(By Mrs. Joseph Greene)
Originally printed 1907


    The history of the Catholic Church in the Niagara peninsula began many years before the erection of the present edifice known as St. Vincent de Paul's Church (it was the first Catholic Church erected on the Niagara Peninsula) and to record that history, in a manner which would do it justice, even in a moderate degree, would require the pen of one infinitely more gifted than the writer, for there is a wealth of historic lore, both civil and religious, surrounding this charming and picturesque old town of Niagara. Its religious history may be said to date from the year 1626, when Father Daillon made his way to the Niagara Peninsula with a view of evangelizing the "Neutrals," which tribe claimed the peninsula as its own. Few pens can adequately portray the apparently insurmountable difficulties which the early pioneer priests of western Canada had to encounter and overcome, the incalculable dangers and obstacles which were continuously besetting them as they journeyed through dense and desolate forests, across fallen timbers and swollen streams with nothing to guide them other than a 'blaze' which intimated to the weary traveler that a settlement lay beyond. Nevertheless, we invariably find, that no difficulties daunted them nor did disappointments nor rebuffs discourage them, and, as a result of this untiring zeal, we are now, in our comfortable churches, reaping the fruits of their almost superhuman exertions.

    As previously stated, Father Daillon bent his energies to the lofty task of sowing the seeds of Christianity among those godless savages, but with poor success, in fact they would have meted out to him a terrible death but for the intervention of heir Chief, Soharrisen.

    About 1636 Father Brebeuf, that heroic missionary and martyr, visited the same tribe, living on the same food as they used, sleeping in their wigwams, continually exposed to torture and death by an unreliable and merciless foe, risking everything in the hope of saving immortal souls.
It is not my intention, however, to again rehearse the well known historic facts concerning the horrible tortures and oft times martyrdom's, which the early Catholic Priests received at the hands of those savages, while endeavoring to spread among them the light of Christianity.
In 1669 Father Galinee with two companions passed through Niagara on his way to the West. This illustrious Sulpician priest has furnished us with much valuable narrative concerning his missionary labors during his explorations of the great lakes. As far as can be ascertained no other missionary visited Niagara until 1678, when Father Hennepin, a Franciscan missionary of historic fame, offered up mass on the banks of the Niagara River. We are also indebted to this intrepid missionary for the first intelligent description of that sublime wonder of nature, the Falls of Niagara.

    We are informed by Father Charlevoix, the Jesuit historian, that he said mass at Fort Niagara in 1721 on his way to the Mississippi, and there is a record of a Recollect, Father Grespel, as having been Chaplain at the Fort in 1733. Father Picquett, a Sulpician, in 1751 travelled over the Niagara Peninsula, instructing and converting the natives and instilling renewed ardor and faith into the converts of earlier days, and according to his own account, he also said mass at the Chapel at Fort Niagara; and Sir Win. Johnson tells that two British officers were buried under the Chapel in 1759, but no trace of it remains.

    In 1794 Father Edmund Burke, an Irish Priest, of the diocese of Quebec, believing that there was pressing need for a missionary priest in the Western part of the Province, sought and obtained permission to embark on that laudable undertaking. He came from Quebec to Niagara and in addition to his labors among the Indians acted as Chaplain to the Catholic soldiers who were stationed here at the time. Having been held in high repute by the officials of the Government, he secured grants of land from Governor Simcoe in different parts of Canada, one being in this vicinity on which he proposed erecting a monastery for the education of priests for the Western Mission, and in order to further this object he again journeyed to Quebec, but returned here in 1798. He eventually left here in 1800 on account of ill health. For one who had been a Professor in the University of Paris and surrounded with all the culture and refinement incidental to such a position, it must have been extremely repugnant to reconcile himself to his savage surroundings and apply himself to the uninteresting task of mastering the Indian tongue. He was consecrated Bishop of Halifax in 1818. He was an intimate friend of the Duke of Kent and was known and admired by all the Military and Naval Officers who commanded in British America at the time. He was of commanding appearance, of a cheerful and engaging manner and Great Britain had no more loyal subject than the Right Rev. Edmund Burke.

