St. Vincent Archabbey"
October 17th 1795
Before the church and house were
priest would stay with one
of the most well-off families of the
This is a letter from
the Rev Lawrence S Phelan, at what
be called Sportsman's Hall,
St Vincent Church, Latrobe, PA to
in Baltimore, MD,
the first Catholic Bishop in the
Your reverence can have no conception
distress here, even for the necessaries of life,
for really I have not anything like a
of food, and such as I get is poor and filthy.
Most of the Irish, who, though poor,
by far the most generous, have now quit this
settlement; five or six German families
whose chaplain I may call myself, since I
cannot pretend to travel for want of a
These people, indeed, abstraction made of
religion, are the last of all mankind
sentiments of humanity. The poorman I live with has
not been paid what was promised for my
and whether he intends it or not, he treats
me acordingly. Perhaps he can't help it.
is the sole support of his family. Morning,
noon, and night, flour and water, or
and water, with a little burnt grease thrown over
is the support of his starved and almost
large family. Since my arrival the only meat
they had was a little pig about twenty
thirty pounds, and a calf ten days old, of which we
have eaten this whole week, till it
green and musty for want of salt. when I arrived first,
they had about a dozen hens, of which I
have eaten eight, as they still have four . . .
Thus have I spent five months of a most
Lent, that threw me into diarrhea, that,
in such wretchedness and cold, made me
a most penitential winter.