Bishop William Quarter Diary Part XI: December 3, 1848 to April 1, 1849

December 3rd First Sunday of Advent

Sent on this day, the Rev. Dennis Dunne, deacon, & the Rev. Henry Coyle, subdeacon, to Detroit, to Bishop Lefevre, to have them ordained priests for this diocese. They went in the evening stage from this place, as the boat was not running to St. Joseph. The night was stormy, snowy, & unpleasant. May God send them safe, & grant them his grace. #60

#60 + The other bishops who might have ordained these men include Bishop Henni (Milwaukee), Bishop Kenrick (St. Louis), or Bishop Hailandiere (Vincennes). The choice to go to Detroit may have been a practical such as the Diocese of Detroit had an ordination scheduled that was convenient for the Chicago candidates.

December 5th

Rec[eived] a letter this morning from Rev. Fr. J. Fisher, a former priest of this place. I wrote to him to (sic) St. Louis, appointing him to the congregation of Highland in this state. I also wrote to the Archbishop of St. Louis, who is kind enough, to act as vic[ar] gen[eral]. This is snowy, disagreeable weather. This winter so far, is said to be the worst, that has been in many years.

Bishop Peter Paul Lefevre

December 14th

Rec[eived] a letter this morning from the Most Rev. Archb[ishop] of Baltimore stating that Very Rev. J. Van De Velde, of St. Louis, is appointed Bishop of Chicago in the place of my brother, the Right Rev. Dr. Quarter, 1st bishop. Glory be to God. May his episcopal reign be such, as will give glory to God and peace to the church is all I have to say. I rejoice however that the very Rev. Mr. Van De Velde is the person appointed. The Rev[erend] Henry Coyle & Rev. Denis Dunne returned this evening from Detroit. These two young gentlemen have been raised on last Sunday (the 10th) to the holy priesthood by the Right Rev[erend] Bishop Lefevre of Detroit at my request. #61

Bishop Peter Paul Lefevre
[p. 82] December 15th

The Rev. Misters Henry Coyle & Denis Dunne were ordained priests on last Sunday, (the 10th) for this diocese by the Right Rev. Bishop Lefevre of Detroit at the request of the administrator, the Very Rev. W.J. Quarter. No news as yet from any quarters. All on the alert. All anxiety (sic) about the new bishop. God [illegible word] that his reign may [be] a pleasant one to him, & a useful one for the Church. [first three words are illegible] which I hope he is, he will know nothing. [two illegible words], to fear.

December 17th 3rd Sunday of Advent

The Rev. Denis Dunne said his first Mass at 7 o’clock this morning, assisted by the Very Rev. W.J. Quarter. He preached at the 10 o’clock Mass on the love of God. His sermon was good & well delivered for a young priest. The Rev. Henry Coyle sung his first Mass at 10 o’clock to day assisted by the Very Rev. Walter J. Quarter. Rev. Mr. Coyle is a good singer and got through well. May God protect them both and give each a long life of usefulness.

Very Rev. Jan Roothaan
Superior General of the Society of Jesus
Pope Pius IX

p. 83] December 28th Holy Innocents

On this day in the convent chapel in this city, Mary Mulholland & Ellen Reilly were professed & made their last vows, as Sisters of Mercy. The Very Rev. W. J. Quarter officiated & the Rev. P.J. Donahoe preached. The name of the former in religion is Sister M[ary] De Sales. The latter Sister M[ary] Theresa.

December 29th

Rec[eived] a letter today from the Archbishop of St. Louis. Rev. Mr. Scanlon buried this morning. He departed this life yesterday the 28th p[ast]. The Rev. Mr. McLaughlin, Donaho, & Dunne at the funeral.

December 31st

Sunday the last day of the year 1848. The Rev. Henry Coyle preached his first sermon on this day in the cathedral. The Very Rev. W.J. Quarter preached in the evening. Many are the curious things which happened this year. But amongst them all, the most to be lamented is the death of our poor bishop! He was well this day twelve months [ago]. But Alas! He is gone! The world what is it? Why should we set our hearts upon it? May God have mercy on my brother.

[p. 84 & 85 are blank]

[p. 86] January 1849

January 1st

Four Sister of Mercy received their veils this morning. It was solemn indeed. Nothing remarkable today. Wrote to the Archbishop of St. Louis.

January 2nd

Nothing very particular today.

January 3rd

Cold today. Good sleighing. The sleigh bells are ringing merrily today.

January 6th Epiphany of our Lord

A large congregation and many communicants today. Mass at 9 ½ o’clock. Day very cold.