    In 1802 Father Des Jardins succeeded Father Burke as Chaplain to the soldiers, but he remained only a short time and left no parish records. This information appears in an article written by the late D. A. O'Sullivan and published in the Toronto Jubilee volume, 1892.
In 1816 a few Catholic families resided in Niagara and along the banks of the Niagara River, who were visited at intervals by Priests from Glengarry and other points.
These conditions continued until 1826 when Father James Campion was placed in charge of the mission here by Bishop Macdonell who had been chosen Vicar Apostolic of Upper Canada by Pius VII in 1819 and was made titular Bishop in 1820 A short sketch of Bishop Macdonell may not be found uninteresting. He was born 17th July, 1762 in Invernessshire, Scotland, and educated in the Scotch College of Paris and Valledolid in Spain. He was ordained on the 16th Feb., 1787, and spent five years in Scotland. He accompanied the Highland Regiment of Glengarry Fencibles, who were all Catholics, to Ireland in 1798, having been appointed their Chaplain. When the regiment was disbanded four years later, Father Macdonell, embarked for Canada in 1803, having previously secured a grant of land for every officer and soldier who wished to accompany him to Canada and I may add he was accompanied by the greater part of his men. When they arrived here Lieut.-Governor Hunter endorsed their patents 0' land and they settled in Glengarry.

    When Father Macdonell came to this country in 1803 there were only three Catholic Churches in the whole Province, through his perseverance and energy he succeeded in having thirty-five built during his thirty years of unceasing labor. There were also twenty-two priests throughout the different parts of the Province, most of whom were educated at his expense. He was created first Bishop of Kingston in 1826. It was a favorite saying of his "that every man of his name should be either a priest or a soldier." Apropos of this, at the breaking out of the war of 1812, among the first to take up arms in defence of his country was Lieut.-Colonel John Macdonell, who was Attorney-General for Upper Canada, being only 24 years of age. General Brock appointed him his Provincial Aide-de-camp and at the battle of Queenston Heights, when the heroic Brock fell mortally wounded, Colonel Macdonell assumed command, but while leading his men up the heights, he also fell.

    Those two great men were buried in the same spot at Fort George, where the bodies lay for twelve years. Their remains now rest in the sarcophagus in a monument second to none in America, erected on Queenston Heights by a grateful Canadian people. The following is a quotation from a letter, written by one of the Militia who took part in the battle dated 14th Oct. 1812.

    "This heroic young man, the constant attendant of the General, strove to support to the last a cause never to be despaired of, because it involved the salvation 6f the Country." Lieut.-Colonel Macdonell was a practical Catholic, as evidenced, by his approaching the sacrament before leaving for the frontier.

    When Father Campion had this mission assigned to him in 1826 there were only three priests to look after the needs of the Catholics scattered over 225 miles of territory between Detroit and Niagara and the whole northwestern part of Ontario, viz Fathers Fluet, Crevier and Campion. Father Campion had also to attend Dundas once a month, which is about 50 miles distant from here, and London and St. Thomas twice a year. When this good priest's presence was required at a death bed he had not infrequently to travel over one or even two hundred miles, and when one remembers that the greater part of the land at that times was a dismal wilderness, with but an occasional settlement, one can in a slight degree appreciate the hardships Father Campion had to encounter. At the present writing we have residing among us an old lady (Mrs. Paynter, born in 1819, whose recollections of the pioneer days are very entertaining. She remembers Father Campion very well, he having frequently visited her father's house (Simon Walsh) where he was always a welcome guest. Patrick McArdle and John Harris also took an active interest in the welfare of the mission and were the first to greet Father Campion on his arrival here. Patrick McArdle came to Niagara in 1816. He was an Irishman and a staunch Catholic, John Harris was an Englishman, his ancestors having settled
England shortly after the Norman Conquest. He came to Niagara in 1818.

    The first entry in the old Niagara Register in the hand writing of Father Campion, reads as follows the first day of June, by me Roman Catholic Missionary for Niagara, Dundas, etc., has been baptized Mary Ann Hughes, born on the 2nd day of January, 1827, of the lawful marriage of James Hughes and Mary May."
                                                                                           Jas. W. Campion,
                                                                                            M. Pt.
    Here is another entry in the old Register "The 12th August, 1827 By the Right Rev. Alex Macdonell has been baptized Mary Harris, born the 11th July, 1827, of the lawful marriage of John Harris and Margaret Grey, who is not a Roman Catholic, the sponsors being Patrick McArdle and Mary Fegan, also McArdle, .R. Ep"

