from a great distance. Thus, we are told that the Rev. Mr. Farmer (Steenmeyer), came from Philadelphia and Conshocken, twice a year, to visit the few scattered families of northern New Jersey. These visits began several years before the Revolutionary War, were discontinued while the contending armies were encamped in that part of the country, and resumed on the return of peace. His visits were chiefly to a settlement of German Catholics at Macoupin in Sussex Co. They had been brought over from Germany about 1767 to work in the iron mines and forges and to burn charcoal. They are not to be confounded with the Hessians who had been shipped to America to fight against the colonists. After Father Farmer ceased to visit Macoupin, the settlers were left for forty years without a priest. During these years of spiritual deprivation, old Marion, the patriarch of the settlement, kept alive religion by rendering such services as were within his power. On Sunday, he gathered together the inhabitants of the place for mass, prayers and the rosary. He taught the children their prayers and catechism. The zealous labors of this pious man not only kept alive the faith, but nourished a spirit of piety among the people.

During the war, while the American soldiers and their French allies were encamped around Morristown, the French chaplains officiated about Morristown as their services were sought.

In the early years of this century refugees from San Domingo, Guadaloupe and Martinique settled in New Jersey, at Elizabeth, Springfield and Bottle Hill, now known as Madison. Rev Mr. Tisseraut lived for some time at Elizabeth and gave religious services. In 1805, Rev. Mr. Viauney began to pay regular visits to Bottle Hill. He came from St. Peter's, Barclay street. Other priests from St. Peter's attended this French settlement; notably among them was the Very Rev. Doctor Power, whose visits were frequent for several years. Father Malon, at one time assistant to Dr. Power, took up his residence at Madison.

Revolutions drove the French to Madison. The hope of employment brought many from Ireland to Paterson. These were only too glad to escape[Pg 61] political and religious bondage at home. About 1812, the first priest visited Paterson, saying mass in the house of James Gillespie on Market street and after the removal of Gillespie to Belleville, mass was celebrated yet more regularly in the house of Bernard McNamee on Mulberry street in a room which he had prepared and reserved for this purpose. For some time this room gave accommodation to all the Catholics in Paterson. Among the first to make use of this temporary chapel in McNamee's house was the Rev. Arthur Langdill. Bishop Bayley copies from Bishop Connolly's diary: "Oct. 22, 1817, I addressed a letter to Rev. Arthur Langdill, empowering him to celebrate mass, etc." This diary of the Bishop settles the name of this priest. Father Langdill made his home for a time at Newburg, visiting Northern Jersey and especially Paterson.

About 1820, the Rev. Richard Bulger, the second priest ordained by Bishop Connolly, was sent to Paterson as its first resident pastor, or rather as a missionary to Northern New Jersey, with his headquarters at Paterson. God only knows the patient and uncomplaining services, the whole-souled zeal of this truly Apostolic priest, as he travelled through the counties of Passaic, Sussex and Morris. Of a cheerful and gay disposition he delighted in telling amusing incidents connected with his travels. Some have come down to us by tradition curtailed or adorned as the narrator's imagination was lively or dull. One day when the snow was on the ground, trudging along with his pack on his back, making his way to Newton in Sussex County, he was overtaken by a farmer. The latter, as is customary in country districts, kindly "gave a lift" to the stranger, placing him at his side in the sled. Of course, the farmer's curiosity made him forget the world's politeness, and institute a series of leading questions. Are you a peddler? No. Perhaps you will open a store in town? No. A physician? No. A lawyer? No. Then, may I ask, what do you do for a living? Thus driven to the wall by the persistent questioner the priest was obliged to confess that he was a Roman Catholic priest. People in New Jersey had curious notions of what a priest might be: they attributed strange things to them, and had a holy horror of them. Our farmer was not exempt from the prevailing ignorant superstitions with regard to priests, and ordered Father Bulger to quit the sled. After driving on a bit the farmer repented of his severity, again took the priest into his sled, and after suitable instruction ended by receiving baptism as a Catholic.

Nearly thirty years later another missionary working in the same field which Father Bulger had cultivated reached the hamlet of Franklin Furnace. At this period, 1848, many Irishmen were engaged in iron mining in this neighborhood. For their spiritual help mass was celebrated in a miserable shanty, a dwelling built before the revolution. Among those who came to assist at it was a venerable gentleman, a Dr. Lawrence, whose history as a Catholic was by request briefly given. In the missionary days of Father Bulger Dr. Lawrence had made the acquaintance of the holy apostle, and by him was instructed, baptized and received into the church. In the long years intervening, he had kept the faith, and availing himself of all favorable opportunities,[Pg 62] he received the sacraments, often going to New York city for this purpose.