January 7th Sunday with the Octave

The Very Rev. Walter J. Quarter announced a meeting of the C.T.B. Society for tomorrow evening. Appointing the Rev. P.J. Donahoe to take charge of it in the future. Rosary Society met in the evening. All things are going well.

Adoration of the Magi
Edward Burne-Jones

January 14th

The Rev[erend] Denis Dunn appointed on today as as[sistant] pastor of St. Michael’s Church in the city of Galena, with the Rev. Mr. McGarick, pastor. Rev. Mr. Kennedy withdrawing. #62
#62 + McGovern does not mention the withdrawal of Father Kennedy.

January 15th

It is announced in the Pittsburgh Catholic that the Very Rev. M. De St.Palis (sic) is to be consecrated Bishop of Vincenes (sic) on today by the Archbishop of St. Louis, the Most Rev. P[eter] R[ichard] Kenrick. 2nd Sunday after Epiphany – Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus. [p. 87] The Rev. Mr. Dunn preached his second sermon in the cathedral today. The Rev. Mr. Coyle left for Little Fort to assist the Rev. Mr. Keane.

#62 + McGovern does not mention the withdrawal of Father Kennedy.

January 16th

Received a letter this afternoon from the Rt. Rev. Bishop Van De Velde, the first he has written to this place since his nomination to the See of Chicago. #63

January 18th

Rev. Mr. Kennedy arrived today from Galena. Wrote today to St. Louis. Weather very cold. Nothing remarkable.

January 24th

Died this morning “Catherine Cassidy” for 17 years [the] housekeeper to the Right Rev. W[illiam] Quarter. May her soul rest in peace. She died a most holy death, perfectly resigned to the holy will of God.

January 31st

On this day, the children of the convent had their quarterly exibition (sic). It was truly delightful to witness the improvement of all. Many of the parents, a[nd] citizens were present, and all left highly pleased, for every piece that was acted, was done to admiration & gave the greatest satisfaction. Truly it may be said that the good Sisters of Mercy are a blessing to Chicago & to the diocese. Oh! If he who was the founder of the establishment were here today, how he would rejoice. But he is not forgotten. May the Lord have mercy on him.

[p. 88] February 1849

February 6th

Received a letter today from Right Rev[erend] Mr. Van Develde (sic), Bishop elect of Chicago. Will leave here tomorrow morning for St. Louis to be present to the consecration. Weather very cold.

February 11th The 2nd Bishop of Chicago

The Right Rev. Dr. Van Develde (sic) was consecreated Feb. 11th 1849 in St. Louis, Mo. by the Most Rev. Archbishop Kinrick (sic)

February 18th Sunday

The Right Rev. Dr. Van Develde gave confirmation for the first time in his diocese in the Catholic Church of Alton. He preached twice on that day. The Very Rev. W.J. Quarter & the Rev. Mi[chael] Carroll, the pastor of the congregation of Alton, were present on this occasion.

The Bishop’s sermons were both learned and practical. On Monday the 19th the Bishop left Alton for St. Louis accompanied by the Rev. Mr. Carroll. The Very Rev. W. Quarter left on the same day for Chicago.

Bishop James Van de Velde
Second Bishop of Chicago

February 20th

Rec[eived] a letter from France today.

February 22nd

Wrote to the Right Rev. Bishop Van Develde. Sent him letters to St. Louis.

Bishop James Van de Velde
Second Bishop of Chicago
February 23rd

Had a letter today from the venerable Father Badin, the first priest ordained in the U.S. #64

#64 + Again it would be interesting to know the contents of this letter from Badin to Walter Quarter.

[p. 89] March 1849

March 6th

Election of city officers to day. All went off quiet (sic). Mud enough. #65
# 65 + James H. Woodworth was elected as the Mayor of Chicago.

March 7th
Sent two letters to day to Bishop Van Develde directed to the University of St. Louis. One a general letter, the other from Cincinnati. Gave $50 to pay for new building to V[ery] R[everend] Mr. Kinsella.

# 65 + James H. Woodworth was elected as the Mayor of Chicago.

March 12th

This day will be long remembered in Chicago. Great has been the loss of property, on account of the fright (?) in the river, almost every vessel in the harbor, more, or less injured. Many totally destroyed and it is said many lives lost. Sent a letter to Bishop Van Develde to day from Kentucky. Sent him the paper giving an account of the distruction (sic) by the floods. #66

#66 + For more on the devastating flood see: https://chicagology.com/harbor/1849flood/

March 19th St. Joseph’s day

The first steam boat left the harbour (sic) for the lower lakes.