    The following is an extract from the same register of a marriage, which shows how careful and conscientious the early Catholic Priests were to guard the sanctity of the marriage tie. "The 8th day of October, 1827 Cornelius Calahan and Mary Carroll both from Ireland, having solemnly declared and given a certificate of their not being married or contracted before with any person, and not being able to discover any impediment to prevent them from getting married, I, the undersigned Roman Catholic Missionary for Niagara, Dundas, etc., etc., have received their mutual consent of marriage and have given the benediction according to the rules of the Holy Roinan Catholic church in presence of Patrick Cullen, Patrick Handy, Andrew Boylan, Patrick Flynn and Mary Kelley."
                                                                                                    Jas. W. Campion,
    Father Campion remained in charge of the Niagara Mission until 1830, when he was recalled by Bishop Macdonell to Kingston to act in the capacity of his Secretary. He died in 1841.

    At the date Father Campion was removed, the Catholics had no church, no church property of any kind, not excepting a graveyard, and their dead were buried in St. Mark's Episcopal Cemetery. Services were held at one time in a hall over the brick store on Queen St. now occupied by Mr. Doyle, at another time, in the house now owned and occupied by Miss Catholine. At that period it was one large room but was apparently of sufficient capacity to embrace the congregation that gathered there to be present at the celebration of the Mass.
Services were also occasionally held in the brick cottage, which is part of the Western Home estate. It was occupied by Mrs. Stevenson, a zealous Catholic lady, who with her daughters promoted the interests of religion materially by teaching Sunday School and instructing the children in the knowledge of their belief. Mrs. Richards of Pembroke (nee Allinson) is her granddaughter. No record can be found as to the number of Catholics in Niagara in 1830 when Father CampiQn was removed, j)ut as near as can be ascertained, there were about three dozen families represented at the services, exclusive of soldiers. Father Campion recorded 64 Baptisms, 6 professions of faith 17 marriages and 6 burials during his pastorate of three years, some of the children baptized however were brought here from New York State.
The priest appointed to succeed Father Campion was Father Cullen, who, noting the great need the Catholics had for a church here, and concluding there was a sufficient number to warrant the undertaking, he therefore on the 3rd of April, 1831, called a meeting whereat it was resolved to open a subscription list for the purpose of erecting a church. The following is a copy of the minutes of said meeting.

    "At a meeting of the Catholic inhabitants of Niagara held on Easter Sunday, the 3rd day of April, 1831, Daniel MacDougal, Esquire, was called to the chair and George Macan was requested to act as secretary, after which the following resqlutions were unanimously agreed on.
1st Resolution That the Glory of God, the honor of religion and the wants of the Catholics of this place require that a Catholic church be erected in this town.
2nd ResolutionThat the Rev. John Cullin, our pastor, Daniel McDougal and George Macan are hereby nominated and appointed to procure the subscription of every well disposed person, who is willing to contribute towards the erecting of a Catholic Church in Niagara.
3rd Resolution That John Harris, H. McNally, J. B. Cootby and Andrew B9ylan are hereby appointed collectors of subscriptions for the Catholic Church of Niagara.
4th Resolution That Daniel McDougal is hereby nominated Treasurer, and George Macan, Secretary, to the Roman Catholics of Niagara, and the collectors above named in the 3rd resolution are required to pay in the monies collected by them to the treasurer and he is to give his receipt for the different sums received, which receipts the said collectors are to place in the hands of the secretary immediately after obtaining said receipts.
5th Resolution That it is expedient to form a committee of management consisting of five of the resident inhabitants of this place, any three of whom will form a quorum, who shall manage, superintend and transact all the temporal affairs appertaining or in any wise belonging towards the erecting of said church, and the Rev. J. Cullen (or the resident priest being incumbent of this place) Daniel McDougal, Geo. Macan, John Harris and Michael Morley be and are hereby constituted and appointed to be the said committee of management.
6th Resolution That the treasurer give an accurate account of the monies or other funds put into his hands at every meeting of the committee of management, if required to do so by them, and that the secretary give a statement of the affairs of the church on the Easter Monday of every succeeding year at a general meeting of subscribers to be called together in the church on that day and that the treasurer is hereby prohibited from paying out any of the funds of the church without a written order from the secretary, countersigned by two others of the committee of management.
7th Resolution That the persons now nominated and accepting office are required to hold the same for one year only, but are eligible to be reelected as often as is expedient and that the said committee of management have power to fill up any vacancies in their number which may happen by death or change of residence during their year in office.
8th Resolution That the thanks of the Catholic inhabitants of this place are due and hereby given to our worthy pastor, the Rev. J. Cullen, for his laudable exertion in commencing the subscription of this morning for the purpose of erecting said church."

