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Religious foundations in Cumberland page 4

Click on the MEDIA ITEMS below for more information


and on it a little later St. Mary's Church was built. It stood on the site of Carroll Hall, (now La Salle High School) and continued to be used until St. Patrick's Church on the adjoining lot was erected." The Rev. Lawerance Kilkenny is the present Pastor.

When Bishop Carroll was consecrated the first Bishop of the United States, August 15, 1790, according to the Bishop's own statement, the total number of Catholics in the American colonies were but thirty thousand. Of this number over half resided in the State of Maryland, which was planted as a Catholic Colony in 1634 by the Calverts. But by 1649 an Act of Religious Tolerance was created which provided freedom of worship unto all Christian sects. This legislation was authored by the Catholics of Maryland, and is now a most important part of the foundation of American freedom.

Father Thomas Stanton in "A Century of Growth" says: "We infer that about the year 1792 Father Dennis Cahill built in Cumberland the log church which stood on the site of Carroll Hall. What a joy to the Catholic heart when this first humble little chapel was dedicated to God under the Sweet Name of Mary! From 1795 to 1799 the only priest that visited Cumberland, in fact the only one that could do so conveniently, was the illustrious missionary, Reverend Demetrius (Prince) Gallitzin*, whose parish extended from the Susquehanna to the Potomac."

Bowersox in speaking of the origins of Lutheranism in Cumberland provides the following background: "The lure of profit from trade with the Indians rather than the promise of bountiful harvests brought the first settlers to this region. The organization of 'The Ohio Company,' and the erection of the store-houses on the banks of the Potomac continued to attract men with commercial instincts rather than tillers of the soil. The unfriendly attitude of the Indians in the early days made farming a hazardous occupation. Those who came located where they could flee to the storehouse for protection in case of trouble. As a consequence the Lutheran element, for the most part Germans, and by occupation farmers, did not arrive in any great numbers until it was safe to build homes and engage in tilling the soil. In the list of the first settlers given by Lowdermilk only a few families are mentioned, whose names likewise appear in the Church Book of the Lutheran Church. Later the number of Lutheran families was augmented by immigrants from Pennsylvania. On the outskirts of the village, however, lived the Leybargers, the Valentines, and the Rices, all Lutherans. Under the influence of the Rizers, the Shucks, and other Lutheran families who resided in the village, those outlying families were induced to join with them in the organization of a Lutheran Church."

* The Gallitzin ancestral residence in Russia was Josef Stalin's summer place.


Felix G. Robinson


Collection Location:
Ruth Enlow Library, Oakland

Original Size:
22 x 15 cms

Maryland, History


Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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