Clipped From The Courier-Journal

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 - -Eisen, J Conv-pany Thirty-fourth De- prf-rate....
-Eisen, J Conv-pany Thirty-fourth De- prf-rate. Sec-end Hun-. ST. THOMAS. BEIEP HIST0BT 0T A TAHOT3 CATHOLIC LOCAT.TTT. ' CAVE OF AN ANCIENT HERMIT. Old : Cemetery Where the Dust of Many of the Early Kentucky Pioneers Holders. . CROSSES RECALL A TBAGEDT. rW. D. Gilkey In Bardstown Resord. About four miles from Bardstown, on the east side of the turnpike, lies the St. Thomas farm, around which there Is a history perhaps that has never been written. It has an area at the present of about 400 acres. It was donated by Thomas Howard and wife to the Bishop of the diocese. In trust, and therefore can not be sold. Nearly a. century ago there was an Institution built j near where the present turnpike rune called Old Nasareth. This was a school for girls, and was at that time the only one within a large area of the country. .But from some cause this ceased to be, and new buildings and a new order arose further to the east on the plain that overlooks the Beech Fork river below. This new order was called the St. Thomas Seminary of the Brotherhood. It was at Old Nazareth that the grandmothers of many living through her attended schooL A. few stones, mark the spot o this primitive scnool tomb stones we may call them marking the spot where the seeds of Christianity and culture were first planted on the Beech Fork river, in Nelson county. None of the women Is now living who attended this school, as this was about ninety years ago. The place selected for the seminary la an admirable one. It la at the head of a number of copious springs, within five or six hundred yards of the great ridge of calcareous rock that borders the river. Blue grass covers the ground everywhere, giving It . even In midwinter the appearance of Spring. The large English elms that were planted by the seminarians now lif V their lofty branches over the congregation as they pass to and fro beneath them, still grow ing, though the hands that piantea them have long since perished. These elms, nlanted in such regular order, to gether with a hedge fence and a decayed building here and there, wouia naturally lead any stranger to Inquire, "what has this place been? Under the direction of the Bishop several large and commodious buildings arose, a number of Christian brothers were sent here, and a school was opened for the boys In the surrounding country. It was at one time also at school for the education of students for the priesthood. It waa here that several of our old men now living received the rudiments of an education, for, like Old Nazareth for girls; this was about the only school for boys that was within reach.. There were no tree schools then. -Under ) the supervision of Father Chambize lands were cleared, orchards set out, beautiful gardens cultivated, mills were run. for the accommodation of the public, and everything bore the appearance of progress. But when the services of this man were withdrawn It soon began to decline. A beautiful monument marks, the grave of this wonderful man in the Nsvretn cemetery. The famous Coeiederate leader. Gen. John H. Morgan, was secreted at 81 Thomas for awhile, m nis passage across Kentucky, after losing his army In Ohio, i To disarm suspicion Father Chambize employed him aa his gar dener. i - ' t In 1868 the Seminarians left. Then the orphans came, and for about twen-, ty years this wa an orphan asylum.-Early in the 80' s the main building: was burned to the ground and then like Hawthorne's Peter Goldthwaite. who tore down bis father's house tat find the hidden treasure and. found" none, came a general demolition.of the other Seminarian buildings. The little brick here known as ' St. Thomas church, is the oldest brick church In the diocese or probably la Kentucky. It was built In the year 181 i, eighty-two years' ago. It la beneath this church that the remains of Thomas Howard, the donor of .the land, rests. It has been the home of numerous noted ministers of the Catholic Church, namely: : Fathers Badin, David, Able, La-cos te. Chambize, Clarke. Russell and several others. Father Ryan haa been the pastor here for over thirty years. He has grown gray in the service of the St. Thomas parish, and he is very popular, always ready to minister to the afflicted and thus obey the will of Him who sent him. Beneath a bluff near the old church. Is a cave known as the "Hermit's Cave." from the fact that at one time a man took up his abode there. Making prayer-beads was bis occupation and by this means he obtained food and clothing. The mouth of this cave is about twelve by twelve and extends underground a considerable distance. The entrance Is partly walled in, and within this wall a chimney about two feet wide at its base was erected by this hermit. The chimney is In a fair state of preservation, though the rest of the wall lias fallen. The cave Is large enough behind the wall to contain several pieces of furniture. Triangular stone walls extend down from the sides two or three feet high. The ground all around is covered with a green verdure, which was doubtless planted by the hermit, ss none of a like character grows anywhere else near this place. It is the evergreen water Illy. It is said the old recluse had been a French soldier and bsd served in some of the early wars. Whether it wsa wrongs received from some of his fellow men that caused him to exile himself from civilized life, or bis love for rugged nature's charms, perhaps no one knows. If the latter waa the cause no better place could have been found. He could sea the sun at Its first appearance In the horizon. From bis cavern door he could see fields and dwellings: could see the river sweeping around the bend; could see the eagle and the crane and kingfisher as they flew on their tireless Journey a The frogs, the owls and the foxes were his companions at night. These and the rugged rocks around gave It a grandeur unsurpassed. The exile's remains rest sn an unmarked grave In the St. Thomas cemetery. Upon a knob not far from the church Is the St. Thomas cemetery. It contains close to two, acres of ground; is about three-fourths covered with graves and has between 1.800 and 2.000 people buried within Its soil. The tombs erected well represent the names of the people In the surrounding country. Borne of the inscriptions time haa almost effaced. One reads John Reynolds, died l?4v. aged ninety years. This carries the birth of this man back to Washington's time. Another, John Miles, born 177S; Mrs. John Holtshouser, born 178; Margaret Able, died January 30. 1818; Maria Naomi McManua, departed this life September 3. 1817. Beneath two plain cedar crosses rest the remains of a pair whose lives ended In one of the most mournful tragedies enacted In this section. A newly-made grave here and there shows that death with his sickle keen still reaps the bearded grain at a breath and the flowers that grow between. . . ,- y

Clipped from
  1. The Courier-Journal,
  2. 01 Aug 1898, Mon,
  3. Page 3

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