    The following year viz. 1832, the church was begun; Bishop Macdonell, who was conspicuous not only in the ecclesiastical, but also the political life of the country, having secured a grant of four acres of land from the government on which it was erected. It is a frame building measuring 60 x 40 ft., with ten large Gothic windows of stained glass and a commodious sanctuary and vestry. There is also a tower with a large window surmounted by a steeple 50 ft. high and a cross. The interior arrangements of the edifice consist of three aisles with two central and two side rows of pews. There are two galleries, the cost of those having been entirely assumed by the Catholic soldiers, who were stationed here at the time, and for whom one of the galleries ';was reserved. There are three altars daintily finished in white and gold. Those are not the original altars, they having been discarded at the time the church was repaired. The altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary to the left of the main altar was a gift from the Barron family, and St. Joseph's Altar to the right of the main altar was presented by Mrs. Newton, daughter of Col. McDougal, mentioned as having been President of the first meeting held in 1831.
The church was completed in 1834, and Bishop MacDonell, on the 9th of Nov. of that year, came over to Niagara and blessed it, giving it the name of "St. Vincent de Paul", and celebrated the first mass therein. There is an entry in the register that the first communicants were "Miss Dixon and Mrs. Duff."
At the rear of the church is the cemetery in which at least two headstones are still standing with the year 1832 legible, but the names are undecipherable.

    Father Polin succeeded Father Cullen, but remained only a short time. During his tenure of office here he records ten baptisms and one marriage, one baptism having been performed in "Gravelly Bay", now Port Colborne, thirty miles from here.

    Father Edward Gordon succeeded Father Polin in 1834 and completed the erection of the church and at once took the necessary steps for the erection of a Presbytery. A meeting was called and a subscription list opened in 1835. One Lieut. Coleman of the 15th regiment was appointed to collect among the soldiers here and in Toronto. He also appears to have collected from a number of the prominent Protestant citizens and business people of the town and of Toronto. Here are a few of the names that appear on his list "Mrs. Lyons, Messrs. Stocking & Grier, Robert Dickson, E. C. Campbell, James Lockhart, W. B. Winterbottom, etc., belonging to the town. On the Toronto list some of the names are: the Hon. Mr. Elmsley, Capt. Coleman, Hugh Dougherty, J. Shaughnessy, etc. The Presbytery or "Glebe House," according to the records cost £253 14s 11 12d but the amount collected up to the year 1840 was only £50, and Father Gordon then paid the balance due from his own private funds.

    On the 13th Sept., 1834, Bishop Gaulin, coadjuter of Bishop MacDonell, admimstered the sacrament of Confirmation, this being the first time it was administered in the mission east of Sandwich. There were five males and six females confirmed at that time, ranging in ages from 13 to 23 years.
Beginning with the pastorate of Father Gordon' the Niagara Mission appears to have flourished. Some of the more distant places were detached from the mission viz. Dundas, St. Thomas, and London but the pastor had still a large circuit to travers'e viz Niagara Falls, Port Colborne, St. Johns, Smithville, St. Catharines, Toronto Gore and Adjala.

    At a meeting held at the chapel on the. 20th of April, 1835, (Easter Monday) the office of Church Warden was established, and Messrs. Hugh McNally and William Harris were appointed for that year, at the same meeting Mr. John Lyons was appointed to act as secretary and treasurer during the same term and Rev. Edwaiard Gordon, Messrs. John Harris, and Thos. Heenan were appointed collectors of subscriptions for.the finishing of the church and Mr. Farrell was appointed to collect "for the country" Father Gordon left a record of the total Catholic population for a thousand square miles viz. 817 souls.
The first entry in the Baptismal Register by Father Gordon was made on the 27th April, 1834, as follows: "April 27th was baptized by me the, undersigned priest, John, aged four weeks, son of William Kay and Elizabeth Shean. Sponsors, Edward McCann and Margaret O'Connor.
    Father Gordon kept a very careful record of the baptisms, confirmations, marriages, professions of faith and burials, with occasional explanatory notes. For instance, opposite the entry of the baptism of James Morreau the following note appears: "This man was sentenced to death for participating in the rebellion. He led the insurgents at the "Short Hills". He was 23 years of age and was received into the church in jail, 29th July, and was executed 30th July, 1838."
    Among the burials of 1843 is an entry of a young priest, 26 years old, who died suddenly at the Falls while visiting relatives there, and is buried under the main altar of the church here, at the funeral were "Rev. Mr Mullen, Mr.Charest and Mr. McIntosh.