A saint like Father Bulger must have impressed some of his own piety and zeal on the Catholics of Paterson and its outlying districts. It was while he was pastor here, in 1821, that the "Society of Useful Manufactures" gave a plot of ground on the corner of Mill and Congress streets, for the purpose of erecting, maintaining and keeping a building or house of public worship of God. On this plot the Catholics built their first church, a one-story building 25×35 feet, costing $1000. We may smile at the smallness and inexpensiveness of the structure, but any priest of the olden time who labored to build churches when his few parishioners were glad to give a hard day's work for 50 or 60 cents, can readily understand that the building of that first church, at a cost of one thousand dollars, was as great and appalling a task as the construction of the stone church in 1833, at a cost of $15,000. In remote country districts the experience of Paterson and Rochester is repeated year by year. In one place a gutted house is made to play the part of a church; in another, even a smaller edifice than the first of Paterson, and costing less, answers the first demands of religion that the souls of the scattered few may not perish. Blessings on these small and modest shanties, surmounted by a cross and holding an altar. Warmer prayers from loving hearts go not up to heaven from marble basilicas, nor were priests' hearts crushed and broken in the strain to meet interest on debts incurred beyond the power to pay. Father Bulger was soon called to New York to assist Bishop Connolly, and in November of 1824 died after a short illness, and his remains lie under the monument at the left hand as you enter the gateway of old St. Patrick's on Mott street, and side by side are those of Father O'Gorman, the first ordained by Bishop Connolly, who followed to the grave his fellow-missionary within a week. In the dearth of priests to do the work of the diocese the Bishop felt keenly these losses, and in January, 1825, he himself while suffering from a severe cold was called from his bed at night to administer the sacraments to a dying Christian, and within a week, on the 5th of February, joined his devoted assistants in eternity. At one time both Rev. Richard Bulger and Rev. Michael O'Gorman had been stationed at Utica, N. Y.

You will allow me, I am sure, the liberty of linking Northern New Jersey and Western New York. Though so far separated they formed parts of the one diocese, and often the priests that labored here were sent to what was then called "The Far West" to hunt up and save the scattered sheep of the one fold. Bishop Timon, in his history of missions in Western New York, writes: "The Catholics of Auburn, then numbering four or five families, and having several children to be baptized, sent to New York for a Catholic priest. The Rev. Mr. O'Gorman came. This was the first visit that Auburn had ever received from a Catholic clergyman."

The church built in Paterson by Father Bulger, in 1821, is mentioned in the Catholic Directory for 1822, as the only one in New Jersey, with Rev. Mr. Bulger as pastor.

Father Bulger was succeeded by Father Brennan, assisted by Father John[Pg 63] Conroy. The latter made the first attempt to build a church in Jersey City. But building on a bed of quicksand the foundations gave way, and the courage of the people was lost for some years. In 1826 Father Brennan died and lies buried near his companions; then came Father Shanahan, the fifth priest ordained by Bishop Connolly. He was followed by Father J. O'Donohue, who afterwards exercised the ministry in Auburn, in Seneca Falls and other places in Cayuga and Seneca counties. It was during his pastorate in 1830 that the church in Macoupin was dedicated by Father Chas. D. French, sent from New York to perform this function. He was assisted by Father O'Donohue. Father French afterwards spent some time in charge of the mission of Greece, a settlement of well-to-do Irish farmers, about six miles west of Rochester.

In 1827, the construction of the Morris Canal brought many Irishmen to Paterson. Religion followed in the track of commerce. The first church no longer afforded room for the largely increased congregation. While realizing the need of additional accommodation the parishioners did not venture to do more than secure the lot on Oliver street, and determine to build a suitable church. In 1832, Father Duffy was sent to Paterson as pastor, and it was under his administration, that in 1833 the first half of the stone church on Oliver street was built. It is the 50th anniversary of this building that we this day commemorate with becoming pomp and solemnity. Its erection marked the third stage in the growth of religion. The missionary days were passing away to be replaced by fixed and well ordered ministrations.