March 25th Passion Sunday

On this day twelve months [ago] my poor brother, the 1st Bishop of Chicago departed this life. Rather on 10th April, Passion Sunday last year.

#66 + For more on the devastating flood see: https://chicagology.com/harbor/1849flood/

March 26th Feast of the Annunciation of the B.V.M.

Ellen Donovan from N.Y. received the white veil in the convent of the Sisters of Mercy. Her name in religion is Sister Mary Martha.

March 27th

An anniversary Mass this morning for the repose of the soul of the Rt. Rev. Dr. Quarter, first Bishop of Chicago. The new choir did well. The church nearly crowded.

March 30th

On Friday, the 30th, the Right Rev. Dr. Van de Velde arrived in Chicago from St. Louis.

April 1849

April 1st “Palm Sunday”

Bishop Van de Velde took possession of his See.


1. Bishop William Quarter: Google Images – chicagocatholic.com
2. St. Peter’s Barclay St.: Google Images – nycago.org
3. Jesus as Good Shepherd: Pixabay.com Pixabay License
4. Stained Glass: Google Images
5. Bishop John Huges: Google Images – irishtimes.com
6. Bishop Samuel Eccleston: Google Images – en.wikipedia.org
7. Bishop Matthias Loras: Google Images – myweb.loras.edu
8. Bishop Benedict Joseph Flaget: Google Images – findagrave.com
9. Bishop Martin John Henni: Google Images – findagrave.com
10. Bishop Peter Richard Kenrick: Google Images – alchetron.com
11. Baltimore Cathedral: Google Images – mdhs.org
12. Old St. Mary’s Church: Google Images – Chicagocatholic.org
13. Jolliet and Marquette: Google Images – chicago-outdoor-sculptures blogspot.com
14. Little Fort: Google Images — Research Library of Illinois History … drloihjournal.blogspot.com
15. Bishop Chanche: Google Images – St. Mary Basilica Archives
16. Bishop St. Palais: Google Images – commons.wikipedia.org (copyright – Sisters of Providence of St. Mary of the Woods)
17. Entry into Jerusalem: Google Images – en.wikipedia.org
18. Resurrection: Google Images – en.wikipedia.org
19. Baptismal font: Google Images –en.wikipedia.org
20. Gifts of the Holy Spirit : Google Images – en.wikipedia.org
21. Nativity of Mary: Google Images — en.wikipedia.org
22. St. Januarius: Google Images — en.wikipedia.org
23. First Cathedral (St. Mary): Google Images – commons.wikipedia.org
24. Old St. Patrick (Chicago): Google Images – faithpatterns.com
25. Picture of Snow Storm: Google Images – Kaspar David Friedrich — en.wikipedia.org
26. Angel of the Resurrection: USML Office of Institutional Advancement
27. Calumnies of Appelles (Botticelli): Google Images – en.wikipedia.org
28. Justice and Peace Embracing (Antonio Balestra): Google Images – en.wikipedia. org
29. Stations of the Cross: Google Images – en.wikipedia.org
30. Illustration of the University of St. Mary of the Lake (1846): Archives of the Archdiocese of Chicgo
31. Catherine McAuley: Google Images – saintsresource.com
32. Concord Stagecoach: https://drloihjournal.blogspot.com/2019/11/stagecoach-travel-in-early-chicago-and-illinois.html
33. Bishop Joseph Baltes: Google Images – en.wikipedia.org
34. Picture of Irish Immigrants: Google Images – Spartacus-educational.com
35. Jesus with Angels: Google Images – en.wikipedia.org
36. Bishop Dubois: Google Images – en.wikipedia.org
37. Bishop Peter Paul Lefevre: Google Images – en.wikipedia.org
38. Jan van Roothann: Google Images – en.wikipedia.org
39. Pope Pius IX: Google Images – en.wikipedia.org
40. Virgin and Holy Innocents: Google Images – en.wikipedia.org
41. Adoration of the Magi (Edward Burne-Jones): Google Images – en.wikipedia.org
42. Bishop James Van de Velde : Google Images – en.wikipedia.org
43. Rev. Stephen Badin : Google Images – en.wikipedia.org
44. Annunciation: Google Images – en.wikipedia.org
45. Pentecost: Google Images –wikiart.org
46. Alpha and Omega: Google Images – clipartmax.com
47. Gonzaga Family in Adoration of Holy Trinity (Reubens): Google Images – en.wikipedia.org