    In the old register, Father Harold discovered a petition from the congregation of St. Vincent de Paul Church, Niagara, asking Bishop Power to give the "necessary power and in. structions to have the stations of the cross erected in order that we and a1.l who are disposed may have an opportunity of receiving the many spiritual advantages to be 6btained by devout prayer and meditation on Christ's passion" and your Petitioners as in duty will ever pray, etc."
John McHenry, David Langan, Mich. McGuire, Ed. Gordon, Pt. for the rest of the congregation."

    The document bears the date '9th Dec., 1844,' and is written on a full sheet of foolscap. The petition is on one side, the reply, granting the petition on page 2, a declaration by the pastor, that he has this' day erected, etc., in the presence of the "undersigned witnesses" no names are inscribed, however, and on page 4 is the Bishop's name in full, with the words "favored by Rev. M. P. McDonough" in one corner. The Bishop's letter, sealed with red wax, is countersigned by J. J. Hay, Sec., and recites that he has authority from a decree of Gregory XIII to delegate any priest to erect the "Via Crucis" and hereby delegates etc." The letter is given at Toronto, 13th Dec., 1844.

    The priest's declaration shows that the Stations were erected on the 5th February, Ash Wednesday. A copy of II this declaration also exists in the archives, made out by Father
Gordon, in obedience to the Bishop's orders to do so.
In 1844 Father Gordon called a meeting of the Catholic congregation in order to raise funds for the liquidation of the debt incurred for the painting, plastering, etc., of the Catholic Church. At that meeting it was unanimously agreed that each man would pay the sum of two shillings and sixpence. Among the names on the list who paid the sum stipulated appear the following: Alex. Lane, Hugh McNally, Daniel McDougal, Patrick Lawless, Mrs. Carpenter, Michael Morley, Mrs. Mary Stevenson, Thomas Daly, Richard Ryan, Nicholas Wall, Patrick Maddigan, Michael Maguire, Margaret Healey, Mrs. Hewitt, Mrs. Hall, Martin Kearns William Waish, Edward Scully, Win. Primace. Sergeant Murphy (King's Dragoon Guards) Bernard R9ddy, Rev. John Carroll, Mrs. Morris, Mrs. Todd, John O'Donnell, Mrs. L. Donnelly, Maria MeArdle, Patrick Mahar, Charles Toel, Alex. Davidson, E. Power, (Kings Dragoon Guards), Mrs. Duff, Annie McKenna, Catharine Doyle, etc.
Father Gordon was most thorough and conscientious in all his undertakings. He built churches at Niagara, Niagara Falls, Trafalgar, Toronto Gore, and Adjala. He was very practical and carefully looked after the spiritual welfare of his flock, as evidenced by the following correspondence in which he insists on Col. Kingrinill allowing the Catholic soldiers stationed here at the time, to attend mass, as there was a number of Catholic noncommissioned officers and privates who were not permitted to be present at the morning services, the Colonel claiming that the regimental doctor made his examination at that particular time.
Letter from Father Gordon to Colonel Kingsmill, dated "Saturday morning, April 13th, 1839."
    "Sir regret to find that the Catholic soldiers of your regiment do not attend Divine service on the Sunday mornings. They have not been in the church on the forenoon of Sunday but once since the time I first had the honor to speak to you in their behalf. Divine Service commences on Sunday mornings at eleven o'clock, precisely, at which hour you will have the kindness to allow them in future to attend.
I have the honor to be sir, etc.,
                                                                    Edward Gordon, Catholic Pastor of Niagara.

    The soldiers were permitted to attend mass for a few Sundays after dispatching the above letter, when they again failed to be present, and on inquiry; Father Gordon learned the Colonel had again prevented them. Another lengthy letter of explanation was sent by the priest to the colonel in which he states, "All Catholics are obliged in conscience to give their attendance during the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass which is always offered up to God only in the forenoon." No attention being paid to his repeated requests; Father Gordon then laid the matte? before the major General, commanding the forces in Canada, who immediately commanded Col. Kingsmill to permit his Catholic soldiers to' attend Divine Service at the hour named by their chaplain.