Here let us pause a moment to give "praise to men of renown, and our fathers in their generation." They that were born of them have left a name behind them, that their praises might be related. And there are some, of whom there is no memorial; and are perished as if they had never been; and are born, as if they had never been born, and their children with them. "But these were men of mercy, whose godly deeds have not failed." ... "Their bodies are buried in peace; and their name liveth unto generation and generation. Let the people show forth their wisdom, and the church declare their praise."

So with praise and with prayer we wisely honor the memory of the Gillespies and McNamees whose homes had welcomed the priest. Like Zacheus they sought to see Jesus, and Jesus came to abide in their houses and bless them, when the holy and unbloody sacrifice was offered up under their roof. With them, in just meed of honor, we join the Kerrs, the Burkes, the Wades, and the Bradleys; the Lynches, Griffiths and Farnons; the McNallys, Bannigans, Powers and Butlers; the Quins, Morrises, Mulhollands and Plunketts; the McDonalds, Mooneys, Warrens and McEvoys. Nor can we omit the names of others of later date, who are held in veneration for their good deeds, munificent generosity and exemplary lives, the O'Neills, the Hamils, the Raffertys, the Watsons and numberless others.

We have brought our narrative along through the early struggles, the humble beginnings, and the great triumph of the Catholics of Paterson, until the day when with exulting hearts they assembled for the solemn dedication of their new church edifice in 1833, while the Rev. P. Duffy was their pastor.[Pg 64] Rev. Mr. Duffy was removed from Paterson in 1836 and sent to Newburgh, where he died in 1853.

Father Duffy was succeeded by Rev. Philip O'Reilly, an ex-Dominican, and at one time Chaplain to the Duke of Norfolk, and he gave way in 1845 to the Rev. James Quin. On Easter Monday of 1846 Rev. Mr. Quin began the enlargement of the church, making it 113×55 feet, and with the galleries giving seating accommodations for 1300 persons. It cost $15,000. On the 6th of February, 1847, the enlarged and improved church was dedicated by Bishop Hughes.

In 1851 Father Quin died, and was succeeded by his brother the Rev. Thomas Quin.

This brings us to the erection of the State of New Jersey into a separate diocese, which was placed under the Episcopal administration of the Rt. Rev. James Roosevelt Bayley. The See of Newark was erected on the 29th of July, 1853, and Bishop Bayley, preconized on the same day, was consecrated on the 30th of October, 1853. On the first of November he was installed in his Cathedral, and promptly began the work of caring for the interests of religion.

From the outset of his administration two ideas became fixed and unchangeable in Bishop Bayley's mind. He saw that whatever else might be useful and needful in a diocese, its first wants were churches and priests,—schools and teachers. You who knew him so well, who so often listened to his earnest words pleading the cause nearest his heart, do not require to be told that in those days your Bishop was wrapped up in the carrying out of these ideas. Always gentle, always kind, ever pleasantly smiling, yet he was ever urgent and determined that the churches and schools should be ready as they were needed to meet the necessities of the flock over which he was placed. Bishop Bayley understood clearly that churches and schools which the people's money might build would avail little without priests and teachers. He had the advantage, a great advantage, of being the first Bishop of a diocese, and one whose prospects for growth and prosperity were most promising. He was fresh, vigorous and anxious to spend and be spent. He had the moulding and directing of the work before him according to his own judgment and the carrying out of his own ideas unhampered,—untrammeled. His plans embraced a college and theological seminary as a nursery and training school for priests; a Mother House and Novitiate for a religious community of teaching Sisters. Hence as early as 1856, he founded Seton Hall College and Seminary at Madison, removing them in 1860 to South Orange. Soon after he began the formation of the community of Sisters of Charity at Newark, transferring the Mother House to Madison in 1860. These few words describe the small beginning of each institution; the results of their successful achievements are best estimated by the fact that priests from this seminary cover the State of New Jersey, and 400 Sisters of this community are for the most part engaged in the school-room. The sentiment expressed by the Bishop in his "History of the Church on the Island of New York" was given effective play in his work as a Bishop. He wrote: "If we desire to keep the children in the faith of[Pg 65] their fathers, we must, above all things, take measures to imbue the minds of the rising generation of Catholics with sound religious principles. This can only be done by giving them a good Catholic education. In our present position, the school-house has become second in importance only to the House of God itself." When Bishop Bayley was translated from Newark to Baltimore he had the happiness—and for him it was a great one of knowing that there was scarcely a mission in the diocese he was leaving without a Catholic school, and that the foundations for the continuance of the good work were so broad—so solid—that they never could give way.

