NYCOLUMB-L ArchivesArchiver > NYCOLUMB > 2002-01 > 1011626324
Subject: [NYCOL] Itenerant priests in early NY
Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2002 10:18:44 EST
I sent the following information to Cliff Lamere who has put so much New York
information on his website and he suggested I share it with this list and the
Columbia County List. Here goes:
Subj: Re: [Fwd: Catholic Mission Church Records]
Date: 1/20/02 11:35:37 PM Eastern Standard Time
I was interested in learning what you know of the Mission Church records. I
have something to add to that subject, in case you're interested.
I've been trying to trace my ggrandfather, Michael FLYNN, for sometime. He
immigrated from Ireland in the late 1840's, I believe, and settled in Hudson,
Columbia Cty. With the help of St. Mary's Catholic Church there I learned of
the baptism of his third child, Mary, born in late 1855, baptized in January
1856. On her record I learned the name of Michael FLYNN'S wife: Mary
Holloran. Census records of 1855 state his first child was born in 1852 and
I assume he was married in 1851.
St. Mary's church was established from the Diocese of Albany in 1854
according to their records, however it was a mission church before that. I
wrote to the Diocese of Albany in 1992 to learn more about the beginning of
the church in Hudson. I received an answer from a Sr. M. Berchman (I think
that's the correct spelling) from the Archives. She explained they do not
keep sacramental records there at the Pastoral Center but are kept in the
She went on to say a Rev. William Howard came from Utica, N.Y. to act as an
itinerant priest in eastern New York and western Connecticut. What he did
with the sacramental records no one knows.
She also said when the three churches in Hudson merged, records were retained
at St. Mary's Parish. (I don't know which three churches she meant.)
I then went on to trace him in Utica (Syracuse Diocese Archives) and learned
the following: Fr. William Howard was from Ireland and ordained in 1843. He
served as pastor of St. Mary's in Hudson from 1849 - 1854. He died in 1888.
>From another source I learned:
He built St. Mary's church in Constableville in 1847. St. Mary's in
Constableville was the nucleus of the faith community from as early as the
1840s until around 1875. All ecclesiastical records of the local missions
were destroyed by fire in 1879 when the church burned to the ground.
The small meeting house in Irish Settlement, built in the virgin forest, was
recognized as a Catholic Mission. Through the efforts of Father Howard, the
mission church was established in 1848. Since it was located in the center of
Irish population, the Irish, naturally, named their mission in honor of
In 1999 I asked on the web if anyone knew of this Fr. William Howard. I
received an e-mail from Jack Bathrick form the Remsen-Steuben Historical
Society in Remsen,NY. Here's what he wrote:
"I have a copy of "Abundant Harbest" which is a chronicle of St. Patrick's
church in Forestport, NY about 30 miles north of Utica. Your Fr. William
Howard was priest at St. Patrick's from 1842-1848 and again from 1862-1867.
He is mentioned on at least 10 pages in the book."
Another letter from St. Mary's in Hudson answering my query on this priest,
The Jesuits, who travelled through this area and ministered in this area
prior to 1854, did not keep records and so we do not have any information on
the families that might have been married or baptized here prior to the
Diocese of Albany establishing a church here in 1854.
Hope this information helps some of you. Mary L. Casey