    Father Gordon was removed to Hamilton in 1846 and was elevated to the dignity of Vicar General. He died at the Episcopal residence, Hamilton in 1870.

    The next in succession was Father John Carroll who remained in charge of this mission until about 1855. He accepted a chaplaincy in Chicago, where he died in 1891, having reached the venerable age of 93 years. He was a generous subscriber towards the building fund of the church, as his name frequently appears on the different lists for a substantial sum. He was a distant relation of the Carrolls, of Carrollton, one of whom signed the Declaration of Independence, he was also a nephew of Rev. Edmund Burke, mentioned earlier in this article.

    Fathers Leveque, Cullen, Boyle, Musard and Wardy each remained but a short term here, and thus we arrive at the year 1857, when Father Mulligan assumed the charge of Niagara Parish. While here he worked most zealously, being an ardent advocate for the cause of temperance, he also had three sister of St. Joseph's Order, installed as teachers in the Separate School in 1857. This school was built on a corner of the church property about 1842, as we are informed by a resident of the town that he went to school there in 1843, and there was a meeting held in it in 1844 to consider the matter of putting pews in the church. The school was in a flourishing condition for a number of years and many excellent scholars received their early training within its walls. Father
John Kennedy had been one of its pupils. This promising young priest was drowned near Penetanguishene.
This school was eventually closed in 1876 owing t& the depletion of the Catholic congregation.
Father Mulligan was removed from here in 1862 and was given the charge of Niagara Falls Parish in which place he remained for several years. In 1866 he was inducted as pastor of St. Catharines and Dean of the Niagara Peninsula. He labored in that parish for about nineteen years with untiring zeal, but in 1884 his health had become so impaired that his physician advised a sea voyage, which suggestion was immediately acted upon and he went to Ireland, where his aged mother still lived. He never rallied sufficiently to return, but died in the land of his birth, in the arms of his mother.

    Father James Hobin was next in succession. This reserved but pious priest was endowed with great mental gifts, being considered one of the best theologians of his day. He was very ready to assist the needy and distressed in a practical as well as a spiritual manner. He was succeeded by Father T. J. Sullivan in 1868 who only remained about a year. During his short pastorate here he began the refurnishing of the Presbytery and Sanctuary. He was removed to Thorold in 1869 and installed there as pastor where he still remains one of Thorold's most prominent figures, laboring with his wonted energy for the salvation of souls.

    .Father Kelly was next appointed in 1869. He purchased a small pipe organ for the church, but it was so badly damaged during a severe thunderstorm when the lightning struck the church that it became practically useless. It was replaced by a smaller' organ which was presented to the church by the late Mr. Joseph Petley.
Rev. Dean Harris in his history of "the Catholic Church in the Niagara Peninsula" relates to an amusing incident which occurred during Father Gordon's periodical visit at Toronto Gore. A young man named Sweeney desired to have his child baptized. When asked by the priest the name he wished to give the child, the young man replied, "Vanus your Reverence . What! said Father Gordon. "Why you rascal, I'll never give a Catholic child the name of a heathen goddess." "Well, your reverence," replied Sweeney, "that's my father's name." "Nonsense, man, replied the priest, no Catholic priest, particularly an Irish one, would give her name to any child, male or female, so go and get your father before a drop of water goes on the head of this helpless infant. When the father entered, the priest asked him, "What's your baptismal name, Sweeney". "Vanus, yer reverence," replied the man. "Why my good man, surely you never got that name at baptism?" "No Sir," answered Sweeney,. "I was baptized Sylvanus, but the neighbors always call me Vanus for short."

    Father Laboureau succeeded Father Kelly in 1871. He was highly educated and a good musician. He had a marked individuality and wielded a great influence for good among his parishioners. He made a number of necessary improvements around the church property, but was taken from here in 1872 and given the charge of the parish at Penetanguishene, where he still remains. He has had erected at Penetanguishene a magnificent memorial church to the early Jesuit martyrs which will be a lasting monument to commemorate their heroic deeds and glorious martyrdom and will also bear testimony to the energy and zeal of its founder.
Father Berrigan, appointed in 1872, remained in charge until 1874. He was a strict disciplinarian and took a deep interest in the education of the children, carefully looking after their material as well as spiritual welfare. He died in 1904.