Soon after taking charge of the new diocese of Newark, Bishop Bayley changed the Rev. Thomas Quin from Paterson to Rahway, where he remained until his death. Father Quin was amiable and unassuming, but lacking in the energy and determination demanded by the requirements of the rapidly developing congregation of St. John's. The Rev. Dominick Senez was sent to this mission to replace Father Quin. Father Senez's success as a pastor in many missions was a guarantee that the populous and important parish of Paterson would not suffer under his leadership. The development of many industries called for artisans and laborers. After the famine in Ireland in 1846 and 1847, the prime of the industrial classes flocked to our shores, and many found their way to centres of employment like this city. St. John's of Paterson was a large and growing congregation when Father Senez came here. Much had been prepared for him by others; and much remained for him to do. His great work has always been in the pulpit, in the confessional and in pastoral visitations. With excellent administrative ability he has never allowed debts to accumulate beyond easy control. Soon after taking charge of Paterson he brought to his help the Sisters of Charity of Mt. St. Vincent. The first of these religious women, and the first of any community that worked in the State of New Jersey were brought to Newark on the 18th of October, 1853, by Bishop Bayley, and placed over a girls' orphan asylum and the parochial school for girls. The Sisters of Charity of Newark and Paterson returned to Mt. St. Vincent as soon as the new community founded at Newark, now at Madison, was able to replace them. The Sisters who were at Jersey City on the same terms did not leave according to agreement.

On Father Senez's change of field of work to Cincinnati he was replaced by Father Beaudevin, and he by Father Callan, transferred from St. James', Newark.

In 1863, the Rev. William McNulty, after a school of preparation in small things, if anything can be called small that belongs to a priest's ministry, was assigned to Paterson. We come now to the fourth stage in the history of Catholicity in this town. It is the period of large developments and remarkable growth. It needed in the pastor, youth, energy, zeal, disinterestedness and a spirit free and unfettered by old ways and traditions. It found all these in the young and almost untried priest. His Bishop in calling him to this responsible post did not blunder into his choice, but made it in full knowledge of what was needed to build up religion in Paterson as well as of the fitness of the selection he was making. It was precisely the capability[Pg 66] and exactness of the young priest in the fulfilment of his duties in Seton Hall as chaplain to a convent, and as pastor of a small rural mission, which led his Bishop to believe that the same qualities fitted him for a more onerous and trying field of work. This young priest never disappointed the well founded expectations of his first Bishop, nor has he failed in the estimation of Bishop Bayley's successors, nor has he left it in any parishioner's power to complain that Paterson lagged behind in the race to the goal of great works in which the earnest, generous and self sacrificing priests and people of the United States were running. No one of the causes indicated by Bishop England in explanation of the losses of the Catholic Church can be cast as a reproach at Paterson since the present pastor took charge of this mission. If there are any losses here they must be accounted for by other reasons.

This new church, so large, substantial and grand, worthy of Keily's architectural skill, is Father McNulty's enduring monument. I am not an admirer of large churches in America, except where they are demanded in cathedral cities by the necessities of special functions. I would not hesitate for one moment to withhold all praise even here, if I did not know that this church has not been built at the expense of other religious interests; if I did not know that school-houses giving room for all the Catholic children in the parish were provided; as well as homes for orphans and hospitals for the sick. Nor would I lavish commendation on my friend, the pastor of this parish, if I did not know that other parts of this growing city had been cared for and that new parishes had been formed as they were needed. Within the limits of Paterson are the daughters of the mother church, are St. Boniface's and St. Mary's; St. Joseph's, St. Bonaventure's and St. Agnes'. Beyond these limits are the churches at Macoupin, Passaic, Lodi, Hohokus, Bloomingdale and Germantown. There are pastoral residences everywhere; schools in all the parishes; an asylum for orphans; a hospital for the sick; consecrated cemeteries for the dead.

