High above the storied town of Harpers Ferry, with the tranquil waters of the Shenandoah River flowing just below, sits historic St. Peter's Church. Deeply rooted in the rich history of the Church in West Virginia, the Civil war, and one of the state's oldest towns, the church is a firm link to the Catholic heritage, which still serves generations of parishioners and visitors.
Since its establishment in 1830, St. Peter's has been the focal point for many historic events, particularly John brown's Raid on October 16-19, 1859, and the Civil War.
In addition, several prominent pioneers of the Catholic Church, both in West Virginia and in America, have been associated with St. Peter's, as parishioners, missionaries, or pastors.
Through its history and beauty, St. Peter's has become one of the most visited sites in historic Harpers Ferry.
John Brown's Raid, October 16, 1859
"On the night of the 16th October last, a party of abolitionists came to Harper's Ferry and while the citizens peacefully slept, the took possession of the United States Armoury, Rifle Works and Arsenal.
Next morning, when the inhabitants awoke, they were surprised to see parties of armed men patrolling the streets, and as some of them attempted to pass to their employment they were taken prisoners by the insurgents and marched into the
Armoury, where they were placed under guard. As soon as the object of the insurrection became known, the citizens prepared to defend themselves and drive away the invaders. Accordingly, they armed themselves with any old guns they could find, they shot at the enemy who appeared in the streets, and the invaders returning their fire mortally wounded one of the citizens. The wounded man being a Catholic, I was called to attend him, and as I had to pass through the insurgents on my way, when I started I had very little hope that they would allow me to pass, as they were making prisoners of all they could catch. However, they allowed me to attend the dying man. I administered to him the last Sacraments, and he died soon after." (Rev. Costello's letter to Father Harrington, All Hallows College, February 11, 1860)
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