by the Primitive society, and sold for the debt, with which it was encumbered. The preacher of the original society went with the secession. For a while the new organization appeared to prosper, and numbered Dearly one hundred members. They purchased a lot of ground on Kent street, and in the autumn of 1840, commenced the erection of a church, thirty by forty feet, which was completed at a cost of about $2,000, and occupied in the spring of 1841. Difficulties subsequently arose, and the society being in debt, and unable to extricate themselves, in 1845, the church was sold to the Roman Catholics, and it is understood that the society is dissolved. (Prime’s L. I., p. 400). Fred. W. Holland was pastor, 1839-40; George Parsons, 1841-2; Wm. Birch, 1844-5.


The Catholic church is of comparatively recent date in Brooklyn, and during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was represented only by a few isolated members among its trainsient population. The history of the Catholics of Brooklyn as a body begins in the second decade of the present century. In the influx of emigrants many Catholics had Settled in Brooklyn, but for religious worship were compelled to cross the East river to New York, to attend St. Peter’s church, in Barclay street, the first and long the only Catholic church in that city. The present archbishop of New York, the Most Rev. John McClosky, is a native of Brooklyn, and remembers the time when he as a boy thus crossed to the neighboring City.2

This inconvenient condition of affairs was protracted by the general poverty of the people, and by the fact that the bishop of New York, to whose jurisdiction they belonged, was so destitute of clergymen, that he could send no one to endeavor to build up a church.

The Rev. John Power, pastor of St. Peter’s church, New York, considering the Catholics in Brooklyn as part of his parish, frequently came over, and Sent other clergymen to offer the sacrifice of the mass and preach the word of God, in private houses or such rooms as could be obtained.

The first Catholic service in Brooklyn is said to have been a mass celebrated at the residence of Mr. William Purcell, on the north-east corner of York and Gold streets, by the Rev. Philip Larissy. Among other clergy

1 This sketch of the Catholic churches of Brooklyn was prepared for this work by our friend, John G. Shea, LL.D., the learned historian of the church in America; and was published in The New York Tablet (August, 1869), for the purpose of obtaining criticisms and corrections before its appearance in these pages. It has received a few additions and corrections from the author of this history.

2 See page 166 of second volume.

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