Yet the works above ennumerated, praiseworthy and necessary though they be, would be as dross, so much are they in the material order, were they not beautified and enlivened by that spiritual life and glory which make them acceptable in the sight of God. All these material things are but as helps to grace and spiritual advancement. When a congregation flocks to the church, blocks up the way to the confessional and crowds around the altar rail, all know that there is spiritual power in that mission; when homes are Christian, when father, mother and children kneel together in prayer, when the sanctuary of the house is sacredly guarded like the sanctuary of the church, a race of Christian people is preserved. From such Christian homes come forth Christian men and women—come forth priests for the altar, brothers and sisters for the schools. It is the glory of this congregation that religious communities have been largely recruited here; it is the crowning glory of the pastor of this church, as it is unspeakable joy to his heart, that his labors bring forth such fruit, for his work will not end with his days on earth; but will be continued long after by those that have learned from his lips and drawn spiritual life from his example and the outpouring of his own soul.

[Pg 67]

It is a withered and dead parish that yields no laborers for the Lord's vineyard. He is a barren pastor who brings forth none to take his place when he is gone, or who has never summoned to his aid one recruit of his own drilling.

For the work accomplished, for blessings received, for a growth and prosperity wondrous indeed, it is a duty for the children of the early Catholic settlers of Paterson not to forget their fathers who "were men of mercy, whose godly deeds have not failed;" it is a joy for them and their children, and for their pastors, and the church, "to show forth the wisdom and declare the praise" of those who builded that Church of St. John in 1833.

Blessings on their memory! Prayers for their souls! We pray for the souls of all who in their day helped this church; to-morrow with solemn dirge and rite this duty will be yet more markedly fulfilled. The performance of this sacred duty honors and helps the Bishops, the priests, the people, who toiled under adverse and trying circumstances to lay good foundations for future building; it gratifies the loving hearts of a grateful posterity to acknowledge the rich inheritance of religion that has come down to them, as it will be their earnest endeavor to transmit to their children the glowing faith, the warm piety and the noble spirit of self-sacrifice inherited from "men of renown, and our fathers in their generation."

Transcriber's Notes:

The Villanova University copy that this text was prepared from contains several handwritten corrections. The original text of the book has been retained for this electronic edition, but since the corrections are probably accurate, they are noted below as "VU corrections."

Some inconsistent spelling and punctuation has been retained from the original (i.e. "cooperation" vs. "co-operation," "traveling" vs. "travelling").

Table of contents was not present in the original print edition.

Page 5, added missing "t" the "the" in "within the city limits."

Page 6, VU correction: "Father De La Motte" instead of "Father De La Mote."

Page 6, VU correction: "Rev. Phillip Larisey, O.S.A." instead of "Rev. Phillip Larissy." Note that this differs from "Larrissy" / "Larrisey" (two r's) found elsewhere in the text. This may be intentional since it is quoted from another source. Research suggests that "Larisey" may be the most appropriate spelling, but there is enough conflicting information that no attempt has been made to normalize the text in this edition; all references are left as-is.

Page 8, VU correction: "Father Philip Larrisey, O.S.A." instead of "Father Philip Larrissy, a Franciscan" (with a later instance of "Larrissy" also changed to "Larrisey").

Page 9, VU correction: "Larrisey" instead of "Larrissy."

Page 15, VU correction: "Larrisey" instead of "Larrissy."

Page 19, changed comma to period after "employed in a cotton mill."

Page 22, changed "a Southern gentlemen" to "a Southern gentleman."

Page 22, added missing apostrophe to "O'Neill was the leader."

Page 23, changed "succeded" to "succeeded."

Page 26, added missing open quote before "DEUS."

Page 26, changed "Auno Salutis" to "Anno Salutis."

Page 28, changed "shem" to "them."

Page 28, added missing open single quote before "They did not build in vain."

Page 34, changed "Chior" to "Choir."

Page 34, changed double quotes to single quotes after "the nursery of priests and bishops" and after "the old mountain."

Page 35, changed "includ-" to "including."

Page 39, changed double quotes to single quotes after "Nulli onerosus fui" and around "pueris senibusque carus."

Page 40, added double quotes around poem.

Page 41, changed comma to period after "Fathers McFaul, Corr and others."

Page 43, VU correction: "Larisey" instead of "Larissy." Most likely a typo for "Larrissy" / "Larrisey" but left as-is due to other internal inconsistencies in the text (see page 6 note).

Page 55, changed "Singerberger's" to "Singenberger's."

Page 58, changed "ircumstances" to "circumstances."

Page 59, changed "langguage" to "language."

Page 59, changed "heavil yon" to "heavily on."

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