28 December 2007

My Maryland Catholics and Father Gallitzin

It's been quite some time since I worked on my family genealogy, but I got pulled back into it this Christmas. Yesterday, instead of posting about the weirdness on my dad's side of the family, I had planned to post about recent developments in adding some leaves and branches to this side. The conversations I had with my cousin and my aunt piqued my curiosity, which is easy to do when it comes to this subject, and I spent part of the day seeing if anything had been added to some genealogy websites I hadn't visited in a long time.

Sure enough, there was quite bit more on one of my British lines and one of my French lines. I was also pleased to find that one believed British progenitor was actually Irish...I say that with a devilish glint in my eye, but more work needs to be done to solidify this information to my satisfaction, since picking names off an even reputable genealogy website tends to be a good way to clutter your tree with misinformation.

I was happy to find more information on my French lines. My DeLozier branches came over fairly early and settled in Pennsylvania. I've finally found further documentation that my 5th great grandfather was a soldier during the Revolutionary War and his son was involved in the War of 1812. Now I just need to do some digging and prove this.

More interesting, in some respects, are the lives these people led when they arrived here and how they actually made a go of things, and in some cases, prospered. I have a chunk of Irish and English Catholics in Maryland very early (mid-1600s). So am learning more about Lord or Baron Baltimore/Sir George Calvert and how he had to give up his position as Secretary of State under James I because of his conversion to Catholicism (and also some other poor political moves). I found mention that some of my family came over on the ship, The Dove, that the second Baron Baltimore was on. It seems that Catholics of the day were living with a "Don't ask, don't tell" mentality back then, practicing their religion in secret or low profile, since many of the Protestants were quite hostile and feared the Papists would take over the New World for the Pope. More interesting history I'll have to read up on when I get the chance.

Prince Gallitzin Chapel House, Tomb Site, and Basilica of St. Michael the Archangel

Making some of the research difficult is the back and forth migration between Maryland and Pennsylvania. This may have to do with the constant flux between acceptance and hostility that the Maryland Catholics encountered. Many of my father's lines join up in Pennsylvania. The German, Irish and Scottish Catholics all found a common bond in their religion. I have records of my Scottish Catholic ancestors donating land and quite a bit of money to create an early church in Huntingdon County, PA. Not too far from them, I just discovered that my French 4th great grandfather mentioned Father Gallitzin in his will. I had previously been given copies of parts of the will that list all of his children and what they inherited, but for whatever reason, the part about donating money to the church was left out. I didn't even know it existed until recently. I also just came to find out that Father Gallitzin performed most of the sacraments for these ancestors and there is a cause for his canonization underway. It's an interesting story.

According to a history of Cambria County, PA, my 4th great grandfather came to Cambria county with the McGuire family mentioned below. I would like to think that the money my great-grandfather left was responsible for buying a few of the bricks in the church. The entry from his will reads: "I give and bequeath unto the Rev. Demetrius A. Galitzen or his sucessor, the sum of 50 dollars (toward building a Church at Loretto); also I give and bequeath unto the said D.A. Galitzen or his sucessor the sum of 20 dollars for Masses at his discretion."

A snippet from a PA website on Father Gallitzen:

In the late 1700s, the woods of western Pennsylvania drew men and women eager to create new lives and communities. In 1788, Captain Michael McGuire, a Maryland Catholic, purchased 12,000 acres [I believe this should read 1200 acres] from the Commonwealth near the headwaters of the Clearfield Creek, high in the Allegheny mountains in what would later become Cambria County, Pennsylvania. There he and his family carved out a small settlement, some twenty miles from the closest neighbors, where Catholics could live unmolested by the largely Scots-Irish Presbyterian, Lutheran and Reformed German population in the area. When McGuire died in 1793 he left 400 acres in trust to John Carroll, the United States’ first Catholic bishop, to attract Catholic clergy.

In 1796, Father Augustine Smith received a call to perform last rites for a Protestant woman, who lived in a place called McGuire’s Settlement, some 150 miles west of his station at Conewago, Pennsylvania. Father Smith made the trip, and became so entranced by the small, isolated village of Maryland Catholics that he decided to stay. Here, in the following decades Smith would build the first Catholic Church in Pennsylvania, west of the Alleghenies, then minister to a thriving Catholic community that he funded out of his own pocket.

The humble Father Augustine Smith was, in fact, Prince Demetrius Gallitzin. Born on December 22, 1770 into one of the oldest, wealthiest, and most illustrious families of Russia, Gallitzen was the son of Prince Demetrius, Sr., the Russian ambassador to Holland, and an intimate acquaintance of Diderot, Voltaire, d'Alembert, and other great progressive thinkers of the day. Although nominally Russian Orthodox, Gallitzin was deeply influenced by his Catholic mother, the Countess Amalie, only daughter of the then celebrated Prussian Field-Marshal von Schmettau. In 1787, the younger Demetrius Gallitzin converted to Catholicism. Educated by the best scholars of the age, he received a high commission in the Russian Army, and at the age of twenty-one, as was customary for Russian aristocrats, prepared for his trip abroad. But since travel was next to impossible in Europe after the French Revolution, it was decided the Prince should visit America. In August of 1792, he arrived at Baltimore, where he met Bishop John Carroll, the first and at the time the only Catholic bishop in the United States, and decided to enter the priesthood. In March 1795, Augustine Smith – the name that Gallitzin had assumed when he left Russia – was ordained, the first priest in history to receive all his orders in the United States of America.

Father Gallitzen, ora pro nobis.


Divine Mercy said...

nice photo!!!

gemoftheocean said...

Hey girl COOL STUFF --- I SO OWE YOU A LETTER. Plus all that stuff I'm going to have to look up on your Bible Class stuff to see your refs. Sorry if it seems like I was ignoring you. I was saving the biggest chunck of catching up with anyone for last, because I knew if I started with yours first, then I wouldn't have been able to "make the blog rounds" till next week!

Just "checkin' in " now. More later tonight and/or tomorrow.


swissmiss said...

The building is beautiful. Now I am eager to go to PA and see it in person!

I know how it is. No hurry. I've been so busy I haven't hardly visited ANY blogs lately and only posted a few things. I don't see thing slowing down for another week or so! Crazy. My aunt always said that once she retired she was so busy she could never understand how she ever managed to find time for work!

Ray from MN said...

Boy, Swiss, you've got a lot longer and more interesting tree than I do. I have about 2400 names in my computer file with not too much research done on the most current generations.

So that's a goodly number. But most of them were serfs and churchmice.

I have a few interesting stories. Most of them reflect the times, not the individuals.

For example, when my Dad's paternal gf came over, on a three masted bark in 1872, about 350 passengers, there was an outbreak of smallpox on the ship and 18 people died.

That must have been a pretty terrifying ride. To me the most amazing fact is that they were allowed to land and debark in New York.