    Fathers A. J. 0' Reilly (1874-1876) P. J. Kierman (1876-1878) and E. F. Gallagher (187-1879) followed in succession. Those devoted priests 'neglected no opportunity of adding to the "treasure store of piety" and religious fervor, which is the strength' and glory of a. parish. Father P. J. Harold next assumed the charge of the parish in 1879 and remained until 1882, when he was temporarily succeeded by Rev. A. M. Murphy, O.C.C., a priest of the Carmehte Order. In 1884 Father Harold again took charge, remaining here until 1888,' when Father T. M. Shanahan was appointed pastor. This talented young priest was soon obliged to resign his parochial duties and leave Niagara on account of ill health, bearing with him the affection and regret of the parishioners. He died shortly after his departure from here and his early death caused a heartfelt sorrow.

    In 1890 Father Harold was a third time appointed pastor of this mission. He found the church and Presbytery in urgent need of repairs and being very energetic and exceedingly resourceful as to ways and means, he at once set to work to make the necessary improvements. The church was so thoroughly renovated from foundation to cross, that it will, we trust, weather a few more decades. The Presbytery or "Glebe House" was sold and removed from the premises, under Father Harold's supervision, and was replaced by a much larger and more commodious structure, which contains all the modern improvements, including furnace, electric light, etc. Those very necessary changes and repairs were made with very moderate expense to the congregation.

    Father Harold possessed the gift of imparting knowledge in a remarkable degree and being a lover of children, he made them his special care, "and in teaching them the way to live, he taught them how to die." He was an accomplished classical scholar and gifted with great literary ability. He wrote a very interesting Historic Romance of the First Century, "Irene of Corinth," the contents of which are both fascinating and instructive.
Being a practical musician, the choir, which was in a lethargic condition, also came in for a large share of his attention and time. The late Father Brennan, who was also a lover of sacred music, devoted much of his spare time to the choir and presented it with a number of pieces of valuable music.
The earliest choir consisted of members belonging to the band of the regiments stationed at Niagara, and later it was conducted by Sergeant Charles Conroy, who, at present, resides in Ottawa, but who' will no doubt be remembered by many residents of the town, for being an ardent admirer of the old town, he never forgets to pay it an occasional friendly visit.

    A small melodeon was presented to the church by a friend and Mrs. Newton (nee McDougal) took charge of this and directed the choir for years with the assistance of Mr. Conroy, with great success Miss Allinson (now Mrs. Richards ) on the resignation of Mrs. Newton, then took charge of the choir, being a mere child at the time, and with the most untiring devotion and fidelity she played the organ, taught and directed the choir for years. Needless to say her success was remarkable. She also devoted much of her time to the instruction of the children in her class in Sunday School, and she did not relinquish her self-imposed but extremely praiseworthy tasks until a short time before her marriage. She organized a large Choral Society which was composed of members of all denominations. Several very successful concerts were given by this society, the proceeds from some of them being given for the benefit of the Public Library, in which institution she was much interested. It is often said, there is no one who cannot be done without. This no doubt is true, but Mrs. Richards was one of the few who left a very large niche to be filled in the hearts of the congregation of St. Vincent de Paul, and not alone in the Catholic congregation, for her departure wo sincerely regretted by all lovers of music, irrespective of creed.

    After Mrs. Richard's departure, the following ladies took charge of the organ and choir for a short time Miss Muirphy (now Mrs. Mooney) Mrs. Lamb, Miss McF'aul and Miss Robinson. Miss Walsh then took the choir and presided as organist for several years with much ability and success. Her strength not being sufficient to sustain the strain which the duties entailed, she eventually resigned the position. Mr. Mulholland is the present organist and director of the choir, which position he has held for over six years with admirable executive ability and characteristic modesty. It may be stated here that in no instance, has any of the organists or members of the choir received any recompense for their services other than perhaps a limited quantity of judicious praise, tempered with healthy criticism.

    In .1894 Rev. Father Harold took his departure from here and was succeeded by Father Jno. J. Lynch in the same year. Energetic, zealous and scholarly, Father Lynch, apparently, had every prospect of many years of splendid opportunity before him to labor for the salvation of souls, but our Lord had willed otherwise. During his short sojourn here he was respected and beloved by his parishioners, not only because of his devotion to duty, his compassion for the sick and poor, without respect to race or creed, but also because of the affectionate warmth of his heart, his never failing courtesy and interesting personality. He had so endeared himself to all both Catholic and Protestant, as "never to estrange a friend or create an enemy." "He was of youth the guardian and 'of all, the friend." His life was closed in the morning of his priesthood, on the 9th of Sept., 1897.. He was buried in St. Vincent de Paul's Cemetery, where a monument was erected to his memory by his parishioners bearing the following inscription "We hold his name in benediction...."

        "To the memory of Rev. Father Lynch, who for three years was pastor of this parish. He died Sept. 9th, 1897, in the 34th year of his age and the 10th of his priesthood. Eternal rest give to him Oh! Lord."
After the death of Father Lynch in 1897 the Carmelite Fathers were requested to take charge of the parish, by Archbishop Walsh, and Father A. M. Murphy, O.C.C. again officiated here, until 1899, when he was removed and Father A. D. Brennan assumed the charge. His term in office was only temporary, for being a highly educated man, he was transferred to Chicago, where he filled the duties of Professor of Theology in the Carmelite College there. Shortly after going there his health failed him and he was obliged to return to the Hospice at Niagara Falls. He died in 1903, "He needs no tears who lived a noble life," Father Murphy returned here after Father Brennan was removed and continued to officiate until 1902, when Father D. F. O'Malley took charge, Father Murphy having been selected to fill the position of Prior of the Carmelite College at Chicago. Father O'Malley, being a very eloquent speaker, was removed from Niagara after a short stay here and was succeeded by Father Murphy, this being the fourth time the Niagara Parish was committed to his care. Father Murphy was heartily welcomed by his parishioners on each occasion of his return, as he had endeared himself to all by his unobtrusive virtues and simplicity of manner, never sparing himself where duty called him, but in every instance yielding his services unstintingly on behalf of his flock. He was removed from here. in 1904, when Archbishop O'Connor received the parish back from the Carmelite Order and once more placed a secular priest in charge, viz: Rev. Father McEachern, who is the present incumbent.

    The Presbytery has just now been thoroughly refitted and partly refurnished, owing to the laudable enterprise and energy on the part of several of the ladies and gentlemen 'of the, parish. The congregation generously contributed the requisite funds and as a result, the presbytery presents a very pleasing and comfortable appearance.

    This sketch would be incomplete were we to omit the names of Such generous unselfish supporters of the church as Messrs. Peter Clarke, George Greene, Patrick Healey and James Doyle, who, with others, deserve niore than passing mention herein, would space permit. Suffice it to say they will live in affectionate remembrance in the hearts of the people of the parish. With the exception of Mr. Clarke, who returned to Ireland after the death of his wife, and eventually died there, they are resting peacefully in the little cemetery of St. Vincent de Paul in the rear of the church. In the cemetery also repose many of the pioneer residents of the early church, notably Mrs. Stevenson, who is mentioned in the old Niagara Gleaner, 1832, as performing a work of mercy by sending comforts to .the prisoners. In the McDougal family plot is the grave of Colonel McDougall, whose name appears as chairman on the original Set of Resolutions drawn up in 1831, previous to the erection of the church. When Bishop McDonell came to Niagara to consecrate, the church, he was entertained at Colonel McDougall's. Adjacent to the McDougall plot is a sarcophagus in which lie the remains of John Lyons, registrar for many years. His name appears on the records of a meeting held on Easter Monday, 1835, as Secty. Treasurer for that year. There is a tablet erected in the church with the following inscription "To the memory of Lieut. Adj't. Reginald McDonnell, Royal Canadian Rifle Regiment, who died at Niagara, C.W., on the 20th Dec. 1851, aged 39 years.. This tablet is erected by his brother officers as a testimony of regard." His remains are interred in the graveyard and a stone with a similar inscription marks the spot. Hundreds of other dear departed friends rest in our little graveyard, in fact it would be difficult to find one in the parish who has not some beloved relative resting there. "And with the morn those angel faces smile, which we have loved and lost ere yet awhile."

    In collecting the facts contained in this sketch, I have consulted "Galinee's Narrative, "The History of the Catholic Church in the Niagara Peninsula", by Dean Harris; "History of the Church in Niagara" by Rev. P. J. Harold. I have also gathered authentic information from a few of the pioneer residents of the town and from ancient records of the parish. Imperfect and unpolished as this narrative is presented to you, it is history. The old pioneers are fast vanishing from our midst but the church of St. Vincent de Paul crowned with the sign of our redemption will bear testimony to their unselfish generosity and unwavering faith.